- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Reported racist slur roils judiciary

CAPE TOWN — South Africa’s judiciary is engulfed in a bitter row after a black judge was accused of calling a lawyer “a piece of white” [excrement] in an incident that underscores racial tension in courtrooms 11 years after the end of apartheid.

At the center of the storm is Judge John Hlophe, the most senior judge in the Western Cape district, who is being investigated by Chief Justice Pius Langa for the incident. Judge Hlophe denies the story and says he is the victim of a campaign to discredit him.

Judge Hlophe touched off a firestorm in the still predominantly white courtrooms of South Africa when he presented a report in February in which he said he was a victim of racism.

“I was regarded as a legal nonentity who was appointed purely because of being black,” he said.


Archbishop warns of mass starvation

JOHANNESBURG — Outspoken Archbishop Pius Ncube of Zimbabwe warned yesterday that about 200,000 of his countrymen could starve to death in coming months because of rampant inflation, drought and bad policies.

“I am afraid that in Zimbabwe, you will have easily some 200,000 people dead,” the Roman Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, told a press conference in Johannesburg.

“The reason why people will perish is because prices are going up on a daily basis and, therefore, nobody has the money to buy food,” he said. “The starvation is due to the government of Zimbabwe refusing food aid.”

He said a fuel crisis and drought had made the situation worse. He said the regime of President Robert Mugabe is full of “professional liars” and criticized the state’s stranglehold on every aspect of daily life.


First-round voting reveals ethnic rifts

MONROVIA — Liberia’s first-round presidential vote revealed the ethnic ties that still bind the war-ravaged West African country, making reconciliation a priority for the postwar elected government.

More than 18 ethnic groups share space along the forested Atlantic coast, competing for resources that include timber and diamonds, iron ore and gold.

Many were represented at the highest level with 22 presidential aspirants, some of whom hardly registered beyond their home counties among the more than 1 million voters who cast ballots on Oct. 11.

“Based on the voting trends, it appears that unity has a ways to go,” said Xav Hagen of the International Republican Institute. “All of the politicians have a lot of work to do to diminish the fragmentation of the country.”

Weekly notes …

Corruption and mismanagement by former belligerents now in power make the state the main threat to peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which risks a return to “mass violence,” the International Crisis Group said yesterday. The vast central African nation’s 1998-2003 war involved six neighboring countries, resulted in the creation of numerous government and rebel militias and killed nearly 4 million people in one of the world’s worst and most neglected conflicts, the crisis group said. About 1,000 people a day still die from war-related causes, including disease, malnutrition and violence, the group said. … President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya vowed yesterday to find the missing skull of a revered tribal leader slain and thought to have been decapitated by British colonial officials a century ago for opposing the famed “Lunatic Express” railway. At a ceremony on the anniversary of the death of Koitalel arap Samoei, Mr. Kibaki said his government would spare no effort to recover the Nandi tribe chief’s head so he could be honored properly as an early hero of the independence movement.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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