By Peta Thornycroft
02 February 2009
The Zimbabwe Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee to oversee a unity government, when it is formed, has been established in Harare. The committee's job will be to ensure that a unity government proceeds according to the political agreement signed last September.
The Zimbabwe Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee has three chairmen, one from each of the country's main parties.
They are Elton Mangoma, from the MDC, which has the largest number of seats in parliament, Nicholas Goche from the former ruling ZANU-PF party, and Welshman Ncube from the smaller MDC.
The committee of 12, four from each party, is still looking for an office and funds to establish infrastructure for its task.
The committee is intended to ensure the speedy and full implementation of the September 2008 global political agreement, signed by leaders of all three parties. The panel will attempt to resolve disputes among the parties or government agencies through dialogue, but if it fails the disputes are to be referred to the Southern Africa Development Community and the African Union.
A SADC statement last week said the committee is required to be a catalyst in creating and promoting trust and understanding.
On the streets of Harare, some businessmen and civil-rights workers appeared to be hardly aware the committee has been formed, nor did they know about its mandate. One political analyst said the committee will have to embark upon a publicity campaign to educate the public.
Analysts say the committee's most immediate task will be to obtain the release of more than 30 MDC officials and supporters accused of trying to topple Mr. Mugabe from power.
Another complaint which is certain to be lodged with the committee is the reappointment of Gideon Gono as governor of the central bank. This happened soon after last September's agreement, and the MDC is against the reappointment.
Gono, who is also President Robert Mugabe's personal banker, is blamed by the MDC for aggravating the extraordinary collapse of the economy. The economic failure accelerated after productive white-owned, foreign-currency earning farms were seized and handed over to ZANU-PF loyalists after 2000.
In a monetary policy statement Monday he slashed 12 zeroes from the Zimbabwe dollar, the third time he massively devalued the currency since 2006. Gono also canceled all special dispensations and guarantees signed by the government with platinum producers 20 years ago to keep their earnings off shore.
Gono blames international sanctions for the country's ills, although sanctions against Zimbabwe are targeted against President Mugabe and his associates, such as leaders of his ZANU-PF party, some of its companies, and a handful of other businessmen.
Economists say the real reason Zimbabwe cannot raise money internationally is because it cannot pay its bills. Zimbabwe trades normally with all countries including the West.
HARARE (Reuters) - A huge international aid effort is needed to help Zimbabwe combat a cholera outbreak that has killed hundreds, the government said on Friday, even though President Robert Mugabe has said it is now contained.
"We need all the support we can get from peace-loving nations," information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told reporters.
The main opposition MDC also called for more help in fighting the epidemic.
Mugabe, under Western pressure to step down as Zimbabwe's economy and health system collapse, had said on Thursday that "we have arrested cholera."
But the United Nations said the death toll, now nearly 800, was rising.
Ndlovu said the media had misrepresented Mugabe's comments, and presidential spokesman George Charamba said they were taken out of context.
The outbreak follows months of violence and political turmoil in Zimbabwe. Coupled with chronic food shortages, it has highlighted the economic collapse of the southern African country.
The health system is ill-prepared to cope and there is not enough money to pay doctors and nurses or buy medicine. The water system has collapsed, forcing residents to drink from contaminated wells and streams.
Neighboring South Africa is worried about conditions as thousands of Zimbabweans cross the border each day.
DEATH TOLL RISING
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday the death toll from cholera had risen to 792, with 16,700 cases.
"I don't think that the cholera outbreak is under control as of now," WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said in Geneva.
"We are not commenting on President Mugabe's assertion because it's not the place to discuss politics now.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for the past 28 years, has accused Western countries of trying to use the cholera outbreak to force him out of power.
"Now that there is no cholera there is no case for war," he said in Thursday's remarks.
Western leaders and some within Africa have called on the 84-year-old leader to step down as the epidemic compounds Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Mugabe on Friday to agree to a rapid deal on a new government.
Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai reached a power-sharing deal brokered by regional mediator Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's former president, in September. But they are deadlocked over how to implement it.
The MDC said while it was still committed to the talks, it would not be a part of a unity government unless positions were allocated freely and a new National Security Council was created.
Ban said he had pressed Mugabe in "very tense" private talks two weeks ago in Doha to accept the September 15 agreement.
Asked whether he backed calls for Mugabe to leave office, Ban told a news conference in Geneva: "He should really look for the future of his country and his own people who have been suffering too much and too long from this political turmoil now coupled with very serious humanitarian tragedies.
"I am really appealing and urging him again."
Britain on Friday questioned a U.S. proposal to seal Zimbabwe's borders to hasten the collapse of Mugabe's government, saying the move could have far worse consequences.
Mark Malloch Brown, senior British official for Africa, said if neighboring countries closed their borders, Zimbabweans would have no escape route and the crises would worsen.
(Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Luke Baker in London, editing by Angus MacSwan)
SW Radio Africa Transcript
HOT SEAT interview: Journalist Violet Gonda interviews Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga and Brian Kagoro on the Zimbabwe Unity Government. Kagoro: ďLet us hope for the sake of our beautiful country that this marriage of convenience, this polygamous marriage of convenience, unequal yoking of enemies will prove to be a workable solution.Ē
Broadcast 30 January 2009
VIOLET GONDA: We bring you a tele-conference on the Hot Seat programme with Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, the Deputy Secretary General of the Mutambara MDC and political commentator, Brian Kagoro. Welcome on the programme.
†PRISCILLA MISIHAIRAMBWI-MUSHONGA: Hi, how are you?
BRIAN KAGORO: Thank you Violet
VIOLET: Let me start with Priscilla. SADC announced this week that a break through had been reached and that a Government of National Unity would be formed by mid-February and today the MDC announced that its National Council has endorsed this decision. First of all, can you give us your reaction to this?
PRISCILLA: Well of course, for some of us it is good news. We have been working on this thing for close to three years, just trying to make sure that we have a process in which you have a breathing space for the people of Zimbabwe , a forum in which you can have some kind of discussion around trying to get this country back to where itís supposed to be. So yah, we receive it with a sense of hope and anticipation.
VIOLET: And what is your reading of the SADC communiquť, vis-ŗ-vis the MDC demands? The MDC-Tsvangirai demands?
PRISCILLA: Well I think what happened at the summit, was basically a way of trying to come up with a compromise position. Clearly it fell short of some of the things that MDC Tsvangirai would have wanted resolved, but I think in the wisdom of SADC at that particular point in time and in trying to make sure that at least you give a chance to trying to sort out the problems that are in Zimbabwe - they then in the communiquť tried to deal with some of the issues that MDC, led by President Tsvangirai had raised, in particular one of the issues that both of us had agreed to and said we could not continue to go into government unless it would have been dealt with, is the whole issue of governors.
Clearly you could not get a government in which one part of that administration to all intent and purposes was controlled by one political party and I think what SADC did was to take a position on that particular issue. You also know that Zanu-PF had completely refused to have a conversation and discussion over that matter.
The second one was the issue, the first actually, the need to deal with the formation of the Security Council and that the Bill that had been drafted by MDC Tsvangirai needed to be looked at as a matter of urgency.
And then lastly it was the issue of looking at the violence and the abductions, the alleged human rights violations that were taking place and any other issues that had been raised in terms of violation of both the MOU and Global Political Agreement and what they then did was to say that the committee that was set up today (Friday) which was a JOMIC committee, should be set up immediately to look at both issues. Failing which, SADC would therefore then look at and deal with those particular issues.
So to some extent one would say yes, their issues were taken on board but clearly not all of them which is I think in the nature of negotiations, you donít usually get everything that you wanted at the first time. But I thought it was a way of strategically delivering some of the issues. And lastly, Iíd forgotten the point around the equity issue. You remember there was issue around the equity in the terms of the allocations of the ministries. SADC has said they will review that allocation within six months. You remember that initially the resolution of 9 th November had said they would only review on the issue of the co-sharing of Home Affairs - but this particular resolution says within six months. And I think it gives an opportunity to all those that are participating in this inclusive government to have an opportunity to use that as an evaluating process within six months, to say what went wrong, what didnít go right, what are the issues that we need to do differently. So yah, I think their issues were taken on board, but like Iím saying, not all of them and not in the manner that they would have wanted.
VIOLET: And this JOMIC, the implementation committee that was set up today, I understand that you are also on this committee. Can you please give us the names of the commissioners?
PRISCILLA: Well from MDC led by President Tsvangirai, there is Elton Mangoma, there is Innocent Chagonda, there is Tabitha Khumalo, and there is Elias Mudzuri. From our party there is myself, there is Professor Welshman Ncube, thereís Frank Chamunorwa thereís the Honourable Edward Nkosi. From Zanu-PF there is Nicholas Goche, there is Patrick Chinamasa, there is Emmerson Mnangagwa and there is Oppah Muchinguri. So those are the members of JOMIC.
VIOLET: So what powers will it actually have because as youíve said some of those sticking points of that deal will be dealt with after the government has been implemented and we know that Mugabe has refused in the past to give the MDC equal share of the ministries that were in dispute? So what powers has JOMIC really got?
PRISCILLA: Well I think all we did was to create a forum in which one, you do have a committee that is responsible for ensuring that there is compliance. At least that committee would be, if it is able to do it in non-partisan manner, to be able to look at whether the Global Political Agreement is being implemented in the manner that it was supposed to be implemented. It is also supposed to receive the complaints that will be coming from the parties that are party to the agreement. It becomes a forum in which you can have discussions, you can discuss, it is an amicable forum in which some of these things could be dealt with because what we realised as negotiators in the past two years, two to three years, is that sometimes things look too bad because you are not necessarily communicating and sometimes all that you just need to do is to sit down and communicate and to see if whether you canít resolve some of these issues. But like I said, if that committee is unable to do it, SADC and AU is always a guarantor to the agreement so you can then escalate it to SADC and the AU.
So it is a forum in which some of these things are brought in and like Iím saying, we, some of us have experienced it, in terms of the entire process of negotiations, the reason why we have to come up with some agreement. You remember that when we started talking, it looked like it was impossible to have people that had such adversarial positions to be sitting around the table together, but we did spend three years having discussions and yes we may have come up with a document that not everybody is happy about but it is a document that reflects that it is possible for people to have conversations and to have a dialogue and to agree at the most minimum with some of the things which we did agree.
VIOLET: What about the co-sharing of the Home Affairs ministry, we understand that Frank Chikane from the South African Presidentís office said that the issue will actually be decided by tossing a coin as to which party will have the first term. Is this true?
PRISCILLA : No it canít be true, Iím not sure whether that you are referring to Home AffairsÖ
VIOLET: Yes, the Home Affairs ministry
PRISCILLA: If you are referring to todayís press conference, I think it was said more in jest because JOMIC is also going to be co-chaired, weíll have three chairs, each from one political party and basically in deciding who was going to start we joked around tossing a coin to see who would chair the first meeting, but we ended up agreeing the first person to chair this JOMIC is Welshman Ncube, followed by Elton Mangoma from the MDC Tsvangirai and then lastly, Zanu-PF.
But if you are talking about Home Affairs, I think there is always this misunderstanding around how this process of co-sharing is going to be. Basically you are going to have two ministers, who will have equal authority and power, they may decide if they choose to - among themselves - to allocate certain responsibilities to each other in terms of; one deals with a particular area of Home Affairs and the other one deals with another. But that will be dependent on whether they want to have that type of discussion facilitated by the Prime Minister who is going to supervise all the Ministers.
But generally, the two of them will sit in Cabinet, they will report to Cabinet, and I think the idea, at the time that it was suggested was to make sure that since there is so much mistrust between the two political parties, you are creating a situation in which you are almost having one creating an oversight over the other, so to say, and if you do have a disagreement, then the disagreement should be brought to Cabinet. And as you may have seen, some of the changes that have beenÖ (inaudible)Ö
VIOLET: Iím sorry, we lost you there, can you repeat what you said about some of the changes.
PRISCILLA: I said that some of the changes that are in Amendment 19 are basically to ensure that you now have Executive Power that also resides in Cabinet and therefore Cabinet will have authority to make decisions if for example there is a disagreement between the two Ministers that will be in Home Affairs. But I think basically, what people were thinking about when they suggested the co-sharing was to say that given the fact that Zanu is insisting that if Tsvangirai wants Home Affairs because they are training people, they want to take over using other methods. The MDC Tsvangirai were basically saying we are having a lot of people that are being abducted and these people are going to be using this instrument as cohesive power. In the meantime, letís try and see whether the two of them will not work within the same Ministry. But I also think that - having sat in some of the summits at an informal level - I think that basically what the Heads of State were also trying to do was to say we may be able to come back after six months and say this position is totally ridiculous, itís not necessary, we demanded it because there was so much mistrust but at this time it is possible to only have one person as the Minister of Home Affairs.
VIOLET: Let me move to Brian. Brian, first, your reaction to these latest developments.
BRIAN: Well I guess that these are just people playing lotto with our lives, this is a non-event. It missed me, until you phoned me, Iím in Zimbabwe , in Harare , and I took no notice of it.
VIOLET: Why is that so?
BRIAN: Well you know, there is a lot being said about weíve done this for the best interests of Zimbabweans and I have repeatedly said this there must be a formula of ascertaining the best interests of Zimbabweans that takes cognisance of the historical facts, contemporary facts, both political, social and economic. So far examples are we ascertaining what will be in the best interests of Zimbabweans by reference to the present humanitarian crisis? Are we doing so by reference to the economic meltdown? Are we doing by reference to the social disintegration or the political impasse or are we doing it around the question of national consent and consensus?
Then you must say well OK, what has caused the humanitarian crisis, why are we in this mess, the economic meltdown, the social disintegration and the political cannibalism and why is there no national consent and consensus?
When you look at what was called the Change Agenda to which many of us dedicated most of our youth, the pursuit of equality, of justice, of peace and of democratic and accountable governance - and you ask yourself, is this a route for gaining these things, is this a route for losing these things? What has been negotiated away, what has been negotiated in, based on these premises?
I guess I come to the sad conclusion and Iím not talking against negotiations, but I think that they must be on fundamentals. While the present set-up is a co-habitation of Ďtotally uneasy soulsí who do not like each other at all, who in fact resent each other. The suggestion when two betrothed lovers abuse each other thoroughly that somehow if you force them into a marriage the abuse will end by virtue of a contract of marriage seems to me as misplaced as the notion that people who call each other stooges, sell-outs, idiots almost naturally, will manufacture national consent and consensus simply because SADC has acted like God and directed that there must be by decree a Government of National Unity.
Firstly, thereís nothing national about it, secondly thereís absolutely no unity in it. So as an exercise in futility itís a waste of precious time. It will be sad - Iím hoping that Iím wrong that in three years time we will see more progress than the childish bickering that we have witnessed over the last couple of years. That unlike Kenya , there will actually be mutual respect in the functions and operations of this government. That all animosities will melt away. But history does not give me that comfort and Iím not naturally a sceptic, Iím a perennial optimist but not about this co-habitation as Iíve said of uneasy souls. I think they are playing lotto with our lives; they are playing lotto with the destiny of our country.
VIOLET: But Brian what about on the issue of the MDC Tsvangirai itself, now that it has actually agreed to join, with so far no evidence from the SADC communiquť that their needs, the main demands, like for example the equitable distribution of ministries have actually been addressed. What does this imply though in terms of the MDCís shift from their earlier position?
BRIAN: I have previously said that I do not like to base arguments on whether something will work or not, on the idiosyncrasies of an individual or even a club of individuals, be it a political party or religion. Letís base it on some fundamental principles. Iíve also previously said that whilst I recognise the importance of the Ministry of Home Affairs, that my own analysis that there were more fundamental things at stake. For example, if you take the economic turnaround, the Ministries that will drive any economic turnaround in this country, would be around Agriculture because that is what will allow us to produce for ourselves; Mining and Industry; Mining in particular because in the present global economic meltdown the commodities sector seems to earn just a little bit more than all the other sectors. Right?
And Iíve also suggested that if you take Agriculture, you take Mining this will form the backbone of our industrial turnaround or our attempt to re-industrialise - both in the agro-sector, in the rural sector and in the urban sector. And I suggested that the service sector which is Tourism, which was badly damaged by bad politics, would be also the engine of turnaround. At the present moment those ministries are controlled by one of the three Clubs in this marriage of convenience.
And then you look at what the contest is over. The contest is over this Ministry of Home Affairs, and important as Iíve previously acknowledged it was, it seems to me that the concern doesnít fundamentally deal with the question of how do you get the country back on its path to self-sustainability, self-sustenance and development. So thatís one issue.
The second issue is the machinery of justice. For those of us in civil society who have decried the abuse of arms of State, the fact that if you express opinions that are different as I am presently doing, youíll be vilified, youíll be hunted down, youíll be victimised and the Ministries responsible for the coercive arms that were responsible for this, and the Ministries responsible for granting and guaranteeing no other citizen justice are in the control of the same individuals and peoples that were responsible for all my grievances over the last two decades that Iíve been an activist. So for me I have absolutely no reason to celebrate, because if you take me as a human rights activist, if you take me as one who has been campaigning for justice and truth, if you take me as an economic creature trying to regenerate myself, trying to improve and self actualising - I am not seeing the change or at least the pretence to change. Iím not persuaded.
VIOLET: But Brian, what logic though do you think the MDC used to finally agree?
BRIAN: I cannot get into their heads and into their hearts. Iím quite sure, as I have said many times, the business of political parties is to conquer and retain political power. Their first instinct is to do that which lends them political power or at least what they perceive as political mileage. I have asked the fundamental question and itís been asked elsewhere where these marriages of convenience have been foisted on people - you will now have these three Clubs in government, so in Parliament you will have the side of government and then the side of others, but there is no more opposition (chuckles). So in this sense the government canít be opposition at the same time.
We are still not clear about the duration of this marriage of convenience. Is it till death do us part, is it for two years, is it for five years? Okay? And if it is for five years, what are the exit strategies should this thing breakdown? These things are not spelt out in this SADC lottery game.
The assumption is that this will work.
We saw the problems with ZAPU and others in 1981, 82. We are seeing now the resurgence of what we thought was a finally sealed Unity deal, we saw the resurgence of another entity calling itself ZAPU in Matabeleland which is an unravelling of things that people had told us theyíd long dealt with. And even parroted and preached to us that they had.
So in my view there are no clear dispute resolution mechanisms and I mean I have great respect for Priscilla and all the other people she mentioned, but the reason why the country is in the mess it is in is because we have been hostage to strong personalities and our country has not had adequate dispute resolution mechanisms that are enforceable. And JOMIC seems to be a nice palatable club but it has no enforcement power. The enforcement will still be referred back to the hawkish elements that weíre talking about.
VIOLET: Let me actually go back to Priscilla and ask her to comment about this, and you mentioned that itís now about three Clubs in government. A lot of people are now saying this is a tragedy for Africa that the guy who loses always wins in the end, and we saw this in Kenya and now we are seeing this in Zimbabwe and Priscilla mentioned earlier on that someone like Emmerson Mnangagwa is in this JOMIC. A lot of people say that Mnangagwa is spectacularly evil. So Priscilla brutality actually works? This basically is what it means because Mugabe has won. Do you agree with this?
VIOLET: Hello Priscilla. Oh Iím afraid I think we have lost Priscilla. The line was bad and we had been having problems trying to get her in the first place and we hope to bring her back on the programme. So Brian, let me go back to this issue, did Morgan Tsvangirai have any choice because this is a u-turn on his part? What can you say about this?
BRIAN: We must ask the question was Zimbabwe dysfunctional because of anything Morgan Tsvangirai had done or not done. If your response is that Zimbabwe was dysfunctional because Morgan Tsvangirai had done something wrong then one clearly understands why his capitulation is his righting some wrong that he had done. If the country is in the mess that it is in on account of no wrong doing on his part, his choice would have been simple. He could have become an ordinary citizen, leading a political party in the opposition, campaigning for democracy and true genuine change in Zimbabwe .
VIOLET: But this is what he has been doing for a long time though and it hadnít worked.
BRIAN: What do you mean it hadnít worked? If you say it hadnít worked, it hadnít worked in giving them political power, it hadnít worked in bringing about change in Zimbabwe ? If it hadnít worked in bringing about change in Zimbabwe , why? Was it because he was doing something wrong in asking for a democratic constitution, asking for human rights, asking for sound and accountable economic governance? If these things were wrong then it is him that must apologise to us. If these things were right and they were being ignored what guarantee is there that this co-habitation will result in these things being honoured, these things being respected?
There is some serious fault in the logic that suggests that we will fight from within. What are we fighting from within? If the fight is against Robert Mugabe, well you know, that fight is a fight many of us were not necessarily part of. If the fight is for fundamental change, a change in principles, a change in political culture, that fight is a fight I believe every Zimbabwean has been engaged in. And that fight says, whether it be Tendai Biti, Morgan Tsvangirai, Priscilla, Welshman Ncube or Robert Mugabe, as long as they violate these agreed principles that constitute national consensus and consent then they fall foul and must be opposed. And irrespective of who they are, as long as they observe these particular principles, the sanctity of human life, the human dignity and right of all, that social, economic, cultural, environmental as well as the civil and political rights of people then they must be supported. This is what this fight has been about.
VIOLET: Now whatís happening it appears that there is a clear divide between African leaders and Western leaders, in your view, can the West be persuaded to fund this government of national unity because you have people like Jendayi Fraser last month actually saying that America would not fund a government that has Robert Mugabe still in power, so do you see western governments actually supporting this?
BRIAN: You know what; Zimbabwe ís turnaround at the moment really shouldnít refer to western governments. Theyíve been as much as the problem as some of our African brothers and our own local leaders have been. Whilst aid will do a lot to deal with the humanitarian crisis that has been created by mis-governance, while some aid would do a lot to deal with the economic turnaround and promoting increased investment thatís diverse, I have repeatedly said on this show, I am opposed to western meddling in politics. I appreciate solidarity and support but I am opposed to dictations and dictates or diktat from the West regarding how we should order our affairs.
So I am not keen to anchor the success or failure based on western inclinations be it Jendayi Fraser, Obama or anyone else. Their solidarity whether with the democratic struggles or the attempt for economic turnaround would be appreciated. The West is almost bankrupt as we speak. America is in recession, Europe is in recession, the question of whether or not they are going to use their tax payers hard earned dollars to finance a bellicose and highly likely to be dysfunctional large administration will be seen.
VIOLET: I was actually going to ask you Brian, the amount of money needed in Zimbabwe right now is vast and the country is not earning enough to sustain the people living there and of course, as you said, thereís this whole global economic crisis, but what about Tsvangirai himself, what happens if he is not going to be able to persuade donors to come in and help Zimbabwe because Zimbabwe does need foreign investments?
BRIAN : My fear and I hope itís not a harsh judgement, I have seen in Kenya , the attempt by the Kibaki government to use Raila Odinga as their public relations manager to spruce up their international image. My fear is that Tsvangirai will join Mbeki as Zanu-PFís new public relations manager, international public relations manager. He will go, hand in bowl or you know bowl in hand, begging for money to turn around the education sector, the health sector and whatever else.
And this is likely to attract all sorts of issues and conditionalities on our country, and he invested a lot of his life within the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions opposing policy conditionalities. And given the abysmal decline of our economy and our governance, the West is quite likely to impose all sorts of irrational policy conditionalities on Zimbabwe . And it would be tragic to have someone who has been fighting for liberty, for liberation, human rights and freedoms to actually be the conduit through which this country takes back on that aid that is tied to policy conditionalities. He will become the new face of betrayal if he doesnít carefully handle this particular issue.
VIOLET: Do you think even though he didnít create the problems that are in Zimbabwe right now when it comes to, for example civil servants strikes, do you think that Tsvangirai could become the target of discontent over a problem he didnít create?
BRIAN: Yes of course. He is now joined with Mugabe, there will no longer be reference to Zanu and MDC, there will just be reference to the new face-lifted Zanu or the expanded Zanu-PF government. We refer to a government by the ruling party, so you know, it is a Zanu-PF led government, thatís what it will be and heíll be part of that government and its failures and he will be part of those failures.
Thereís no point to continue trying to be leader of the opposition whilst you are in government. Once you are in government you are in government, thereís corporate responsibility of government, of cabinet. A corporate responsibility for successes and I certainly hope there will be many successes. Corporate responsibility for failures. One cannot to continue to extricate oneself and say, no I am not responsible. So it is a courageous position he has taken but huge consequences he must gladly live with.
VIOLET: Finally Brian, clearly this is a development that is going to be divisive because there are some who are for this and others who are not, and as we heard from Priscilla, it provides that hope to some extent that things will change in the country. At the end of the day, it is a done deal so how do we make sense of this and move on?
BRIAN: You know what Violet, all those of us who are sceptical maybe wrong, all those who are optimistic may be wrong. As Bob Marley once said, Ďonly time will tellí. The triumphalism of the moment will dissipate; the reality of the situation will bite. Children have to go back to school, teachers have to go back and teach, health workers, our hospitals have to get medicine. Professionals who have fled to South Africa and elsewhere have to be brought back. People who have been victims of human rights violations have to be compensated. Those who have been responsible for torture, for murder, for abductions have to be brought to justice. Those who have been responsible for kleptomania, for plunder of natural and national resources have to pay back.
The task of this expanded regime would be to deliver these things. If this expanded regime does not deliver this then it has an epitaph already written on its grave Ė here lies a marriage that was doomed from the beginning. Letís hope that we are all wrong. Letís hope for the sake of Zimbabwe that there is a commitment in Zanu-PF and in the two MDC clubs for a real transformative agenda. That there is a commitment to turn this country, not just to an economically sound footing but also to a sustainably democratic and accountable culture of governance - where noone is above the law, where looters are brought to book. Let us hope for the sake of our beautiful country that this marriage of convenience, this polygamous marriage of convenience, unequal yoking of enemies will prove to be a workable solution.
VIOLET: Well Iím afraid we have to end here Brian. Thank you very much, and we were also sorry to lose Priscilla during this debate due to network problems we lost connection and we will probably try to get her again for next time, but thank you Brian, and hope to speak again soon.
BRIAN: Youíre welcome.
Comments and feedback can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Bulawayo Morning Mirror
PEOPLE, PEOPLE of Zimbabwe, what are we doing to ourselves? We have gone from the
cheapest place in the World to live, to now easily the most expensive place in the World to
live, and we have only ourselves to blame. We seem to think that because we have all held
out so long here in Zimbabwe, against all odds, that now Zimbabwe and everyone who is
left owes us a favour.
The whole country except maybe some poor unfortunate workers who are getting ripped
off by their employers, is now operating in foreign currency in one form or another. Since
we are now dealing in foreign currency we need to throw away our mindset that we pick
up our calculators and start hitting the 0's to calculate what we are now going to pass on
to the next person.
In the rest of the world, investors are lucky to get 10% a year on their money, possibly a
good business that can rotate its product every month, might achieve close to 100%.
Here everyone who hears that someone , knows someone, that might need something,
adds their 30 or 40% to the commodity before it gets to the person who is finally stupid
enough to buy it, and this disease is spreading.
We are even beginning to hurt ourselves across the borders, because some businesses
there are realizing just how stupid us Zimbabweans are at parting with our money, and are
increasing their prices there as well. By the time it hits our streets its more than 3 times
the value of what it actually costs in SA.. You will also notice, the smallest denomination
we use is R10 or USD1, there is a lot of change in between if you put a value to it, in SA ,
you could get 2 loaves of bread for R10. Silver doesn't exist.
Most people in the country who are trading in one form or another are literally doubling
their foreign currency every week or turnaround, that puts their profits into the 1000% in
less than a year, its not a wonder that people and businesses outside the country are
looking at sending money and commodities on credit to their friends and families still here
to sell. They can invest their money much better that way.
I know that I am painting everyone with the same brush here, there are exceptions, but
they are few are far between, and to them I apologize, but we need to all pull together to
stop this rot.
Its time that Import Parity and competition stepped in, be realistic, it is real money we are
now dealing with no longer the useless paper that we have had in the past. The value does
not change overnight like it used to, as with our Zim dollar which could triple overnight, it
is the same real money that our friends and neighbours have been using next door for
years, and it hardly moves.
Another thing while I am about it, guys stop being so quick to flick between US and Rand.
When you are charging for labour you are inclined to charge in US, because it gives the
impression that it is 10 times less than Rand. I personally had a 7 minute mechanical job
done for me the other day, and it cost USD 50, hey that is R500. This is more than a Brain
Surgeon charges for a 15 minute consultation, and the job was done by a spanner boy.
Yes, I'm guilty I was part of the rot, but the job had been done, and I was stupid enough
not to get a quote before hand, so I paid.
What about bribing to get things done, I know its a schlep, and we all do it, but lets all try
not to wherever possible. You may be interested to know that it works, I took a personal
stand the other day, when I was caught talking on a cell phone whilst driving. I had to go
to court, because I refused to pay a bribe.
2 weeks later I appeared in court, where once again I was given the option by the Court
Officials and the Policemen to pay R300 and my problem would disappear, I can tell you
that by then because of the time wasting, I was ready to, but I did not. After about 3 hrs, I
stood before the magistrate and was given a Z$ 20 fine ( worth about R,0001 ) at the time,
or an option to do 10 days in Jail. I naturally opted for the fine, but felt like asking if the
food was free for the 10 days because it might have been an option!
Someone in the Fines office did benefit because the smallest note that was in circulation
at the time was about $1000, and I did not wait for my change.
Guys it can be done, Its not the Government or the Fat Cats we can blame here anymore,
its ourselves, we are making our own Fat Cats, lets all try to stop this rot, if someone is
ripping it, tell them, and if its you, stop it, even if we have to embarrass each other in
public, lets do so, so that we can get back to some sort of normality and at least get value
for our hard earned foreign currency.
The most adaptable people in the world us Zimbabweans have managed to survive against
all sorts of odds, to get to this stage, and everyone out there is cheering us on and ready
to support us, as has been evident with the fantastic support of our old folk, in these dying
moments, lets not lose sight of the bigger picture, by stabbing ourselves in the back.
BILL WATCH 4/2009
[31st January 2009]
The 2009 Budget was presented to the House of Assembly on 29th January
The House of Assembly will sit again on Wednesday 4th February
The Senate has adjourned until 17th February
More than 3,000 people have died from the worst outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe's history, which has infected more than 60,000 people.
The epidemic has been fuelled by the country's economic meltdown, which has led to the collapse of the country's water, health and sanitation systems.
Matthew Cochrane, from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is travelling around Zimbabwe this week to see the situation for himself and is keeping a diary for the BBC News website.
Monday, 2 February, Kwekwe
The small clinic at Kwekwe has received 131 cholera patients since last Wednesday.
The clinic - set up to provide basic outpatient services - has been overwhelmed.
On Saturday, when the Red Cross Red Crescent arrived, the building was full to overflowing.
The ward was chaotic: severe cases lay alongside mild cases, and in the midst of it all lay three bodies wrapped in plastic.
One of them wasn't longer than 2ft (0.6m) - a child.
We arrived as the tent was being erected in the clinic's yard by a team of Zimbabwe Red Cross volunteers.
It'll be up and running on Monday, and will provide treatment and medication for the more serious cases.
We jumped back in the car and headed to Tiger Reef, a small mining town about 20 minutes west of Kwekwe.
Almost all of the cases seen at the clinic had come from here and the Zimbabwe Red Cross had decided to focus a lot of their public outreach efforts here.
Information is the key in a cholera outbreak.
The illness is so easy to prevent - it's really just about basic hygiene.
So there is a huge amount of work being done by the Red Cross Red Crescent to sensitise communities to the risks they face, and share with them the simple steps they can take to dramatically reduce these risks.
But Tiger Reef is a mess.
The community hasn't had running water for months - not since the mining company failed to pay the electricity bill - and the only toilets are the modest public ones.
A crowd of about 300 people gathered around Helen and two young Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers.
The frustration was palpable.
How, the community asked, can we deal with this cholera, when we don't have toilets and we have to walk 3km (two miles) to the river to get water?
"We know you are frustrated," said Helen. "We know that these frustrations didn't arrive last week. But last week, there was a serious outbreak of cholera.
"Right now, we can't fix the long-term problems, but we can make sure that you don't get sick."
2 February 2009
Johannesburg ó THE latest deal brokered by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Zimbabwe evokes the disturbing image of a shotgun marriage, with SA the aggressive relative holding the gun. Few of the witnesses really believe the union will last, or that the reluctant bride won't suffer further abuse at the hands of the rapist she has been forced to embrace, but everyone puts on a brave face.
Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were put under intolerable pressure by SADC to agree to unfavourable terms, but even so it has to be said that the movement made an awful hash of these negotiations. As the winner of the closest thing to a democratic election that has taken place in Zimbabwe in the past decade, the MDC must be recognised as the people's choice, but it is often hopelessly naive and pathetically vulnerable to manipulation by Robert Mugabe as well as his allies in SADC.
That said, there is little to be gained by dwelling on the MDC's inadequacies at this late stage of the game. What's done is done, and there is a human disaster unfolding that can no longer be averted but could still be contained. Tsvangirai, who will soon be sworn in to the newly created post of prime minister (and assume almost unbearable responsibility, with little in the way of power to fix all that is broken), must ensure that the fractures in his party are healed as soon as possible if he is to have any hope of achieving even limited success.
Mugabe will run rings around Tsvangirai if he does not have the full support of the MDC majority in parliament. The old tyrant retains control of most of the ministries that pull the levers of power in Zimbabwe, including the security forces, and he can be counted on to do everything he can to frustrate the MDC's efforts to turn things around and thereby ensure it loses popular support.
Having lobbed Tsvangirai a hospital pass, SADC owes it to the Zimbabwean people to at least make a genuine effort to ensure that Mugabe keeps his side of this Faustian bargain. The South African Presidency's call for the US and Europe to immediately lift the sanctions it has imposed upon Mugabe and his henchmen is hopelessly premature. Similarly, financial assistance from the international community should be targeted and its application carefully monitored to ensure that it is not abused. To put away the stick and give Mugabe an unlimited supply of carrots before he has earned his reward would be asking for another decade of misrule.
Part of the "compromise" brokered by the regional leaders was that a joint monitoring committee be set up to ensure the terms of the deal are implemented fairly. This occurred on paper on Friday, but will be worthless if its operations are not policed fairly.
Zanu (PF) has agreed to "look into" outstanding issues raised by the MDC, and it is SADC's responsibility to ensure that this is not mere lip service. A new formula for the distribution of provincial governors is another potential stumbling block, as is the promised review of the government's unilateral appointment of the reserve bank governor and attorney-general. If these -- and the long-overdue review of Zimbabwe's repressive national security laws -- come to nothing, the so-called "New Zimbabwe" will be dead in the water.
Copyright © 2009 Business Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).