The Associated PressPublished: October 22, 2008
KAMPALA, Uganda: Twenty six African countries agreed to set up a single
regional trading bloc at a summit in Uganda on Wednesday but warned the
process, aimed at regulating tariffs and giving them greater influence over
international trade deals, would take time.
Between them, the three African trading blocs attending the conference - the
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community
and the Southern African Development Community - have a population of 527
million people and an annual gross domestic product of US$624 billion.
"The tripartite summit resolves that the three regional economic
communities...would immediately start working toward a merger into a single
regional economic community with the objective of fast tracking the
attainment of the African economic community," said a communique issued by
Juma Mwapachu, the secretary general of the East African Community.
"Small markets can not lead to Africa's development," said Rwandan president
Paul Kagame, whose country has only 10 million citizens.
The governments plan first to set up a free trade area, which will allow
goods manufactured in member states to be traded at preferential rates. The
heads of state have directed their officials to prepare a plan within the
next 12 months on how the three trade blocs can merge.
The presidents of Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya all gave
speeches outlining ideas for increasing economic and political alliances
among three of Africa's major trading blocs.
"The only way to insure Africa is through economic and political
integration," said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was also present but was not given an
opportunity to speak. His country is facing a humanitarian crisis and record
inflation and is struggling to finalize the details of a power-sharing deal
between the president's party and his rivals.
By Lance Guma
22 October 2008
The MDC led by founding President Morgan Tsvangirai, have denied press
reports they are planning to boycott a regional SADC meeting scheduled for
Harare next Monday. A meeting of the SADC troika on Politics Defence and
Security this week failed to deal with the Zimbabwean issue after Tsvangirai
couldn't travel to the venue in Swaziland. The MDC blamed Mugabe's regime
for failing to renew his expired passport. Instead of confronting Mugabe to
issue Tsvangirai a new passport, the troika of Swaziland, Mozambique and
Angola decided to reschedule the meeting to take place in Harare next week.
Subsequent press reports suggested the MDC would skip Monday's meeting in
protest at the non-issuance of Tsvangirai's passport. However speaking to
Newsreel on Wednesday party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the MDC respected
African institutions that were trying to help and would 'definitely' attend
the summit. 'We are going to present our case for an equal share of power
and are comfortable with all the organs of SADC and the African Union.' He
blasted Mugabe's regime over the passport affair saying, 'it is a
manifestation of lack of sincerity and goodwill on the part of ZANU PF.'
Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson George Chiweshe has
been telling journalists they are busy preparing for 6 parliamentary
by-elections. There are empty parliamentary seats in Guruve North, Gokwe
North, Gokwe South, Matobo North, Chegutu and a senate vacancy in Chegutu.
September's power sharing accord however suspended the need for by-elections
arguing the country needed a period of national healing. The ZEC move has
sparked fears of more political violence.
Responding to Chiweshe's remarks Chamisa could only say, 'ZEC is simply
doing what is expected of them under the constitution.' He did say it was
okay to allow people to elect their own leaders but that it was only
problematic when ZANU PF resorted to violence, torture and terror to win
elections. 'Maybe ZEC are doing so because the deal has not yet been
consummated.' Underlying Chamisa's mild response though could be a
realization ZEC is playing the ZANU PF game and trying to put pressure on
the MDC by constantly throwing obstacles along the way to a final deal.
This week the leader of the War Veterans Association, Jabulani Sibanda,
issued a threat to Tsvangirai saying if he did not sign up to the deal they
would 'take action' against him. He also urged Mugabe to go it alone and
form his own government without the MDC. The MDC was dismissive of these
remarks with Chamisa saying, 'we have the right to exercise selective
hearing and ignore misguided voices that do not build the country.'
Wed 22 Oct 2008, 7:48 GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's militant war veterans threatened on Wednesday
to take action against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and urged
President Robert Mugabe to form a government without him.
Jabulani Sibanda, who chairs the militant grouping of the veterans of
Zimbabwe's war of independence, said the Movement for Democratic Change
leader was stalling a power-sharing deal, which has hit deadlock over
"He is leaving the people of Zimbabwe with one option: to take action," he
told the official Herald newspaper. "If he behaves the way he is behaving,
this nation will take action to defend itself from him."
The MDC, which has accused the war veterans of attacking its supporters,
said on Tuesday Tsvangirai could boycott power-sharing talks next week and
that fresh elections may be needed to break the political impasse.
Tsvangirai and Mugabe have clashed over the allocation of powerful
ministries, threatening a September 15 deal which Zimbabweans hoped would
help the once prosperous country recover from a devastating economic
Mugabe's ZANU-PF says Tsvangirai, set to become prime minister under the
deal, is stalling. But Tsvangirai accuses the president of negotiating in
bad faith and trying to seize the lion's share of key ministries while
sidelining the MDC.
Tsvangirai's frustration with weeks of fruitless talks boiled over on Monday
when he refused to attend an emergency Southern African Development
Community summit in Swaziland meant to break the deadlock, citing passport
The summit has been moved to October 27 in Harare.
The MDC says pro-Mugabe war veterans brutally attacked its supporters in the
run up to the June 27 presidential run-off, which Mugabe won after
Tsvangirai dropped out in protest over the violence.
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) President Robert Mugabe's supporters urged the
Zimbabwe leader on Wednesday to declare a state of emergency to end a
power-sharing impasse with the opposition, state media has reported here.
A pro-government legal group, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice (ZLJ), said
Mugabe should withdraw from power-sharing talks with the Movement for
Democratic Change, urging him to immediately form a government and declare a
state of emergency in the country.
The state-run Herald newspaper said the ZLJ was outraged by the refusal by
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to travel to Swaziland on Monday for a regional
summit that was meant to discuss deadlocked talks on Zimbabwe's unity
The MDC leader protested at the government's refusal to grant him a full
passport, more than six months after he applied for a new travel document.
The ZLJ accused Tsvangirai of "sowing seeds of chaos and mayhem" by trying
to derail the peace process.
"Can the whole country suffer because one does not want to travel with an
emergency travel document? MDC-T should never be allowed to play with people's
lives," ZLJ programmes officer Anna Kahari told the newspaper.
A state of emergency would effectively end the fragile power-sharing deal
between Mugabe and Tsvangirai and plunge the southern African nation into
deeper political and economic turmoil.
The summit of the security organ of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) was postponed to October 27 and would be held in Harare.
The MDC has warned it would not attend the rescheduled SADC summit unless
its leader receives a full passport.
October 22, 2008
By Tendai Dumbutshena
AFTER the embarrassing fiasco in Swaziland on Monday political leaders from
both sides of the divide must come clean with the people of Zimbabwe. Robert
Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara must put an end to this
pantomime called the power-sharing agreement.
They must tell the people of Zimbabwe and others that the agreement signed
on September 15 amid much pomp and ceremony is not worth even two pence.
What happened in Swaziland was another painful reminder of the appalling
leadership that has blighted the African continent. A meeting to discuss a
Zimbabwean issue which could have easily been resolved internally, were
people serious and sincere, is aborted because one of the principal figures
did not have a passport to travel.
Yet Africans expect the world to take them seriously and continue to bleat
the mantra of "African solutions for African problems."
It is now six weeks since the agreement was signed and the parties have not
moved an inch to implement it. Tsvangirai and Mugabe, the two major
protagonists, know that this agreement is dead in the water. For tactical
reasons neither man wants to pull the plug and get the blame. So the
pretence will go on while the country bleeds and the people sink deeper into
destitution and despair.
Mugabe only signed the agreement to be seen to comply with the AU resolution
on the formation of a government of national unity. This is the only way he
could get his presidency, obtained through violence on June 27, recognized.
Now that this has been achieved he wants all power to himself. His intention
is to frustrate the MDC to the point that they pull out and are held
responsible for wrecking the deal. He would then expect his friends in
Africa to give him the green light to form a government without an MDC
albatross round his neck.
Tsvangirai on his part must have the humility and courage to admit that he
erred in signing the agreement. As each day passes the magnitude of that
error becomes more obvious. How can he possibly believe he can work with a
person who denies him - a putative Prime Minister designate - a passport?
How can he work with a person who allows his underlings like George Charamba
to heap insults on him daily? Tsvangirai has admitted deep mistrust exists
between Mugabe and himself.
That is a gross understatement.
Surely Tsvangirai realizes there is no way they can work together for five
years as stipulated in the agreement. The goodwill and spirit of
give-and-take needed to make such agreements work are totally absent. A trap
was set by Mugabe and Thabo Mbeki into which Tsvangirai walked. As respected
South African columnist Barney Mthombeni put it: "It is Tsvangirai who is
hoist with his own petard. He walked into a noose with his eyes open. Mbeki
was never going to hand any smidgen of power to somebody he held in absolute
contempt. Tsvangirai was meant to be the sugarcoating in the bitter pill
that is Mugabe for international consumption. He has now served the
It is time to end the charade and seek a proper solution.
Such a solution is being offered by Botswana. In a letter written to SADC,
AU and UN President Ian Khama proposes new elections under international
supervision as the only way forward. Part of the letter reads: "the only
viable option to the political impasse is for the people of Zimbabwe to be
the ones to decide who their true leaders should be. In this regard the only
way forward is a re-run of the presidential election under international
supervision in order to avoid the violence and political intimidation that
characterized the failed June 27 election."
This is the path that must be pursued.
Nothing positive will come out of the SADC troika meeting on October 27.
Many analysts have correctly pointed out the futility of seeking democratic
solutions from an organ chaired by Swaziland's King Mswati a feudal monarch.
Moreover Mbeki's baneful influence continues to seek outcomes favourable to
Mugabe. A full SADC summit must be convened to discuss Botswana's proposal.
The MDC should expend its energies in this direction. A transitional
government must be put in place to create conditions for free and fair
elections. A crucial part of its mandate would be to adopt a new
constitution and dismantle Mugabe's repressive machinery. It should last for
no longer than 24 months with power shared equally between Zanu-PF and the
Mugabe will of course vigorously resist any solution that involves free and
But this should not deter anyone from doing what is right for Zimbabwe.
Mugabe is in a weak position. His party is divided and demoralized. Its
leaders and the generals who underpin their power are terrified of change.
The economy is in a mess Mugabe cannot fix. If he defiantly forms a
government without the MDC as he is being urged to do all he will face is a
dark cul- de- sac. Going it alone is not a viable option for Mugabe
attractive as it may be to a man so used to monopolizing power.
What is lacking in the corridors of the AU and SADC is the political will
and moral fortitude to apply it.
Mugabe is now extremely vulnerable to pressure.
By Tichaona Sibanda
22 October 2008
As the deadlock over the power-sharing deal rumbles on more African leaders
are putting the blame squarely on Robert Mugabe' shoulders for the delay and
disrespecting his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai.
ANC leader Jacob Zuma, widely expected to take over as South Africa's
president after the 2009 presidential election, thought it was 'weird' that
the regime refused to grant Tsvangirai a passport to attend talks in
Swaziland. He was speaking to journalists in Washington on Tuesday after
talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Reports said Zuma shared the same views with Rice that a quick solution in
Zimbabwe was essential for the sake of the people and the country.
'We also agreed that the Zimbabwean leaders should be urged to complete the
package which is already on the table so that it is implemented for the sake
of the Zimbabwean people,' he said.
Dr Handel Mlilo, the MDC chief representative in Washington, said Zuma's
description of the passport saga was 'mild' and urged the ANC leader to be
tough on the regime. 'Mugabe has disrespected a lot of individuals and
institutions for a long time now and it is high time some of these emerging
African leaders confronted him,' Mlilo said. A group of Zimbabwean youths
marched on the ANC headquarters on Tuesday and called on SADC and African
Union to resolve the current talks' deadlock.
The Zimbabwe Revolutionary Movement also called on Zuma to take over the
role of mediation from Thabo Mbeki. They presented a petition to the ANC
calling for a full SADC summit on the crisis, as opposed to the SADC Troika
summit, which has been delayed until next week, due to Mugabe's refusal to
give Tsvangirai a passport.
In Nairobi, Kenya, Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday said it was
inappropriate and unacceptable that Tsvangirai was recently denied a
passport by the regime to attend a regional summit to discuss the country's
crisis in Swaziland.
Odinga appealed to the international community and African governments to
take a firm stand on Zimbabwe and find a lasting solution to the stalled
negotiations between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. 'It's high time those African
governments and also the international community said enough is enough,' he
The country's economic woes are continuing unabated amid a growing
humanitarian crisis and record inflation.
By Violet Gonda
22 October 2008
As the crisis in Zimbabwe deepens, a worrying attitude is growing in parts
of the country with people resorting to deliberately destroying national
assets. The country's leading timber producers, Border Timbers Ltd (BTL) and
Allied Timbers, are the latest victim of the wanton destruction by irate
workers and illegal settlers.
Two timber plantations, Zimpala and Charter Estate in Chimanimani, were
deliberately set on fire recently, causing a serious disruption to the
timber industry in the area and creating job losses and environmental
Zimbabwe is desperately in need of foreign currency and this highly priced
timber is one of the few things the country has been selling.
Exiled former Chimanimani legislator Roy Bennett said the general manager of
Zimpala Estate, Mr Patel, was badly burnt as he tackled the blaze. Sadly, he
died on his way to the hospital.
"And the 500 000 hectares of timber burnt there would have set Border
Timbers back 25 years," Bennett said.
In a number of cases employees are getting increasingly frustrated with the
lack of salaries and their living conditions and are taking it out on their
employers who are often not responsible. It is the government that is
responsible for the collapse of the economy but it seems to be easier and in
some cases safer to take their frustrations out on their employers.
Bennett added that the most serious damage was being committed by ZANU PF
functionaries who are being used as tools in the Chimanimani area.
Bad government policies and corruption have resulted in the total collapse
of the economy in Zimbabwe, and most farms taken over by the regime are no
The former legislator says his own farm, which was illegally seized by the
regime several years ago and taken over by the Agricultural & Rural
Development Authority (ARDA), has also been completely destroyed.
Bennett said: "My 310 hectares of coffee is completely dead. ARDA have sold
my equipment, sold my tractors, they have sold all the irrigation pipes and
basically the whole place has been looted. People are subsistence farming on
a once very productive commercial farm." His 12-bed tourist Mawenje lodge
was also burnt down.
The outspoken MDC official, who was forced into exile in South Africa by the
regime, said the total human rights tragedy that has taken place in Zimbabwe
is yet to be exposed.
He said what has happened to the timber plantations is another 'small
microcosm' of the bigger picture, as the wanton and rampant destruction is
Bennett said the whole system, from commercial farms, national parks,
hunting concessions, mining concessions, fuel & business licences and most
things that involve making money in Zimbabwe, has been illegally stolen by
functionaries of the Mugabe regime.
"This is why there is nothing moving ahead where the power sharing is
concerned because they will never give up what they have stolen. They will
never be prepared to be accountable for the murders they have committed,"
By David Blair
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 22/10/2008
Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's sometimes wayward opposition leader, has not
put a foot wrong in his latest confrontation with President Robert Mugabe.
Only five weeks ago, the two leaders signed a power-sharing deal amid
general optimism. But the hopes raised by this occasion have now been
dashed. No agreement has been reached on the formation of a new cabinet, 16
of whose 31 members should come from the two wings of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
Ten days ago, Mr Mugabe unilaterally announced that all of the key posts -
notably the ministries of defence, home affairs and foreign affairs - would
be held by his own Zanu-PF party. This brazen move revealed Mr Mugabe's
essential dishonesty. The crucial element of the agreement was equitable
power-sharing between Zanu-PF and the MDC. In practice, however, it has
become abundantly clear that Mr Mugabe wants to keep all power to himself
while relegating Mr Tsvangirai, who is supposed to become prime minister, to
a strictly subordinate role.
Mr Mugabe wants the MDC to secure Western aid and diplomatic recognition,
while leaving him to get on with running Zimbabwe in his own unique fashion.
Thankfully, Mr Tsvangirai is having none of this. He has demanded that his
allies control both the finance and home affairs ministries - which would
give the MDC crucial levers of power, notably command of the police. Mr
Tsvangirai has withstood great pressure and refused to compromise.
He should continue be tough and robust on these issues. The worst outcome
would be for Mr Tsvangirai and the MDC to become junior partners in a
government dominated by Mr Mugabe. They would then share responsibility for
Zimbabwe's headlong decline without having the power to do anything about
it. Fortunately, Mr Tsvangirai seems to grasp this danger. Let us hope that
his resolve does not falter.
by Basildon Peta Wednesday 22 October 2008
JOHANNESBURG - Former South African President Thabo Mbeki is on a collision
course with Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
after he endorsed President Robert Mugabe's controversial decision to award
his ruling ZANU PF party all the powerful ministries that the opposition
want shared equally.
Mbeki's decision, contained in his facilitator's report of which we have a
copy, is likely to derail his entire mediation exercise in Zimbabwe as the
MDC has come out with guns blazing and written him a "scathing response"
telling the ousted South African leader that he has outlived his usefulness
as mediator and must therefore quit.
In his report, Mbeki largely supports the allocation of portfolios as
unilaterally gazetted by Mugabe two weeks back with a few amendments
proposed during Mbeki's failed mediation mission last week.
"The facilitation commends the current allocation of ministerial posts to
the parties for their adoption," said Mbeki's report in reference to the
allocation decreed by Mugabe plus the few variations to the finance and home
"To the extent possible, all the parties have been allocated portfolios
which allow them to have a presence in each of the priority sectors
Mbeki was referring to the urgent priority sectors identified in the
power-sharing agreement signed on September 15.
These seven priority tasks for the new unity government were the restoration
of economic stability, delivery of social services, the rule of law,
adoption of a new constitution, the land question, restructuring state
organs and institutions, and national healing, cohesion and unity.
Mbeki argued that these priority tasks should define which among the
portfolios would serve as key ministries and should also be regarded as the
common standard of measuring equity in power sharing.
He then went on to analyse the ministries as allocated by Mugabe against
each of the seven priority areas above. The former President concluded that
Mugabe's gazetted list was fair as it would allow all three parties to play
a role in these priority tasks, an argument fiercely rejected by Tsvangirai's
Mugabe had already rejected MDC-T's proposal on allotting ministries
submitted to Mbeki.
For instance, Mbeki said MDC-T would play a key role in the priority area of
writing a new constitution as it had been allocated the Ministry of
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs.
Mbeki also endorsed a proposal by Arthur Mutambara, who heads a breakaway
faction of the MDC, and supported by Mugabe for Tsvangirai and ZANU PF to
share the Ministry of Home Affairs on a rotational six-month basis. This, he
said, would enable both parties to partake in the other priority task of
restoring the rule of law.
But the proposal had been rejected as not feasible by Tsvangirai who wanted
sole control of home affairs, responsible for the police, since Mugabe
already controlled state security and defence.
In Mbeki's view, the list gazetted by Mugabe would allow Tsvangirai to play
a key role in the priority area of restoration of economic stability since
he would control the Ministry of Finance, which Mugabe had agreed to
relinquish, as well as other ministries like economic planning and
investment promotions, energy and power development, state enterprises and
But MDC-T also rejected that argument, noting that Mugabe had given himself
control of all resource-based ministries like mines and mining development,
agriculture, lands and resettlement, environment and natural resources and
tourism. This would effectively keep the MDC away from all the critical
resource-based ministries considered critical for economic transformation.
Mbeki's analysis on the priority areas effectively endorsed Mugabe's own
Mbeki's report did not even mention other key ministries disputed by MDC-T
like defence, state security, information, foreign affairs and others as
they did not directly fall in line with his suggestion of using priority
tasks in the September 15 agreement to determine designation and allocation
of lead ministries. These portfolios would therefore remain in Mugabe's
MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti said he was not at liberty to comment on
the facilitator's controversial report.
"We are shocked that you have that confidential document. We have however
responded directly to him (Mbeki) but we won't comment on our response in
the media," said Biti.
However, ZimOnline is informed that the MDC-T's response is so scathing and
effectively accuses Mbeki of being Mugabe's hatchet man. It asks him to
"retire" as mediator, one source said.
Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga refused to comment saying the Zimbabwe
talks were not being carried out in public.
Mugabe has himself publicly boasted that his unilaterally gazetted list
leaves him in "the driving seat" in government.
MDC officials are therefore puzzled that Mbeki endorses the same list with
slight pro-Mugabe variations.
Meanwhile, the MDC-T, which boycotted a Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) troika summit on Monday over the Zimbabwe government's
decision to refuse Tsvangirai a passport, has threatened not to participate
in the troika's meeting rescheduled for next week in Harare if authorities
persist with denying the MDC leader his passport. - ZimOnline
America.gov (Washington, DC)
21 October 2008
Posted to the web 22 October 2008
The Bush administration wants Zimbabwe's neighbors to step up pressure on
President Robert Mugabe to share power with the country's political
opposition. The United States has warned that it might impose additional
sanctions if Mugabe fails to fulfill the agreement he signed with opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said October 21 that the United
States is "looking for all of Zimbabwe's neighbors and then the other
interested countries in the international system to apply the pressure
required to have President Mugabe live up to the agreement that he signed on
Under the agreement, signed September 15, Mugabe would remain president, but
Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), would become
prime minister and Zimbabwe's Cabinet positions would be divided between the
MDC and Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front
Discussions have broken down over ZANU-PF's attempts to award itself control
of all the key ministries and the government's failure to return
Tsvangirai's passport so he can participate in further discussions in
neighboring Swaziland. (See "Zimbabwe on Path of 'Inevitable Transition,'
U.S. Envoy Says.")
South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) leader, Jacob Zuma, met with
both Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Advisor
Stephen Hadley in Washington on October 21.
McCormack said South Africa "has been deeply involved in trying to resolve
the crisis in Zimbabwe."
Following his meeting with Secretary Rice, Zuma told Reuters they had
discussed Zimbabwe's political crisis and agreed that "a quicker solution to
Zimbabwe is desirable for the sake of the Zimbabwean people and their
"We also agreed that Zimbabwean leaders should be urged to complete the
package which is already on the table so that it is implemented for the sake
of the Zimbabwean people," he said.
The ANC also is urging ZANU-PF and the MDC "to find a solution," Zuma said.
Deputy State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters October 20 that
the United States is encouraging the parties to reach an agreement on how to
allocate the Cabinet positions in a way that reflects the September 15
Wood warned that "should Mugabe renege" or fail to negotiate with the MDC in
good faith, "the United States ... is prepared to impose additional
"We want an agreement that reflects the will of the Zimbabweans. They've
suffered a very long time. The suffering should come to an end, and we need
to move forward with the political process," he said.
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki is continuing his efforts to
broker an agreement between the two sides, and, Wood said, Zimbabwe's
neighbors in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) also are
interested in seeing an agreement go forward.
"We always stand ready to assist where we can," Wood said, "but those
parties have the lead and they should at this point."
22 October 2008
A GROUP of protesters yesterday delivered a memorandum to Albert Luthuli
House demanding that African National Congress (ANC) leader Jacob Zuma
replace former president Thabo Mbeki as mediator to the political crisis in
Marching through Library Gardens, the busload of protesters, calling
themselves the Revolutionary Youth Movement of Zimbabwe (RYMZ), said it was
time for a "fresh and more forceful approach" in resolving the impasse in
Their demands follow the forced resignation of Mbeki last month, which
raised hope that the new administration would be much tougher on Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe. In the past, Zuma has been critical of developments
in SA's troubled neighbour.
Believed to be an affiliate of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the
youth group urged the ANC's national executive committee to condemn the
"continued intransigence" of Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) ministers.
Calling for a meeting of a full summit of the Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC), the RYMZ implored the ANC to enlist the intervention of
the African Union (AU) should current efforts fail. "What is the purpose of
elections if someone who won is not allowed to get into power?" asked
spokesman Mufaro Hove.
The march on the ANC's headquarters followed the continued deadlock since
the signing of the Zimbabwe power-sharing agreement on September 15.
Tensions arose earlier this month when Mugabe swore in his two deputies and
confirmed the appointment of provincial governors.
Mugabe also wanted to keep all the key ministries, such as defence, finance
and home affairs - the latter controls the police - a move the MDC said
negated the spirit of the proposed deal.
A regional summit, aimed at breaking the impasse, failed to take off in
Swaziland on Monday when the leader of the bigger MDC faction, Morgan
Tsvangirai, failed to show up because his passport had not been renewed in
the past five months. However, Tsvangirai also allegedly snubbed Swazi King
Mswati's offer of a jet to pick him up from Harare and bring him to his
However, MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa denied that Tsvangirai had boycotted
the meeting in Swaziland.
The talks are not expected to resume in Zimbabwe next week.
October 22, 2008
Dead fish in Lake Chivero, one of Harare's major sources of water,
on October 5. (Picture by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi.)
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Eleven more people have succumbed to cholera in a fresh outbreak of the disease in northern Zimbabwe, sparking shock and awe in President Robert Mugabe’s rural home province.
Health officials have confirmed that the cholera outbreak in northern Zimbabwe had by Tuesday killed 11 people over the past two weeks, making it the worst outbreak in the north for several years, officials have confirmed.
More than 11 people have died in Chinhoyi, a small but populous town in Mashonaland West. President Mugabe’s rural home is in the Zvimba District of the same province..
Health and Child Welfare minister David Parirenyatwa said: “It is quite alarming and it is quite unusual. If up to 11 people have died from cholera in just two weeks, you can only imagine how many more are affected by the disease.”
Earlier this month, health officials confirmed that 16 people had died in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza just south of Harare.
National government officials have not yet publicly stated if the outbreaks across the country are related, or provided figures on the number of affected people. Human rights groups say the death toll may be higher as reports of new infections are still coming in.
In a populous high density suburb of Chinhoyi, eight people, mostly women and children, have died while dozens others have been hospitalised. Another three have been confirmed dead in the surrounding farming areas since 13 October, with 40 more affected, according to a primary health care coordinator.
Across northern Zimbabwe, the first rains have washed dirt, rubbish, sewage and other contaminants into ponds and open wells in affected villages where the majority of people get their water, according to Felix Mubvaruri, a spokesman for the state-controlled Zimbabwe National Water Authority office in Chinhoyi.
He said the organization was hamstrung by shortages of equipment, including rods for clearing blocked sewers. He said that constant power outages had affected the pumping of raw water.
“If we could have uninterrupted electricity, we would be able to pump water to all residents,” he said. “The rains that have been recorded so far have washed lots of dirt into ponds and open wells.”
Parirenyatwa said the ministry of water resources was trying to find ways to provide clean drinking water to affected communities to halt the spread of the deadly disease.
But Gregory Powell, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Child Protection Society, says local government officials were slow to admit the cholera crisis and slow to respond. This was bound to have disastrous consequences because the outbreak came amid a deadly combination of under-nutrition and diarrhoea. He warned of impending deaths of thousands of children.
“Its grim,” he said.
Parirenyatwa said local officials had started to run an awareness campaign to urge people to pay close attention to household hygiene and to boil all drinking water. He said a health surveillance team had been sent to Chinhoyi to analyse and disinfect drinking water sources.
Cholera is a bacterial intestinal tract infection that leads to vomiting and diarrhoea, and if untreated, can be deadly. Since the beginning of this year, it has claimed at least 35 people mainly in the capital where water supplies have been inconsistent, with some places going for three months now without supplies.
October 22 2008 at 12:46PM
By Peta Thornycroft
The hell of Zimbabwe's money queues lasts from dawn to dusk and makes
grown men weep when they are turned away again as darkness falls.
The queues around every bank and building society in the country were
more hopeful this week as the central bank had, in theory, issued a Z$50 000
(about R40) note which is filtering into the money market on the streets.
A senior civil servant, 38, who queues every day, sometimes six days a
week, to withdraw his miserable salary from the government in daily amounts
of $4 a time (R40) to feed his family said:
"We come here at 6am. We eat nothing before we leave, we eat nothing
during the day, we have no water to drink and then sometimes we go home
without money because the bank has run out of cash". Tears spur as much in
fury as in sorrow.
The bank queues are extraordinary and unique in southern Africa, and
surprisingly there is only the occasional temper flare because of the
astonishing fortitude of Zimbabwe's thin, depressed urban working class who
believe President Robert Mugabe, 84, will stay in power until he dies.
"The only thing we do, is stand, stand, stand and pray to God, because
nothing else can help us and even God can't help us. The government will not
let us have our money."
This man, who works in the main government high rise building, just a
block away from a building society, said his boss was "understanding. They
all know why we are not at work, we are almost never at work, because we
have to get our money, a bit each day. The queue is much shorter now because
people have run out of money".
Payment of civil service salaries began this week, with the average
worker, a customs officer for example, earning enough to buy two loaves of
bread, when it is available.
There were at least 2 500 people in the Harare queue in the midday
heat outside the Central African Building Society earlier this week. It had
been larger in the cool of the early morning.
All over Harare, queues snaked around the banks in the centre of town.
A teacher, 50, who asked that her name not be used, said she was "kept
alive" by an aunt in London who regularly sent pounds with people travelling
She said she seldom went to school these days because in her area,
Chishawasha district, about 45km north of Harare: "mothers have stopped
sending their children to school. Some kids used to come, not for learning,
but play, but for the past month they stopped. There is no teaching, no
learning in any government schools now, only in church schools and the
private schools, but no normal people can afford them. Which teacher can
afford to go to work?"
Her salary slip showed her take-home pay of effectively ?4 (about R69)
a month at the present black market rate, which is the only workable rate.
"We are all hungry. Never mind anything, none of us eats enough."
The crowd erupted into laughter when asked when they had last had
meat. "Maybe a year ago? I can't even remember it was so long. We are tired
of cabbage, that is the only vegetable we eat with sadza (milled maize
porridge) maybe once a day.
"Today my two children, aged seven and two, are at home alone while I
am in the queue. There was nothing for them to eat before I left to try and
get money today," said Bertha Madzure 37, of Mabvuku, a ghetto on the
eastern edge of the city.
"They are hungry, I am hungry, every day."
Zimbabwe's central bank, run by Gideon Gono, one of Mugabe's key
allies, floods the black market each morning with blocks of crisp new notes
printed from local paper, since German suppliers shut off supplies three
In the afternoon his agents collect the foreign currency, much of it
sent from the diaspora, from the street sellers. It is all illegal
transactions, but the government is the largest trader.
"One of the donors' problems is that people in those queues and many
more around the country do not qualify for food aid because they get
salaries. Many, many of them are grossly malnourished. The salaried poor,
particularly civil servants, are a problem for which we have not yet found a
solution as they are not on our lists as in need of food aid," said the
chief executive of the largest donor organisation in Zimbabwe.
"The government's salaries are cruel, there is malnutrition among even
those in work. I saw it last week out of town, and it is enormous and we
have not counted these people in our statistics of people who need to be
The UN says more than five million or nearly half the population will
need food aid by January.
At least two million need food aid now and the 2008 peasant summer
crops, due for planting now, will not happen because there is neither seed
nor fertiliser available and the rains are just three weeks away. - Daily
News Foreign Service
This article was originally published on page 8 of Daily News on
October 22, 2008
Oct 22, 2008, 14:11 GMT
Harare - Firemen in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, are so hungry they have gone
on strike, according to state media.
The state-controlled daily Herald reported that firemen downed their hoses
on Tuesday after their employer, the Harare city council, stopped issuing
them with food while at work.
'Only two firefighters and two officers reported for work yesterday
(Tuesday),' the Herald said. 'The officers alleged that the city had reneged
on an arrangement to provide them with food while on duty.' Sponsored Links:
The country is in the grip of severe food shortages that the United Nations
says by January will see 5.5 million people - about one in two - dependent
on food aid, after a series of failed harvests.
Churches and aid agencies blame President Robert Mugabe's disastrous land
reform programme since 2000 for triggering a collapse of the country's once
thriving agricultural industry. Sponsored Links:
Despite evidence of widespread malnutrition, aid agencies have not been able
to launch full-scale relief operations after Mugabe banned them for three
months around violence-ridden elections in June.
A Zimbabwean $50,000 bill, worth one-sixth of a cent U.S. on Friday, was worth 1/20 of a cent on Monday.
The benchmark Industrial Index soared 257 percent on Tuesday up from a previous one-day record of 241 percent on Monday, with some companies seeing share prices increase by up to 3,500 percent.
But before Wall Street traders start packing their bags and heading south, they should bear in mind that these figures are just another representation of Zimbabwe's collapsing economy and are almost meaningless in real terms.
Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, is staggering amid the world's worst inflation, a looming humanitarian emergency and worsening shortages of food, gasoline and most basic goods. Inflation is officially running at an annual pace of 231 million percent, but some experts put it more at about 20 trillion percent.
"Why leave money in the bank?" asked Emmanuel Munyukwi, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange at a seminar on the doing business in Zimbabwe on Tuesday.
"People are forced to come on the stock market. They believe that after hard currency, the stock market is the only viable option where you can get a bit of a return," he said.
Zimbabwe's stock exchange, established in 1896, is one of Africa's oldest and the fourth largest. A securities commission has been established and it is hoping to follow in the footsteps of other countries like its neighbor South Africa and list as a company.
There are 19 stockbroking firms in Zimbabwe and 90 percent of investors come from institutions, asset managers or pension funds. About 8 percent of investors are individuals and only 2 percent are foreigners. This is in comparison to about a decade ago when foreigners made up about 30 percent of investors.
Munyukwi expressed his dismay at the "gross economic mismanagement" by the Zimbabwean government which has led to the collapse of the economy. But he said the stock exchange was managing to survive despite the harsh environment.
He cited Zimbabwe's isolation from the international world -- and therefore protection from the financial turmoil -- as one of the reasons the market was performing well.
"We all know what has been happening to the world financial markets, yet the stock exchange in Zimbabwe is breaking all records. We are running short of superlatives to describe the performance of the market," he said.
With the unofficial exchange rate leaping from 30 million Zimbabwean dollars to one U.S. dollar on Friday, to 100 million to the greenback Monday, people are trying to hedge against inflation by turning to equities.
Some of the winners have been government-controlled Zimpapers, which gained 3,471 percent on Monday to give a share price of $0.80 while cement maker Lafarge saw their share price rise 1,400 percent to $0.90.
The biggest sector on the stock exchange is financial services, with the newest listings in the mining sector. Zimbabwe has vast untapped mineral wealth including gold, diamonds and platinum.
Munyukwi said market performance was also being driven by strong, cheap assets which are offering returns that were more than matching inflation.
"Some people think that this is a bubble about to burst, but I don't think so," he said.
He acknowledged that the market was largely overvalued in Zimbabwean dollar terms but said it is undervalued in U.S. dollars.
Jonathan Waters, head of ZFN, a financial networking and analysis company, cautioned against too much optimism over the performance of the market.
"Nothing has really changed. The market is treading water," he said.
Waters also said volumes being traded were very small and there was no real movement year on year,. He said the market value of the ZSE was about $2.5 billion compared to South Africa's JSE, which is worth about $460 billion.
Waters also cautioned about volatility in share prices, with some stock being expensive the one week and cheap the next, or vice versa.
Munyukwi said a political solution was vital to the resuscitation of the economy and expressed hope that the deadlock in talks over power-sharing between the opposition and President Robert Mugabe would be resolved. A deal is also key to unlocking millions of dollars in much-needed foreign aid.
"There has to be political change," he said. "And I believe it will come sooner than we think."
Wednesday, 22 October 2008 07:08
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change has sent an unofficial
delegation to the tripartite summit in Kampala to lobby their cause with the
African leaders in attendance.
The gathering, is the largest gathering of African heads of states and
Power-sharing talks are at the verge of collapse as President Robert
Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), continue to disagree over cabinet composition,
configuration and allocation..
The opposition has warned that in case the talks fail, only fresh
elections would resolve the dispute - a move dismissed by Zanu PF..
Pressure is increasing on President Mugabe from the Zanu PF ranks to
form Cabinet without the MDC, but the MDC leaders say President Mugabe
should make more concessions than the ones already tabled.
MDC Vice-President Thokozani Khupe, and Deputy Treasurer, Elton
Mangoma, are currently in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
Khupe said yesterday that the MDC party wants the African leaders
attending the summit, especially Sadc members, to rein President Mugabe in.
Mangoma said he was attending the summit to make sure that the MDC
side was heard. "This is where African leaders are gathering for the COMESA,
SADC and EAC summit and we know that Mugabe will be here. We don't want only
his side of the story to be heard," said Mangoma.
MDC members will not be allowed inside the summit hall as they are not
officially invited, but Mangoma said they will endeavour to meet different
groups, including individual presidents, to put their grievances
22 October 2008
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) whose patience on the implementation of the Zimbabwean political parties` deal has been over-stretched is on the brink of snapping. The residents, who overly mortgaged principle and compromised immensely for an initiative (political parties deal among MDC formations and ZANU PF) whose drafting they were not actively part of but albeit believed, that it deserved a chance, have been disillusioned by the deadlock in the power-sharing talks. The light that seemed to be at the end of the tunnel is growing dimmer by the day and residents cannot continuously sit back and watch their hopes being scuttled; they cannot bear the insults to their immense compromise. The recent developments in that regard show that ZANU PF with all its machinery and political misfits is on a rampage to crash the hopes of Zimbabweans and that cannot go unchallenged.
The defacto government led by ZANU PF has shown complete disrespect for fellow political players, Zimbabweans, SADC, Africans and the World as a whole. The continued intransigence and hypocrisy they have shown during the talks and after the signing of the September 15 agreement, smack of unparalleled desire to cling to power. The state controlled media has continued to carry screaming headlines, beaming the so called Mugabe magnanimity and many other stories attempting to applaud ZANU PF’s political “feats”; they have even accused the other political players for being ungrateful as they refuse to be accommodated in the ZANU PF government. They pretend that nothing has changed and nothing should change. Are they saying that; residents should continue drowning in sewage, fetching water from Matsime (unprotected shallow wells), sleep on empty stomachs, face the risk of accidents because of traffic lights not working, face the discomfort of potholes, and fetch firewood and many other countless struggles? All this is being endured because Comrade X cannot breathe if he fails to get a ministerial post.
The Combined Harare Residents Association can never lose the essence of the political dragging political parties’ deal and the gruesome experiences that residents have stoically endured under the leadership of ZANU PF. The residents, having been denied the right to freely choose a president on the 27th of June by the ZANU PF/Mugabe terror campaign, excluded from the power sharing talks and having immensely compromised in order to afford the September 15 deal a chance, and currently enduring effects of economic collapse and the whole myriad of problems plaguing the country, are running out of patience and will take different initiatives to demand accountability and the urgent redress of the political and economic chaos that the country is experiencing.
CHRA remains committed to demanding quality and accessible service delivery, good local governance and social justice. The Association will continue to mobilize residents to express themselves around these and other issues.
Exploration House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4- 705114
By Staff Reporter
Posted to the web: 22/10/2008 13:48:21
AT LEAST 36 Zimbabweans convicted of various crimes are held in UK
immigration detention centres awaiting deportation, the Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State (Home Office) Lord West of Spithead said in the
House of Lords on Tuesday.
Lord West said the detainees were "subject to deportation action and have
been assessed as unsuitable for release due to being either a threat to the
public and/or likely to abscond."
He was responding to a question from Lord Hylton who also asked if the
government would grant unsuccessful asylum seekers temporary leave to remain
"until the situation in Zimbabwe is improved".
Lord West said: "The UK Border Agency only detains those Zimbabwean
nationals who have committed crimes within the United Kingdom, are subject
to deportation action and have been assessed as unsuitable for release due
to being either a threat to the public and/or likely to abscond.
"Provisional management information indicates that, as at 29 September,
there were 36 Zimbabwean nationals convicted of crimes within the UK who
were held in detention pending deportation action. All such individuals have
the opportunity to apply for release on bail to the independent Asylum and
Lord West said removals to Zimbabwe were not on the cards, adding: "The
situation in Zimbabwe is currently being considered by the Asylum and
Immigration Tribunal. We have no plans to resume enforced returns to
Zimbabwe before the tribunal has reached its conclusion.
"The timing of the resumption of enforced returns will take full account of
the situation in Zimbabwe at the relevant time."
Lord West said Zimbabweans who wanted to return home voluntarily were doing
so through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) which offers
reintegration assistance and financial incentives.
He added: "The Prime Minister informed Parliament on 10 July that the
Government is actively looking at the situation of those Zimbabweans who do
not have a protection need but who have not returned home voluntarily.
"That consideration is currently ongoing and the Government will report back
to Parliament once this has been completed."
Refugee groups and immigration lawyers say a power sharing deal currently
being hammered out between Zimbabwe's main parties could dramatically change
the UK government's attitude towards Zimbabwean asylum seekers should the
Just over 16 000 Zimbabweans claimed asylum in Britain between 2000 and
2004, but a large fraction of them had their applications turned down and
have been in limbo since.
Photo: Obinna Anyadike/IRIN
With a satchel full off mobile phone recharge cards strapped to his back, he heads to the street corner he calls his "shop", and shouts his voice hoarse until dusk, trying to sell to passersby.
In the evening he jostles with adult commuters for transport home, and then surrenders the day's takings to his "boss", a woman who buys the recharge cards from a mobile communications company.
"Selling juice-up cards is not a joke," Ziruvi told IRIN. "I am out there in the sun the whole day and sometimes I go home with virtually nothing, on an empty stomach. That means the boss gives me nothing as well, because I am paid on commission." He started hawking three months ago.
His parents encourage him to keep going because it provides the family some much-needed extra income. His father buys fish at a nearby lake and sells it, while his mother is a vegetable vendor.
Ziruvi is among thousands of children below the age of 18 who have quit school and are on the streets trying to help families make ends meet. Education is the last thing on his mind.
"What education are you talking about?" he replied when asked. "I'll probably go back to school next year when the teachers return. That is, if they return. At the moment the classroom doors are locked."
Zimbabwe's dwindling band of teachers who have not yet abandoned the profession or left the country, do very little teaching these days; they are protesting what galloping inflation has done to their salaries, and the end-of-year examinations hang in the balance due to industrial action.
Ziruvi has ambitions; his eyes are set on the black market foreign currency trade. "I am confident that one day I will drive one of the latest BMWs on the road. I am planning to get into forex, and then ngoda [diamonds] and possibly fuel."
The problem of working children in Harare was getting worse, the programme coordinator at the Coalition Against Child Labour and Abuse in Zimbabwe, Pascal Masocha, recently told a workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
According to the coalition's research, the number of employed minors - with ages ranging from five to 17 - had jumped from 60 percent in 2007 to 75 percent so far in 2008. HIV and AIDS, the country's unparalleled economic crisis, the collapse of family support networks as a result of the strain, were all factors driving the increase, said Masocha.
He pointed out that children were not just hustling on the streets - typically selling food items and hawking phone recharge cards - but were also expected to look after elderly or infirm parents.
The problem of child labour is not restricted to Harare; the Child Protection Society (CPS) told IRIN the situation in other parts of the country was "pathetic".
"The year 2008 clearly shows that child labour is on the increase, not only in Harare, but throughout the country. The use of minors in employment that is detrimental to them has reached saddening proportions," said CPS information officer Shemiah Nyaude.
It seems the relevant authorities are burdened
with other things, to the extent that they view the curbing of child labour as a
For years, an estimated 80 percent of the people have been below the poverty datum line, in an economy marked by the highest inflation rate in the world — now officially at 231 million percent, but unofficially thought to be many times higher - acute shortages of basic commodities, a crumbling health system and the incapacity of government to provide social safety nets.
"Vulnerable household heads cannot access social support from the government, and that leaves children with the burden of having to fend for families. It seems the relevant authorities are burdened with other things, to the extent that they view the curbing of child labour as a luxury," said Nyaude.
Although laws against child labour existed in Zimbabwe, he said municipal authorities and the police were not enforcing them, and blamed companies that "look aside when children are used in the sale of their products".
Nyaude also blamed parents "for exacerbating child labour through the wrongful thinking that children have to go through difficult experiences in order to be equipped for future challenges".
ZCTU's acting secretary general, Japhet Moyo, said his organisation was "extremely concerned with the extent of child labour" and accused the government of "paying lip service to the problem".
"Children have been left on their own, and it seems that the government thinks that the problem of child labour is confined to the International Labour Organisation and NGOs. Zimbabweans are among the most heavily taxed in the world and one wonders why some of that money cannot go towards social security," Moyo told IRIN.
He said child labour rendered children vulnerable because, left to fend for themselves, they were "particularly prone to self-abuse through drugs and beer, and to abuse by others sexually, psychologically and physically".
By CELIA W. DUGGER
Published: October 22, 2008
Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of two women who
were arrested Thursday for leading a peaceful protest in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe,
to demand food for the starving and the immediate formation of a
The women, whom Amnesty called prisoners of conscience, were not brought to
court for their bail hearing because prison authorities claimed they had no
fuel, the group said. They are Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu,
leaders of a group called Women of Zimbabwe Arise.
The women's lawyer contended they had no record of criminal convictions and
should be released for disturbing the peace, punishable by fine. The
prosecutor argued for a denial of bail on grounds the women were likely to
commit more such offenses.
The magistrate is expected to decide on bail Friday.
Awards reflect outstanding commitment to freedom of expression
TORONTO, Oct. 22 /CNW/ - Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
is proud to recognize Sami al-Haj of Sudan and Shakeman Mugari of Zimbabwe
with the 2008 International Press Freedom Awards for extraordinary courage
overcoming tremendous odds to report the news. CJFE is also pleased to
acknowledge Jim Poling of Hamilton, ON with the Vox Libera Award for his
long-standing commitment to freedom of the press.
"This year we honour three journalists who have never compromised their
principles and journalistic integrity," said Carol Off, Chair of the CJFE
Awards committee. "Our honourees embody the true essence of journalism and
anti censorship - their efforts send a strong message that the truth cannot
The 11th annual International Press Freedom Awards will be given out at
gala ceremony at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto on Monday, December 8,
2008. This year's event will also shine a spotlight on the extraordinary
challenges faced by photojournalists and videographers whose images drive
the horrors of war and repression.
The International Press Freedom Awards recognize the strength and
of foreign journalists who overcome obstacles in order to deliver news. So
far, in 2008, an estimated 76 media workers and journalists were killed
the world and another 58 were kidnapped or imprisoned. In the face of
judicial, physical or life-endangering threats these journalists worked
tirelessly so that news media remain free.
CJFE's Vox Libera award is an annual award granted to a Canadian who has
demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the principles of free expression
and who has had made an important and sustained contribution at home or
to those same principles.
2008 International Press Freedom Award Winners
Al Jazeera reporter Sami al-Haj was released from Guantānamo Bay on
May 1, 2008 where he was held for six years. Al-Haj was never formally
or brought to trial but he was ordered to become an informant against Al
Jazeera in exchange for a U.S. passport and release from Guantānamo Bay.
Al-Haj refused and instead launched a yearlong hunger strike. The US finally
released him to Sudan where he is now Al Jazeera's news producer for
and human rights affairs.
A reporter for the Zimbabwe Independent and a stringer for the Globe and
Mail, Shakeman Mugari has openly criticized the Zimbabwe government for
of power and failure to improve conditions for the over 80 per cent of
Zimbabweans living in poverty. Mugari continues to report on a multitude of
human rights abuses plaguing the country. In a report published in The
Washington Post in April 2008, he exposed a military junta at work in
Zimbabwe, cracking down on opposition parties in order to assist Robert
in maintaining control of the country.
2008 Vox Libera Award Winner
As Managing Editor, News of The Hamilton Spectator, Jim Poling created
two year-long internships for foreign-trained journalists living in Canada.
The recipients are integrated into the newsroom, gaining the training and
industry insight it takes to work in the Canadian media community. Poling
helped found the Canadian Journalism for Internationally Trained Writers
program at Sheridan College and sits as chair of the Advisory Committee.
The CJFE awards gala is made possible by the support of returning
Sponsor Scotiabank, Reception Sponsor CTV and Platinum Sponsor CBC News,
with the valued support of other organizations and individuals across the
media, legal, academic and business communities.
About Canadian Journalist for Free Expression
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is an association of
than 300 journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others
work to promote and defend free expression and press freedom in Canada and
around the world. CJFE has a history of work on cases pertaining to media
and freedom of expression.
Full biographies can be found at www.cjfe.org
October 21, 2008
WHAT exactly is at stake in the standoff between the MDC and Zanu-PF over
cabinet positions? Why those specific ministries and not any other?
I mean 'The Big Five'-Home Affairs, Finance, Justice, Local Government, and
Foreign Affairs. Last week, Zanu-PF "invaded" the peace deal and "occupied"
the Big Five, leaving the MDC with 'secretarial' ministries.
In other words, Zanu-PF claimed all ministries with the power to determine
who lives and who dies, including Defense and State Security. Of course the
MDC replied: 'You're joking, right?'
But what exactly does either side achieve with one ministry but loses with
that other one? Here I will pick each of The Big Five and consider two
scenarios (1) suppose the portfolio goes to Zanu (PF) (2) suppose it goes to
Zanu (PF): The party would continue to use the police as it has always done,
preventing any demonstrations in urban areas, or any popular peaceful
uprising to demand that Mugabe steps aside. Mugabe would retain power to
suppress investigations, destroy dockets, and order police crackdowns - like
what happened to ZINASU recently. He controls all security services and
Tsvangirai would be a virtual prisoner in Munhumutapa Building.
MDC: The MDC needs the police as a counterweight to Zanu-PF's control of
Defence. Controlling Home Affairs means the police will not be used against
the MDC, and hopefully the MDC won't use them against the people. The
portfolio equips the MDC to go after those who raped, murdered and
tortured - or if it decides to pal up with Mugabe, the people affected can
freely help themselves.
ZANU-PF: Zanu-PF now (strangely) argues that the MDC is too inexperienced to
handle the finance portfolio because the economy is under sanctions. The
argument is that an MDC finance minister can only be appropriate to handle a
post-sanctions economy. Translation? Tell the West to back off or no Finance
Ministry. A Zanu-PF treasury will oil Mugabe's gravy train. The MDC will
become a goblin Zanu-PF sends to secure money abroad to oil Mugabe's
MDC: The party's power rests on the economy. If it loses Finance, it is
finished. End of story. Finance would enable the MDC to draft the budget and
police it religiously according to the Prime Minister's year-on-year
priorities as agreed to by the people's Parliament. In theory the army has
overwhelming power to spare or take life. In practice, the real power lies
with the Minister of Finance. Without money there is no army. There will be
no more 4 x 4s to mollify the partisan generals either. It's simple: without
Finance and power over a budget, the Prime Minister can't govern.
Zanu-PF: Zanu-PF has only one thing in mind: fear. If it gets the Justice
Ministry, it will install partisan judges and a partisan attorney general to
act as wicketkeeper against prosecution. The perpetrators of violence will
be pardoned if found guilty, or if sued, the case will not go anywhere.
Small fish will be blamed for the rape, murder, and torture while those who
gave the orders go scot-free and grow fat. Of course, all this patronage
rests on Zanu-PF securing Finance.
MDC: The MDC will dig its own political grave if it capitulates on the issue
of justice for those tortured, raped, and killed simply because they
supported 'the wrong party'. If MDC gets Home Affairs but loses Finance, the
police may be starved of a good budget while Defense is lavished, to create
disaffection and smear the MDC as incompetent. If MDC gets Home Affairs but
loses Justice, police can arrest all they like, but the judges will dismiss
ZANU (PF): Just like colonial "Indirect Rule" where the state ruled
villagers through their chiefs, so too with Mugabe. The chief has become
rural Zimbabwe's most notorious conduit of state terror against villagers.
Zanu-PF needs the ministry to continue using food as a weapon, to kill
villagers with hunger unless they disavow the MDC. To speak nothing of
controlling the urban councils and continuing to promote cholera! Of course,
if Zanu-PF gets Local Government without Finance, the patronage that is
already in question will disappear.
MDC: As chiefs begin to openly speak out against Zanu-PF failure, there has
never been a better time to decontaminate the countryside of the cancer of
dependency on Zanu-PF patronage. The mayors who were illegally fired by
former Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo would return. The cities
would become clean again. Yet, again, it makes little sense for the MDC to
secure Local Government without getting Finance and Home Affairs.
Zanu-PF: Somewhat fortuitously, two positives have resulted from Mugabe's
notorious transformation of Zimbabwe into one vast prison. First,
Zimbabweans have become a widely traveled lot. Second, Mugabe's brutal
regime has made them easily recognizable in the world. Zimbabwe is now on
the world map, but how do we now transform this exposure into a tool for
democratic recovery. Zanu-PF appears not only to have no clue, but is also
dangerously caught up in a Cold War-anti-colonial worldview when the world
itself has long since moved on. The party would use Foreign Affairs to
attack the west, stifling efforts of individuals to do business across the
Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, and on the African
MDC: Zimbabwe is in urgent need of a positive vibe around the embassies,
rather than the vitriol we have now become accustomed to. Just the other
day, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda toured Harvard and Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT) on a mission to engage African intellectuals
who are now making a mark at the world's best science and technology
institutions. The youthful presidents of Tanzania, Botswana, and Mozambique,
and the prime minister of Kenya are also busy forging techno-scientific
highways across the world. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe as a nation is in rigor
The Foreign Affairs Ministry and the embassy of today are the country's
advertisement or PR division, and if you do not advertise, you sink into
insignificance. It won't happen if Zanu-PF invades that ministry and
occupies it -white commercial farm-style.
The Big Five or No Deal.
If ever a man deserves the oblivion that a new election in Zimbabwe would
bring then that man is President Robert Mugabe. He and the Zanu-PF's failure
to recognise the miracle that former South African president Thabo Mbeki
achieved in arranging a power sharing deal, by failing to allow its
implementation as contemplated, has brought renewed calls for elections and
threats of boycotting further meetings from the MDC.
Regardless of what Mugabe's spokesman has to say about Tsvangirai delaying
the deal, the facts remain that the Zanu-PF lost the election and refused to
hand over to the winners and then reneged on undertakings given on how the
power sharing would be implemented. Staggeringly at a time when the real
beneficiaries of power sharing are the Zanu-PF.
As is common knowledge neither Mugabe nor Zanu-PF can even begin to
contemplate a free and fair election in that country because the chances are
that they'd be lucky to come in second. In all likelihood the MDC splinter
party would probably be better placed to form the opposition as things stand
now. This is deduced from the results of the last election where, despite
every form of intimidation and manipulation Zanu-PF could muster, they still
managed to lose. This in turn occasioned the bloodshed on the build up to
the presidential run-off, which Mugabe knew would end in an embarrassing
defeat, resulting in it having to be abandoned to save the population from
Notwithstanding and through the miracle referred to above, Mbeki arranged a
deal which would give the presidency and two deputies to Mugabe while Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, would be given the role of prime minister
with two deputies. The cabinet would be split as to 13 + 3 ministers to the
MDC and splinter party and 15 to the Zanu-PF.
Day to day running of the country would fall to the Council of Ministers
headed by Tsvangirai and in respect of which he would require at least the
ministries of Home Affairs and Finance. As a gesture of goodwill Zanu-PF
would retain defence and foreign affairs.
Never lose sight of course of the fact that, as the losers of the election,
the Zanu-PF should have been given chairs in opposition and nothing more.
Subsequently Zanu-PF have been trying to circumvent this life saving deal by
grabbing the ministerial posts required to achieve day to day control of the
country. Toss the MDC the finance portfolio so they can go out and ask the
international community for money, which I imagine the Zanu-PF intend, in
the main, distributing among themselves as they have done for year after
year. Of course the fact that Zanu-PF controlling the country in any form
whatsoever precludes any assistance seems to have escaped them, as does the
fact that 80% of their population now lives in poverty with the lowest
life-expectancy in the world.
What they might better understand is self preservation :
Mugabe, by unilaterally allocating key ministerial posts, ensures that the
deal cannot proceed as anticipated. This achieves deadlock and stalls the
process, which regardless of what he might allocate, leaves most of those
ministries at best barely able to function. The stalemate in turn occasions
more poverty and less elite to defend the Zanu-PF when wholesale rebellion
eventually breaks out.
At best they've achieved the right to tread water for a short while, but no
more than that.
SADC is fast tiring of picking up the tab for the Zanu-PF, and Zimbabwe
under Mugabe might soon know what it feels like to be surrounded by hostile
Which leaves their options as what?:
Standing still - can't be done; they'll be murdered by their own while
millions succumb to starvation.
Elections - they'll place third unless a new party starts up in which case
they'll place fourth.
Civil War - It will be like the Afghanistan of Africa with the elite, at
best, buying time until the inevitable storming of the palace. Ask white
South Africans what it is like to live day to day while waiting for a
Yesterday Morgan Tsvangirai, supposedly the prime minister of Zimbabwe, was
required to travel to Swaziland on emergency documents because the country
still won't furnish him with a passport. While I'm sure the Zanu-PF and
civil service found this highly amusing, I'll wager that the author of that
joke won't step in among the population and tell it to them while they're
starving to death from all these fun and games.
As a result the issue of the Congo rather than Zimbabwe was dealt with at
the meeting in Swaziland. The issue of Zimbabwe will be dealt with in Harare
next week with the MDC requesting that all SADC members be present.
Let's hope for everyone's sake that Zanu-PF's haven't pushed the envelope
once too often and occasioned the collapse of the deal. This will retard
progress for the masses that are way out of time as things stand. As for the
Zanu-PF, the end of the deal may well mean that very shortly they'll be
travelling the road used by the National Party down here.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 at 6:00 pm
Thabo Mbeki, the disgraced former president of South Africa and the
SADC-anointed mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis spent four days last week in
Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, wrestling with Robert Mugabe's brittle ego to
save the power-sharing deal. He failed.
Wednesday 22 October 2008
By Rejoice Ngwenya
Failure to reach an agreement is a serious indictment on Mbeki's ability to
produce favourable political results when it matters most. He is simply not
a tough negotiator.
Most political analysts agree that events leading to Mbeki's ouster deflated
his ego, and by the time a High Court judge pronounced his guilt of
manipulating the process to trash Jacob Zuma, Mr. Mbeki was all too eager to
surrender. If he could not handle Jacob Zuma, walking into the furnace of
Zimbabwe's deadly political courtyard is what they call in American
wrestling a high risk manoeuvre, especially if one's political reputation is
already under scrutiny.
Tough nuts against ghosts of the past
The three parties in Zimbabwe's political wild fire are all tough nuts to
crack, and anyone who approaches them with ecumenical overtones is bound to
Robert Mugabe is single-handedly credited with destroying one of the biggest
political brand names in Africa - Joshua Nkomo and his Patriotic Front -
Zimbabwe African People's Union PF- ZAPU. In December 1987, Joshua Nkomo
ceded his political constituency to a grinning Mugabe who promptly erased
the ZAPU logo and swallowed the entire national PF-ZAPU structure. A token
gesture of vice-presidential posts and meaningless Home Affairs ministerial
appointments is what Nkomo managed to salvage to pacify his hapless
Incidentally, current power-sharing talks have evoked ghosts of the 1987
Unity Accord where so-called PF-ZAPU representatives in Mugabe's current
political arrangement fear for their future. Vice president John Msika, John
Nkomo, Simon Khaya-Moyo, Sithembiso Nyoni, Angeline
Masuku and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu are alleged to be insisting that a new power
sharing deal should respect the 1987 Unity Accord for their inclusion in
critical security ministries. Others like Enos Nkala, Dumiso Dabengwa,
Mabhena, and Edward Ndlovu had already seen the light and abandoned Mugabe's
gluttonous ZANU-pf. It is unlikely that Thabo Mbeki has the depth and canny
ability to handle such complexities.
On the other hand, Morgan Tsvangirayi is a seasoned campaigner for political
rights. Between 1980 and now, out of the ten or so individuals who have
tried unsuccessfully to challenge Mugabe's hegemonic tyranny, Tsvangirayi
can be said to be the most successful. The list of Mugabe's political scalps
includes, as indicated above, Joshua Nkomo, the late Ndabaningi Sithole, and
the late Justice Dumbutshena, Edgar Tekere, Margaret Dongo, the late Kempton
Makamure and Wurayayi Zembe. Others are too insignificant for inclusion in
Tsvangirayi stands out prominent, in that in all subsequent Presidential and
Parliamentary elections since 2000, his Movement for Democratic Change can
be said to have won had it not been for Mugabe's chicanery. Thus Mbeki has
to contend with a man who has brought Mugabe to the negotiating table. In
more ways than one, the 29 March 2008 electoral majority proved that
Tsvangirayi, not Mugabe, should be head of class.
It is said Thabo Mbeki is an intellectual of world acclaim, but he is
certainly not in the orbit of Professor Arthur Mutambara, head of the other
MDC formation. Many defeatists had predicted that Mutambara would collapse
before crossing the finishing line, but as you read this article; his
formation is a major king-maker in the New House of Assembly.
Mutambara has survived a torrent of infectious criticism and personal
insults mainly from Tsvangirayi's legion of global extremists whose only
knowledge of democracy is to spell the word. In fact, had Tsvangirayi
acceded to Mutambara's pre-29 March overtures for electoral collaboration,
Mugabe's political constituency would now have shrunk to near
insignificance. Mutambara's ability to balance intellectual rational and
political sense has made him a survivor, and it is hard to even perceive how
Mbeki would have gotten through Tsvangirayi without Mutambara's mediation.
And so if Mbeki had been as good as SADC would have make us believe, he
would have dismissed Mugabe's claim to authority with contempt. In simple
terms, he should have reminded Mugabe that losing a not so free and fair
election in March, a whittled Parliamentary majority and shameful reputation
cannot give a man competitive advantage in political negotiations.
Unfortunately, Mbeki, who will have to be eternally grateful to former
defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota for hedging his political career, had no
guts and so Mugabe still has the leeway to play big man, much to the chagrin
of bemused Zimbabweans.
Rejoice Ngwenya is regular columnist for African Liberty. He heads the
leading reformist group, Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions in