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Zimbabwe publishes bill to reform electoral laws: newspaper

Yahoo News

Sat Nov 17, 5:35 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - The Zimbabwean government has published a draft bill to
reform electoral laws following a surprise agreement last month between the
ruling party and the opposition, a state-run daily said Saturday.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change reached an agreement with the
government in late September on the adoption of a bill that would pave the
way for joint presidential and legislative elections next year.
The Herald newspaper said the draft Electoral Laws Amendment Bill 2007 would
bar the military, police and prison officers from any involvement in
elections beyond providing security.

It would empower aggrieved candidates to demand recounts and require that
the government-appointed electoral commission consult all contesting parties
before marking constituency and ward boundaries, the report said.

It would also compel public broadcasters to report impartially and give
equal airtime to all candidates, said The Herald.

Previous elections in Zimbabwe have been tainted by charges of electoral
fraud and complaints over the role of the military in the running of the
polls.

The main opposition and western observers claimed the country's last
presidential polls in 2002 were rigged to hand President Robert Mugabe
victory, prompting the United States and the European Union to impose
targeted sanctions on the veteran ruler and members of his inner circle.

The election reform bill is expected to be submitted to parliament within 30
days.

Mugabe was chosen in March by his ruling ZANU-PF party to stand again as its
candidate in presidential elections in 2008.


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Black Zimbabweans rally for white farms

Independent, UK

17 November 2007 15:26

By Ian Evans in Cape Town
Published: 17 November 2007

More than 4,000 white farmers have left Zimbabwe since President Robert
Mugabe began his seizing their properties under his redistribution" scheme
in 2000. But one provincial governor has made an unprecedented attempt to
reverse the trend by preventing two white Zimbabweans from being evicted
from their land, in a move that has surprised the country's white minority,

Lindsay Guild and his sister Heather were told that they can continue
working their two farms near the city of Mutare after a campaign supported
by people from all walks of society, including Vice-President Joseph Msika.

Tinaye Chigudu, the governor of the province of Manicaland, of which Mutare
is the capital, said the pair made an essential contribution to the
community and should be allowed to stay. His ruling thwarted the ambitions
of two senior Zanu-PF party members of Mutare City Council, who wanted to
seize the plots.

"We are delighted by this and it's a big decision," said Lindsay Guild's
wife, Ann. "We are very grateful that we can keep our land. It's a positive
move for Zimbabwe and a real step in the right direction.

"Local people know how much we have contributed to the community and we have
been happy to. There are people stuck in the 1970s here - not many - but a
few with too much hatred and envy. We can all work together for a better
country and build a better place."

Mr Guild and his sister, who is single, each farm about 40 hectares on
neighbouring properties in the Burma Valley near Mutare. Their parents
emigrated from Britain to the north of the country but the family later
moved to the east.

Mr Guild and his wife used to have two farms but were forced to give one up
under the Mugabe reforms. In 2004, half their remaining land was seized by
Irene Zindi, the deputy chairman of Mutare City Council. She then sought to
take over the rest of it, while the council chairman, Fungai Chaeruka, tried
to appropriate Heather Guild's farm. That will not now happen.

Hundreds of the Guilds' supporters, including black farmers, peasants and
even members of the ruling party, Zanu-PF, protested outside the farms in
defiance of militias armed with clubs and batons. Moses Chatora, a peasant
farmer, said: "The Guilds help us. They taught us how to grow tobacco from
seedlings and how to market it. A lot of people here have made a lot of
money because of the Guilds." Only 400 white farmers remain in Zimbabwe out
of an estimated 4,500 before Mr Mugabe's reforms.


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Mugabe: 'Diesel mystic's beauty blinded ministers'

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 11/17/2007 11:24:17
SEVERAL senior Zimbabwe government officials investigating claims by a
'diesel mystic' that she had discovered diesel oozing from a rock were
blinded by her beauty and endorsed her phoney story, President Robert Mugabe
said Thursday.

Senior police officers snubbed an order to arrest the self-styled spirit
medium, Rotina Mavhunga, convinced that she had supernatural powers and was
"untouchable", Mugabe said at the commissioning of a bio-diesel plant at
Mount Hampden.

Mugabe's extra-ordinary remarks revealed for the first time how he
personally chaired meetings to discuss claims by the 35-year-old woman that
she could produce pure diesel out of rocks, and how his government met her
demands for two head of cattle and three buffaloes after falling for her
outlandish story.

Mugabe also revealed how Mavhunga took large sums of money (Z$5 billion), a
car and a piece of land from the nation's highest ranking politicians,
promising in return to use spells to produce diesel fuel from Maningwa Hills
in the bush outside the provincial town of Chinhoyi, 70 miles northwest of
Harare.

The bizarre story has betrayed the panic gripping the Zimbabwe government as
the country battles an unprecedented economic crisis emphasised by chronic
nationwide fuel shortages.

The 'spirit medium', also known as Nomatter Tagarira, convinced Zimbabwe
government officials that she had been possessed by ancestral spirits who
were keen to aid the nation's battle with the fuel shortages.

Her story has been exposed as a hoax and she is now awaiting trial, charged
with fraud after spending months on the run. In reality, Mavhunga bought
diesel from neighbouring Zambia and piped it into the rocks.

"We are not going to be too hard on her. We just want the truth and to know
who put her up to such things," Mugabe said, betraying no obvious
embarrassment over the saga that has gripped a nation for months.

Mugabe said after hearing the claims of diesel oozing from rocks, he had set
up a taskforce, packed with government officials to investigate. The
taskforce included State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, Defence Minister
Sydney Sekeramayi and Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi.

Mugabe said: "Word had gone round all over that for real, it was happening
and we had experts who came to us as government and asked why we were not
taking an interest. 'There is diesel!'

"Where does it come from? Mountain? We said aah, let's send some people.
Three ministers and their teams then went. Haa, they didn't come back with a
clear assessment. 'Aah, we only saw the pipe out of which oozed petrol'.
Others came back and said they had not seen enough to make up their minds.
In the end they said there was diesel. 'Aah, the diesel comes from a rock!'

"When you had seen that, why did you not pull out the pipe to see if there
was diesel where it came from? Then they said the diesel is all over, it is
there for sure.

"How does she behave when she is possessed by the spirits? 'She said aah, it's
a minor revelation, but there is more to come'. Some said she was beautiful.
We said oh dear, this is no longer about diesel. Ah, then how are we to know
about the diesel?"

Disappointed, Mugabe chaired a cabinet meeting at which he designated three
ministers to leave no stone unturned and report back with the truth of what
was going on in Chinhoyi. The team comprised the Minister of Energy and
Power Development, Retired Lieutenant-General Mike Nyambuya, Science and
Technology Minister Olivia Muchena, and the Minister of Mines Amos Midzi.

".we organised to give another group an order that 'you must go onto the
mountain and pluck out that pipe and see'.

"Nyambuya go, minister of what? Oil. You from Mines, after all oil is mined,
Midzi. The Minister of Technology there (points at Muchena), who has just
spoken here. You are three, if you come back without a full assessment; it's
at your own peril.

"Those are the ones who went and climbed on the rock. They didn't waste time
asking questions. They went straight to the top and plucked out the pipe.
They discovered that, oh dear, there is nothing it's totally dry. So where
was the diesel? We had been lied to. They then returned with a report and I
said find her, she must tell us where she got this trickery from."

Mugabe said when he ordered Mavhunga's arrest, some senior police officers
were too scared to carry out the order, fearing she may use her supernatural
powers on them.

"Police officers were crazy with this woman, convinced that if you just
touch her, you will see fire. They said she is not one to play with, but we
said find her and arrest her," Mugabe said in comments published by a
state-run daily newspaper.

After months on the run, Mavhunga -- shielded from the police by Tobaiwa
Mudede, the country's Registrar General, according to police documents --†
was finally lured into a trap by Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri who
sold her a dummy that he wanted to consult her over some personal problem.

She walked into the trap and was arrested at police headquarters in Harare.
Her charges relate to wasting state resources.

Mugabe said: "Today, what is she saying? She says: 'Ah, ee, there is no
diesel. In truth, this is what happened: I found a container of diesel, and
word spread that there was diesel, there was diesel. We then too advantage
and spread the confirmation that there was indeed diesel, and that's when we
planted the pipe on the rock.'"

Mavhunga, educated up to Grade 3, will appear for a routine bail hearing in
Chinhoyi on Monday.


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Stumble and fall

www.cathybuckle.com

Saturday 17th November 2007

Dear Family and Friends,
Inflation in Zimbabwe doesn't go up by fractions, units or even hundreds
anymore, instead it increases by multiple thousands of percentage points
from one month to the next. The latest official figures have just been
announced and in October 2007 the inflation rate was 14,840% - a staggering
increase, almost doubling from eight thousand percent in September. If you
sit down and try and work out a standard family budget with basic food
needs, unavoidable service bills, transport costs and essential medical
needs, and then factor in almost fifteen thousand percent inflation, you
will get a glimpse of our life here. In a word, its a nightmare.

Every day people are being forced to juggle with priorities - what can they
do without for another day, which bill can again be shuffled to the bottom
of the pile and which packet of carefully saved food can be left in the
cupboard for one more day. Wages need to go up by the week at the very
least, by the day would be more realistic. Some employers are giving monthly
increases, bonuses or allowances to their employees but many others are
not - they have moved into self survival mode and find it useful to quote
government regulations and do nothing as their workers struggle, stumble and
fall. Now more than ever before life has been reduced to a primitive battle
for existence and there is easily visible evidence of hunger, poor diet, and
plain exhaustion. It is common to talk to people who are halving essential
medications to make them last longer and very common to see people selling
household items to raise money to get through one more month.

Those people that can are working harder, doing two jobs and trying to 'make
a plan' that will get them through this. Some relief at least comes with
nature and our ability to be less dependent on the rules, regulations and
controls of The State The rainy season has now set in and everywhere green
has replaced brown, mud has replaced dust and swarms of flies, gnats and
mosquitoes have emerged. Our neighbourhoods are suddenly filled with men,
women and children bent over and cultivating a few square metres of
roadside. This year most people have resorted to planting seed saved from
last year's crop - they know it will give greatly reduced yields but have no
option. The usual piles of green and pink treated maize seed have not
appeared in our shops this year and last week the shocking figures came out
in a report by a Lands and Agriculture Committee. Of the fifty thousand
tonnes of seed maize needed around the country this season, there is a
deficit of 21 thousand tonnes - almost half. The government have proclaimed
that this is to be: "The Mother Of All Seasons" - a phrase absurdly
simplistic and totally unrealistic of the facts on the ground, not least of
which include huge deficits of seed, fertilizer and fuel and an inflation
rate of almost fifteen thousand percent. It's going to take much more than
slogans and propaganda to get food growing this year. As impossible as it is
to believe and to accept, it seems inevitable that still harder times lie
ahead for Zimbabwe.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.


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Zimbabwe's 'poor millionaires' spending Z$1m on a tin of beans

The Scotsman
17-Nov-07 01:23 GMT

JANE FIELDS IN ZIMBABWE
THE price of a tin of baked beans passed the $1 million mark in Zimbabwe
yesterday as leaked figures showed annual inflation had surged to almost
15,000 per cent, the highest in the world.

The Central Statistical Office recorded that inflation in October had gone
up to 14,840.6 per cent. President Robert Mugabe's price cutting measures of
June have failed to tame the rate.

Shop shelves are empty of basic foodstuffs such as meat, margarine, sugar
and cooking oil. Shoppers are forced to queue for scarce goods - including
the state-controlled Herald daily newspaper.

Yesterday a can of locally-produced baked beans was selling for more than
Z$1,200,000 - about £19.50 on the official exchange rate, though unofficial
rates will see this worth just 66p - in a small grocery store in eastern
Zimbabwe.

Many Zimbabweans survive on less than $10 million a month. They joke
bitterly that they are "poor millionaires".

. Robert Mugabe employed a witch doctor who claimed she could produce diesel
from rocks in an attempt to ease the nation's crippling fuel shortages, it
has emerged.

She was given two head of cattle, three buffaloes, money, a car and a piece
of land, promising in return to use spells to produce fuel. But instead of
invoking spirits, she bought refined diesel from truckdrivers and piped it
into the rocks.

State media said President Mugabe himself ordered Rotina Mavunga's arrest
for fraud last month - more than a year after the saga began.


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Freedom: having nothing to lose

IOL

††††November 17 2007 at 01:47PM

By Justine Gerardy

Forced migration is not pretty. Even in a church. Meagre possessions
are packed into hawkers bags and tattered luggage. Unwashed bodies squeeze
into crannies in search of a scrap of privacy and long queues of people wait
for a splash of cool, running water. It's cramped, smelly, and lonely.

But for those at the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, an
inner-city stairwell is the best available option in the search for a better
life.

By 10pm, anyone visiting the church is forced to clamber, muttering
apologies, over the bodies packed up against each other on the stairs,
passages and any unoccupied floor space.

And there are new arrivals daily, with anything from 1 200 to 1 500
people sleeping inside and a few hundred more outside each night. Most are
Zimbabwean, with accountants, teachers and nurses bedding down next to
security guards and cleaners.

The choir vestry has been set aside for the vulnerable. Now the room
is crammed with mothers, toddlers, wrinkly newborns and a handful of married
couples.

Privacy is all but impossible. Sitting in a makeshift cubicle
fashioned from a cupboard door are Fred and Grace Chimuti who used to live
in a two-bedroom flat in Harare.

"It's quite a shock - we didn't expect this," said Fred, a tall and
eloquent accounts clerk, who seems to capture the confusion of displacement.

"We thought everything would be rosy in South Africa, but it's the
other way around. It hasn't been easy."

The first stop for most migrants is Park Station, where the cavernous,
bustling waiting room acts as a transition zone until alternatives or work
are found.

"I could never sleep in the streets - I had nowhere to go," said
Juliet Shumba (41), who spent nearly three weeks on the station's
bolted-down chairs. No lying down, even sleeping, is allowed but at least
there is security, bathrooms and a roof above.

"It was very tough," said Shumba, who used to work in marketing.

"I thought it was easy - that you could move around and get a job.

"But the more you moved around, the more dirty you got and the less
chance you had to get a job."

Apart from the harsh reality of immigrant life - a R5 wash at a public
bathroom is often unaffordable - there is the additional stress of not
meeting financial promises to families back home.

When you come this side and there's no job. It's really difficult."

Shumba helped start a clinic at the church, which is attended by
doctors once a week.

One of the patients is Mukudzei Madondo, who was robbed and beaten up
by thugs when crossing the border.

"They gave us three options: sleep with us, give us money or give us
your passport," she said, pointing to the scars on her legs.

The 27-year-old was eventually forced to arrive in Joburg wearing her
nightie after her sole remaining pair of jeans were too muddied from when
she was thrown into the river.

Madondo spent two weeks in hospital, but now only has one purpose:
"When I recover, I have to work because my family in Zimbabwe depend on me."

In Bishop Paul Verryn's cluttered office is a pile of qualifications
that belong to the migrants. On a bookshelf is another pile of
applications - each requiring a fee - to be sent to the South African
Qualifications Authority for evaluation.

The bishop strongly believes the Zimbabweans, and their multiple
skills, should rather be seen as an opportunity, not an imposition.

Migrants teach adult literacy to South Africans and many of the
teachers are maths and science specialists - skills desperately needed in
South Africa.

Some of them have applied for asylum, an arduous, backlogged process,
with no refugee reception office processing new arrivals in Joburg, but
others choose to take their chances as illegal immigrants.

Reasons for fleeing are either economic, political or both. "Life is
better than in Zimbabwe," said Ronny Masina.

"We can make money to survive and send salaries home. It's different
to our country, where you can't even feed yourself."

Verryn interviews every person that stays in the church and briefs
them on the house rules.

Support staff then sign them up for programmes and help them find a
sleeping spot.

The new arrivals are tired, often ill and traumatised, especially the
women, who can face gang rape or robbers on the trip south, said an asylum
seeker, Alpha Zhou (42), a former teacher who works in construction and
volunteers at the church.

The migrants range from a physiotherapist to a teenager with an
amputated right leg who desperately needs a new prosthetic limb.

"It's a diverse community - a cross section of the Zimbabwean
community," said Zhou.

"Space is one of our major problems. It's very difficult for the
bishop not to admit people.

"At the same time, it's difficult to administrate and accommodate
them. It's tricky."

Verryn said the influx began when it was noticed that those needing
help were not street dwellers or streetwise and were being hurt on the
city's streets.

Nearly 6 000 people have been sheltered in two years.

Not all are Zimbabweans. There are Mozambicans, Ugandans, and South
Africans. Earlier this week, a Zambian mother gave birth in one of the
toilets.

Everyone is encouraged to leave the church during the day to
discourage a rut of dependency, and to have a wash and to seek work. The
building is then cleaned and rendered functional.

The concentration of people in an uncomfortable, confined space does
not come without problems - as seen in Verryn's office where a few plastic
buckets contain the remains of the church's pipe organ.

It had been stripped for scrap metal.

Recently a gun was confiscated and there have been two alcohol-related
murders and occasional conflicts between men and women. Unknown people have
broken into the building and randomly beaten migrants with steel rods and -
to top it off - the sewerage system seized up last week.

Yet despite the testing environment, the building operates a creche, a
pre-school, adult education classes and chess, karate, soccer and book
clubs. A recorder group gave their first mini-concert last Friday.

The church itself has five services on a Sunday as well as daily and
evening services. The migrants are expected to attend the evening service
every day as part of the house rules.

"That people manage to co-operate as they do is sheer testimony to
their humanity," is Verryn's view.

Utility bills have doubled - despite no real cooking or washing
facilities. Some are unhappy about the hordes and the bishop admitted to
getting flak from his congregation.

This week, a shocked caller on radio told of a naked man washing in
the bathroom. The lingering residue of densely packed humanity is also often
raised.

"The quintessential nature of the church is to open its arms to the
poor, but the poor don't come in neat little rows," said Verryn. "When poor
people come, they do come with the struggles for drinking water or for a bar
of soap to wash."

"It's another way of doing church and giving a little bit of
authenticity to who we are.

"It's an opportunity to insist on the dignity of every human being and
to say people are made in the image of God.

"The poor are not a burden and we imprison ourselves if we see them as
such."

.. Hazel Mazilawa sleeps with approximately 60 other women in a room
at the Methodist Church in the Johannesburg CBD. The Church has an "open
door" policy and houses in the region of 1 500 homeless people every night.
Space is limited and they sleep wherever they can. Most are Zimbabwean
refugees.

This article was originally published on page 6 of Pretoria News on
November 17, 2007


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What will happen next?

Mens News Daily

November 17, 2007 at 9:18 am ∑

Zimbabweans are a resilient lot and we have survived over the past decade by
using our combined ingenuity and enterprise. But right now we are being
tested to the limit. The latest measure taken by the Zanu PF regime in
Harare is to try to force everyone who imports goods to use the official
rate of exchange as the basis for costing the imports into production or for
resale.

Since foreign exchange at the official rate of 30 000 to 1 is simply not
available, even if you have a letter of support from the Reserve Bank,
almost all business transactions take place at a rate that is either the
street rate or at a premium to the street rate of anything up to 50 per
cent. So for example the street rate for the US dollar today (cash) is about
Z$1 million to one. The rate used for most major business transactions in
nearer Z$1,5 million to one.

So if we (as we have been doing since supplies from local manufacturers
dried up) buy foreign exchange on the open market, we do so, not at the rate
of 30 000 to 1, but at 1 000 000 to 1. That is we pay 33 times the official
rate for the foreign exchange we need. We then send a buying team to South
Africa where they buy what we cannot get here - soap, washing powder,
cosmetics, margarine, flour and rice etc. and we bring this through the
border - pay the duty and various bribes to get through the maze of
officialdom at the border and then bring it into the supermarket.

A bar of soap in South Africa might cost us 70 cents. That is Z$700 000.00.
Our import costs would be about 10 per cent - another Z$70 000 and then our
mark up (now controlled at 20 per cent) and that takes the retail price to
Z$924 000. We charge VAT at 15 per cent - taking the final price to Z$1 062
600 on the shelf. The tax on that transaction, by the way, is a massive
Z$138 000.00.

Now they are demanding that we use the "official rate" to price these
products - so the calculation is now a cost price of Z$21 000. Import costs
take it to Z$23 100, the mark up takes it to Z$27 720 and then VAT to a
final price of Z$31 868.00 - 3 per cent of the actual cost price.

When these new regulations became known, we instructed our staff to stop
imports. The supply position for all local goods is still nearly
impossible - tiny volumes and we have to search frantically every day for
what is available. We will now all have to travel to South Africa or
Botswana or Zambia or Mozambique and do a weekly or monthly shop for
essentials - even toilet paper is in short supply.

For manufacturers or suppliers of industrial chemicals the situation is even
worse. They are paying up to Z$1,5 million for a dollar and they will not be
able to recover even 2 per cent of their final cost prices. So if you take
just one product - chemicals for water purification - these will now
disappear and the consequences for the urban population will be dire. It
will be a deathblow to most manufacturers and many retailers and
wholesalers.

This situation is being compounded by run away inflation. The official
inflation rate for October was 14 000 percent - up from 7 800 the month
before. In my group of companies our inflation rate in the first two weeks
of November has surged dramatically to 47 000 percent. We are well on the
way to the 100 000 predicted by the IMF some months ago.

The rains have started well - we have had about 75 mls and the veld is green
and lush. Land preparation and planting should be going flat out. But there
is no seed or fertilizer and fuel is in very short supply. So we face
another year of food shortages and tight political controls on food
distribution. Right now the basic staple, maize meal, is almost unobtainable
and when it comes on the market it's at nearly 10 times to "official price".

On the political front the talks with Zanu PF limp along. What was supposed
to take three months has now taken 8 months and there is no end in sight.
Zanu PF has ignored the talks in the way in which they have behaved at home
and every possible sort of political abuse is being experienced every day.
The torrent of propaganda is relentless in its attacks on all perceived
enemies with the MDC as the main target. Political violence is taking place
across the country and is savage and illegal and we are seeing no recourse
or relief.

The State continues to drive potential voters out of the country into the
arms of our neighbors - especially South Africa and hundreds of thousands
are on the move. They have ignored the agreements reached in South Africa
under the auspices of the SADC - the electoral Commission is being staffed
with Zanu PF functionaries, military officers and security personnel.
Business as usual! No sign that the media is being prepared for the new
dispensation - radio jamming is as intense as ever, the State media only
mention our names when linked to accusations of one kind or another,
international media is more controlled than ever and the independent press
seems to have been bought.

Food is being controlled on a political basis across the country. Even water
is now being used as a weapon. Living conditions for the great majority are
simply impossible.

We have raised these concerns at the talks and all we have got in return are
platitudes, eventually our team said no more and used their veto on the
proposed electoral arrangements. We have said that if they press these
issues and try to force us to accept the proposals on the table, we will
walk away from the whole process. This is the first time this has happened
and we now wait to see what the facilitators will do to bring things back on
track. But quite frankly, enough is enough.

If the SADC process is a charade then we should not be party to it. Our very
presence gives the whole process credibility and the false promise of a
different set of conditions for the 2008 vote. While South Africa has
dilly-dallied over the talks, Zanu PF have been actively engaged in a
programme of repression and brutality that has seen over 40 000 people
arrested and imprisoned in 9 months. It has seen the economy slide into a
state of near paralysis and corruption and all that goes with this process
goes on unimpeded.

We cannot take much more of this punishment and South Africa must be told
that if they want an agreement by the month's end and an election of any
sort by March 2008, they have to become directly engaged and have to tell
Zanu PF that it simply cannot be business as usual. It is time for change -
democratic change, or Zimbabwe is gong to slide into the pit of collapse and
become just another nasty failed state.

What we need is exactly what Mr. Mbeki said he was trying to secure at the
talks when he briefed Parliament last week. An election where the people of
Zimbabwe - every one of them, has the opportunity to vote freely and against
the background of a political campaign that has allowed all Parties to
campaign freely. An election where all Parties have had access to the State
controlled media and there is a free exchange of ideas and views. An
Electoral Commission that is professional and independent and has full
control of every aspect of the election process itself. Anything less than
that is just not acceptable.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 15th November 2008


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Diary tells of refugee's hopes for the future

IOL

†††† November 17 2007 at 01:27PM

By Francis Hweshe

Desperation at the economic situation in Zimbabwe and the dream of a
better life in South Africa were the driving concerns of Adonis Musati, the
refugee who died, possibly of hunger, on the doorstep of the Refugee
Reception Centre in Cape Town two weeks ago.

Musati's diary contains his notes about the spiralling inflation in
Zimbabwe, his hopes for helping his family and his dreams of becoming a
priest.

This week Musati's grandmother and cousin travelled to Cape Town from
Sasolburg, where they had been staying, to view his body after they were
told of the death by his twin brother in Zimbabwe, who had learnt about it
on the internet.

Musati's diary, which contains entries up until November 1, the day
before he died, is a small green book containing appointments, plans and
short personal scribblings.

It was made available to West Cape News by Musati's grandmother, Maria
Sithole, and cousin, Ivy Dhliwayo, who were given his personal effects in a
plastic bag this week. His other possessions were a Bible and a change of
clothing.

The diary contains entries about the monstrously high inflation rate
in Zimbabwe, which Musati predicted would reach 100 000 percent before the
end of the year.

His sense of desperation is evident from rough notes which compare his
salary of Z$2,9-million as a policeman with the poverty datum line of
Z$8,5-million.

In an unrelated entry written immediately afterwards, he misquoted
Shakespeare: "Some were born great; some had greatness thrust upon them
while others achieve greatness."

Another entry states that the thought of running away from hunger and
achieving greatness in South Africa had led to him to dub his journey the
"great trek".

Having left Zimbabwe in April, he stopped briefly in Johannesburg,
where his diary reflects his desire to learn Tswana.

Although the spelling was wrong, he listed a number of Tswana words:
"Kebukaii - How much; Kebathla - I want; Tsiga - Take; Hakibathli - I don't
want; Twaraa - Hold; Takwane - Come; Itla - come; Iha u fedze - Eat and
finish; Kithla fonela - I will call you; Hankurathi - I don't love you;
Sikhobo - ugly."

It is clear from the diary that he had wanted to overcome poverty and
help his family back home by getting asylum papers.

In an entry for October 9 he wrote about buying a car, the latest
computer or a video camera.

The diary also points to the difficulties he experienced. "We will
cross the bridge when we get there," he wrote on October 26, although it is
not clear what he was referring to.

Musati's diary shows that he planned to become a pastor for a
Zimbabwean church organisation, and it contains several biblical quotes.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my
ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my
ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts," he writes in
a quote from Isiah.

A friend, now living in Cape Town, who heard about Musati's death in
the media, and came to convey his condolences to Dhliwayo and Sithole, said
he remembered going to church with Musati when they were children. "He was
very prayerful," he said, declining to be named.

Sithole and Dhliwayo viewed Musati's body at the Salt River mortuary,
where it is being kept.

Interviewed this week, Dhliwayo and Sithole were shocked by their
kinsman's death. They said he was born in Chiredzi in Masvingo province and
had spent time in the police force.

Dhliwayo said the family was poor and would not be able to afford the
R22 000 required to transport the body to Zimbabwe. - West Cape News

.. Zimbabwe's annual inflation shot up to 16 000 percent last month,
according to Friday's Zimbabwe Independent, quoting official sources in the
state-run Central Statistical Office.

This article was originally published on page 16 of Cape Argus on
November 17, 2007


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More than 200 illegal immigrants seized

IOL

†††† November 17 2007 at 12:13PM

Two hundred and one illegal immigrants were taken into custody on
Friday, Pretoria police said.

Captain Lucas Sithole said the immigrants were all found at
construction sites in Pretoria East.

"Many new housing developments are being built in that area and most
of the workers are illegal immigrants. They are from Zimbabwe and
Mozambique."

The immigrants were taken into custody and were being kept in a
shelter in Johannesburg, Sithole said. - Sapa


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Mugabe dictatorship has affected education in Zimbabwe

......A Focus on the Higher Education Policy Delinquency

By Washington Katema

It will be analytically complicated to divorce the myriad of problems
engulfing the education sector from the general decay of the
politico-economic infrastructure of Zimbabwe. The unthinkable economic
conditions and dark sky of full-blown dictatorship prevailing in our country
has immensely affected and heavily compromised the education system in
Zimbabwe. Annual Inflation rate is currently pegged at over 7900% and is
rising.

The overt democratic deficit in the country has greatly affected the
university governance systems and mechanisms. Tragically, most institutions
of higher learning are now more of party-state political indoctrination
chambers than epicentres of academic discourses. Furthermore, the funding of
the education sector has been unrealistic and scandalous. Education is no
longer an integral component of the overall national development plan. Key
policy analysis concepts and tools such as quality assurance, research
infrastructure, support of employability and supranational policies have
been deliberately and consistently ignored in the education milieu of
Zimbabwe.

Educational Infrastructure

The obtaining man- made politico-economic crisis has negatively affected the
Educational Infrastructure in Zimbabwe. Both Medical Schools at the
University of Zimbabwe and National University of Science and Technology
(NUST) are facing an unimaginable plethora of challenges.† The critical
shortage of qualified lecturers, basic learning equipment, text books and
infrastructure has rendered many sleepless nights to college authorities. As
a result NUST is contemplating closing down its Medical School. This will
negatively affect the Health delivery system in Zimbabwe as there is a
symbiotic relation between the Medical Schools and the Ministry of Health
and Child Welfare.

The shortage of lecturers, books and infrastructure is not only confined to
the medical schools but across the whole education sector in Zimbabwe. Harsh
economic conditions and a turbulent political climate have catalysed brain
drain in Zimbabwe. At least one third of Zimbabweans are now living outside
the country and most of them are professionals. The final collapse of
student support system on 10 February 2006 resulted in exorbitant fee
increment, a factor which forced 31.5% of students to drop out of college.
Student admission mechanism is now predicated on affordability rather than
on meritocracy. Again, the prioritisation of state-sponsored Zanu
PF-National Youth Service graduates as a selection criterion has tainted the
education system in Zimbabwe.

The exiguous budgetary allocations on education have made campus life, not
only unsustainable but apparently impossible, illegal and even immoral. We
have seen the reincarnation of these unfortunate occurrences in the lower
levels of our education system, exacerbated by the continued and uncontained
power and water cuts . UNESCO's stipulation that 26% of the national budget
must be allocated to education has been ignored. Perhaps, it is because most
children of senior ranking government officials do not study in Zimbabwe, in
but South Africa, Europe, Australia and in the United States.

There must be clear systems to ensure quality assurance in the education
packages. There is also need for consistent and systematic quality auditing.
The quality must be of the international standards. All Universities need to
set up Quality Circles to ensure maintance of standards. Students must be
represented in these vital committees. Further, they must adopt learning and
teaching methods that are relevant to the modern times, that will produce a
graduate, who has not only crammed volumes of literature from various
disciplines but one who is dynamic and agreeable to the changing times and
technological advancement.

Research Infrastructure

There is no concrete research quality framework on the panorama of the
education sector in Zimbabwe. Lack of sound research infrastructure and
funding have turned research institutes into white elephants. The Institute
of Development Studies at the University of Zimbabwe is in the intensive
care unit. There is no strategic innovativeness in many research-oriented
departments such as the agriculture department, engineering departments and
the school of medicine. The student-computer ratio is among the highest in
the region.

Further, almost two thirds of the colleges in Zimbabwe are operating without
Internet facilities. In this information age one would expect more from the
Zimbabwe education system. The government must come up with a systemic
infrastructure initiative to provide funding to upgrade the systemic
infrastructure of universities and colleges to meet the regional and
international standards. Funding must be provided for innovative approaches
to expand access to shared facilities such as libraries, information and
communications technologies, specialised equipment, technical and
administrative assistance.

University Governance

Intensified party-state interference in the day to day running of
universities and colleges in Zimbabwe has largely eroded their autonomy.
This resulted in the late Professor Walter Kamba resigning from being the
Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe. The University Act
reconfigured the centres of power in the running of universities in
Zimbabwe. The university council which now runs the University is hand
picked by Mr. Robert Mugabe, the chancellor of all state universities in
Zimbabwe.

High on their Key Performance Areas are student suspensions and expulsions.
Corruption is rife and rampant in most colleges and Universities in
Zimbabwe. Last year, the Vice Chancellor of the state-owned Chinhoyi
University of Technology, Professor Charles Nherera was jailed for
corruption charges. The Student Union Presidents who are supposed to provide
the checks and balance in the University Council are suspended on the day
they get into office. Since 2004, most of University of Zimbabwe Student
Union Presidents have failed to complete their studies at the institution.

The list is a follows, Sendisa Ndlovu, Hentchel Winterhold Mavuma, Tineyi
Mukwewa and the current President Lovemore Chinoputsa and many others. There
are not sustainable and enduring internal governance systems and standard
internal management control mechanism in these institutions, the bedrock of
all vibrant Universities globally. The continued militarization of
institutions of higher learning must be condemned by all and sundry.

† Academic Freedoms

The systemic and systematic victimisation has reached unprecedented
proportions. Student suspensions, expulsions and arrests are now weekly
events. The recent, unfortunate arrest and illegal detention of Edison
Hlatswayo for almost a month was as shocking as it was total madness. The
follow up arrests of Brenda Mupfurutsa and five others showed the levels of
desperation in the minds of our rulers.†† These detentions and harassments
have been completely unnecessary and a smart government could have simply
allowed them to pass without any incidences.

Student's harassment is on the spiral and perennial. National University of
Science and Technology (NUST) student's leaders are all just fresh from an
illegal detention. Student Leaders in Mutare, including Ms Brilliant Dube,
the SRC President at Mutare Polytechnic College were recently denied
accommodation on the basis that they are aligned to ZINASU. Mehluli Dube
(NUST), a mere student leader`s treason charges, perhaps more than all
exemplifies how much this once noble revolution has begun to consume its own
children.

Lovemore Chinoputsa and Fortune Chamba, both from the University of Zimbabwe
(UZ) were recently brutally tortured for simply enquiring when students
would be returned to their halls of residence, from which they were abruptly
evicted early this year. Again no explanation was offered. Professor Levy
Nyagura, who will go down as the most cruel Vice Chancellor since the
inception of the university can still afford a descent sleep without knowing
where the children from the institution over which he presides lay their
heads in these cold and rainy nights, where crime is ever on the increase
because of the intensification of unmitigated hunger and poverty, arising
out of high unemployment and spiralling inflation.

On 9 July 2007, the University evicted all the resident students from campus
accommodation. Tragically, 3 students have been murdered because they are
now made to walk long distance from their new homes to the college. The
recent victim, who was reported in the state-owned Herald of 2 November
2007, is Sydney Tapfumaneyi, a final year at the University of Zimbabwe, who
was living in Waterfalls. Sydney was murdered in cold blood and his body was
only discovered after several days. Tafirenyika Magwidi was the first victim
in August 2007 when he was murdered along the Air-port road near One
Commando Barrack.

The effects of removing students from their Halls of Residence have been
overstated since the eviction psychosis started; however, for the purposes
of emphatic repetition it is prudent to restate them. Campus life is an
essential part of University's ideology, the world over. Therefore,
universities oblige students to live on Campus during the course of their
studies. All students live on campus and form a community that is not
limited to the classroom. Campus life is an essential part of University's
philosophy.

Students come from varied backgrounds, and living together provides unique
opportunities for them to learn from each other's experiences. Through a
wide range of on-campus organizations, special interest committees and
contests, students are encouraged to actively participate in campus life
thereby developing them not only into academic experts but also into
individuals that can function and find themselves in a community of other
individuals and be able to stand on their two feet. Not to mention the
convenience of having to avoid transport blues and the hustles of seeking
descent accommodation and other numerous benefits that have always been the
foundation of campus life in universities the world over. The government
need to be reminded on The African Chapter on Human and Peoples' Rights
article 17 (1) which states that everyone has a right to education.

____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ______

The Writer, Washington Katema is the National Coordinator of Zimbabwe
National Students' Union. He can be contacted on† zinasu@gmail. com and
www.zinasu.org

Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel


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Sekai Holland responds to Chaibva article


By Sekai Holland

Our politics as a people must mature for us to walk away from Rhodesia where
many, including Robert Gabriel himself in statehouse still seem to be stuck
to the new Zimbabwe, our destination. When someone writes their view on any
subject we must learn in the new Zimbabwe we aspire towards, to respect that
view as sincere.
We must strive to learn to address issues raised, fairly and squarely,
without character assassination! The current 'kusvibisana' ukungcolisana'
'to soil one another' Mugabe Harare politics will not take us far on the
very thorny, still long political road to our new Zimbabwe. Let us learn to
debate points made, give one another respect for the views we hold, without
suspecting that there are ulterior motives why people hold views they do.

Let us appreciate our background. We as a society have lived in an
unhealthy, smothering environment, where authorities in our country have no
respect for the truth. We have been subjected to and fed with hearsay,
rumour, innuendo and downright lies by our ruling party for nearly 3
decades. They have deprived us as a population of factual data and
information to empower us to make informed decisions on any subject,
including ones that touch our own very lives.

Until we understand this reality and begin to talk to one another as people,
as citizens of one country which we all love and want to work for, for our
own enjoyment, then we as Zimbabweans prolong our time of living in the
current crisis, the unprecedented forced emigration. We postpone the
opportunities to really hear fellow citizens' voices, always clear, to guide
us safely to best solutions for our way forward.†† I have a simple
explanation about 12 October, 2005, which I have related to all and sundry
as I myself sought guidance to understand what took place on that day.

During the time of the crucial October 12, 2005, I was in Bulawayo after our
Mother died on August 25, 2005 and as the eldest in our family had to stay
for months with all my siblings after her burial to settle issues after such
a life changing event for families.†† Basically my story is that late one
night around 11 pm, on October 10, 2005, I received an unexpected call from
Mr Nyoni of our Bulawayo MDC office. His message was that I collect an air
ticket for Harare the next morning. That 11 October morning I was at the
Bulawayo MDC office early to collect my ticket for a Harare flight on
October 12 as per our conversation.

On arrival we met outside and I was told that our Secretary General had
advised that I catch the Blue Arrow bus on October 12 at my own cost to be
reimbursed in Harare!†† In my state of mourning, I quickly realized that the
usual internal party nonsense I was having a rest from during this period
was still at work. Without pursuing the issue I told the secretary who came
out to my car outside our MDC Bulawayo office to give me the message that I
would not get to the meeting in Harare on time as the Blue Arrow bus she was
advised to tell me to catch, would get to Harare in the afternoon after the
October 12 meeting was over.

I drove to Botswana immediately for the night as it was our family shopping
day for household supplies.†† The morning of October 12, I rang the
Secretary of Policy and Research Trudy Stevenson to ask if I could cast my
vote by proxy. She kindly explained to me the very detailed legal manner in
which I had to do that. In short I had to send a signed copy of my vote by
fax. An email would not do as my signature would not appear on that. The
vote was simple, I was advised. It was whether we would as MDC participate
in the Senate elections or not.

So it was that when Trudy in passing asked me which way I intended to vote,
I stated that it was my understanding from our MDC sitting Parliamentarians
at various gatherings that I attended before our family tragedy struck, that
the senate was too expensive on the people, that we as a Party would vote
'No'. I believed that this was the Party position. I must say at that time I
was surprised that Stevenson even asked me that question. We ended our
conversation amicably as she herself did not say anything further to my
reply.†† There was a problem with a working fax machine in both Francistown
and Harare at that early hour.

I rang the Women's Assembly Secretary Lucia Matibenga to see if she could go
to where there was a working fax machine to receive my vote in fax from me
in Francistown where I was ringing her from, as per our Policy and Research
Secretary's constitutional set rules.†† Matibenga advised me to ring the
President and talk to him first, so that she could wait in his reception
area early to receive my fax in our President's office. I rang the President
who to my surprise was adamant that there was no need for me to cast a vote
as there was not going to be a vote taken at the meeting that morning.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) he reminded me works through
'Consensus'. I told him that it was my understanding from my colleagues in
the NEC that I cast my vote by proxy for the vote to be taken at that
morning's meeting.†† Inspite of his advice I wrote out my vote against
'Participation' following the consistent advice of our Parliamentarians in
the NEC and in the Parliament itself. Eddie Cross had also written an
excellent article on the subject along the same lines. I was later advised
that proxy votes were not counted in the October 12 meeting. Grace Kwinjeh
our Brussels representative and other colleagues abroad sent their votes
through my Harare computer and asked these to be taken to Harvest House on
voting day.

Basically the 'kusvibisana' 'ukungcolisana' 'soil one another' Mugabe Harare
politics has to stop. Zimbabweans have tried in a dignified and organized
manner to find the way forward as civil society, hence the formation of the
MDC. We must respect this process of sorting ourselves out through 'debate',
'consensus' and 'consensus building' among ourselves and as a society. We
must continue to find our way to understand roles played by one another in
different situations on our long painful journey from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe,
to get our bearings right and get home.

The 'MDC top 6' was not, and where they as individuals in politics have gone
to in their separate ways have not displayed 'gender consciousness'. Women
are regarded and treated as juniors. Most male leaders in Zimbabwe in most
of our work situations/places require education as did western males (who
were educated by their Feminist movement over decades) to recognize this
terrible short coming, for us to get our political settings right. Women at
least are beginning to overcome obstacles in our way to our own
emancipation. The Matibenga case is a litmus test for men and women and how
we interpret why what is happening, is being done in this manner, we must
allow to be heard without insults on personalities.

Deal with the issues raised. I was raised in a family where the Ndebele
proverb was always put before us when we faced a problem, and that was:
Kwakhiwa ngomlomo - kuwiswa ngomlomo Muromo unovaka - muromo unoputsa
(Shona) Your mouth/words build/s - your mouth/words destroy/s (English)
This positive proverb is an important pointer to how we should conduct our
work to solve our national crisis. As I continue to receive intensive
treatment of the serious Mugabe regime inflicted injuries with colleagues on
March 11, 2007, here in Australia, I am sad that the political quagmire that
led to our torture continues. Encouraging however is that able women and men
are urgently working on strategies to get us over this prolonged crisis.

My contribution to our own internal crisis has led to a questioning of my
intentions. That is sad. As an MDC Founding Mother I too without failure
have continued to pursue an understanding of what the real cause of the
October 12, 2005, departure of founding leader Gibson Sibanda and the
colleagues he brought with him into the MDC, as per the agreement when the
Party was founded. As a matter of fact, when I was admitted to Milpark
Hospital in Johannesburg, as I lay delirious with pain the first issue in my
mind was to invite colleagues that left on October 12, 2005 to my hospital
bed to tell me the reasons why they left MDC.†† I am grateful I did so
because with the present Matibenga debacle in our own faction, I am able to
remember the response given to me so carefully then by Professor Welshman
Ncube when he accepted my invitation to Milpark hospital.

His answer at that point to me sounded nonsensical. With our experience
today I have a place to begin to understand the dynamics in our party among
the male leadership in the last 8 years.†† Gabriel Chaibva's response to my
statement is a typical blind point scoring approach without delving into the
points made. As a society we must learn quickly that each person in politics
has a role that they perform. Some of us do so honestly. I have consistently
invaded old friends and colleagues in their offices to pursue old political
questions to understand my own way forward. Each of us must understand that
our personal perspective of specific events is not necessarily the correct
one.

I learned that years ago. Depending on where people are when historic events
such as October 12, 2005, take place, our perspectives differ, hence the
need for constant dialogue among ourselves as activists, to get to the truth
of events that we participate in, so that we make principled and improved
decisions for our progress each time.†† To me, forever, the tragic events of
October 12, 2005 are associated with our Mother's passing. I was not in
Harare on that historic day to participate in that debate and sad outcome. I
have concluded from subsequent conversations with colleagues who were
present in that meeting that my presence would not have changed that
outcome.

Like many Zimbabweans I have been sad that that day October 12, 2005 took
place. It is not an event for point scoring, but one we as a people should
strive to comprehend so that as a society we empower ourselves to move on
together, with direction. From the improving quality of debate recently my
hopes are that we will eventually get it right through enlightened dialogue.
We must talk to one another as equals, with respect for one another, for us
to move on, to liberate ourselves as Zimbabweans.

Sekai Holland Sydney , Australia . 16 November 2007

Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel.

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