November 18, 2008
Arthur Mutambara, PhD.
SW Radio Africa transcript of Hot Seat interview between Violet Gonda and Deputy Prime Minister designate, Prof Arthur Mutambara.
Broadcast on 14 November 2008
Violet Gonda: Professor Arthur Mutambara the leader of the other MDC in the inter party talks is my guest on the programme Hot Seat. Thank you very much Professor Mutambara for agreeing to talk to us. How are you doing?
Prof. Arthur Mutambara: I am doing fine. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to talk to your listeners.
Gonda: Now the SADC Heads of State met in South Africa (last) Sunday. First of all can you briefly give us the highlights of the outcome of this summit?
Mutambara: The summarized version of the outcome is that they decided by consensus that the government of national unity must be formed immediately. That the contentious Ministry of Home Affairs must be co-ministered between the MDC T and ZANU PF, and that the efficacy of that management will be reviewed in six months. That is the outcome – the key elements of the Zimbabwean outcome from the summit.
Gonda: So how was it taken by the leaders, including yourself?
Mutambara: We were very disappointed. Our position going into the talks was to say ZANU PF has got enough security ministries that it is actually in charge of. Let’s give Home Affairs to Mr Tsvangirai and his party. That was the position of our party. That is what we fought for in the summit deliberations – to allow Mr Tsvangirai to have complete and sole control of Home Affairs. So we were very disappointed by the outcome ourselves.
But I must say that going into the summit there was an agreement between the
three Principals and the SADC leaders that we are coming to SADC for
arbitration, we are coming to SADC so SADC can make a ruling and there was a
commitment by the three players that they will abide by the decision of the
summit. So before we went into the discussions there was this issue of coming
for arbitration, coming for a SADC ruling. So we are saying ‘we are disappointed
by the outcome, we don’t agree with the outcome but
however we must show respect to SADC’.
We feel it is very difficult for us to have recourse outside SADC – most importantly because SADC was deciding by consensus. It is not wise; it is un-strategic for us as the opposition to go to war with 15 Heads of State. So we must remain engaged with SADC and try to appeal to SADC through the SADC structures as opposed to going against 15 Heads of State.
Gonda: So what are you saying? Are you going against what SADC is saying or it’s only the Tsvangirai MDC?
Mutambara: Well, we are saying we did not get the outcome that we wanted. We wanted Mr. Tsvangirai to have control of the Home Affairs. What we are now saying is since SADC ruled by consensus we must respect that decision and then try to work out an arrangement where we salvage our country. We must remember that we have always said as a party we do not agree that we should allow our people to die for eight weeks because of disagreements over one ministry. We do not agree that we can destroy businesses in our country over disagreements over cabinet positions. We have always said that there is no such thing as a ZANU PF Minister, there is no such thing as an MDC Minister – we are talking about Ministers for the people of Zimbabwe. We are talking about collective responsibilities in cabinet and we are talking about mutual respect and mutual trust among the three players. So while we back Mr. Tsvangirai in pursuit of the Home Affairs Ministry we do not agree that not getting Home Affairs is sufficient a condition to destroy the agreement, is sufficient a condition to ruin our country over this matter.
And we are saying strategically, we must all remain engaged with SADC. There are very few options that we have as the opposition. That is our major problem because outside SADC, how do we get to the AU without SADC? How do you get to the UN without SADC? How do you go against your own regional body which is voting by consensus on a position?
So we are asking for caution. We are appealing for everyone – Mugabe and Tsvangirai included to put national interests before self interests.
Gonda: But some people say so what is wrong with demanding what is best for the country from Robert Mugabe because don’t you think it is unacceptable that a government that is killing its own people should be allowed to retain such positions?
Mutambara: Ya, but remember you are preaching to the choir. I told you that was our position to say Mr Tsvangirai must have Home Affairs. The question now is what do we do now after the 15 Heads of State have taken a position, after we had committed ourselves to accepting their decisions? We have to have some integrity, we have to be strategic because you can’t fight 15 Heads of State and expect to win. So we need to engage them. We need to engage ourselves. We need to keep talking. What we are saying is … (interrupted)
Gonda: But don’t you think it is strange that the Heads of State have prescribed this solution when in their own countries it’s never happened? They admitted that it’s never happened where rival parties actually co-share a ministry. How do you share a ministry and how will it operate?
Mutambara: I don’t want to repeat myself Violet. I am disappointed. I don’t want this outcome. I had a preferred outcome and I have given you my preferred outcome. That discussion you can have with Kgalema, you can have that discussion with Guebuza, with Salomao. Have that discussion with SADC. My position as a party is very clear. We want to have equitable distribution of ministries. Home Affairs must go to Tsvangirai that is my position. My dilemma now as an opposition leader is what do I do when I have a ruling from 15 Heads of State against me? Is it strategic for me to go to war with the 15 or should I remain engaged with them and work with them, work with the AU, work with SADC to get a resolution? That is what I am interested in right now.
Gonda: So wouldn’t it be strategic to side with Morgan Tsvangirai because this is what you want also – the equitable distribution of ministries. So wouldn’t it be strategic for you to side with Morgan Tsvangirai so that there is an equitable distribution of ministries and do you actually think that SADC has done enough to put pressure on Robert Mugabe, who actually lost the elections, to share the ministries fairly?
Mutambara: I am siding with Morgan Tsvangirai but I don’t side with foolishness, ok? I side with Morgan Tsvangirai in the debate that he must get Home Affairs. I don’t side with him when he says the people of Zimbabwe must suffer over a ministry. That is nonsensical. I do not believe that we should have eight weeks of deaths, eight weeks of destruction of our economy over a ministry. That is nonsense! What is important is to say Zimbabwe must come first before Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe must come first before Mugabe.
Now what we are saying is right now we have a ruling from SADC – from the 15 Heads of Government – we need to keep engaged with them because otherwise what are you going to do next? What are you …
Mutambara: listen, listen. You can’t go to the AU without SADC. You can’t have an election right now because Mugabe is in control of the country and any election right now would be unfair and unfree – it will be won by Mugabe under June 27 conditions. We have very limited options as the opposition. We need to be smart!
Gonda: By smart you said – as I read in some of the articles about this – that you prefer to influence from within? You know - sign this deal, do what SADC is saying and then influence from within. But my question to you is since when…
Mutambara: Don’t speak for me. Don’t speak for me. I am here let me speak for myself!
Gonda: Is that what you said?
Mutambara: Listen. What is smart is to remain engaged with SADC. What is smart is to keep working with Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe as three parties. You can’t have a government in Zimbabwe without Tsvangirai. To get this agreement to operate you need amendment 19 to pass through parliament. To get Amendment 19 to pass through parliament you need two thirds (2/3) majority. Mutambara and Mugabe cannot get a two thirds majority. So you need the three players to pass this agreement in parliament. We are stuck in this mess together as three political parties. But what is important is the people, not individuals, not ministries.
Who told you Home Affairs was more important than Education!? Who told you that Home Affairs was more important than Health!? The definition of a key ministry is a misnomer. We are also using a very wrong framework. Health, Water, Education are as important as Home Affairs. It is not worth it to destroy our country over a ministry! That is my position.
Gonda: But the MDC-Tsvangirai has also said they are not only concerned about one ministry but at least 10 key ministries. So…
Mutambara: That is nonsense! That is nonsense! We are down to one ministry. The rest of the ministries have been agreed to. This is where the Tsvangirai group becomes un-strategic by making the world their platform for discussion - you must narrow down your debate to one area. We went through discussions in Harare with Thabo Mbeki and Mugabe and settled the 29 ministries minus one plus one, and hence the debate is around Home Affairs. We do not entertain the nonsense around 10 ministries.
Gonda: But Professor Mutambara if it has been scaled down to one ministry – the Home Affairs ministry - don’t you think it is still important since Mugabe will still have the Defence Ministry? Why isn’t Mugabe being forced to share the Defence Ministry like he wants to share the Home Affairs Ministry?
Mutambara: Well Violet don’t keep going in circles you know my views about that one. Tsvangirai must get Home Affairs that is my position. Mugabe has enough Security Ministries. I have lost at SADC. My challenge is how do I operate when I have lost to 15 Heads of State? That’s what I am grappling with right now.
Gonda: But why do you chose to side with SADC and not with Morgan Tsvangirai on this issue because many people feel that SADC is siding with Robert Mugabe on this case and that SADC is not really being fair?
Mutambara: No but I am not siding with SADC I am siding with the people of Zimbabwe. We are saying if we put the people ahead of our own interests we should find an accommodation among the three of us. With some degree of pragmatism, with some degree of flexibility and also being strategic – if you do not work with SADC who do you work with? And ask Tsvangirai that question. If you do not work with SADC how do you get to the AU without SADC? If you do not work with SADC how do you get to the UN without SADC? This is commonsensical and we want our leaders to be strategic. Even the Americans and the British cannot go against 15 Heads of State.
Gonda: But if the 15 Heads of State are not saying what you want – what the people of Zimbabwe want, according to the Tsvangirai MDC, why should he be forced to agree to that?
Mutambara: Whooooa Whoooa Whoaaa! Who says Tsvangirai was the people of Zimbabwe?
Gonda: But he is the one who was elected. The people of Zimbabwe elected him.
Mutambara: Nonsense, Nonsense let’s speak logically! Let’s speak logically. We have a decision that has been made by 15 Heads of State of which we are a member as a country. Zimbabwe is a member of SADC; we have not left SADC so we are bound by the decisions of SADC. We must respect SADC. We need to operate within SADC for us to have access to the UN, for us to have access to the AU. It is a strategic matter here. There is no disagreement between me and Tsvangirai. I have fought for Tsvangirai to get Finance - he got Finance. I fought for Tsvangirai to get Home Affairs – I lost.
Now what I am trying to do now is to say - how do we move our country forward and we can’t destroy Zimbabwe over a ministry? That is a travesty. We can’t do that! That is irresponsible!
Gonda: But Professor Mutambara I go back to the issue of SADC – how can SADC be taken seriously when in the past it has been seen as siding with Robert Mugabe. Let me give you an example. The current chair …
Mutambara: But remember Violet …
Gonda: Let me give you an example…
Mutambara: Remember Violet I said…
Gonda: Let me give…
Mutambara: I said don’t ask me about SADC. Be organized Violet go and talk to SADC. Don’t ask me that question…
Gonda: But you are the one who brought this issue up…
Mutambara: Talk to Kgalema, talk to Mbeki, get organized! Talk to Salomao. I don’t speak for SADC…
Gonda: Professor Mutambara.
Mutambara: Don’t give me irrelevant questions. That is an irrelevant question. Next question please that is irrelevant!
Gonda: Professor Mutambara I want your comment on this issue. The chair of SADC Kgalema Motlanthe declared - you know when he was head of the South African observer mission in 2002 - that the elections in Zimbabwe were free and credible. But this was at a time when people were horribly brutalised and these are the same leaders you are saying you have made a pledge to be bound by their rulings? How can SADC be taken seriously then?
Mutambara: I think – and I politely repeat myself – pick up your phone and call SADC. I don’t agree with those remarks that were made about our elections and you know my views. So I think what you need to do is to discuss this matter with Salomao, with Kgalema, with Mbeki, with the SADC leaders. I am an opposition leader in Zimbabwe who is frustrated by the outcome and who is trying to navigate the way around by being strategic and not foolish.
Gonda: Ya, that is my point exactly that why should you accept this ruling when they have made other bizarre rulings before? Why is it you can’t fight and demand that this time we want an equitable distribution of ministries? Why can’t you fight for that now? Why do you have to fight when you are in a government? Are you suggesting that you can pull the wool over Mugabe’s eyes – a man who has manipulated and divided you for a long time?
Mutambara: Ya but we have not even said that. Next question please.
Gonda: No but…
Mutambara: Can you give me the next question please? There is no question there. I have answered that question already.
Mutambara: Give me a next question.
Gonda: When have you ever gotten anything out of Robert Mugabe?
Mutambara: Ask SADC.
Gonda: No I am asking you as a Zimbabwean leader. When have you ever gotten anything out of Robert Mugabe?
Mutambara: But I never said I got anything from Robert Mugabe.
Gonda: So why is it you would think that by giving him the Home Affairs Ministry or sharing the Home Affairs ministry that things will just change automatically when he has killed people…
Mutambara: Things won’t change Violet. Things won’t change. We don’t agree with the SADC decision. Our proposal was for the opposition - in particular MDC T – to own that ministry. We have lost at SADC. What we are now strategising is what is the best way forward and we are saying as part of our strategic framework we must remain engaged with the three players. There can’t be a government in Zimbabwe without anyone of the three and secondly and more importantly we need to keep on talking to SADC because that’s the only way we can get recourse at the AU or UN. You can’t navigate outside the SADC framework.
As to the details of our strategies of confronting SADC I think that is a matter that we will reveal later on. But we are saying we must remain engaged with SADC and we must remain working together as Zimbabweans and in the process we must put national interests before self interests.
Gonda: Now can you confirm if this actually happened – that after you all made your presentations before the Heads of State on Sunday, you and Morgan Tsvangirai actually went out but Mugabe refused to leave the room and sat in judgment in his own case?
Mutambara: I think you can confirm that with SADC. What we know is that we were recused and asked to leave the room because they were going to discuss the details of Zimbabwe. As to whether Mugabe was in or not - but Morgan Tsvangirai and our party left and allowed SADC to continue with their debates. We are not privy to who was actually inside the House but you can confirm that with SADC.
Gonda: Now Mugabe has threatened to go ahead and form a government or announce his cabinet. What will your party do if he does that?
Mutambara: But I have already answered that but I will repeat it so that you can understand because you seem to be very slow. We will not be involved in a government that is a twosome. The government that we are talking about is an inclusive government including three players. And three players are required to operationalise the agreement. Amendment 19 to become law requires two thirds majority. Two thirds cannot be achieved by two parties. It can only be achieved by Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Mutambara working together. So there will be no joy without the three parties.
Gonda: I am sorry for being slow Professor Mutambara but we all know that this is the ideal and practically Mugabe can do whatever he wants. And that is why I was asking you that question that what if he still does that, because he has threatened to do that even though he needs a two thirds. So I am asking you what will you do – will you go ahead and be part of this government or not?
Mutambara: Do you want me to repeat again, I will repeat since you want me to keep repeating this. There will be no two-some, there will be no one-some, there will be a three-some. The threesome involves Mutambara, Tsvangirai and Mugabe - anything outside that is not legitimate it’s not even practical. For you to convert amendment no19 to become law – which means the agreement becomes law in Zimbabwe – you need two thirds majority. Two thirds can only come from the three parties. Is that clear enough!?
Gonda: How do you answer your critics who say you are being used as a destabilising force?
Mutambara: Nonsense. They can go and hang themselves that’s nonsense. Next question please.
Gonda: Thank you very much Professor Mutambara (laughing)
Mutambara: (laughs) Alright.
Wed, 19 Nov 2008 07:32
Zimbabwe's rival parties have drafted a constitutional amendment creating
the post of prime minister, which opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is
supposed to fill under a power-sharing deal, the government said on Tuesday.
Information Minister Sikanyiso Ndlovu said the amendment was sent to former
South African president Thabo Mbeki, who has mediated Zimbabwe's political
standoff between veteran President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).
"Constitutional amendment number 19, key to the formation of an inclusive
government, is now complete and has been sent to the mediator in South
Africa for scrutiny," Ndlovu said on state television.
"The draft bill will then be gazetted according to law. After gazetting, the
draft will have 30 days waiting period for the public, clergy churches,
stakeholders to scrutinise and to make their own observations", he said.
The parliament will then vote on the amendment, which creates the premier's
post and defines its powers.
The MDC wrested control of parliament from Mugabe's Zanu-PF party for the
first time in general elections in March.
While Tsvangirai won the presidential election's first round, he boycotted
the runoff over violence against his supporters.
The MDC has said it would only join a unity government once a constitutional
amendment is passed to comply with all the terms of the 15 September deal,
under which Mugabe would remain president and Tsvangirai become premier.
The two sides, however, have been locked in a standoff over the allocation
of key ministries.
November 18, 2008
HARARE (Zimonline) - President Robert Mugabe's government yesterday
forwarded a draft constitutional amendment that will create the posts of
Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers in a unity government to the two
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties for their consideration.
Impeccable sources in government and the two MDCs said Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa, who is also chief representative of Mugabe's ruling
Zanu-PF party in power-sharing negotiations with the MDC, dispatched the
draft Zimbabwe Constitutional Amendment No 19 to the parties.
MDC negotiators - Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma from the Morgan Tsvangirai
formation and Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga of the
Arthur Mutambara camp - will meet Zanu-PF's Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche on
Thursday to deliberate on the draft amendment.
Tsvangirai, Mutambara and President Robert Mugabe signed a unity government
deal on September 15.
But the power-sharing accord has since run into problems over the allocation
of Cabinet portfolios, enactment of the constitutional amendment,
distribution of provincial governors' posts, the composition of a proposed
national security council and the appointment of permanent secretaries and
Under the deal, Tsvangirai will become Prime Minister while Mutambara
becomes one of the two deputy Prime Ministers. The other deputy prime
minister will come from the Tsvangirai-led MDC.
"Chinamasa drafted the constitutional amendment and sent it to the two MDC
formations," a senior government official said. "Negotiators from the three
parties will meet on Thursday to go through the draft. The final amendment
is expected to be gazetted next week."
In terms of the Zimbabwean law, a constitutional amendment will only be
taken to Parliament after having been gazetted and debated in public for 30
days. Once it is in Parliament, the amendment can be fast tracked, however.
Nelson Chamisa, MDC-Tsvangirai spokesperson, confirmed the delivery of the
amendment. "We took delivery of the constitutional amendment," he said
without giving out much detail.
Chinamasa declined to comment.
The mainstream MDC led by Tsvangirai resolved last Friday not to join the
unity government until the amendment is promulgated into law and all of the
party's other demands are met.
The government-controlled Herald newspaper in its Tuesday edition quoted
information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu as saying the formation of an
inclusive government would take some time and pleaded with Zimbabweans to be
This is a departure from what Mugabe and senior government officials said
Speaking on return from a summit of the regional SADC grouping in South
African last Monday, Mugabe said he would "as soon as possible" appoint
Cabinet after the regional bloc ruled that Zanu-PF and the MDC-Tsvangirai
should co-share the Home Affairs Ministry.
Tsvangirai, who insists that the MDC be granted sole control of Home Affairs
because Mugabe will control the defence ministry - immediately rejected the
call to co-manage the portfolio with Zanu-PF and said his party would not
join the unity government.
In yesterday's Herald, Ndlovu said forming the unity government was a
"process not an event".
Zimbabweans hope a power-sharing government will help ease the political
crisis and allow the country to focus on tackling an economic crisis marked
by the world's highest inflation rate of 231 million percent, severe
shortages of food and basic commodities.
by Own Correspondent Wednesday 19 November 2008
HARARE - On Saturday 15 November, police believed to be from Hatfield set up
a roadblock near Harare airport and robbed passengers of foreign exchange
and, in one case, credit cards.
Media consultant, Yauozo Chinyake who was catching an early morning flight
to Johannesburg said he was stopped at 5.20am less than a kilometre from the
"It was clear they were not checking for criminals," Chinyake said. "They
stopped both taxis and private cars, ordered the passengers and drivers to
get out and then searched them. They confiscated all rands (South African
currency) and US dollars and then told the victims to continue their
Chinyake had only R40 and US$20 which he said angered the police.
"They asked me where I thought I was going with so little money," he said.
"I told them that my boss was meeting me at the airport in Jo'burg and I had
just come home to see my wife for a few days. They threatened to strip
search me in front of the other people, but instead they confiscated my cell
phone and let me go."
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena vehemently denied that police confiscated
from travellers along airport road. Bvudzijena said the law did not prohibit
the mere possession of foreign currency but only forbade trading in hard
currency on the illegal parallel market.
He said, "possessing foreign currency is not a crime but transacting on the
black market and not through official channels prescribed by the RBZ
(Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) is a crime.
"We don't have foreign currency road blocks along the airport road and I am
not aware of any officers asking people for their money."
However, Chinyake said after seizing foreign currency from the passengers
the police told them that anyone who wished to complain should board a
police truck that would take them to Harare Central police station once the
operation was over. There they could lodge their objections and show
receipts for their foreign money.
"We all had flights to catch, so no one took up the offer. One woman
complained to police that her MasterCard was in the purse they had taken,
but they ignored her," Chinyake said. "Anyone travelling that road should be
careful. Hide your money in your shoes or something like that."
There has been an increase in recent years in the number of incidents where
underpaid junior police officers and soldiers have robbed civilians of cash
and other valuables as they - like every Zimbabwean - struggle to survive in
a country suffering acute food shortages and an unprecedented recession.
President Robert Mugabe has been careful to keep his top police, army and
other security commanders well fed but with his government virtually broke
he has struggled to look after the ordinary police constable or army
Nov 18, 2008, 19:11 GMT
Paris - Zimbabwe's embattled prime-minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai
Tuesday charged that entrenched Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe had denied
him a passport, forcing him to travel on special documents through Europe.
'It is really ridiculous that the prime minister of a country has no
passport,' Tsvangirai said in Paris. 'I hope that this changes soon.'
Tsvangirai, the opposition leader who wrested the title of prime minister
from Mugabe's rulling party after the opposition won the first parliamentary
majority in nearly 30 years, is expected to arrive in Germany on Wednesday
on a journey to campaign for more support for his country.
Zimbabwe has slid into a serious humanitarian crisis in the last several
years of Mugabe's disastrous leadership.
'The situation is catastrophic,' Tsvangirai emphasized. 'The reason however
is not a natural disaster but rather mismanagement and corruption.'
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, the current head of the European
Council, reassured Tsvangirai support would be forthcoming as famine stalks
the country. But he made no concrete offers.
The European Union has already made 10 million euros (12.6 million dollars)
available for Zimbabwe, Kouchner noted.
'The biggest problem is access to those in need, and the government is
responsible for that,' Kouchner said.
Tsvangirai appealed to Mugabe to conclude the negotiations over a government
of national unity 'as quickly as possible.'
'His party is in the minority, he can't afford to break off the talks,'
The prime-minister-designate also suggested that at age 84, Mugabe should
start thinking about retiring.
Mugabe, the one-time African revolutionary leader who overthrew white
minority rule in the former Rhodesia, has served as head of state in the
southern African country under one title or another since 1980.
Since the late 1990s, Mugabe has stayed in power using a combination of farm
and business seizures to keep supporters happy and brute police and mob
terror to silence critics.
The policies have reduced the one-time bread-basket of southern Africa to a
mere shadow of its former thriving self.
Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been in
tough negotiations for months, with the assistance of regional leaders, over
the makeup of a new government.
But Mugabe has refused to let go of the key ministries for his party,
including home affairs, information, local government, foreign affairs and
By Katrin Bennhold and Alan Cowell Published: November 18, 2008
PARIS: Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister-designate of Zimbabwe, made an
urgent appeal to European countries Tuesday to be generous with food aid to
alleviate increasingly critical food shortages in his country.
Tsvangirai, who remains Zimbabwe's main opposition leader and entered a
fragile power-sharing agreement with President Robert Mugabe in September,
said food agencies needed $200 million dollars to feed more than 500 million
people through January.
He blamed Mugabe's rule for the shortages. But he also vowed to press ahead
with efforts to form a joint government with Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, arguing
that the president needed him and his Movement for Democratic Change.
"I don't think ZANU-PF can afford a collapse of this agreement," he said in
a joint news conference with the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner,
in Paris. "President Mugabe and his minority government cannot govern
without the support of the MDC."
"Obviously we cannot continue to negotiate ad infinitum," he added. "We
should be able to form a government at the earliest possible moment."
After disputed elections in March, Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed what was
billed as a historic deal to share power - the first time Mugabe had shown
himself ready to dilute his control of the country since its independence
from Britain 28 years ago.
But since then, negotiations on sharing the responsibilities for running
Zimbabwe have stalled, deadlocked over a dispute relating to control of the
ministry that oversees the police.
In the past, the country's powerful security forces have been key backers of
Last week, a regional grouping in southern Africa urged ZANU-PF and the MDC
to share control of the ministry, but Tsvangirai rejected the call as
unworkable and unfair.
The impasse has left the power-sharing deal in limbo. If Mugabe goes ahead
and forms a government without his adversaries, moreover, it is difficult to
see how negotiations could continue at all.
Tsvangirai is seeking broader diplomatic support, both in the African Union
and the European Union. France currently holds the rotating presidency of
the 27-nation European bloc.
One sign of the continuing tension is the fact that Mugabe has so far
refused to issue Tsvangirai with a new passport, forcing him to travel with
an emergency travel document every time he wants to leave the country.
Tsvangirai, who came to Paris after attending a European Union conference on
development Monday and is travelling to Germany on Wednesday, said that he
had applied for a new passport after his old one ran out of space for visas.
"I said look." he said of a conversation he had with Mugabe, "how do you not
entrust me with a piece of paper in my pocket? How then do you want to
entrust me with a whole state?"
Kouchner, standing next to him, joked: "The prime minister is travelling
with our ambassador. That is his passport!"
Tsvangirai is not the only one having trouble getting the right papers from
the Zimbabwean authorities. A delegation led by Kofi Annan, the former
secretary general of the United Nations, is planning to travel to Harare on
Friday. But late Tuesday they had still not received entry documents,
Annan, who was in Paris on Monday, has appealed to rich countries to make
aid available, irrespective of the political deadlock in the country.
Western donors have made large-scale development aid for Zimbabwe
conditional on the creation of an inclusive government. A government without
Tsvangirai would therefore be denied the economic help that Zimbabwe needs
While the political deadlock deepens, the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans
confronting hyperinflation and hunger has worsened.
The World Food Program said this month that it had trimmed rations to
Zimbabweans because of what it called a "severe funding crisis." The WFP is
seeking $140 million in donations to stave off a looming crisis in early
2009 when the organization runs out of food to feed an estimated five
million needy Zimbabweans, roughly 45 per cent of the population.
SW Radio Africa (London)
18 November 2008
Posted to the web 18 November 2008
Seven members of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), arrested in
Mutare last week, are still behind bars despite bail being posted for the
group on Monday.
They are being detained at the Mutare Remand Prison after being officially
charged with public violence on Monday. Ten NCA members in total were
charged, but three have since been released pending the group's court
appearance next month. All ten individuals were taken into police custody
after participating in peaceful protests a week ago. One of the detainees
was a young pregnant woman who suffered a miscarriage after being beaten by
police officers. She was denied medical attention for the six days she spent
in police custody.
According to the NCA, the organisation's Regional Officer for Manicaland
paid bail for all the individuals at the court after the group was charged
on Monday. But when the Regional Officer arrived at the Mutare Remand Prison
to collect the detainees, prison officials refused to release seven of the
NCA members, citing a 'technicality in the receipts issued by the court'.
The woman who suffered the miscarriage and the NCA Youth Chairperson for
Manicaland, Manex Mauya, were among the three NCA members released.
Meanwhile, there has still been no word on the safety of 12 MDC activists
arrested more than two weeks ago in Banket. The MDC has expressed fears the
group will not be found alive, amid growing worries of a renewed and violent
ZANU PF clampdown
Moses Mudzwiti Published:Nov 19, 2008
ZIMBABWE'S police headquarters were rocked by a bomb blast early yesterday
but no one was injured.
The police said the bomb, which exploded at the Morris police depot in
Harare, damaged offices used by the central investigations department and
"All documents related to car clearances and other investigations have been
destroyed," said a police sergeant.
He said the police had arrested some soldiers in connection with the blast
but he could not say how many.
The suspects were from a nearby army barracks, known as KG Six, situated
behind Morris depot.
"We are still waiting for more details," said the source.
Initial investigations suggest the suspects bombed the offices in an attempt
to destroy evidence linking them to a theft case.
The police have declined to make any official comment on the blast, which
occurred inside a high security area.
This is the second time a police station has been bombed in the past few
months. On August 2, a bomb exploded on the second floor of the Harare
Central police station.
At the time, police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri said: "We are
convinced that, as an organisation, we might not come out clean on the
The blast at the central police station also targeted the CID office, where
other unexploded devices were found.
"Destruction is not the solution. Anyone with a grievance should come to my
office so that it will be addressed," said Chihuri.
Last night police at Morris depot were placed on high alert.
November 18, 2008
Morgan Tsvangirai (C) with Ian Khama in Gaborone before June elections.
By Mxolisi Ncube
JOHANNESBURG - President Robert Mugabe's government has allegedly deployed
teams of Central Intelligence Organisation agents to Botswana to investigate
allegations that Zimbabwe's western neighbour is training military bandits
on behalf of the MDC.
Mugabe's government recently accused Botswana of training militiamen on
behalf of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led party, which defeated Zanu-PF in
elections held in March. Mugabe maintains that the MDC is a front for
Western countries, the United Kingdom in particular, which are determined to
"re-colonise" Zimbabwe after almost 30 years of independence.
If that happened Zimbabwe would have the dubious distinction of being the
first country ever to be recolonised by its former colonial power, a
prospect that many find too far-fetched to be taken seriously.
The government alleges that the bandits are under-going training in
readiness to destabilize Zimbabwe, which is currently grappling with a
serious political crisis and an economic meltdown that many observers blame
on some of government's obvious ill-conceived policies. Mugabe blame's his
nation's problems on so called sanctions imposed by western nations as part
of the so-called strategy to recolonise Zimbabwe. He accuses Botswana, a
relentless critic of the Mugabe government, of aiding and abetting the MDC
in a bid to foment disaffection with his government.
Botswana has dismissed the allegations out of hand as unfounded, and
challenged the Zimbabwean government to provide proof of the alleged
military training, which Mugabe's government claims started in 2002.
Intelligence sources revealed to The Zimbabwe Times on Tuesday that the CIO
had secretly deployed the first batch of intelligence operatives across the
border into Botswana on Monday this week. They would remain on assignment on
Botswana soil for at least three months. The officers would compile and
submit reports for Mugabe's "consideration and possible action".
"About 50 senior officers were deployed in Botswana on Monday for a three
month period," said a senior CIO source based at Magnet House, the agency's
provincial headquarters in the second biggest city of Bulawayo. "They are
expected to provide weekly report-backs to headquarters, before compiling a
joint final report that will be handed over to the President upon completion
of their mission."
The officers, who are to operate in 10 separate teams that will comb
different locations in Botswana, were reportedly drawn from various
provinces in the country, with Harare and Bulawayo providing the bulk.
According to the intelligence sources, the operation, whose finer details
remain a closely guarded secret was launched as a result of recommendations
made by the Joint Operations Command (JOC) after a meeting held in Harare
two weeks ago.
Our sources say the JOC still suspected that Botswana might be training the
alleged MDC militia, because of that country's continued "demonisation" of
the Mugabe government.
The government also believes that when Tsvangirai briefly stayed in Botswana
before the presidential run-off election in June, he had negotiated a "Plan
B" with that country's leader, Ian Khama, in the case that the MDC leader
lost the election or that the Zimbabwean military denied him the opportunity
to take over from Mugabe, if he won the election.
"The JOC still suspects that there is military training taking place in that
country," said one source. "There have been such deployments in that country
and South Africa before, but all those have not managed to find any tangible
The government also believes that some retired Zimbabwean army and police
personnel might be involved in conducting the training, and some teams have
been sent to keep tabulations on well-known former security officers,
especially those that occupied senior positions."
However, the sources could not say what exactly would happen in the case
that the allegations were found to be true.
A Botswana immigration official who spoke to our correspondent on condition
of anonymity revealed that Botswana officials were aware that Zimbabwe had
previously deployed its intelligence missions in that country.
"We first heard that in June this year and we were wondering why they would
do that," said the official. "At some stage, we thought that they were
coming after some opposition activists and military deserters they thought
had fled into this country. I had not heard about the new deployments."
A political analyst in Harare described the allegations made against the MDC
specifically by former Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa as "a desperate
ploy by the 84-year-old Mugabe to intimidate the MDC", after negotiations
for a unity government seemingly fell apart during the past few weeks.
"Mugabe just wants to use these allegations to continue his terror tactics
against the MDC for its refusal to accept a weaker role in the all-inclusive
government," said the analyst. "What is likely to follow now is a wave of
terror campaigns against the opposition with cooked up charges by this
"We do not need actions that might end up sparking diplomatic rifts or
igniting regional wars and Mugabe must know better than this. We have
thousands of our people in Botswana, who are going to be affected adversely
by such actions."
No comment could be obtained from either the Zimbabwean or the Botswana
governments. The MDC has previously denied the allegations levelled against
it by the government.
November 19, 2008 | By Mellisa Dube-Koketso
The government of Botswana will cut diplomatic ties with Zimbabwe within six
months if the proposed powersharing deal with the MDC collapses,Metro has
Addressing Botswana's Parliament Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation minister, Phandu Skelemani hinted on the possible development
telling the Assembly that if the deal collapses in the next six months, his
government will "go back to square one" by not recognising Mugabe as
president nor his government.
"Consequent to this allegation, Botswana was shocked by the baseless and
absurd charges that were levelled at Botswana by authorities in Zimbabwe at
the extraordinary meeting of the Interstate Defence and Security Committee
of the Organ Troika held in Maputo on November 5 2008.
"The allegations that the government of Botswana would wish to train foreign
nationals on its territory to effect regime change is ridiculous and all who
are aware of Botswana's longstanding commitment to the principles of good
neighbourliness, non-interference in the internal affairs of others, and
peaceful resolution of disputes in our region and elsewhere would no doubt
attest to this," Skelemani said.
Meanwhile state media in Zimbabwe is reporting that a draft of the
Constitutional Amendment Number 19 Bill has been completed and has been sent
to the facilitator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki's legal team.
"Draft Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 19 has been completed and sent
to the mediator in South Africa after scrutiny by the parties concerned,"
ZANU PF's Sikhanyiso Ndlovu reportedly told church leaders on Monday.
However Ndlovu claimed that Mugabe has appoint a Cabinet first before the
Bill is passed in Parliament.
"Constitutional Amendment Number 19 cannot be done right away without a
Cabinet. The Legal and Constitutional Affairs Ministry is with the MDC-T and
the minister must steer the Bill at all the stages. A Bill cannot go to
Parliament if it is not approved by Cabinet," Ndlovu said.
BULAWAYO City Council has run out of fuel, leaving emergency services
paralysed with some suburbs going for days without water.
The acting Town Clerk, Mrs Khonzani Ncube, yesterday said in a statement
ratepayers would notice an interruption of essential services such as waste
removal, road maintenance, as well as attending to sewer and water pipe
Failure to repair burst water pipes has seen suburbs going for days without
water due to unattended pipes.
Pupils at Baines Primary School in North End were on Monday told to go home
following the burst of a water pipe along Robert Mugabe Way on Sunday, which
has left the area without water.
The affected areas are North End and parts of the city centre, with
residents in flats being the worst affected.
The pipe burst has caused a health hazard as residents were seen collecting
water from a pit, saying it was clean compared to water from the boreholes.
"The pipe burst on Sunday at around 10am and from that time we have been
going up and down reporting the matter to the authorities but nothing has
been done as you see. This is a serious health hazard, especially with
cholera now in Beitbridge," said Mr Nqobani Dlodlo, an angry resident.
The water, which is gushing from a pit where there was a pipe burst, has
attracted many people, especially children, heightening the risk of
"As you see, children come here to fetch water and play, putting them in the
danger of drowning in the pit. We appeal to the authorities to do something
because if anything happens to our children we will hold them responsible,"
said a resident who only identified herself as Mrs Gumede.
The pit also poses a hazard for motorists driving at night as run the risk
of falling into it.
This is not the only affected area, as the council is struggling to source
funds for water chemicals and also to get spares.
Residents of Gumtree have gone for a week now without water while water in
the high-density suburbs of Magwegwe, Entumbane, Emakhandeni, Luveve and
other areas are always on and off.
The acting Town Clerk, Mrs Ncube, said the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(Noczim) was failing to meet fuel demand to enable council meet service
Government laws stipulate that local authorities buy fuel only from Noczim
instead of black market like what other companies do.
"Members of the public are advised that the city council has run out of
fuel. For the past week, Noczim has not allocated fuel to council with the
last consignment having been received on 28 October," said Mrs Ncube.
"However, due to shortages of fuel in the country, Noczim had been unable
give Bulawayo City Council enough fuel to meet 100 percent service
provision. As a result, critical services like attendance to the sewer and
burst water pipes, refuse removal and road maintenance were operating at
Removal of waste and repairing of burst sewer and water pipes is critical,
particulalrly at a time when there are cholera outbreaks in other towns and
Scores of people have been killed by cholera with hundreds hospitalised.
However, Mrs Ncube said efforts were being made to mitigate the problem of
The local authority revealed that if Noczim delivered fuel, council only
received about 15 percent of the required petrol and diesel.
"This was a far cry of what ratepayers expected. The inability of Noczim to
supply adequate fuel, the city was left with no choice but to resort to
expensive fuel sources for additional supplies. While this would
significantly increase levels of tariffs and charges, it would allow for
some critical and emergency services to continue limping away."
Of late, council has been battling to provide essential services due to
challenges such as high staff turnover and severe financial constraints.
November 18, 2008
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - Flora Bhuka, the outgoing Minister of State for State
Enterprises, has been implicated in the illegal invasion of a farm after she
controversially authorised a senior police officer to seize the farm of a
prominent Chiredzi sugarcane grower.
The farm was seized despite the official government position that Digby
Nesbitt (above), the farmer, should be allowed to stay on the property.
Bhuka allocated the farm to the policeman in defiance of an order by the
then Minister of State Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement,
The issue came to light yesterday following a court application by Nesbitt
to have senior police Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai removed from the
Masvingo provincial magistrate Enias Magate who is presiding over the case
heard that Bhuka wrote a letter to Veterai authorising him to seize Lot E of
Mkwasine Estates despite an earlier decision by the government that Nesbit
be allowed to continue with his farming activities on the property.
A chief lands officer in Chiredzi, Albert Mayo, told the court that although
part of Lot E was allocated to new farmers, Nesbitt was allowed to retain a
section of the farm.
"The government through the Ministry of Lands gave Nesbitt the right to own
part of Lot E Mkwasine estates," said Mayo. "We are surprised to hear that
the farm now belongs to Veterai when our records from the ministry indicate
that the rightful owner is Nesbitt".
However, a letter written by Bhuka was produced in court as an exhibit. In
the letter dated October 16, 2006, Bhuka gave Veterai the right to occupy
Veterai subsequently occupied the property and moved into the farm house,
where he now lives.
Bhuka's letter reads in part:
"Lot E of Mkwasine Estates which is owned by a white farmer has with
immediate effect been allocated to Veterai despite an earlier position that
the white farmer should be allowed to stay on the property.
"I have personally taken this decision on the basis of empowering our
It also emerged in court that the Masvingo land allocation committee had
held several meetings over the farm in question and consensus was that
Nesbit be allowed to remain on the farm.
Top government officials, among them Mutasa, granted Nesbit the right to
remain on the farm.
Lot E of Mkwasine Estates produces, among other things, fruit and sugar
Ironically, Bhuka was once chairperson of the land audit commission
appointed by President Robert Mugabe to ensure that multiple farm ownership
was checked and curtailed.
The findings of the Bhuka-led audit commission have not been made public
amid reports that several government officials were found guilty of multiple
farm ownership. "One man one farm," was the mantra of the invasion of the
white-owned commercial farms spearheaded by Zanu-PF starting in 2000.
Nesbitt, who is also a prominent Chiredzi businessman, is seeking an order
to have Veterai jailed for contempt of court after he defied an earlier High
Court order for him to vacate the property.
Despite several warnings, Veterai has refused to leave the farm arguing that
he has an 'offer letter' from the government to take the property and that
Bhuka personally gave him the right to take the farm".
The matter was postponed to January 15, 2009 when magistrate Magate is
expected to give a ruling on the matter.
President Robert Mugabe and other African leaders can no longer use the race
card as an excuse to ignore the international community after Barack Obama's
victory, Zimbabwe's opposition leader said today.
By Henry Samuel in Paris
Last Updated: 8:54PM GMT 18 Nov 2008
"It's significant in so far as that Africa can no longer use race as a
limitation. That's how I see it," said Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Mr Tsvangirai was visiting Paris to ask for European humanitarian aid for
Zimbabwe, where hyperinflation is raging and millions of people need food
aid, and to seek EU support in his power struggle with Mr Mugabe.
The power-sharing deal the two men signed in September has been blocked by a
dispute over control of the home affairs ministry, and the MDC rejected a
call by the regional southern African Development Community for the post to
"Out of the 10 key ministries, the MDC has only got finance. This is
completely inequitable," said Mr Tsvangirai, who is insisting that
meaningful power-sharing can only happen if he has sole authority over home
affairs, and with it the police.
"Unless you are able to share those security ministries, you are allowing
Mugabe to have a monopoly over them, and he can always use them against the
opposition," he said.
But despite the country's parlous state, he told The Daily Telegraph that
accepting a poor compromise would only play into Mr Mugabe's hands.
"I know that people are suffering, but as far as we are concerned, a bad
deal is no deal at all," he said.
"I know the argument: 'why don't you just go in.' But this is hopelessly
hoping that when you go in, things will sort themselves out. You need the
instruments and the tools." There is little that the MDC, or the
international community, can do to force Mr Mugabe's hand, but Mr Tsvangirai
said would not wait "months" for the octogenarian to make concessions, and
warned him against unilaterally forming a government.
"I know that he knows that this is unrealistic, and that that government
will not be functional. He needs us. We control parliament, and also he
needs the deal for his own sake, to salvage his own legacy," he said.
By Stanley Kwenda
HARARE, Nov 18 (IPS) - Glen View 5 Primary School in one of Harare's
high-density suburbs is deserted. Classrooms are empty, desks and chairs are
piled up in corners and instruction charts are peeling off the walls. Yet,
the school's third term is in full swing.
Zimbabwean school children have missed their lessons for the better part of
the year as teachers have gone on strike over low pay, poor working
conditions, election results and the ensuing political violence. Ongoing
hostilities have also prevented children from going to school, particularly
in rural and semi-rural areas where president Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF
believes teachers are sympathisers of opposition party Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
"Education service delivery has been seriously compromised and is on the
brink of collapse," said Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) president
Since March, teachers have refused to come to work because of low salaries,
which they say can hardly pay for their transport to work. Their monthly
income has become negligible because of inflation rates that have spiralled
out of control - Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate of 231
Due to the teacher strike, many parents have resigned themselves to
educating their kids through home schooling. "My daughter wrote her grade
seven exams this year but it was only a routine because she did not learn
anything [at home] of what she was being tested. She will have to repeat the
grade next year," said Wilson Mponda, a concerned parent of one of the Glen
He explained he opted for home schooling because he lost hope in the
educational system. Other parents have resorted to hiring teachers for
But another teacher's representative body, the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe (PTUZ), said privately educating children will not help salvaging
the education backlog as it only serves to shift the responsibility of
providing education from the government to parents.
PTUZ secretary general, Raymond Majongwe, warned that parents, and even
private tutors, know little about how and what topics to teach children and
what subjects are age-appropriate. "It's no use to resort to these short-cut
solutions because the children will learn things that are not compatible
with the national syllabus," he told IPS, lamenting the disintegration of
the country's educational system.
At Glen View 5 Primary School, no lessons have been taught for many months.
The school building is run down, toilets are without running water and have
not been flushed for days. Residents say the situation at the school places
health risks and some hold the school accountable for a recent cholera
outbreak, which has so far claimed more than 15 lives, mostly children in a
suburb adjacent to the school.
"We cannot keep our children in a school where there is no water and their
health is at risk," said Mponda.
Across the road from the school, Denzil Maruva, a grade 2 pupil, is playing
soccer with his friends during the day, when children his age would normally
be attending school. He says he can't remember the last time he was in
class. "It was long back. We have not been going to school because teachers
are on strike," said the eight-year-old.
The head teacher at Glen View 5 Primary School, who does not want to be
named for fear of victimisation, said she does not anticipate the situation
to improve any time soon. "There is no learning," she said.
She reckoned that only "by some miracle" would Zimbabwe manage to attain
universal primary education by 2015, a target the country committed to when
it subscribed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
One teacher accused of being a MDC supporter, Susan Gumbo (not her real
name), who lives in rural Rusape, about 128 kilometres outside of Harare had
to abandon teaching due to lack of income. "It has become very hard to
survive as a teacher. The salary can't buy anything. It is hardly enough to
take you to town to buy food. Therefore I have no reason to keep on
teaching," she said.
Until today, Gumbo has not found alternative employment, and is, as a
result, unable to financially support herself and her nine-year-old son.
Gumbo, who used to teach at Matsika Primary School in Makoni West, says
children have not been attending school since August when teachers went on
strike. Before that time, she and other teachers had to ask children to pay
them with buckets of maize in return for their teaching because they had not
been paid their salaries for months.
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB), government's grain distributing body, had
excluded teachers from free maize distribution because they were suspected
of being MDC supporters. "They accused us of having poisoned villagers into
voting for the opposition party but, like everyone, we are suffering, we are
hungry, we are starving to death," said Gumbo.
She anticipates it will take a long time for the educational system to
regain its strength, which the United Nations Statistics Division described
in its 2004 literacy report as a "jewel in Africa".
"It pains me because I have a son who should be in school, and I know that
when he goes back to school he will have to start over again. This talk
about meeting the Millennium Development Goals, I no longer have any hope
that it will happen," complained Gumbo.
In Karoi, 200 kilometres north of Harare, Tapiwa Mapudzi, has not been going
to school since April this year and has been spending most of his time
selling fruit to passengers passing through Chikangwe, a long-distance bus
"I sell fruits to help my mother who has a market here. We have no money to
buy food or clothes. We used to get food at break time at school but now
there is nothing," Mapudzi told IPS.
Together with other children, he lined up along the highway to Karoi,
selling a variety of items during days he should have been at school.
Despite an array of educational challenges, Zimbabwe's Acting Minister of
Education, Flora Bhuka, insists everything is well in the country's schools.
"Like in every other country that is going through problems, there are
challenges, but there is no reason to panic," said Bhuka who took over the
ministry three months ago, on a temporary basis until a new government is
put into place.
Notwithstanding this denial, she promised, to address the teacher's plight
including increasing their salaries and improving conditions of service.
However, she refuted the fact that pupils no longer attend lessons despite
mounting evidence in schools.
HARARE, November 19 2008 - Zimbabwe, contrary to official claims, was
forced to postpone a crucial summit of Africa's largest trading block,
Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), which was scheduled to
begin in the resort town of Victoria Falls on November 23, RadioVOP can
The summit would have launched the long muted COMESA regional customs
union, which Zimbabwe, facing sanctions from most industrialised countries -
urgently and desperately needs.
Zimbabwe's foreign minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, last week told
the Herald newspaper that the summit had been postponed to the 1st quarter
of next year "to allow the 19 member countries to continue and finalise the
harmonisation of tariffs within the planned customs union".
However, Harare-based diplomats told RadioVOP that the majority of
COMESA heads of state who had been invited to attend, had categorically told
the Zimbabwe government that they would boycott the summit unless a new
government of national unity as agreed at the SADC summit earlier this
month, was in place.
The ruling Zanu(PF) government, which has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron
fist for the past 28 years, signed an agreement with the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai to form an inclusive
government, but the deal has stalled for the past two months following
cabinet sharing disagreements.
A Kenyan diplomat told RadioVOP that "Harare was told in no uncertain
terms that no Head of State would grace the occasion if a recognised
government was not in place, and one in the opposition is on board as agreed
at the SADC meeting in South Africa earlier this month.
"Most African countries are now fed up with this intransigence and
insensitivity being show by Mugabe and feel it is now high time that he is
told the truth and they will now no longer dwell on diplomatic niceties just
to please him".
Zimbabwe first postponed the COMESA summit in May this year after
Tsvangirai and the opposition MDC trounced Mugabe's Zanu (PF) in a joint
Presidential and Parliamentary poll held on March 29.
The defeat saw the country plunging into deep political unrest in
which thousands of opposition supporters and leaders, were killed, maimed or
forced to flee the country.
Mugabe soon after ordered a re-run of the Presidential plebiscite but
Tsvangirai, whose opposition MDC ironically holds the majority in
parliament, refused to participate citing increasing political violence.
With an economy in a sharp free fall and more than half the population
facing starvation, Zimbabwe desperately and urgently needs COMESA.
November 18, 2008
THERE are reports that former PF-Zapu stalwarts are agitating for the
resuscitation of the old party.
What is it that they want to do differently from their partner Zanu-PF, the
mainstream MDC, Makoni's Mavambo/Kusile Project or from the MDC Robotics? Is
it a question of individuals being president of their own party?
There should never have been unity between PF-Zapu and Zanu-PF in the first
PF-Zapu's capitulation, although undertaken to, as some say, stop Mugabe's
bloodletting, was mistaken as it robbed Zimbabweans of choice. It did not
stop the killings in either Matabeleland or the rest of the country but
actually aggravated the situation.
Imagine the drama and excitement were we faced with choices from the ruling
Zanu-PF, the nascent Movement for Democratic Change and the original
PF-ZAPU! Even rigging would have been a challenge. And coalitions would have
truly meant just that because differences in approach and content were
But, for whatever good intentions, PF-Zapu allowed itself to be swallowed by
Zanu-PF, was given a token holiday on the calendar and those at the top got
rewarded very handsomely.
But were the people of Zimbabwe really ever divided or was it the
politicians? Michael Mawema was president of the National Democratic Party,
an organization supported by the people nationwide. The NDP graduated into
the Zimbabwe African People's Union with charismatic Joshua Nkomo as leader.
And, unlike ZANU, ZAPU was then a strong party with a nationwide base. The
arrival of ZANU also ushered in politics of tribe. After more than two
decades of helping Mugabe and Zanu-PF to abuse Zimbabweans, Dabengwa and his
former allies now realize they were used and so want to revive PF-Zapu.
Mugabe has abused the whole of Zimbabwe, except his home province and the
Mashonaland Central province, where his two vice presidents hail from.
Zimbabweans must not take Mugabe's tribalism as representing a national
I find it condescending that Zanu-PF was okay for Dumiso Dabengwa when he
was our Minister of Home Affairs and enjoyed much influence within
government and the so-called Politburo.
But now that he lost elections in his own constituency and was dumped by
Zanu-PF, the issue becomes tribal. He apparently hoped that Zanu-PF would
give him a constituency elsewhere like they did when they uprooted the
unpopular Enos Nkala and forced him on the people of Kariba.
Dabengwa made things worse for himself by unintelligently dashing towards
Simba Makoni when the people clearly showed an inclination towards one of
only two real political entities.
That was a stupid and embarrassing display of lack of foresight which did
not work for Dabengwa. It failed to provoke an anticipated Ndebele tribal
stampede to Makoni. An astute and able man like Dabengwa, instead of seeking
the opinion of his peers and his constituency, attempted to push people into
some cove because he needed a political home.
Dabengwa had a national, not tribal, constituency and Zimbabweans will never
forget what he went through, with Lookout Masuku, at the hands of Robert
Mugabe. Neither will we forget the humiliation that Ndabaningi Sithole went
through at the hands of the same Mugabe.
Nor will we ever forget Joshua Nkomo being forced to wear a dress to escape
from Robert Mugabe's henchmen.
But some, like Josiah Tongogara and Nikita Mangena, were not so lucky.
The problems in Zimbabwe are national, not tribal. Only a few people really
worry about tribalism. The intermarriages between tribes and nationalities
have cemented the much talked about "global village".
In spite of all their bigotry, the Americans have come out in the open and
elected a non-white to be their new president.
During the elections held in Zimbabwe in March, Matabeleland, always taken
for granted by politicians, voted in a way that confounded skeptics given to
saying that Matabeleland votes along tribal lines.
Tsvangirai became the first leader of a political party to overcome the
tribal element. To me, it proved that Zimbabwean people's politics had long
matured and was now rooted, not in tribes but in unfettered hope.
A Ndebele president for Zimbabwe?
I feel insulted to be dragged into such a subject. I am ashamed because I
should not let myself sink so low as to the likes of Mduduzi Mathuthu, a
person whose literary exploits I respect so much. I am ashamed on my own
behalf to even talk about it.
A Ndebele president for Zimbabwe? Definitely. What has tribe got to do with
Rupia Banda was born in Gwanda, Zimbabwe, but is now president of Zambia.
Remember ZAPU had more support in Mash West than ZANU. All it takes is a
genuine leader, totally blind to tribal politics, who loves Zimbabwe and who
can sell himself well and inspire confidence in Zimbabweans.
Voters should no longer be taken for granted.
Dabengwa is looking for a political home and appears tempted to tap into the
old politics of tribes and blame. No problem with that; he is within his
rights. Maybe he wants to correct Joshua Nkomo's "mistake" and retrieve ZAPU
from ZANU. That is very welcome and is within his imperative as a citizen
but is it a tribal or national thing on his part?
Is it personal or, once again, do these politicians just want to use us to
settle personal scores after their political liaisons go sour?
Dabengwa has to rehabilitate himself first.
Welshman Mabhena, Dabengwa and Thenjiwe Lesabe were stalwarts in PF-Zapu.
After the much vaunted unity accord, they became even bigger elements in
both government and cabinet, not to mention in Zanu-PF itself.
When they lost elections, Mugabe did not save them like he did Enos Nkala
and, one by one, they faced political oblivion.
After his dramatic departure from Zanu-PF, we expected that Dabengwa, as an
authentic national political leader, would come up with an inspiring
national agenda. But he left Zanu-PF to join Simba Makoni, a man of doubtful
credentials, as far as opposing Mugabe is concerned.
If the issue was to get rid of Mugabe at the polls, how could Dabengwa, a
one time intelligence supremo, not foresee the disaster? But he went on to
join a group that, at that time, didn't even have a name and that even went
well into elections without one?
PF-Zapu should just have remained in existence alongside Zanu-PF, supporting
its political ally but as a separate party with its own identity. But they
were incorporated into Zanu-PF and Zimbabweans were robbed of choice.
Comment from The Daily News (SA), 18 November
Would it not be a great revelation to be a fly on the wall in those closed
sessions of all those Southern African Development Community (SADC) summits
where Zimbabwe is discussed? Like the one last Sunday in Sandton, where the
regional leaders instructed President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai to form their long-delayed
power-sharing government "forthwith" and to share the home affairs ministry
over which they had been bickering for two months. That communique was a
great example of SADC bluster - apparently very forceful, but actually quite
meaningless. The order that Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change leader
Tsvangirai share the ministry of home affairs was a pathetic dereliction of
responsibility, an implicit admission that the leaders could not bring
themselves to face down Mugabe. The octogenarian seems to have an uncanny
ability to bully people when they are in his presence and does not yet seem
to have met his match anywhere in this region.
Former president Thabo Mbeki, still the SADC's Zimbabwe mediator, could not
or perhaps would not, or possibly a combination of the two. His successor,
President Kgalame Motlanthe, only "flattered to deceive", to repeat a
horrible sports commentator's cliche. The post-Polokwane ANC had shown
promise of being tougher on Mugabe than Mbeki had and before the summit the
cabinet and Motlanthe himself had threatened the SADC would be tough on the
Zimbabwean leaders. But to be tough on both Zimbabwean leaders is
meaningless. The SADC's task was to tell either Mugabe or Tsvangirai to
surrender home affairs, not to produce a caricature of even-handedness by
instructing them to bisect the ministry. And before the summit senior SA
officials had acknowledged that Tsvangirai should get home affairs - which
controls the police - because Mugabe's Zanu PF had all the other security
agencies. But Motlanthe went along with the summit decision calling for home
affairs to be shared.
Much was also expected of Botswana's President Ian Khama who had taken the
unprecedented step a few weeks ago of refusing to recognise Mugabe as
president because his re-election on June 27 had been flawed. But Khama did
not even attend the Sandton summit because of a prior engagement at a
conservation conference in the US - surely not as important - and sent his
vice-president Mompati Sebogodi who also rolled over before Mugabe. The SADC
leaders could not even enforce their own decision that Mugabe should recuse
himself from discussion on the Zimbabwean issue - as Tsvangirai and the
other MDC leader Arthur Mutambara had to do. Nor could the SADC leaders
insist - as they also should have - that Mugabe at least give Tsvangirai a
passport instead of humiliating him every time he has to go abroad by
forcing him to apply for an emergency travel document. After the summit,
Sebogodi issued a statement, pointing out that the decision to demand the
sharing of home affairs had been a "consensus" rather than a "unanimous"
one - a hint that Botswana had only gone along with it for the sake of
After the summit, Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili made a speech in
which he claimed he had told Mugabe at the summit that he had no majority
and had repeated this charge when Mugabe denied it. Brave words all - after
the event. But why did these brave leaders not insist Mugabe give up home
affairs? If the decision was in fact made by consensus, it would have taken
just one leader to spike it - and yet here we have three leaders who ought
to have done so. Are these leaders closet Mugabe admirers who just pretend
to dislike him? Or are they really scared of him? The late Zambian President
Levy Mwanawasa drew great cheers around the world when he broke ranks with
SADC and publicly likened Zimbabwe to the Titanic.
It's impossible to find children's books in Zimbabwe, so she concocted the
By Kate Chambers
from the November 19, 2008 edition
My son thinks stories come out of the oven. Every morning he jumps into my
bed and demands a fresh story. "You've had all night to bake it, Mummy," he
We live in Zimbabwe, where books - like bread and many other basics - are
hard to find. The government bookseller, Kingstons, hasn't had new books for
Back home in England, my mother tries to fill the gap, searching in her
attic for the Ladybird books she squirrelled away when my sisters and I
graduated to storybooks without pictures.
She packs them up with packets of biscuit mix and instant custard and sends
them to Zimbabwe.
But Mum's packages often take months to reach us. Fuel shortages mean that
the state postal service can move the mail infrequently from the main
sorting office in Harare to post offices around the country.
In the meantime, what do you do with a 4-year-old who's desperate for his
daily tale? You concoct it yourself.
My boy believes that his mother can make most things in the kitchen. No
bread? Mummy will make a hot-milk sponge cake to put in his school snack
box. No candies? Mummy can freeze homemade lemon juice in a plastic cup to
make a lollipop. I use a stalk of lemon grass as a "stick." So Sam thinks I
should rustle up stories in just the same way.
Living in Zimbabwe has taught me to make do with what's in the pantry. I've
learned to substitute jam for honey, custard powder for eggs, and the orange
cape gooseberries that grow wild next to my fennel for blueberries when I'm
When it comes to making up stories, I've also had to adapt the recipe. I
know from hours spent in libraries that a story needs several ingredients: a
strong main character with a burning quest, a few spoonfuls of conflict, and
a dollop of redemption at the end.
I don't have to look far for the inspiration for my main character. She's
not actually inside my pantry, but given half a chance she'd be there in a
flash. Her name is Ruby. Ruby is our 2-year-old Rottweiler/Labrador mix.
In life as in fiction, Ruby is a lovable rogue. If Mummy's sandal goes
missing, Ruby will invariably be found chewing it under the banana tree. If
someone steals the kittens' supper, it's always Ruby who's slinking under
the bougainvillea licking her lips.
So there's my ready-mixed conflict: Ruby versus Mummy. Ruby's quest is
obvious: She has one thing on her mind and that's the next meal.
Into my story bowl go a few friendly monsters, a triceratops and a couple of
tropical rainstorms. I beat in a bit of local color: Lake Kariba in western
Zimbabwe is a favorite setting. In her never-ending search for edibles, Ruby
puts her nose into places she shouldn't, gets captured by not-too-dangerous
pirates, and is saved (of course) by Super Sam.
It's the redemption part that's problematic. Is it far-fetched to expect
Ruby, in her relief at being rescued, to promise never to be greedy again? I
fear my stories may flop, as my cakes do when I open the oven too soon. But
Sam seems satisfied.
I read once that as long as you bake a cake with love, it'll taste fine.
Perhaps it's the same for stories.
By Jonathan Mbiriyamveka
Reps Theatre - one of Harare's premium theatre venues - faces imminent
closure owing to water shortages.
The venue has been without water for over three months now, prompting
the authorities to put on hold all operations.
In a statement recently, the Reps organising team said they were faced
with a huge problem of water shortages and would consider closure if the dry
"We have a huge problem. We are being badly affected by the recent
spate of water shortages like most of the city, and are now facing possible
"As we are a public venue and are expecting hundreds of people in the
theatre over the next two weeks for the National Ballet shows, not to
mention our annual pantomime, not being able to flush the toilets or allow
people to wash their hands is a major problem.
"If we don't have water, the whole premises becomes a health hazard
and has to be closed and with the recent outbreaks of cholera around the
city, this situation becomes that little bit worse," the statement read.
However, the team said it was appealing for help from well-wishers to
assist with either water or containers.
"We are appealing to everyone for donations! If you can, please bring
us some water in containers (which we will look after and return to you)
either to Reps directly or to the National Ballet Centre.
"If you can't help with water, we will also need containers to store
water in so those would be gratefully received as well (these will also be
looked after and returned)," the statement read.
Currently, Reps is lining up exciting productions in collaboration
with the National Ballet of Zimbabwe.
Besides these productions, there is the annual pantomime, which would
be held in time for Christmas.
Steven Price in Harare
November 18, 2008
An ICC task force appointed to assess the current situation of cricket in
Zimbabwe has arrived in the country on a three-day fact-finding mission.
The team, led by president of the West Indies Cricket Board Dr Julian Hunte,
will seek to establish the current state of cricket in Zimbabwe as it
relates to the management and development of the game and also to conduct an
assessment of the policies and programmes executed with the view to
restoring the senior team to Test cricket.
Hunte, along with Arjuna Ranatunga and Haroon Lorgat, will carry out a
detailed inspection of the cricket administration, facilities, resources and
capabilities in the country. Hunte will then make recommendations to the
full ICC Board when it next meets in January. An ICC statement said that
"these recommendations will include constructive strategies and initiatives
to assist Zimbabwe to improve its cricket in all respects and to aid its
return to Test cricket as soon as possible".
The last ICC inspection was in 2006 soon after Percy Sonn took over as ICC
president. Critics of Zimbabwe Cricket complained at the time that the trip
was stage-managed by the board and the inspection team only saw what ZC
wanted them to see. Subsequent Cricinfo inspections of a number of grounds
revealed a crumbling infrastructure.
The visit comes against the backdrop of freshly-escalating violence inside
Zimbabwe as power-sharing talks between Zanu-PF and the Movement for
Democratic Change break down, unemployment running at 80%, inflation at 231
million % and the United Nations predicting millions could be starving
Steven Price is a freelance journalist based in Harare
By KELVIN KACHINGWE
CONCERNED that its people, wildlife and natural heritage are under
unparalled and imminent threat from mining activities, 17 chiefdoms in the
Zambezi basin from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique have come together to
call for urgent action, that of saving the Great Zambezi.
The 17 chiefdoms from the three countries have been calling for support from
their respective presidents, ministers and local governments and the
The chiefs from Zambia are Chieftainess Chiyaba of Kafue, Chief Chipepo of
Siavonga, Chief Simaamba of Siavonga, Chief Sinambwe of Siavonga, Chief
Mphukaof Luangwa, Chief Mburuma of Luangwa, Chief Sinazongwe of Sinazongwe
and Chief Munyumbwe of Gwembe.
The chiefs contend that the proposed projects by Zambezi Resources, Albidon
Mining, Glencore International, Rio Tinto, Omega, and Africa Resources, are
threatening their existence and traditional way of life.
"They must not proceed in their efforts to develop uranium, copper and gold
mines near the shores of our great water sources. Uranium mining could
result in the displacement of thousands of our people.people who willingly
moved in the 1940's to create our precious national park, and were then
required to move again for the building of the Kariba Dam.
"This is notice to these companies.we'll not be moved from our traditional
lands and we'll protect them from unsustainable foreign development. Our
beautiful Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia's greatest natural heritage,
and the neighboring Chiawa Partnership Park which is a model joint project
between community and leaseholders, are under threat by possible open pit
and underground copper mining," the chiefs say in their letter of notice.
Further, they say the possible excavations also pose tremendous threat to
the UNESCO world heritage site of Mana Pools in Zimbabwe and the health and
livelihood of hundreds of thousands of their peoples downstream, who rely on
the Zambezi's water all the way to the Indian Ocean. Their immense
population of animals, from elephants to the smallest fish, are also at
They also argue that the fragile eco-system of their escarpment and
proximity of their waters to the mining sites makes "responsible" mining
impossible. Although their people are poor, they say they would rather
choose to remain so if their only choice is unwanted.
"We'll not accept development that puts our children at risk. Potential
accidents threaten Southern Africa's most important lifeline and the
traditional domain of our people for thousands of years. Already the
poaching of elephants in our parks has tripled since mining exploration
roads came in and accidents have been reported even in the initial
exploratory stages of development.
"Already the Chongwe River ran red like blood with the unexplained run off
from exploration. Already our boys working in open uranium pits with no
safeguards are developing illnesses we have not seen before," they said.
The issue of the Zambezi basin has increasingly become of greater interest
in recent times. In fact, this is what led to the study titled State of the
Environment in the Zambezi Basin 2000, which marked the first time that an
assessment of a single ecosystem has been undertaken and reported upon in
Handsomely produced and illustrated, the study looked at the shared
resources of the Zambezi basin, taking into account ecological, social, and
economic issues. These three factors are critical to achieving a state of
sustainability in the Zambezi Basin.
The basin has been described as the focal point in Southern Africa in terms
of energy, wildlife, biodiversity, wetlands and water resources,
conservation, pollution concerns and tourism. Many countries stand to lose a
great deal if it is not managed. Sustainable management of the basin is
therefore crucial not only to the basin states but to the rest of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well.
The study was a joint enterprise between SADC, the World Conservation Union,
Zambezi River Authority, the Southern African Research and Documentation
Centre, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
On bio-diversity, the report observed the emergence of cash economies, the
opening up of land for agriculture, mining and settlements not only
contributed to the over-exploitation of land, animal and plant species but
also increased biodiversity loss. The need to arrest the loss of
biodiversity is especially important in the basin where people depend on
biological resources to a greater extent than elsewhere.
"Biodiversity loss in Southern Africa has been a consequence of human
development, as species-rich woodlands and forests have been converted to
relatively species-poor farmlands and plantations.
"However, the number of threatened species could be higher as the full
extent of the region's species diversity is unknown.
"There is a serious lack of species inventories and other baseline data that
are fundamental for monitoring biodiversity trends," the report read in
Last year as well, participants in the third Zambezi Basin-wide Stakeholders
Forum held in November in Falls town in Zimbabwe agreed that the loss of
wetlands in the Zambezi River Basin has become an urgent problem.
"Wetlands are crucial to all forms of life in the Zambezi Basin, yet they
are not appreciated the way they should be," said Tabeth Chiuta, the water
programme coordinator of the World Conservation Union.
"Today, only 7.6 per cent of the entire Zambezi Basin is covered with
wetlands. This percentage is on the decrease because people are unaware of
the importance of having and protecting wetlands," she added.
Chiuta was speaking at the stakeholders forum, which was held between
November 27 to 29 last year and organised by the Zambezi Action Plan.
This initiative was set up by SADC to push for sustainable use of the basin's
The hope is that better use of resources could lead to greater
socio-economic development in the eight states that encompass the area:
Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and
The Zambezi Basin is the fourth largest river basin in Africa, measuring 1.3
million square kilometres and is home to some 40 million people from 30
Wetlands encompass a variety of landscapes, including reef and mud flats,
mangroves, estuaries, fresh and saltwater marshes, and swamps.
Siavonga, which is one of the areas falling within the Zambezi Basin, has in
recent times tried to put itself on the map with business and industry
coming together to start a website intended to inform visitors and
prospective investors about the town.
It provides information on tourist facilities and activities available,
business opportunities, information on local authorities and procedures, the
chiefdoms and the people of Siavonga and places of interest to visitors.
The web-site is primarily sponsored by the business community, third party
advertising and donations. Situated on the north shore of Lake Kariba,
Siavonga, the second largest tourist destination in Southern Province after
Livingstone, it prides itself in the lake and the Kariba Dam Wall, towering
118 metres above the Zambezi River, as it main attraction.
At the time of construction in the 1950s, the Kariba Dam was known as one of
the engineering wonders of the world and was once the largest man-made lake
in the world.
"If indeed the dam wall was considered one of the 'engineering wonders' of
the world, the lake itself can then be considered as one of the 'engineered
wonders' of nature. Sadly much of the big game on the Zambian side of the
lake has disappeared, although these can still be found west of the Kota
Kota Peninsular," reads one line on Siavonga-zambia.com.
The lake is host to a wide variety of fish species including the mighty
Zambezi tiger, various species of tilapia and nembwe, and of course the
colossal vundu and barbel. Birdlife is also prolific with Zambia's national
bird the fish eagle in abundance. Hippopotamus and the Nile crocodile are
also frequently seen and occasionally small mammals are evident.
As the lake was flooded, the forest land in the valley was inundated with
water. Much of the forest can still be seen rising above the vast waters of
the lake and after being 50 years submerged, the trees still stand as
monuments to the history of what once was the Zambezi valley.
At sunset, these monuments create some of the most breathtaking scenery on
the African continent. The lake, coupled with some of Africa's unrivalled
landscapes make an incredible canvas for the artist and photographer alike.
What Lake Kariba lacks in wildlife, it certainly makes up in its scenic
beauty, birdlife, lake activities, and affordable accommodation.
It is largely this, that the chiefs want preserved.
Response to article from Hope on Sokwanele
Thank you for your website , we are so starved of information it is great to
read the news , when we have phone lines that is . I would like to respond
to todays article from Hope. I agree totally that more of us Zimbabweans
should be doing more to change our situation , we are so tired and quite
frankly deasperate for this hell to end. I personally have watched my once
sucsessful business die a slow death, that is heart breaking enough , but
watching this beloved country being destroyed every where you turn , now to
watch the starvation that gripping this country is too much. We have all
waited to see what will happen politically this whole year, but it is now
obvious that Zanu P F is taking full advantage of the nations wait and see
attitude , the time is now for action from society , we cannot sit back any
more to wait and see , more peaceful demos should be organised applying
pressure from within. Zanu P F are a brutal party we know but they are only
that way because Zimbabweans have allowed them to be . Why do they
generally leave the matabele people alone , because they know their nature
as a people , they will fight back if they are pushed , Mugabe has tried
everything to destroy them in the past but has now left them alone. The rest
of the nation have to show him they have had enough.
Zanu PF have a strategy that is to weaken the people through starvation and
opression , violence , but the life line of Zanu PF( Easy Money) is what
keeps this going , they can only continue with this strategy as long as they
are still making the money.
We have all watched alot of people become very wealthy very quickly , this
is all part of their strategy to stay in power,they have used and abused
this wealth and I am afraid to say there are many people who have jumped on
their band wagon and become wealthy very quickly , but now the cracks are
starting to emerge and now is the time that they will self distruct , but we
need to find ways collectively to stop propping up this regime. As a party
they do not care about the people , they only care about the power and money
and until the day comes when their easy money channels are exhausted , we
will never be free as a people ! So it is up to us to stop doing anything we
can to stop supporting Zanu PF ! What we can do, I am not sure , people
are hungry I know , so it is very hard in this situation of desperation to
feed families . The facts I see in front of me are that ,this regime have
destoyed a vibrant economy , but have become extremely wealthy by creating a
vibrant back door economy which keeps us surviving but only props them up ,
by putting instant wealth into their pockets and no trace of what they are
earning, they have been printing mickey mouse money day and night for years
, with that mickey mouse money which costs them nothing in real usd to print
they send their people onto the street and buy real usd for a cost of who
knows maybe even as little as 5 us cents and they buy 1usd , can you imagine
making such easy money and then with that money they line their pockets ,
bribe and empower only those who align themselves with them. I say cut this
off and they will have no choice but to hand over power or at least share it
equitably , but we have to remember always that Zanu P F no matter what
they say publicly are only in it for the money and prestige , so lets blow
the whistle on what other ways they are making their money and maybe we can
stop supporting them !
LETS BE CLEVER AND BEAT THEM AT THEIR OWN GAME