August 04, 2008 Edition 1
Mercury Foreign Service-Sapa-AFP
JOHANNESBURG: Power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe's rival political parties
resumed yesterday, a South African official said.
Mukoni Ratshitanga, the spokesman for mediator President Thabo Mbeki, said
talks were under way in Pretoria. It was not immediately possible to confirm
this with either side.
The future roles of Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai are expected to be
major sticking points.
Meanwhile, police found a second bomb that failed to detonate in the debris
of an explosion at Harare's central police station on Saturday.
Destroying 13 offices and a kitchen on the first floor, the bomb blast came
on the eve of the resumption of talks.
Unusually, police were cautious in apportioning blame.
"We are not going to speculate or jump to conclusions until we have gathered
all the evidence," police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said. - Mercury Foreign
By Peter Clottey
04 August 2008
Zimbabweans are reportedly acting cautiously optimistic about the beginning
of a second round of peace negotiations between the ruling ZANU-PF party and
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in South Africa's
capital, Pretoria. The talks, which resumed Sunday after a short break are
geared toward finding a lasting solution to resolving Zimbabwe's political
and economic crisis. But some Zimbabweans are expressing pessimism, about
previous negotiations with President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANUPF party,
claiming they have not alleviated the suffering of ordinary people.
They add that what Zimbabweans want is a change in leadership and a
transitional government, which would lead to a free and fair vote under a
new constitution. Glen Mpani is the regional coordinator for the
transitional justice program of the Center for the Study of Violence and
Reconciliation in Cape Town South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey
that Zimbabweans are not overly enthusiastic about the talks.
"Zimbabweans are looking at the current talks with cautious optimism. They
are very weary of the likely outcome from these negotiations. As you are
aware, in 1987, there were negotiations between the ZANU-PF and ZAPU
(Zimbabwe African People's Union) and the negotiations came up with a unity
agreement that basically failed to address the core issues. Basically, the
agreement led to the annihilation of the opposition in Matabeleland," Mpani
He said Zimbabweans are worried history would repeat itself in future
"Zimbabweans are quite weary that for the MDC to go and negotiate with the
ZANU-PF, such a scenario like the previous talks might come out of those
negotiations. The second thing is that Zimbabweans are quite cognizant that
whatever negotiations take place, their will or their decision in March 29
is non negotiable, which means that the decision that they made that the MDC
is the government they would want to be in place needs to be respected in
any negotiation process," he said.
Mpani said some Zimbabweans feel disappointed by the international
"The fact that the SADC (Southern African Development Community) and the AU
(African Union) are monitoring the peace process does not give Zimbabweans
confidence, based on the fact that the two bodies have had their credibility
eroded to a large extent. The AU's acceptance of Robert Mugabe to go to the
AU summit after the African Union and PAN African parliament and SADC had
all declared that the election in June were not an expression of the free
will of the people of Zimbabwe was an indictment on the AU. It was a sign
that the AU body is complicit with Mugabe in terms of subverting the will of
the people of Zimbabwe," Mpani pointed out.
He said Zimbabweans feel particularly let down by the African Union and
"So, there is some hesitance on the part of Zimbabweans to say there is no
guarantee that the AU will protect their vote. More importantly, that it was
exacerbated by the resolutions that came out advocating for a government of
national unity," he said.
Mpani said Zimbabweans overwhelmingly want a change in leadership that would
lead to a free and fair election, conducted according to international
"What Zimbabweans want with the ongoing talks is a negotiated settlement
that brings back democracy, a Zimbabwe that is able to allow the recovery of
the economy within the country. And thirdly and more importantly is, they
want the process to guarantee them that if they are to go for an election
again, they can get the leadership that they deserve, which means that these
negotiations, one should deal with institutional reform deal with the
de-politicization of the army, the police, and the militia. These
negotiations should deal with the overhaul of the constitution and more
importantly lead to a process where we have got a framework which can come
up with formulating a base and a foundation that can lead to an election,"
Mpani pointed out.
August 4, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - As government prepares to assess the food requirements of
households in the capital city this week, residents complained of being
forced to express support for Zanu-PF or denounce the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, in order for them to qualify for food aid from the
Harare as well other major urban centres are known strongholds of the MDC.
Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono set up the Basic Commodities Supply Side
Initiative (Bacossi) as food shortages worsened in both rural and urban
areas, hoping to provide basic food commodities at "affordable prices" to
The initiative has been condemned by both industrialists and retailers who
say they feel the central bank should make foreign currency available for
companies to import inputs for manufacturing basic commodities and save jobs
rather than use scarce foreign currency to import the commodities for
But the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) welcomed the government move
saying it would ease poverty among vulnerable groups. "The initiative is
commendable as it ensures that consumers have access to commodities at a
time when basic commodities are beyond the reach of many," CCZ executive
director Rosemary Siyachitema said.
Simbarashe Moyo, the chairperson of the Combined Harare Residents
Association (CHRA) has accused government of politicising the basic
commodities under Bacossi.
Moyo said government should not have banned humanitarian food aid
organisations from distributing food to the poor as a political expedient.
"It is evil to politicize food aid and lie that the population of Zimbabwe
will benefit immensely from the much publicized Bacossi program," Moyo
"The reality on the ground is that people are starving and there is an
urgent need to complement each other in assisting the starving people. Those
who are thinking that the Bacossi program alone without the intervention of
the NGOs will stop starvation are either doing so irrationally or are merely
politicking at the expense of the suffering Zimbabweans" Moyo said.
He said a parallel survey carried out by his organisation had revealed that
four out of five families interviewed were living on one meal of very little
sadza and boiled vegetables a day.
Basic goods procured by the state under the Bacossi program, which are only
accessible to people or business persons with connection to Zanu-PF, are
never found in the shops. Most of these goods are finding their way to the
parallel market where they are sold at exorbitant prices; which the majority
Moyo said government must ensure that state food aid is accessible by all
who are in need, irrespective of their political affiliation or inclination.
"We remind the state that the food stuffs procured under Bacossi do not
belong to Zanu-PF, but are goods bought using tax payers' money. In the same
way that tax is collected regardless of one's political affiliation, we
demand that 'all that is procured using such money must be provided to all,
in the same manner that the money used is collected'.
He said his organisation needed to remind the government that it has no
capacity to feed the increasing numbers of starving residents, and therefore
must immediately lift the ban on all NGO field activities so that the
population can access food as well as other goods and services.
Angered by the historic defeat at the hands of the MDC in the March 29
elections, Zanu-PF imposed a blanket ban on all the field work of NGOs.
"Without the aid from the NGOs, starvation among the population has worsened
as the economy continues to deteriorate," Moyo added.
By Tongai Gava-Special Projects Editor ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ August 3,
Embattled Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono reportedly confided
to close associates that he will immediately step down in two months if
talks between ZANU PF and the MDC break down, a source close to Gono who is
also a ZANU PF central committee member revealed.
Gono reportedly said there is no way he can turn around the economy unless
there is a political settlement. His bargaining chip when he agreed to help
Mugabe in the run-off was that after Mugabe’s victory the MDC must be
co-opted into government.
Gono was reportedly frustrated and felt powerless after substantial foreign
currency reserves in Germany were suddenly frozen and a fully paid
consignment of new currency was confiscated by the German government. The
total costs of the seized consignment excluding shipping are estimated to be
over US14 million dollars.
But there are real threats to the dialogue and it might collapse despite
public pronouncements to the contrary.
ZANU PF has already rejected any substantive position for Tsvangirai.
“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.” one of the negotiators was quoted saying.
Efforts to reach Gono’s spokesman Kumbirai Nhongo were unsuccessful.
Gilbert Muponda 03 August, 2008 09:57:00
On 30 July 2008 the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) released the Mid-Term
Monetary Policy which included currency reforms.
Whilst the statement had several positive policy shifts the Economy is
unlikely to improve due to the unresolved political crisis arising from the
contentious March 29,2008 election and the run-off in June. In the absence
of an undisputed political settlement Zimbabwe will remain with the crisis
of confidence and as such investment, production and International support
will remain at undesirably low levels.
The currency reforms are welcome in as far as they address the strain on IT
systems and the general burden to the public of traveling with huge amounts
of currency even for simple shopping trips. The public will obviously be
relieved that instead of carrying suitcases to go shopping, now a wallet can
in fact do the trick. Banks which had now been forced to develop various
sub-accounts for clients will now have to re-adjust to normal practices.
These are the immediate and likely only benefits.
The Zimbabwe dollar will however remain weak and under speculative pressure
due to the depleted (non-existant) foreign currency reserves. In addition
the inflation differential between Zimbabwe and its major trading partners
is so high that the Zimbabwe dollar can not sustain its newly acquired value
for any foreseeable future. The Global inflation forecast is approximately
4.8% for 2008.And Zimbabwe's current inflation is 2.2 million % and
forecasts indicate it could easily hit 100 million % before year end. The
Zimbabwe dollar is therefore likely to depreciate by a margin that mirrors
the inflation differential between Zimbabwe's inflation and that of its
trading partners and that difference is running into millions.
The removal of Zeroes would have been a perfect measure if supported by
significant balance of payment of support from various sources including
IMF, Africa Development Bank, PTA Bank and the wider international
community. In addition other measures would be required such as building
import cover for 6 to 18 months. The lack of import cover means the nation's
reserves are basically operating on a hand to mouth basis and as such the
currency can not stabilize just by the removal of zeroes.
The currency reforms in the absence of political settlement which is
required for Zimbabwe to be re-admitted into the Global financial system
means the measure would be a wasted effort in as far as stabilizing the
currency and inflation. The political settlement is key in that the various
targeted sanctions that have been announced are now going beyond individuals
and the latest addition included various listed corporates and numerous
parastatals. The effect of this is to limit the counterparties these
entities can trade with and will in the long run entangle most companies
listed on the Zimbabwe stock exchange. This will further worsen capital
flight and dampen one of the few viable investment destinations that remain
for most Zimbabweans.
The other side is some of the targeted sanctions come with a stick and
carrot approach and upon being lifted Zimbabwe will qualify for various
specific programmes to help rebuild the Economy.
The Mid-Term Monetary Policy mentioned the need to invite private sector
participation in various parastatals. This is a positive measure but needs
to go further and in fact pursue an aggressive privatization programme which
will free State resources only to those areas which the private sector has
no capacity. It is clear most of the recent Quasi-Fiscal activities have
been necessitated by the need to keep parastatals on their feet. This can be
avoided by privatizing most of these institutions many of which have ready
buyers and at attractive prices should this be accompanied by political
In the absence of political settlement Privatization may not realize optimal
values as assets are likely to remain depressed due to political
uncertainty. Zimbabwe has attractive assets in mining, telecommunications;
transport, food processing and these assets could be disposed of in foreign
currency and help build stable import cover capacity. Simulteously the
disposal will save the public purse from the now routine rescue missions of
RBZ hand outs to the parastatals.
In addition to export incentives the authorities need a clear plan to
encourage Non-Resident remittals to come through the official systems. Many
nations including Mexico, Cuba, India, Pakistan, Philippines, and Nigeria
have developed channels and institutions to help and encourage their
non-resident citizens to remit more funds back home. This needs to be a
genuine effort which is normally accompanied by the right of these
non-resident citizens being allowed to vote. This is critical to build a
sense of nation-hood and nation building after all remittals with no right
to vote is similar taxation without representation.
Gilbert Muponda is a Zimbabwe-born entrepreneur. He can be contacted at
gilbert@gmricapital.This article appears courtesy of GMRI Capital. More
articles at www.gmricapital.com
HARARE, August 4 2008 - Prices of goods have increased phenomenally
following the introduction of a redenominated currency by the Reserve bank
of Zimbabwe last week.
A survey by radio VOP revealed that business people have taken
advantage of the new currency to double prices. The prices only appear cheap
in numerical terms yet exorbitant in real terms.
A two-litre bottle of cooking oil went up to $120 in new currency,
which is $1,2 trillion in old currency. A two-kilogramme packet of sugar is
now selling at an average of $50 from $25, a loaf of bread is now $25 that
is $250 billion in old currency from an average of $15.
Comfort Muchekeza, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe's spokesperson for
the Southern region bemoaned the price madness and urged the government to
crackdown on businesses to restore sanity and put a stop to the unilateral
President Robert Mugabe last week warned that his government might
have to declare a state of emergency in order to contain an economic crisis
that has seen prices rise on a daily basis while inflation has shot to 2.2
million percent, the highest in the world.
Meanwhile the chairperson of the National Incomes and Pricing
Commission (NIPC) Goodwills Masimirembwa said he would be holding a meeting
with the business sector on Monday, to warn them against profiteering.
August 4, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - A cross section of Zimbabweans have decried the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe's action in splashing resources, including scarce foreign currency
on pampering members of the judiciary, at a time when the majority of the
population is reeling from severe hardship, including starvation.
The official media reported last week that the cash-strapped central bank
had spent US$50 000 each on 16 Mercedes-Benz E280 luxury sedans for senior
judges of the high court, the electoral court and the labour court. The
judges will now give the staid content of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation television a wide berth to watch foreign news and entertainment
programmes on their brand new 32-inch plasma TV sets. The chief justice and
judge president were allocated 42-inch screen sets, all supplied for free by
the central bank.
To facilitate the accessing of foreign broadcasts the bank installed
sophisticated satellite dishes at the residences of the judges, with
generators being installed to circumvent electricity blackouts. The judges,
who have also been allocated commercial farms, also received Toyota and
Isuzu four-wheel-drive trucks to negotiate the rough terrain to the farms.
In seeking to justify the preferential treatment of the judges, Master of
the High Court, Charles Nyatanga, said last week, "It was not desirable for
judges to drive Mercedes Benz in rough terrain when going to their farms."
He especially commended the RBZ for donating generators to the judges at a
time when the country was experiencing severe power cuts.
"We are very happy that at long last the judges have been given their
entitlement," Nyatanga told the state-controlled Herald newspaper.
But ordinary Zimbabweans and opposition politicians expressed outrage at the
lavish gesture by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono as being not only
inappropriate for a central bank governor, but also for being too
superfluous, especially at a time when the majority of the population can
hardly afford to put a modest meal on the table.
Most of the people interviewed over the weekend by The Zimbabwe Times, also
questioned the motive behind this lavish splashing on members of the bench,
which some said was tantamount to bribery of an already compromised
Some pointed out that this pampering of judges with fat perks had happened
at a time when most civil servants can hardly survive for half a week on a
"Zanu PF has a history of dolling out gifts to the police, the army and
traditional chiefs," said King Matenda, a former primary school teacher in
Harare. "Now it is the judiciary.
"Zanu-PF is probably aware it may not have so much control over the
judiciary once a political settlement is reached between them and the
opposition. This could be the last thank you to a judiciary that has been
coming in handy in the numerous cases that have had a large bearing on the
political welfare of the ruling party."
Former Mount Pleasant MDC legislator Trudy Stevenson said she was worried by
the timing of the perks when Zanu-PF and the MDC were now negotiating the
formation of an all-inclusive government.
"They are obviously trying to buy the judges," she said, "But I am worried
about the timing. Why now and not at any other time. I think if it is
something to do with the talks, then the judges may come in handy when
dealing with crucial matters like the Constitution."
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general Wellington
"It would be hard to believe Gono has a bona fide motive," says Chibhebhe,
"The approach of the Reserve Bank governor to such issues has always been
"His official role is not to dole out gifts to sections of the civil
service. The judges fall under the Public Service Commission which should be
the one spearheading this.
"But given the history of the Reserve Bank when dealing with such matters,
this is not surprising. If it is not the army being given preferences ahead
of every other Zimbabwean, it is the police or the chiefs. Now it is the
A junior magistrate based in Harare who cannot be named for fear of
breaching his employer's code of conduct also criticized the central bank
chief for his selective approach to rewarding sections of the civil service.
"I do not know why government believes the judiciary starts and ends with
the judges," he said.
"I wonder if they are aware that the net result of all this is to demoralize
everyone else. We as magistrates are equally as important as the judges in
as far as the justice delivery system is concerned.
"It is not good to find government piling up perks on judges when junior
magistrates are still using public transport to travel to work."
But there are still some who think the move by Gono was justified.
An employee with the justice ministry who also spoke on condition of
anonymity said he believes nothing is fundamentally wrong with Gono's
"To me this is justified," he said. "There are three arms of the state;
which are the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.
"The executive and the legislature have already been catered for. Judges, as
anchors of the judiciary, were the only ones left out."
Political commentator Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei differed.
He said the controversial move by Gono pointed to the existence of a clique
of people who were preparing for their future in the event of far-reaching
change on the political landscape.
"Gono is doing this for his own sake," he said. "He may be aware of what
most of us are not yet aware of and may well be preparing for his future.
Perhaps he may very soon be called upon to account for some of his decisions
and feels he should smoothen his relationship with those who matter most.
"Judges are a major institution when it comes to matters of shaping the way
forward. Gono's primary challenge at the moment is to focus on the economy.
Giving perks to judges does not contribute to that focus."
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) chairman Raymond Majongwe was
up in arms. Members of the teaching profession are among the least paid
civil servants. They have constantly staged strikes, while many have
resigned and crossed the border into South Africa or Botswana where some
have taken up menial but better paying jobs.
"I smell a rat," Majongwe quipped. "There is a very opaque deal in the
offing. It looks like somebody is planning ahead. Obviously whatever the
outcome of the talks, the next government will find itself going for two to
three years with the same judges.
"This could be a case of the current government trying to retain control of
the judiciary. We will get to know about this in the foreseeable future.
"Gono is not aware that he is putting the bench in a very invidious
position. He needs to be reminded that the credibility of the judges lies
upon their independence. He is setting a very dangerous precedent."
Majongwe said if this was meant to be an honest move, Gono should advance
the same perks to university lecturers "who are also being lured with fat
perks outside the country".
He says the central bank governor's actions demonstrate that he now enjoys
too much power and has become the "de-facto Prime Minister of the country".
Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller faction of the MDC wrote in a press
article two months ago that elected MDC MPs who now form the majority in
Parliament will demand the "immediate removal from office, and criminal
prosecution of, the RBZ Governor, Gideon Gono".
In another article which was published on April 15, Gugulethu Moyo, a
Zimbabwean lawyer who was the company secretary of Associated Newspaper,
publishers of the now banned Daily News, but who is now based in London, put
everything in a nutshell.
"Over the past seven years, the judges of Zimbabwe's courts - virtually all
of whom owe their jobs to Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party - have operated, day
in and day out, in a world suffused with politics.
"Judges appointed or retained on the bench after 2001 were chosen for one
quality above all others: their apparent willingness to lend the court's
process to the service of Mugabe's executive.
She was commenting on the refusal by high court Judge Tendai Uchena to
compel the immediate release of the 29 March presidential election results.
In numerous cases, she wrote, challenging the legitimacy of the executive
measures that were palpably in violation of the law and the norms of
justice, the new judges departed from established legal principles in order
to render executive actions legitimate.
"With few exceptions, the newly-appointed judges have actively collaborated
with a regime that has systematically violated human rights and subverted
the rule of law in order to maintain its hold on power, she said.
"No one is appointed to Zimbabwe's bench without deep political connections,
especially not since about 2000, when the ruling party's hold on power was
"Mugabe's government has ensured their compliance by co-opting them into a
number of schemes that compromised their independence. Independent audits of
Zimbabwe's Fast-track Land Resettlement Scheme show that, with the exception
of two or three individuals, all judges serving in the High Court were
propelled to the front of a long queue of ruling party cronies who were
given farms acquired from white commercial farmers under legally
"Over the years, the farming judges have benefited from preferential loans,
subsidised farming equipment, fuel and other government assistance to enable
their farming enterprises, which they juggle with regular court duties.
"Authorities turn a blind eye while judges spend most of their working hours
farming instead of hearing cases, or use their clerks to sell tomatoes and
chickens in court premises to a captive market of litigation lawyers."
Vigil supporters were crowded between our banners draped from the four maple
trees outside the Embassy-- the police having removed the metal barriers
which have expanded our space for the past few months. Perhaps they thought
there would be a fall in turnout at the Vigil following the elections. But
being penned between the trees made us realise how big the Vigil has become.
The crowd produced some passionate singing, which echoed down the Strand.
Passers-by were, as always, very supportive and many stopped to discuss the
disappearing zeros and the talks in Pretoria.
Supporters were briefed by Patson Muzuwa on plans for our demonstration
outside the Chinese Embassy in London on Friday, 8th August, to mark the
opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing. We welcome the opportunity to work
with Burmese and Tibetan groups to protest jointly at China's use of the
veto in the UN Security Council to block action against dictators such as
Mugabe. We are meeting at 10 am in Portland Place opposite the Chinese
Embassy (for how to get there see below).It has been suggested that we wear
something black (such as Vigil t-shirts) and bring flowers. There will be a
black coffin representing mourning for the heroes who lost their lives in
To catch the lunchtime television news, we plan a stunt between 11 and 11.30
am. This will consist of our well-known Mugabe impersonator, Fungayi
Mabhunu, and a Burmese human rights activist impersonating Senior General
Than Shwe kneeling before someone representing China. We are glad to say
that Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe,
will be joining us.
Otherwise, it was a typical busy Vigil. Some highlights:
1. Bride walked past in full gear with L plate attached followed by
2. Powerful gospel singing from Salome.
3. We took a collection for Virginia Nyoni who is ill in the
Leicester Royal Infirmary. We pray for her swift recovery.
4. SABC spent the day with us filming a documentary on Zimbabweans in
the Diaspora. We will let you know when it is broadcast. CNN were also
with us. We were also happy to have students from University College London
and London Metropolitan University following our activities.
For latest Vigil pictures check:
FOR THE RECORD: signed the register.
FOR YOUR DIARY:
· Protest outside the Chinese Embassy. Friday, 8th August, 10 am to
1.30 pm. Venue: Outside RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 6AD (opposite
Chinese Embassy, Map link:
Nearest underground: Great Portland Street, Regents Park and Oxford Circus.
Portland Place is the northern extension of Regent Street.
· We were pleased to be invited to promote our cause at a new
production of 'Euripides' Elektra' at 9.15pm on 11- 13 August at the Camden
People's Theatre, 56 - 61 Hampstead Road, London NW12PY. The play is set in
Zimbabwe and hopes to raise questions about the current situation. For
bookings contact; www.camdenfringe.org
· Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 16th August, 2 - 6 pm Venue: Argyle
Street Precinct. For more information contact: Ancilla Chifamba, 07770 291
150, Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137 or Jonathan Chireka, 07504 724 471.
· Zimbabwe Association's Women's Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays
10.30 am - 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton
Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury
Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355
(open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.
By Roy Chinamano ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ August 3, 2008
Mystery surrounds a bomb explosion at the Harare Police station that damaged
offices but there were no casualties.
Speculation is rife that one of the ZANU PF factions could be responsible
for the bomb plant so as to scuttle talks.
A pact of former ZAPU members is reportedly strongly opposed to the talks
and to date no former ZAPU official has publicly backed the talks.
On the other hand a Zanu PF faction led by Emmerson Mnangagwa is bitterly
opposed to the talks and is responsible for the violence that has continued
against MDC supporters that has claimed three lives since the run-off.
Last month we reported that soon after arriving back from the AU Summit in
Egypt, Mugabe met with the Joint Operations Command, namely Chiwenga,
Chihuri, Shiri, Mnangagwa, Zimondi and others and they agreed on a plan to
destroy the MDC completely but the plan was rejected by the Mujuru faction
which said violence will backfire.
The Mujuru faction is supportive of talks with the MDC and a real power
sharing deal,while the Mnangagwa faction is of the idea that any inclusion
of the MDC in government will destroy its political prospects.
Despite the fact that the Mnangagwa faction is represented in the talks by
Patrick Chinamasa,he does not have the full endorsement of the faction as
they suspect he is striking individual deals with the opposition to avoid
prosecution for corruption and political violence, leaving other faction
Last month when MDC Secretary General,Tendai Biti was in prison,the faction
sent its emissaries to interrogate Biti.
“There is so much distrust and suspicion in Zanu-PF that these people wanted
to verify what Goche and Chinamasa are after. There was a sense from the
questions that the interrogators thought Goche and Chinamasa were trying to
negotiate their own future and not protect everybody else at the top of the
party,” said a source.
Most members of the Mujuru faction have vast investments in Zimbabwe and
they are worried that Zimbabwe’s economy is collapsing ever more rapidly,
with prices of ordinary goods now running into billions of local dollars
amid 1,600,000% inflation, and ZANU PF has no answers.
So the only way to protect their investments is a negotiated settlement with
the MDC which will resuscitate the economy.
‘Do you think Gono can improve the economy,the only thing Gono is good at is
printing more Bearer cheques’ a source in the Mujuru faction told Metro
Most members of the Mnagagwa faction are not in business and some including
Mnangagwa himself have invested outside Zimbabwe in China,Malaysia and DRC,
so there is a feeling that the economy to them is not a priority.
The Mnagagwa faction’s strategy is also to eliminate a few MDC MPs through
arrests from their strongholds, to compensate for loses on March 29 and
fight by-elections so they could have more MPs which could be strategic when
parliament votes for Mugabe ’s successor.
Already most MDC MPs that have been arrested on thumped up charges unseated
Mnangagwa faction members including John Nyamande who unseated Patrick
Chinamasa,Sherperd Mushonga unseated Chenhamo Chimutengwende and Shuah
Mudiwa defeated Minister of Transport Chris Mushowe .
‘The strategy is to keep up the harassment of the MDC and completely
paralyse it to a state where they will accept anything,keeping Tsvangirai
away from assuming any senior position in government will mean options for
Mnagagwa are still open’, the source said.
by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 04 August 2008
OPINION: Zimbabwe's future is now squarely in the hands of principally two
men - the discredited incumbent President Robert Mugabe whose international
reputation has been dented by the outcome of the March 29 elections and his
long-time political nemesis, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
This is a defining week in the history of post-colonial Zimbabwe. There is
no doubt that an agreement will be reached between the three parties on
The nature, context and content of the Zimbabwean crisis compel all to
pause, stop and reflect on what the country requires to move forward.
Notwithstanding the questionable legitimacy of Mugabe, it is evident that
the thinking of the current administration on the root causes of the crisis
will never change. Both Mugabe and his principal economic advisor, Gideon
Gono, are convinced that the economic crisis is largely externally driven.
On the eve of the resolution of the political stalemate, Mugabe still holds
the view that the market system has failed Zimbabwe and who controls the
resources of the country is the primary issue that needs to be resolved by
the next administration.
A simplistic interpretation of the crisis has been adopted by the
administration ignoring the complex interplay of the issues at play that
have combined to systematically reduce Zimbabwe into a basket case.
The stabilisation of the economy ought to be at the centre stage of the
negotiations. However, it is important to note that Mugabe's problems with
the multilateral development institutions did not begin with the emergence
of the MDC rather it was deeply rooted in ideology. It is no secret that
Mugabe is highly suspicious of the West and the applicability of neo-liberal
economic policies to post colonial development challenges.
His antipathy against the West may explain why he chose to work in Ghana
instead of the West when he was young.
It is significant that Mugabe has never used any Western address as a
residence in his 84 years of existence but has chosen Africa as his theatre
Accordingly, it is unlikely that the negotiations will change his worldview
on how the crisis ought to be resolved.
He sees the objective of the negotiations as principally to decouple the
MDC-T from the West.
To Mugabe, the negotiations provide an opportunity to test the nationalism
and patriotism of the two MDC factions. He has not subscribed to the notion
that economic turnaround is a superior objective to the protection of his
definition of sovereignty.
The transition from Ian Smith's suicidal approach to nation building and the
use of the state of emergency powers to the post colonial dispensation
appears to have been seamless.
The events of the last 10 days expose the fact that in Gono, Mugabe has a
reliable thinker; implementer and partner in the enlargement of the state as
a player in the economy notwithstanding the disastrous results so far.
In an article entitled: "New cash measures on way: Gono" published by the
Sunday Mail on July 26 2008 it was reported that at a hastily organised
press conference, Gono took the opportunity to warn businesses and
individuals who were charging for their goods and services in foreign
currency. He was reported to have said such people risked getting arrested
either by the police or RBZ officials.
In the face of intractable economic challenges, Gono's worldview is no
different from Mugabe's. It was significant that prior to the announcement
of dropping zeros from the hyper-inflated currency, Gono was reported to
have said:?"Conducting business in foreign currency is illegal. No rentals
or goods should be charged in forex. Dollarisation - that is using the
currency of another country - is not a position that we have taken. We are
not in that situation yet. Report all such persons, including those who are
selling cash (Zimbabwean dollars) to the nearest police station or RBZ
It was not surprising that Gono invited Mugabe to the currency announcement
function where he made similar threats confirming the widely held view that
notwithstanding the outcome of the negotiations, the thinking of the new
administration whatever character it takes - GNU or transitional authority
(TA) - will not change. For the first time, Mugabe attended the address by
Gono to demonstrate his unreserved support to the currency manipulation
Like Gono, Mugabe threatened to impose a state of emergency if businesses
profiteer from the country's economic and political crisis. This is what he
had to say: "Entrepreneurs across the board: Don't drive us further. If you
drive us even more we will impose emergency measures. The country is under
illegal sanctions. These are intended to achieve regime change. We must
strengthen our will and resistance so we can go through this time of
With this kind of thinking, there is no doubt that no rational development
partner will come to the party as expected after the conclusion of the
The failure to attract sustainable international financial support must
necessarily, therefore, be located in the framework that has informed ZANU
PF and Mugabe's thinking since taking over power in 1980.
It is increasingly becoming clear that Mugabe is not alone in thinking that
the market is evil and anyone who operates in the market framework is also
an enemy of post-colonial nation building.
The absence of a systematic domestically generated attack on both Gono and
Mugabe's reckless statements highlights the complexity of the crisis and
solutions there from.
The government of Zimbabwe stopped paying its commercial, bilateral and
multilateral debts long time ago and it is unlikely that there will be any
positive response from such partners without a sound economic plan in place.
Even Gono and Mugabe will agree, albeit in the quietness of their time, that
no serious forward thinking policy maker will resort to removing 13 zeros as
a remedy to a crisis that is deeply rooted in tested and wrong economic
Zimbabwe's economy is already over regulated and the role of the RBZ in the
economy ought to be the starting point for any serious negotiation aimed at
rebuilding the fractured and helpless Zimbabwean economic model.
The state is omnipresent in the economy even to the level of providing basic
goods and yet the crisis has no end in sight.
After 28 years of experimenting with the state as an instrument of
generating supply response, it is regrettable that a lot of reliance is
still placed on the state as the saviour.
Gono's 56 months at the helm of the RBZ has exposed the bankruptcy of a
policy framework premised on fear and intimidation. Former Finance Minister
Herbert Murerwa warned, rightly so, that the zeros will come back with a
vengeance and it appears that no lessons were learnt.
While it is accepted that the resolution of the political crisis should
provide a foundation stone for tackling the country's economic problems, it
must now be accepted that any settlement that will leave Mugabe with
executive powers will not lift the country up.
Mugabe is too old to change his thinking and with the help of young voodoo
economic practitioners like Gono there may be no incentive for him to change
particularly at a time when the global food and energy crises are compelling
people to rethink about critical ideological questions regarding the role of
the market or the state in addressing and alleviating poverty. - ZimOnline
Peter Godwin 03 August, 2008 12:18:00
Zimbabwe's longtime ruler, Robert Mugabe, made a brutal sham of recent
elections, after banning Western journalists.
For more than five hours on the afternoon of April 4 the man who sees
himself as synonymous with the destiny of Zimbabwe, and who has made himself
the country's dictator to ensure it, remained locked in a meeting in Harare,
the capital, with his four-dozen-member politburo. The man was Robert
Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, and the session was taking place in the upper
reaches of the ruling party's headquarters, Jongwe House. Everyone in Harare
knew that Mugabe had to be up there; the soldiers of his presidential guard
were still lolling around outside, in their distinctive gold berets.
Mugabe was chairing the meeting himself, in a dark suit and polka-dotted
tie. On Mugabe's flanks were the men and women who fought victoriously with
him 28 years ago to transform white-ruled Rhodesia into black-ruled
Zimbabwe. Now, six days after elections for parliament and president, this
group was facing certain defeat. Although the government had not yet
officially announced the results, and despite strenuous efforts to rig the
election, it was clear that Mugabe's zanu-P.F. party had lost not only its
parliamentary majority but the presidency as well. The purpose of the
meeting was to decide whether to accept the loss gracefully and relinquish
power to Mugabe's bitter rival, the Movement for Democratic Change (M.D.C.),
led by Morgan Tsvangirai (pronounced Chahn-gur-eye), or to fight on,
manipulating the results so as to force a second round of voting for the
Mugabe's party is divided now between hawks and doves, between hard-liners
and conciliators, and it is riven as well by rival succession candidates.
Mugabe's clan totem is Gushungo-meaning "crocodile" in Shona, the language
of most Zimbabweans-and on the occasion of his 83rd birthday, last year, a
giant stuffed crocodile was presented to him as a symbol of his "majestic
authority." But even the wiliest crocodiles eventually tire and die, and the
word on the street was that he had been stung by the extent of his defeat,
and that his young wife, Grace, had urged him to step down and enjoy his
last years with their three children in his 25-bedroom mansion. The mood in
Harare was expectant, even giddy.
I grew up and was educated in Zimbabwe, served as a conscript, and maintain
close ties to the country. Because of these roots I have been able to live
and travel there even at times, such as the present, when other foreign
journalists have been expelled. In Harare that afternoon I spent time with
friends as the hours wore on. Finally an old school chum called to say that
"the General"-his uncle, a politburo member and a former guerrilla
commander-had at last emerged from Jongwe House, and that the meeting was
The General, Solomon Mujuru, is now considered a "moderate," but he was not
ever thus. Twenty-five years ago, not long after the end of the war of
liberation, the General had once put a gun to my heart and threatened to
kill me. The gun was a Russian-made Tokarev with a mother-of-pearl handle.
Odd how you remember such details. The General had been working his way
through a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label at the time, but his grip was
This was in 1984, during the Matabeleland massacres, when Mugabe unleashed
his fearsome North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade into that southern province
to crush the opposition. I had written about the massacres for a British
newspaper, which is what prompted the General to draw his gun when our paths
But now, on April 4, the General had bad news to report. In the end Mugabe
had decided that he intended to do everything necessary to retain his
powers. Behind the scenes the presidential ballot boxes would be effectively
stuffed to indicate that Morgan Tsvangirai, though still winning more votes
than Mugabe, had not achieved the 50 percent threshold necessary for
election. (This was possible because there had been a third candidate in the
race.) Further, in the weeks leading up to the runoff, Mugabe would wage a
campaign of bloody intimidation to ensure that Zimbabwe's voters understood
where their self-interest lay. Indeed, a secret battle plan was actually
drawn up, in detail. A leaked copy dated April 9 was shown to me; the key
section carried the heading "Covert Operations to Decompose the Opposition."
For all the talk of doves and hawks within the politburo, it was clear that
hawks remained ascendant. On the government television station, ZTV, I
watched the official news reports of the politburo meeting. You could see
Mugabe moving slowly around the horseshoe table, shaking hands with each
member. They seemed to revere him, lowering their heads when he came near. A
few of the women rose to curtsy, as though to a monarch.
If you were casting the role of "homicidal African dictator who stays in
power against all odds," Robert Gabriel Mugabe wouldn't even rate a
callback. To look at him and hear him talk, he's still the prissy
schoolmaster he once was-a slight, rather effeminate figure, with small,
manicured hands given to birdlike gestures. The huge banners that span
Zimbabwe's streets do their best to make this 84-year-old into something
more heroic-he is seen shaking an arm at the heavens, above the words "The
Fist of Empowerment." The image is marred somewhat by the little white
handkerchief often held in Mugabe's fist, and by the outsize gold spectacles
that dominate his face, and that seem to be wearing him.
Mugabe is no swaggering Idi Amin, the onetime heavyweight boxing champion of
Uganda. He remains profoundly enigmatic. Godfrey Chanetsa, his former
secretary, described to me how Mugabe has always stayed aloof even from his
Cabinet, rarely seeing them outside the scheduled Tuesday-afternoon
meetings. "He listens a lot. He just blinks and listens. He lets you talk.
He leans back with his head cocked to one side, resting on his hands."
Throughout his life Mugabe has been essentially friendless. Abandoned by his
carpenter father, he was brought up largely by his mother and his maternal
grandparents and by Catholic priests. A shy, bookish, unathletic boy, he
reacted querulously to criticism, and worshipped the Anglo-Irish Jesuit
principal of his mission school. He went on to earn a degree at the black
University of Fort Hare, in apartheid South Africa-Nelson Mandela's alma
mater-and became a schoolteacher.
Mugabe was politicized during a stint in Ghana in the late 1950s, just as
that colony became the first in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence from
Britain. There he also met and married Sally Hayfron, a fellow teacher. In
late 1963 he returned to Rhodesia. The following year, Ian Smith, the
incoming white prime minister, ordered Mugabe's arrest and detention for
subversion. In 1965 Smith unilaterally declared the colony's independence
from Britain and kept Mugabe in detention. He remained there for the next 10
years, during which time he acquired another six college degrees, taking
correspondence courses mostly from the University of London. Ian Smith
released him in 1975, and Mugabe slipped across the border into Mozambique
to join the nationalist movement, the Zimbabwe African National Union, or
zanu. He quickly clawed his way to the top.
Mugabe's most potent personal influences are mainly white ones. The
repressive apparatus of his enemy Ian Smith became a model for his own. A
more important influence is the former colonial power itself, Great Britain,
with which he has long been besotted. Mugabe was in fact awarded an honorary
knighthood in 1994 for his "important contribution to relations between
Zimbabwe and Britain." The evidence of his Anglophilia is everywhere: his
Savile Row suits, his love of cricket and tea, his penchant for Graham
Greene novels, and his continuing reverence for the Queen, even though she
stripped him of his knighthood in June. Mugabe did not blame the Queen for
this disgrace; no, it was those "demons" at No. 10 Downing Street.
The love of Britain is matched in Mugabe by a deep resentment. "You can
never ever convince an Englishman that you are equal to him, never, never,"
Mugabe has said. In Mugabe's recent election campaign, he often appeared to
be running against Britain as much as against Morgan Tsvangirai, employing
slogans such as "Zimbabwe will never be a colony again!"
In reality, Britain (and the West more generally) indulged Mugabe for far
too long, contributing greatly to the creation of the dictator we have
today. Mugabe's generally accepted story arc in the press tends to be "good
leader turned bad": liberation hero wins Zimbabwe's first democratic
election, rejects Communism, embraces capitalism and his white former
oppressors, allows them to keep their farms, and fearlessly opposes
apartheid in neighboring South Africa, and then, sometime in the late 1990s,
he has a sudden rush of blood to the head and loses it. The precipitating
cause of this change is often given as the death, in 1992, of his wife,
Sally, regarded as a tempering influence on the inner tyrant. The mortician
who embalmed Sally's body told me that Mugabe visited the funeral parlor
every day for nine days, until her state funeral, to sob over the open
casket-a touching scene slightly curdled by the fact that Mugabe had already
sired two children by one of his junior secretaries, Grace Marufu, 40 years
his junior, whom he finally married in a lavish ceremony in 1996.
Grace, a woman of prodigious retail appetites-the Imelda Marcos of Africa-is
known to her people as the First Shopper. By 1995, Godfrey Chanetsa was
Zimbabwe's ambassador in London, and he made the mistake of complaining, as
he told me, that the embassy "was being turned into a warehouse for Grace's
shopping." He was immediately recalled to Harare.
The true Mugabe plotline differs from the accepted one. It goes like this:
From the very start his default reaction to any political threat has been a
violent one. During Zimbabwe's first democratic elections he kept his
guerrillas in the field, where they spread a chilling message: Vote for
Mugabe or "the war goes on." In the early 1980s, when he encountered
opposition in Matabeleland from remnants of his former ally Joshua Nkomo's
forces, he sealed off the province and, as noted, laid waste to it. He
called the action Operation Gukurahundi, using a Shona word that refers to
"an early rain that clears away the chaff." Estimates of the chaff vary from
10,000 to 25,000 dead. Through all this Mugabe got a free pass from the
West. During the Cold War he was seen as pro-Western. Mugabe was also able,
as a leader of the so-called Front Line States, which opposed white-ruled
South Africa, to leverage the specter of apartheid. If you attacked Mugabe,
he immediately painted you as a pro-apartheid apologist. That changed when
Nelson Mandela was released from prison, in 1990; Mugabe had to play second
fiddle. Mandela later made light of Mugabe's predicament: "He was the star,
and then the sun came up."
By the late 1990s, Zimbabwe's economy was in a shambles-corruption, misrule,
and a disastrous military intervention in Congo had all taken their toll. To
buy favor, Mugabe resorted to expropriating land and giving it to his
supporters. The full story does not bear repeating here; land reform was
certainly overdue and had been stalled for many reasons. But Mugabe did what
he always does when there is something he needs: he employed brute force.
And because the first victims were white-farmers who had their property
jambanja'd (seized and occupied), and who in some cases were assaulted or
murdered-the Zimbabwe story suddenly piqued the interest of the Western
media. This is why the year 2000, when the farm seizures hit the headlines,
is mistakenly seen as Mugabe's watershed-the year he went bad. The truth is
he had been bad long before that.
The tragic irony of Zimbabwe is that what is today a hellish country should
by all evidence be a paradise. Its high, malaria-free interior is a magical
place: sweeping vistas of long tawny grasses slope up to the mountain ranges
of the eastern highlands; in the north the land falls sharply down to the
Zambezi River, which tumbles magnificently over the Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe
is blessed with rich, loamy soil. Beneath it lie generous seams of gold,
chromium, coal, iron, and diamonds. At independence in 1980, Mugabe
inherited a sophisticated, well-maintained infrastructure. The black middle
class grew fast, and Zimbabwe enjoyed the highest standard of living in
But that was yesterday. The most recent World Values Survey shows that
Zimbabweans are today the world's unhappiest people. Their economy has
almost halved in size in the past 10 years. The unemployment rate is more
than 80 percent. About half of all Zimbabweans are reliant on food aid. Some
20 percent of the population is afflicted with H.I.V./aids. Zimbabwe today
has the world's shortest life span-the average Zimbabwean is dead by age 36
(down from age 62 in 1990). As a result the country now has the highest
percentage of orphans on the planet.
Everywhere in Zimbabwe there are long lines: lines for bread, lines for
cooking oil, lines for maize meal (the staple food). Buying gasoline
requires an array of byzantine procedures. Zimbabwe can now boast, if that
is the word, the highest rate of inflation in history. As I write, it's
running at about nine million percent a year. How can I convey what it's
like to live with this kind of hyperinflation? Imagine that you're out
grocery shopping, and in the time it takes you to reach the checkout line,
the prices of the items in your cart have all gone up. Golfers now pay for
drinks before they tee off, because by the time they've completed 18 holes
the bar prices will have risen. No one uses wallets for cash; mostly you
carry around bags full of blocks of money secured by elastic bands. During
my latest trip to the country, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe issued new,
higher-denomination notes no fewer than three times in a period of two
months, the last one being the 500-million-Zimbabwean-dollar note. At its
introduction it was worth two U.S. dollars. Four weeks later, its value had
fallen to five cents.
To feed the ravenous monster of hyperinflation, Mugabe has been importing
banknote paper from a Munich-based company, Giesecke & Devrient; presses in
Harare have been running 24 hours a day to pump cash onto the streets and
into the hands of the soldiers and policemen and party militia who torture
and imprison Mugabe's opponents. This is nothing less than blood money.
Why don't Zimbabweans rise up? In fact, Zimbabweans do rise up. They rise up
and leave. As many as 70 percent of Zimbabweans between the ages of 18 and
60 now live and work outside the country. These aren't just a busboy
underclass, wading across the crocodile-infested Limpopo River to take
bottom-rung jobs wherever they can. Many are doctors and accountants and
computer technicians-Africa's educated elite, the leadership echelon, and
Mugabe is happy to see the backs of them. Many others are the truly
dispossessed, eking out a living in South Africa's townships, where they
have been subjected to terrifying xenophobic attacks.
You can feel the population loss in Harare, which is palpably less bustling
and vibrant than it once was. There's a second reason for this. Three years
ago the authorities launched Operation Murambatsvina-Operation "Clear Out
the Shit"-to expel masses of people from Harare and other towns and cities,
and demolish their houses, in what was touted as urban renewal. The victims
understood it to be an act of "electoral cleansing," designed to rid the
cities of the urban poor, who have increasingly opposed Mugabe. All told,
some 2.4 million people have been affected by Operation Murambatsvina-many
of them driven from the cities at gunpoint and dumped in the countryside.
This is a society dominated by terror. After Mugabe's politburo decision, in
April, his security forces launched yet another operation. They called this
one Operation MaVhoterapapi-Operation "Whom Did You Vote For?" Harare's
hospitals rapidly filled up with its handiwork. People in Zimbabwe have a
name for what has been happening. They call it simply "The Fear."
I found Denias Dombo lying broken on a hospital bed, his dark head propped
up on pillows, trying to eat a slice of bread. His left leg was in plaster
from hip to heel, a calloused sole peeping out against the bright-white
sheet. Both arms were in plaster, too, right up to Dombo's powerfully veined
farmer's biceps. He winced as he turned to pick up a teacup because several
of his ribs were broken. On his bedside table was a copy of Robert Louis
Stevenson's Kidnapped. "I've just finished it," he said, following my gaze.
"I have form two." (Form two is the equivalent of 10th grade.) Until a week
before, Dombo had lived in a tidy homestead with three houses and a granary
up on stilts, and seven head of cattle. As a district organizing secretary
for the opposition M.D.C., "it was my job to apply to the police for
clearance to hold party meetings," as required by law. So everyone knew his
political affiliation. After the elections, Dombo had just left his
homestead when he heard a vehicle growling to a halt outside his home. He
turned back to see "bright flames-my brick-and-thatch house already on fire"
and the two men who had set it alight scampering back to their truck. He
says he recognized both men, one of them a newly elected zanu-P.F. member of
parliament. The vehicle in which they sped off had zanu-P.F. logos on its
doors, and in the back sat a group of youths in party T-shirts. Dombo yelled
after them, "I see you, I know who you are, and you are the ones who have
burned down my house!"
He walked all night to cover the 15 miles to the police station to report
the crime, and then walked the 15 miles home. Shortly after he returned, the
youths in the T-shirts swarmed onto his property, armed with sticks and iron
bars. Dombo and his family tried to barricade themselves in a building, but
it was clear that defense was pointless.
Dombo made up his mind. "I decided, Better for me to come out, or they will
kill my family." So he told his wife, Patricia, who was holding their infant
son, Israel, and he told his 14-year-old daughter, Martha, and his
9-year-old daughter, Dorcas, "I'm going to go out, and when they come after
me, you must all run away as fast as you can and hide." Dombo ran out toward
his attackers. Just as he'd anticipated, they converged on him. He tried to
protect his head with his arms while they beat him. "I heard the bones in my
arms crack and I cried out: Oh, Jesus, I'm dying here-what have I done
wrong?" As they beat him, on and on, his assailants made him shout, "Pamberi
ne [up with] Robert Mugabe!" and "Pasi ne [down with] Tsvangirai!" At last
the ringleader said, "Let's leave him here-we'll come back and finish him
Dombo lay by the embers of his house. He tried to stand up but fell, tried
to stand up once more but fell again. Dombo could see the jagged shard of
his left shinbone "waving out." One arm hung limp and shattered. "I was in
such terrible pain, and I thought I was dying, and I decided, Better to kill
myself than just wait for them to come." So he picked up a thick length of
wire, twisted one end into a tight noose around his neck, and summoned his
remaining strength to reach up and attach the other end to a hook in the
brick wall of his house. Then he allowed his body to sag. He felt the wire
tighten around his throat, saw the light dim-but suddenly he dropped to the
ground. The wire had snapped.
Then he heard a little voice calling to him. It was Dorcas, his daughter.
She brought a neighbor who gingerly loaded Dombo into a wheelbarrow. Now he
was here, in a private hospital.
Nearby lay a man named Tendai Pawandiwa. A group of armed Mugabe supporters
had run him to ground near a river and, telling him that they were going to
baptize him in the name of zanu-P.F., held his head underwater in order to
drown him. He managed to wriggle free, and fled. His body bore the stigmata
of a free and fair election: deep lacerations on his back and legs.
Pawandiwa listlessly flicked through the pages of a four-year-old copy of
I went from bed to bed, listening to the stories. They were all, in essence,
That evening, at a farewell party for a British diplomat, I was introduced
to a black man in a clerical collar, but amid the hubbub I missed his name.
In conversation I angrily described the torture victims I'd just been
visiting-and noticed that he began to look distinctly uncomfortable. Then it
dawned on me whom I was speaking with: Father Fidelis Mukonori, the head of
the Jesuits in Zimbabwe, but, more important, Robert Mugabe's personal
"Well," Fidelis said, "one hears these things generally, but one is not sure
if they are true, of the details." "Come with me tomorrow," I said. "You'll
get all the details you need." He gave me his card.
I called Fidelis the next day, but-predictably, I thought-he had switched
off his mobile phone. I went back to the hospital with some books for Dombo.
On the way in, I found Fidelis-he had come to the hospital after all. In
front of the priest, Dombo repeated his story. Now Fidelis knew, and he knew
that I knew he knew. There was no middle ground here-moral choices had to be
made. He promised to "get the message up the line" to "the old man"-that is,
Mugabe, as if he weren't responsible for it all to begin with.
"How will this end?," I asked the priest finally. Fidelis sighed. "The old
man is tired," he said. "He wants to go."
But it is not at all clear that he wants to go; it seems more likely that he
will have to be carried out in his Jermyn Street oxfords. The first round of
elections in Zimbabwe took place only after long negotiations, brokered by
South Africa. The opposition obtained a seemingly small, but vital,
concession: the raw final vote count at each polling station would be taped
up on a wall. Wherever they could get access-which was blocked in a number
of the 9,000 polling stations-the M.D.C.'s party agents were able to copy or
take cell-phone photos of these numbers, so they had a fair idea of how well
they'd done. And although the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (essentially a
lapdog of Mugabe's) released parliamentary results in dribs and drabs in the
days after the election-showing that the M.D.C. had effectively won a
majority of seats-it ominously made no announcement for more than a month
about the presidential results. According to the M.D.C., this provided time
for Mugabe to alter the tabulation at polling stations where the M.D.C. hadn't
been able to secure a backup record. The intervention was enough to throw
the presidential contest into a runoff, set for the end of June.
In one sense the runoff was literal-the opposition had to run off. Morgan
Tsvangirai and his deputy, Tendai Biti, got serious word of assassination
plots against them and fled the country. Their departure, together with the
absence of foreign correspondents-virtually all foreign journalists had been
banned from working in Zimbabwe-gave Mugabe a free hand to unleash The Fear.
During this period, the diplomatic corps in Harare played a key role in
offering protection and sounding the alarm.
The most prominent among the diplomats was the American ambassador, James
McGee, a career foreign-service officer with four previous African postings.
I met McGee at six o'clock one morning in mid-May inside the courtyard of
the heavily guarded American Embassy to join a trip he had organized to look
into the widespread intimidation and violence. Because the fact of the trip
had been leaked to the government, McGee arranged for a decoy convoy that
would set off in the wrong direction. Playing the role of McGee in the decoy
limo was a large black man from the embassy's local security staff. McGee,
an African-American from Indiana, stands six feet four inches tall. The
government's propaganda newspaper, The Herald, refers to him as an "Uncle
Tom" and a "house Negro."
On the day of the trip, McGee wore a dark-blue golf shirt bearing the emblem
of his old air-force unit. (He served for six years in Vietnam and was
thrice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.) The convoy-the real
convoy-was made up of 11 vehicles and included diplomats from the European
Union, Britain, the Netherlands, Japan, and Tanzania, along with half a
dozen of McGee's embassy staff, several Zimbabwean journalists, and a
Zimbabwean pastor who served as a guide.
I rode with McGee in the second car. An hour north of Harare we came to
Mvurwi-once a white commercial-farming district, now only sporadically
cultivated. We stopped at a place called Rhimbick Farm. The white sawmill
manager there peeped around the door, astonished to see this sudden
convergence of diplomats. Interviews with torture victims had directed us to
the Mvurwi area-it was one of the places where zanuP.F. had done its work.
The sawmill manager pointed up the hill: "That's their base." It was an old
farmhouse, and every night scores of zanu-P.F. youths would congregate
On this day, in full sunlight, we found only four militia members. They
naturally denied any wrongdoing. As the conversation with the diplomats
continued, I went into the house. It was not hard to find the "black rooms,"
without windows, where political opponents had been thrown between beatings.
I came across a backpack and from inside it took four school notepads, each
labeled "Interrogation Book." The zanu-P.F. militants had systematically
recorded their beatings and interrogations, in Shona longhand. They also,
helpfully, gave their own names.
We found and spoke with many torture victims in a nearby village. Initially
the place had seemed deserted, but as word spread about what the convoy
really was, the villagers started to come forward. They told us their
stories and showed us their wounds. At the nearby Mvurwi hospital a nurse
said that she had been overwhelmed with beating victims, but that most had
discharged themselves prematurely, their wounds suppurating, afraid that
they would be too easily found if they stayed in one place.
As we prepared to leave, a plainclothes police officer suddenly approached
McGee. After examining McGee's credentials, he ordered him to report to the
local police station. McGee brushed him off and told his convoy to proceed.
More police officers then arrived, these armed with shotguns and rifles, and
they shut the hospital gates. When they refused McGee's request to let us
out, he walked over to open the gates himself. "Stop! Stop!" they demanded.
"What are you gonna do?," McGee asked. "Shoot me? Go ahead." He pulled open
the heavy metal gates and waved the convoy through.
McGee's final destination was the Howard Hospital, run by the Salvation
Army. Here we found dozens of victims. They had been beaten on the soles of
their feet and on their buttocks. Don't think of these as "normal" beatings.
Think of deep, bone-deep, lacerations, of buttocks with no skin left on
them, of being flayed alive. Think of swollen, broken feet, of people unable
to stand, unable to sit, unable to lie on their backs because of the
Andrew Pocock, the British ambassador, was part of the fact-finding convoy.
He lives in a 27-acre compound in the Harare suburb of Chisipite, not far
from where my parents used to live. On my way there, I passed the Triton
Gym, where diplomats and expats and fat cats pound on treadmills, hoping to
become trim cats; today, right behind the gym is a zanu-P.F. "re-education
camp," where local residents who have been rounded up are forced to endure
all-night political harangues. Zimbabwe can be a land of surreal
juxtapositions. Ambassador Pocock walked me around the residence. Next to
the swimming pool is a squash court that was recently converted into a
crisis command center, with satellite phones and computers and its own
generator. In the event of what the British foreign secretary, David
Miliband, has called a "doomsday scenario," it would be from this squash
court that Pocock would supervise an evacuation of British passport holders
still in Zimbabwe. There are currently 10,000 such people. Thirty years ago,
at independence, there were more than 200,000 whites, most of whom had the
right to a British passport.
Morgan Richard Dzingirai Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's opposition leader, lives on
a cul-de-sac in the Harare suburb of Strathaven, in an unremarkable house
with pale-pink walls and a red tiled roof. Outside, two bodyguards in dark
suits sat on a concrete culvert. More milled around inside. Tsvangirai is a
man of 56. When I met him at his house he had only just returned-the
previous day-after living outside the country for a month, since the first
round of elections, keeping himself safe and trying to enlist African
leaders in his cause. He looked exhausted, tilting back in his office chair
in the converted garage at the back of the house. In many ways Mugabe's
nemesis is also his antithesis. Physically Tsvangirai is a bear to Mugabe's
bird, his face round, his smile quick. He appears to share none of Mugabe's
aura of messianic entitlement.
I had gone to the airport the day before to witness Tsvangirai's return. A
few hours later he held a press conference at a downtown hotel, then set out
on a round of bedside visits to torture victims. Toward day's end he
addressed the hundreds of displaced supporters who had crowded into his
party headquarters, Harvest House, seeking sanctuary from the violence. It
was a biblical scene: a vast, gloomy cavern of an office building, with tier
upon tier of supporters carefully arranged by size, small children and
nursing mothers seated in front. Many had been badly injured; some were in
wheelchairs or on crutches. The white gleam of plaster casts and bandages
was everywhere. The walls were lined with black plastic garbage bags holding
whatever people had been able to flee with. The questions they asked were
mostly practical ones. How do I find blankets, clothes, food, safety? One
woman, shaking with grief, told Tsvangirai that when she had fled she became
separated from her two-year-old child. "Please, please, help me find my
baby," she sobbed.
"This has been an evolution for me," Tsvangirai said as we sat in his
office. "I was politically conscious, yes-but never in my wildest dreams did
I expect to be in this position." The hyper-educated Mugabe derides him as
"an ignoramus" because, as the eldest of nine children of a poor bricklayer
from the southeastern province of Masvingo, Tsvangirai dropped out of high
school to support his family. He became a mine worker and moved up the ranks
to lead the trade-union movement. By 1997 he had broken with Mugabe's ruling
party over what he calls its "misrule, official corruption, and
dictatorship." Soon after, he became the founding leader of the Movement for
The M.D.C. has always been, as its name would suggest, more a movement than
a party-a grab bag of opponents to Mugabe. It attracted support mostly from
the urban working class, but also from the educated elite, white farmers,
churchmen, academics, industrialists, and ethnic Ndebeles (the southern
tribe that had been the target of the Matabeleland massacres). Mugabe has
done his best to portray the M.D.C. as the bastard child of revanchist
whites and neo-colonial Western governments. But 99 percent of M.D.C.
supporters are black. And white farmers threw in their lot with the M.D.C.
only after Mugabe announced he would summarily confiscate their farms
From the very start of his political career, Tsvangirai has had a hard time
of it. In 1997, Mugabe's war veterans tried to bundle him out of a
10th-story window. Since then he's been arrested and imprisoned multiple
times, and charged with treason on two separate occasions. He has survived
two more assassination attempts. Several of his bodyguards have been
murdered. Last year he was tortured while in police custody. The freelance
cameraman who smuggled out footage of the badly injured Tsvangirai was
himself abducted. His body was found a few days later, dumped at a farm
Despite such tactics, Zimbabweans remain resilient and defiant, as I
discovered when I myself was arrested. I had wanted to attend a service at
Christchurch, where my father and sister are buried, but arrived to find the
congregation blocked at the entrance by a platoon of armed riot police. The
congregation, about a hundred strong, almost all of them black, mostly
middle-aged women in their Sunday finery, refused to disperse. They joined
hands and, in harmony, sang the hymn "On Jordan's Bank." Then the police
commander noticed me and suspected the presence of a journalist. "Batai
murungu," he ordered-"Get the white man."
The worshippers would have none of it. First the priest, then his deacon,
and then the entire congregation came to my defense, refusing to give me up.
So the police arrested the entire crowd, and because we were so many, they
herded us on foot to the police station. During the march, one by one,
members of the congregation came up close behind me and surreptitiously
removed incriminating notebooks and cell phones from my bag, slipping them
under their dresses. While I was being interrogated inside the police
station, they refused to leave, loudly singing hymns, until finally, after a
couple of hours, the police, perhaps shamed by this chorus, let me go.
Zimbabwe's runoff election was scheduled for June 27. Morgan Tsvangirai and
the M.D.C. withdrew from the contest a few days beforehand, unable to
compete in safety or with any guarantee of fairness. The party had
effectively been prohibited from campaigning. Rallies were banned.
Tsvangirai himself was arrested and detained five times. Mugabe's slogan in
the runoff election was "The Final Battle for Total Control." With no
competition he won handily.
By then the body count from Mugabe's pre-electoral spasm of violence stood
at a hundred, with another 5,000 people missing, many of whom must be
presumed dead. Bodies have been found collecting at the spillway of a Harare
reservoir. Others have been found in the bush, sometimes mutilated, hands or
feet cut off, eyes gouged out. In the months leading up to the runoff some
10,000 people had been tortured. Some 20,000 had had their homes burned
down. Up to 200,000 people had been displaced.
Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa, has been Africa's and the West's
designated negotiator with Mugabe, but in truth he has functioned mainly as
his protector. He continues to insist that the solution in Zimbabwe is not a
free, internationally observed election, but, rather, a coming together of
the tortured and the torturers, a "government of national unity."
(Zimbabweans look at the acronym formed by those words and say the result
would be not a gnu but a wildebeest.) The African Union held its annual
summit in Egypt immediately after Mugabe's inauguration, and shrank from any
direct action. Mugabe himself was there, and in a closed-door session
challenged African leaders to cast the first stone. I may have dirty hands,
he said, but many of you have hands dirtier than mine. The African leader
who has been the most outspoken proponent of democracy in Zimbabwe, Zambia's
president, Levy Mwanawasa, was felled by a stroke on the eve of the summit.
Mugabe must have shed crocodile tears.
The world's major powers are unlikely to take significant steps against
Mugabe. Zimbabwe lacks both of the two exports-oil and international
terrorism-that attract direct intervention. The German government did
finally press the banknote company Giesecke & Devrient to stop sending
banknote paper to Mugabe, and G&D acceded to this request in July. Even as
the West adds diminutive darts to its tiny quiver of sanctions, the greatest
pressure is likely to come from within Zimbabwe, as its society continues to
Or Mugabe's demise may come some other way. "How do you fight a dictatorship
using democratic means?," Morgan Tsvangirai asked me. "In Africa, they
usually use the gun. We have resisted that." The unspoken words were "so
far." Tsvangirai had gone out of his way during the campaign to give
assurances that any transition would be peaceful, offering amnesty to Mugabe's
coterie and promising to make no move against their bank accounts. Times
change. In Johannesburg, during the period of The Fear, a senior M.D.C.
figure had offered a vision of the future. If cheated at the ballot box, he
said, the M.D.C. could pull out of the political process in Zimbabwe
entirely, set up a government-in-exile (possibly in Botswana), and appeal to
the world for recognition as the legitimate government of Zimbabwe. And then
elements within the M.D.C. would fight back, launching an armed guerrilla
resistance. The senior official described all this to me as a "worst-case
scenario"-but also as something for which plans were being laid.
Not long after this conversation, back in Zimbabwe, I attended the Harare
International Festival of the Arts-another of those jarring juxtapositions.
It came as Zimbabwe awaited the results of the first round of voting in the
presidential election-and as Mugabe's militias were raining violence upon
the land-but at the opening, men and women gathered in formalwear and sipped
The festival began with a musical revue called "Dreamland," by the South
African director Brett Bailey. It had a single scheduled performance, in a
downtown park, and given the nature of the show, it would not have been
granted a second. No amount of metaphorical distancing could disguise its
meaning. It started with a gigantic figure, the tyrant king, wearing a
bloated, blood-red mask and a white military uniform, who made his way out
to the end of a lonely ramp that jutted into the audience. "A long time ago,
in a beautiful land far from here," the narrator began, "there lived a king
who had bewitched his people."
Onstage the members of a choir, dressed in striped pajamas, were beaten down
by baton-wielding hyenas in military fatigues. The singers vomited votes
into ballot boxes, then fell into a trance. "The king swallowed the songs of
all his people," the narrator continued. "And the only sound to be heard in
that beautiful land was the drone of the king's voice."
The tyrant king remained on his lonely perch. The narrator went on: "But in
that time there were songs that the king could not reach. These were the
people's most precious songs: the songs they sang in their dreams.. In the
dry valleys of Dreamland the silent choirs sang their songs: The battered
men in forgotten jails. The broken women on foreign soils. Families resting
in unmarked graves. The hungry, the lost, the landless. And their songs rose
like thunderclouds over the land."
Then, suddenly, a choir of children began to sing "Over the Rainbow" in
pure, piping voices. The prowling hyenas came up behind them and, one by
one, pulled rough hoods over their heads and hauled them off, until at last
there was only one little girl left onstage. She made it to the last line-"Why,
oh why, can't I?"-but before she could finish, she, too, was hooded by the
hyenas and dragged away.
All around me in the packed arena Zimbabweans wept for their country. And so
Native Zimbabwean Peter Godwin is the author of When a Crocodile Eats the
Sun. This article was written for Vanity Fair.
August 4, 2008
By Jane Madembo
THERE is no love lost between Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's
MDC. But in order to save Zimbabweans from an abyss of poverty and misery,
the two bitter foes are currently engaged in talks to form a marriage of
convenience. Each side has a list of what they hope to gain from the union.
It's an attractive proposition, but will it bring long lasting peace,
democracy and good governance to Zimbabwe? Let us not forget that the rotten
police and military forces will still be there at Mugabe's biding. His
Zanu-PF cohorts will still be there to play their tricks. Their chief
occupation will be to further their agenda, and to frustrate the efforts of
those who want to bring genuine change to Zimbabwe.
It became clearer to me after I took a taxi ride from a pub to my apartment
the other day. In New York City, a lot of taxi drivers are African men. As I
opened the door, I heard music blaring from the front; it was a Senegalese
singer, whose name I couldn't recall. The driver turned the volume down.
"Hey sister," he said cheerfully.
Being so far from home, anyone who calls me sister reminds me of my brothers
whose company I miss. I responded with a smile. He adjusted his mirror and
looked at me.
"You from Africa, yes, where?" he said without giving me a chance to
respond. How did he know that I am from Africa? Well, for starters, I am one
of those few women who still sport a huge kinky afro. My dark skin, my hair
and ample self said it loud and clear - African woman.
So we started a conversation, mainly one-sided. He asked questions and I
"You come from Ghana? No? Zambia? No? Then where are you from? Ghana? South
Africa, Zimbabwe? "I kept quiet during his guess work because I didn't want
to talk about Zimbabwe. You see, every time I mention Zimbabwe people either
pity me or profess their love for Mugabe. Talking about Zimbabwe these days
is like putting pressure on an open wound. I hoped by my silence the driver
would answer himself.
"South Africa?" He continued his eyes trained on me through the rear view
mirror, "Zimbabwe?" He must have read something from the expression on my
"Yaah, Zimbabwe, Mugabe? How's Robert Mugabe? Africa liberation, Zimbabwe!
He take the land, give it black to people. Good man. White men take
everyting! America no good." "
Just as suddenly he dropped the politics.
"Where is your husband? You married? You got green card?"
The questions kept coming.
"Myself," he said, his eyes darting back and forth, between the street in
front of him and me, "I have green card. I marry American woman for greed
card. After green card, divorce."
He turned to me with a self-satisfied smile.
"I love only African woman." He handed me his calling card.
"Call me, anytime," he said, obviously getting excited. "I take you
anywhere, anyting you want eat. African man take care of woman."
I asked him to stop as I had reached my destination. I left the card on the
car seat, as I quickly got out of the car. You see even though the taxi
driver was an attractive man, there was something disingenuous about the
man. He had deceived one woman already. Who knew what he was trying to pull
with me? Later I realized that it took a lot of self control not to tell the
man off. Why should the cheating and devaluation of another woman make feel
After Gukurahundi, Mugabe proposed a government of national unity with
Joshua Nkomo of ZAPU, but that union only served Mugabe's interests. It was
signed to ensure the obliteration of ZAPU, and to make Zimbabwe a one-party
state. It was also done to silence the voices of the Gukurahundi victims.
What did Joshua Nkomo gain from that partnership besides a cushy cushion for
himself? Like what the crafty taxi driver kindly offered me, it was a
marriage of convenience.
Marriages of convenience are nothing new, but they are never fair. The
parties involved never want the same thing; it's a matter of compromise. You
give me what I want and I give you what you want. Not everybody gets what
they want in the end. There are winners and losers. There is a certain lack
of transparency in the whole process, and this leads to more problems down
the road. A European friend did the same thing, he told me, unlike the taxi
driver who lacked the resources to pay the woman (the taxi driver pretended
to be in love); he paid the woman a tidy sum of money. However, when the
time came to dissolve the marriage, the woman resisted because she wanted to
make the marriage a real thing. He had to pay her off again to finally get
rid of her even though they never lived together.
Mugabe doesn't want to cede power. What he wants is for Morgan Tsvangirai to
become one of his puppets, to use him to get what he wants. In this marriage
Mugabe wants to be the man of the house. A man of the house who has acted
without reason or restraint. A man of the house who has failed to feed his
children and protect them from harm. A man of the house who doesn't listen
to anyone but himself, who doesn't take the advice of his neighbors. He is a
man of the house who has lost the respect of many.
A lot of people have lost their lives in Zimbabwe, since Mugabe came to
power. We may never know the full extent of the brutal operation in
Matabeleland because then the media was not like what it is today. Since
then, thanks to the internet revolution, we have been witness to the murders
perpetrated by Zanu-PF militia, the victims' bodies splashed on our computer
screens; the battered men and women and the bodies of MDC activists and MDC
We saw images of Zimbabwean refugees at the South African Embassy. The media
has been stifled and journalists forced to flee for their lives. But their
voices have not been silenced. Petra Gappah wrote that "If history was a
draft, then Zimbabwe would be in trouble." That might be so, but this is a
result of Mugabe's policy. Facts and the truth are hard to get in Zimbabwe
today, but there is no disputing the bodies of dead people, the displaced
people and the crumpling economy.
Some facts speak for themselves.
Millions of Zimbabweans have left Zimbabwe for better or worse. They are
languishing in foreign lands, some in places like Russia and Iceland,
depressed and traumatized by their forced separation from their families.
The murders of innocent people, the crumbling economy, coupled the
condemnation of the world at large is propelling Mugabe to say I do to
Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC. He wants to save his skin and that of his cronies.
But does Mugabe love the Zimbabwean people?
He turned his back and allowed people who purported to be war veterans go on
a rampage of killing and theft. He rendered the law enforcement, judiciary,
and education system impotent, by interfering with the justice department.
The police failed to maintain law and order or in some cases allowed
soldiers and police to become agents of terror themselves.
What do the Zimbabwean people want? They want an overhaul of the Zimbabwean
government. It is rotten, dysfunctional, and corrupt. They don't trust
Mugabe. Forming a government of national unity with Mugabe is like sweeping
dirty under the carpet hoping it won't resurface.
Please Mr Tsvangirai, don't say I do to Cde Mugabe.
Tribune Staff 03 August, 2008 04:57:00
Thanks to the ZANU-PF militia violence condoned, and provisioned by ZANU-PF,
hordes of tourists are staying away from the country.
Zimbabwe, Harare-- A total of 33 000 tourists intending to visit the country
cancelled their visits during the first quarter of 2008 following travel
warnings issued by tourism source markets.
A report by Zimbabwe's state controlled Sunday Mail revealed that a total of
33 000 cancellations had been recorded during the first quarter of the year.
"Japan and South Korea have reportedly joined the United Kingdom and America
in issuing travel warnings to their respective citizens with warnings from
the Commonwealth also contributing to cancellations from Italy and Spain,"
said the Sunday Mail.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke,
said Zimbabwe lost over 2 000 visitors from South Korea in the second
quarter of the year, which translates into the flight of a possible 4 000
bed nights, while 3 800 tourists expected from April to July translated to
some 7 600 bed nights were lost, as most of these tourists spend an average
"The country's largest hospitality group African Sun Limited said arrivals
during the six months to March had declined six percent from last year's
growth of 17 percent. The group said they had cancellations of close to 10
000 rooms by foreigners just before the harmonised elections," reported the
Surprisingly Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) statistics indicate that the
tourism and distribution sector grew by an estimated 11 percent.
"Tourist arrivals recorded an 11 percent increase from 305 757 in the fist
quarter of 2007 to 340 810 recorded during the first quarter of 2008,
despite the negative publicity that the country is currently going through,"
said RBZ governor Gideon Gono while presenting his post election monetary
statement last week.
At its peak in 1998, tourism accounted for eight percent of gross domestic
product, 12. 5 percent of formal employment and about 11 percent of foreign