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Zanu-PF baulks at Tsvangirai for PM

http://www.thetimes.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=814198

Njabulo Ncube Published:Aug 03, 2008

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Hardliners in Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF are resisting a
proposal to have opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai appointed as prime
minister under a power-sharing arrangement.

President Thabo Mbeki is expected to address the issue when the talks resume
in Pretoria today. The talks broke down last Tuesday despite Tsvangirai's
willingness to work with Mugabe in a new government comprising members of
Zanu-PF and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.

Speaking from Senegal on Thursday, Tsvangirai intimated that the talks would
run well beyond their deadline of tomorrow when he remarked that the date
was "not inflexible".

Mbeki reportedly told Mugabe this week that no government of national unity
would be possible as long as he held executive power.

One Zanu-PF insider told the Sunday Times: "We will not accept anything
other than that President Mugabe remains the executive president as he won
the presidential run-off on June 27. Tsvangirai must be content with the
third post of vice-president.

"The Zanu-PF politburo has resolved that while the party is committed to the
talks, the issue of president is non-negotiable and we will reiterate the
issue when we resume talks (today) ."

An MDC official also at the talks in Pretoria said the party wanted
Tsvangirai to be prime minister. He said if Zanu-PF accepted this the
negotiations would be concluded in less than a fortnight.

"Tsvangirai won the March 29 election, but we are willing to compromise . ..
What we have a problem with is him being made a third vice-president, which
is largely a ceremonial post," the official said.

According to Zanu-PF and MDC sources, the issue of who would wield "real"
power in the negotiated settlement is one of four contentious issues that
led to the breakdown of the talks.

Other sticking points are the duration of the transitional period, the
constitutional amendments required to allow the transitional government and
the establishment of a commission to probe atrocities under Mugabe's rule.


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MDC keen to scrap all by-elections

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=1934

August 3, 2008

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - The MDC is reportedly keen to push for a constitutional amendment
that would effectively scrap the holding of parliamentary by-elections in
the event of a Member of Parliament dying.

The deceased's party would replace him without having to go through a
by-election. The MDC is said to be planning to table this proposal at the
ongoing talks between itself and the ruling Zanu PF.

A Harare MDC legislator has revealed to The Zimbabwe Times there is
widespread perception within the MDC that any by-election conducted under
the current political atmosphere would not yield any credible outcome.

Under Zimbabwe's electoral laws, a by-election is to be called within three
months of a sitting MP's death.

"We made it clear to our negotiators that it may not be safe to subject our
supporters to Zanu-PF violence in the event of a by-election," said the
legislator who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is authorised to
speak to the media. "The negotiators should push for the suspension of
by-elections until the electorate rediscovers its confidence in the
electoral process."

The legislator says his party has lost most of the more than 10 previous
by-elections to Zanu-PF, some of them in urban constituencies - the
so-called MDC safe seats.

"In those cases," he said, "Zanu-PF deploys all state resources to ensure
they win the seats at all cost."

Even worse, he says, is the current situation where all opposition
structures have virtually been decimated through state sponsored violence
between March 29 and April 27.

If this proposal is adopted, the MDC contends this would be one effective
measure to preserve what is likely to become a delicate peace pact between
the rival parties after the two-week negotiations.

The high profile talks are set to end tomorrow although there are
indications they may be extended by a few more days to enable the
negotiators to tie up a number of loose ends.

Acting MDC spokesperson, Tapiwa Mashakada could neither confirm nor deny
this saying, like the delegates, he was also bound by the terms of the talks
that call for complete secrecy around the negotiations.

"I am afraid if I were to comment on this, it would be highly irresponsible
of me to do so," he said. "For now, we can only leave the media to speculate
on the issue."

But Gabriel Chaibva, a former opposition MDC legislator said the suggestion
to scrap the holding of by-elections was nothing new.

"I am not surprised that this would come up in the discussions because we
once discussed it at policy level some time back when we were still a united
MDC," said Chaibva, who joined the breakaway faction of the MDC during its
split in 2005.

"Our position was that by-elections are unnecessary as what ever outcome
does not result in any change of government. They are a waste of time and
resources. We resolved to propose in Parliament that the party with the
deceased MP replaces him or her without the hassles of going through another
election process."

Zimbabwe's elections have been tainted by widespread brutal violence over
the past eight years.

Only two months ago, more than 100 opposition supporters are said to have
died in the orgy of violence that preceded the June 27 presidential election
re-run between President Robert Mugabe representing Zanu-PF and Morgan
Tsvangirai leader of the MDC.

Tsvangirai pulled out of the race less than a week before Election Day,
citing the futility of trying to win the presidency amid massive violence
and intimidation of his supporters.

For the first time in its 28 years in power, Zanu PF lost its parliamentary
majority to the fractured MDC on March 29. The MDC won a combined total of
110 seats against Zanu-PF's 99. The last of the 210 elected seats in the
House went to Tsholotsho North independent legislator, Professor Jonathan
Moyo.


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What PEP talk was that?

http://www.nationnews.com/editorial/293072099997468.php

Barbados

Published on: 8/3/08.

I HAVE NEVER WRITTEN to a newspaper before, but after reading Mr
Comissiong's the PEP article [ See the original article ]
entitled Showing Our Position On Zimbabwe published on July 25, I felt I had
no option.

I am African, Koi San by birth. I was born during apartheid and lived my
life in South Africa, right through to the end of the apartheid era, and
even though I am now resident here, I still spend three or four months a
year in Africa.

The reason I felt compelled to write, Mr Comissiong, is that your article
simply rehashes the official ZANU-PF party line.

This is not the truth of the situation and you should know this. Why you
should wish to support Mr Mugabe and his henchmen I have no idea.

You seem to indicate that Zimbabwe, with the help of SADC, can sort out
their own political problems. Problems that are built on fear, intimidation,
human rights abuse and feathering their own nests as well as nepotism to
extremes.

When I am in Africa I talk to many ordinary Zimbabweans who have been driven
from their homes by Mr Mugabe's "War Veterans". I think it is pretty clear
you need to speak to some people not connected to Mr Mugabe's ruling party
and associated thugs to find out what the real truth and what the real
sadness of Zimbabwe is all about. If you took the time to look past the
ZANU-PF propaganda, it is not difficult to see what is really going on.

Very mature

For instance, have you considered that the person who runs Mr Mugabe's War
Veterans, Jabulani Sibanda, was about eight years of age when the fighting
stopped in 1979?

Obviously he must have been a very mature eight-year-old to have been
involved in the struggle, wouldn't you say? Also, have you considered that
the same Jabulani Sibanda led a march recently of 1 million (claimed) War
Veterans in support of Mr Mugabe. This one million figure is quite
surprising when in fact there were only 50 000 veterans counted at army
assembly points back in 1980. Twenty-seven years on, the factual 50 000
becomes one million.

Intriguing.

Could I ask how many times you have been to Zimbabwe or neighouring
countries and when last that was? Again, your implied ignorance of the true
sad situation in Zimbabwe would seem to indicate you have not been enough to
qualify you to make such statements as you have done in the past and
continue to do.

Can I ask that before you comment on the situation in Zimbabwe again, please
try and learn some of the basic facts beforehand.

If you wish to visit and speak to some of the millions (no one is quite sure
how many millions) of poor humble Zimbabweans who have been driven from
their homeland by the violence and poverty enshrined in Mr Mugabe's regime,
I can advise you of the best place to visit.

- AGNES NICHOLLS


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Talks deal this week

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Local
Saturday, 02 August 2008 18:10

A negotiated political settlement that addresses the problems
besetting Zimbabwe could be agreed to as soon as this week, The Standard has
heard.

The negotiators representing the three parties to the talks resume
their negotiations in Pretoria, South Africa, today.

Two weeks ago when the leaders of Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC signed a
Memorandum of Understanding, they committed themselves to concluding the
talks within two weeks. Tomorrow (Monday) marks the last day of the two-week
timeline the parties set themselves to reach an agreement.

But The Standard was told that while an agreement might not be reached
tomorrow, the deal will not be too far off the deadline the parties
committed themselves to as they were inching towards a final agreement.

The Standard heard that while there was some groundwork to be covered
the parties to the negotiations were in agreement that there were no
insurmountable obstacles to a final settlement.

The optimism on a final agreement being reached this week can in part
be deduced from the statements of the three leaders and the arrival here of
the SADC chief mediator, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, on Wednesday
last week.

After Mbeki's visit MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai told the media he
was "fairly satisfied" with the talks, although acknowledging there were
"sticking points". Professor Arthur Mutambara, who heads the other MDC
formation, has used pretty much the same language, saying his side remains
committed to finding a settlement to the impasse.

President Robert Mugabe spoke of the "talks progressing well" and
pledged his party's total commitment to the "speedy conclusion and
successful outcome of the talks so that we can focus on the recovery of our
economy".

Tsvangirai and Mutambara are in South Africa, but there was no
immediate indication suggesting their presence there signalled imminent
conclusion to the talks.

The Standard heard that there were several key factors driving the
parties to reach a conclusion by this week. In just over a week, Mbeki takes
over the chair of SADC and he would want to see an agreement before the
summit takes place.

The second driver is that Botswana has threatened to boycott the SADC
summit due to start in South Africa on August 14 if Mugabe attends.

The Botswana foreign ministry told South African media that attending
the summit of SADC heads of state at which Mugabe is expected would be
tantamount to recognising him as president.

Botswana has refused to recognise Mugabe's victory in a one-man June
29 presidential election run-off that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
boycotted over heightened militia attacks against his supporters.

Botswana is host to many Zimbabwean exiles, second to South Africa,
which is home to millions of Zimbabweans.

The third driver for reaching an early agreement on a political
settlement is that the UK and US have threatened to raise the issue of the
Zimbabwean crisis with the United Nations Security Council. .

Sipepa Nkomo, an MDC national executive member said the MDC-T would
not accept any deal that denies Tsvangirai executive powers, warning that
the talks "would rather collapse or not move forward unless Mugabe is
offered a ceremonial post or forced to retire".

"We will simply walk out of the talks and there are no two ways about
it and that is why we have come up with two key works in Ndebele and Shona.
We have said if Mugabe refuses to step down under the talks, then Busa
Sibone or Tonga Tione," Nkomo said.

He was addressing civic society leaders, politicians from across the
political divide, senators, house of assembly members, lawyers,
non-governmental organizations (NGO) and pastors among other organizations
who attended a breakfast meeting in Bulawayo yesterday that was organized by
Bulawayo Agenda, a civic society organization.

As the negotiators inched closer to an agreement media organisations
in Zimbabwe on Friday said power-sharing talks should discuss scrapping a
battery of tough laws that Mugabe has relied on to muzzle the press.

The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) welcomed the talks aimed at
forming a government of national unity seen as the best way to resolve
Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis but said a lasting democratic
solution was impossible in the absence of a free press.

MAZ is made up of journalists and freedom of expression activists from
the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe Chapter), Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists, Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe National
Editors' Forum.

"The right to freedom of expression is the cornerstone of any
democracy," said the Alliance in a statement. "MAZ therefore calls upon the
negotiators to sincerely take into account issues of media freedom and
freedom of expression if true democracy is to be realised in Zimbabwe."

MAZ called for the repeal of AIPPA, the Broadcasting Services Act that
has been used to restrict private investors from the electronic media and
the Interception of Communications Act used to spy on personal
communications between private citizens.


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BACOSSI: Only For The Zanu PF Connected

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Local
Saturday, 02 August 2008 17:57
ONLY Zanu PF officials are benefiting from the goods meant for the
people's shops under the National Basic Commodities Supply Enhancement
Programme, The Standard was told yesterday.

Under the programme households get hampers with basic commodities: 2kg
of rice, flour and sugar, a 750ml bottle of cooking oil, a packet of
candles, toothpaste, bathing and washing soap, Vaseline, powdered milk and
sanitary pads.

Beneficiaries of these hampers will have to part with $100 billion
($10 re-denominated currency) - insufficient to buy a single loaf of bread.

Local traditional leaders such as chiefs and headmen will be actively
involved in the distribution, a move analysts say would be used to settle
political scores. In the past opposition supporters were denied access to
government programmes like free seed maize and fertiliser.

Analysts say the government's populist measure would benefit the
privileged few at the expense of the majority.

As if to confirm the politicisation of the programme, last week The
Standard was told a woman from Mutasa Central constituency in Manicaland
province committed suicide on Tuesday (July 29, 2008) after she was denied
the right and permission to buy groceries that were being distributed to her
rural area.

There was no immediate independent confirmation of the alleged
suicide, but she was identified only as Mai Tarwa, a mother of three a from
Moyoweshumba village, Mutasa Central constituency in Manicaland province.

The Standard heard that the woman was devastated when she visited
Moyoweshumba Primary School, where the groceries were being distributed. Her
village head reportedly disowned her, resulting in the woman's failure to
buy the groceries.

The village head reportedly claimed that the woman was an active
member of the Movement for Democratic Change and could therefore not be
eligible for the groceries.

In rural areas, headmen are given the authority and permission to
identify eligible households that are facing starvation so that they benefit
from goods distributed by the government under the programme.

Devastated after she was turned down, the woman went and hanged
herself from a tree near her home.

For example in Masvingo, soldiers and top Zanu PF chefs looted food
hampers last Thursday.

There was a stampede by people in Gutu two weeks ago when the First
Lady, Grace Mugabe handed over 10 000 tonnes of maize meal and food hampers.

Several Zanu PF members sustained injuries while some were severely
beaten by armed soldiers called in to restrain the villagers.

Speaking to The Standard over the weekend, some ordinary Zanu PF
card-holding members said they failed to get the basic commodities in the
ensuing chaos while the soldiers who were called to restore order took
advantage and looted the goods.

"The First Lady said nobody was to leave the place empty-handed, but
just as she left there was a stampede and people trampled on each other to
get the groceries, which are beyond the reach of many," said a Zanu PF
supporter.

He said that deserving people - who cannot afford to buy those
products - left empty-handed, while the fat cats got fatter.

"Many people got injured either from stepping on each other, or from
batons used by the police and soldiers to disperse the unruly crowd," he
said. "But in the process, the soldiers and the police were taking away the
goods, alongside the top hierarchy. As a result, the ordinary people went
empty handed."

The residents also feared unfair distribution of the farming
equipment, handed over by the First Lady but which is yet to be distributed.

Zanu PF provincial chairperson, Retired Major Alex Mudavanhu could not
be reached for comment. He was said to be out of his office while his mobile
was not reachable.

Analysts say the events in Masvingo mirror the shortcomings of the
government's special facilities that tend to benefit only a few.

"The People's Shops are serving the needs of a privileged minority,"
said John Robertson, an independent economic consultant.

In the run up to the June 27 presidential election run-off President
Robert Mugabe promised 100% empowerment to the people. Robertson says the
programme was empowering only a few.

"It is 100% empowerment of two percent of the population. In this case
they are missing the mark by a wide margin," he said.

Analysts say the government should have boosted capacity of local
industries to produce more by creating a stable environment. Besides facing
raw materials and foreign currency shortages, industries have to grapple
with price controls.

The effects of last year's price blitz are still being felt today as
shops are failing to restock.

According to the CZI Manufacturing Survey 2008 report, special cheap
loan facilities were causing a serious growth in money supply fuelling
inflation.

"The BACOSSI facilities are having little impact given that they tend
to be targeted and those who get them are not getting their full
disbursements," the report said. "Some of the beneficiaries pointed out to
CZI during the course of the year the need for the facility and any similar
future ones to take into account the value chain approach if the facility is
to have impact."

Renson Gasela, agricultural point man in the MDC-Mutambara formation,
said lessons from previous programmes show that only people aligned to Zanu
PF will benefit.

"Clearly, the way limited maize has been made available in the rural
areas, that is using Zanu PF structures, is exactly the same way that these
basics will be sold," Gasela said. "They will be available only to their
members and also those who will join in order to survive."


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Academics Warn Mugabe

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Local
Saturday, 02 August 2008 17:32
Thousands of final year students at state universities might not
graduate this year, while others could face more disruptions to their
studies after both academic and non-academic staff started boycotting work
two months ago, an explosive letter to President Robert Mugabe has revealed.

The memorandum by the Zimbabwe State Universities' Union of Academics
(ZISUUA) and the Zimbabwe State Universities Allied Workers' Union (ZISUAWU)
dated July 26 paints a gloomy picture of the state of affairs at
institutions of higher learning.

Staff at the eight state universities who officially went on strike
last week protesting against poor salaries said they were writing to Mugabe
as a final resort after the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education
ignored their pleas.

Mugabe is the chancellor of all the state universities.

"The current situation at State universities is a sorry one," reads
the letter. "Since June 2008 as employees we have failed to come to work
because, amongst other things, the salaries that we get are simply not
enough to cover transport costs.

"Indeed the pay has at times, been enough for transport for two days
only and this has demotivated us."

Final year students at most universities wrote their examinations
between May and July and their results should have been released by now to
pave way for supplementary examinations and graduation later this year.

Sources said lecturers had boycotted marking examination scripts until
their grievances were met and in a shocking development non-academic staff
have in some cases been asked to invigilate during the examinations.

The striking lecturers have been told that their July salaries would
be paid late, while in August they might not be paid at all because the
government is broke.

The academic and non-academic staff are demanding that their salaries
be pegged against those of their colleagues at regional universities.

"Our institutions have either experienced a mass exodus of experienced
staff and absenteeism leading to little work being done and carried out by
either under-qualified or non-qualified personnel," said the letter. "For
example, security guards have invigilated examinations. "We feel this brings
into question the credibility of the degrees that we will produce. We cannot
allow our university standards to be compromised."

The letter signed by ZISUUA and the ZISUAWU presidents Bernard Njekeya
and Readyforward Dube respectively was copied to all state universities'
vice-chancellors, chairpersons of university councils, Higher and Tertiary
Education Minister, Stan Mudenge, Finance Minister, Samuel Mumbengegwi and
their permanent secretaries.

Sam Chabikwa, the chairman of the National University of Science and
Technology Educators confirmed that lecturers would not be returning to work
for the first semester of the 2008-9 academic year until their grievances
were met.

However, he refused to comment on the memo saying only Dube and
Njekeya were allowed to issue statements on the matter because it was
"sensitive".

The country's education sector, which was once one the best in Africa,
has been collapsing under the weight of the ever deteriorating economic
crisis.

Qualified personnel have left the country for better paying jobs all
over the world, while learning materials have become scarcer.

By Kholwani Nyathi


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NGO's Ban: Court Bars Police

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Local
Saturday, 02 August 2008 17:30
GWERU - A local magistrate last week granted an interdict barring
police from interfere with the operations of a branch of a non-governmental
organisation in a move that civic society has applauded.

Magistrate Mrs Muchena granted the order last Wednesday to the
Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET) by default after listed respondents
failed to appear in court.

ZIMCET regional manager, Peter Muchengeti through his lawyer Reginald
Chidawanyika of Chitere and Chidawanyika law firm, had sought an interim
relief order stopping police from interfering with ZIMCET operations,
visiting its offices and harassing its employees or threatening them with
arrest for unspecified charges.

Muchengeti had sought the order on July 7 after officers from the
Criminal Investigation Department ordered ZIMCET offices closed.

The Officer Commanding the Midlands Province and the Officer
Commanding Law and Order section, in their official capacities, were among
four respondents cited in the case.

The order given last week came a few days after Muchengeti had been
arrested, ZIMCET offices ransacked and their office computers taken by the
police.

According to the Request for Remand document, also known as Form
2-4-2, Muchengeti is facing a charge of breaching Chapter 9: 23 of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Muchengeti is being accused of publishing or communicating to another
person "a statement which is wholly or materially false with the intention
or realising that there is a real risk or possibility ofpublic violence or
endangering public safety".

The charge was said to arise from comments Muchengeti allegedly made
to the "Voice of America Radio Network (Studio 7 Broadcasting) through its
reporter Patience Rusere.which was wholly false, that there was a discovery
of six bodies at Matshekandumba Village at the 30-kilometre peg along the
Gweru-Kwekwe Road".

Muchengeti's lawyers Brian Dube of Gundu and Mawarire legal
Practitioners and Reginald Chidawanyika told the court that their client was
subjected to torture and inhuman treatment while in detention.

The court ordered the state to investigate the matter and present its
findings on the 25th of August when Muchengeti isscheduled to appear in
court.

The state said it needed time to make further investigations and
acceded to the defence counsel's request for bail. Muchengeti was granted a
$2 trillion bail with conditions to report twice a week to the Criminal
Investigation Department at the Gweru Central Police.


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ZBH Staffers Win Court Ruling

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Local
Saturday, 02 August 2008 17:29
THREE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) employees last week resumed
work following a successful challenge to their suspension at the Labour
Court.

News editor Patrice Makova and reporters Garikai Chaunza and Brian
Paradza resumed work on Friday following a ruling by a labour court judge
that they, together with three others, be reinstated immediately with full
salaries and benefits.

Another reporter, Robert Tapfumaneyi, and producers Sibonginkosi Mlilo
and Monica Gavhera are expected to resume work anytime this week.

The six were sent on forced leave on June 1 after the appointment of
war veteran Happison Muchechetere as acting-chief executive officer of ZBH.

Muchechetere replaced Henry Muradzikwa after complaints by the
government that ZBH had failed to campaign for Zanu PF and President Robert
Mugabe for the March 29 harmonised elections. Mugabe lost to MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai during those elections.

Representing the journalists, Rodgers Matsikidze of Donsa Nkomo legal
practitioners argued that the six's suspension was both "dubious" and
"illegal".

The legal challenge against ZBH was funded and supported by the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists which condemned the initial suspension of its
members as unfair labour practice.

Journalists in state media institutions are expected to report
favourably of Zanu PF and the government. Those who fail to toe the line run
the risk of being suspended or fired.

Permanent secrtetary in the Ministry of Information and publicity, and
presidential spokesman George Charamba is said to be a major influence at
the state broadcaster.


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Church Controversy Over Defrocked Pastor

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Local
Saturday, 02 August 2008 17:27
THE United Apostolic Faith Church's Belvedere Assembly is reportedly
ignoring an arbitrator's judgment which ordered the reinstatement of one of
its pastors whom it defrocked under controversial circumstances last year.

The church hit the headlines when it dragged Percy Baera to court,
alleging he had committed several offences, among them promoting unbiblical
practices and misusing church funds. But two months after the final judgment
the church has reportedly failed to take action in the matter.

The church's council also convicted him of mismanaging church funds,
diverting donated funds for personal benefit, and failing to run church
committees so that they followed biblical patterns of reconciliation.

In April last year the church rescinded Baera's ordination and later
took him to court accusing him of mobilising his three sons and son-in-law
to disrupt two Sunday services insisting he was still the lawful parish
pastor. The council also accused him of failing to submit to its requests
and allowing non-officers to take over the pulpit.

During the wrangle, the church sought a court order to evict Baera
from its premises at 1 Hudson Avenue, Belvedere, where he was residing with
his family.

Johnlife Mawire, an arbitrator who heard the case, said the hearing
was fraught with procedural irregularities and that evidence led revealed
that the allegations against Baera had no substance.

Mawire directed the church to reinstate Baera without loss of salary
and benefits.

By Jennifer Dube


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Confusion Marks Currency Reforms

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Local
Saturday, 02 August 2008 17:25

CONFUSION marked the first day of new money on Friday as many found it
difficult to understand the value of the old coins, brought back into
circulation as part of the central bank's currency reforms.

The MDC immediately criticised the latest measures, saying they will
cause serious confusion among the public.

"We believe that any central bank should know the amount of money that
is in circulation and, clearly, allowing people to scrounge for old money
from their drawers will make it impossible to know how much currency is on
the market," the MDC said in a statement.

"It could further push up inflation. Moreover, the token increase of
withdrawal limits from $100 billion (now $10) to $2 trillion (or $200) will
not bring any relief to the public at a time when that amount can hardly buy
you two bars of soap."

The MDC said no amount of tinkering with currency denominations will
address the Zimbabwean crisis.

"As long as there is no production, we will continue to move in
circles as a country," the MDC said. "The supply side of the economy should
be addressed by confronting Zimbabwe's real crisis, which is the crisis of
governance and legitimacy."

On Wednesday, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono
lopped off 10 zeros from the country's battered currency in a bid to
smoothen the operations of the financial IT system.

He re-introduced the old coins $5, $2, $1, 50 cents, 20 cents and a 10
cents. Two new coins - the $10 and $25 - were also introduced.

But for many people, particularly those who never used the coins as
currency, the new changes meant confusion rather than convenience.

For others who had kept the old coins in their homes and store-rooms
the reintroduction of the money by the RBZ has meant a small windfall.

A snap survey carried out by The Standard on the day the new currency
went into circulation in Harare revealed most banks by midday had long
queues because they were still waiting for cash from the Reserve Bank. The
pattern was the same yesterday at banks in Harare's city centre.

In commuter omnibuses there were heated debates as operators refused
to accept the coins or found themselves arguing over how much commuters
should fork out.

In supermarkets, till operators confessed the new monetary system was
giving them headaches and causing numerous arguments with impatient
customers.

On Friday and Saturday many shops and supermarkets were still
struggling to update their systems and many swipe machines were not
operating.

Shoppers warned that the problems were not by any means over as the
authorities were refusing to own up to the current problems facing the
economy.

But it was not all gloom. The Standard spotted Chrispen Munyoro from
Glen View excitedly purchasing an ice cream from a vendor with his old
coins.

"I last ate this long back because I could no longer afford it, but
now I am going to use my coins to buy some luxurious things like ice cream
to spoil myself."

In Glen View, Budiriro and Highfield there were unconfirmed reports of
youths seen digging in their gardens for the coins.

"I remember throwing some coins in this garden but because I can use
them now I am going to search till I find them all," said Sekuru Rusere from
Gazaland in Highfield.

Reacting to the new measures by the RBZ the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions ZCTU said the change of currency and cutting of zeros was not the
panacea to Zimbabwe's problems.

ZCTU also expressed concern over calls by the RBZ to freeze salaries
and wages for workers for a period of six months in order to curb inflation,
saying many workers were already struggling to make ends meet with current
salaries.

"The governor is very much aware that freezing salaries has nothing to
do with the spiralling inflation. He is also aware that productivity can
only be matched with proper remuneration, which is a living wage for
Zimbabwe's workers," the ZCTU said.

ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo said: "RBZ has caused confusion among
people especially with the issue of coins. I also think by that by December
31 the zeros slashed will be back unless there is an urgent economic
revival."


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MDC Seeks Court Ruling On Violence

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Local
Saturday, 02 August 2008 17:23
SIX MDC activists have filed an urgent chamber application seeking an
order for an immediate cessation of violence against opposition supporters
in Nyanga North.

Nyanga MP-elect Douglas Mwonzora, Edith Bapai, Phenia Nyanhongo,
Fidelis Katerere, Munyaradzi Mwonzora and Passmore Mandikuwaza say in their
founding affidavits that seven war veterans set up illegal bases and
roadblocks in the area immediately after the harmonised elections last March
and continue to maintain them after the June 27 presidential election
run-off.

The bases, located across Nyanga North, are at Sabvure Clinic, CBC
Nyakomba, Arex Offices in Nyamaropa, Nyadowa Clinic, Kambudzi Clinic,
Chifambe School at Kiss Shopping Centre, Avilla Mission Hospital and Dumba
Business Centre in Nyautare.

The applicants say the road blocks manned by the war veterans are also
periodically set up near the bases, where passengers in buses and motor
vehicles are searched, ordered to chant Zanu PF slogans and, at times, are
beaten up.

The war veterans are also allegedly abducting, harassing and
assaulting opposition supporters in the area while stealing their livestock
in a manner reminiscent to criminal acts reported across the country in the
run-up to the disputed presidential election run-off.

They are also allegedly demanding food from villagers to feed
themselves at their bases and as "protection fees".

The applicants are seeking an order that will immediately stop the
illegal activities and compel the police to maintain law and order in the
area.

In arguing the preliminary point of whether the matter is urgent, the
applicants' lawyer Dumisani Kufaruwenga on Friday said the court should
intervene urgently to stop further damages while defence argues that the
matter is not urgent since the applicants did not take steps at the time
when the alleged acts were taking place.

Justice Bhunu is expected to give his judgment on that point. No date
has been set.

In his opposing papers, Francis Mwonzora, one of the alleged war
veterans and a brother of the first complainant, Douglas Mwonzora, denied
the allegations laid against his group saying it was actually the applicants
who have been perpetrating the violence.

Other cited respondents are Pasi Mukunza, Fred Pokoto, Antony Nyaguse,
Joseph Gwenzi, Kennedy Tsvamuno and Charles Muronza. The police in the area
are cited as respondents for allegedly failing to intervene while the Police
Commissioner-General and the Attorney-General are also cited as respondents
in the matter.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have expressed
concerned over the reports of violence, saying most worrying is that the
alleged acts are taking place despite pledges made by political leaders at
the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Signing the MoU, Zanu PF's President Robert Mugabe and the opposition's
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara agreed that all forms of violence
must be stopped.

"ZLHR expresses its serious concern over the continued politically
motivated violence and violation of the fundamental rights of perceived and
confirmed members of the MDC by war veterans, which has unfortunately been
compounded by the inaction of the (police)," the lawyers' organisation said
in a statement Thursday.

ZLHR urged the police to fulfill their constitutional and legal
obligations by protecting victims in the alleged criminal acts while swiftly
bringing before the courts those responsible for such criminal conduct.

The ZHLR asked for all torture and semi-military bases set up across
the country to be dismantled immediately and those continuing to maintain
them to be arrested and made answerable to the law.

By Jennifer Dube


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Villagers Plead For Mercy Against Zanu PF Extortion

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Local
Saturday, 02 August 2008 17:20
MASVINGO -"Please have mercy on me my sons. This is the only goat left
in my pen. The other two were taken during the elections to feed your
counterparts,'' pleaded Ambuya Shuvai Mushangwe of Rwodzi village in Gutu
East.

This was after a group of Zanu PF youths pounced on her homestead
demanding her only goat to feed party supporters during "victory
celebrations" for the June 27 presidential election run-off to be held soon.

Her repeated pleas for mercy did not help matters for Ambuya
Mushangwe. The youths opened the small pen where she kept her only goat, and
suddenly broke into song and dance, chanting party slogans. In a matter of
minutes, they had tied the goat with a rope and left the homestead heading
for their next destination.

Ambuya Mushangwe is not the only victim to lose her livestock. Scores
of villagers in Gutu East are facing the same dilemma as rowdy Zanu PF
militias have gone on the rampage in the constituency, looting goats and
forcing villagers to pay $500 billion for the victory celebrations.

Although President Robert Mugabe was the only candidate in the
disputed election, Zanu PF provincial leaders have been holding "victory
celebrations" across the country.

In a recent visit to Gutu, The Standard heard how the youths were
moving around villages demanding goats from villagers to provide relish for
the celebrations. Those who do not have livestock are forced to pay cash.

Villagers allege Admire Mufara, the constituency youth leader, is
marshalling the operation. Mufara and his team, said the villagers, claim he
was given a mandate by party officials to carry out his activities. They
further claimed the youths had taken maize -meal for the occasion.

Efforts to get a comment from Mufara and Zanu PF Masvingo provincial
chairman, Rtd Major Alex Mudavanhu, were unsuccessful.

But for most villagers, who are reeling under a failed agricultural
season, their livestock provided the only hope for survival. Most villagers
now barter livestock for maize.

The villagers further claimed that suspected MDC supporters were being
forced to part with as many as four to six goats depending on the size of
their herds.

"We thought this time we would rest from all the problems brought by
the elections since they are over but we are shocked to see the very same
youths following us again and forcing us to donate our precious livestock in
this time of hunger," said Kumbirai Mazuru. "We don't know how they want us
to survive."

MDC MP-elect for Gutu East, Ransom Makamure confirmed the alleged
activities of the youths.

"Our supporters are still being harassed and recently we received
reports that they are being forced to donate their livestock and cash for
the celebrations," said Makamure. "We are not happy at all with this and we
think this must come to an end especially at this time when our parties are
currently in talks to try to find a solution to the political crisis
bedevilling our nation."

This is not the first time the villagers are losing livestock to the
militias. In the run-up to the presidential election run-off, militias would
pounce on them and demand goats and cattle to feed themselves at their
bases.

"I lost two beasts during the elections. This time they took my goats
and the main reason for this is that I was a strong opposition activist
during the March harmonised elections. We thought harassment was over since
they won the previous elections but they are still on us,'' said a female
villager from Zimbizi area in Chief Chin'ombe in Gutu who declined to be
named.

Other villagers said it was difficult for them to resist the demands
as they still have fresh memories of those who were beaten, tortured and
murdered for supporting MDC during the election run-off.

"It is very dangerous to refuse because we witnessed horrendous
incidents of beatings, torture and murders during the election run-off,"
said villager Kamurai Chikepe. "So we would rather lose our livestock than
our lives, those guys are brutal and ruthless. We saw it for ourselves."

Suspected MDC supporters, Chikepe said, were also being excluded from
the list of those eligible to buy Baccosi goods as well as buying, maize
from the local Grain Marketing Board depots.

They claimed that they were told to buy the essential commodities from
their British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and George Bush, the President of
United States.

By Godfrey Mutimba


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RBZ Currency Reforms Futile, Say Economists

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Business
Saturday, 02 August 2008 17:13
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono might have eased
the woes faced by banks through lopping off 10 zeros but analysts warned
that without a comprehensive policy package, the banished zeros will be back
with vengeance.

Presenting the half year monetary policy statement on Wednesday Gono
said the currency reforms were designed to smoothen the operation of the
financial IT system.

"Also reflecting on the high inflation environment prevailing in the
economy, monetary valuations and transaction values have grown to nominal
magnitudes that are now constraining the smooth operability of financial IT
system," he said.

Gono unveiled a new currency which will work in conjunction with the
bearer and agro-cheques. The bearer and agro-cheques cease to be legal
tender by January 1, 2009.

This means that in total, there will be over 30 notes in circulation
up to December 31: a feat never achieved in modern hyper-inflationary
conditions.

Since his 56 months rein as the country's central banker, Gono on
Wednesday met the unreceptive audience that was craving for one thing:
solutions to the country's runaway inflation.

The usual band of cheerleaders that drowned the room every time Gono
cracked jokes in previous presentations was conspicuous by its absence
signifying that the economic crisis was no longer a laughing matter,
analysts say.

As Gono made his half year monetary presentation, Zimbabwe was etching
its name in history books. It was the first time that the presentation was
attended by a head of state and as one banker said, President Robert Mugabe's
presence was designed to score some cheap political points in the ongoing
inter-party talks.

Political scientist Professor John Makumbe saw President Mugabe's
presence as a desperate gesture to try and impress that he wants to see a
solution to the country's economic problems.

It was the first time that the country had lopped off 10 zeros from a
currency. In total Zimbabwe has removed 13 zeros since Gono assumed the hot
seat in December 2003: a feat that is begging entry into history books.

The slashing of the zeros on the currency is a major climb down by
Gono who had vowed not to succumb to concerns from business over the hurdles
faced in accommodating the zeros. In December Gono said businesses that
failed to cope with the zeros on their computers should go manual, a charge
analysts say was taking the nation back to the Stone Age.

Independent economist John Robertson says there is nothing on the
ground to stop the zeros from coming back like what happened two years ago.

"We will get more zeros unless we do something to overcome scarcities
caused by price controls, shortages of raw materials. There are lots of
separate things troubling us," Robertson said.

Robertson said the major cause of inflation is too much money into the
system and the authorities have not put in place measures to rein in money
printing.

Dr Daniel Ndlela of Zimconsult agrees: "It was not necessary to remove
the zeros. What was needed was a situation where you are arresting the
causes of the zeros."

He says Gono had removed the zeros but had not stopped the printing
press for the Basic Commodities Supply Side Interventions funds.

Analysts warned that unless the inter-party talks between Zanu PF and
the MDC yield something, the zeros will be back with vengeance as inflation
continues its rampage.

In August 2006 when Gono removed three zeros, inflation was then at
265% and the zeros were back before Christmas.

With over 2 million percent inflation, analysts say the zeros will be
back soon.

"The August 2006 inflation is nothing compared to inflation of today.
This one (inflation of today) is going to drive more zeros," Dr Ndlela said.

"The only hope is the talks."


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WB Ready To Assist Zimbabwe

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Business
Saturday, 02 August 2008 17:12
SIGNALLING its willingness to assist Zimbabwe's recovery, the World
Bank last week said it was ready as soon as the government demonstrated it
has a sound economic strategy.

Speaking in Harare after meeting representatives of three
beneficiaries of the Bank's Social Development Fund (SDF) - Christian Care,
Development Aid from People to People and Scripture Union - Dr Mungai
Lenneiye, the Bank's Acting Country Manager, said they would be able to
respond to the economic programme if the government demonstrated it had a
sound one.

But a key sticking point is that Zimbabwe clears its arrears to the
Bank.

The World Bank Vice-President, Africa, Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili
raised the same point during last October's annual meetings of the IMF and
World Bank Group in Washington when Finance Minister Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi,
asked the Bank for support. She insisted that Zimbabwe unveils a plausible
economic recovery plan before the Bank could consider Zimbabwe's request.

Lenneiye said because of the Bank's continued presence in Zimbabwe, it
was better positioned to respond to the country's requirements.

"The Government of Zimbabwe is still a member of the World Bank,"
Lenneiye said, addressing misconceptions about why the Bank has not been
lending to Zimbabwe. "But if you borrow and stop paying, the bank will say
we will not lend you any more. The Government of Zimbabwe went into arrears
in 2000 and it got worse in 2003. Therefore, we are not lending. It's
nothing to do with sanctions and regime change. The Minister of Finance is
still on the Board of Directors of the World Bank.

"The message is very clear: You give us a sound economic plan and we
will be able to help. . . We hope the government will tell us what they are
doing to grow the economy so they will pay us back. When the government has
a strategy we will be ready. . ."

Lenneiye said the SDF was an import ant part of engaging
non-governmental and civil society organisations in the hope they assume a
greater role and that they will be able to articulate their needs and that
during the economic recovery period they will be able to put their
strengthened capacity and empowerment to good use in solving their everyday
problems.

"If you can do this," Lenneiye said, "then you have capacity. The
World Bank has taken this position that the more information you have the
more empowered you are."

The theme for this year's SDF was: Capacity building, empowering and
strengthening the voice of vulnerable groups including disadvantaged
children, women and youth as well as people with disabilities. The deadline
for accepting proposals was March 31, 2008.

The SDF was created in 1983 (then it was known as the Small Grant
Programme) and was designed to complement and facilitate the social
development agenda of the World Bank by providing grants to civil society
organizations (CSOs) through Country Offices with a focus on civic
engagement.

Civic engagement is defined as citizens, either individually or as
organized groups, interacting with the public sector to strengthen
mechanisms for inclusion, accountability and participation in order to
enhance and influence development outcomes.

The World Bank SDF is able to fund only a very small percentage of the
requests it receives. Many requests are turned down, not because they lack
merit, but because they do not match either the current objectives, or the
criteria of the programme as closely as the selected proposals. An activity
may fall within the objectives and criteria, but the demand far surpasses
the availability of funds.

Key areas that are considered in assessing applications are
effectiveness in enhancing development outcomes; feasibility of the proposed
project and the kind of reputation and organisation enjoys within its
community and beyond, as well as the difference the project will make to the
community in which it will be launched.

During 2007 the Midlands AIDS Caring Organization (Zvishavane), Farm
Community Trust (Harare), the Centre (Harare) were the beneficiaries, while
in 2006, the Environment Africa (Harare) and Zimbabwe Women Lawyers
Association (Harare) were supported by the fund.

Caption: SDF beneficiaries Rebecca Njopera from DAPP (left), Dr Mungai
Lenneiye, Simba Takawira (Scripture Union Zimbabwe, and Reverend Forbes
Matonga from Christian Care after presentation of the grants.


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Japanese Labour Union Slams Government Over ZCTU Case

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Business
Saturday, 02 August 2008 17:10
TOKYO - The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC) has petitioned
the Zimbabwe government to drop charges against ZCTU leaders who were
arrested for allegedly making statements prejudicial to the government
during their May Day address to workers.

ZCTU president and Secretary General, Lovemore Matombo and Wellington
Chibebe respectively, who are bail, were arrested and detained for more than
a week.

JTUC president, Tsuyoshi Takagi wrote to the Zimbabwean embassy here
demanding the immediate dropping of the charges, which he described as
frivolous, explaining the charges were an assault on democracy as well as a
violation of trade union rights.

Takagi said his organisation, the umbrella body of trade unions in
Japan joined the International Trade Union Confederation in condemning the
continued harassment of labour leaders in Zimbabwe.

"The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC) representing 6,8
million organised working people in Japan, is delivering this letter to
protest at the charges levelled against leaders of ZCTU, President Lovemore
Matombo and Secretary General Wellington Chibebe," said Takagi in a letter
addressed to the Zimbabwean Ambassador to Japan, Stuart Harold Comberbach.

His organisation was concerned with the continued harassment of the
two leaders in Zimbabwe.

"The two men have repeatedly been targeted and brutalized in the past
for engaging in legitimate trade union activities, as have other union
activists," Tagaki said. "As such JTUC is joining the ITUC in demanding you
drop all the charges against the ZCTU leadership and end the violence
against trade unionists and all other civilians without further delay.''

Recently, while addressing young trade union leaders from nine African
countries Tagaki expressed concern over the continued deterioration of the
situation in Zimbabwe.

He said the situation of the labour movement in Zimbabwe could be
likened to that in Burma, Columbia and the war-torn Darfur region in the
Sudan.

"The labour situation and the situation in general of Zimbabwe is of
great concern to us and the world at large," Tagaki said. "We follow it and
there has been continued violence against members of the labour movement as
well as people of dissenting views, especially during the just-ended one-man
election run-off."

He said the international community and labour bodies in the world
should join hands to deal with President Robert Mugabe's government because
it lacked legitimacy.

"International labour bodies and the world must help each other to
restore normalcy in Zimbabwe," he said.

Tagaki said his organisation was piling up pressure in order to ensure
that the charges levelled against the two ZCTU leaders were dropped.

"We have since petitioned the Zimbabwean government to drop the
charges. We will continue to engage other movements in other countries
together with the international body, ITUC to pile up pressure on Mugabe to
stop the harassment of trade unionists," he said.

The trial of the ZCTU leaders last week failed to commence for the
second time and was postponed to the 27th of this month.

Defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama said the trial, which was expected to
commence last Wednesday had to be postponed to allow the State to prepare
the docket.

"The docket was not ready," Muchadehama said.

"Again, we could not discuss the matter with our clients because the
State did not serve us with their papers on time
. . . they only gave us the papers on Tuesday."

Matombo and Chibebe are among scores of people who were arrested in a
wave of arrests that rocked the country in the run-up to the disputed June
27 presidential run-off.

On June 23 the trial was postponed to July 30 following State
prosecutor, Tawanda Zvekare's unavailability.

Back then, the defence had said they would apply for a refusal of
further remand should the State fail to proceed with the trial in July.

"We did not make any applications," Muchadehama said on Thursday. "We
agreed that the matter be postponed to August 27."


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New Commercial Bank Delays Opening

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Business
Saturday, 02 August 2008 17:09
TN Bank, a new entrant in the financial services sector, has pushed
its historic opening to the public to October following its delayed capital
raising initiative.

The bank - jointly owned by TN Financial Holdings Limited (TNFHL) and
Trust Holdings Limited (THL) - was billed to open this month following the
conclusion of US$4.3 million rights offer on June 30.

Standardbusiness heard last week that the capital raising exercise
ended last Saturday.

According to a revised rights offer, TN Bank raised US$12.5 million to
comply with the central bank requirements for a commercial bank.

The rights offer was approved by the bank's board in June that
mandated Tawanda Nyambirai, TNFHL group CEO to seek funding from the bank's
two shareholders.

Nyambirai confirmed to Standardbusiness the bank had delayed opening
to the public saying they were tying up loose ends.

"We will be opening in October. We have secured a branch in Harare,
Bulawayo and Gweru while we are negotiating for a branch in Mutare and
another branch in Harare," Nyambirai said.

Nyambirai said the bank had secured the services of top personnel to
launch the institution.

Human resources expert Elizabeth Oosthuizen is now Director, Group
People and Brand Management.

Nisha Zavery was appointed head of Marketing to steer the new bank to
success.

TN Bank poached Norbert Mutasa from Agribank. Mutasa, who has had
stints with Barclays and NMB, joined the bank on Friday as General Manager,
Retail Banking.

The trio joins MD George Nyashanu, head of operations Hazvinei
Kapfunde and Treasury head Partson Sibanda whose services were secured two
months ago.

TN Bank, in which TNFH has a 75% shareholding, was born after the
former Trust Finance applied for the conversion of its finance house licence
to a commercial bank for which approval was granted by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe in March.

TNFH had bought 75% stake in Trust Finance in 2006 with THL retaining
the remaining 25%.


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Fine Art. . .

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Opinion
Saturday, 02 August 2008 16:30
MOST of us have had enough politics to last several lifetimes.

Though many politicians continue fervently to believe that life is
politics and politics is life, frequently politics turns out to be a grave
threat to human existence.

It's time to escape this murky world into the bright, colourful land
of imagination and creativity. Let's start with the work of the finest poet
the world has ever known, a Scotsman named William Topaz McGonagall.

McGonagall was a self-made man. He progressed from being a worker in a
hand-loom mill, to being a famous actor and then finally, in 1877, he found
his true vocation as a brilliant poet.

In 1872 he paid a local theatre £1 for the privilege of playing the
leading role in Macbeth. According to William, his performance was
ecstatically received by the audience, which consisted exclusively of fellow
workers from the mill. He described his triumph thus: "The applause was
deafening and was continued through the entire evening. . . .What a sight it
was to see such a mass of people struggling to gain admission! Hundreds
failing to do so, and in the struggle numbers were trapped under foot."

He was so carried away with the glory of impersonating the Scottish
king that at his next performance he refused to be slain. Departing from the
script Macbeth continued to wield his sword for some time after being run
through by Macduff, until Macduff, who'd lost his temper at this
improvisation, felled him with a well-placed kick. This extra scene was much
appreciated by the audience.

A few years later he finally discovered his true vocation. He later
reported his revelation: "The most startling incident in my life was the
time I discovered myself to be a poet, which was in the year 1877." The
story goes that in that year he'd sent an anonymous letter to the Dundee
Weekly News. In it was his rhyme paying tribute to a local vicar who "has
written the life of Sir Walter Scott / and while he lives he will never be
forgot / nor when he is dead / because by his admirers it will be often
read". The editor published the letter with a comment that its writer
"modestly seeks to hide his light under a bushel". This observation
fortified the conviction already forming in his mind that he, McGonagall,
was destined to be a great poet. He devoted the remaining 25 years of his
life to poetic activity, leaving behind a vast quantity of work. He believed
that God had spoken to him and had said: "Write! Write!"

No superlatives would be adequate to capture the excellence of his
poetry. Take for instance, his poem entitled "A Descriptive Poem on the
Silvery Tay". It starts with these immortal lines: "Beautiful silvery Tay,/
With your landscapes, so lovely and gay,/ Along each side of your waters, to
Perth all the way; / No other river in the world has got scenery more fine,
/ Only I am told the beautiful Rhine ."

But as the saying goes, presenting fine poetry to unappreciative
audiences is like casting pearls before swine. As is their wont, the
snobbish and carping critics stupidly failed to recognise his genius or, out
of sheer jealously, proceeded to label him the worst poet in the history of
the English language.

The behaviour of the hoi polloi at his poetry readings was also quite
deplorable. They would jeer and throw rotten vegetables at the poet, such
that he was forced to use his umbrella to fend off the missiles. But the
great artist was never daunted and, enduring these misguided insults, he
continued to make a living out of these torrid public performances.

Regrettably there was only one poem that he was ever paid to write, an
advertisement for Sunlight Soap which had memorable lines such as: "You can
use it with great pleasure and ease/ without wasting any elbow grease."

Today fans keep the flame alive with regular recitations and their own
version of a Burns supper - the annual gatherings marking Burns' birthday
that include prodigious consumption of Scotch. At McGonagall night, the meal
is eaten back to front, starting with dessert. On such evenings, devotees
are likely to declaim vintage McGonagall verses such as: "Beautiful Moon,
with thy silvery light / Thou seemest most charming to my sight / As I gaze
upon thee in the sky so high / A tear of joy does moisten mine eye."

It is clear that the excellence of McGonagall's verses is today now
fully appreciated for in May this year a folio of 35 McGonagall poems,
signed by the author, fetched £6 600 when auctioned in Edinburgh.

Talking of the hallowed Burns, there's this little known poem by
Rabbie. It is entitled "Address to the Toothache" and has these starting
lines: "My curse upon your venom'd stang /That shoots my tortur'd gums
alang, /And thru' my lugs gies mony a twang, / Wi' gnawing vengeance; /
Tearing my nerves with bitter pang, / Like racking engines."

I said no more politics, but maybe this last poem sums up the feelings
we have about political shenanigans.


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Towards A Negotiated Settlement In Zimbabwe

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Opinion
Saturday, 02 August 2008 16:27
Question what has happened to all our patriots?

It seems to me that our nation has been blighted by a succession of
leaders who are more concerned with their personal interests or the narrow
interests of their own political parties and supporters than they are in the
great nation state of Zimbabwe.

This should be a great nation; it is richly endowed with bright
articulate hard-working people; with rich natural resources; with the best
climate in the world; it is a country of stunning natural beauty. As
Garfield Todd said over 50 years ago it is indeed the finest country on
earth. How can it then be that the finest country on earth is the location
of one of the world's worst nightmares? I believe that is primarily because
our political leadership has for decades put selfish personal interests
ahead of the national interest.

One of the reasons the Lancaster house talks did not provide a
long-term resolution to Zimbabwe's problems is because white rights were put
before the entrenchment of universally recognised human rights. Instead of
ensuring that the new Zimbabwean Constitution was deeply rooted in
democratic principles, there was a concentration on protecting white
interests. In contrast both FW De Klerk and Roelff Meyer in the South
African negotiations recognised that it was more important to entrench
democracy for all than it was to seek to protect white privilege.

Likewise the reason the December 22, 1987 Unity Accord has come
unstuck is because it accommodated the interests of the political leadership
of Zanu PF and PF Zapu rather than the general interests of the Zimbabwean
people. One of the reasons there is such antipathy in Zimbabwe today
regarding a government of national unity is because of the 1987 Unity
Accord. The Unity Accord is viewed by most people, certainly in
Matabeleland, as a settlement which benefited a few leaders and did not
entrench democracy and so lay the foundation for meaningful economic
development which would benefit all Zimbabweans.

Sadly that attitude continues to this day and applies to both Zanu PF
and the MDC. I fear that the current negotiations may focus on who gets what
instead of what structural reforms are needed to put Zimbabwe back on the
road to recovery. If the negotiations focus on how much power is either
retained by Zanu PF or acquired by the MDC rather than the policy reforms
needed then any settlement that arises from the negotiations will not be
wholeheartedly embraced by the Zimbabwean people.

To this extent who leads the country and who is in any Cabinet is
irrelevant. Let me be quite clear what I mean. Obviously the democratic will
of the people of Zimbabwe as reflected in the 29 March 2008 elections must
be respected. However the problems Zimbabwe face are so severe and
intractable that we cannot allow petty bickering about who gets what to
derail the negotiations. All national leaders must recommit themselves to
the national interest and be prepared to subordinate their personal goals
and ambitions to what is in the best interests of Zimbabwe. This means that
in the interests of compromise there may have to be some power-sharing
mechanism during a transitional period.

In this regard let me briefly respond to the statement issued by the
civil society organisations on 17 July 2007 in which they call upon a
transitional government to have "leadership by a neutral body" and a
transitional government "headed by an individual who is not a member of Zanu
PF or MDC". Once again whilst I appreciate the sentiment which lies behind
the statement one cannot just disregard the wishes of the Zimbabwean people
as expressed on 29 March. Our society remains deeply polarised and we cannot
ignore the fact that leaders on both sides of the political divide enjoy the
passionate support of their respective supporters. They have been given a
mandate by their supporters and that mandate must be respected in the
negotiation process. However it is because of that deep polarisation that I
believe we will have to consider some interim power sharing mechanism. And
it goes without saying that power-sharing involves compromise on both sides.

But the tragic consequences are not solely confined to economic
collapse. Almost of greater concern to me is the collapse of the moral
fabric of our society. We need to consider the effect of 50 years of
violence on our national character. In this regard and I am not only
speaking about the victims of violence but also about the perpetrators. In
the last few weeks I have seen horrifying injuries inflicted on Zimbabweans
by young men. Doctors say that some of these injuries are so severe that
they would never occur, for example, in a traffic accident. Bones had been
broken repeatedly by young men acting on the instructions of their political
leaders. I have no doubt that they will be haunted by what they have done in
the years that lie ahead. Scientific studies show that those who inflict
violence on political opponents often go on to inflict violence on those
they love including spouses and children. It is also a fact that we now have
a deeply ingrained culture of violence. If negotiations are to succeed then
not only must this violence stop immediately but other measures must be
taken to ensure that violence does not derail either the talks or the
transition.

In these circumstances the demand by the MDC that all violence should
stop, that political detainees should be released and that is NGOs be
allowed to distribute food are reasonable. However I would qualify these
demands by recognising that even if Zanu PF gives undertakings it will be
difficult to verify the compliance of those undertakings in the short term
and to change the mind set of a generation of youth militia overnight. I
believe that SADC has a key role to play in this regard. I think the state
should immediately deploy civilian monitors to report back to the
facilitators regarding whether militia camps have been removed, whether NGOs
are able to function and other legitimate issues of concern have been
addressed. I think that if such a commitment is given by SADC then
negotiations should commence without further ado. But we must recognise that
unless there are neutral SADC monitors deployed in the country eruptions of
violence are more likely to occur and these may have the effect of
disrupting the talks.

It follows as well that a crucial aspect of the talks must be how to
tackle the culture of violence so that it does not derail any transitional
period agreed to in the talks. Suffice it to say that we must not
underestimate how serious this problem is and our need for an ongoing
presence of SADC monitors even during the transitional period.

For the reasons I have outlined above a government of national unity
will be viewed with extreme scepticism by most Zimbabweans. The fear of
Zimbabweans is that the government of national unity will draw in
unscrupulous political leaders who then become part of a corrupt system. The
fear is that those leaders are then compromised and that they will fail to
deal with the fundamental problems facing Zimbabwe.

It is for this reason that a transitional authority should be agreed
to and I would like to discuss a few aspects of this authority. Before I do
so let me respond to those who may say that there is no difference between a
GNU and a Transitional Authority. Some argue that this is just about
semantics. I disagree - the difference is all about emphasis. A GNU focuses
on "unity"; substance is secondary and the notion of a transition to
something different is completely subordinate to unity. A Transitional
Authority focuses on "transition". There can, and must of course, be unity
in transition but the emphasis is on a transition to something new, not just
a changing of the guard at the top.

My own belief is that any transitional authority emerging from the
talks should generally respect the will of the people as expressed on 29
March 2008. As stated above because our nation is so deeply polarised there
will have to be a power-sharing arrangement during the transition including
all the political parties given a mandate by the electorate in March.
However during the transition civil society will have to play a major role
in certain aspects of the transitional authority's mandate, especially
regarding the process which should culminate in a new democratic
constitution.

Any transitional authority agreed to should have a finite mandate. It
must be made clear that the authority will not have a mandate to govern
indefinitely. In addition the duration of the authority should be as short
as possible; and it should be understood that it is to govern in the short
term - I would hope for no longer than 18 months to two years.

It seems to me that there are four critical areas that need to be
addressed by a transitional authority.

The transitional authority should be mandated to stabilise the
economy, to seek balance of payments support, to tackle inflation by
engaging institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF. It will need to
draw on technical expertise from qualified Zimbabweans and others who can
introduce the necessary economic policies to stop Zimbabwe's economic
freefall.

Zimbabwe is arguably suffering the world's greatest humanitarian
crisis at present. The country faces a severe food shortage; our hospitals
are devoid of qualified personnel and medication. An absolute priority of
the transitional authority should be to engage the international community
to ensure the importation of the necessary food and drugs and introduction
of policies which will attract qualified personnel to return to Zimbabwe to
address the food and health crisis.

At the root of the political, economic and humanitarian crises is our
deeply flawed Constitution. The transitional authority should immediately
engage all Zimbabwean political parties, civic organisations that trade
union movements, churches and other interested organisations to recommence
the constitutional debate and to agree on an all-inclusive process which
will culminate in a new constitution.

Once the economy has been stabilised, the humanitarian crisis
addressed and a new constitution enacted the transitional authority should
hand over to a genuinely, and objectively verifiable, Independent Electoral
Commission which will then conduct and genuinely free and fair elections
supervised by SADC and the AU.

Zimbabwe has reached a political stalemate. There is no way out for
Zanu PF. Its nemesis is now the economy. It has no solution to
hyperinflation. It knows that in the coming weeks and months it will not
even be able to feed key elements of its support base. To that extent it has
no choice but to negotiate. Likewise the combined MDC in respecting its
moral and practical commitment to a non-violent solution to the Zimbabwean
crisis must recognise that it to too has no choice but to negotiate, no
matter how unpalatable that may be in certain respects.

Despite our fears and reservations we must see this as a unique
opportunity to negotiate a peaceful settlement for our nation. Our country
is in great peril today. We can either allow it to continue down its present
slide to destruction and oblivion or we can all work together to seize this
opportunity to lay the foundations for a great nation. I reiterate again the
words of Garfield Todd made over 50 years ago - this is indeed the finest
country on earth. It is missing one key ingredient at present - democracy.
When that ingredient is rooted I have no doubt that the Zimbabwe will yet
become the jewel of Africa.

*David Coltart is Senator-elect for Khumalo Constituency. This is an
abridged version of a Speech given to Bulawayo Agenda meeting on Friday July
18, 2008.


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Zimbabwe Talks: Managing And Packaging 'bad news'

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Opinion
Saturday, 02 August 2008 16:25
NOT even the Rotina Mavhunga, she who famously duped a whole
government into believing that she could miraculously extract diesel from
the rocks of Chinhoyi, could predict the outcome of the current talks over
the future of Zimbabwe.

But it was not beyond prediction that the secret talks in Pretoria
would generate rumour and head-banging amongst those of us on the outside.

You have, here, a whole country sinking in the quick-sands of poverty,
desperately clutching at the straw that is the talks; a whole nation whose
future is in the hands of the chosen few ensconced in a secret location far
away from home. Then you have a very public declaration of a veil of secrecy
over the talks. Surely, that's a potpourri that contains all the ingredients
for conspiracy-theorising, "leaks", rumour-mongering and confusion.

How do you keep those millions from trying to peer through that veil;
from attempting to lift that veil to be the first to know what really is
taking place?

It is perhaps stretching the imagination; perhaps giving credit where
none is deserved, but one is tempted to think there is a hand of
manipulation in this whole scenario, especially the events of this week of
"leaks" upon "leaks". If you know there is a huge appetite for news out
there and you know the appetite will escalate the longer the talks go on,
perhaps "leaks" become tools to tamper with that appetite. Give them
something to chew. You would think that sowing the seeds of "leaks" and
rumour was all part of a grand conspiracy to create confusion.

If so they have been successful in keeping everyone occupied with
peripheral issues. Indeed, for a good few days, the media has spent time
arguing over who has got the better story; over who, among them, has the
more authentic "leak"! The media itself became the main story.

But there is also that crucial question which always haunts
negotiators of difficult questions. How, sometimes they have to ask
themselves, do we break bad news to an expectant public? That is because,
surely, these talks will produce a hotchpotch of compromises that will
likely anger significant portions of the public. So the predictably
unpalatable news has to be managed and packaged carefully.

If for example, a Prime Ministerial position for Morgan Tsvangirai and
retention of a limited Presidency by Robert Mugabe were likely to be greeted
as bad news at the first instance, "leaks" of worse offers and scenarios
may, rather conveniently, emanate from Pretoria, until, eventually, everyone
is so tired and desperate that they are more likely to say, "Izvi zviri nani
(This is better)", when in fact that was the originally intended plan. That
way, you have to think, bad news is repackaged as a reasonable outcome.

It should not be surprising, therefore, if there are more "deadlocks",
more "leaks" and more recesses or adjournments, offers to have a third,
perhaps fourth and fifth Vice-President, etc. Finally, they will emerge,
briefcase and folders in hand, and claim to have "found the solution that is
good for Zimbabwe". Originally delivered, it might not have been great news
but after doses of worse proposals, that position will seem like a victory
of sorts.

If there is one thing that we can be sure about, it is that those men
and women in Pretoria are not performing a building exercise. They are
simply fire-fighters trying to douse a raging fire. If we are expecting more
from them in terms of solving the myriad of problems that Zimbabwe faces, it
is probably because we are desperate.

But, as so often happens with fire-fighters who have limited facility,
they will have to improvise. I am not sure that this improvisation will
produce the best result but then I have never expected them to find one -
because they cannot. They will come up with something that will hardly
satisfy everyone's taste.

Some readers have asked the question: what happens if the talks fail?
It is a hard question because we can only speculate, building on the
evidence before us. There can be no doubt Zanu PF is under pressure for the
talks to succeed. They have no answer to the economic malaise. If the talks
fail, they will be left with a very hot potato on their ageing hands. That
looming spectre is what drives Zanu PF to the talks. Not even the latest
cancellation of zeroes from the currency will make things better and they
know it, especially after they returned with ferocious speed and in greater
numbers after the first cancellation a few years ago.

But why should the MDC negotiate if Zanu PF is so desperate, some have
asked. Why shouldn't they just let Zanu PF govern until the wheels come off
completely? These questions arise from a background of assumptions that
there will come a time when the state machinery will finally come to a halt
because the wheels will have come off totally. But how likely is it, that
Zanu PF would relinquish power simply because the wheels have come off?

I am not sure that the simple logic that economic collapse leads to
those who have power to relinquish it applies to politics as some people are
wont to believe. You have here, the equivalent of "suicide bombers" who are
prepared to take the country down with them. Even if the power of government
is weakened, the likelihood is that there will emerge other smaller, more
localised centres of power - akin perhaps to what the world has witnessed in
countries like Somalia, where local warlords reign supreme in their
respective territories.

The ingredients for such little fiefdoms already exist - the militias
and militarised youths, political Godfathers who have personal wealth and
interests to protect, etc. Government might fail, but power could devolve
informally to "smaller personalised governments" which will be even more
difficult to contain. Therefore, whilst a Scorched Earth Policy might be a
useful tool to the MDC, but they are also aware that it could produce
unintended consequences.

The MDC now has a ring-side seat from which it is more able to
properly witness the problems in the fabric of government and they are
probably aware of these risks of disintegration, hence, perhaps their own
willingness to negotiate. Besides they know they are not in power not
because they lost the election but because they have limited control over
the key structures of state power. Getting into government provides an
opportunity to plant roots and draw power from such structures, such as the
military.

Talks are not the ideal way to pursue democracy but are a circumstance
of necessity.

Zanu PF no longer enjoys popular appeal. But, through no fault of its
own, the MDC has failed to take power from Zanu PF. The talks, therefore,
present an opportunity to negotiate a way out of the political impasse.

Right now, I fear, the negotiators are like people trying to cross a
swollen river - they cannot find the safest crossing point by wading
straight into the water. They are using long sticks, placing them here and
there to test the depths. Eventually, they will wade through. By throwing
around these proposals through "leaks", they are probably testing public
reaction. When they feel they have tested enough and frustrated everyone to
the point of desperation, they will tell us what they probably know already!
Otherwise, how can it be that the issue of the future positions of Mugabe
and Tsvangirai have produced a deadlock when that is the very reason why we
are where we are and also why President Thabo Mbeki found them good lodgings
in Pretoria to talk?

Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and
can be contacted at a.t.magaisa@kent.ac.uk


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Perpetrators Of Violence Must Have Their Day In Court

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Opinion
Saturday, 02 August 2008 16:24
THE political leaders may be pursuing a solution to the crisis in
Zimbabwe but this process should not provide an escape route for the
perpetrators of violence that has left more than 120 people dead, in excess
of 5 000 injured and about 200 000 others internally displaced.

This is not a call for a witch-hunt. It is a quest for justice, one
designed to reassure the victims that the authors of violence and their
running dogs will not be condoned.

The full scale of the horrors of the politically-motivated violence
carried out against suspected political opponents since March is only
beginning to emerge. Reports speak of girls and women being gang-raped and
some forced into becoming sex slaves.

Torture victims are still hospitalised while others prevented from
leaving their areas to seek treatment are now finding their way to health
institutions. All this terror and violence cannot be wished away by the mere
act of handshakes and signatures of political leaders.

The process of bringing to justice those responsible for the beastly
crimes must begin. It must begin by compiling records of those responsible
for the violence and their handlers. The way forward can only be secured by
ensuring that there is restitution for the wrongs of yesterday.

Ideally there should be absolute confidence in the capability of the
law-enforcement agencies to document, investigate and prosecute those
responsible for the unprecedented violence of the past five months. The
presence of Sadc, African Union or United Nations peace monitors and
investigators will be critical in hunting down and bringing to justice the
perpetrators.

Political leaders genuinely acting to protect the interests of their
persecuted supporters would have no cause to protest the presence of those
investigating the violence. The body of evidence available from the
political parties, church, lawyers' and doctors' organisations should be
sufficient enough for the perpetrators to be brought to book.

For example, in the case of Chipangano, a notorious terror outfit that
operates in the name of Zanu PF in Harare's Mbare high-density area, the
members must be known to the residents of Mbare. Let them be identified and
their crimes documented and then let them face the full force of the law.

If the Zanu PF administration will do nothing to bring justice to the
victims of Chipangano and such other terror brigands, a future
administration that prioritises respect for human rights should be able to
hunt down those responsible and let them face their Nuremberg. They need to
know that their days are numbered. No one should rest until all the animals
responsible for so much terror are brought to justice. It is important to
send a clear and unequivocal message: that the laws of this country will
never again remain silent and impotent while citizens are killed, maimed and
turned into refugees in their own motherland.

What is outrageous is that even as the political leaders talk peace,
some of their supporters are still terrorising fellow Zimbabweans. Reports
from parts of the country such as Nyanga North speak of so-called war
veterans continuing to unleash terror campaigns against people believed to
be members and supporters of the MDC.

Those that kill in the name of political intolerance have no place
among us. Nor do those who fund and arm them. For all we know scores of
innocent girls and women have been given a death sentence - infected with
HIV. Many will suffer in silence, afraid to come out in the open and report
they were victims of rape. That is why the law must be ruthless in dealing
with those responsible for these crimes.


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When It's Time To Go...Just Go

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/


Opinion
Saturday, 02 August 2008 16:21
EHUD Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, last week announced he would
step down soon, rather than continue in the face of corruption accusations.

He has denied wrong-doing, which is almost routine in the
circumstances. But in deciding to step down, he is sending a potent message
to his accusers: catch me if you can.

They will probably catch him, if they are courageous enough to send
out this message to other presumptuous holders of high office: you do the
crime, be ready to do the time.

I doubt Olmert is as "clean" as he wants his peers to believe. He is,
after all, a veteran politician, who has intimate knowledge of how this game
has been played over thousands of years: deny everything.

A different ball game is on in Britain, where the Prime Minister,
Gordon Brown, in office for a very short time, is in the kind of stew one
African leader must hope will drive him out of office.

Robert Mugabe might not have the indecency to take responsibility for
Brown's downfall, if it does occur. You can still imagine him grinning like
a Cheshire cat, though.

But the prelude to that likely denouement is as different from what
would happen in Zimbabwe, in the same circumstances, as the value of the
pound is different from that of the Zimdollar which, only last week finally
bit the dust of worthlessness.

Brown has had other Labour colleagues commenting on his patchy
stewardship of their party, particularly after a disastrous by-election
result in Glasgow. Some have called for his resignation while others have
stood by him.

Both Brown and Olmert could defy their detractors if there were as
pig-headed as some African and Asian leaders we could name, if the laws of
defamation were not so biased against the media.

Brown must know his party could do to him what it did to his
predecessor, Tony Blair, a victim of the Iraqi war; or what the Tories did
to Margaret Thatcher, the so-called Iron Lady whose customary steely
reaction to the challenge turned out to be as sturdy as cellophane.

Brown might survive because many in his party believe tampering with
their leadership right now would be suicidal in the next election, as any
new leader is unlikely to excite voters he could turn around the party's
fortunes in such a short time.

But Olmert's goose is cooked; he is a goner. He may not go out kicking
and screaming, but his dignity will still be intact, as he has chosen the
wiser option: quit before they kick you out.

In Zimbabwe and perhaps in most African countries, quitting when
nobody is pointing a gun to your head would be considered an act of
cowardice. None of us could make that statement to Mugabe's face.

Moreover, it might be too late to call on him to quit now while he is
still ahead, with the help of his Angel, Thabo Mbeki. The way the talks
between Mugabe and the leaders of the opposition are proceeding suggests
Gushungo may have his way, after all.

What may be unavoidable is his elevation to the top of the charts of
African leaders leaving office in utter disgrace, their dignity in tatters.

It was the prediction of most commentators - even the neutral ones -
that Mugabe was setting himself up for an ignominious exit by refusing to
step down as Zanu PF leader as far back as his party's conference in
Goromonzi.

The strategies he used to forestall any attempts by his party to vote
against his presidential candidature in the March 29 election were regarded
as so nakedly subversive they probably contributed massively to his eventual
defeat by Morgan Tsvangirai.

A man willing to sink so low to win an election he did not deserve to
win turned many voters against him, partly because his overzealous ambition
to return to office had all the dangerous traces of a dictator or a
megalomaniac.

Another reason was that he resorted to more intimidation and violence,
even after promising to run a "clean" campaign.

The effect on the general political atmosphere in the country was one
of hopelessness. What, the people must have asked themselves, did they have
to do to ram home the point that they were tired of Zanu PF's rule, that
they were ready to confront an Unknown Quantity in the form of Morgan
Tsvangirai and the MDC, both with little or no experience or qualifications
in government?

The effect on the economy is catastrophic. Inflation is now virtually
uncontrollable. Not even the governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, can
muster enough braggadocio to convince anyone that a light is visible at the
end of a tunnel, in the Stygian darkness.

saidib@standard.co.zw


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Zim Standard Letters

http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/

Run-off Overtime
Letters
Saturday, 02 August 2008 16:43
WILL someone tell the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, that the presidential
election run-off is now over and there is no need for her to continue
campaigning for her husband?

†Of course, if she feels wearing outfits emblazoned with the face of
her husband is the thing to do when visiting rural areas, that is her
democratic choice.

However, many concerned citizens are curious to know her source of
funding to buy tractors and other farm equipment and food hampers that she
is doling out in her travels around the country. Unless there is something I
am missing here, Grace is neither a cabinet minister nor a Zanu PF official
so one wonders in what capacity she is making her donations.

We would hate to think RBZ Governor, Gideon Gono, is squandering state
resources in this partisan fashion.

Concerned Citizen

Harare

-------
Parties Should Negotiate In Good Faith To Avoid Deadlock
Letters
Saturday, 02 August 2008 16:41
THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has said it will accept nothing short of
the role of executive prime minister in a two-year transitional authority
that would pave the way towards constitutional reform and fresh elections.

This is very reasonable and possible!

At the same time, Zanu PF has conceded a key position - that of prime
minister.

The meeting between Zanu PF and MDC negotiators is said to have agreed
that there has to be a figure who appoints the all-inclusive government, and
that figure is President Robert Mugabe who won the run-off. There also has
to be a figure that creates the all-inclusive government and this will be
Morgan Tsvangirai, based on the legislative majority seats his party won on
March 29.

The appointer of the person, who would create the government, is
respectively, the Head of State (President) and the Head of Government
(Prime Minister).

A Prime Minister is the most senior minister and member of cabinet.
Where the President is (in)directly elected to become both the Head of State
and Government, it is called the "presidential political system". These two
responsibilities are to be split. We are to have a new political system
called semi-presidential. We should recall that this was the Zanu PF
preferred set-up going as far back as the Draft Constitution in 2000.

A semi-presidential system is where the president and a prime minister
are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state.
The Prime Minister is appointed by the President with parliament's approval.
He appoints and manages the civil service and runs the economy. Similar
systems are found in France, Russia and South Korea.

In a semi-presidential system, it is possible for the president and
the prime minister to be from different political parties if the legislature
is controlled by a party different from that of the president. When it
arises, such a state of affairs is usually referred to as political
cohabitation.

Mugabe will not accept being a titular President as was the late
Canaan Banana.

In general, the Executive Prime Minister in a semi-presidential system
serves in an administrative role, nominating members of the Cabinet and
implementing domestic policy. The Prime Minister, among other things,
determines the basic guidelines of government activity; nominates ministers;
represents the government in foreign relations.

The President shall be the head of state and the guarantor of the
Constitution and of rights and liberties. He shall take measures to protect
the sovereignty of the Republic, its independence and integrity, and to
ensure the concerted functioning and interaction of all bodies of State
power.

The President shall define the basic domestic and foreign policy
policy guidelines of the state and shall accredit ambassadors and envoys. In
addition to being the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, he shall
resolve issues of citizenship and award national decorations, and grant
pardons.

If Zanu PF wants MDC to concede ground to its claim to the Presidency
based on the March 29 2008 election results, it should realise that the
semi-presidential system is very accommodative of the party's expectations.
Zanu PF should give up its ground of having a full presidential term and
allow Tsvangirai to be an executive prime minister. MDC's demands of
executive prime minister and reduced term of office are easily accommodative
in good faith while allowing Mugabe to keep the Executive Presidency.

This informs the likelihood that most economic-related ministries will
be given to the MDC. This arises from the fact that the MDC is better
disposed to engage the IMF, World Bank and the Western countries for balance
of payments support.

Tsvangirai must get ready to manage the economy as the Prime Minister.

Levi Mhaka

Harare

----------
Chaibva Speaking For Zanu PF
Letters
Saturday, 02 August 2008 16:40
WHEN did ZBC start giving TV interviews to a genuine opposition
spokesperson?

But that is exactly what happened on July 10 when Masimba Musariri
interviewed Gabriel Chaibva, the suspended MDC-Arthur Mutambara
spokesperson, during the Face the Nation programme. This proved beyond any
reasonable doubt that Chaibva and his group are hoodwinking the people of
this country, who are suffering under President Robert Mugabe's rule.

Chaibva castigated Morgan Tsvangirai, saying that he had no record of
any achievements. I do not know what he meant by that statement. But what I
do know is that Tsvangirai has achieved a lot of successes. We are where we
are today because of Tsvangirai's determination and achievements.

It was incredible that Chaibva and company attended the so-called
inauguration of the winner of the presidential election run-off - an outcome
that was rejected by the rest of the world. How could the genuine fighters
against Mugabe's tyranny endorse the inauguration of a man who stands
accused of ordering the torture, burning of homes of their supporters?

D R Mutungagore

Mutare

--------

Thestandard Sms

Letters

Saturday, 02 August 2008 16:45

Shameless pastors

SOME of these pastors are shameless opportunists. They now come
out on television to talk about unity and all that and dare to quote us the
Bible. Where were they and their Bibles when people were being murdered,
raped and brutalised? It's not that easy to take them seriously. -Prophet,
Harare.

******

THE US and EU sanctions against Zanu PF have to be viewed in
their proper context. They have nothing to do with the ongoing negotiations
and everything to do with the disputed elections, human rights abuses and
the quest for justice by the people of this country. Zanu PF cannot be
allowed to get away from this one.- Liberty.

Truth commission

ONLY a Truth and Reconciliation Commission should hear the
various cases and then recommend lifting of targeted sanctions against
members of Zanu PF. There should never be a blanket amnesty because some of
the targeted individuals are common criminals, who have committed/caused
appalling atrocities and remain unrepentant of their murderous activities.
They should stand before the whole nation and seek forgiveness. - Veritas.

******

THE governor's love for publicity is not matched by his
abilities. - Nino.

So much injustice

THIS world is so full of injustice and unfairness. I saw almost
hundreds of tractors going to Mashonaland West and then here in Masvingo all
we get is maybe a single tractor and our mothers were made to cheer! What
for? - Pathetic.

Democracy gone awry

THE ongoing talks between the MDC and Zanu PF are the most
diabolical indication of democracy gone wrong. These talks were necessitated
by the failure of African institutions to deal with an obdurate former
leader. These institutions are useless. - Democrat.

******

IT is time to agree that the Unity Agreement between Zanu PF and
PF Zapu is all but dead. Now it remains a unity of individuals representing
those parties than a unity of political groups in the country. Now there is
one champion of unity - Morgan Tsvangirai. He was vociferously approved by
both Ndebeles and Shonas going by the first free and fair election results.
Therefore, he is the single unifier of the people of this country. In
principle, he is the unity agreement signed on March 29 2008. - Mukoma.

******

WHAT hope is there in this country if politicians can murder,
rape and plunder their way into power and then negotiate to stay in power as
Zanu PF has done? - Powerless.

Running scared

NOW that the MDC and Zanu PF signed the Memorandum of
Understanding and shook hands, a lot of people from the various sectors of
the economy are running scared because most of them are going to find
themselves of no relevance to the new order. The corrupt, violent and
murderers are doomed and Zanu PF stands to lose a lot. - Oskido.

Justice served

THE MDC has proved that justice will not come to you but that
you must go after justice by opening the eyes of the world to Zanu PF's
intransigence and the absence of justice in this country. The judiciary
system ought to ensure that justice will finally be done. - Justice.

******

THE abusive and crude Zanu PF adverts "thanking" Zimbabweans for
voting in peace on June 27 2008 are an affront to the peace and intelligence
of Zimbabweans because it is well-known that people voted against their
will. It is time to tell Zanu PF and ZBC the truth. - Chokwadi.

******

THERE has been no water in Borrowdale for the past three months
and not two weeks as Farai Mangodza claims. Can someone tell us if Zinwa
guys still report for duty? What will they be doing when they are at work? -
Steve Gewa, Borrowdale.

They must repent

THE Zanu PF Politburo is in no place to make demands. They must
now repent and be humble. They have caused enormous suffering through the
more than 120 people who died 5 000 who were injured and more than 200 000
who were internally displaced. - Nan.

******

WHOEVER told Grace Mugabe that she is a good speaker made a
major mistake. People in the rural areas are at her mercy, but to think that
she is not ashamed of herself for stooping so low! Why take advantage of
poor rural folk? Why doesn't she try to come and address residents in the
urban areas and then we will teach her a lesson or two? - Amos, Cranborne
Park, Harare.

******

A major task for the MDC and Zanu PF is to exorcise the armed
forces of their misguided politicised ambitions. - Tora Borah.

******

IF Simba Makoni, the National Constitutional Assembly and other
civic society organisations need to be invited to the talks they must
demonstrate capacity that threatens the position of Zanu PF. - Mawoods,
Beitbridge.

Failure option

UNOFFICIAL inflation figures put it at 15 000 000% - the highest
ever recorded in the world. Who says we are not doing well? Indeed RBZ
governor said failure was not an option! - Bewildered.

BACOSSI jobs

BACOSSI should be recruiting students from tertiary institutions
to work as shopkeepers. There are so many of them who are well educated but
are just sitting at home. These students will definitely get jobs because
Morgan Tsvangirai is coming and is more! - Bibi.

******

CAN the Zanu PF leadership please tell me why Grain Marketing
Board Silo products cannot be found in any shop in Zimbabwe but are readily
available on the black market? It shows that corruption and economic crimes
are rampant in parastatals. - Sherlock & Holmes.

People from Mutoko are hard-working. It is well-known that they
supply Harare with 80% of its vegetable requirements but I would like to ask
them whether anyone has ever given them free seed packs for their
horticultural projects. Has anyone ever sunk a borehole or has anyone ever
given them irrigation equipment to boost their horticultural production? So
what has Zanu PF done for them? - Soothsayer.

Zanu PF mentally challenged village morons are targeting Bindura
University students and robbing them. - Dombas, Bindura.

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