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ACTION ALERT : Demand that Magistrate Zuze respects the law!

Sokwanele: January 30th, 2010 12:16


We've had a few emails saying the person receiving sms's insists that this
is not Magistrate Zuze's number. We're double-checking the number - please
hold off sms messages for now. Judging by the number of queries on the
number, a lot of you are responding. Thank you!. but hang on a bit for now.

http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/archives/5390

Farmers in Chipinge have been having a terrible time in recent days. SW Radio Africa reported yesterday that two farmers, Dawie Joubert and the ex-President of the CFU, Trevor Gifford, were arrested yesterday for apparently being 'in contempt of court'. SWRA reported that the men had been going to the assistance of four other farmers - Algernon Taffs, Mr Z.F Joubert (Dawie Joubert's father), Mike Odendaal and Mike Jahme - who were all convicted for refusing to leave their properties. (The full details affecting these farmers on SWRA).

We have just been advised that Trevor Gifford and Dawie Joubert are now facing the weekend in a Mutare cell, after a court case organised from Chipinge failed to take place today because there was no magistrate available to hear their case. The CFU's current president, Deon Theron, told SWRA yesterday that lawyers in the Chipinge area were refusing to take the case, and that they were also battling to find legal representation for the men.

In fact, both men should not be imprisoned at all.

A last minute stay of eviction was granted by the High Court on Wednesday after an urgent application was filed by the farmers' legal representatives shortly after their sentencing. The High Court ruled that they could remain on their properties until the appeal against their conviction and sentences were concluded. But Magistrate Dzuze on Thursday refused to recognise the High Court order and is being accused of 'grossly exceeding his jurisdiction.' Joubert and Gifford had tried to deliver a letter to Dzuze clarifying the High Court's position, but the Magistrate instead responded by ordering their arrest (via SWRA).

Sources told us yesterday that the real reason for MagistrateZuze's zeal is because he is lined up to be a beneficiary of Trevor Gifford's farm. Zuze's position of power affords him the opportunity to ignore the rule of law, and use it to achieve his own personal objectives. His actions make a total mockery of any principle of justice, and reveal him to be unfit for his job.

TAKE ACTION:

Please call or sms Magistrate Zuze on +263 91-2529099 and tell him that his actions are vindictive and shocking. Tell him you are horrified that he would imprison anyone in one of Zimbabwe's hellish prisons on such a spurious charge. Advise him that you are aware of why he is doing this and that he has disgraced himself and his profession.

Ask him to respect the importance of his judicial role in a civilised society, and to set a standard for the rest of Zimbabwe. Ask him to do the right thing, which is to release the men immediately and to respect and uphold the High Court rulings.


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Embattled Zimbabwe farmers up in arms over judiciary system

http://www.sabcnews.com/

January 29 2010 , 4:46:00

Embattled commercial farmers in Zimbabwe are up in arms over the country's
judiciary system. They are accusing some of the magistrate's of playing
referee and player at the same time. This in a case in which one magistrate
who imprisoned two white farmers yesterday is alleged to have benefited from
the accused's property.

Commercial Farmers Union representative Hendrick Olivier says Mike Jammy was
one of the farmers that was convicted this week and was given 24hrs to
vacate his property. Olivier, says he has in his possession an offer letter
which confirms it was issued on November 13, 2009 by Minister Mrerwa,
indicating that the magistrate is a beneficiary of Jammy's farm.

The farmers say the grand strategy is to drive them off their farms. They
say this charge includes fast tracking prosecutions of farmers and a
systematic, blanket rejection of their appeals and defences. However, the
government maintains that the program is orderly.

Agriculture Minister, Joseph Made of Zanu PF, says with the continued
imposition of sanctions, they don't have electrical equipment and the
capacity to restart the irrigation.

Made says the renovations that need to be done on infrastructure that was
destroyed is what the farmers are also battling with and the continued
vandalism that is sponsored in terms of undermining the land reform. Current
developments at the farms appear not to be sparing South African farmers who
are expected to be protected under a bilateral agreement signed by the two
countries last year.


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Arrested farmers remain behind bars

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
29 January 2010

Two farmers, who were arrested over an ongoing land battle in Chipinge, are
set to remain behind bars until Saturday, when they will appear in court in
Mutare.

The pair was transferred to Mutare Prison on Friday after spending a night
behind bars in Chipinge. Their arrest on Thursday was in connection with the
conviction earlier this week of four other Chipinge farmers for refusing to
vacate 'state' land. Algernon Taffs, Mr Z.F Joubert, Mike Odendaal and Mike
Jahme were all ordered to leave their properties this week after being
convicted of refusing to vacate their land. Joubert's son, Dawie, and former
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President Trevor Gifford were then arrested
on Thursday after trying to intervene to stop the farmers' evictions. The
pair are both facing dubious 'contempt of court' charges.

Magistrate Samuel Zuze on Tuesday found the four farmers guilty of refusing
to leave their properties, charges brought against them under the Gazetted
Land (Consequential Provisions) Act. These same charges have been laid
against more than 150 of the country's remaining commercial farmers who have
tried to hang on to their properties. In separate judgements on Tuesday, the
Magistrate sentenced the four farmers to pay US$800 fines and vacate their
properties. Only Mike Odendaal from Hillcrest farm was given more than 24
hours to pack up his belongings, while the others were all supposed to be
off their land by Wednesday evening.

A last minute stay of eviction was granted by the High Court on Wednesday
after an urgent application was filed by the farmers' legal representatives
shortly after their sentencing. The High Court ruled that they could remain
on their properties until the appeal against their conviction and sentences
were concluded. But Magistrate Zuze on Thursday refused to recognise the
High Court order and is being accused of 'grossly exceeding his
jurisdiction.' Joubert and Gifford had tried to deliver a letter to Zuze
clarifying the High Court's position, but the Magistrate instead responded
by ordering their arrest.



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EU should keep sanctions on Mugabe: rights group



(AFP) - 8 hours ago

JOHANNESBURG - The European Union should maintain its travel ban and asset
freeze on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's inner circle until he makes
reforms set out in a power-sharing deal, Human Rights Watch said Friday.

Mugabe and his erstwhile rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a
unity government nearly one year ago, aiming to end political unrest
targeting mainly supporters of the premier's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC).

The deal included provisions for protecting media freedoms, ensuring rule of
law, and bringing to justice the perpetrators of political violence.

Despite the agreement, Human Rights Watch said Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party has continued to abduct and
kill MDC activists without punishment. Oppressive media laws lay unchanged,
and little progress in protecting human rights.

"ZANU-PF has continued committing grave human rights abuses and acting as if
the agreement had never been signed," said Georgette Gagnon, the group's
Africa director.

"The European Union runs the risk of reinforcing ongoing repression and
impunity in Zimbabwe if it eases the sanctions now."

In September the EU sent a delegation to Zimbabwe, and found that benchmarks
for reforms have not been met. Human Rights Watch said the travel bans and
assets freezes, which began in 2002, should remain in place until concrete
reforms are taken.

"Some in Europe might believe that making concessions is the way to get
ZANU-PF to moderate its behaviour, but ZANU-PF has shown that it would only
take this as a sign of weakness and dig in its heels even further," Gagnon
said.


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MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa on Sanctions

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

ZANU PF has announced it will not make any concessions to the MDC in ongoing
talks until targeted sanctions on companies and members of the regime are
removed. This week on Behind the Headlines, SW Radio Africa journalist Lance
Guma speaks to MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa about this development. Chamisa
tells the programme the coalition agreement does not put sole responsibility
on the MDC to call for the removal of the measures, but says it is meant to
be a collective effort, and ZANU PF must also play their part.

Interview broadcast 28 January 2010

Lance Guma: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to the programme Behind the
Headlines. A lot has been said in the media this week about the targeted
sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and Zanu-PF have of course seized on
statements made by British Foreign Secretary David Milliband to the effect
that they would be guided by the MDC on whether to remove the targeted
sanctions or not. I have with me MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa joining me on
the programme. Mr. Chamisa, thank you for joining us.

Nelson Chamisa: Thank you.

Guma: Now this is quite a development, Zanu-PF is now saying talks are
doomed and they'll not make any concessions until your party calls for the
removal of sanctions. What is your response to this?

Chamisa: (laughs) That's a laughable argument. In fact it's a very weak
argument, perforated argument, I'm sure conceived by very weak and barren
minds. There is no reason why a particular individual, particularly in this
case, why a whole institution would try to hide behind a finger, the finger
of the so-called restrictive measures.

We feel that Zanu-PF should just come out clear that they have exhibited
encyclopaedic levels of insincerity. That deafening deficit of goodwill and
sincerity, that clearly has been the case of Zanu-PF since the beginning of
the Global Political Agreement in September the year before last year.

In fact when one looks at Zanu-PF's position through the politburo
yesterday, this position was made through their Congress and so it is a
Congress position which they took in December way before any particular
statement of any leader so for them to try to say this has been necessitated
by statements or revelations from Milliband or to say that now they have
suddenly hit the AHA moment or they're suddenly seeing the light on their
way to Damascus, a Damascan moment is very unfortunate.

In fact they've always known about these measures when they signed this
Agreement. The GPA does not in any way give the obligation of dealing with
the restrictive measures on the MDC. It is a collective effort in the GPA
between Zanu-PF and MDC in the context and within the aegis of the inclusive
government. So any attempt to try and apportion blame on the MDC is
unfortunate.

Zanu-PF failed and failed alone. They've made their mistakes, they've their
own sins of omission and commission. We were not there when they committed
crimes, we are not the ones who persuaded them to chase away journalists, we
did not advise them to beat up people on the farms, we did not advise them
to kill people - political opponents.

These are the issues that have caused the kind of impasse between them and
those who have imposed whatever measures and we have said out of the
abundance of our integrity and good will as MDC within the country as the
people who are the legitimate holders of the legitimacy of the majority of
the people in Zimbabwe and also considering our legitimacy internationally
and our integrity and good will internationally we are willing to put our
lives on the line for the purposes of serving the inclusive government and
the people of Zimbabwe by trying to even help Zanu-PF by remedying their
past acts of omission and commission that have caused the kind of
misfortunes they have encountered.

Guma: But would you in this instance Mr Chamisa admit that remarks by
Milliband were slightly unfortunate in that they have given oxygen to
Zanu-PF's claims?

Chamisa: Look we are not interested in even commenting about that. We are
not in the business of choosing supporters. If people have confidence in us,
if they want to choose us, to support us from the terraces, our duty is to
play to win for the people of Zimbabwe, to bring about real change in
Zimbabwe. Real change is not going to be brought by the kind of parroting
and politicking that we are seeing in Zanu-PF. The kind where they clutch on
the straw of statements by Foreign Secretary Milliband.

We do not in any way want to comment on such statements. It is the decision
of the British to make a particular position on the basis of consulting
whoever they want to consult. We are not in the business of saying please
consult us or don't consult us. If they want to ask us on where we are
going, we have our common position as a political party and we don't make
any apologies for that.

Guma: I spoke earlier in the week to Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro the
Public Service Minister and he does speak for the Party on matters of
Foreign Affairs. He spoke about a re-engagement committee that was formed by
all the parties to seek a removal of these restrictive measures. What has
been the progress of that re-engagement committee so far?

Chamisa: That's correct. In fact that's the correct position within the
context of the GPA, in the Articles of the Global Political Agreement. As
the inclusive government we have a duty and obligation, together with
Zanu-PF to find a common way forward, to find a common solution in terms of
any of the problems that may be affecting any of the parties to the GPA. In
this case these measures are haunting our colleagues in Zanu-PF.

We have said look, we can try to find a common way forward on the basis of a
common understanding on how we are approaching issues in Zimbabwe so that we
have a common voice, a common step of action and also common direction. Once
we have that we are speaking the same language, acting in similar fashion
then we will be able to speak with one voice on issues that we feel are
affecting any one of us. This is a very clear position in the inclusive
government.

Nowhere does it say that it is going to be the MDC who are going to lift the
so-called measures and who are going to do all sorts of things and we don't
make any apologies for that. We are clear with a clear conscience, we are
not in any way willing to be held accountable for the authorship of the
misfortunes that have bedevilled our colleagues from Zanu-PF. It is their
own misfortune which they actually authored and it has nothing to do with
the MDC. But we have said as the inclusive government we are willing to show
our goodwill by going out of our way to help a brother who is lying on the
ground, to lift him, but for the brother to then accuse us of not doing
enough to raise him is unfortunate.

Guma: Finance Minister Tendai Biti has already called for South African
President Jacob Zuma to intervene, show leadership in the matter and try and
get a resolution going. Does this mean clearly a deadlock exists here?

Chamisa: There is. It's a clear deadlock. We can call it another name but it
is a deadlock. It's a clear log jam, we need to locate exit points to this
log jam. We need to come together as political parties. In fact we should
not continue to play this delaying game, procrastinating, misleading the
people of Zimbabwe that something is happening. We need certainty, stability
and predictability in the way in which government business is transacted so
that the economy can actually have planners who plan with some kind of
predictability, the same thing with people at household level, everywhere
even in government department people need to plan but they cannot plan when
there's still this lingering chance that this project called the inclusive
government is bankable.

We need the bankability of the inclusive government for that to happen, we
need resolve the outstanding issues and for us to resolve the outstanding
issues we now need the intervention of our adjudicator, the umpire,
President Zuma as the facilitator and of course our guarantors SADC to come
and move this process forward. Even if we agree to disagree they have to
come in.

Guma: Mugabe has already spoken about having elections in 2011, we all know
that under the Agreement that you signed a new constitution has to precede
that. Already the constitution making process has already been dogged by
squabbling over money, rapporteurs and things like that, do you see
yourselves going into an election with a new constitution under the current
climate?

Chamisa: It's going to be a bumpy road but the bottom line is that the fact
that we are going to succeed in cracking the shell that will expose the new
Zimbabwe is inevitable. In fact we are going to make it, it is going to be
very tough, our colleagues in Zanu-PF obviously are going to try and put a
lot of bombs along the way, they are going to try and plant landmines along
the way but I've no doubt personally that the people of Zimbabwe have the
resolve, the tenacity to move forward and to succeed. We want to make sure
that we finalise this last stretch of our democratisation project so that we
are able to have a new Zimbabwe, a new beginning where real change is going
to be palpable, real and experienced by every Zimbabwean.

Guma: So far the MDC strategy has relied on seeking external help,
particularly from the likes of SADC and the African Union as guarantors of
this deal but we had South African President Jacob Zuma asking the MDC to be
flexible in order to have an agreement here. Does that not worry the Party
that already they are asking you to make the concessions and not Zanu-PF?

Chamisa: You know that the Bible says - blessed is the hand that gives than
the one that takes. We have been the hand that has been giving all along,
giving and giving. After winning the elections we actually loaned Zanu-PF
our legitimacy, legitimacy is in the hands of the MDC but we loaned it to
Zanu-PF in the interests of the people, in the interests of stability.
However being the hand that has been giving, we have not received our
blessings. The hand that has been taking seems to have all the blessings and
that is the hand of Zanu-PF.

Guma: Final question, slightly separate matter, the Party has been going on
a crackdown on corruption and uprooting officials involved in corruption,
how has that been going because different media houses have been taking
different stances on this particular matter? Are you confident this
crackdown is the right thing for the Party at this very fragile moment?

Chamisa: Look we make no apologies again for making tough decisions, for
taking a tough stance on bad apples in our midst. There is no organisation,
no institution without bad apples. It is how those bad apples are targeted
and nipped and this is what we've done well than any other political party
because we do not celebrate the demise of principles, we do not celebrate
the erosion of values, we do not celebrate that kind of betrayal of that
which drives us, our totem. Our totem is about transparency, accountability
and answerability to the people of Zimbabwe and this is what we want to be
respected. We hold these values and views very sacred. We will not allow
those to be violated in any way.

And so we are so happy with the progress, in fact we are going to be
producing a report in a very short space of time of what has been happening
in Chitungwiza, what has been happening in Bindura and any other areas and
we are going to tell the world what is going to be the way forward. We
believe that we are in the right direction, we are doing something about
corruption unlike any other political party in Zimbabwe which is kudos to
the MDC.

Guma: That was MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa joining us on Behind the
Headlines. Mr Chamisa, thank you very much.

Chamisa: Thank you.


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Davos 2010: Zimbabwe 'needs reward for progress'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/
Friday, 29 January 2010
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai gestures during a press conference at the MDC party headquarters in Harare (16 Oct 2009)
Morgan Tsvangirai admitted working with Mr Mugabe was frustrating

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has urged the easing of targeted sanctions, saying there ought to be a reward for Zimbabwe's progress.

His party joined a unity government with President Robert Mugabe's nearly a year ago with the intention of easing the country's economic crisis.

He told the BBC at the World Economic Forum that he had come to Davos to clarify misconceptions about Zimbabwe.

He said the country was now on an "irreversible path to change".

"It's not as if I'm here as a salesman of Zimbabwe, I'm here to clarify certain misconceptions because I think there's been so much negative perception about Zimbabwe," he told the BBC's Today programme.

He appealed to investors to come and see for themselves how much progress had been made.

It is a very positive signal, very positive signal to those who doubt that they have anything to benefit from this inclusive government
Morgan Tsvangirai

He admitted there were still "incidents" and it was frustrating that agreements reached in principle with President Mugabe on the unity government were still not being carried out.

But he said he believed the level of political risk was far reduced from what it had been a year ago.

He admitted certain benchmarks still had to be reached and it was up to Western capitals to decide, but said there was a case for easing the West's targeted sanctions against his former opponents - to make them see that supporting Zimbabwe's unity government was worthwhile.

"It is a very positive signal, very positive signal to those who doubt that they have anything to benefit from this inclusive government," he said.

Mr Tsvangirai also said that he expected a referendum on a new constitution would lead to new elections next year and Zimbabwe's people could then elect a government of their choice.

However, public consultations on a new constitution were suspended last week.

The unity government has halted the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy by allowing the use of foreign currency but some former opposition activists say they are still being intimidated by Mr Mugabe's hardline supporters.




Only Zuma can save Zim GNU: MDC

http://www.citypress.co.za/

2010-01-29 15:15

By Tangai Chipangura

Zimbabwe's coalition government is in danger of collapse and only President
Jacob Zuma's quick intervention can save this shaky three-legged
administration.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party said on Friday that internal negotiations to the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) which gave birth to the inclusive government, were as good
as dead.

"It is clear for everyone to see that the negotiations between us and
President Mugabe's party have died. The only chance that remains is
President Zuma and Sadc's immediate intervention. The inclusive government
is now in grave danger of collapse," Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesperson,
told City Press.

President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday blocked any further negotiations with
the MDC demanding that Tsvangirai causes the immediate removal of all
Western sanctions, imposed on him and his party, before Zanu PF could
consider implementing any of the GPA agreements.

He labelled Tsvangirai and his party "a treacherous tool of the British and
western imperialism" whose "role in the evil saga of the imposition of
illegal sanctions now stands exposed for all to see".

The inclusive government, formed after an unlikely unity between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai's parties last February, has been hanging by a thread ever since
its inception because of endless power-sharing squabbles.

Sadc has convened numerous summits in a bid to settle the wrangles and its
last directive to the Zimbabwean leaders was to deal with a list of
outstanding issues brought forward by Mugabe and Tsvangirai that the
regional body deemed legitimate.

Zanu PF's main concerns were the removal of sanctions and the closure of
foreign based radio stations beaming into Zimbabwe.

The MDC's list of outstanding issues include the controversial appointments
of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, Attorney General Johannes Tomana, the
country's ten provincial governors and the refusal by Mugabe to swear
Tsvangirai's close aide Roy Bennett as junior agriculture minister.

On Wednesday, Mugabe's party flatly refused to even consider the issues of
Gono, Tomana and provincial governors saying those were not negotiable.

Zanu PF went further to "instruct" its negotiators to immediately stop
making any concessions in the negotiations until Tsvangirai ''removed'' the
sanctions inhibiting Mugabe and his Zanu PF fat cats from travelling to
Western countries.

The latest Zanu PF intransigence comes in the wake of recent statements by
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband to the effect that Britain would
only remove the sanction at the behest of Tsvangirai's party.

"Zanu PF should stop making funny excuses," said Chamisa. "We are not
seeking any concessions from them.

"Everything outstanding in the GPA has already been agreed to. All we want
from them is to implement those agreements. Miliband is a flimsy excuse
which they cannot hide behind.

"They simply want the inclusive government dead and we have been aware of
that intention for a long time."

Minister of State in Prime Minister Tsvangirai's office, Gorden Moyo said
Miliband's statement simply reflected the confidence that Britain had in
Tsvangirai and his integrity in the inclusive government.

He denied Miliband implied Tsvangirai would be listened to by Britain
because he was the one who had called for the sanctions.
"We cannot be blamed for being credible. It is not our problem that the
world seems to see the prime minister and his party as the voice of
conscience.

"Those that think so are missing the point completely. It is the credibility
of the PM in the inclusive government that has caused the British to make
those statements and not because the PM had invited those sanctions because
he never did," minister Moyo said.


MDC notifies SADC of deadlock in GPA talks

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tichaona Sibanda
29 January 2010

The MDC-T on Friday accused ZANU PF of 'logjamming the Global Political
Agreement talks,' and called for renewed SADC mediation between the two
political parties.

"ZANU PF is the main cause for the deadlock in talks. They want negotiations
devoid of principles, that is to say endless talks," MDC spokesman Nelson
Chamisa said in an interview with SW Radio Africa.

He said a message has been sent to SADC informing them that talks between
the two parties were 'as good as dead' after ZANU PF indicated they would
not concede to any further demands from the MDC.

"All we are waiting for now is for the negotiators to formally agree there
is a deadlock. As a party we will not move on the issues of Gono and Tomana.
We want these issues resolved or there is nothing. ZANU PF is responsible
for tearing apart the GPA and throwing it out of the window," Chamisa added.

Chamisa concurred with his party leader Morgan Tsvangirai who told
journalists in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday that he expected a referendum
on a new constitution before the end of this year, leading to fresh
elections in 2011.

Tsvangirai's spokesman James Maridadi confirmed that the Prime Minister saw
this as the only route to solving the country's political crisis. The slow
paced GPA talks have dashed hopes and aspirations for democracy in a country
that is slowly recovering from a decade of economic down turn.

On Wednesday ZANU PF backtracked on issues that had been agreed upon by all
parties, including the appointment of provincial governors, saying that
further concessions will only be made once targeted sanctions imposed on
Robert Mugabe and his inner circle are removed.

Chamisa said ZANU PF were forgetting that they lost the elections in March
2008, and must be reminded that they were 'loaned the legitimacy by the MDC
in the interest of going forward and saving people from disaster.'



MP’s to rake in US$300 per day for constitution outreach

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
29 January 2010

Over 300 MP’s and Senators will rake in between US$65 and US$300 per day in
allowances for participating in a 65 day outreach programme that is meant to
collect people’s views on a new constitution. Last week we reported how the
process had been suspended because of squabbles over funding and the
composition of a team of rapporteurs who will gather public opinion.

It now turns out donors were ready to pull the plug on funding the process
after the political parties insisted on increasing the number of MP’s from
about 50 to include almost all 300 legislators in the lower and upper houses
of Parliament. This meant the bill for the process ballooned overnight, much
to the annoyance of the donors. The donors had pledged around US$16 million
while the government last year said had set aside US$43 million.

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper Douglas Mwonzora a
co-chair of the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) tried to
justify the hike in costs. “Originally not all House of Assembly members and
Senators were part of the outreach programme but the management committee
decided to include all legislators in order to enhance accessibility in all
areas, and all this has the effect of increasing the allocated budget,”
Mwonzora said.

The donors who include the United Nations Development Fund also expressed
concern at the way money availed for the process has been used so far.
During a workshop for members of civil society and political parties hosted
in Harare nearly 1000 delegates pitched up instead of 600. ZANU PF youths
and war veterans took advantage of the chaos to cash in on allowances.
Donors furious at this refused to pay the hotel bill and said they would not
cough up the US$40 daily allowances claimed by delegates.

Another revelation was that Parliament wanted to hire the same cars it
bought for the MP’s under the Vehicle Loan Scheme and pay a rate of US$1 per
kilometer when private car rental firms charged 60 cents per kilometer. An
MDC cabinet minister who spoke to Newsreel on Friday denied the stories
about MP’s milking the process. The source said ZANU PF was manipulating the
media to discourage people from participating in the drafting of a new
constitution.

“All COPAC members from the MDC-T or MDC-M are not being given a voice in
the state media. They are only given space when the stories are negative.
Only Paul Mangwana the other co-chair from ZANU PF is used for ZBC
interviews and the like. ZANU PF has hijacked this process and are using
their media monopoly to get the discredited Kariba draft - somehow. The
media is not investigating these issues but is instead focusing on trivial
issues around funding and the like,” the Minister said.

Despite some of these reservations Mwonzora told journalists that the
constitution making process was back on track. He said agreement had been
reached on the issue of rapporteurs. “We have agreed to have professionals
as our rapporteurs to make sure there are limited chances of
irregularities,” he said. Mwonzora also said the funding challenges had
since been addressed with the UNDP committing itself to the project.



Zimbabwe’s blind voters win constitutional case

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Violet Gonda
29 January 2010

The Supreme Court made a landmark ruling on Thursday nullifying a section of
the Electoral Act, which prescribed that visually impaired people would vote
in the presence of a police officer, a presiding officer and other election
officers.

The Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa opposed the application arguing
that Zimbabwe Election Commission lacked the financial capacity to implement
any alternative form of voting, especially for blind voters.

But in a land mark application submitted to the Supreme Court by Masimba
Kuchera and five others, the court declared Section 60 (1) (a) and (b) of
the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13), unlawful and a contravention of the
constitution of Zimbabwe.

Kuchera told SW Radio Africa on Friday, Chinamasa’s argument was ‘the most
pathetic’ as it does not require any money for visually impaired people to
choose their own assistants when voting.

One of their lawyers Jeremiah Mutongi Bamu said the applicants were seeking
an order striking down the Section, on the basis that it infringed on their
right to vote in secret, restricted their freedom of expression and was duly
discriminatory against them on the basis of physical disability.

Another applicant, Abraham Mateta said: “This act referred to the blind
people as ‘physically incapacitated voters’. This was a terrible situation
in which the blind citizens of our country were required to vote in the
presence of a small rally of strangers whose political inclinations they had
no knowledge of. What this now means is that from now, as a country, we need
to start thinking about upgrading our electoral system and introduce things
such as the Braille ballot system.”

He said this case should herald a dramatic change in the way that
disabilities are viewed in general. They should not be viewed as ‘charity
issues’ but as human rights issues.



Mugabe's Security Man Critically Injured In Motorcade Acccident

http://news.radiovop.com

29/01/2010 06:33:00

HARARE - One of President Robert Mugabe's security men was critically
injured when his motor bike collided with a truck near Sam Levy's Village in
Borrowdale on Thursday evening.

The motorist is likely to be charged with negligent driving as he did not
give way to the Presidential motorcade. President Mugabe was on his way to
his Borrowdale mansion when the accident occurred.

The rider is part of the Presidential Guard.

The motorist was driving from Sam Levy Village near Domboshawa Road and the
robot indicated that he had the right way but did not give way to the
Presidential motorcade. A Radio VOP correspondent witnessed the accident as
the out-rider who led the motorcade rammed into the truck before swerving
into a nearby ditch.

The Presidential Motorcade which has an ambulance in the convoy of about six
cars did not stop to assist the Zimbabwe Republic Police rider who lay
sprawled on the ground. He was later attended to a few minutes and is
reportedly in a critical conditon.

The out-rider with a siren leads the way clearing the road giving ZIM 1
(President Robert Mugabe's stretch limousine) a distance of about 200
metres. The Presidential Motorcade later follows in a diamond formation
covering the tarmac with Mugabe's limousine in between.

On hearing the siren the motorists on the road park their cars by the
roadside to give way to the speeding Presidential motorcade. However on
Thursday evening a motorist did not give the right way to the motorcade. It
could not be established when the motorist would appear in court.

Several motorists have in the past been assaulted by Mugabe's security men
for not giving way to the Presidential motorcade. Some of the riders who led
the motorcade have also been killed after some motorists fail to observe the
unwritten law of giving way to the Presidential motorcade.

President Mugabe now spends most of his time at his mansion in Borrowdale
mansion were he lives with his family. In the past the First Family lived at
State House which now normally used for State occasions before he retires to
his Borrowdale mansion. President Mugabe's motorcade has over the years been
criticised as a waste of state resources.


African Consolidated battles for title to Zimbabwe diamond field

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk

29 January 2010 @ 04:14 pm BST

African Consolidated Resources has responded to press coverage of orders
handed down by the Zimbabwe Supreme court on 25 january 2010 in relation to
the claim of its subsidiaries to title of the Marange diamond field.

ACR reiterates that the Company's title to the diamond field was confirmed
in a judgement on 25 September 2009, although this is subject to an appeal.

The Company says that the state owned Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation ('ZMDC') has failed to vacate the Marange Claims in
contravention of the 25 September Judgement and under a joint venture
arrangement with a third party is continuing its efforts to exploit the
diamond resources present at the Marange Claims.

ACR has been advised that one of the effects of the Supreme Court Orders is
that any diamonds being currently mined by third parties in joint venture
with ZMDC must be handed over to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for safe
keeping.

The Company maintains that it will continue to take all steps it can to
protect its rights and to regain possession of the Marange Claims.

It adds that it continues to endeavour to engage all offices of Government
to reach a joint venture arrangement that will best serve the interests of
Zimbabwe and its diamond sector.

Story provided by Business Financial Newswire


Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Defaults on Bond Repayment to Caledonia Mining

http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/

January 29, 2010 11:43 AM ET

Caledonia Mining Corporation ("Caledonia") reports that its wholly owned
subsidiary, Blanket Mine ("Blanket") will not receive payment in respect of
the Special Tradable Gold-backed Foreign Exchange Bonds ("the Bonds") issued
by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe ("RBZ") and which fall due for redemption on
1 February 2010 at a value of US$3,181,019 including interest accrued
thereon of US$235,631.

The Bonds were issued to Blanket in 2008 by the RBZ as consideration for
gold delivered by Blanket to a subsidiary of the RBZ in terms of the
prevailing legislation. The RBZ's inability to pay in cash for gold
deliveries eventually forced Blanket to suspend production in October 2008
due to the shortage of foreign currency to purchase consumables. In January
2009, outstanding amounts due to Blanket (and other gold producers) were
converted into the Bonds which matured on 1 February 2010 and accrued
interest at 8% per annum.

The RBZ, in a Monetary Policy Statement released on 29 January 2010, has
advised that all Bonds will be rolled over for a further 6 months pending
the outcome of "constructive engagements" between the RBZ and the Zimbabwean
Ministry of Finance in respect of the Zimbabwean Government's RBZ-held debt.
The RBZ also states that "various other initiatives are being pursued to
meet all outstanding obligations".

Blanket is currently completing the No.4 Shaft Expansion Project (the
"Project") which will increase production to 40,000 oz per annum. The
Project is funded by a $1.25m debt facility and internal cashflows.
Blanket's cashflows continue to suffer from the combined effects of the late
repayments of substantial amounts due from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
for outstanding VAT refunds, and the continuing unscheduled power outages,
the frequency and duration of which has increased in recent weeks.

Completion of the Project has been delayed by several years due to the
failure of the Zimbabwean Government to pay for historic gold deliveries.
This delay has resulted in the progressive depletion of the available ore
reserves above 14 Level during the delay period such that Blanket can only
produce approximately 1,500 oz per month until the crushing and loading
Stations below 22 Level have been completed, which is scheduled for July
2010. Production at a rate of 1,500 oz per month until completion of the 22
Level crushing and loading stations will mean that Blanket's cash generation
will be lower than previously anticipated.

As the Bond has not been repaid and in the interests of progressing the
Project, further expenditure on the planned extension of 22 Level Haulage
has been suspended until internal cashflows allow this activity to resume.
Development of the 22 Level Haulage is intended to facilitate an extension
of Blanket's operating life at a production rate of 40,000 oz per annum.
Depending on exploration results, the 22 Level development may also allow
for a further increase in production beyond 40,000 oz per annum. A temporary
suspension of lateral development on the 22 Level Haulage will not affect
Blanket's ability to produce at the increased level of 40,000 oz per annum
once the No.4 Shaft Expansion Project has been completed, but may ultimately
delay further potential increase in production above 40,000oz pa. Blanket's
reduced cashflows also dictate that the Project completion timetable be
extended. Blanket is now scheduled to achieve annualized gold production of
40,000 oz in Quarter 4 of 2010. Appropriate provision will be made against
the RBZ bonds in the financial accounts for 2009, which will be released by
March 31 2010.

Further information regarding Caledonia's exploration activities and
operations along with its latest financials may be found at
www.caledoniamining.com.


Support grows for suspended head of Zim refugee mission

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
29 January 2010

Support has continued to grow for the suspended head of the South African
refugee mission in Johannesburg, as controversy continues to fly over the
reasons behind his suspension.

Reverend Paul Verryn, the former Bishop of the Central Methodist Church was
suspended last week pending a hearing before a disciplinary committee of the
Methodist Church of Southern Africa, which has accused him of 'transgressing
the laws and discipline of the church.' The charges are in connection with a
court application Verryn made last year to get a curator appointed to look
after the many unaccompanied minors at the Central Methodist Mission in
Johannesburg. The Methodist Church of Southern Africa has said that Verryn
acted 'unilaterally,' and without its support, also accusing the cleric of
speaking to the media without its consent.

Verryn has been lauded as a 'friend of Zimbabwe' for opening up the church
to refugees who had nowhere else to go, particularly during 2007's outbreak
of xenophobic violence that saw hundreds of foreigners flee local South
African communities. But the renowned former anti-apartheid cleric has also
been a controversial figure. He has received international acclaim for
aiding homeless foreigners and for pressuring the South African government
to reform its policies regarding refugees. He has however also faced severe
criticism for the humanitarian crisis that has developed at the church over
the past few years.

Rights groups have called the situation there 'untenable,' and a potential
health risk, with hundreds of people sleeping on the streets around the
church. Local businesses have threatened Verryn with legal action, accusing
the refugees living at the church of being responsible for crimes in the
area. They've also said the unsanitary conditions have affected their
businesses. Last year there were also allegations of sexual abuse of
children living at the church, which many media groups in South Africa have
said Verryn is possibly linked to.

But support for Verryn has been gathering since the very public announcement
of his suspension last week, with groups and individuals praising him not
only for his work with refugees, but the country's poor in general. Top
trade union movements, such as the National Union of Mineworkers of South
Africa (NUMSA) and the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) have
both pledged their support for the embattled cleric this week. NUMSA said in
a statement that Verryn is a "hero and champion of social justice, peace,
solidarity and equality."
"NUMSA will continue working with Bishop Verryn as part of making sure our
brothers and sisters who have been displaced through xenophobic attacks and
forced migration to South Africa enjoy equal rights with their South African
counterparts," the union said.

SAMWU's International Officer Stephen Faulkner told SW Radio Africa on
Friday that Verryn's suspension has shocked thousands of people, who have
since spoken out to defend him and his work. Faulkner said there is 'no
doubt' that Verryn will be cleared of all charges, arguing his work with
refugees and the homeless is tireless and 'critical'. The SAMWU official
also slammed local media reports for their 'slanderous' portrayal of Verryn.

"Anyone who has spent even a short time in the company of Paul will know
that he is an intelligent, passionate and yet profoundly humble human
being," Faulkner explained. "Throughout all of his working life he has
tried to make life bearable for those who have been without hope."
Verryn is fighting back against the suspension, seeking on Monday to have
his disciplinary hearing postponed. He told South African media this weekend
that his suspension boils down to a dispute he has with the current Bishop
of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Bishop Ivan Abrahams.

The Church has denied this.


Five lions killed after terror

http://www.eyewitnessnews.co.za

Eyewitness News | 5 Hours Ago

National Parks rangers have shot five lions that killed four people in the
remote north-eastern district of Kanyemba, Zimbabwe.

The lions were thought to have strayed from nearby hunting areas.

Sadly two cubs had to be shot too, apparently they were being trained to
hunt.

One of the lionesses was toothless and almost blind and had found humans to
be easy targets.

Four people were killed by the lions over a two-week period, prompting
hundreds to flee their homes.

The International Organisation for Migration helped with tents at a
temporary refuge in a nearby school.

The villagers will now be able to go home and the aid agencies that had been
helping them, can wind down their humanitarian operation.



U.S. looks beyond crisis intervention in Zim's health sector



Harare, January 29, 2010: The United States is providing assistance to the Government of Zimbabwe in its efforts to rebuild infrastructure and restore basic services in the health sector, top U.S. Embassy officials said on Wednesday.

“The U.S. looks forward to working with the Government of Zimbabwe and our local and international partners to help improve Zimbabwe’s health care system and the health and well being of all the people of Zimbabwe,” said the U.S. Ambassador Charles Ray.

Ambassador Ray handed over 50,000 personal protective clothing kits for influenza preparedness donated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Ministry of Health in Harare. The event, attended by the Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr. Henry Madzorera and WHO Inter Country Support Coordinator Dr. Oladapo Walker, was witnessed by nearly 50 representatives of government and non-governmental partners in the health sector.

“We believe our joint effort with WHO to protect Zimbabweans and others in the region against H1N1 influenza is a vital part of a broader effort to bolster our response capabilities in every part of the globe because a virus has no respect for borders and can arise in any corner of any continent,” said Ambassador Ray.

In May 2009, President Barack Obama announced the Global Health Initiative as part of a 63 billion USD effort to support partner countries in improving and expanding access to health services.

Ray explained that the initiative is an ambitious one aimed at building health care systems to address some of the greatest challenges for countries around the world including child and maternal health, family planning, neglected tropical diseases, and HIV and AIDS.

Announcing the content of the donation, USAID Country Director Karen Freeman said the United States was ready to scale up support in various programs implemented jointly with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.

“Our plans are moving beyond the crisis management required in the past few years to providing assistance to the Government of Zimbabwe in its efforts to rebuild infrastructure and restore basic services,” said Freeman.

She added that USAID programming in the next five years will continue to prioritize HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, and care including the scale up of male circumcision programs, expansion of programs for behavioral change counseling, prevention of mother to child transmission, and care of orphans and vulnerable children.

“Zimbabwe has the foundations of a world class public health system and the U.S. is ready to assist in rebuilding from bottom up whether by providing equipment to protect against infectious influenza, by training health care workers, or by working with our counterparts in health care to improve access to services in rural Zimbabwe,” said the USAID Director.

Accepting the donation, Minister of Health Dr. Henry Madzorera noted that Zimbabwe had confirmed 41 cases of the pandemic influenza H1N1 from a total of 50 specimens that were sent to the South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases recently. He said 253 probable cases were treated in health institutions in Manicaland, Harare, Mashonaland East, and Midlands.

“The support has given my Ministry a great deal of mileage in terms of the preparedness and response readiness to the pandemic influenza,” said Madzorera.

The donation by USAID follows an earlier delivery of protective clothing, worth US$27,121, that arrived in Zimbabwe in 2007. The equipment donated on January 27, valued at US$465,000, will be used by health care workers in Zimbabwe and throughout Southern Africa in the event of an outbreak of H1N1 virus. WHO will store the stock in its warehouse until the materials are needed.

“This equipment will be critical to the people of Zimbabwe in the event of an outbreak of H1N1 virus,” commented Freeman. “We are committed to helping Zimbabweans combat the H1N1 flu and other diseases at the community level.”

WHO Inter Country Support Coordinator, Dr. Oladapo Walker, hailed the collaboration between WHO and the governments of Zimbabwe and the U.S.

He said his organization’s global monitoring system had recorded 14,142 deaths in 209 countries and more than 340,000 cases. He said 15,000 cases of H1N1 had been recorded in Africa. Of those, 107 deaths were in Eastern and Southern Africa but advised that flexibility was necessary to avert other epidemics.

USAID, in collaboration with WHO, is in the process of pre-positioning 200,000 personal protective equipment kits in African countries in order to provide adequate and appropriate protection for preparedness, training, surveillance, and outbreak response activities.

The kits are part of a larger Humanitarian Pandemic Preparedness Initiative (H2P) now in place across 25 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East that are considered the most vulnerable to the effects of a pandemic. The initiative builds on critical capacities USAID developed to fight H5N1 avian influenza and to support pandemic readiness. Since 2005, the USAID Avian and Pandemic Influenza Response Unit has overseen the programming of US$658 million in support of pandemic preparedness and response programs in 54 countries.

In Picture: - Ambassador Charles Ray (third from left) with Minister of Health Dr Madzorera, Karen Freeman, USAID Director, and Dr Oladapo Walker, WHO Inter Country Support Coordinator

# # #

This report was produced and circulated by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section. Queries and comments should be directed to Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer on +263 4 75800-1, Fax: +263 4 758802, Website: http://harare.usembassy.gov



A letter from the diaspora

http://www.cathybuckle.com

29th January 2010

Dear Friends.
Back in 2000 when I was still living in Murehwa I wrote a simple little
detective story called Case Closed. The purpose of that book and of all the
subsequent Dube books was to show that without an independent judiciary and
an impartial police force to carry out court orders and implement the law
fairly, the democratic process becomes meaningless.
Ten years later, my view has not changed. Despite the existence of a
Government of National Unity, there are few signs that either the police or
the judiciary have become de-politicised. Both bodies continue in their
blind, unswerving allegiance to one man and one party to the detriment of
the citizenry as a whole. It is painful to acknowledge that Mugabe's partner
in the GNU has remained virtually silent on this vital subject. The MDC may
now be in power but what is very obvious is that they remain without real
power to implement change. That does not explain why the MDC cannot lift
their combined voices to condemn unequivocally the failure by the police and
the courts to protect Zimbabwean citizens from violence by lawless gangs and
individuals who are often actively supported by the police and military.
How is it, that in an allegedly democratic and law-abiding country a man can
stand up and claim at a public meeting, as a certain Mutstangwa did this
week, that only he had the right to kill in the name of Zanu PF? Such a
statement should have been followed by immediate police action and the
arrest of the man as a threat to public safety but, this is Zimbabwe and no
action is taken against Mutsvangwa. Similarly, in another part of the
country, one Goodson Nguni threatens outright war if the land audit goes
ahead. Once again, the police do nothing. In my own part of the country a
certain high-ranking airforce officer tells the villagers that if they don't
opt for the Kariba draft they will suffer terrible consequences. The senior
airforce officer wants the villagers gathered at Corner Store, half-way
between Murehwa and Mutoko - and the scene of horrific violence in earlier
elections - to make sure they opt for the Kariba draft - or else! He wants
the Kariba draft to be implemented in full because that will ensure another
two five year terms for Robert Mugabe. In Harare gangs of Zanu PF youths
take over complete control of the main bus terminus and an MDC controlled
Council says perhaps the only thing to do is negotiate with these young
thugs! As for the rule of law, the police say they can do nothing because
they have had no complaints from the public! On former white-owned farms the
nightmare of lawlessness and violence continues; the beleagured farmers are
taken to court and told they have 24 hrs to vacate 'state land' or they will
go to prison for two years. The farmers are further fined $800 each and
refused the right to appeal by the magistrate who is so incensed when he
receives a High Court Order allowing the men to remain on their farms that
he ignores the Order and the police immediately arrest two of the men who
are now serving their two year sentences.

But it is the continuing farce of Roy Bennett's trial that best illustrates
the way in which the judiciary and the Attorney General himself have become
utterly compromised by their political allegiance. The AG's decision to have
Peter Hitchman declared a hostile witness was, unsurprisingly, granted -
after a long delay - by the court and that allowed Tomana to cross examine
the arms dealer as hostile witness. It isn't going too well for the AG
though. Nothing Hitchman has said has implicated Roy Bennett and now we have
another delay, three days this time, while the judge decides whether
evidence taken from a laptop by CIO operatives without independent
corroboration can be admitted in evidence. Why it should take the learned
judge three days to decide this matter is open to question. Perhaps he needs
three days to consult his political masters? In another court, another Judge
rejects the SADC Tribunal's ruling that Zimbabwe's land seizures are illegal
claiming that the SADC ruling is contrary to the laws of Zimbabwe and that
to reverse the land reform programme would not serve 'the greater public
good' though which 'public' he is talking about is not clear since the
majority of the invaded farms are in the hands of judges, top military men,
senior policemen and politicians - not excluding the 'top' family. The
Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa had already condemned the SADC ruling
saying Zimbabwe would not obey it. Was it just coincidence that another
learned judge was following the party line as enunciated by Zanu PF
functionaries?

In the midst of all this, Morgan Tsvangirai is in Switzerland for the 2010
World Economic Summit. The BBC this morning reported that Tsvangirai had
told a group of reporters that he thought there was some room for a partial
lifting of sanctions. Any sensible person must accept that all wars end with
the parties sitting down together to hammer out a solution but surely this
is going too far? Why in heavens name does the MDC not respond to Zanu PF's
demands for the lifting of sanctions with an equally strong demand of their
own: Restore the rule of law, stop the violent farm invasions and
immediately cease the persecution of Zimbabwean citizens whose only crime is
the colour of their skin. With every white farmer kicked off his land
thousands of black farm workers also lose their jobs and homes; if the MDC
cannot at least speak out strongly on behalf of the poorest and most
dispossessed in the land, then one has to wonder whose side they are really
on.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.



The International Role in Promoting Democratic Governance and Economic Recovery in Zimbabwe

http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6505&l=1

Donald Steinberg

Testimony for House of Commons International Development Committee by Donald
Steinberg, Deputy President, International Crisis Group, 26 January 2010

Mr. Chairman:

Thank you for the opportunity to address the International Development
Committee on the challenges facing the international community in supporting
democratic transformation and economic recovery in Zimbabwe. As an
international non-governmental organization committed to preventing and
ending deadly conflict, Crisis Group welcomes the committee's travel next
week to Zimbabwe to highlight the challenges ahead for the British
government in this effort. We believe that Zimbabwe now has its best chance
in a decade to put behind it the divisions, abuses, and self-implosion that
has plagued the country. The combination of an inclusive government; a
re-emerging civil society; an educated population and work force;
manufacturing, agricultural and mining sectors primed for recovery; and the
good will of countries in its region and beyond can help Zimbabwe open the
door to post-conflict recovery. This would benefit both its long-suffering
people and the broader southern African region.

Nonetheless, major threats could still derail the process, including the
resistance of intransigent senior security officials; fractious political
in-fighting, especially within the with Zimbabwe African National Union
(ZANU-PF); a growing gap between the political class and civil society; a
battered economy unable to address a 90 percent unemployment rate and meet
the immediate expectations for a peace dividend; and the capricious and
ever-dangerous whims of President Robert Mugabe.

MDC's Entry into Government

When Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
formed a unity government with ZANU-PF a year ago under the Global Political
Accord, skeptics gave the new formation little chance of success and
predicted that Tsvangirai and the MDC would fall prey to Mugabe's "divide,
rule, co-opt and destroy" strategy. While even some within the MDC shared
this views, others believed there was no option. Mugabe and his hard-line
allies and security forces held a monopoly on force, was prepared to repress
and abuse its political opponents, and had the obsequious support of most
regional leaders, charged by the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) to negotiate a solution to the long-standing electoral and political
crisis. The MDC calculated that its capacity to affect change would be
greater within government than outside it.

The new government started out reasonably well. Schools and hospitals
re-opened. Civil servants were paid a small stipend and returned to work.
As the Zimbabwe dollar was shelved, goods returned to empty store shelves.
A cholera epidemic was brought under control; and a bipartisan parliamentary
committee was formed to reform the constitution. Human rights activists
reported a significant drop in government abuses. An ambitious yet
pragmatic reconstruction program - the Short-Term Economic Recovery
Programme - called for about $8.5 billion in resources, including foreign
assistance and investment, and was generally well-received by foreign donors
and the Bretton Woods institutions. Prime Minister Tsvangirai, Finance
Minister Tendai Biti and the MDC received much of the credit for these
developments - even from the rank-and-file army - and new hope returned to
Zimbabwe.

But from early on, there were ample signs of concern. Farm seizures
continued virtually unabated. While human rights abuses declined, hardline
security forces continued to arrest and detain activists and MDC
parliamentarians. ZANU-PF partisans Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and
the Attorney General Johannes Tomana were unduly reappointed, top generals
boycotted the new national security establishments and showed public disdain
for Tsvangirai, and ZANU-PF delayed or ignored key commitments under the
GPA. The constitutional reform process stalled as ZANU-PF insisted that the
so-called Kariba draft serve as the basis for a new constitution. Some old
regime elements, especially hard-line generals and other Mugabe loyalists,
actively thwarted the new government, and undermined it by refusing to
implement its decisions.

The Formal Challenges Ahead

Looking ahead, Zimbabwe faces several challenges, including completing the
GPA, fashioning a new constitution, and moving toward new elections. On the
GPA, there has been some positive movement since the temporary suspension of
the MDC's participation in the unity government last fall and the subsequent
SADC re-engagement at and since the Maputo Summit.. Among these steps are
the formation of national councils to address issues of the media, human
rights, and forthcoming elections. The land audit may soon commence, which
would not just be a surveying exercise but an attempt to lay the groundwork
for addressing the most sensitive issue of land reform and ownership.
Regrettably, the agriculture minister has reportedly said that it is "too
soon" to proceed with this vital exercise, which is intended to flush out
multiple land owners, find and allocate idle land, and determine the need
for assistance to new farmers -- There has been a decline in arbitrary and
politically motivated detentions and arrests, but such actions must cease
entirely and the onerous public order act (POSA) must be amended soon. The
appointment of governors, the installation of Roy Bennett as Deputy
Agriculture Minister, and the regular functioning of the National Security
Council in place of the infamous Joint Operations Command must take place as
well.

The constitutional reform process must be given greater impetus as well.
There is a growing recognition that this process cannot be the exclusive
reserve of the executive and legislative committees, but must be a national
exercise with full participation of civil society. This is essential
especially to the MDC, since some worry that the party is losing contact
with its popular base as civil society activists and unions have complained
that this process is being driven by political elites for their own
purposes. Equally positive, it is increasingly accepted that the Kariba
draft cannot serve as a reference for the new constitution, as it
incorporates a number of anti-democratic principles and further entrenches
executive powers. The constitutional reform process seems destined to
produce an acceptable draft by the end of 2010.

Finally, there must be preparations for new elections. Many in Zimbabwe are
discussing a delay of such elections for several years, perhaps until 2013,
in order to take politics out of the equation as the country faces massive
economic and social requirements. Politically, many in the MDC believe
that the party still has not built up enough of a record in government, and
are also concerned over the military reaction to a potential MDC victory.
By contrast, many ZANU-PF stalwarts worry that their party would be swept
aside in new elections, with popular support now judged very low in recent
polls. While it is still possible that Mugabe will dissolve the government
in an attempt to catch the opposition off-guard and proceed to another
undemocratic election accompanied by repression and fraud that secures his "victory,"
such an approach seems increasingly less likely, given increased
international scrutiny, resolve and engagement.

Political, Security and Economic Challenges

Even if Zimbabwe can complete GPA, adopt a new democratic constitution and
address electoral processes, however, the transition will face broader
challenges.

First, there must be a maturation of the political system to ensure that the
ZANU-PF and the MDC engage as both competitors in the political arena and
partners in the unity government. This will be difficult to achieve,
especially under the divisive Mugabe, but other ZANU-PF leaders, including a
faction led by Vice President Joice Mujuru, know that their party is
reeling, has lost much of its popular support, and needs a generational
shift to rejuvenate its leadership. Meanwhile, the MDC knows that it must
still demonstrate to the country that it is a viable custodian of the state,
showing itself to be competent, clean, and capable of preserving social
change since independence. It is responding seriously - as it must - to
recent allegations of untoward practices by some regional councils and
recent entrants into government. It must also keep faith with its broad
following by ensuring that civil society - including trade unions, human
rights groups, and women's organizations - are fully engaged in the process
of governance.

Equally challenging are security issues. Many observers fear that a dozen
or so so-called "securocrats" hold de facto veto power over transition.
This topic was so sensitive that it was not even addressed in the GPA
negotiations. These generals and other senior security officials are
motivated by differing factors: fear of a loss of power and its financial
benefits; possible prosecution for their crimes, including Matabeleland
killings in the 1980s; hatred of Tsvangirai and the MDC; and a belief that
they are the guardians of the country's liberation. Many Zimbabweans
believe it is necessary to achieve their retirement, even at the cost of a
"soft landing" allowing them to keep their assets and gain domestic impunity
from possible prosecution. Similarly, the living conditions and salaries of
the rank and file military must be improved, and security sector reform must
ensure an apolitical military and police force respectful of human rights.

The devastated economy is an equally daunting challenge. While Finance
Minister Biti has won good marks for helping restore confidence and
stability to the economy, the prospects for rapid recovery are weak, given
years of agricultural decline, infrastructure neglect, anti-business
policies, and a weak international economy that rules out large new aid or
investment packages. There is a broad consensus among labour and business
leaders to reverse the negative impact of an "indigenisation" policy,
formally adopt a stable foreign currency to permanently replaced the
Zimbabwe dollar, ensure foreign donors that the Multi-Donor Trust Fund will
be a clean and transparent mechanism for aiding the country, and secure the
departure of reserve bank governor Gideon Gono, whose record of biased and
tainted practices have discouraged new donors and investors. Not only were
so-called "quasi-fiscal" measures used to divert government resources into
pet projects benefitting the politically connected in the past, but as
recently as this year, the IMF has reported that up to $16 million was
transferred from statutory reserves into such areas as funding presidential
scholarships, Air Zimbabwe, and diplomatic missions.

The Risks of International Disengagement

During his visit to London, other European capitals and Washington last
summer, Tsvangirai was met with luke-warm encouragement, much skepticism,
and little cash. In addition to donors' reluctance to support a government
including Mugabe, Zimbabwe's timing is awful. It is seeking massive foreign
aid and private investment at a time when donors are cutting aid budgets and
foreign investors are seeking safe havens in the stormy global economy.
Tellingly, no one called for a "Marshall Plan" for Zimbabwe.

In fact, this stance risks thwarting the very changes the international
community is seeking, both by weakening the hand of the MDC and moderates in
ZANU-PF, and by undercutting popular support for the reform process. The
humanitarian situation remains dire, with reluctant donors hard-pressed to
address the demands to ward off disease and hunger. The UN and
non-governmental organizations have warned of a potential new cholera
outbreak ahead of the rainy season. Moreover, doctors and teachers have
gone on strike off-and-on to demand real pay.

While the primary tasks ahead rest with Zimbabweans themselves, the
international community has a vital role to play. SADC must take its role
as guarantor of the GPA seriously, as it did during its meeting in Maputo in
early November. In particular, the advent of South African President Jacob
Zuma and his pledge to stay on top of the brief must convey the message that
the region will abide no alternative to the current process. President Zuma's
appointment of three of his most respected and trusted advisers to monitor
the Zimbabwe account was a welcome indication that he will press a tougher
stance vis--vis Mugabe on outstanding GPA obligations, respect for rule of
law, and cessation of repressive actions by the security forces under his
control.

The broader international community, especially the UK, U.S., the EU and
China, should support and complement SADC's efforts by a careful calibration
of trade, aid, and investment to encourage progress, and maintenance of
sanctions on the intransigent parties. The outside world should provide new
recovery and development assistance only through "clean" and official
mechanisms, and new engagement from the IMF, World Bank and African
Development Bank.

Targeted Sanctions; Targeted Assistance

The international community should stand firmly against those thwarting
democratic transformation in Zimbabwe. Tough targeted sanctions against
such individuals and the companies they control should remain in place to
secure the commitment of the recalcitrant parties to their commitments under
the GPA. At the same time, the international community must recognize and
encourage changes now occurring. One tangible step would be to consider
lifting sanctions of certain entities, such as the Agricultural Bank of
Zimbabwe, that help revitalize key sectors of the economy without overly
benefitting the intransigent parties. The U.K. and EU should make clear to
Zimbabwe the specific steps it needs to see in order to lift these and other
sanctions.

Further, targeted reconstruction and development assistance - channeled
through fully transparent, credible and accountable mechanisms and
institutions - is essential now. Such mechanisms exist, such as the
Multi-Donor Trust Fund. The International Monetary Fund has ensured
responsible use of the one-time expansion of special drawing rights to
Zimbabwe equivalent to a $500 million loan for the purpose of building and
repairing schools, hospitals, roads, railways and communication networks.

International donors should assist revival of education, agriculture, water,
health and sanitation, including support for the Government Works Program.
Particular attention should be given to assisting women, including
reproductive health care and girls' education. Donors should also help
empower a functioning civil service and legislature, and help reform
politicized government institutions, including the judiciary. Civil society
must be strengthened, given that groups of women, academics, journalists,
lawyers, farmers, and others were fractured and polarized in recent years by
Mugabe's tactics. Finally, innovative programs should encourage new trade
and foreign investment in Zimbabwe to address the country's massive
unemployment rate and promote the return of millions Zimbabwean migrants who
are increasingly the target of xenophobic attacks in South Africa and
elsewhere in the region.

British Interests in Zimbabwe's Recovery

At a time when more urgent and higher-profile crises fill the in-boxes of
British policy-makers, it would be easy to move the slow-simmering crisis in
Zimbabwe to the back-burner. Neither the MDC nor ZANU-PF consorts with
global terrorists, and collapse of the unity government will not lead to
jihadi training camps in rural areas. Zimbabwe neither supplies nor
traffics in illegal drugs, arms or persons. Its refugees are not flooding
into the UK. Zimbabwe has no oil, and many of its minerals face weak global
demand. No exotic diseases threaten pandemic: Zimbabwe suffers from "just"
cholera, malaria and HIV/AIDS. The country straddles no sea lanes and has
no pirates.

But there are strong motivations for broad British engagement. Just because
the global effects of Zimbabwe's implosion have so far been modest, this
could change rapidly. Transnational threats incubate in unexpected ways in
the hothouse of instability and weak governance. What if the H1N1 virus had
emerged in Harare and swept through a country where the health
infrastructure had been ravaged?

Zimbabwe's recovery is of major regional importance. If Zimbabwe is a
smallish country of 12 million people, the southern African region - with a
market of 200 million, growing oil production, peacekeepers throughout
Africa, and a location along key shipping lanes - is by contrast of great
strategic, commercial and political importance to the UK. A prosperous
Zimbabwe could be an engine of growth for the region, providing key links to
regional communications, transport and electricity grids. Zimbabwe has long
been considered a potential breadbasket for the region, based on what used
to be efficient agriculture, albeit needing serious and responsible land
reform and new capital inputs.

By contrast, instability in Zimbabwe is profoundly destabilizing to its
neighbors. Zimbabweans fleeing economic hardship and political abuses have
flooded across borders, overwhelming the social services and the good will
of South Africa, Botswana, and other neighbors. Notwithstanding its stellar
record for stability and human rights, Botswana has built an electrified
fence and resorted to detention and expulsions to keep desperate Zimbabweans
out.

Some worry that a strategy of engagement would prematurely reward Mugabe and
his hard-line supporters, or somehow reduce the pressure on them to
cooperate with the reform process. In truth, political engagement and
targeted assistance through credible and transparent channels would
strengthen the hands of moderates and make it more difficult for the
extremists to again seize power.

Put simply: to sideline those who are thwarting the democratic
transformation in Zimbabwe, the world should embrace the unity government
now.