Sekai Holland of the MDC one of the ministers
appointed to oversee “healing process”.
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s hybrid government has been
inflated by the inclusion of five ministers in an apparent bid by both Zanu-PF
and the two MDC parties to pacify disgruntled officials who could not be
accommodated in the complement of 31 ministers prescribed by the unity
The unity deal provides for 31
Ministers, 15 of them from Zanu-PF and 13 from the mainstream MDC led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Three ministers were allocated to the smaller MDC led
by one of the two Deputy Prime Ministers, Arthur Mutambara.
Of the 31, the deal says, each party was allowed to
appoint one minister from outside Parliament.
The three ministers so appointed shall become members
of the House of Assembly and shall have the right to sit, speak and debate in
Parliament, but are not entitled to vote.
But five additional Ministers of State who were not
covered by the Global Political Agreement of September 15, 2008, signed between
the rival parties were mysteriously sworn in on Thursday. Last Friday an attempt
by Zanu-PF to have five additional ministers was foiled after MDC ministers
threatened to boycott the ceremony at State House.
It appears the three parties have since reached some
compromise with Zanu-PF being allocated three additional ministries with the
two MDC parties getting one each. Zanu-PF appears to have been confronted with
the problem of whom to leave out of its reduced allocation of ministries. There
was embarrassment when five Zanu-PF nominees, including the party’s chairman,
John Nkomo, were requested to stand down moments before being sworn
Of the five finally sworn in Thursday, three are
ministers of state. They include Nkomo, Sekai Holland of the mainstream MDC and
Senator Gibson Sibanda, the Vice President in the Mutambara led MDC.
Two other ministers, Flora Bhuka, now Minister of
State in Vice President Joseph Msika’s office and Sylvester Nguni, who shall
serve in Vice President Joyce Mujuru’s office, took the oath of
Asked to explain this new development, President
Mugabe said some of the ministers were to form an organ that will oversee what
he called the healing process.
“You have got to know who they are,” he said. “We
have three big ones who will comprise John Nkomo, Gibson Sibanda and Sekai
“We want them to constitute an organ that will do the
healing process and reconciliation process. The other two (Bhuka and Nguni), one
will work in Vice President Msika’s office and Mai Mujuru’s office, that’s
Meanwhile, President Mugabe on Thursday swore in 19
deputy ministers to serve in the new unity government. Only 15 deputy ministers
were stipulated by the agreement, eight of them nominated by Zanu-PF, six by
Tsvangirai’s MDC while one was to come from the other MDC
Moses Mzila Ndlovu is the new Foreign Affairs deputy
minister while Eddington Tapela moves to Higher and Tertiary Education as
Douglas Mombeshora becomes deputy at Health and Child
Welfare while Tracy Mutinhiri is the Labour and Social Welfare deputy
Lazarus Dokora is the new Deputy Minister of
Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, while Zanu PF’s Samuel Undenge becomes
deputy at Economic Planning and Development.
Other deputy ministers are: Hubert Nyanhongo (Energy
and Power Development), Walter Chidhakwa (State Enterprises and Parastatals),
Michael Bimha (Industry and Commerce), Reuben Marumahoko (Regional Intergration
and International Cooperation), Aguy Georgias (Public Works), Andrew Langa
(Public Service), Sessel Zvidzai (Local Government, Urban and Rural
Development), Tichaona Mudzingwa (Transport and Infrastructural
Also appointed were Murisi Zvizayi who becomes deputy
at Mines and Mining Development while the MDC’s James Timba is now deputy in the
Media, Information and Publicity ministry.
MDC Youth Assembly chairman Thamsanqa Mahlangu
becomes deputy minister of Youth, Development Indigenisation and Empowerment,
with Evelyn Masaiti moving to Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development
and Jessie Majome becoming Justice and Legal Affairs deputy minister.
Giles Mutsekwa, one of the two ministers of Home
Affairs with Zanu-PF’s Kembo Mohadi, was also sworn in on Thursday. He was
absent when the rest of the ministers were sworn in last Friday.
Roy Bennett, the MDC treasurer who is currently in
custody on charges of terrorism, was not sworn in as deputy Minister of
The MDC says the charges leveled against Bennett are
President Mugabe evaded questions on the Bennett
“That’s a court case, isn’t it,” he said before he
was whisked away.
Tsvangirai said Wednesday the jailing of Bennett was
part of a plot by certain elements within Zanu-PF who were intent on derailing
the unity government as it threatened their own security. When Bennett is sworn
in the full complement of deputy ministers will be 20.
The following is the full list of the 19 deputy
ministers sworn-in Thursday:
Foreign Affairs - Moses Mzila Ndlovu;
Tertiary Education - Lutho Addington Tapela;
Health and Child Welfare - Dr
Tendai Douglas Mombeshora;
Labour and Social Welfare - Dr Tracy
Education, Sports, Arts and Culture - Lazarus Dokora;
Planning and Development - Dr Samuel Undenge;
Energy and Power Development -
State Enterprises and Parastatals - Walter
Industry and Commerce - Michael Bimha;
Regional Integration and
International Co-operation - Reuben Marumahoko;
Public Works - Aguy
Public service - Andrew Langa;
Local Government, Urban and Rural
Development - Sessil Zvidzai;
Transport and Infrastructural Development - Dr
Mines and Mining Development - Murisi Zwizwai;
Information and Publicity - Jameson Timba;
Youth Development, Indigenisation
and Empowerment - Thamsanqa Mahlangu;
Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community
Development - Evelyn Masaiti;
Justice and Legal Affairs - Jessie
Mugabe invites jailed opposition official to palace
Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - Zimbabwean President Robert
Thursday invited a top opposition official held by police on
offences to his palace, where he is expected to be sworn in as
Roy Bennett, a member of the country's main
opposition party, was
arrested last Friday and initially charged with
The charges were later dropped, and replaced with those
He is his party's nominee for the
post of Deputy Minister of
Agriculture in the country's new coalition
government which includes the
But he had widely been
expected to be dropped because of the charges
he faced, which his party has
called 'scandalous and politically-motivated.'
In a radio announcement,
Mugabe's secretary said that Bennett together
with other officials expected
to be sworn in to various government positions
should go to State House
A magistrates court Wednesday dismissed an application
lawyers to have the charges that he was facing dropped, and
remanded him in
The arrest has strained relations
among the parties in the coalition
government, which was formed to end
months of wrangling over last year's
Govt is broke, says Coltart as he asks
teachers to end strike
|Thursday, 19 February 2009 |
|Education Minister David
HARARE – Zimbabwe Education Minister David Coltart has
told teachers that the new unity government is “very broke” and unable to meet
their pay demands, union leaders told ZimOnline on Thursday.
leaders of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) and the Progressive
Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) on Wednesday to plead with the two unions that
represent the country’s teachers to call off a strike for more pay that has been
going on since last year and has grounded the school system.
Minister was not immediately available for comment on the matter.
and PTUZ leaders said Coltart had been frank with them telling them government
could not afford to give teachers more than the US$100-monthly allowance awarded
all civil servants because it had no money.
The union leaders – who appeared
amenable to Coltart’s plea to end the strike but insisted they would only take a
final decision on the matter after consulting their members – said Coltart had
told them he would approach United Nations agencies and international donors to
try to raise cash to pay teachers.
“He (Coltart) briefed us about what the
Ministry of Finance has offered all civil servants from a floor cleaner to a
senior manager which is US$100 vouchers which are redeemable at banks,” said
ZIMTA secretary general, Richard Gundani.
“He said on his part as Minister,
he will engage United Nations agencies and other international donors to help
because he said there is no money in government,” added Gundani.
who had earlier on Wednesday before meeting Coltart told ZimOnline, that PTUZ
members would continue with the strike, said the Education Minister pleaded with
teachers to return to classrooms while he scrounges for cash for their
He said: “Coltart was clear that the government is very broke. He
pleaded with us to bear with the new government and go back to work.”
and Majongwe said they were consulting their structures before meeting Coltart
next Monday to brief him on the outcome of their consultations with teachers.
But Majongwe hinted that teachers might return to schools in order to give
the new government time to raise funds.
“There is a possibility we can give
them a benefit of the doubt,” Majongwe said. “We might concede but on condition
that the government accepts to admit all teachers that left the profession due
to economic hardships and political circumstances without any
Gundani said it was agreed that any teacher who left the
profession with effect from 1 January 2009 should be re-engaged
“We have also agreed that they should be adjustments to the
new school calendar by adding a week or two because we have lost some time. We
are mostly likely going to see the new term eating into the Easter Holidays in
April,” said Gundani.
Very little learning took place at public schools in
2008 as teachers spent the better part of the year striking for more pay or
sitting at home because could not afford bus fare to work on their meagre
There has been virtually no learning at public schools since the
new term officaily began on January 27 because teachers are either on strike or
unable to come to work.
The collapse of the education sector along with that
of the public health system have come to symbolize the decayed state of
Zimbabwe’s key infrastructure and institutions after a decade of acute
Once a model African economy Zimbabwe is grappling with an
unprecedented humanitarian crisis seen in acute shortages of food and basic
commodities, amid an outbreak of cholera that has killed more than 3 500 people
since last August.
A new unity government formed last week by President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has raised hopes the country
could finally emerge from its crisis.
But the success of the Harare
administration hinges on its ability to raise financial support from rich
Western countries that have however said they will not immediately help until
they are convinced Mugabe is committed genuinely share power with Tsvangirai. –
detainees granted bail, which was immediately reversed
By Violet Gonda
Four of the seven political detainees accused of organising
a series of
bombings of police stations and railway lines, were granted bail
Court Judge Justice Yunus Omerjee, on Thursday. Chinoto Zulu,
Nkomo, Mapfumo Garutsa and Regis Mujeyi were granted bail, but
was immediately suspended after the Attorney General's Office
section of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. The State said
not happy with the granting of bail and would appeal in the Supreme
This means the 'bailed' accused persons remain in custody, pending
Nkomo and Zulu are currently in hospital after they were
taken to the
Avenues Clinic on Monday by prison officials when their
deteriorated in jail.
The bail applications of the
remaining three in this group - Chris Dhlamini,
Ghandi Mudzingwa and
freelance photojournalist Anderson Shadreck Manyere,
were denied by the High
Court. Mudzingwa is currently 'detained' in hospital
together with civic
leader Jestina Mukoko, and 72 year old Fidelis Chiramba.
All the other
political detainees are still locked up at the notorious and
Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
It was a week ago when the new Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said in an
impassioned speech at his inauguration
that: "It hurts that as we celebrate
here today there are some who are in
prison. I can assure you that they are
not going to remain in those dungeons
any day or any week longer."
But a week later they are all still in jail,
including the Deputy Minister
of Agriculture, Roy Bennett. Due to this
illegal incarceration Bennett could
not be sworn in with the other Deputy
Ministers on Thursday.
The Mugabe regime continues to violate the Global
despite the parties agreeing to "strive to create an
tolerance and respect among Zimbabweans and that all citizens
with dignity and decency irrespective of age, gender, race,
of origin or political affiliation."
The MDC is
coming under increasing pressure to act on its word. Tendai Biti,
party's Secretary General and the new Finance Minister, told a South
broadcaster on Tuesday that the MDC would take 'unspecified action'
Bennett was not released immediately. That was the day that the MDC
was formally charged in the courts and the following day, he was
custody to face trial in March.
Bennett's lawyers were in Harare making
an urgent bail application in the
High Court on Thursday and lawyer Trust
Maanda said the matter would be
heard next week.
But no action,
unspecified or otherwise, has been taken by the MDC.
rights lawyers complain that the State is continuing to
play games and using
delaying tactics over the political detainees. Their
Muchadehama blasted the Attorney General's office saying: "It
to me that the State was not appealing on legal grounds. It was
and malicious appeal by the AG's office."
The lawyer said from the very
beginning the AG's office has been blocking
bail and opposing requests to
allow all the detainees to receive much needed
medical treatment, without
giving any good reasons for denying the accused
victims were all abducted from their homes and only found in various
cells in Harare several weeks later. Many of them disappeared in
last year, while a smaller group, including Mukoko, were abducted in
December. The individuals have submitted harrowing affidavits detailing how
they were tortured into admitting plots to overthrow the Mugabe regime.
Bennett is also facing terrorism charges.
All these treason and
sabotage charges are continuing, despite the formation
of an inclusive
Furthermore, the much vaunted Joint Monitoring and
(JOMIC), which was set up earlier this month to
keep an eye on the progress
of the Global Political Agreement, is reportedly
'struggling to hold
meetings because of a lack of money.'
co-chairperson Elton Mangoma told a news agency that they were
cash shortages, did not have a permanent office to hold meetings
and had no
administrative staff or travel expenses. He said some of the
who lived in Bulawayo and Mutare, had failed to attend
meetings in Harare
because of the travel costs.
against WOZA activists dropped, but harassment continues
By Alex Bell
The charges against four activists from the pressure group
Women of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA), were finally dropped on Thursday after a
prosecutor at the
Bulawayo Magistrates Court refused to entertain the fresh
criminal nuisance that were brought against them this
The four, who were arrested last Saturday, were finally brought to
Thursday after several delaying tactics by police, including
charges laid against the group at the last minute on Wednesday.
had been released from custody on Tuesday night after their
refusal to pay
'admission of guilt' fines, and were told to present
themselves to the
Bulawayo Central Police Station on Wednesday morning to be
taken to court.
But on Wednesday they were informed by the investigating
Masawi, that the charges against them were being changed
and so the
paperwork would need to be "prepared from the
The four had already spent four days in deplorable conditions
behind bars at
the police station, after being arrested along with another 6
a WOZA march in the city on Valentines Day last Saturday. The
activists were all denied access to their lawyers earlier this week
Tuesday six of the arrested group were released after paying the
of guilt' fines. The remaining four were finally released on
in what WOZA called a 'surprising twist' after the group had
refused to bow
to intimidation to pay the fines.
All those released
have spoken of the horrific conditions they endured, and
explained that the
cells were filthy with overflowing toilets and on the
first night, they were
severely overcrowded. The women were also subjected
to invasive strip
searches every day, while one woman on anti-retroviral
treatment had to
fight for access to her tablets every day as police tried
to deny her access
to her life-saving medication - on one occasion, she was
actually denied her
ARVs. Two of the women have had to seek medical
treatment for bad rashes
developed from the filthy conditions.
The harassment of WOZA members by
police has continued this week, and even
while the charges against the four
detained activists were being dropped in
court, police interrupted a closed
meeting of WOZA members on Thursday.
Officers from the Law and Order unit
refused to leave the meeting that had
been called to discuss the state of
education in the country, forcing those
present to end the meeting, saying
their "freedoms of assembly and speech
would be curtailed by the presence of
WOZA leader Jenni Williams on Thursday told SW Radio
Africa other forms of
harassment have also continued, including so far
presences at both Williams and co-leader Magodonga
Mahlangu's homes in
recent days. Williams explained that more details about
the harassment would
be released on Friday. Meanwhile, Williams said the
group's lawyers have
compiled papers to pursue legal action against the
police, and the
individual officers, responsible for the arrest and wrongful
their members after Saturday's march.
Zimbabwe stock exchange opens for business in
Zimbabwe's stock exchange has reopened for business
in Harare to trade in US dollars.
Three months after the Reserve Bank ordered it to
close, the Harare exchange was reopened by the new finance minister Tendai Biti,
of the Movement for Democratic Change, who rang the bell to start the day's
The move symbolises the hope for economic improvement
that the country's power-sharing government represents. But the fact that shares
are now priced in US currency is equally significant, demonstrating the
desperate state of the country's finances.
In terms of the moribund Zimbabwean dollar, which has
been rendered worthless by the crash of the economy, Zimbabwean shares have been
the best performing in the world in recent years.
Many of them regularly surged 100 per cent a day as
investors used them as a hedge against the country's hyperinflation, which
reached an estimated 89.7 sextillion per cent before calculations became
In real terms, shares' performance was much more
restrained, as the collapsing currency wiped out the vast majority of the
Nonetheless buying them proved to have been a shrewd
Business was slow with few buyers and sellers in the
market but the first trade, of 3,026 shares in Apex, an engineering and
stationery firm, went through at 1 cent. When dealing was suspended in November
its shares were worth less than 0.1 US cents at unofficial exchange
The use of dollars and South African rand in Zimbabwe
has become ever more widespread as the Zimbabwe dollar was rendered worthless by
President Robert Mugabe's mismanagement, and the process was effectively
legalised last month.
A usable currency will be essential to rebuilding the
economy, and Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister, said that he was "really
engaging" the Pretoria government over using the rand. A number of southern
African countries already have their currencies pegged to it.
"We are in an emergency situation, a fire-fighting
situation," said Mr Tsvangirai, two days after the first cabinet
"The ministers have just been in office for two days.
Some of them are telling me horror stories about the state of their
"The ministry of public works is supposed to have 60
engineers but they only have two. The ministry of mines has 96 posts but they
only have 20 people including those who make tea," he said.
As part of the change to foreign currency, which will
effectively see the Zimbabwe dollar abandoned until confidence in a new version
of it can be established, Mr Biti has announced that all civil servants will
receive a monthly salary of US$100 (£70), after plans to pay them in grocery
vouchers were dropped.
Schools and hospitals already charge in foreign
currency, as do utilities and bus drivers. Even the state-owned Herald
newspaper, the government mouthpiece, last month abandoned attempts to pretend
all was well and set its cover price at US$1.
court should resolve MDC Bennett's case
Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:33pm
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE, Feb 19 (Reuters) -
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on
Thursday the arrest of a senior
opposition official who was due to join a
unity government was a matter to
be resolved by the courts.
Roy Bennett, named to be deputy agriculture
minister in a new government,
was arrested before ministers were sworn in
last Friday. He has been charged
with illegally possessing firearms to
commit acts of insurgency, banditry
Bennett was due to
be sworn in on Thursday but remains in prison after his
lawyers failed to
have terrorism and insurgency charges dropped against him.
comment on Bennett's arrest and appearance in court, which has been
around the world, Mugabe said: "Around the world? I don't know why,
New Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on
arrest undermined the government and efforts to
stabilise the economy.
He has also demanded the release of other party
activists, including human
rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko.
who swore in deputy ministers on Thursday, said the unity government
course and that despite past hostilities between his ZANU-PF and the
opposition MDC, the parties were now working together.
wife, Heather earlier criticised MDC party for failing get him
"They are not doing enough at all. Roy has been there five or six
far as I am concerned he is no better off in there under a
government than he was under a ZANU-PF government," she told South
The MDC may be reluctant to quit the new government
formed to lead the
country out of economic crisis despite Bennett's arrest,
Tendai Biti, the new finance minister, said on
Mukoko and opposition activists have been charged with attempting
Mugabe and have been in detention for more than two
They deny the charges and say they were tortured while in police
allegations authorities deny. (Additional reporting by Michael
Faces Emergency - Tsvangirai
(AFP)--Zimbabwe's new unity government is having to take
emergency action in
every state sector to counter years of collapse, Prime
Tsvangirai said Thursday.
"We are in an emergency situation," Tsvangirai
told top businessmen in the
capital, two days after Zimbabwe's new cabinet
held its inaugural meeting.
The new government on Wednesday took its
first steps to revive the economy
with foreign currency payouts to encourage
civil servants to return to work
in what Tsvangirai said were emergency
"This is firefighting we are doing. We are talking of emergency
interventions in various sectors," said Tsvangirai.
skills flight in government departments, Tsvangirai said
he had already been
told horror stories by cabinet members.
"The ministers have just been in
office for two days," Tsvangirai said.
"Some of them are telling me horror
stories about the state of their
"The ministry of public
works is supposed to have 60 engineers but they only
have two. The ministry
of mines has 96 posts but they only have 20 people
including those who make
tea," he said.
"How do you effectively discharge your mandate with such
Tsvangirai vowed to act on fresh farm invasions and
corruption to promote
investment to the country's tanked
"Corruption will not be tolerated and those that practice and
corruption will be actively sought out and prosecuted by this
"We are concerned at the upsurge of illegal
occupation of farmland," he
added. "We are dealing with
Speaking in the wake of an offer by the British government to
senior citizens struggling in its former colony, Tsvangirai said
tattered international reputation needed to be mended.
have to rebrand the country," Tsvangirai said.
"We have been seriously
damaged. We want to see people coming rather than
being evacuated from
Zimbabwe's international standing has been blighted by
policies of long-time
ruler President Robert Mugabe's government including a
campaign to seize
white- owned farms.
Tsvangirai was sworn-in as
prime minister last week in an inclusive
government with his former rival
which is now tasked with reviving the
country's moribund economy and
defusing political tensions.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
party said seeking amnesty
Last update: 12:02 p.m. EST Feb. 19,
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Feb 19, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party reportedly is seeking an
amnesty deal, an opposition leader's wife says.
Heather Bennett told CNN
members of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party offered to
release imprisoned opposition
leaders in exchange for a promise of amnesty
for any crimes between
Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 and 2009.
Her husband, Roy Bennett, was
arrested on terrorism-related charges shortly
before he was to be sworn in
as deputy agriculture minister. He said he
rejected taking part in such a
There has been no official word on the alleged offer.
long-time Mugabe foe, has been charged with illegally possessing
for the purposes of trying to commit acts of insurgency, banditry
terrorism and to illegally leave the country, his lawyer said.
wife accuses MDC of inaction
February 19, 2009
JOHANNESBURG - THE wife of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
treasury and Deputy Minister of Agriculture -designate in the unity
government, Roy Bennett on Thursday accused the party's leadership as well
as the new inclusive government of failing to get her husband to be remanded
out of custody.
Bennett was detained last Friday on charges of
illegally possessing firearms
for purposes of trying to commit acts of
insurgency, banditry and terrorism.
"They are not doing enough at all.
No. Roy has been there (in detention)
five or six days now. As far as I am
concerned he is no better off in there
under a coalition government than he
was under a Zanu-PF government,"
Heather Bennett said in a telephone
interview with South Africa's eTV.
Heather Bennett lives in
On Wednesday a magistrate ruled there was enough evidence
for Bennett to
face charges, including of illegal arms possession and
remanded him in custody until March 4.
against Bennett have changed several times since his arrest on
The MDC says the charges are trumped up and wants him released, along
more than 30 other MDC supporters and activists who have been detained
recent months. Human rights activist Jestina Mukoko is among the detained
activists who have been charged with attempting to topple President Robert
Mugabe and have been in detention for more than two months, deepening
tensions in the new administration.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
who is under increasing pressure to show
his decision to take office was not
a mistake, said on Wednesday Bennett's
arrest undermined the government and
efforts to stabilise the economy.
Tsvangirai has demanded the release of
the MDC activists. The MDC however
appears reluctant to take action that
could threaten the new government.
"Surely it's a very simple case,"
Heather Bennett said. "Roy should at least
be released on bail and if there
was a case to answer to let him come before
a court. Apart from that surely
the inclusive government has to respect the
rule of law and human
Mugabe marks 85th year with a bang as Zim limps along
President Robert Mugabe, who turns 85 on Saturday, has
led Zimbabwe to
absolute ruin during his 29 years in power, while he and his
family have led
lives of comparative luxury.
liberation hero, who is Africa's oldest leader, is now
shunned by many for
presiding over the collapse of a once prosperous nation
while lavishing his
family with cosy lifestyles.
This disparity has been highlighted by
Mugabe's plans to celebrate his
birthday with a lavish feast on February 28
in the farming town of Chinhoyi
in his home province of Mashonaland
The youth league of the veteran leader's Zanu-PF party held a
fund-raiser earlier this month and scraped together $110 000 with promises
to nearly double the amount.
The appeal, at a time when nearly half
of Zimbabweans depend on food
aid, also netted 80 cattle, 70 goats, 12 pigs,
dozens of loaves of bread and
five tonnes of corn-meal for the birthday
An intellectual who initially embraced Marxism, Mugabe was widely
praised when he won the election that ended white minority rule in 1980, a
few weeks after Zimbabwe gained independence.
But over the years he
has lost the friendship of former allies in the
West and been strongly
criticised for his economic mismanagement and alleged
"He has metamorphosed from what he was in the 1980s to what he
now," Edred Masunungure, a University of Zimbabwe analyst, told
"It appears there are ostentatious dimensions to his lifestyle
were not present during his first two decades in office and are
with the state of our economy."
But for Masunungure,
Mugabe is not in the same league of some
notorious African dictators such as
former Zaire leader Mobuto Sese Seko,
who pillaged the Democratic Republic
of Congo to support his extravagant
Mugabe's house is in
the plush Borrowdale suburb of Harare, home to
the country's rich and
famous. His youngest son attends a top primary
wife Grace, dubbed the "first shopper" instead of first
lady and Mugabe's
junior by some 40 years, has made headlines for displaying
a penchant for
retail therapy on overseas trips.
Grace Mugabe was more recently in the
news for allegedly assaulting a
photographer during a trip to Hong Kong,
where Britain's Sunday Times
reported that the couple had bought a
"He has changed from the hero idolised by many
to an egocentric ruler
who has developed a cult personality rewarding his
cronies and those close
to him," said Takavafira Zhou, a political scientist
from Masvingo state
"If he had retired in the late
1980s he would be one of Africa's
Born on February 21, 1924, at Kutama Mission north-west of the
Harare, Mugabe qualified as a teacher at the age of 17.
took his first political paces when he enrolled at Fort Hare
South Africa, where he met many of Southern Africa's future
Mugabe then resumed teaching, moving to Northern
Rhodesia (now Zambia)
and Ghana, the home of his first wife Sally, before
returning to what was
then Southern Rhodesia in 1960.
As a member
of various nationalist parties banned by the
white-minority government, he
was detained with other leaders in 1964 and
spent the next 10 years in
prison camps or jail.
In his early years Mugabe was credited with
improving health and
education for the black majority: services that later
collapsed as his rule
descended into hyperinflation and economic
Mugabe last week swore in his rival Morgan Tsvangirai as prime
minister as part of a unity government that is bidding to pull the country
out of crisis.
The decision, after months of delays and an
elections fiasco, marked
the first time that Mugabe has loosened his 29-year
stranglehold on power.
celebratory rally in Gweru set to draw thousands of supporters
19 February 2009
MDC supporters are set to gather in great
numbers in Gweru this weekend, for
a celebratory rally led by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, as the party
prepares to celebrate its 10 year
anniversary in September.
The rally, which will be held at the Mkoba
stadium, will mark the first of a
series of countrywide celebrations
expected to be held every month until a
grand celebration in Bulawayo on
September 11 - the day the party was formed
The rallies will
also serve as long overdue celebrations for the MDC's
victories in the
parliamentary and presidential elections last year -
victories that were
swiftly undermined by the outbreak of politically
motivated and violent
attacks against MDC supporters. The iron grip with
which ZANU PF and Robert
Mugabe have clung to power in the country, through
whatever means possible,
has seen the MDC agree to form a power-share
government with its rival
party, in what MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa has
called a 'painful
The MDC is expecting thousands of supporters to gather for
rally to celebrate under the theme: "Together to the end;
people's victory." Tsvangirai is set to deliver a key-note
address at the
rally and spokesperson Chamisa said it is a time "for the
party to take
stock of its achievements and mourn its fallen
"As we celebrate our 10th anniversary this year, we know our
obligations and responsibilities. We have no doubt that the
is firmly on course. We shall forever walk together,"
Zimbabwe: Govt Appoints New Science Minister
Munyaradzi Makoni and Christina Scott
17 February 2009
Harare — Zimbabwe's new minister of science and technology development has
pledged to address the dire state of the country's research institutions and
take steps to slow scientific brain drain.
Heneri Amos Murima Dzinotyiweyi, a 58-year-old former mathematics lecturer
and university dean, was nominated for the post by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai as part of the new bipartisan government of national unity. He was
sworn in last week (February 13).
"There are two major challenges we need to address immediately," Dzinotyiweyi
told SciDev.Net in an exclusive interview laying out his plans.
"We have non-functional institutions, having hardly any capacity, barely
running. This includes schools, universities, research institutes. Our immediate
desire is that these institutions begin working."
One way of remedying this, he suggests, would be to pay scientists in a
currency stronger than the Zimbabwean dollar, which suffers from
hyper-inflation. "The local currency is completely corrupt, so we are trying to
see if scientists can be paid in a hard currency such as the US dollar or the
South African rand. That would help immediately," he says.
The other priority is to reverse the brain drain, says Dzinotyiweyi, a member
of the Movement for Democratic Change party, which was blocked from power by
months of stalemate after winning last year's elections.
"Zimbabwe has lost enormous scientific manpower. We need to use the diaspora,
those Zimbabweans who are anxious to contribute back home. We want them to
participate meaningfully even if they are out of the country - although of
course in the long run, we would like them to return to the country," he
Dzinotyiweyi, a founding member of the three-year-old Zimbabwe Academy of
Sciences, said he hoped to use the academy's international contacts to establish
links with Zimbabwean researchers now living elsewhere.
One of Dzinotyiweyi's first actions was to call for the release of his
colleague Roy Bennett, the designated deputy minister of agriculture, who
appeared in court today (17 February) on charges of terrorism, banditry and
sabotage after being arrested by police shortly before the swearing-in ceremony
on 13 February, after he returned from exile in South Africa.
"I need Roy Bennett to work with me so we can revive agricultural research,
which has traditionally been a strength in Zimbabwean science, in order to
improve the rural economy," Dzinotyiweyi says.
Dzinotyiweyi was dean of the University of Zimbabwe from 1991 to 2000 and in
the mid 1990s worked on study of science and technology across the 14-state
Southern African Development Community.
He returned to his post as professor of mathematics prior to his resignation
to stand in the March 2008 elections. He has continued to assist his university
department on a voluntary basis after being elected as a member of parliament,
although he - like all the winning opposition candidates - was blocked by the
ruling party from taking up his seat until September 2008, when parliament began
to resume its functions.
Dzinotyiweyi's constituency is the high-density, impoverished Budiriro suburb
of Harare, which suffered the country's first outbreak of cholera following the
collapse of water treatment plants in August 2008. He says that he is already
working closely with his opposition party colleague Henry Madzorera - a medical
doctor who has been appointed minister of health - in tackling the cholera
Dzinotyiweyi faces a major challenge, given rampant inflation and economic
and infrastructural collapse in the country.
But he remains optimistic. "This arrangement of an all-inclusive government
requires all of us to educate each other on the importance of a fair, free and
functional society," he says.
He added that he has no intention at present of investigating his
controversial predecessor, Olivia Muchena of the ZANU-PF party.
Muchena faced murder charges in relation to the disappearance of her
constituency's opposition candidate, but the charges were dropped after the
judge left the country. She has been kept in cabinet by President Robert Mugabe
as minister of women's affairs, gender and community development.
"Right now my position is to learn the job, what it involves, to learn what
is being done so far, what programmes are being done, how they are being
handled," says Dzinotyiwei.
Public Statement: Validity of older and worn U.S. notes
U.S. Embassy Harare
Public Statement: Validity of
older and worn U.S. notes
The U.S. Embassy has in the last
two months received numerous enquiries from members of the Zimbabwean public on
the validity of older series of U.S. notes as well as mutilated or worn U.S.
notes. The Embassy does not issue new banknotes in exchange for old and/or
Members of the public are advised
that older series of U.S. currency remain legal tender in the United States and
elsewhere. U.S. bank notes do not expire.
Similarly, any badly soiled, dirty, defaced, disintegrated,
limp, torn, worn, out currency note that is clearly more than one-half of the
original note, and does not require special examination to determine its value,
is legal tender. However, the decision on whether to accept, or not, any
bill is up to the bank, business or individual.
Individuals with questions or concerns about
detecting fraudulent currency can contact the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs
Section in Eastgate, Harare.
Issued by Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs
Tsvangirai's unity government under threat from ZAPU
Morgan Tsvangirai's unity government has come under
threat after the
formation of ZAPU groped in astounding support from Shonas
as well as
Ndebeles. Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom descended on Milton
Sunday to witness the official setting up of Zimbabwe's oldest
structures in the UK. With a huge vibrant attendance, the
charged with songs and chanting as delegates arrived from all
over UK -
Wales, Scotland, and England.
One supporter who spoke
to the ZimEye voiced out that he relished this
moment so much as he had
waited for so long for this to happen, and believed
that this should mark a
defining moment for all Zimbabweans irrespective of
colour, creed, religion
and tribe. Barnabas Masinyane also mentioned that
Zimbabweans need strong,
fair and non opportunistic leadership if Zimbabwe
has to restore its pride
and overcome tribal divisions created and designed
by the current government
under Robert Mugabe's rule.
Visiting ZAPU senior official Adv Cyril
Ndebele, who had come from
Zimbabwe to officiate the launching of ZAPU
re-visited the historical facts
of how ZAPU was once the largest party in
Zimbabwe before Robert Mugabe's
ZANU PF usurped control of the state
propaganda machinery and virtually
destroyed ZAPU's image in the
Ndebele called out for all Zimbabweans who 'stand for true
values to get out of ZANU PF, MDC and all other parties, and join
order to build the Zimbabwe that was envisaged by the party's
leadership under Joshua Nkomo, Josiah Chinamano, James Chikerema,
many others. He went further to explain that those true Zimbabwean
envisaged by the elders have never been implemented as Mugabe
sought to dispose of the body (ZAPU) into which they were
Adv Cyril Ndebele maintained his cool conduct as he engaged
and the people began to also bombard him with questions demanding
to know if
Mugabe's rule cannot be challenged by the same force and
brutality as the
one it exacts on the people. The crowd attacked the
Zimbabwe's new unity
government calling it a 'failure of failures' and one
that should be
destroyed and never taken seriously.
explained to the house that force of equal magnitude and
destruction was not
a better option as much as we should remember what Nkomo
said about Mugabe
during the funeral of Lookout Masuku, one of ZAPU's top
generals who died in
1986 in prison under the watchful eye of the notorious
agents, the CIO.
To end the business of the day delegates voted for the
ZAPU UK interim
leadership who will work to mobilise Zimbabweans for the
PROVINCE congress to which dates and times are yet to be
confirmed. The date
for this event is most likely to be confirmed after the
main ZAPU congress
which will be held in Zimbabwe from the 1st April to the
2nd April 2009.
The majority of the people who attended are all former
who have vowed to oppose the unity the Zimbabwe's unity
Mugabe and the MDC voicing that it does not bring any
solutions to the
Zimbabwean problem. Cyril Ndebele also said that
the MDC has made a mistake going in where ZAPU has decided to come
Daily cholera update and alerts, 19 Feb 2009
* Please note that
daily information collection is a challenge due to communication and staff
constraints. On-going data cleaning may result in an increase or decrease in the
numbers. Any change will then be explained.
** Daily information on new deaths should not imply that these deaths
occurred in cases reported that day. Therefore daily CFRs >100% may
A. Highlights of the day:
- 989 cases and 53 deaths added today (in comparison 708 cases and 19 deaths
- 49.1% of the districts affected have reported today (29 out of 59 affected
- 90.3 % of districts reported to be affected (56 districts/62)
- Cumulative Institutional Case Fatality Rate 1.9%
- Daily Institutional Case Fatality Rate 2.9%
- Mazowe cases have been revised down to 381 cases after a data entry mistake
Mnangagwa: An enigma of Zimbabwean politics
Zimbabwe's newly appointed defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa has a way of
reinventing himself - five years after a
political miscalculation almost
cost him his career, the politician has
re-emerged as the man most likely to
succeed President Robert Mugabe as head
of the ruling ZANU PF.
Once regarded as the heir apparent to Mugabe's throne prior to 2004,
Mnangagwa has deftly manoeuvred the booby-trapped ZANU PF terrain and could
be headed for the top again.
Just five years ago, most
observers would have written Mnangagwa off
as a political force in Zimbabwe
after a misjudgement by a ZANU PF faction
he leads resulted in his demotion
from the third most powerful position in
he had led a group of ZANU PF officials in 2004 opposed to
of Joice Mujuru as Zimbabwe's first female vice president.
denied involvement in the plot which led to the suspension of
Although he survived the debacle, Mnangagwa
subsequently lost his
position as ZANU PF's administration secretary and was
demoted to the less
powerful role of legal secretary.
demotion may have been just the right tonic for a political
rebirth for the
crafty politician, considered by his ZANU PF colleagues as a
which has earned him the nickname "The Crocodile".
His enemies may
have underestimated that as legal secretary they were
Mnangagwa closer to Mugabe.
He was responsible for formulating ZANU
PF's strategy in power-sharing
talks with the opposition Movement for
As legal secretary he oversaw the work of the
party's negotiators at
the talks mediated by South Africa and, together with
responsible for overall strategy.
aptly rewarded for his loyalty to Mugabe by being
appointed defence minister
in the unity government formed last week - and
with that a real chance of
taking over the reigns at ZANU PF once the
veteran Zimbabwean leader
He was Mugabe's chief election agent during the 2008
election, and it was reported that he headed Mugabe's campaign
Born on 15 September 1946, Mnangagwa has
been a member of Mugabe's
cabinet since independence in 1980, save for a
brief stint as speaker of
parliament between 2000 and 2005.
was previously Minister of State for Security from 1982 to 1988,
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs until 2000 and
of Rural Housing and Social Amenities from April 2005 to February
He is a trained lawyer educated in Zimbabwe and
Mnangagwa is also regarded as the wealthiest individual in
with business interests in Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of
youths in SA demo over political detainees
By Lance Guma
Over 150 youths from the Revolutionary Youth Movement of Zimbabwe
demonstrated outside South Africa's Union Buildings Thursday, demanding the
release of political prisoners held in Zimbabwe. The youths arrived in two
hired buses and immediately broke into song and dance. A petition addressed
to President Kgalema Motlanthe, who is also head of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), called on him to intervene and have the likes
of Deputy Agriculture Minister Roy Bennett and former TV presenter Jestina
Mukoko and 30 others released. The youths want an end to ongoing abductions
and unlawful detention of activists in Zimbabwe.
An official from
Motlanthe's office came to receive the petition and he is
said to have
conveyed a message from the President that he will look into
within the next 2 weeks. In the petition the movement
expressed alarm that
'the abduction and unlawful detention of activists in
despite the implementation of the Global Political
Agreement which was
signed by all parties. Conditions of the GPA have been
violated by Zanu PF, notably senior ministers, as well as state
notably the CIO, army and police.'
The youths have also reminded
President Motlanthe that SADC pressurised the
MDC into the coalition
government, despite the fact that political prisoners
had not been released.
The MDC for months raised the issue of the prisoners
and the youths feel
SADC is not taking the matter seriously. Under the deal
SADC and the African
Union acted as guarantors of its implementation. So far
the two bodies have
been invisible, if not complicit, in helping Mugabe
One of the youths, John Vincent Chikwari, told Newsreel that
pledged all prisoners would be released before he was sworn in,
and they are
looking to him to deliver on that promise, even though he went
joined the government.
Chikwari believes the return to the
rule of law in Zimbabwe should not be
treated as a 'process' but rather an
'event' and should happen immediately.
'The future of the inclusive
government is in jeopardy because Mugabe and
Zanu PF have, through their
actions, demonstrated that they are not
operating in good faith or honouring
the agreement,' he said
Farewell South Africa, but not just yet
Thursday, 19 February
MUSINA - The formation of Zimbabwe's unity government, although
as a positive step, is not enough to entice Zimbabweans to return to
John Tinago, a supporter of the opposition
Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) who fled to South Africa in November
2008, is adopting a
wait-and-see attitude until there is "firm evidence that
life has returned
to normal", he told IRIN.
In the past decade more
than three million people are thought to have
escaped Zimbabwe's economic
meltdown, which has seen hyperinflation reach
trillions of percent and
unemployment rise to 94 percent.
Zimbabweans call it the "Diaspora" -
the flight of its citizens to
neighbouring states and even further afield to
such countries as Britain and
Australia to escape their country's
Money earned by those in the diaspora - estimated to be in
year of Zimbabwe's best ever annual tobacco harvest, once the
foreign currency earner - has been remitted to relatives at
A power-sharing political agreement holds out hope of expatriates
returning home to begin the task of rebuilding a shattered country.
IRIN spoke to Zimbabweans in three neighbouring countries - Botswana,
Mozambique and South Africa - and asked: Is it time to go home?
Many have sought greener pastures in neighbouring states, such as
Africa and Botswana, while others have sought economic refuge further
in Britain and Australia.
Tinago is living in a makeshift refugee site
near the South African
border town of Musina with hundreds of his
compatriots who are either
seeking or have obtained asylum status.
The former primary school teacher said he fled his home town of
Mashonaland West Province after word spread that the security
trying to arrest him on allegations that he had received
in neighbouring Botswana.
More than 20 people have been detained since
late 2008 on allegations
that Botswana, a staunch critic of Zimbabwe, was
training an armed militia
to overthrow President Robert Mugabe after 29
years in power. The allegation
has been denied by Botswana and rejected by
"I have been staying in this camp as officials from
the UN assess my
application for political asylum," Tinago told
On 11 February 2009 Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, was installed as prime minister after a
power-sharing agreement with Mugabe was signed on 15 September
"I am happy that Tsvangirai is now the prime minister and the
affairs ministry [which controls the police] is now shared between
[Mugabe's] ZANU-PF and the MDC because that means it will not be easy for
the police to arrest political opponents," Tinago said.
reckon it is just too early for me to go back home now. I
will have to wait
for at least six months to see whether the inclusive
government will stick,
and turn our fortunes around, before seriously
The early days of the unity government has seen political
remain intact, with detained MDC activists still incarcerated on
of banditry and a deputy minister designate, Roy Bennett,
sedition charges soon after returning from self-imposed exile in
A leopard can't change its spots
that our tormentors in ZANU-PF have not changed their spots
and still want
to harass those that belong to the opposition, and that is
one good reason
to wait for a long enough period before one can judge
Samukheliso Cele, 24, from Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, told
she arrived at the refugee settlement in September 2008, after being
by members of the ZANU-PF youth militia.
Her application for
asylum was successful and she is allowed to work
or study in South Africa.
At the settlement she is provided with
accommodation and one meal a day by
the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the
South African government. A church
organization about four kilometres from
her temporary home provides a second
"I don't like living in a refugee camp because that makes
me feel like
a second-class citizen. However, it is more comfortable here
than in my
country, where you don't know who will rape you next, and where
of hunger or from cholera every day," Cele told IRIN.
am still scared of the people who raped me, and will return when
culprits have been arrested and it is safe for me to be back at home."
During the day, Cele hawks vegetables and earns extra income by
the goods left in her custody by Zimbabweans coming to the town
to shop for
Musina almost felt like home, she said, because of the
Zimbabweans either living there or coming to buy goods not
their home country.
"For as long as business is
booming here, and the future in Zimbabwe
is not clear, I will hang around,"
she said. "[I will go home] when salaries
mean something once again, and
shops restore their glitter."
According to a UNHCR report in November
2008, the refugee agency was
offering legal and technical expertise to the
refugee reception office,
which was processing about 350 asylum applications
a day, mostly by
Tom Sithole, 19, from Zimbabwe's
eastern city of Mutare, illegally
crossed into South Africa recently and is
looking for work.
"I left my country when Tsvangirai was being sworn in
minister because I know it will take a long time before things
plan to work here up to the end of the year and only then will
home," Sithole told IRIN. "Things cannot be good enough before that
Comment from a correspondent
Now that our new Finance Minister has
established US$100.00 as the flat rate
payable to Civil Servants (tax free)
for Feb 09, I hope he will turn his
attention to the level of charges being
applied in US$ by all sorts of
Government owned utilities such as Zesa, Tel
One and Zinwa (does it still
exist?) as well as the City of Harare who
recently demanded a fee of
US$40.00 for supplying a trading license
application form (yes just for the
piece of paper not the fee for the
license!!!!). At present nearly all
Zimbabwe's residents are completely
unable to afford even the most basic of
required licenses including US$
30.00 per term Road Tax for a small car and
US$50.00 subscription for the
Highland's Library!! We all live in fear of
arrest and detention for not
having these bits of paper as we have no means
of paying for
Please act quickly Minister, I hate to think how much the FINES for
non-payment will be.