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A disgraceful 'solution' for Zimbabwe

The Telegraph

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 22/07/2008

††††† The agreement signed by Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai in Harare
yesterday opens the way to substantive talks between Zanu PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on a power-sharing agreement
in Zimbabwe.

††††† In theory, the fact that the two sides are ready to talk marks a
breakthrough, after two election campaigns tainted by the most grotesque
violence from Mugabe's thugs. In practice, such an agreement would be a
disgrace, for it would simply legitimise Mugabe's shameful flouting of the
democratic process.

††††† He would remain president while Mr Tsvangirai would become a titular
prime minister, without any real power. The cabinet would be doubled in size
to accommodate MDC ministers, no doubt at vast expense to an already wrecked
economy (official inflation is 2.2 million per cent and a newly issued $100
billion banknote is not quite enough to buy a loaf of bread).

††††† The deal would be hailed by its broker, South Africa's unimpressive
president Thabo Mbeki, as a diplomatic masterstroke, an "African solution"
to the problem - and the wider international community would have little
option but to look impotently on. Doubtless Mr Tsvangirai would be put in
charge of one thing at least - soliciting new aid donations from the western
governments that have supported him for so long. Meanwhile, any sanctions
against Mugabe and his henchmen would have to be abandoned.
††††† Mr Tsvangirai should not accede to such a one-sided settlement. The
starting point for any power-sharing agreement is that it should recognise
the result of the first, contested, presidential, election. That would
require Mugabe's removal from the presidency and his replacement by Mr
Tsvangirai. Any deal that does not recognise the democratic wishes of the
people of Zimbabwe will not be worth the paper it is written on.

††††† "Telegraph view" is written by our team of leader writers and
commentators. This team includes David Hughes, Philip Johnston, Simon
Heffer, Janet Daley, Con Coughlin, Robert Colvile, Iain Martin and Alex
Singleton.

††††† -------------------

††††† Comments
††††† 'ANY' African solution will fail - it's what they do.

††††† As for 'South Africa's unimpressive president', tell it the way it is.
The man is an out and out scoundrel, as are many African leaders - they are
the problem, not the solution.
††††† Posted by Graham King on July 22, 2008 6:38 AM
††††† --

††††† Last night, on national television - I saw Robert Mugabe of ZANU(PF)
and Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC greet each other 'like lost lost friends'
or worse still - 'like brothers (sic) who hadn't seen each other for years'

††††† What an absolutely pathetic display!

††††† This document signed yesterday, is akin to Neville Chamberlain - the
British Prime Minister returning from Berlin in 1939 - waving a document
that Hitler and he had signed and saying - "Peace in our time!" ... and all
the while, Hitler was planning to invade Poland, France and the Low
Countries !

††††† And in Zimbabwe - I honestly believe that Robert Mugabe is planning
similar action against the supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC)

††††† The British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary should state OPENLY -
that Robert Mugabe stole the General Election earlier this year from Morgan
Tsvangirai and does not have ... ANY RIGHT WHATSOVER .. to EVEN being
involved in such a disgaceful 'charade' as yesterday !

††††† But what can one expect from this Labour Government where Foreign
Policy is concerned!

††††† Robert Mugabe stole the General Election in 1980 - Thatcher did
NOTHING!

††††† Robert Mugabe stole the General Election on 2008 - Brown did NOTHING !

††††† SHAME ON YOU !!... Politicians in the Palace of Westminster !

††††† I can now fully understand - why our Serviceman and women are coming
out of the Armed Forces ..... en masse!

††††† Why should young men and women put their lives on the line for
Politicians who betray the trust of the people !!

††††† I certainly wouldn't if I was 20 again .. I'd go down the Mines or in
the Weaving Sheds - rather than join the Armed Forces !

††††† ......

††††† Posted by Norman Tomlinson on July 22, 2008 6:31 AM
††††† --

††††† You are perfectly correct in that the only reason these "negotiation"
are taking place is to provide an excuse for the blacks to say "Where is the
white man's money." That's what all this talk of "sanctions" is really all
about. They feel that every black, especially a Zimbabwean, should be
supported by the white taxpayer. As one of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant
male taxpayers who'll be robbed to provide the cash, my opinion of this
rubbish is not in doubt. What should happen, of course, is that all aid,
money, food, medicine that is given to Zimbabwe; indeed anything at all,
should be permanently halted. The black Zimbabweans should then be left to
sort out their own problems. If they stopped stealing everything within
sight and hearing, and got back to work, Zimbabwe would once again be a
prosperous and flourishing country. I agree we can only say "Fat chance."
††††† Posted by John on July 22, 2008 5:54 AM
††††† --

††††† WORDS LIKE 'SHAMEFUL' AND 'FLOUTING' REALLY HURT THE FEELINGS OF
TYRANNICAL DESPOTS LIKE MR MUGABE AND HIS ILK. HE MUST FEEL VERY ASHAMED
WHEN HE READS HIS DAILY TELEGRAPH THIS MORNING/

††††† LORD OWEN WAS BEING INTERVIEWED LAST NIGHT ON BBC2 NEWSNIGHT (BY
TELEPHONE) ON HIS VIEWS ABOUT BOSNIA AND THE CAPTURE OF THAT MASS-MURDERING
'GENERAL' WITH THE TRICHOLOGICAL MIRACLE HAIR STYLE ..KARAVAN RADISH .

††††† I WANTED TO THROW UP LISTENING TO THE SMUG TONES OF THAT USELESS AND
FAILED POLITICIAN PONTIFICATING ABOUT LIFE AND DEATH. HE WAS ONE OF THE GANG
WHICH HANDED RHODESIA OVER TO NKOMO AND MUGABE.

††††† HE SHOULD GO TO ZIMBABWE AND SPEND THE REST OF HIS LIFE DOING
COMMUNITY SERVICE TO THE PEOPLE OF THAT RAVAGED COUNTRY. HE COULD DRIVE A
MOBILE LIBABRY AND EDUCATE THEIR CHILDREN OR SWEEP THE STREETS.

††††† .
††††† Posted by MAN ON WATERLOO BRIDGE on July 22, 2008 5:39 AM
††††† --

††††† I am afraid that I still do not understand why the
††††† Americans have not simply dropped a laser guided
††††† bomb on top of Mugabe from a stealth bomber.

††††† They would be saving lives if they rid the world of
††††† this evil old man.
††††† Posted by Sgt Pepper on July 22, 2008 3:45 AM
††††† --

††††† It should not be a surprise that the huge development yesterday is
being attacked by the British Press. Some of us have long claimed that the
British agenda in Zimbabwe has nothing to do with the plight of the people
there. Simply the British are just using the problems there for their own
interests.

††††† I think the British grievance is on the fact that they believe Mugabe
humiliated white people and therefore he must be made to pay. But since this
is 2008, they know better than saying this publicly. So they are claiming to
work for the 'people of Zimbabwe'. Any agreement in Zimbabwe that does not
include humiliation of Mugabe will be shot down by the British.

††††† It is strange and perhaps the first time in World History that a huge
breakthrough like this is being shot down by those who claimed to be working
in the interest of the country in conflict

††††† Posted by John Brown on July 22, 2008 2:42 AM
††††† --

††††† This "agreement" is, of course, a disgrace. What else could be
expected, minus the threat of UN sanctioned military intervention. Mr. Mbeki
is a long time Mugabe ally, and would no more like to see Zanu-PF removed
from power in Zimbabwe than he would like to see (or even agree to) the
removal of his own party from power in South Africa. China, of whom both
South Africa and Zimbabwe are clients, is not a democracy, has no interest
in promoting democracy, and is only interested in Africa's mineral wealth.
Russia, the other permanent member of the UN Security Council that blocked
action on Zimbabwe, is even less interested in promoting democracy than
China, having reversed all progress toward a truly democratic process that
had been achieved under President Yeltsen. The only western nations with
both an interest in promoting democracy and the military muscle to back it
up are the United States and the United Kingdom, both of whom have been
burned by the international criticism over Iraq and neither of whom are
inclined to intervene in Zimbabwe. This is just one more example of how
useless the UN has truly become.
††††† Posted by Gerold Reimondo-Jandrok on July 22, 2008 2:13 AM
††††† --

††††† You should try to be a bit more even handed in your coverage of
Zimbabwe and Africa. Paul Biya, President of Cameroon, is very close to
being president for life, yet very few of your readers will know this fact,
or even his name for that matter. This Western obsession with Mugabe and all
things Zimbabwean does nothing for your credibility on these issues where
they reallly matters - in Africa. Africans and African leaders are not
generally well influenced by this constant prattle, only Western audiences
seem to be. Instead of harping on Mugabe and Tsvangirai, why not report on
the misdeeds of Obiang or Biya or Museveni for once. I suspect Africans
could then take you much more seriously.
††††† Posted by karl rowe on July 22, 2008 1:13 AM
††††† --

††††† You should try to be a bit more even handed in your coverage of
Zimbabwe and Africa. Paul Biya, President of Cameroon, is very close to
being president for life, yet very few of your readers will know this fact,
or even his name for that matter. This Western obsession with Mugabe and all
things Zimbabwean does nothing for your credibility on these issues where
they reallly matters - in Africa. Africans and African leaders are not
generally well influenced by this constant prattle, only Western audiences
seem to be. Instead of harping on Mugabe and Tsvangirai, why not report on
the misdeeds of Obiang or Biya or Museveni for once. I suspect Africans
could then take you much more seriously.
††††† Posted by karl rowe on July 22, 2008 1:08 AM
††††† --

††††† Look - all this brow-beating !

††††† Where I shop , a loaf of bread is £1.20 . Who's to say that is worse
than $ZD 100 Billion ?

††††† It's all relative . Sure , a 100 billion sounds bad - but the sun
shines 320 days of the year , so who's really laughing ?

††††† Goodness , I'd chuck it all in , just to hide in Bob's wardrobe for 24
hours .

††††† Am I missing the point ???

††††† Posted by Alan Mullet on July 22, 2008 12:41 AM


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Power sharing path strewn with danger


Chris McGreal
The Guardian,
Tuesday July 22, 2008

Ask Zimbabwe's opposition leaders about sharing power with Robert Mugabe and
they point back a couple of decades to the last time he lured a political
opponent into his fold.

His arch-foe, Joshua Nkomo, accepted the position of vice president and
assurances of a real slice of power when he could no longer hold out against
the army's assault on people in his Matabeleland stronghold, which left
about 20,000 murdered. But Mugabe swiftly neutered his rival and tightened
his stranglehold on power.

Today, Mugabe looks more vulnerable. He's lost the support of the people to
Morgan Tsvangirai, hyperinflation is wiping out the economy, and his crimes
are no longer quite so widely tolerated.

But even though Mugabe has been forced to acknowledge his problems by
agreeing to discuss powersharing with Tsvangirai, a man he despises, there
is no reason to believe he is about to give up. Zimbabwe's president - and
those around him at the top of Zanu-PF - have not pursued the violent and
destructive policies that have kept them in power as their popularity
collapsed over the past decade only to give it all away now at the
negotiating table.

The opposition suspects Mugabe plans to fall back on the Nkomo option - lure
the Movement for Democratic Change in, then devour it. Zanu-PF has already
softened up the MDC by terrorising many of its supporters into submission,
just as it did Nkomo's. The whole intent, after all, was to negotiate from a
position of strength, if Zimbabwe's rulers were forced to negotiate at all.

For that reason, the opposition is hostile to any deal that legitimises
Mugabe's fraudulent election victory and it is wary of a power-sharing deal
in which it is a subordinate partner.

Still, there are lessons in recent history for Mugabe too. Ian Smith, the
prime minister of rebel Rhodesia, claimed white rule was not defeated by the
black liberation armies but by the "great betrayal" of South Africa's
apartheid-era leader, John Vorster, cutting off support.

Now Jacob Zuma is looming over the horizon as the man likely to succeed
Thabo Mbeki. Zuma's backers, particularly the unions, are keen to pull the
plug on Zimbabwe's leader. Like Smith, Mugabe may yet find that it is not
his enemies but those he thought were his natural allies who finally force
him to go.


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Activists still targeted by Zanu-PF

Mail and Guardian

†††††
††††† JASON MOYO - Jul 22 2008 06:00

Joshua Bakacheza's mutilated body was buried deep in Robert Mugabe's
heartland on Tuesday, in a funeral which indicated that political violence
continues but that tensions might be easing slightly.

Movement for Democratic Change activist Bakacheza was found dumped on a farm
south of Harare after weeks of searching.

The funeral was held in Banket, Mashonaland Central, a staunchly pro-Mugabe
province and the scene of some of the worst violence after the June 27
runoff.

Numerous MDC supporters were given safe passage to the town, even though
they were dressed in party regalia and chanted party slogans. The funeral
was turned into an emotional anti-Mugabe rally.

In many rural areas displaced villagers are returning to what remains of
their homes, while in the townships police are dismantling militia bases and
arresting members of gangs accused of violence.

A police spokesperson said "a number of criminal gangs" were being rounded
up in farming areas to stop attacks on farmers and workers.

But this is a deceptive picture, the MDC says, insisting that it still has
the almost weekly task of identifying the charred and disfigured remains of
its activists.

Ten of its newly elected officials are in hiding, while more than a thousand
activists and supporters are in police cells on violence charges.

Last week Zimbabwe's United Nations mission helped stave off security
council sanctions against Mugabe's regime by warning that they would "most
probably start a civil war". But the MDC says that a state-orchestrated war
continues, aimed at beating it into a political agreement that would see
Mugabe retain power.

Some calm has returned to the hard-hit northern Mashonaland and eastern
Manicaland provinces. But it is uneasy, an aid worker told the Mail &
Guardian.

"One area goes quiet and then somewhere else flares up. The worst places are
where people have tried to organise and fight back."

The MDC denies it is encouraging its supporters to retaliate and is angered
by a new report accusing it of complicity in the violence, which has killed
more than 100 people since the March 29 election.

Peter Kagwanja's report for the Human Sciences Research Council, "Saving
Zimbabwe, an agenda for democratic peace", claims "incipient retaliatory
violence by the opposition".

The report alleges the MDC is losing control of young activists who have
organised "democratic resistance committees", received military training,
armed themselves and launched "retaliatory attacks".

Police and state media have long claimed these "committees" are trained
gangs of MDC youths mobilising violence.

But last year a judge accused police of "fabricating fictitious evidence and
witnesses" after the state failed to prove a claim in charge sheets that MDC
supporters were being trained on farms in South Africa.

State media continues to show footage of villages it claims were destroyed
by MDC militia and of Mugabe donating food and blankets to the alleged
victims. It has also published names of Mugabe supporters who have allegedly
been killed.

Reacting to a stream of gory pictures of murdered opposition members
released by the MDC, Zanu-PF accused its rival of "premeditation, planning,
stage management and exaggeration of this violence . as part of a grand
strategy aimed at inviting foreign intervention in Zimbabwe".

This week a coalition of church groups warned that violence could flare anew
if talks between Zanu-PF and the MDC fail to secure a deal that eases
tensions and leads to stable government.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports the MDC saying that at least 13 of its
members are lying in a special ward of Gokwe general hospital after being
horribly injured in a Zanu-PF "torture centre".

The party says that on the orders of the army, they are denied painkillers
and treatment. "They have all been heavily assaulted," said one of the
staff. "Some are burned beyond recognition. Some have broken limbs. They
have no drugs. They are not allowed to leave.

"When doctors from the outside tried to bring the medicines they were turned
away. So were ambulances to take them to private hospitals with drugs. It is
all on the orders of the army and Central Intelligence Organisation."
Zimbabweans with first-hand knowledge of Ward B3 say that an army major
called Ronald Mpofu and a war veteran, David Masvisvi, ordered medical staff
not to allow the injured men to be moved or given access to outside doctors
or visitors.

The MDC says that more than 20 badly injured opposition activists are being
held prisoner in similar conditions in four smaller hospitals in the area.

At least nine people have been murdered around Gokwe -- traditionally a
Zanu-PF stronghold -- since the election and scores are missing.


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Democracy drive in Zimbabwe reeling

http://www.twincities.com

Activists hide even as Mugabe, foe vow to talk
By Shashank Bengali
McClatchy Newspapers
Article Last Updated: 07/21/2008 09:52:12 PM CDT

SUNNYSIDE, South Africa - They had struggled for so long to bring Zimbabwe
to this point: a vibrant, generally free election in which President Robert
Mugabe suffered his first defeat in 28 years in power.

That was in March. But Zimbabwe's pro-democracy activists didn't bank on
Mugabe's response: deploying government militias to kill and terrorize
opponents before last month's second-round vote, forcing his election rival
to withdraw and prolonging his grip on the country.

Defeated and demoralized, with scores of their ranks dead or missing,
Zimbabwe's legions of activists have gone into hiding at home and abroad. As
Mugabe consolidates his power, many of the activists who have fled to
neighboring South Africa say they don't know when it will be safe to return.

"Everyone is underground. The democracy movement is totally on hold," said
Ishmael Kauzani, 33, a longtime activist who was kidnapped and beaten nearly
to death by government militias in April. He now lives in a safe house in a
suburb of South Africa's capital, Pretoria, with three other activists in
exile.

Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed Monday to begin talks
on resolving the political crisis. But experts think that the 84-year-old
president, who vowed during the election that "only God" could force him
from office, is unlikely to cede any real power.

Mugabe's crackdown has targeted college students, grass-roots organizers and
community-based members of Tsvangirai's party. It suggests a concerted
effort to cut down the youngest and most dedicated foot soldiers of a
diverse coalition of pro-democracy groups that have agitated for more than a
decade for an end to the Mugabe era.

The crackdown's swiftness and lethality have even hardened campaigners
wondering how the movement will reconstitute itself. Opposition party
officials say that more than 100 members have been killed and at least 1,000
imprisoned. Other civic groups say that tally doesn't include many of their
members who have been murdered or tortured.

"As a strategy to destroy us, it was good," said Wiseman Mayengeza, 26, who
left his wife and young daughter behind when he fled a government raid.

Human rights groups say civilians are still being beaten and denied medical
treatment.

"It's a terrible disaster for the democracy movement," said Elinor Sisulu, a
veteran Zimbabwean human-rights campaigner who lives in South Africa. "And
it's particularly distressing that all this is happening at a time when the
two sides are supposed to be in negotiations ... and on the other hand
people are in hiding and running for their lives."


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Zanu-PF Stashes the Cash



Africa Confidential (London)

22 July 2008
Posted to the web 22 July 2008

Leading members of President Robert Mugabe's regime and their business
allies are transferring tens of millions of US dollars out of Zimbabwe to
safe havens to avoid the threat of tightening sanctions and the possibility
of financial scrutiny by a power-sharing government.

Almost all of these transactions are illegal under Zimbabwe's foreign
exchange laws and Africa Confidential has seen bank documents that the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono has violated the
monetary rules he claims to enforce.

This capital flight drives inflation ≠ now officially reckoned at 2.2
million per cent ≠ and is set to overtake the previous world inflation
champions Brazil, Argentina and Peru within the next three months.

Draining the coffers

Most of the politicians and businesses taking out the money use established
Western banks and insurance companies to make the transfers. They take
advantage of the fact that several big financial institutions quote their
shares on the Stock Exchange in Harare, as well as those in Johannesburg and
London. The money is drained out of Zimbabwe to either Britain or South
Africa with minimal institutional scrutiny, after which it is transferred to
even safer, offshore jurisdictions or to financial centres in East Asia.

Within the region the favoured destinations are Namibia and South Africa,
where the ruling elite have invested heavily in property, usually registered
in the names of their spouses or children. As opinion on the legitimacy of
President Mugabe's regime changes in the Southern African Development
Community (Botswana has called on the African Union to deny recognition), we
hear that senior members of the ruling Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front now prefer to move their money to financial
institutions in Malaysia and China through large trading companies or
multinational banks.

It is this outflow of capital that is more than anything else destroying
Zimbabwe's economy. Zimbabwe's capital exporters have intensified their
operations as political and economic conditions have deteriorated, promoting
a cycle of decline. James Makamba, a ZANU-PF Central Committee member, held
accounts in Egypt, and former ZANU-PF Guruve North member of parliament
David Butau fled to Britain after externalising money into his HSBC Bank
Channel Islands account.

Chris Kuruneri, a former Finance Minister forced out by Gono, was imprisoned
for nearly two years on allegations of foreign currency externalisation in
South Africa. But political uncertainty has seen a proliferation in overseas
accounts as ZANU-PF officials seek to secure their financial future ≠ many
in league with domestic companies.

Several companies have extended the government US dollar lines of credit,
which the government has used to meet external debts and some current
expenditure. In return, they are given shares for dual-listed companies that
they can sell abroad for foreign exchange. These include Cargill Zimbabwe, a
local subsidiary of the United States agriculture giant, African Banking
Corporation (ABC) ≠ chaired by top ZANU-PF businessman Oliver Chidawu and in
which the World Bank affiliate International Finance Corporation has a 10%
shareholding; Mettalon Gold, owned by South Africa's Mzi Khumalo and touted
for a London listing; and Vulya Investments. All the companies were given
Old Mutual shares as security, which they were allowed to sell outside
Zimbabwe after the RBZ failed to pay back loans.

Approval for the disposal of Old Mutual shares by ABC was given last year
for loans extended in 2006 and 2007, part of which was used to pay
International Monetary Fund dues. The other three companies sold shares with
RBZ permission between January and June this year. The disposal of Old
Mutual shares in London and/or South Africa is usually done with the
approval of Gideon Gono to raise foreign currency to redeem the loans.

Another company involved in externalisation is Remo Investment Brokers,
owned by India's M.I. Mohammed. One RBZ official told AC that RIB has moved
some 8 mn. Old Mutual shares to London on instruction from Gono this year
alone.

Gono moves the foreign exchange into offshore accounts, using the proceeds
to buy fuel. He has also purchased some of the state's farm machinery under
the farm mechanisation programme through the selling of Old Mutual shares.

New channels

As Britain pushes for tougher European Union sanctions, ZANU-PF apparatchiks
are setting up new routes through Malaysia. Central to this new arrangement
is Mugabe business ally Enoch Kamushinda, who has been living in Malaysia
since 2004. Kamushinda recently sold 60% of his shareholding in Metropolitan
Bank to the wholly respectable Nairobi-based Loita Capital Partner
International. This allowed Kamushinda to open his financial investment firm
in Kuala Lumpur ≠ where Mugabe holidayed earlier this year. He also which
advises the President on his business portfolio.

There are several other companies involved. We hear, former Army Chief
General Solomon Mujuru uses a British-registered company to move money
through Parlovan Investments, a Harare-based money transfer agency he
controls.

Some of these cash exporting businesses are led by high profile foreigners
such Nicholas van Hoogstraten. In other cases, the foreigners take on a
purely functional role as accountants, private bankers or lawyers.
London-based barristers David Oliver QC and Benjamin Shaw ≠ instructed by
Reed Smith≠ are working for a nominee-company representing President
Mugabe's government in Britain, but they are acting entirely within the
British law.

Earlier this month, a judge granted AMG Global Nominees an appeal hearing
for 3 November in its long-running fight to take control of the
London-listed Africa Resources Limited (ARL) and its asbestos mines, owned
by Zimbabwean businessman Mutumwa Mawere (AC Vol 49 No 12).

An article on 27 June in Zimbabwe's daily state mouthpiece The Herald let
slip that AMG Global Nominees 'represents Government [sic] interests'. AMG
Administrator Afaras Gwaradzimba, appointed by Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, said in an interview that AMG had received 'US$2 million from the
Reserve Bank' in a bid to force Mawere to divest control in ARL. Charles
Hewetson, a partner at Reed Smith, told AC that Gwaradzimba was
independently appointed and the government's relationship with AMG was as a
creditor to the asbestos mines.


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Malign joke of Mbeki's mediation in Zimbabwe

Business Day

22 July 2008

Nicole Fritz

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TWO weeks ago, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Africa
Policy Institute released a report titled Saving Zimbabwe: An Agenda for
Democratic Peace.

Of all the claims made, the claim that earned the most extensive media
coverage was also the least well substantiated: evidence for the contention
that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was resorting to
violence appears to have been sourced from Zimbabwean state-owned media,
Robert Mugabe himself, Joint Operations Command member and police
commissioner Augustine Chihuri, and an unnamed Zimbabwean cabinet minister.

That a well-respected institution such
as the HSRC thought to make so serious an allegation based on input from
such implausible sources was bad enough, but it then issued a recommendation
on the basis of such flimsily supported claims: that members of the global
community push for sanctions targeting both Zanu (PF) and the MDC so that
they desist from violence.

Surprisingly, the report's most important and best-sourced information has
thus far been overlooked. Given what seems almost unprecedented access to
sources in SA's Presidency, foreign affairs department and embassy in
Zimbabwe, the report's authors are able to provide a detailed exposition of
the South African leadership's motivations in respect of their mediation
role and as influential neighbour.

According to the authors, "SA's transitional formula in Zimbabwe has been to
induce a re-engineering and transformation of Zanu (PF) to put it in the
hands of a moderate and avoid the 'Chiluba factor' - the decimation of a
liberation party by a trade-union party like the MDC." It is this motivation
that led to support for Simba Makoni's candidacy in the belief that he could
spearhead a reformed Zanu (PF) party incorporating certain elements of the
political opposition, notably the Arthur Mutambara-led faction of the MDC.

SA bet on a runoff scenario. But one that involved Makoni and Mugabe and
not, as it happened, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe. All this
manoeuvring took place supposedly to leave Tsvangirai out in the cold but
Pretoria, say the authors, was taken aback by Makoni's dismal results.

Still it wasn't deterred, continuing to push for Makoni as a central figure
in a government of national unity well past the date on which election
results were known.

It would almost be funny - bungled strategy predicated on bumbling
intelligence - were it not so malign. How, if these are Mbeki's motivations,
confirmed
by senior officials in relevant government departments, can it then be
fairly or sensibly insisted that the Tsvangirai-led MDC be party to any
continued mediation effort brokered by Mbeki?

The Tsvangirai-led MDC, recognising that Mbeki's efforts are often driven
less by support for Mugabe than revilement for itself, has called at every
turn for supplementation of the mediation effort. Had a United Nations (UN)
Security Council draft resolution not been defeated two weeks ago, it would
have allowed for the appointment of a UN special representative to "support
the negotiation process between the political parties in Zimbabwe".

But SA was having none of it, leading
off the debate in the s ecurity c ouncil that preceded the vote. SA's UN
ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, suggested that SA's hands were tied. It had no
choice but to vote against the draft, duty-bound as it was to uphold the
Southern African Development Community and African Union positions
safeguarding the mediation process - as if SA hadn't exerted every pressure
in those self-same institutions to ensure that its mediation remained the
only game in town.

And so the MDC has found itself not only corralled into the very process to
which it has time and again raised objection, but is also refused
alternatives on the basis that such alternatives would compromise the flawed
process to which it objects. It is hard to imagine how Tsvangirai conducts
himself with any civility in Mbeki's company.

But by all accounts he does: when relations were at one of their lowest
ebbs, Tsvangirai still met with Mbeki in Harare, reportedly telling him that
he was meeting with him not as the mediator but as the democratically
elected head of the people of SA. If true, it is a courtesy Mbeki has been
resolutely unwilling to return to Tsvangirai or to the people of Zimbabwe.

Now, however, with last Friday's appointment of a reference group, there
appears finally to be recognition that a mediation effort brokered solely by
Mbeki cannot yield the unprejudiced process that is so desperately required.

a.. Fritz is the director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.


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MDC must resist carrot dangled by Zanu-PF

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com

July 22, 2008

By Tendai Dumbutshena

NOW THAT substantive talks between Zanu-PF and the two factions of the MDC
are set to take place, it is crucial that they yield a long-term solution to
the Zimbabwe crisis.

The creation of a reference group comprising AU, SADC, and UN
representatives is a welcome development. It may help mitigate President
Thabo Mbeki's bias towards Robert Mugabe.

It is, however, the MDC that can ensure that the talks do not produce a
power sharing arrangement that only satisfies the egos and pockets of
political elites.

The political system in Zimbabwe is fundamentally rotten. It needs an
overhaul; not just tampering at the margins. Mugabe and his party have
destroyed institutions of state vital to the functioning of a democracy. The
defence forces have been reduced to a military wing of Zanu-PF In fact it is
worse than that. They now serve the interests of Mugabe himself. The police
force is also an appendage of Zanu-PF. Commanders of these forces have made
it clear that they will only salute Mugabe. As they did in the 2000 and 2002
elections, they coordinated death squads to kill and maim people to ensure
Mugabe's victory on June 27.

War veterans and militias were only fronts for a campaign conceived at the
highest levels of government, the military and police. An electoral body is
supposed to take centre-stage during elections. The Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) lost all pretence of impartiality when it became known that
Zanu-PF and Mugabe had lost the March 29 election. From then on the party
and its intelligence arm - Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) - took
over management of the electoral process. The only visible role ZEC played
in the run-off was to announce its results. Another institution of state was
reduced to an organ of Zanu-PF

There are still some judges and magistrates who take professional pride in
their work and dispense justice without fear or favour. Regrettably they are
now a minority. Ever since the Supreme Court was stuffed with judges
sympathetic to Zanu-PF the judiciary has lost its independence. Judges
allowed themselves to be beneficiaries of Mugabe's patronage, further
eroding their impartiality and integrity. On matters related to governance
and human rights people have lost confidence in the judiciary. An
institution which is the chief custodian of the law and constitution has
been subverted.

So has the Reserve Bank which now directly funds Zanu-PF covert operations.
The bank's governor Gideon Gono has been an abysmal failure. Under his watch
inflation has soared to unbelievable heights and the Zimbabwe dollar reduced
to nothingness. He has failed to perform his core functions of reining in
inflation and protecting the value of the currency. Yet Gono remains in his
job as one of Mugabe's closest confidantes. The only explanation is that he
plays a sinister role in Mugabe's scheme to retain power at all costs.

These are a few examples of how deep the rot has set in. Talks that gloss
over this tragic reality will not offer a lasting solution. Mugabe is at his
weakest. Even his African peers do not recognize the shambles of June 27. He
presides over a bankrupt country with bleak economic prospects. His party is
demoralized and divided only held together by fear, greed and opportunism.

The MDC must not let him off the hook by buying into a government of
national unity to secure a few cabinet portfolios for themselves. The
starting point must be a total rejection of the June 27 coup d'etat dressed
up as an election. Mugabe must negotiate in his capacity as Zanu-PF leader
and not as President of Zimbabwe. A transitional coalition government with a
clear mandate to accomplish specified tasks must be the upshot of these
talks. Chief among these tasks is the depoliticisation of state
institutions. Their independence must be constitutionally entrenched and
checks and balances put in place to make their abuse by a ruling party well
nigh impossible. It may be necessary to retire current heads of these
institutions.

In the case of the police and defence forces those whose hands drip with the
blood of innocents must be cashiered. In a democracy these institutions must
not be led by people who owe their allegiance to an individual and political
party. They should not be led by people who regard themselves as hired guns
of the ruling party.

The transitional government must dismantle the fascist edifice Mugabe has
constructed over the years. Only then can it be in a position to create
conditions for free political activity which includes elections that meet
international standards of fairness. There will be attempts to railroad the
MDC into signing an agreement that does not radically alter the status quo.
Mugabe's strategy will be to dangle the carrot of cabinet posts to the MDC
to co-opt a few of its members into a government of national unity led by
him.

This will legitimize his presidency without dealing with the causes of
Zimbabwe's descent into bankruptcy and despotism. Attempts have already
begun to exploit divisions between the two factions of the MDC by enticing
Arthur Mutambara's group to become part of a Zanu-PF led GNU. This must not
be allowed to succeed. The MDC must not be conned or bullied into an
agreement that essentially legitimizes the June 27 putsch.

A sticking point will be who heads a transitional coalition government. The
MDC will argue that based on the March 29 election Tsvangirai should lead
it. The argument may have merit but will be totally rejected by Zanu-PF
which wants Mugabe to head it on the basis of June 27. The MDC will
hopefully reject this.

One thing that is guaranteed is that Zanu-PF will negotiate in bad faith
always seeking to protect its hegemony. The pressure is on Mugabe whose
options are now extremely limited. The MDC must close all escape routes by
simply sticking to a principled position premised on an uncompromising
rejection of Mugabe's legitimacy and an unflinching determination to build a
truly democratic society.


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So what if the MDC is supported by the British?

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com

July 22, 2008

By Jane Madembo

ROBERT Mugabe and his cronies badly want the people of Zimbabwe to believe
that the British and American governments are using a covert operation to
re-colonize Zimbabwe while using the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as
a smokescreen.

Their main argument so far against Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC is that
they are backed by the British and the Americans. They have been replaying
this song over and over again.

Ever since the formation of the MDC, the Zimbabwean government has tried to
discredit the party and its leader Tsvangirai as puppets of the British and
American governments. By calling Tsvangirai a puppet of the western
countries, Mugabe is comparing him to the late Bishop Abel Muzorewa who
teamed up with Ian Smith to form the so called Zimbabwe-Rhodesia government.
Mugabe and his supporters claim that the MDC is supported by white Rhodesian
sympathisers, who want to seize the land and power back into their hands.

Mugabe, once a respected revolution leader has outstayed his welcome. The
world events have moved on. While Smith is dead and Tony Blair, his nemesis,
is no longer in power, Mugabe is still fighting the liberation struggle.

Pasi nemaBritish, pasi nemaDzakutsaku, pasi nevatengesi, (Down with the
British, down with the supporters of Muzorewa, down with sellouts), he still
rants with his trade mark clenched fist raised at rallies which ordinary
Zimbabwean are forced to attend.

There are valid reasons why most countries have a two term maximum limit on
the presidency. Politicians get too comfortable and start to believe that
they are the master of the house and start treating people as their children
who can be beaten and punished into submission. A war veteran whose name I
will not reveal told me that he didn't go to the war to put Mugabe in power,
but to liberate Zimbabwe. He told me of his anguish as opportunists like
Joseph Chinotimba and others take advantage of the current climate in
Zimbabwe to enrich themselves. Such opportunists sense a weakness in the
leadership of Mugabe. They jump onto the bandwagon to grab whatever they
can.

Mugabe is not the leader that will usher Zimbabweans into a new modern
Zimbabwe. Any Zimbabwean who criticizes Mugabe is called a traitor or a
sellout. Any foreigner who does the same is accused of a secret wish to
re-colonise Zimbabwe. We are in the 21st Century, for goodness' sake!

For Mugabe, the western countries, especially Britain and the USA are the
most evil. During the late 90s, even as he criticised the British government
of Tony Blair, his new wife Grace Marufu was dressing like a Princess Diana
look-alike, wearing stuffy suits and hats like a member of the British royal
family. She flew over most African countries to shop for her clothes in
London.

While Mugabe and his supporters lament that the MDC traitors whom they
accuse of being funded by the western countries, underneath that venom is a
secret desire for attention. They do not seriously want to be divorced from
the West. Their behavior is akin to a man who criticises prostitutes, but
secretly patronizes them. As I write this, many of the ruling party's
children are scattered around the globe from Australia, America, Britain,
France, Ireland and many other western nations. Some have changed names to
avoid detection.

If most of the Zanu-PF bigwigs had not been restricted from visiting Britain
and other western countries, we would have seen them cavorting in the
capitals of the "imperialist" countries.

Since independence the Zimbabwean government has benefited from trillions of
dollars in foreign aid. Soon after Zimbabwe achieved independence donor
agencies from all over the world poured into the country. Most of the money
went to the government as most of these agencies were required to work with
government or parastatals. Nobody was complaining then.

Whether the MDC is supported by the West or not is beside the point. Where
can an opposition party in a small country like Zimbabwe get funding to take
on a ruthless government in power, unless one is a millionaire, (Sorry, not
a Zimbabwean millionaire). "Zimbabwe is not the States, where ordinary
people are rich with money to spare. Had Mugabe's government been popular,
respected people's rights and been lawful, Tsvangirai would never have been
where he is today. He would probably still be the head of the ZCTU. He didn't
choose to do this. He answered a call from the people.

While foreign governments might bankroll an opposition candidate, the
decision rests on the people. They have to decide through the ballot. In the
case of Robert Mugabe vs. Morgan Tsvangirai the people made their choice.
Mugabe had used every opportunity to paint Tsvangirai as a puppet of the
west. The people decided that they would rather live in Tsvangirai's
supposedly British and American funded Zimbabwe, than in Mugabe's poor,
corrupt, violent, miserable and lawless country.

With his brand new red bus, western-funded or not, Tsvangirai represented a
new Zimbabwe that was enticing, seductive and hard to resist.

Poor African countries will always need aid from western nations. They need
money and aid to deal with diseases like AIDS, natural disasters and food
shortages. If African countries want to be part of the club, they have to
abide by the membership rules.

Thou shalt not kill or abuse the people. Thou shalt allow freedom of speech.
Thou shalt allow candidates of the opposition to campaign without fear.
African countries should always welcome aid, but use it responsibly.

If the money that Mugabe and his cronies accuse the MDC of getting from the
west was used to commit human right violations, then it is wrong. But if the
money is used towards a goal for the betterment of the people of Zimbabwe,
then pamberi nemaBritish, pamberi nemaAmericans! Hail the British; hail the
Americans.)

What the world does not want to see is shiploads of guns and ammunition from
China in African waters en route to Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe need
food, law and order, health care, peace and not guns.

In a 1979 video interview recently featured on the Zimbabwe Times website,
Zanu-PF leaders, including Mugabe spoke at length about their vision for
Zimbabwe. During the interview with an unidentified British reporter,
Didymus Mutasa acknowledged that ZANU was being funded by several western
organizations. Zanu-PF leaders took frequent fundraising trips to Europe and
America. As the reporter pressed Mutasa for information whether the British
government was among some of their backers, he started fidgeting around,
that's when straight talking Edgar Tekere cut in, "Well, I think it's an
interesting question just now, whether the British government does anything
for Zanu-PF or not? "

More revealingly, the late Zanla commander, Josiah Tongogara put it in plain
words, "we have food, clothes, everything; coming from progressive
organizations in Britain, America and Sweden, all over the world. This shoe,
I never bought it. Zanu-PF never paid for anything. I think it came from
Sweden. If I didn't have it, how would I walk? How would I fight? And who is
giving me this jacket? The people in Britain, the people in America."

Mugabe reminds me of a certain sister I met years ago in California. This
African American sister told me that she would never buy a book written by a
white person, or music recorded by a white musician. She was all about
blackness.

Everything in her house was Afro-centric, right down to her clothes and
dreadlocks. "Why is your name Jane?" she snapped at me one day. "What is
your real name?"

She meant my Shona name. I found myself apologizing for my name. One evening
she forced me to watch a one and half hour long Klux-Klan video. The Ku Klux
Klan is a secret white supremacist organization that has sprung up at
different times in American history. Whenever I was in her house I
momentarily forgot that the days of slavery were over. Her conversation was
all about racism and other evil doings of white people. Historically this is
factual information, but so is the genocide of Rwanda, Darfur, xenophobia in
South Africa, Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe and other events.

The people of Zimbabwe will welcome support from whatever quarter, even the
West, because Robert Mugabe and his government have failed them dismally.


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Mugabe showers praise on Mbeki

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com

July 22, 2008

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Monday showered praises on South African
President Thabo Mbeki, saying he had been unfairly accused for his alleged
half-hearted approach towards resolving Zimbabwe's political crisis.

The Zimbabwean leader says the amount of criticism being directed at Mbeki
was both "ignorant and undeserved".

Mbeki was mandated by SADC last year to help broker a pact between the
ruling Zanu-PF and the two opposition MDC factions.

The talks are aimed at finding a lasting solution to Zimbabwe's crippling
political and economic crises.

But while he has done well to endear himself with Zanu-PF, Mbeki's role has
drawn only criticism from the MDC, especially from the party's leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai, who accuses him of showing too much bias towards Mugabe.

This, it is alleged, has been manifest in Mbeki's failure to condemn Mugabe
for his excesses evidenced by the open manipulation by the Zanu-PF leader of
the electoral process to give an unfair advantage to his party as well as
the abuse of state institutions.

But Mugabe on Monday devoted a large portion of his keynote address during a
ceremony to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between his party and
the MDC, to eulogizing Mbeki.

Mugabe and the two MDC faction leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara appended their signatures to the MOU that commits the two parties
to a sustained process of negotiation for two weeks.

"I want to thank President Mbeki for being here today, for having been there
yesterday even against the background of vilification, of bitter criticism
that he was doing nothing and yet yesterday as he was here a number of
achievements were actually registered in regard to interaction between our
parties," Mugabe said.

Mugabe said Mbeki's critics ignored the fact that the South African leader's
mediation yielded the Constitutional Amendment (No. 18) last year that paved
the way for the harmonization of Zimbabwe's national elections in March and
the expansion of the two houses of assembly.

Mugabe said: "I am mentioning this because out there, there has been very
unfair criticism of President Mbeki as having failed to achieve anything as
a front of this mediation and yet we achieved all that and the mediation was
taking place even as we held our elections.

"I want to thank him for his persistence and for that positive insensitivity
to criticism. When criticism is ill placed, ignorant and undeserved, it
needs to be ignored. You don't have to be sensitive to it; you must become
insensitive, stubborn to it because it's wrong."

Mugabe was clearly referring to Tsvangirai. Mbeki infuriated the MDC early
this year by claiming the opposition had agreed on everything with Zanu-PF,
a statement which was vehemently denied by Tsvangirai.

Mbeki also came under intense criticism in April when he claimed, after a
few hours spent in Harare with Mugabe while en route to Lusaka, that there
was no crisis in Zimbabwe.

Mbeki made this statement after two weeks of delay by the country's election
management body, ZEC, in releasing the results of the presidential election
held on March 29. The results were only announced after a further three
weeks, during which period Mugabe's opponents accused the 84 year old leader
of buying time while allegedly doctoring the polls' figures in his own
favour.

But subsequent efforts to correct the meaning of statement fell short of
allaying public suspicion of Mbeki's intentions.

Things came to a head in the past two weeks when Tsvangirai refused to play
ball with Mbeki altogether. The MDC leader was adamant he would not continue
to participate in the talks if Mbeki remained the chief negotiator.

"The MDC's reservations about the mediation process under President Mbeki
are well known," Tsvangirai said when he addressed journalists at his house
two weeks ago.

"It is our position that unless the mediation team is expanded to include at
least one permanent representative from the African Union, and the mediation
mechanism is changed; no meaningful progress can be made towards resolving
the Zimbabwean crisis.

"If this does not happen, then the MDC will not be part of such a mediation
process."

The African Union and the United nations have since obliged by seconding
their representatives to the inter-party talks.

Mbeki told journalists at the MOU signing ceremony that at no time did he
feel obliged to recuse himself from being mediator.

He claimed as a neighbour, he would not abandon Zimbabweans in their pursuit
of a lasting solution to their crises.

"We have not at any stage wanted to pull out of the talks," Mbeki said.

"We are neighbours. When something goes wrong in Zimbabwe it affects South
Africa. There is no way we can detach ourselves from the other. We will
always be concerned about what is happening across the border."


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Talks with Mugabe must succeed, says Tsvangirai

Radio New Zealand

Published at 5:59pm on 22 July 2008

Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, says immediate talks with
President Robert Mugabe on ending the crisis over the disputed presidential
election must succeed.

The agreement requires talks on a power-sharing arrangement to be completed
within two weeks and calls for the prevention of violence.

Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai shook hands after signing the agreement in the
presence of South African President Thabo Mbeki, who acted as mediator.

Mr Tsvangirai described his first meeting with Mr Mugabe in 10 years as
historic and said talks must succeed.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the deal.

The preliminary agreement was signed in a hotel in Harare after weeks of
deadlock. Mr Mugabe was re-elected on 27 June in a one-man election.

Mr Mbeki said the agreement committed both sides to an intense process to
try to complete substantive negotiations as quickly as possible.

Mr Tsvangirai called the ceremony "a very historic occasion" and stressed
that a solution must be found.

Officials from both sides said the framework agreement sets a two-week
deadline for the government and two factions of the opposition MDC to
discuss key issues, including a unity government and how to hold new
elections.

Mr Mugabe, 84, has ruled for 28 years.


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Zimbabweans share their ordeals online

Dispatch, SA

WELCOME VISITOR: South African President Thabo Mbeki is welcomed by Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on his arrival in Harare yesterday. Mbeki is in Zimbabwe to witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Morgan Tsvangirai, the main opposition leader in Zimbabwe, and President Mugabe. Picture: AP
2008/07/22

THE photographs of the tortured body of an opposition official are blurry but chilling.

Posted on the This is Zimbabwe Internet blog, they show charred, lacerated limbs and blank eyes staring out from the face of the official, Gift Mutsvungunu, frozen in a death grimace.

A note accompanying the pictures says the picture quality is bad because the photographer was shaking with fear.

Increasingly, Zimbabweans are going online and using cellphone text messages to share stories of life and death in a country where the traditionally independent media have been all but silenced, and from which reporters from most international media have been barred.

“Any organisation or NGO working in the area of promotion of free expression is at risk,” Bev Clark, one of the founders of the Kubatana blogging forum, said via e-mail.

“Zimbabwe is encased in fear.”

Harare-based Kubatana is a network of non-profit organisations that runs a blogging forum. The forum relies on 13 bloggers in Zimbabwe, who e-mail submissions to an administrator who posts them to the site.

The network also reaches beyond the Web by sending text messages to 3800 subscribers.

Zimbabwe’s bloggers are mainly opposition activists whose themes range from HIV/Aids, to the country’s economic meltdown, to President Robert Mugabe’s thuggery.

The underground networks can be forums for unsubstantiated rumour, but provide valuable independent information and can even make news.

In late June, the This is Zimbabwe blog started a letter-writing campaign against a German firm that was supplying paper to print the sinking Zimbabwean dollar.

After about a week, the international media picked up the story and the company, Giesecke & Devrient, announced it would stop dealing with Zimbabwe.

Another typical posting simply lists names of victims of political violence, each accompanied by one sentence on how the person was beaten to death.

In many cases it’s impossible to tell who is doing the postings because the risks are so great. Government eavesdroppers are believed to be roaming the Web and intercepting cell phone calls, especially after a law was passed last year allowing authorities to monitor phone calls and the Internet.

Deputy information minister Bright Matonga said the legislation was modelled after counter-terrorism legislation in the US and the UN. “Those who have something to hide should be very much worried, but those who have nothing to hide should not worry,” he said.

Only the state-run TV and radio stations and The Herald, a government newspaper, provide daily news in Zimbabwe.

There are no independent radio stations broadcasting from within the country.

Journalists without hard-to-come- by government accreditation find it hard to operate.

The government’s grip on the media tightened in the lead-up to last month’s presidential election runoff, in which Mugabe was the only candidate after Morgan Tsvangirai dropped out because of violence against his supporters.

That leaves the Internet and cellphones.

Internet World Stats, an online organisation that compiles statistics on Internet usage worldwide, estimates 1.3 million Zimbabweans – about 11 percent of the population – were using the Internet as of March 2008. — Sapa-AP


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MoU a step in the right direction

July 22, 2008.

For Immediate Release

MoU a step in the right direction.

Save Zimbabwe Campaign NZ applauds Zimbabwe’s political parties for signing a Memorandum of Understanding and committing to two weeks of intense discussion in search of lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s political impasse.

We acknowledge the role being played by SADC through South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki, the African Union and indeed the UN.

Of critical importance to the Save Zimbabwe Campaign is immediate resumption of food distribution and medical care through NGOs.We are mindful of violence that continues unabated and commend the MoU for committing all parties involved to send out a clear and unequivocal message that violence must cease immediately.

We are heartened by the substance of the MoU which takes into account critical issues that include economic restoration, a home-grown constitution, security of all people and mass communication.We are disappointed that the civil society of Zimbabwe has not been included in these talks but remain hopeful that their invaluable contributions will be taken into consideration by all negotiating parties.

Ultimately the will of the people of Zimbabwe must be respected.We thus call for and demand that the talks lead to a transitional authority that will pave way for democratically run elections as soon as is feasibly possible.The talks must not subvert the will of Zimbabweans nor create another pseudo one party democracy as witnessed in 1987.

-Ends-

More Details:

Mandla Akhe Dube (General Secretary), 03 366 9274 Ext 113

Adams Makope, Auckland Region 021 027 24797

Driden Kunaka (Wellington Region) 021 0466814

Elouise Chicksen (Christchurch) 03 343 1250


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Harare targets firms in line for seizure

Business Report

July 22, 2008

By Brian Latham

Durban - Zimbabwe would audit foreign-owned companies and might seize
businesses that were found to be causing shortages of basic commodities and
fuelling inflation, George Charamba, the spokesperson of President Robert
Mugabe, said yesterday.

Operations that were not working in the national interest would be handed
over to local investors or to companies from "friendly countries,
particularly those in the Far East", said Charamba. He added that the
government would focus its probe on companies that had British shareholders.

"The spotlight is on the corporate world because we want to know whether
these shortages and rising prices are a result of market imperatives or the
political obligations of foreign investors," he said.

The state-controlled Sunday News, citing an unidentified government
official, said unidentified British companies were emptying shop shelves in
Zimbabwe and that locally based firms had British shareholders.

While Charamba confirmed the report, he said he was unaware of "specific
plans" to seize any foreign-owned businesses.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate at 2.2 million percent,
spawned by Mugabe's land redistribution programme in 2000 that slashed
agricultural output and resulted in shortages of commodities including flour
and cooking oil.

The country is in its tenth year of economic recession, according to
International Monetary Fund data.

The UK and the US have led calls for international sanctions against the
government after Mugabe extended his 28-year rule in a presidential run-off
election last month in which he was the sole candidate.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the vote after alleging
his supporters were being targeted.

Earlier this year, MPs approved legislation requiring all foreign-owned
businesses to sell at least 51 percent of their shares to black Zimbabweans
or the state.

The Sunday News reported this week that the government's audit of
foreign-owned companies was a prelude to the implementation of this law.

Unilever, Old Mutual and British American Tobacco, are among London-based
companies that operate in Zimbabwe.

Last week, China and Russia voted against a US effort to impose sanctions
against Zimbabwe at the UN security council.


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Comment from a Correspondent

Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 3:44 PM
Subject: Sad day for Zimbabwe

The signing of the MOU brings yet another sad day to the people of Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai has finally killed the last hope that many Zimbabweans were
clinging to, a hope that finally with the overwhelming support of the
international world, there was hope to bury Mugabe once and for all. The
aspirations of the Zimbabwean people have been shattered; the torture,
beatings, gruesome deaths endured by the opposition supporters in the hands
of Mugabe's regime have all been in vain. What on earth does Tsvangirai hope
to achieve by signing a pact with a malicious murderer who is clearly
clinging onto power despite the clear voices of the Zimbabwean people that
they no longer required the services of a kamikaze kleptocrat?

It's deja vu all over again. We have seen this in the past, and if history
lessons are anything to go by, we all know the outcome of this godforsaken
matrimony. Tsvangirai should wake up and realize that this is not the path
chosen by the majority of Zimbabweans. We all know that he wants what is
best for all Zimbabweans, but certainly this is not the best way forward and
he knows it too. He is just bowing down to the pressure from Mbeki and the
AU and does not want to appear as a spoiler, but this course is detrimental
to the freedom that is hungered and thirsted for by Zimbabweans.

Tsvangirai still has a chance to reverse this marriage before it ends up in
an ugly divorce, where he will lose face and end up losing the political
capital that has been extended to him by the Zimbabwean people. It will be
very difficult for him to reverse this course later without risking the
adage of being branded a flip-flopper even by his own followers. Right now
MDC has the upper hand, they can negotiate from a vantage position and
squeeze the Mugabe regime into submission. MDC has the international world
behind it, which will support it till the dictator is finally overthrown,
MDC should not let this opportunity slip by.

The evil regime is at its weakest point now, hence the eagerness to
negotiate power sharing.† MDC should not fall into this illusion, but
instead aim for the jugular and finish it off. We all know that printing
money is what has been keeping this monster government alive, well the
useless paper cannot keep up with rising hyperinflation and soon there will
be no denomination that meets the people's approval, the paper will become
worthless. The economy will collapse, and Mad Bob will not be able to pay
his murderous state machine. The whole JOC structure will implode as it
becomes each for his own. The hungry security forces and militia will turn
against their master and that will be the time for MDC to step in and
re-establish order.

The end is near, and therefore there is no need for the MDC to even prolong
the process by creating a false impression to the international world that
everything is back to normal through this fallacy of a MOU.

D


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ECB face costly defeat over Zimbabwe crisis

The Telegraph

By Nick Hoult in Dubai
Last Updated: 2:32AM BST 22 Jul 2008

Tickets for next year's World Twenty20 Championship in England were almost
sold out last night, but the future of the tournament hangs in the balance
while the England and Wales Cricket Board and their Indian counterparts try
to hammer out a compromise over the Zimbabwe crisis.

Just 24 hours after being hopeful of having Zimbabwe expelled from the
International Cricket Council, the English delegation, led by ECB chairman
Giles Clarke, were left clinging on to the hope that the African nation may
be suspended temporarily on cricketing grounds.

Such an outcome would provide some succour for the ECB as it would remove
them from the Twenty20 tournament, but the permanent spectre of Zimbabwe
would remain on the horizon.

Peter Chingoka, the chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket, arrived yesterday with a
retinue of lawyers ready to advise that moves to suspend them on political
grounds would contravene the ICC's constitution.

As the day wore on the Zimbabwe camp became confident of also surviving
attempts for their removal on cricketing grounds, arguing that it is less
than a year since they beat Australia at the inaugural World Twenty20
Championship.

Their confidence was also built on Indian support. India's stance was
described as "intransigent" by one source, who added that any decision on
Zimbabwe's future remains "on a knife edge". The stakes are high.

In yesterday's Daily Telegraph, Andy Burnham, the Secretary of State for
Culture, Media and Sport, wrote that "it would not be right" for Zimbabwe to
appear at the World Twenty20. Such a statement means that if Clarke fails to
garner enough support today then the ICC would have to switch the event to a
new venue and lose up to £7.5 million in ticket sales. In an added twist,
the two match days proving difficult to sell are the ones involving
Zimbabwe.

The political trading yesterday was intensive, with Sri Lanka agreeing a
deal to tour England next year in place of Zimbabwe.

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