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Schools in Zimbabwe face bleak start to new year as water woes and supply shortages worsen

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: January 14, 2008

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Rowdy crowds formed at clothing stores Monday as anxious
parents searched for uniforms for a new school year in Zimbabwe overshadowed
by rocketing fees, shortages of most basic supplies and lack of electricity.

Beleaguered businesses and residents in the rain-lashed capital were without
water after power outages shut the main treatment plant. Even luxury hotels
were forced to ask guests to wash in swimming pool water.

Parents at one store in downtown Harare were told school shoes were out of
stock. But black market dealers were offering them for 80 million Zimbabwe
dollars — about US$40, or €27, at the dominant illegal exchange rate — at a
street market in the western township of Mbare.

Margaret Boora, a single mother, said she couldn't raise the 400 million
Zimbabwe dollars (US$200; €134) for fees, exercise books and a uniform for
her daughter's first term at high school. She earns 30 million Zimbabwe
dollars (US$15; €10) a month as an office janitor, the average wage of
unskilled workers.

"I don't know what to do. It is not possible for me to find the money," she
said. A blazer and a hat with a school badge alone were priced at 145
million Zimbabwe dollars (US$72; €50), nearly five times her monthly
take-home pay. There are no cheaper schools within walking distance in her
area and bus fares cost more than US$1 a day.

She said her daughter would stay away from school unless dress regulations
were relaxed. School authorities said they were awaiting instructions from
the Education Ministry.
In recent months, teachers have reported growing absenteeism, which is
expected to worsen when schools reopen Tuesday.

"A great many children won't get back this term. Earnings have not kept up
with prices," said independent Harare economist John Robertson. "The
futures' of countless numbers of young people are being destroyed."

Official inflation is estimated at around 24,000 percent but independent
financial institutions put real inflation closer to 150,000 percent.

The nation is facing acute shortages of food, hard currency and gasoline in
the economic meltdown that began in 2000 with the often violent seizures of
thousands of white-owned commercial farms in the former regional
breadbasket.

A price freeze ordered by the government in June left store shelves bare of
most basic goods but the freeze was eased in phases to restore the viability
of producers and businesses. But supplies of goods have remained erratic.

In the past month, Zimbabweans also faced chronic shortages of local cash.
Lines outside banks and cash machines are a daily occurrence, along with
power and water outages.

The state water utility said Sunday power outages shut down its main water
treatment plant outside Harare, cutting off water supplies to large swathes
of the capital and the dormitory town of Chitungwiza, 25 kilometers (15
miles) to the south, that could last a week.

Offices, shops, hair salons and hotels in the central business district were
without water Monday — and this after weeks of torrential rains described as
the worst since records started.

Hotel staff said they were having to turn guests away for lack of water. One
luxury downtown hotel drew its water from the swimming pool for washing and
cleaning to conserve its tanks of drinking water.


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Churches raided in Zimbabwe for opposing disgraced bishop

Times Online

January 14, 2008

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent of The Times

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, issued an unprecedented
condemnation of a former Anglican bishop today after police in Zimbabwe used
force to intervene and stop official Anglican church services from going
ahead.

Dr Williams said he was "appalled" by reports of Zimbabwe police forcibly
stopping Anglican church services where clergy had publicly refused to
acknowledge the authority of the deposed Nolbert Kunonga.

At least three priests and several parishioners opposed to Kunonga were
dragged out of church and arrested after truncheon-wielding police in roit
gear disrupted Anglican services in Harare on Sunday. Their "crime" was to
hold services without the authorisation of Zimbabwe's police or government.

Kunonga, a close ally of Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe and a supporter of
the ruling Zanu-PF party, has had his Anglican priestly licence removed and
was replaced as Bishop of Harare last December after he illegally separated
from the Province of Central Africa. He has subsequently announced the
setting up of a new, independent Anglican Church of Zimbabwe of which he has
declared himself the Archbishop.

After Bishop Sebastian Bakare has been appointed acting Bishop of Harare,
police sent round leaflets advising congregations that only clergy loyal to
Kunonga were authorised to hold services.

The conflict, essentially a political one, has become muddied by Kunonga’s
attempt to represent the dispute as a further escalation in the row over
homosexuality that is splitting the Anglican Communion. He has attempted to
claim he is on the side of Biblical orthodoxy. In fact, the Province of
Central Africa is among the most conservative of all 38 Anglican provinces.

Dr Williams, who did not invite Kunonga to this year’s Lambeth Conference,
said he stood “in solidarity” with the province, which covers Zimbabwe,
Malawi, Zambia and Botswana.

He said Kunonga's position has become "increasingly untenable" within the
Anglican Church over the last year, as he has consistently refused to
maintain appropriate levels of independence from the Zimbabwean Government.

Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, also
condemned Kunonga and the actions of the Zimbabwe authorities.

He said: “The situation with respect to the Anglican Church in Harare is a
matter of grave concern to all in the Anglican Communion. Bishop Kunonga’s
close ties with President Robert Mugabe are of deep concern to many and the
resort to violent disruption has been widely deplored.

“His unilateral actions with respect to the Diocese of Harare and his own
status within the Province of Central Africa are, to say the least,
questionable and have brought embarrassment to many. Above all, I am
concerned for the well-being of faithful Anglicans who seek to practice
their faith in peace and free from violence."

Churches disrupted included St Elizabeth church in Belvedere, St James’s
Church Warren Park and the church in Marlborough, all suburbs of Harare.

Bishop Bakare, who was preaching at St Luke's in Greendale suburb, was
permitted by police to hold a service in the church hall while Kunonga
preached inside the church. A spokesman, Christopher Tapera, said the hall
was packed, while three people were in the church with Kunonga.

Kunonga announced on Saturday that he was creating a new province. “History
has been made today," the state-controlled Sunday Mail quoted him as saying.
"We have formed our own province. It has been painful and sorrowful but out
of that came the joy of our own province," he said.

According to reports from the region, Kunonga’s actions while Bishop of
Harare included expelling several priests and ordaining government ministers
in their place. For this he was rewarded with a farm, from which he promptly
expelled the 41 black families living there. In 2006, Kunonga faced a number
of serious charges, including inciting members of the Central Intelligence
Organization and war veterans to kill 10 prominent Anglicans including
priests and churchwardens. He was cleared of all charges by the Archbishop
of Central Africa, Bernard Malango, who retired at the end of December.


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CIO called in to help Kunonga's men take over

zimbabwejournalists.com

14th Jan 2008 10:20 GMT

By Sheila Ochi

HARARE  - The Nolbert Kunonga tsunami descended on many Anglican churches
here yesterday as officers of the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) and uniformed police were deployed to ensure the President’s allies
had swift access to churches for their Sunday services.

CIO officers mixed with believers but were easily noticed by the way they
dressed and also because their faces were virtually unknown. Following
disturbances in Glen View where the axed Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, an
ally of President Robert Mugabe who has formed a splinter church after his
ousting, wanted his henchmen to take over the church, spies were deployed in
huge numbers to make sure Kunonga’s chosen clergy did not lose ground.

Reports in Harare yesterday revealed armed police were disrupting church
services in Harare, arresting at least three priests and a number of
parishioners opposed to Kunonga who fell for the police bait and openly
challenged the decision to allow the disgraced Bishop to take over against
the will of the people.

Priests who were conducting services without Kunonga or police authorisation
were dragged out of church and assaulted.

Harare diocese has been torn apart since Kunonga pulled the church out of
the Church Province of Central Africa ostensibly because he opposed the
province's stance on homosexuality.

As a result Kunonga was replaced with Bishop Sebastian Bakare and said
Kunonga was no longer a member of the Anglican Church. But Kunonga and his
followers have refused to recognise the new bishop's appointment, going on
to form their own church.

Police this week sent a circular to all parishes ordering that only priests
loyal to Kunonga were allowed to conduct services, resulting in the heavy
deployment of security agents at a very high cost to the public purse.

In Glen View Kunonga has won the battle with the help of state security
resulting in the hundreds of believers and their priest who is aligned to
the new Bishop Bakare having to hire the nearby Methodist church to conduct
their service.

Kunonga’s priest was forced to conduct a service with less that 10 people
after having successfully dislodged the whole congregation.

Police paramilitaries in riot gear and carrying batons disrupted a service
at St Elizabeth church in Harare's middle-income suburb of Belvedere, said
church spokesperson Christopher Tapera.

"They disrupted the service and asked everyone to leave. One woman who was
taking a video was arrested," he said.

In nearby Glen Norah, CIO operatives were heavily present together with the
police resulting in the whole congregation of about 500 people opting to
have their normal Sunday service outside.

“The whole congregation, like all the others here in Harare has said it is
not going with Kunonga so when a Priest, Musopero, who is aligned to Kunonga
came to lead us in the service with his wife and sister, the police and the
CIO, the people decided it was better to leave them to it,” said one parish
member who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The parish’s priest was involved in a road accident last week soon after
refusing to align himself with Kunonga after the congregation had told him
to choose which way he was going.

In the end two services were held at the St Francis Anglican Church in Glen
Norah with the 500 attending their service which was led by a lay leader in
threatening weather outside as Musopero ministered to three people inside
the vast church and gave his sister and wife holy communion.

After the church the CIO operatives convened a meeting with the church
leaders after witnessing the embarrassing situation affecting the group they
came to protect.

One believer said: “We were very much aware of the scenes that took place in
Glen View and avoided making any noise because obviously that is what they
were looking for so we did not castigate them or cause any violence. We were
very peaceful in our own service as the rain threatened to drench us.”

“In the meeting the operatives were told in no uncertain terms that next
week their people will not be able to use the church because we are in the
majority and they are only three so they should instead at least use the
smaller facilities at the church like the Sunday School classrooms. The
police had to go because they saw that we were not going to be violent at
all.”

Another parishioner said: “It has really become an embarrassment to be an
Anglican, coming to service with police and security details watching over
you as you pray simply because someone is powerful enough to deploy these
people at the expense of the ordinary person. People are losing their lives
because of crime, property etc but they see it fit to deploy at different
Anglican churches. I’m embarrassed.”

She continued: “This is not about politics, we are not for Zanu PF or the
MDC, all we want is to be able to do what we know best our own way without
Kunonga. Many Zimbabwean families have taken to prayer to deal with the
crisis we are facing in the country so please, they should leave us alone.”

At St James Church in the suburb of Warren Park, 16 parishioners loyal to
Bishop Bakare were arrested, said Tapera. He did not know if charges had
been brought against the arrested.

One of the priests, who was arrested at the Anglican Church in Harare's
upmarket Marlborough suburb was later released, said Tapera.

Police at St Luke's Church in Greendale eventually allowed Bishop Bakare to
hold a service in the church hall, while Kunonga held a service inside the
church, he said.

"The hall was packed. Kunonga only had three people with him in the church,"
claimed Tapera.

It was also reported that CIO operatives were at almost all parishes as they
sought to protect Kunonga’s men and to see to it that they take over church
property without any hindrance.

Kunonga says he left the church in a dispute over homosexuality and has
formed his own church. "History has been made," The Sunday Mail quoted
Kunonga as telling his supporters in the capital but in most churches around
Harare, the bigger congregations did not belong to him but to the original
Anglican church that is being led by Bishop Bakare.

"We have formed our own province. It has been painful and sorrowful but out
of that came the joy of our province." He said the new entity would be known
as the Anglican Church of Zimbabwe, with five dioceses in and around Harare.

Kunonga, a vocal backer of Mugabe's controversial land reforms, attempted to
pull his Harare diocese out of the Anglican Church's Province of Central
Africa over its stance on homosexuality.  His licence has since been
revoked.

Tapera described the move as a "mockery", insisting that the Harare diocese
was still part of the central African church province, which groups Anglican
churches in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


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Zim to keep close eye on foreign election observers

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

14 January 2008 02:59

      Zimbabwe will prohibit foreign observers deemed to be biased
from overseeing its upcoming presidential and legislative elections, Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Monday.

      "Our stance on foreign observers is that they are not a legal
requirement," Chinamasa was quoted as saying by the state-controlled Herald
newspaper as Zimbabwe prepares for the polls that are expected before the
end of March.

      "We do not have to allow people to come here to legitimise or
delegitimise our electoral processes and outcomes as a means of furthering
their interests," he said.

      "Hence we will not entertain anyone or any institution that does
not have an open mind."

      Both the European Union and the Commonwealth denounced as flawed
the last presidential election in 2002 that saw Robert Mugabe win a new term
in office, while an African Union observer mission gave the vote a clean
bill of health.

      EU monitors were, meanwhile, barred from the last parliamentary
elections in 2005, although teams from so-called "friendly countries" -- 
mainly from Africa but also including Russia -- were allowed in.

      Chinamasa said that the idea of Westerners monitoring elections
in Africa was in part a means of defending their interests in their former
colonies.

      "The Western world largely came up with this [monitoring] as a
reaction to the decolonisation process ... as a means of safeguarding their
own interests," he said.

      He cited Kenya as an example, saying that some foreign observers
had backtracked on their earlier declarations that elections there in
December had been free and fair.

      Some observers only served to "sow the seeds of confusion,
disunity and ultimately bloodshed", Chinamasa added.

      The 2002 elections led the European Union and the United States
to impose a series of sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle, while
criticism of its democratic record prompted Zimbabwe to pull out of the
Commonwealth.

       Mugabe has yet to name the date of the election, which should
take place before the end of March. -- AFP


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African oppositions' greatest challenge

The Age, Australia

David Coltart
January 15, 2008

Oppositions should continue to use the rule of law in their struggles.
KENYA'S opposition must challenge disputed election results in the courts if
it wants to strengthen democracy, weaken autocracy and defuse violence. Even
in Zimbabwe this has shown our citizens and the world that there is still
hope for that very foundation of freedom, the rule of law.

Our experience applies wherever elections cannot be trusted and wherever the
rule of law is shaky.

Court proceedings do not have to replace peaceful street action. Martin
Luther King said: "Direct action is not a substitute for work in the court
and the halls of government … Pleading cases before the courts of the land
does not eliminate the necessity for bringing about the mass dramatisation
of injustice in front of a city hall. Indeed, direct action and legal action
complement one another; when skilfully employed, each becomes more
effective."

Courts are slow and frustrating in any country and are unlikely to remove
the party in power. But cases do have to be filed to demonstrate a
commitment to legitimacy. In Zimbabwe, of the 39 parliamentary election
challenges after the June 2000 election, not one had been concluded by the
end of that term in 2005. The same applied to the 2002 challenge to Robert
Mugabe's election — his term ends in March this year and that case is
nowhere close to being concluded.

Was going to court a pointless exercise? I do not believe so: through the
systematic presentation of facts before courts over several years we were
able to show all neutral observers that Zanu PF did not enjoy a mandate from
the Zimbabwean people. All this has helped create international pressure
against the Mugabe regime.

The decision to use the courts also underlined our commitment to using
non-violent methods and gave us the

undisputed moral high ground domestically and internationally.

We publicised in great detail and in summary what had been filed in court.
We issued press releases. When we obtained judgements, we printed them out
in full and posted them on the internet. Where the judiciary subverted the
legal process, we exposed the judiciary. We converted all paper records into
electronic copies. We persuaded academics to write about the judgements. We
used these papers to lobby diplomats, governments and the UN.

Mugabe expected to steal the election and then wait for the world to forget
about the circumstances. I believe the court proceedings, more than any
other single factor, were responsible for denying him that.

I recognise that the mention of "years" is not encouraging — a very close
election in Kenya seems to have been stolen and, understandably, the
opposition wants to take office now. We understand that: we in the Movement
for Democratic Change should have come into government in June 2000 and are
still waiting. But think of the alternatives — we have seen some of them in
Kenya this past week.

Corrupt regimes do not give way easily, but in Kenya, I do not think that
the opposition's struggle will be anything like as long as ours has been.
Incumbent President Mwai Kibaki does not have land and race as excuses for
justifying his fraud as Mugabe had. Because of

that, Kibaki will not be given

the same amount of slack by African leaders as Mugabe enjoys.

Kenya's opposition parties must pursue the non-violent route, in all its
facets, because the bad behaviour on both sides during and since the
election damages the image of Kenya and the whole of Africa, damages hope
and damages foreign investment. It perpetuates the notion that Africa is
backward, violent and unsafe. While that may have been true of Africa two
decades ago, it is not true now.

Zimbabwe and Kenya are bad examples but many African countries are now
changing their governments peacefully — in Ghana, Senegal, South Africa,
Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Tanzania and elsewhere in the
past decade. Nigeria had badly flawed elections last year but many rigged
results have been annulled at federal, state and local levels, while new
President Umaru Yar'Adua has faced court to defend himself.

In Zimbabwe and Kenya we have a duty to the rest of Africa to show that when
democracy is under attack, we will remain true to its fundamental
principles. And all democratically elected African leaders have a
responsibility to support those who demonstrate that commitment. Only in
this way can we show the rest of the world that Africa is a safe place in
which to do business.

Kenya's future can now be defined by hard facts filed in court and published
the world over or by hundreds of innocents killed countrywide.

David Coltart, MP, a human rights lawyer, is shadow minister of justice in
Zimbabwe, representing the Movement for Democratic Change. He was first
elected to Bulawayo South in June 2000 and re-elected in March 2005, gaining
76% of the vote.


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Zim judiciary says ready to protect rights

Zim Online

by Patricia Mpofu Tuesday 15 January 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s judiciary is committed to ensuring peace and protecting
human rights during key elections scheduled for March, Judge President Rita
Makarau said on Monday.

Zimbabwe’s bench – purged of independent judges by President Robert Mugabe –
is often accused by human rights groups of lacking courage to defend the
rights of citizens against a government that has increasingly resorted to
repressive methods to keep dissension in check in the face of worsening
economic hardships.

Makarau, appointed to the High Court in 2000 when Mugabe began re-moulding
the bench, said the courts stood ready to protect the rights of citizens in
the run-up to and after the presidential and parliamentary polls.

“We as the courts stand ready to play our part in ensuring that peace and
the rights of the individual enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe will
be given legal expression to, before, during and after the elections,” said
Makarau, in a speech marking the opening of the 2008 legal year.

The bench has been accused in the past of inordinately delaying hearing
applications challenging victory by Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party
despite such cases always being regarded as urgent.

Several opposition election petitions, most notably the petition by main
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai against Mugabe’s re-election in 2002,
died a natural death or were reduced to mere academic exercises after the
courts took too long to conclude them.

Politically motivated violence and human rights abuses have become routine
during elections in Zimbabwe since the 1999 emergence of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party as the first potent threat to
Mugabe and ZANU PF’s decades-long hold on power.

The MDC says violence and human rights abuses have continued despite ongoing
dialogue between the opposition party and ZANU PF.

The talks between the MDC and ZANU PF were facilitated by South African
President Thabo Mbeki and have the backing of the Southern African
Development Community that is pushing for a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s
deepening political and economic crisis.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating political and economic crisis that
is highlighted by hyperinflation, a rapidly contracting GDP, the fastest for
a country not at war according to the World Bank and shortages of foreign
currency, food and fuel.

Analysts say truly democratic elections are vital to any plan to resuscitate
Zimbabwe’s comatose economy.

Meanwhile, Makarau lamented the exodus of staff from the Office of the
Director of Public Prosecution, saying it further exacerbated the backlog in
courts and compromising justice delivery.

“In my view, our system and time frame for dealing with criminal cases at
the moment is far from being just,” said Makarau, noting for example that
the average time it took for a case of murder to be set down for hearing was
now six years compared to four years last year.

Lawyers, magistrates and prosecutors are among a host of skilled workers
including teachers, doctors, nurses and engineers who have fled Zimbabwe to
neighbouring countries and as far afield as Britain and the United States in
search of better pay and living conditions. - ZimOnline


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Zim woes to fetter progress towards SADC free trade area

Zim Online

by Never Chanda Tuesday 15 January 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwe could prove to be southern Africa’s Achilles’ heel as the
region embarks on an ambitious path to open up national economies and
improve trade.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) free trade area came into
effect on 1 January.

This means most goods produced in the region can now enter member countries
free of custom duties.

But big question marks hang over SADC’s ability to ease regional problem
child Zimbabwe into the new set up.

One of the challenges would be how to bring Zimbabwe’s tariff regimes in
line with the rest of the SADC region.

Zimbabwe, in the eighth year of an economic crisis, has in recent years
adopted a more protectionist approach to trade, which has seen the
government charging imports such as clothing and passenger vehicles in
foreign currency and taxing cross-border traders.

“We are going to interfere with agreed regional tariffs as long as things
remain the way they are,” said respected Harare-based economist John
Robertson.

The free trade area is an important milestone for the region and is the
first step towards the establishment of a customs union by 2010, a common
market by 2015 and economic and monetary union by 2018.

Another challenge facing SADC will be how to bring Zimbabwe’s economic
fundamentals in line with agreed regional targets two years from the launch
of a customs union.

The regional economic targets include single-digit inflation and budget
deficit for all member states by the end of 2008, a proposition that has
proved to be a tall order for Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has the world’s highest inflation rate currently estimated at more
than 15 000 percent while the budget deficit has consistently hovered above
15 percent since the country’s economic crisis started in earnest in 2000.

“What we are likely to see is a more serious approach by SADC to assist
Zimbabwe out of her economic crisis because they would not want any member
state to be the stumbling block along the path to the envisaged customs
union,” said a Harare-based investment analyst who could not be named for
professional reasons.

The SADC Secretariat was last April tasked by the 14-member regional
grouping to come up with an economic rescue package for Zimbabwe but has so
far remained mum on the contents of its plan while conditions continue to
deteriorate in Harare.

Analysts said the launch of the SADC Free Area had important implications
for Zimbabwe, chief among them the impact on Harare’s fragile manufacturing
sector currently estimated to be operating at less than a third of its
capacity.

The government must urgently boost the production capacity of local industry
or risk rapid de-industrialisation, the analysts warned.

“Stronger economies like South Africa are bound to benefit the most by
exploiting Zimbabwe’s manufacturing bottlenecks and exporting more at the
expense of the local industry,” warned the investment banker.

The launch of the SADC free trade zone could therefore prove to be the nudge
that has been lacking in the region's approach to Zimbabwe's economic and
political crisis.

Regional leaders could now be forced to take resolute action to resolve the
crisis or risk being labelled as the people who failed to launch the first
steps towards regional economic prosperity. - ZimOnline


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Parliamentary group summons central bank chief

Zim Online

by Patricia Mpofu Tuesday 15 January 2008

HARARE – A special parliamentary committee on Monday said it would next week
summon Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono to divulge
information regarding illegal cash barons he says are behind cash shortages
affecting the country.

“We are hoping to dialogue with him (Gono) regarding the cash barons, the
deepening cash crisis in the country, among a host of issues,” said Daniel
Mackenzie Ncube, the new acting chairman of the parliamentary portfolio
committee on budget and finance.

Members of the committee last week told ZimOnline that they would summon
Gono yesterday to explain the issue of cash barons and to allegations that
the central bank was involved in illicit dealings on the illegal black
market for foreign currency.

The committee however used yesterday to elect Ncube as its new head after
its former chairman, David Butau, fled the country.

Gono, is a close confidante of President Robert Mugabe and is generally
regarded as untouchable. Tasked by Mugabe to revive Zimbabwe’s economy, he
has often accused top government and ruling ZANU PF party officials of
profiting from the crisis and blocking efforts to resuscitate the comatose
economy.

Gono volunteered during an address to a ZANU PF congress last month to
disclose names of party officials who were hoarding cash to the
parliamentary committee.

However, Butau appeared unwilling to take up the offer, saying his committee
was not in a hurry to call the RBZ boss to testify.

And days later, Butau was himself accused of involvement in illegal in
foreign currency deals forcing him to flee to Britain in fear of arrest.
Butau, a ZANU PF legislator, has since accused Gono in newspaper articles of
involvement in the illegal black-market for hard cash.

Gono, who was not immediately available for comment on the matter, has in
the past insisted he has carried out his functions within the law and
challenged his accusers to come forward with evidence of wrongdoing.

However, questions have been asked how the central bank released Z$7
trillion to an obscure broking firm, Flatwater Investments, that later used
the money to buy foreign currency on the parallel market.

The central bank was further linked to the black market after foreign
currency dealer Dorothy Mutekede claimed $10 billion found in her possession
had been given to her by RBZ adviser Jonathan Kadzura as payment for
greenbacks she had sold him.

Our sources say Gono will also be asked to explain how $250 billion was
allegedly stolen from an RBZ truck in Harare last month. - ZimOnline


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US calls for free and fair polls in Zimbabwe

Zim Online

by Simplicious Chirinda Tuesday 15 January 2008

HARARE – The United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, on Monday
said Harare should respect the will of the will of the people during next
March’s elections in order to avoid post-election violence.

Speaking at half-day election reporting seminar for journalists in Harare,
McGee said the situation in Zimbabwe had reached tipping point and it was
important for Harare to respect the will of voters during the elections.

“The elections should reflect the will of the people of Zimbabwe. They
should be free and fair and the government should simply . . . satisfy the
will of the people,” said McGee.

McGee, who took over as the US ambassador from the straight-talking
Christopher Dell last November, said he was not sure of the electoral
environment in Zimbabwe was conducive for a free and fair election in March.

“The people should understand why they should go and vote because a
government without the people is not a government,” said McGee.

The US envoy however said the economic situation had continued to
deteriorate in Zimbabwe that is grappling with the world’s highest inflation
rate of over 15 000 percent, widespread poverty and unemployment.

“The economic situation is deteriorating, people are suffering, there is a
high rate of unemployment and inflation is extremely high. These are facts
and something has to be done to correct the situation,” said McGee.

Zimbabwe is expected to hold joint presidential and parliamentary elections
next March.

The US and other major Western countries have since 2000 accused President
Robert Mugabe’s government of rigging elections and using violence to retain
power.

Mugabe denies the charge accusing Washington of seeking to oust his
“legitimately elected” government.

McGee, who said he had extended an olive branch to everyone in the
Zimbabwean government, said Washington would accept an invitation from
Harare to observe the elections.

Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the state-controlled
Herald newspaper yesterday that Harare would bar foreign observers from
overseeing its elections in March.

“We do not have to allow people to come here to legitimise or delegitimise
our electoral processes and outcomes as a means of furthering their
interests," said Chinamasa.

The US condemned Mugabe’s 2002 re-election as flawed. - ZimOnline


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Mediation Talks Resume Under Chairmanship of Mbeki



SW Radio Africa (London)

14 January 2008
Posted to the web 14 January 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

Negotiators from Zanu-PF and the MDC resumed talks in Pretoria on Saturday,
under the direct chairmanship of South African President Thabo Mbeki.

There are reports of a 'significant development' from the crisis talks,
although both sides remained tight-lipped on Monday. A source told us that
President Mbeki managed to get both sides to agree to some concessions on
the two contentious issues - the date for elections and the adoption of a
new constitution.

Mbeki managed to kick-start the stalled talks on Saturday and the tense
discussions spilled over into Sunday in what analysts believe might have
been the last-gasp effort to strike a deal between the MDC and Zanu-PF
before the country goes to the polls this year.

All the deadlines imposed at the talks have so far been missed and it's
reported that in his welcoming remarks Mbeki urged all sides to work hard to
narrow their differences.

'Both sides are quite comfortable with the outcome of the talks, so what
remains now is for the negotiators to meet and brief their top party
structures,' said our source.

The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai is believed to have called for an urgent
meeting of the top leadership in Harare on Tuesday, to discuss the outcome
of the talks.

Harare North MP Trudy Stevenson - from the Mutambara faction - said they
also expect their negotiators to brief them sometime this week. Commenting
on the reported 'significant developments,' Stevenson said it would be great
news for all Zimbabweans if indeed the talks came out with something
realistic.

'I wouldn't want to believe the MDC gave in to Zanu-PF demands, or the
opposite, but all that we want is a realistic outcome that will allow for a
free and fair election in the country,' Stevenson said.

Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti, the secretary-generals of the two MDC
factions, represented their party, while Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche led the Zanu-PF delegation.

Before this weekend's meeting, the MDC had been insisting on a transitional
constitution, as well as a delay in the election date, to give more time for
democratic reforms and other legal changes.


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Tsvangirai Conducts Door-to-Door Consultations in Manicaland



SW Radio Africa (London)

14 January 2008
Posted to the web 14 January 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai spent three days in Manicaland last week
knocking on doors and urging voters to vote for his party in the coming
presidential and parliamentary elections.

The MDC leader took his message door-to-door in Nyanga, Mutasa, Chipinge,
Chimanimani, Mutare South and central from Thursday to Saturday. His aides
described the tour as very successful in making personal contacts with
voters.

Manicaland spokesman Pishai Muchauraya said door-to-door campaigning was an
essential part of every political campaign because of its effectiveness to
build name recognition for the candidate.

'Tsvangirai was able to visit ordinary villagers, households and men and
women on the streets to discuss the current political and economic situation
in the country. This was a humble exercise that proved to be very
effective,' Muchauraya said.

The Manicaland spokesman said in many cases during the consultations, people
wanted to know what was taking place at the talks in Pretoria and if the
political situation was conducive enough for the MDC to contest the
elections.

'These were frank discussions between the President (Tsvangirai) and the
people. A lot of them were so happy to see him in person and in turn he told
them he was very committed to reach out and meet the people in all the
provinces,' Muchauraya added.

Tsvangirai's team is hoping that his new campaign style, appealing more
directly to voters, will help his party in Manicaland, which only holds two
parliamentary seats out of the current 15.

The MDC is to hold 300 rallies across the country in the coming weeks, with
the majority of them planned for the rural areas. Parliamentary and
presidential polls are scheduled for March, but the opposition has still not
said it will definitely participate. Both factions of the MDC are believed
to be waiting for the conclusion of the mediation talks before making
concrete statements on the elections.


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Visiting Irish leader concerned about Zim

Mail and Guardian

Johannesburg, South Africa

14 January 2008 05:10

      Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern expressed "great concern" over
the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe at the outset of a visit to
South Africa on Monday.

      "I would like to thank President [Thabo] Mbeki for his work as
the SADC [Southern African Development Community] mediator in Zimbabwe, an
issue of great concern to us in Ireland," Ahern told a reception in Cape
Town hosted by the Irish ambassador.

      Up to 3 000 Irish people are estimated to live in Zimbabwe,
where the government's ruinous economic policies have resulted in inflation
of more than 24 000% and grinding poverty.

      At the European Union-African Union summit in Lisbon in
December, Ahern derided authoritarian Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's
constant blaming of colonialism for his country's economic collapse, saying:
"Any country that halves the life expectancy of its people speaks for
itself."

      Earlier on Monday, Ahern visited the Niall Mellon Township
Trust -- named after a wealthy Irish property developer who has built
hundreds of homes for shack-dwellers in the Cape Town area.

      On Tuesday, he is scheduled to pay a courtesy visit on Mbeki,
who is mediating in talks between the Zimbabwean government and opposition.

      Ahern will also hold talks with Deputy President Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka on matters that will "most likely" include Zimbabwe, according
to his spokesperson.

      The Irish leader arrived in South Africa on Sunday at the head
of a trade delegation of more than 50 companies, including companies from
Northern Ireland.

      The delegation's African tour also includes a visit to Tanzania,
one of the biggest recipients of Irish overseas aid, which this year is set
to reach more than 0,5% of gross national product. -- Sapa-dpa


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International Federation warns of potential disastrous flood crisis in southern Africa

14 Jan 2008 11:02:00 GMT
Source: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
(IFRC) - Switzerland
Website: http://www.ifrc.org

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warned
today of a potential disastrous flood crisis in southern Africa. The region
has been affected by heavy rains which started last month in parts of
Zimbabwe. The flooding situation is now spreading to other countries
including Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland and Madagascar.

"The current seasonal rains - intensified by La Nińa current in the
Pacific - has pushed rivers to their danger level and beyond over the past
two weeks," says Peter Rees, Head of the International Federation Operations
Support Department. "The weather forecast for the next 7 days is not good
with more rain expected which could last until April. If this happens,
southern Africa will certainly face major flooding with potentially
catastrophic consequences. This is why we should not wait, immediate respond
to the coming crisis and further develop disaster preparedness activities,"
he adds.

The situation in Mozambique is particularly worrying. This flood-prone
country was already severely-hit by flooding immediately followed by a
cyclone in February 2007. Many communities are just starting to recover and
they now have to face another crisis. About 60,000 people are currently
being affected but numbers are rising on a daily basis. The Mozambique Red
Cross Society has assisted in emergency evacuations. It also provided tents,
tarpaulins, plastic sheets, mosquito nets, mattresses and other non-food
items to hundreds of families in Sofala, Manica, Inhambane, Zambezia and
Tete.

"We still have stocks and volunteers in reserve in the north of the country
but we now badly need cash to keep the logistics going," says Fernanda
Teixeira, secretary general of the Mozambique Red Cross. The extent of the
humanitarian crisis has been limited so far by the early warning given by
Red Cross volunteers who immediately alerted communities as soon as the
water level started to rise and helped them to move to higher grounds.

On Friday, the International Federation released one million Swiss francs
(US$ 980,000 / € 660,000) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) to
support Red Cross societies in affected countries in their response. A
preliminary appeal will be launched shortly.

"We must immediately bring humanitarian aid to affected communities but we
also need to bear in mind that people affected or displaced by the floods
will need long-term assistance, especially to restore their livelihoods,"
says Françoise Le Goff, Head of the International Federation's southern
Africa zone office which is supporting all Red Cross societies in the region
involved in emergency response operations.

For further information, to set up interviews or request photos, please
contact:

In Mozambique: Alex Wynter, Tel: + 44 77 17470855 (roaming)

In Geneva: Jean-Luc Martinage, Media Officer for Africa Tel: + 41 22 730 42
96 / + 41 79 217 33 86 Duty phone Tel: + 41 79 416 38 81

The Federation, Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies and the
International Committee of the Red Cross together constitute the
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. www.ifrc.org


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Zimbabwe stranded feared dead - Summary

Earth Times

            Posted : Mon, 14 Jan 2008 19:22:05 GMT
            Author : DPA

Harare/Johannesburg - Eight people marooned on an island in a flooded
river in Zimbabwe for more than five days are now feared dead, state
television reported late Monday. Two others also stranded on the island were
rescued. Two children were among those trapped on the island in the middle
of the Mutirikwi River in Zimbabwe's southern Masvingo province late last
week .

"The air force moved in with rescue efforts but only managed to rescue
two from the 10 who had been marooned," the television said.

No trace could be found of the missing eight after a four-hour search
by a force of Zimbabwe helicopters downstream, the report said.

Attempts to rescue the stranded villagers earlier were hampered by
rising floodwaters and heavy rains.

If confirmed, the flood deaths bring to 40 the number of people known
to have perished since heavy rains hit Zimbabwe early in December. The
floods have displaced hundreds of families, destroyed homes and swept away
livestock in low-lying districts in the north and south-east of the country.

"The search goes on but the authorities are not sure whether they are
looking for live bodies," the television said.

Early this month, two girls were reported marooned on an island on a
river in Sanyati, Mashonaland West province. There has been no further news
on their fate.


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Zimbabwe opposition vows to avoid election violence

AFP

HARARE (AFP) — Zimbabwe's main opposition party on Monday urged its
supporters to refrain from violence in presidential and legislative polls
expected to take place in March.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, warned
at a weekend public rally that a rigged poll could lead to a repeat of the
election-related violence in Kenya which has left at least 700 dead and
displaced more than a quarter of a million people.

But he made it clear in a statement on Monday that the party would not
endorse violence.

"The MDC has never and will never believe in violence," Chamisa said in the
statement.

"The people of Zimbabwe have seen enough bloodshed over the years and would
not want to walk through another bloody electoral route.

Zimbabwe's last presidential elections were marred by violence which left
several people dead and thousands of others displaced.

"Ours is a word of advice to the regime on the catastrophic consequences of
having a disputed election. The people want an election that guarantees the
safety and security of their vote.

"The real lesson from Kenya is that violence neither rewards a nation nor
its citizens," Chamisa said.

Mugabe, 83, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, was accused by
the MDC and Western governments of rigging the last elections in 2002.


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No water for Harare and Chitungwiza



By Tererai Karimakwenda
14 January, 2008

Residents of Harare and Chitungwiza discovered on Sunday that they would be
without water supplies for a week, starting Monday. The Zimbabwe National
Water Authority (Zinwa) announced in the state paper the Sunday Mail that
the water termination was due to major electricity power cuts at the Morton
Jaffray Waterworks in Harare. Zinwa’s general manager Lisben Chipfunde is
quoted as saying that intermittent power cuts on Friday and early Saturday
morning caused the water treatment plant to fail.

Millions of residents in the country’s largest city will now be scrambling
for safe drinking water. This adds to an already critical situation where
fuel ran out on Friday and many were left stranded. Ongoing power cuts
worsened recently after it was revealed that Mozambique had cut off supplies
to Zimbabwe due to huge unpaid debts while our own power plants suffered
breakdowns and are in need of urgent repairs. Food shortages are worsening
and last week it was reported that pharmacies had run out of most basic
medical drugs.

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has expressed great concern
over the lack of water. Spokesperson Mfundo Mlilo said there is an urgent
cholera crisis already, and it will now get worse. He explained that in
Harare’s suburb of Mabvuku, there is a cholera crisis that government is
trying to downplay. Mlilo said: “Our research, the results of which will be
out soon, indicates that almost all households in Mabvuku have either
treated or are treating a cholera case, which means up to 15,000 or 20,000
people have been affected, in Mabvuku alone.”

CHRA is concerned because government has failed to respond to the cholera
crisis in a smaller area. Now that all of Harare and Chitungwiza are at
increased risk, a much more serious cholera outbreak is looming.

Chipfunde at Zinwa claims the problems are beyond their control, while CHRA
says Zinwa itself is to blame. Supply services have deteriorated rapidly in
all 14 cities where the authority has taken over water management.

Mlilo said the takeovers are political, intended to give government access
to all revenue from water services, which previously went to local
authorities. These are large sums of money. In Harare 50% of the city’s
intake from rates came from fees charged for water services. In Bulawayo
revenue from water services accounted for at least 45-50% of city’s revenue.
Zinwa, as a quasi-government entity, now has access to these funds.

Mlilo said water problems began before Zinwa took over and the takeovers
have compounded problems that were already there. Many parts of Mabvuku have
had no water for almost a year now.

.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Zimbabweans face tough times with humour

Earth Times

            Posted : Mon, 14 Jan 2008 14:50:02 GMT
            Author : DPA

Johannesburg/Harare - If you hear a Zimbabwean housewife boast that
she's off to buy the head of a cow, don't think she's found a secret supply
of meat. She plans to buy a cabbage. And if she says she's cooking pig's
head for supper over an outdoor fire, of course, because there won't be any
power, she's also talking about cabbage.

Meat has been in desperately short supply in Zimbabwe since July, when
President Robert Mugabe's controversial 50 per cent price slash emptied shop
shelves and butchers within days.

And although the precious commodity is slowly creeping back into
stores, it is doing at prices way beyond the purses of most.

Inflation, now rumoured to be well over 24,000 per cent and climbing,
is wreaking havoc on the lives of all but the very rich.

A chicken this week cost at least 24 million Zimbabwe dollars, more
than a teacher's monthly salary. A packet of sausages cost 30 million. That
is 1,000 US dollars at the official exchange rate. No wonder cabbage is the
country's new meat.

In these tough days Zimbaweans have found their own unique brand of
humour. No surprises: it's heavily laced with sarcasm.

As power cuts bite - Zimbabwe is reported to have had electricity
imports from South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) cut -
witty Zimbabweans have found a substitute meaning for ZESA, the state-run
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority. It is the Zimbabwe Electricity
Sometimes Available company, according to letter-writers to the independent
press.

The state-run Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) has also been
renamed: it's the Zimbabwe No Water Available authority - a particularly apt
name for the water body this week. Monday marked the start of what a ZINWA
official warned would be a week-long water cut for Harare and parts of the
capital's sprawling dormitory town of Chitungwiza.

Examples abound: a columnist for the weekly Standard has coined a new
name for the government mouthpiece, the Herald. Tongue-in-cheek, he calls
the newspaper the Herald of Total Honesty.

And the pothole-riddled capital city with its frequent sewage pipe
bursts and its diarrhoea outbreaks is Ha-Ha-rare. Things in the place once
called the Sunshine City just aren't that funny any more.

With bank queues still snaking their way outside most banks as
desperate customers wait for cash and with crunch polls Mugabe's party has
said its sure of winning now only two months away, there's little hope of a
let-up in the situation.

For many Zimbabweans, there's a lot of truth in the popular saying: if
you don't laugh, you'll cry.


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Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe a den for gangsters

Nehanda Radio

14 January 2008

By Mutumwa Mawere

It is now certain that the 2008 elections will be held in March
notwithstanding the protestations by ZANU-PF’s negotiating partners in the
SADC mediated talks facilitated by President Mbeki.

The country will for the first time hold joint presidential, parliamentary
and council elections after the negotiating partners through their
parliamentary representatives unanimously agreed in Parliament to the
Constitutional Amendment Act No. 18 which has paved way for the elections.

The terms of the President, parliamentarians (whose term of office has been
shortened as a consequence of the negotiations), and local authority
representatives are accordingly due to expire in March presenting an obvious
challenge to anyone advocating a transitional period post March.

Clearly, the mandate of ZANU-PF and MDC to extend the election date has its
own constitutional ramification that is not the subject of this article.
The people of Zimbabwe will be presented with an opportunity to make a
choice about who should govern them.  The last eight years have been
characterised by an atmosphere in which two forces have been engaged in an
unprecedented political fight that has regretably assisted in worsening the
economic situation and in providing an opportunity for economic management
experimentation.

The mere fact that Chinamasa/Goche and Biti/Ncube needed SADC intervention
to arrive at the conclusion that the parliament of Zimbabwe, whose
legitimacy in relation to ZANU-PF the MDC had consistently challenged, was a
competent body to amend the constitution of Zimbabwe rather than the people
as advocated by MDC’s traditional partners demonstrates the complexity of
the crisis.

What the last 8 years have shown is that both MDC and ZANU-PF have no
confidence in the Zimbabwean constitutional order.  As a result, the
executive has been provided with a unique opportunity to exploit the
situation by systematically transferring the functions that are normally
performed by cabinet to the RBZ thereby effectively rendering the
parliamentary oversight function irrelevant.

As a result, it is now Gono who has to invite himself to parliament rather
than the Minister of Finance reporting to the nation through parliament
about the state of the nation’s finances and how it is that so-called cash
barons have overtaken the political barons as the most wanted criminals.
Only a dysfunctional society would produce a situation where both parliament
and the executive branch of the state abdicate resulting in the erosion of
the rule of law and destruction of the moral values generally expected in a
normal functioning state.
In such a situation, it is important for any discourse about change in the
context of Zimbabwe to be located in an empirical framework otherwise it
will be difficult if not impossible for citizens to make judgments about the
culpability or otherwise of the key players in the Zimbabwean drama who have
helped imprision the country is a state of siege while purporting to
represent national interest.

The role of the RBZ in undermining democracy has to form part of the debate
about the future of the country in the past March elections.  Can President
Mugabe who has presided over the systematic collpase of the state be trusted
to bring the change that Zimbabweans can believe in?  Can the MDC under the
current leadership be trusted to bring the changes that Zimbabweans can
believe in?  To the extent that MDC has found it fit to boycott parliament
notwithstanding the fact that during the last 8 years, parliament has been
used to rubber stamp some of the most draconian legislation that offend any
democratic order, can the MDC be a trusted agent of change?

The economic health of any nation provides a reliable barometer of the
extent to which the nation is leaving upto the expections of its citizens.
There is consensus among all that the economic situation in Zimbabwe has to
change. ZANU-PF blames the MDC and its purported external principals for the
economic decay and collapse while the MDC blames President Mugabe who has
been in power for the last 28 years for the mess. Even President Mugabe
would agree that all is not well and yet ZANU-PF believes that without him
the economy will not get better.  ZANU-PF has not accepted that leadership
has anything to do with the crisis rather the supporters of President Mugabe
believes that the economy is safe in the current hands.

What is evident is that Gono has run out of solutions and the blame game is
rapidly coming to its logical end.  How long can Gono point fingers at other
people without looking at himself in the mirror and taking responsibility?
It appears that Gono still has some currency and he will be a factor in the
forthcoming elections.  Already he has almost successfully exploited the
cash crisis and generated useful political dividends for ZANU-PF. He
promised to identify cash barons and judging by the number of convictions
that have already been reported it is evident that the RBZ is fighting back.

The RBZ has already managed to ensure that Butau will not be a candidate in
the next elections.  Equally any prospective candidate for parliament will
have to consider seriously about challenging the RBZ for the consequences
can be personally disastrous.
Hypocrisy plays an important part in any political life.  However, no one
would expect an institution like the RBZ to be at the center of hypocrisy at
a defining moment in Zimbabwe’s history.  The manner in which exchange
control violations have been handled by the RBZ under Gono’s stewardship
requires critical examination.

Anyone who cares deeply about Zimbabwe can ill afford to ignore the role of
the RBZ in distorting and undermining political and economic morality.  I am
convinced that people no longer know who to believe or what to believe.  How
can any nation seriously go for an election when citizens have been
sufficiently abused by their own servants?  The stakes are high for
Zimbabweans to be nice to each other. I believe that there comes a time in
every generation when each one of us is called to think seriously about
legacy and what future generations will say about this moment and the
choices made.  Zimbabweans have gone through a lot and they deserve better.

The Butau case is pregnant with lessons that should form part of the
conversations about the future of Zimbabwe.  The factual matrix keeps on
unfolding but the latest information that Mr. Butau’s Personal Assistant has
been convicted provides yet another example of the manipulation of public
opinion by the RBZ and, indeed, by the state. We were informed by the Herald
that Ms. Getrude Matika pleaded guilty to illegally dealing in foreign
currency and by default confirming that Butau is also guilty.  If his PA is
guilty then surely Butau cannot argue that he is innocent and this then
confirms what Charamba has been saying that the West is guilty of
undermining the sovereignty of Zimbabwe by giving sanctuary to criminals
like Butau.

This begs the question of what precisely did Ms. Matika plead guilty to.
The facts presented by the Herald are as follows: Ms. Matika was employed by
a company, Dande Holdings, allegedly owned by Butau.  At all material times
she worked for Dande and not for Butau.  She has pleaded to transfering Z$87
billion from the company and not to Butau’s account into various accounts
before getting the equivalent in local currency using the parallel exchange
rate.

From the above, it is evident that Ms. Matika derived no benefit from the
transaction.  Equally, Butau did not derive any personal benefit from the
alleged transfer of funds.  In any normal country, the mere transfer of
funds from one party to another would not constitute a criminal violation.
Ms. Matika was imprisioned for her role in performing duties for her
principal, Dande Holdings.  If Dande was the party to the transfer of funds
then surely the company would have been the accused and the imprisonment of
officers of the company would be improper.

Notwithstanding, Ms. Matika had to buy her temporary freedom by posting a
bail of Z$50 million with stringent conditions.  The agreed facts are that
between October 25 and December 19 last year, Ms. Matika was instructed to
complete Real Time Gross Settlement forms transferring money from the
account of Nyamasoka Farming, a company allegedly owned by Butau.  It is
alleged that Butau signed all the RTGS forms and the money was channelled
into the black market for the purchase of buying foreign currency.

In October 2007, it is alleged that Ms. Matika in the course of performing
her duties to her employer was further sent to Bulawayo to collect the
foreign currency sourced from the illegal parallel market from one Bekezela
Jabwa who gave her US$12,891, R81,580 and 1,100 pula being the foreign
currency equivalent of the funds transferred from Nyamasoka’s account.  The
foreign currency was delivered to Butau.

It has now emerged that the funds transferred by Nyamasoka were part of the
deal structured by the RBZ whereby the bank acting as an agent of the
government in the procurement of imported tractors put together a scheme
involving a shelf company, Flatwater Investments.  It is commoncause that
Flatwater received Z$2.1 trillion from the RBZ for the sole purpose of
buying foreign exchange in the black market. A director of Flatwater, Mr.
Taziwana Chivaviro and the Chief Operations Officer, Nigel Tatenda Marozhe,
were also convicted on their pleas of guilty to dealing in foreign currency
by Mr Guvamombe.

They were remanded out of custody to today for mitigation and address of
special circumstances before sentence is passed.  It has been reported that
Mr Guvamombe ordered the pair to pay $250 million bail each and surrender
the title deeds of their respective properties.

At the core of the Butau matter that has regretably resulted in the arrest
of third parties is the role of the RBZ in a transaction that is now alleged
to have contravened the laws of the country.  It is now known that In
October last year, RBZ released Z$2.1 trillion to Flatwater for the purchase
of 102 tractors for the Government’s Agricultural Mechanisation Programme on
terms and conditions that are still not known and for which Mr. Guvamombe
appears not to have an interest in apart from expressing outrage while
proceeding to convicting individuals who appear to have been agents of their
employers.

The court heard that RBZ, a body corporate established under an Act of
Parliament and Flatwater entered into a verbal agreement and not a written
agreement before the cash was released.  Can you imagine a bank that is
supposed to be repository of national trust and confidence being party to a
transaction in which public funds are transferred to a private company
without any written document?  Only in a banana republic would you expect
this to happen and for the courts to turn a blind eye to such actions by a
state organ.
In any functioning state, the central bank deals with authorised financial
institutions and not directly with the public.

Flatwater is alleged to have engaged a foreign currency dealer, Joseph
Manjoro, to source the foreign currency.  According to the court records,
Manjoro received the funds and allegedly converted Z$708 billion to own use
and concluded a transaction with Butau’s company for Z$562.5 billion.

Mr. Anthony Hobwana was also engaged by Flatwater to source foreign currency
in line with the mandate from the RBZ and received Z$575 billion.  Another
company, Squareaxe (Private) Limited, owned by Royas Mazorodze, also
received Z$575 billion from the RBZ deal.

It has now been alleged that parties that were contracted by Manjoro on
behalf of his principal, Flatwater, did not raise the equivalent in foreign
currency as expected by the RBZ.  Ordinarily in such a situation, Manjoro
would have recourse to the courts against its counter parties.  It is
evident that the RBZ would have no interest in the dealings between Manjoro
and his contracting parties and, therefore, no criminal violation would have
been committed against the state.  The complainant would be Manjoro himself
who now finds himself also accused in the same matter.

The RBZ’s contracting party appears to have been Flatwater and yet it is not
evident in the proceedings in Zimbabwe that this was the legal position.  It
is not clear why the state would be interested in the affairs of Flatwater
and its agents or contracting parties.  It is also clear that there were no
agreements between the parties leading the RBZ to take the law into its own
hands.  The idea of self help is inimical to the rule of law and it is clear
that the RBZ is judge in its own cause.

The only instance in which all the convicted parties would stand accused for
what is clearly a corrupt and non transparent deal is when the rule of law
is no longer applicable.
Zimbabweans have been told that even Manjoro converted some of the funds
received from Flatwater to his own use.  The RBZ expected Flatwater and not
Manjoro to raise US$1.25 million at an exchange rate of Z$1,696,520 per
US$1.  Manjoro only managed to raise US$357 000 from the black market.

The funds were deposited into the bank account of Michigan Tractors in South
Africa resulting in the procurement of only 39 tractors out of the expected
102 which naturally must have enraged Gono. It has been establisged that Mr.
Phillimon Makuvise, whose surname is the same as the CEO of CBZ, Gono’s
former employer, acted as a middleman between Flatwater and Manjoro leading
him to be convicted as well.  He is also on a $100 million bail. What
emerges from the above is a classic case of abuse of state power.  It does
not take a rocket scientist to see that Gono unleashed the state machinery
to resolve what appears to be a deal gone sour.

If the individuals implicated had known that the real principal in this
corrupt deal was the RBZ, I am sure they would have taken a different view
to their involvement.  But who would imagine that an organ of state would be
involved in an illegal transaction fully knowing the consequences of such
actions.  What is shocking is that the state appears to be impotent in
dealing with the RBZ leading to questions being legitimately asked about
whom is the state really serving.

Would it be fair to conclude that the RBZ is now the mother of all hypocrisy
or a den of gangsters who have the state machinery at their disposal to
resolve disputes in violation of Section 18(9) of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe that states as follows: “Subject to the provisions of this
Constitution, every person is entitled to be afforded a fair hearing within
a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court or other
adjudicating authority established by law in the determination of the
existence or extent of his civil rights or obligations. [Subsection as
amended by section 3 of Act 4 of 1993 - Amendment No. 12]. “


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Zimbabweans turn to cross-border shopping sprees

Mail and Guardian

Johannesburg, South Africa

14 January 2008 11:54

      South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique have reported an upsurge
in the number of Zimbabweans crossing the borders for Christmas shopping, as
basic commodities remain in short supply in most shops, the state-controlled
Zimbabwe Herald reported on Monday.

      Immigration officials said although statistics were still being
compiled at the border posts, estimates are that between 2 800 and 3 500
people were outward-bound daily in the run-up to the Christmas holiday, the
Herald reported.

      "Subsequently, prices of commodities in neighbouring countries
have increased owing to the demand from Zimbabweans. Most shops in
Francistown reported [being out of stock] on most goods," said the report.

      Although the shopping trips have meant that border towns such as
Musina, Chimoio and Francistown are booming, most shoppers prefer the bigger
cities such as Beira, Johannesburg and Gaborone, where goods are cheaper and
the choice broader, the newspaper said.

      "This has boosted manufacturing and retail sales in those
countries, encouraging businesses to be set up to support these shoppers."

      Cross-border shoppers were largely responsible for the growth in
retail sales in South Africa last year, the Herald said. (South African
retail sales rose to 18% from 8,7 over the previous year).

      In 2006, Zimbabweans spent R2,2-billion in the South African
economy, making them the biggest spenders in that economy.

      In a recent research paper, South African-based independent
development economist Norman Reynolds said that Zimbabwean shoppers were
pumping between R20-billion and R30-billion into the South African economy
yearly through these shopping trips.

       Reports on Botswana television recently quoted several
supermarket owners as saying they had been stocked out as a result of big
purchases mostly by Zimbabweans and Zambians, the Herald said.

      A visit by the Herald newspaper to Mozambique in December
revealed that trade between the two countries had grown sharply since the
scrapping of visa requirements a month before.

      Water cuts
      Meanwhile, Harare will go without water for a week, the
state-run water authority announced on Sunday in the latest setback for
struggling residents.

       Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinaw) general manager Lisben
Chipfunde blamed the cut, which starts on Monday, on major power failures at
the main Morton Jaffray treatment plant.

      Parts of Harare's sprawling dormitory town of Chitungwiza will
also be affected.

       "Harare and parts of Chitungwiza will this whole week experience
a loss of water supplies due to problems beyond our control," Chipfunde told
the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper.

      "We are really concerned about the frequency of power cuts,
which are affecting our plant."

      News of the cuts come after record rains in December. Zimbabwe's
dams are now 87% full, reports said earlier this month. Lake Chivero,
Harare's main water supply, is already overflowing.

      Despite the rains, Harare's more than 1,5-million residents
struggle with long water cuts, exacerbated by power shortages, burst sewage
pipe and mounting piles of uncollected refuse.

      In a separate report, the Sunday Mail said more than 400 cases
of diarrhoear-related diseases, including cholera, had been diagnosed in
recent weeks in the twin eastern suburbs of Tafara and Mabvuku.

      There have been a number of deaths. -- Sapa, dpa


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Zimbabwe judge bemoans staff exodus, slow trials

africasia.com

HARARE, Jan 14 (AFP)

Zimbabwe's most senior judge on Monday bemoaned a mounting backlog of
untried cases because of a staff exodus, saying the high court in Harare now
only had one stenographer to keep records of proceedings.

"I mentioned the backlog in the criminal division at the opening of the
legal year last year," Judge President Rita Makarau told guests at a
ceremony to start the 2008 court year.

"Then the average age of a murder set down for hearing in the high court was
four years. It is now six years," she warned.

"The backlog in criminal cases is set to be further exacerbated by the
exodus of staff from the office of the director of public prosecutions who
left a number of criminal cases partly heard uncompleted and have gone on to
assume duties elsewhere from whence they cannot come to complete the cases."

The justice ministry has not been spared by the massive exodus which has hit
many government departments in inflation-ravaged Zimbabwe with prosecutors
leaving to join private law firms while others have left the country.

Makarau said the delivery of justice was further hampered by a shortage of
court transcribers with only one serving the high court in Harare and a
second in the main southern city of Bulawayo.

"This has proved most difficult to accomplish, with the result that most
trials will not be completed in the near future, or at all unless we put in
place radical and urgent interventions," she said.

She cited a case where a judge was at a loss what to do with a man accused
of killing his brother after a drunken brawl.

During the the lengthy time the man was on bail awaiting trial, he assumed
responsibility for his deceased's brother's family and fathered two
additional children with the widow.

"How does society expect us to respond in such circumstances where the delay
is in the system and no particular officer or office is to blame?" Makarau
asked.

Magistrates and prosecutors across Zimbabwe went on strike in October,
pressing for better working conditions and a higher salary.

They returned to work after government them a 600 percent pay rise.

Makarau said the high court in Harare would in the coming legal year hear 25
murder cases all of which were committed more than a year ago.


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Report: Zimbabwe draws up register of HIV/AIDS 'curers'

Earth Times

            Posted : Mon, 14 Jan 2008 08:31:05 GMT
            Author : DPA

Harare - Battling to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Zimbabwe hasstarted a
register of traditional healers who claim to cure the condition, reports
said Monday. The crisis-riddled country recently registered an astounding
drop in HIV/AIDS rates, down to 1 in 7 from 1 in 4 at the beginning of the
century.

But efforts to contain the pandemic may be threatened by Zimbabwe's
economic meltdown, which has seen many patients unable to afford doctors and
drug fees.

Scores of traditional healers began gathering Friday at the Zimbabwe
National Traditional Healers' Association (ZINATHA) headquarters in Harare
to have themselves registered as genuine practitioners.

The healers will be monitored by conventional doctors to see if the
traditional remedies they prescribe really do improve CD4 counts - a measure
of white blood cells in HIV-infected people - as mainstream anti-retroviral
medicines do.

"We want to settle the issue once and for all," said ZINATHA secretary
for information and publicity Tapera Dzviti.

"Many traditional healers are claiming that they can cure the
infection and are taking money from people," he said in quotes carried by
the official Herald daily.

People living with HIV and AIDS are invited to come forward to take
part in the trial.


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We sentence you to...for impunity

zimbabwejournalists.com

14th Jan 2008 10:32 GMT

By Chenjerai Chitsaru

ARGUABLY the most impudent and imprudent act of impunity on the workers was
the government’s decision to levy them to raise the gratuity and allowances
of the war veterans in the nightmare of the nineties.

Neutral historians, concerned only with recording an accurate,
uncontaminated political history of the country, will speculate candidly on
that act being one of those for which Zanu PF and the government of
President Robert Mugabe paid a hefty penalty.

If you accept that the aftermath was solely responsible for the emergence of
the most formidable opposition to Zanu PF, then it follows that the ruling
party shot itself, not only in the foot, but in the head as well.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which reacted with robust indignation
to the unilateral act of the then one-party Parliament, eventually spawned
the Movement for Democratic Change.

The rest, as they say, historians must record for posterity, is history.
It is probably true to say that if Zanu PF had not allowed its perceived
omnipotence go to its head, some other act of lunacy might still have led to
the creation of as powerful an opposition as the MDC.

Since its inception, Zanu PF had embraced the concept of the one-party state
as the only durable method of retaining power.
Party historians may never concede the point that if the ideologues in
Mugabe’s sanctum sanctorum had played their cards right, a full-blown
multiparty democracy might never have been achieved in Zimbabwe.

We now know that since then the party has been striving to return to the
pre-2000 period. People have been killed and political careers destroyed as
vigorous attempts have been made to re-create the conditions that led to the
one-party system – a reign of terror.

Impunity is not generally accepted as a political crime, yet it is. In
Zimbabwe, it was responsible, not only for the creation of the strongest
opposition party, but also for the injurious splits in the ruling party.

Operation Murambatsvina had all the filthy hallmarks of impunity: again,
lives were lost, and livelihoods destroyed. Then came the price blitz,
another act of political lunacy whose impunity affected so many lives, again
needlessly. Today, there is the cash crisis, whose No. l scalp will be or
must be that of Gideon Gono.

If an election is held this year, there are voters determined to sentence
the perpetrators to long sentences in the political wilderness.

Among them will be Mugabe himself, if the elections are as free and fair as
to allow voters an unfettered opportunity to express their choice.

The point is that, since independence, Zanu PF has blocked the people’s
determination to punish the party for its impunity. It has used violence and
more impunity to achieve this.

Moreover, in assiduously promoting the myth that the West alone is
responsible for our problems, the party has convinced a few fence-sitters to
join that bandwagon.

Certainly, a substantial number of leaders of the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) have bought into this fiction. The West, it
must be acknowledged, has not been applauding Mugabe’s every political and
economic adventure since 2000. Yet neither have many Zimbabweans.

The fact of the near-collapse of the health delivery system, the result of
which is the decline of the life expectancy to 34 years, is a stark reality
for Zimbabweans.

To blame it entirely on the West, as the government does, is difficult for
the citizens to swallow. If health was a priority, why would the government
prefer to spend more money on defence than on health?

Why would the government prefer to maintain a bloated administration rather
than trim it to what  someone famously called a “lean, mean machine”?

Moreover, since the near-collapse of the agricultural industry, the
expenditure on propping up the “new farmers”  - the Al, A2, A3 or A4
farmers – with massive injections of scarce financial resources, is money
down the drain.

The corruption alone was enough to have persuaded a government conscious of
the parlous state of its finances to revamp the whole spoon-feeding
programme. The wiser course, it would seem, would be to accept the failure
of this attempt at re-inventing the wheel, to bring back the glory days of
the Breadbasket of the region – without the skills to go with it.

The impunity with which Zanu PF has conducted state affairs can be ascribed
to a heavy hangover from the days of the liberation movement. It would seem
that the party hierarchy in Zanu PF is mortally frightened of letting logic
dictate the course of government.

The control freaks at the top cannot get rid of their liberation war psyche.

Their philosophy seems to be, instead, that everything does not have to
conform to a tried and tested formula. Everything can be tried. Experiments
are wise, however weird and wasteful they may be.

So now you have previously starry-eyed Zanu PF devotees seemingly
contemplating the unimaginable - challenging the Establishment on the
ultimate field of combat, in an election.

Stories linking former diehard members of Zanu PF to the creation of a new
party may be a ploy by Zanu PF itself to muddy the opposition waters even
more than the split in the MDC, for which some cynics have blamed the ruling
party, did.

If it is not a Zanu PF ploy, then we can expect an exciting election time.
Most analysts are skeptical, though. If the elections are genuinely
scheduled for March, a new party can hardly muster the resources, manpower
and finance, to mount a formidable challenge to Zanu PF.

If there is no hope of actually winning the election, then it must be
suspected, with good reason, that the ploy is related to another Zanu PF
device to ensure victory – split the opposition vote into so many splinters,
there is no chance of subduing the geriatric leaders and their Stone Age
party.

Zanu PF’s impunity extends to the election itself. Already, there are
complaints by the opposition that the preparations for the harmonized polls
are way behind schedule. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn), a
non-governmental organization, is not convinced that the preparations are up
to scratch.

It is always possible than wiser counsel may prevail in Zanu PF and the
elections postponed to a date allowing for more time. The danger is that all
this may allow more time for the ruling party to implement its talent for
impunity to “organize” the process in its favour.

Margaret Dongo, a Zanu PF ex-combatant, will be aware of how the party
cheated her in an election in the 1990s. But she mounted a vigorous
challenge in the courts which eventually resulted in a by-election, which
she won.

In the new millennium, the MDC successfully challenged more than 30 election
results in the 2000 parliamentary elections. But they could not subdue Zanu
PF’s impunity. The process became so long-winded and expensive for the
party, it was eventually abandoned, until it was time for the next
elections.

The MDC should probably have persevered and established a worthwhile
precedent. But Zanu PF probably calculated that the party would bankrupt
itself in legal fees if it persisted with the challenges.

Yet an attempt to punish the party for its impunity should  always be the
main motivation of the opposition in any election.
In 2008, there are so many reasons for campaigning on that basis the chances
of achieving their goal seem brighter than they were in 2000 and 2005.

Zanu PF richly deserves to be sentenced to a long term in the political
wilderness.

A long stretch in “political stir” might be just what the party needs, after
28 years of bungling. After all, one of Mugabe’s political enemies, Tony
Blair, gladly accepted to “do time” voluntarily after his party threatened
to force him out.

Mugabe, who won’t do his time voluntarily, could find himself being
sentenced by the voters, an inglorious exit for one who claims to have
“liberated” his country from colonialism.


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Zimbabwe - Democracy, Africa style

Blogger News Network
 
January 14th, 2008 by Peter Davies

Ruling African politicians must be aghast at the US Primaries – Super Tuesday and all that leading up to USA Presidential Elections in November…  Much too open; for goodness sake, anyone could win!  Africa has its own way of “democracy” that is much less liable to surprises.  African Rulers know that their people cannot be trusted to decide on such important matters as who is to rule them, and who is to prosper.  (As Stalin once said, “It’s not the people who vote that count.  It’s the people who count the votes.”)  Okay, occasionally the people get restless and blood is spilt, but it’s easy to restore order and things get back to normal…
Take Kenya’s latest elections when someone from the wrong tribe, who is popular with the people, expected to win the presidency and stirred up the masses when he didn’t.  Over six hundred people were killed, and some hundreds of thousand made homeless but the state police soon imposed order.  The Sunday Times reported “Kenyan police defiant over city bloodbath” after the police killed a large number of protesters last week.  Of course, the protesters were from the Luo tribe.  And the only police casualty was the single Luo policeman there at the time – he was shot dead by his police comrades…  (Incidentally, according to The Huffington Post, US Democratic Candidate Barack Obama’s paternal grandmother is a Luo still living in Kenya… and she expects great things from him when he becomes president of the USA.)
Meanwhile Zimbabweans will be having their own Mass Elections in March this year.  Not merely to re-elect Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe as President and Dictator, but also to elect Mugabe-approved members of the Senate, Parliament and various Councils throughout the country.  All levels of government in one go – how’s that for productivity?  The actual date has not been set – some say it’ll be 9th March, but who knows?  President Mugabe hasn’t yet signed off the new election rules or dissolved parliament, and he’s still on holiday somewhere in East Asia.  But the authorities are clear about one thing – they won’t be delaying the elections once Mugabe gives the go ahead; and that’s going to be in March 2008…  Opposition campaigning is muted.
But Mugabe and his cronies never stop campaigning – African style.  In December 2007, The Open Society Institute and Soros Foundation Network (also backed by the Ford and the Rockefeller Foundations), published “We Have Degrees in Violence” – A Report on Torture and Human Rights Abuses in Zimbabwe.  The report states that “since early 2007, the Zimbabwean government has brutally sought to suppress political opposition with state-sponsored torture and political violence.”  This comes as no surprise to me or any other follower of Zimbabwe’s ‘fortunes’, or to the unfortunate Zimbabweans themselves, but it is a powerful and well researched condemnation by a respectable organisation.
The BBC reports that the latest Mugabe/ZANU-PF gimmick to emerge was when villagers were promised free (taxpayer funded) farming equipment – but only if they have fully paid up ZANU-PF party cards, and can demonstrate loyalty by chanting at least three of the party’s slogans.  Furthermore, the equipment will only be delivered after Mugabe and ZANU-PF have won the election.  And a local Mugabe supporting (ZANU-PF) councillor warned that opposition voters would be ‘bitten by dogs’.  Well – at least they can’t claim they weren’t warned…

END

Author, Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists.  His novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.

Readers who would like to make a contribution to help innocent pensioners, who are unable to buy food and other basic necessities in Zimbabwe, should please contact Patricia Williams by email patashnix@btinternet.com.

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