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MDC quits unity talks over deadlock

http://www.businessday.co.za

08 October 2008

Dumisani Muleya

Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWE's power-sharing deal is teetering on the brink of collapse after
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) negotiators walked out of a critical
meeting with Zanu (PF) yesterday as a dispute over ministerial posts
intensified.

Unless the mediator, former president Thabo Mbeki, intervenes to break the
deadlock, talks over the allocation of 31 government ministries might soon
be abandoned.

Three meetings involving President Robert Mugabe and main MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai have failed to resolve the issue.

The Southern African Development Community and the South African government
have agreed that Mbeki can continue as mediator.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai met on Saturday for the third time, but deadlocked
over the distribution of ministries, the allocation of which would have
paved the way for the formation of a new government.

Under last month's power-sharing agreement, Mugabe is entitled to 15
ministries, Tsvangirai 13, and the leader of the smaller MDC faction, Arthur
Mutambara, three.

Mugabe is allowed eight deputy ministers, Tsvangirai six and Mutambara two.
However, there is no agreement on which portfolios go to which party.

There is also a dispute over the sharing of the 10 posts of provincial
governors now held by Zanu (PF).

Mugabe's party is also demanding revision of the agreement signed on
September 15 to remove a clause which says if any of the parties lose an MP,
they would not contest by-elections against each other.

MDC negotiators said they were "poles apart" from their Zanu (PF)
counterparts and did want to "waste time talking".

MDC negotiator Tendai Biti confirmed the meeting broke down because "we were
worlds apart". "Zanu (PF) came into the meeting with an arrogant and
contemptuous attitude."

Biti said the allocation of all 31 ministries had not yet been resolved .

He said that in view of the "interminable deadlock", Mbeki needed to help
resolve the issue.

Zanu (PF) negotiator Patrick Chinamasa said the party did not see the need
for Mbeki to intervene yet.


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Mugabe Pushes Back Against Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Deal

http://www.time.com

By Alex Perry and Simba Rushwaya/Harare Tuesday, Oct. 07, 2008

"A power-sharing deal meant to end Robert Mugabe's 28 years of one-man rule
in Zimbabwe appeared close to disintegrating, Tuesday, with Mugabe's party
and the opposition deadlocked on how to divide government ministries between
them. South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki had brokered the Sept. 15
agreement to resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis and set the stage for its
economic revival, but the deal's implementation has stalled over how to
allocate the 31 government ministries between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the
Movement for Democratic Change MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai. As fears
mounted that the agreement would collapse, Mbeki was asked by the MDC to
intervene, but as of Tuesday, a spokesman said Mbeki had no immediate plans
to return to Harare.

Although the power-sharing deal had been hailed as historic, it left many
key disputes unresolved. The two sides had agreed that Mugabe would remain
President while Tsvangirai would take up the newly created post of Prime
Minister, and that Zanu-PF would get 15 ministries, Tsvangirai's MDC would
have 13, and a breakaway MDC faction would have 3. But the two leaders did
not specify which ministries would go to which party. Reports at the time
suggested the MDC would gain control of two key ministries, finance and home
affairs, which controls the police, while Zanu-PF would retain defense. It
now appears there was no such understanding - or if there was, it has since
been reversed - prompting fears of a breakdown that will plunge the country
further into turmoil and uncertainty. On Tuesday, MDC spokesman Nelson
Chamisa told South African radio that signing a deal before agreeing the
detail had been "a big mistake."

But there's more at work here than poor-dealing making: Since agreeing to
share power, the world around Tsvangirai and Mugabe has changed. For one
thing, Mbeki is no longer President of South Africa, Zimbabwe's powerful
neighbor on which it remains heavily dependent. A few days after the
Zimbabwe deal was concluded, he was ejected from office after losing a power
struggle in the ruling party Although Mbeki has been asked to stay on as
mediator of the Zimbabwe talks, his own authority has been much diminished
by his ouster. Global financial turmoil has also pushed Zimbabwe off the
immediate agenda of the international community. And the combination of
Mbeki's demise and international distraction may have emboldened the
84-year-old Mugabe, and some of his cohort, to push back on a deal whose
purpose had been to dilute their power. Mugabe denied last month that there
was a deadlock, saying four ministries remained to be allocated and that a
government would be established by the end of last week. That didn't happen.
And according to a source close to Tsvangirai, Mugabe has been warning the
opposition leader with whom he now confers regularly that the deal is far
from done. "Tsvangirai said [he and Mugabe] now talk like friends.
[Tsvangirai] asked Mugabe how things were in the Zanu-PF. Mugabe [replied]
that some of his top ministers were against the deal and think Mugabe sold
out."

Zimbabwe's economic revival will depend on an extensive infusion of foreign
aid and investment, which won't be forthcoming until the political conflict
has been settled. Unemployment now stands at 80%, inflation has long-since
spiraled out of control, and, with the collapse of farming, aid agencies are
warning of widespread hunger in the next few months. But Mugabe's
lieutenants have little incentive to compromise. Their hold on power has
facilitated corruption, while many have also profited from the recent chaos
by seizing land and making millions of dollars by working the difference
between the black market and official rates of exchange between Zimbabwean
and foreign currencies. A senior Zanu-PF official told TIME on condition of
anonymity that the Sept. 15 deal was "a hundred steps backwards". She added:
"These MDC people are coming into this government with vindictiveness. They
are just coming to rob our gains. They want to give back the farms to the
whites and that is unacceptable. If I were comrade Mugabe I would not have
embraced those people." One Harare-based political analyst, who also asked
not to be named, added: "The problem is that Mugabe is surrounded by
vultures who are hovering over the resources of the country. These are
extremely rich people who don't want Tsvangirai in the picture because they
fear crackdown."

But given the global financial turmoil and the political infighting in South
Africa, Zimbabweans may have to bear the yoke of Mugabe and his regime for
some time, yet.


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Stalled Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Process Causing Concern In Region

VOA

By Blessing Zulu
Washington
07 October 2008

Zimbabwe's troubled power-sharing process stumbled again on Tuesday as
negotiators met but again failed to agree on how ministries should be
distributed among the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe and the two
Movement for Democratic Change branches.

The delay in forming a government following the signing of the unity pact on
September 15 led the government of neighboring Botswana to express its
concern. Its foreign ministry issued a statement saying the deadlock was
"disturbing and...cannot be ignored."

Gabarone warned that delay will only add to the suffering of the Zimbabwean
people.

But the head of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, Jacob Zuma,
said Tuesday that Zimbabwe's political parties should keep talking to
resolve the impasse.

He expressed confidence that former South African president Thabo Mbeki can
resolve the crisis if called upon to help. But ZANU-PF officials say Mbeki's
help is not needed.

Tsvangirai's MDC formation says ZANU-PF wants to monopolize central
portfolios such as Foreign Affairs and Finance, as well as Defense and Home
Affairs.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of Tsvangirai's MDC wing told reporter Blessing
Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that after negotiating for two hours
negotiators again hit a snag.

South African political analyst Hermann Hanekom, in an interview from Cape
Town, said President Mugabe and ZANU-PF are not negotiating in good faith.

The MDC formation of prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai has urged
the Southern African Development Community, with the African Union a
guarantor of the power-sharing deal that ended months of post-election
turmoil, to intervene to break the deadlock.

In an appearance Monday in Washington, former president Festus Mogae of
Botswana said SADC leaders "must speak with one voice" and tell Zimbabwe's
government that "it is time to stop the suffering of the Zimbabwean people."
Mogae issued the appeal during a symposium on his decade at Botswana's helm
at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for scholars.

Among other points he criticized Mbeki's role in the crisis, saying Mbeki
could have spoken more firmly but did not, preventing SADC from taking
stronger positions on Zimbabwe.

Mogae told his Washington audience that it is in the interest of all parties
in Zimbabwe to come to a settlement, establish peace, and rebuild.

Midlands correspondent Taurai Shava reported that with cabinet posts the
focus of talks the allocation of provincial governorships has yet to be
addressed - yet residents of Gokwe say they are being pressed for
contributions to celebrate the inauguration of Jason Machaya of ZANU-PF as
governor of the province, donations they can ill afford.


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Mugabe heeds security chiefs' warning

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=5409

October 7, 2008

By Mxolisi Ncube

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean security chiefs are pressuring President Robert
Mugabe not to hand over any of the country's key ministries to the
opposition, warning that such a move would render the country ungovernable.

Mugabe and MDC leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, who signed a
power-sharing deal three weeks ago, have so far failed to resolve an impasse
on key cabinet posts.

The mainstream MDC led by Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe of trying to make it
a junior partner in the day-to-day running of the unity government.

According to the deal, brokered by regional Southern African Development
Community (SADC) bloc, Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is entitled to 15 cabinet
posts, Tsvangirai's MDC 13 and its breakaway faction, led by Mutambara, the
remaining 3.

However, the agreement does not specify which ministries should go to which
party and this has been the main cause of the current haggling.

According to the opposition, Mugabe wants all key ministries, especially
Defence, Home Affairs, Information, Finance and Agriculture, which form the
backbone of the Zimbabwean government.

"Mugabe wants to grab everything for himself and relegate us to just
by-standers in the day-to-day running of government," said Nelson Chamisa,
spokesman for the MDC led by Tsvangirai.

"He wants to render us irrelevant and that is what we do not want because we
are supposed to be sharing, not getting chuff from Zanu-PF. So as it stands
now, talks on the formation of the new government are deadlocked and SADC
and the African Union (AU) should come in to resolve this."

Patrick Chinamasa, Zanu-PF's chief negotiator, hit back, accusing the
opposition of bringing a Western influence into the negotiations.

"They have always been western puppets and that has not changed," said
Chinamasa. "They want to steal power from us and that will not happen. We
are still in control of this country and they must accept that. We will not
give them more than what we have offered."

However, Zanu-PF insiders reveal that Mugabe was committed to the deal when
he appended his signature to power-sharing agreement, but things changed
after he met the security chiefs and his party's politburo and central
committee a day later.

These told him that handing over any of the key ministries to the opposition
would be as good as surrendering power. Apparently, senior members of Mugabe's
party, who have previously relied on his politics of patronage, fear that
they might lose their jobs and want the deal to fail in order for them to
remain relevant.

Mugabe met with his party in Harare a day after the signing of the deal,
when he was supposed to be meeting the opposition to discuss the sharing of
cabinet posts. It is during this meeting that the party's powerful politburo
and central committee advised their leader to make sure that he retained
control of government.

Mugabe's loyalists within the country's security forces, who have kept the
Zimbabwean leader in power since the MDC was formed in 1999, came with an
even tougher stance, when they all threatened to resign if any of their
parent ministries were handed over to the opposition.

Sources within the country's security forces revealed Tuesday that the
commanders met Mugabe at State House in Harare early last week and told him
in no uncertain terms that they could not work directly under the opposition
leaders, especially Tsvangirai, saying that such an arrangement would render
the country ungovernable.

The security commanders, who included Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander,
General Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army Commander, Lieutenant
General Philip Valerio Sibanda, his Air Force counterpart Air Marshal
Perrence Shiri, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Prisons
Services Commissioner, Paradzayi Zimondi, are said to accuse the MDC leader
of having a "hidden vendetta" against them.

All these have previously vowed that they will not salute Tsvangirai even if
he were voted into power. On the other hand, the MDC has accused the
securocrats of brutalizing its supporters in order to keep Mugabe in power.

The army falls under the Ministry of Defence, police under Home Affairs
while the Prison Services falls under the Ministry of Justice - all of which
are some of the key ministries that Mugabe wants to keep in the new
government.

"They told the President that they will all leave their jobs if he handed
over their ministries," said a senior member of Mugabe's party. "They
complained that, after what has happened over the past eight years, it would
be best for them to quit their jobs.

"They said that Tsvangirai is itching to try them for the alleged
brutalization of him and other members of his party during the past few
years. The President now has no choice although he knows that the deal will
be best for the country,"

However, Chamisa maintains that there will be no deal if his party is not
given some of the key ministries.

"There is no going back. We are supposed to be equals here, and as long as
Zanu-PF wants to become big brother, then we have a deadlock that should be
resolved only by the SADC and AU," he said.

The MDC has in the past published names of military personnel it says were
responsible for the death and brutalization of its members at the
instigation of Mugabe.

Tsvangirai still maintains that human rights violators will have to answer
for their actions, while human rights bodies in the country have also
suggested that the new government should set up a truth and reconciliation
commission to handle cases of human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

Against that background, the service chiefs fear that Tsvangirai might use
the ministries that he gets to pursue his "hidden agenda", in what they say
will turn the security forces against one another and render the country
ungovernable.

Mugabe, who has previously relied on the military to bolster his control of
power, is said to have promised the security chiefs that he will not
†"betray" them and will not hand over their ministries, in what has been
attributed to the current deadlock.

However, Zimbabwean political analyst, Professor John Makumbe, who has
previously described the power-sharing deal as "fragile", has decried the
deadlock, saying it is a clear sign that the unity government cannot work on
its own.

"This shows that this kind of government will always need someone to baby
sit it all the time and that is not a way to work," said Makumbe, a
University of Zimbabwe Political Science lecturer.

"No one will have faith in such a government and investors will not be
interested in coming to Zimbabwe."


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Mugabe approved our torture: ZCTU President

http://www.nehandaradio.com

08 October 2008

By Lovemore Matombo (ZCTU President)

ON 13 September 2006, thousands of workers around the country took part in
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) demonstration against poverty
afflicting 80percent of Zimbabweans.

They were demanding wages that were linked to the Poverty Datum Line (PDL)
and Government's commitment to fight inflation. They also wanted to benefit
from the HIV and AIDS fund through free distribution of anti-retroviral
drugs.

They also demanded a stop in the implementation of the compulsory National
Health Insurance Scheme that was to be administered by the National Social
Security Authority (NSSA).

The result of the action shocked the world. With tacit approval from State,
a number of trade unionists were battered and tortured in the streets and
police cells. President Robert Mugabe approved the beatings. He told those
that were gathered at the Zimbabwe Mission in Cairo that:

"If you want an excuse for being killed, be my guest go into the streets and
demonstrate. The police were right in dealing sternly with Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions leaders during their demonstration..because the trade
unionists want to become a law unto themselves. '

'We cannot have a situation where people decide to sit in places not allowed
and when the police remove them, they say no. We can't have that, that is a
revolt to the system. Vamwe vaakuchema kuti tarohwa, ehe unodashurwa. When
the police say move, move. If you don't move, you invite the police to use
force".

The injuries were particularly serious for those who were detained at Matapi
Police Station.

Besides the above, a number of citizens were beaten up and some suffered
severe injuries. Today were remember the gallant trade unions who are at the
forefront of defending the rights of workers under immense state brutality.
Some of the injured have become permanently disabled.

As we gather here today, we hear they are talks going on in the country, we
hope the talks will usher in a new era in Zimbabwe were no any Zimbabwean
will be beaten up for trying to demonstrate in the streets. This is what we
have been fighting for, our freedom.

Lets we forget, I would like to remind you that the ZCTU is not against the
current talks.

However, our position, as espoused by the ZCTU general council was and
remains that of a neutral transitional authority leading to a free and fair
elections. We remain convinced that this is the only feasible way forward.

Let me end by saying that the ZCTU believes that a better Zimbabwe is
possible.


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Country in distress over Zanu PF intrasigence

http://www.nehandaradio.com

08 October 2008

Three weeks after the signing of the political settlement by the three
principals of the political parties in Zimbabwe, the country finds itself in
extreme distress as Zanu PF's intransigence over key ministries and
governors sends all sectors of the economy facing collapse.

Zanu PF's insensitivity has left many people across the country dying of
starvation, pupils failing to attend school because the teachers are on
strike, parents failing to access their money from the banks, patients
failing to get treatment as doctors and nurses are on strike and the
hospitals have no medicine.

In short, there is a national paralysis. Zanu PF does not seem to appreciate
the magnitude of the crisis in the country. The whole nation is hanging
characterised by anxiety, uncertainty and speculation.

The paralysis has resulted on a serious catastrophe as it has affected
families who will starve to death. It has been a wasted academic year. It
has been a lost business year.

It also looks like a wasted agricultural season, as Zimbabwe cannot be
expected to make adequate preparations for the current farming season. We
must always put the people first ahead of petty interests as Zanu PF is
doing. We cannot take the people for granted.

Zanu PF is insisting on running all the key ministries in the country when
the same party has in the past 28 years crippled the economy of a once
vibrant country.

Our argument for equal sharing of responsibilities is motivated by the
desire to change the way we have been doing business in order to improve
people's lives. Unlike Zanu PF our religion is not power but the people's
aspirations.

We are glad that Zimbabweans in their majority understand and support our
position of insisting on genuine power sharing. The people are on our side.

The MDC is calling for equal distribution of key ministries so that it is in
government in a partnership of equals.

Zimbabweans want a new and responsive government in place so that it begins
to address the people's concerns of food, jobs, medicines and education.

MDC Information and Publicity Department


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A stifled, ill and poor nation

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=5397

October 7, 2008

By a Concerned Medical Doctor

ACCORDING to the United Nations Development Programme it will take Zimbabwe's
economy some 16 years of uninterrupted growth at roughly five percent per
year to get to the level it would have been had it not been for this past
decade of mind numbing mismanagement in our government.

With life expectancy in our country sadly pegged in the early thirties
primarily because of the HIV devastation, many of our people will succumb
and fall to this great nemesis in this eleventh hour of the struggle.

A sizeable number of Zimbabweans will not live to see or realise the fruit
of their current sacrifices and toils upon which they forcibly and
repetitively embark day in and day out. The breakdown of the fabric of our
health care sector has seen an unchecked rise in deaths among the poor of
our nation whose numbers swell as each day passes. Even the long-forgotten
and once conquered cholera is back and claiming lives in Harare and
Chitungwiza, a sure sign of collapse in service delivery.

This, indeed, is heartbreaking.

HIV is no longer that death sentence of the past in most developed
countries. Many nations that have carried on in the path of economic growth
have also begun to realise the same as true. We do not have real access to
HIV treatment in Zimbabwe. The few figures who wield the real power to
change this have embarked on a peculiar disempowerment of the population of
Zimbabwe, even going to the extent of denying them access to basic health
care and life extending drugs intentionally or unintentionally.

It is worrying that we also do not have proper access to the treatment of
simple day to day ailments like flu, tonsillitis, anaemia, and headaches, to
mention but a few, the common causes and effects of which ultimately play a
part in the gradual degradation and eventual overwhelming of the immune
system by HIV. It is not only the supply of expensive antiretroviral drugs
that will raise life expectancy in our country. It is rather primarily the
availability of that basic medical care as was the case in the recent past
when our health care delivery system was one of the best in Africa that
needs to be restored to secure our short and medium term livelihoods.

Given the life expectancy statistics, there is not a lot to be excited about
by the signing of a deal that is clearly unlikely to herald and establish a
change we will be part of. Is there any point filling our minds with these
fictitious dreams of a utopia that will be the Zimbabwe of the future when
we clearly know many of our friends and relatives will have a health too
frail to notice any such awaited change when it eventually comes?

I do not think so. We continue to be witness to the disconcerting
insincerity of some who are party to the signed deal. We have all seen the
condescending demeanour with which our President has approached the well
meaning elected stewards of our eagerly anticipated emancipation.

What indifference and naivety!

Common sense demands that Mr Robert Mugabe and his close friends take
cognisance of their irrelevance to the path and process of change our nation
has chosen.

Unless a plausible and acceptable distribution of key ministries like Health
and Finance takes place, millions of our citizens will, sadly, not live to
behold the restoration of the former glory of our great nation that is
Zimbabwe.

Sad isn't it?


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Sticker Shock In Zimbabwe As Officially Sanctioned Hard Currency Shops Open

VOA

By Patience Rusere, Mark Peter Nthambe & Jonga Kandemiiri
Washington
07 October 2008

Shops and fuel stations in Zimbabwe licensed to charge for goods in hard
currency opened for business this week amid complaints that their prices
were exorbitant.

Supermarket chain Spar was among retailers who also sell items for local
currency. But sources said shelves were still empty at the TM-Hyper and OK
chains. Smaller shop owners said they were still trying to pull together
enough hard currency to restock.

An official at the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said business people in
Bulawayo were still trying to gauge public reaction to paying hard currency
for ordinary commodities.

The state run-Herald newspaper reported that Spar Borrowdale Brooke was
offering 20 kilos of roller meal for US$18.50, flour for US$3.50 and two
litres of cooking oil for US$8.

Correspondent Mark Peter Nthambe offered a first-hand look at so-called
Foreign Exchange Licensed Warehouses and Retail Shops, in an interview with
reporter Brenda Moyo.

National Income and Pricing Commission Chairman Godwills Masimirembwa told
reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the advantage
of the hard currency pricing is that prices can readily be compared.
Masimirembwa added that his commission intends to take action against
overpricing goods for sale in the local currency.

The officially sanctioned launch of hard-currency shops follows a
well-established trend of dollarization in the battered Zimbabwean economy.
Many goods are offered in the parallel or black market only for hard
currencies, and many landlords demand rents in forex.

Meanwhile, banks were running out of local currency despite the introduction
last week by the Reserve Bank of notes in higher denominations of Z$10,000
and Z$20,000.

Bankers say they are not receiving enough notes from the Reserve Bank, while
others blame the central bank's suspension of electronic transfers last week
for the intensification of the cash crunch, as consumers and businesses
deprived of the electronic payments system now need significantly more cash
to carry out essential larger transactions.

Economist Prosper Chitambara told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that although
hyperinflation is the root cause of chronic cash shortages, the central bank
has failed to provide the banking system with enough physical banknotes.


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Farmers Panic As First Rains Fall

http://www.radiovop.com


MASVINGO, October 8 2008 - The early rains that fell in some parts of
the province this week have left farmers panicking as they lack enough
inputs, especially seed and fertilizer.

"We do not know where we are heading this farming season. There is no
maize seed in sight by now, yet by August, most farmers would have stocked
their inputs. This is unheard of, and I have no doubt the consequences will
be deadly," said Ariel Mazungunye.

Mazungunye, a plot owner, said most farmers were left biting their
fingernails early this week when some showers fell in some parts of
Masvingo.

"The rains were a wake up call for many of us who do not have enough
farming inputs. We have tilled the land, but we do not have any seed," he
said.

He blasted the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for dishing out ploughs
and tractors when there is no seed.

Most shops including the black market have not stocked up seed due to
the economic crisis that has resulted in world record hyperinflation in the
country, shortages of foreign currency and fuel.

Panic stricken farmers who spoke to RadioVOP fear more food shortages.
At present nearly four million people are said to be in dire need of food.

The farmers said they were uncertain that most of them would get seed
in time, given the government's lack of proper agricultural support scheme
policies.

While the bulk of maize seed is imported from South Africa,
Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo admitted the country might fail to get
inadequate stocks in time.


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Behaviour of Zim MPs 'corrected'

http://www.thetimes.co.za/

Moses Mudzwiti Published:Oct 08, 2008

MEMBERS of Zimbabwe's parliament - some of whom jeered and heckled President
Robert Mugabe several weeks ago - have been subjected to an induction course
on the "rules of debate".

The crash course on etiquette took place despite the fact that Mugabe and
the Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, are still at
odds over the allocation of the 31 ministries and the formation of the new
government.

The two-day course attended by MPs and senators ended yesterday. Authorities
said the induction was necessary as parliament was likely to sit next week.

During the opening of parliament in August, MDC MPs heckled and broke into
song during Mugabe's address.

Soon after the public humiliation, justice minister Patrick Chinamasa vowed
to "correct" the "unbecoming behaviour" of the MPs.


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Why school's out for good this year in Zimbabwe

The Times
October 8, 2008

Jan Raath in Harare
The class of 2008 will not receive an education. Since the school year began
in January, Zimbabwe's 4.5 million pupils have had a total of 23 days
uninterrupted in the classroom, teaching unions say - a sorry state for a
country that once had the highest standard of education in Africa.

President Mugabe became an African hero of rare distinction when he carried
out a big expansion of the education system in the early years of his rule.
As with most of the country's infrastructure, that system is now in the
process of total collapse.

In the mid-1990s there was a national O-level pass rate of 72 per cent. Last
year it crashed to 11 per cent. Many schools recorded zero passes.

To avoid the humiliation of total failure in 2008 the Government has
cancelled the academic year. "It would be criminal if the Government allows
examinations to go ahead," Raymond Majongwe, the secretary-general of the
Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe, said.

In January teachers went on a prolonged strike over their salaries. In
April, Mr Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party accused them of supporting the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) during the March elections and blamed them for
the President's first-round defeat.
Six teachers were murdered and thousands assaulted by Zanu (PF) militia in
the violence that marred the second-round presidential election on June 27.

Schools were looted and turned into torture centres. Teachers disappeared.
Many are still unable to return for fear of being disciplined.

Now the coup de grace to the education system is being delivered by
hyperinflation. Teachers had their salaries doubled last week to the
equivalent of £5.70 a month - barely enough for bus fares and bread for four
days.

The handful of private and state schools where parents can pay large
supplements to teachers' salaries are the only ones operating. In most
schools where teachers do turn up pupil attendance is dwindling.

"We come to school and we entertain the kids until 10am, then we send them
home," Amos Musoni, from Sengwe primary school in the south of the country,
said. "There were ten teachers last week, out of 32. They are there because
they have no money to leave. We don't even have chalk, or red pens, never
mind books."

At one of Harare's government boys' high schools, benches are being sawn up
to provide wood for O-level woodwork examinations - not that anyone knows
when they will happen.

"O and A-level pupils go home next week to study for their finals," the
headmaster said. "But there is no timetable. Nor do we have their June
mid-year results."

Urban schools have been overwhelmed by water and power cuts. One primary
school in Mabvuku township, Harare, has not had water for five years. A
Harare girls' school has been seeking an axe to chop down trees for firewood
to cook food.

Providing school food at a time of comprehensive agricultural failure is a
struggle. Mr Majongwe said hundreds of rural schools had sent their boarders
home because they could no longer feed them.

Mr Musoni, from Sengwe, is pathetically thin. "There is no food," he said.
"People are starving." Students at Harare Polytechnic rioted last week after
they were served sadza, the stiff maize porridge that is the national
staple, without salt or cabbage.

The country's four leading universities have failed to open since the start
of their first term in mid-August. At the University of Zimbabwe, the
country's leading tertiary institute, a notice with last Friday's date on a
faculty building tells students that lectures will begin "on a date to be
advised".

Levy Nyagura, the Vice-Chancellor, said that the university had "no water,
no electricity and no funds".

Ellen Murogodo, a would-be first-year social work student, keeps returning
to the campus to register only to be told to try again a week later. To pay
for her journey she sets up a stand outside the university's Great Hall
where she sells popcorn and cigarettes.

"Mugabe was a teacher himself [in the 1950s]," Mr Majongwe said. "He knows
the potential of teachers as agents for change. That is why he has
deliberately destroyed education."

New talks on a power-sharing government in Zimbabwe failed yesterday to end
a stalemate over Cabinet posts, the opposition MDC said.


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Chipinge Children Attend Mozambican Schools

http://www.radiovop.com


CHIPINGE, October 8 2008 - Some children in the Chikore area of
Chipinge district in Manicaland province are now attending neighbouring
schools in Mozambique, as most of the local schools have closed due to lack
of teachers.

Most of the children in the area, which borders Mozambique, are now
attending the nearby Esupungabeira and Alberto primary and secondary schools
in Mozambique.

"Children from Chikore and Zona areas of Chipinge are now attending
lessons in Esupungabeira where Zimbabwean teachers - fleeing the current
harsh economic in the country - have been employed," said James Chikisa a
former teacher at Chikore primary school who now teachs mathematics at
Alberto Primary School.

Chikisa said most of the schools on the Mozambican side were failing
to cope up with the large influx of children who are seeking an education in
that country, whose education standards† was considered inferior to Zimbabwe
only a few years ago. Some of the pupils were reportedly walking distances
of up to five kilometres to reach the schools.

"This arrangement is not new ...During the height of banditry
activities in Mozambique in the 80s children from Mozambique also used to
attend our schools here. Infact the local communities share the same
cultural background with the Mozambicans" said Rebai Sithole, a local parent
whose son now attends a school in Mozambique.


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Civil servants should remember that they are not "special," above ordinary citizens

http://www.hararetribune.com

Tuesday, 07 October 2008 20:31

And it seems as though some of Africa's lowest paid civil servants view
themselves as being more special than others.

Members from Zimbabwe's civil service, the police, army and prisons have
adopted this annoying and offensive attitude and made it a culture whereby
they don't stand in a queue like everybody.

They have cultivated this obscene and shameless habit and have crafted it
into an art. Its vey much insulting for somebody to jump a cash queue made
up of large number of disgruntled people, who have been standing in the
scorching October sun for more than 5 hours, some having slept in the queue,
just because he or she is employed in the civil service and tries to
capitalize on intimidating the civilian population using his or her uniform.

Arguments arise in queues on a day to day due to this habit, and it is being
reported that fist fights are occurring between fed up people and members
from the civil service. Everybody is struggling due to the current situation
and has to spend valuable time standing in a queue, time that could have
been used doing something productive that brings food to the table.

Members from the civil service are not special in any way, and thus have no
right to jump queues on the pretext of being having busy schedules. But hey,
this is Zimbabwe we are talking of.

The Zanu PF attitude and way of thinking based on selfishness and
intimidation has effectively sunk its roots in the mindsets of members from
our civil service. It's the same typical attitude displayed by Zanu PF youth
and the so called war veterans, responsible for the assault, and murder of
supporters from the MDC post March 29 and June 27.

The Zimbabwean civil service was highly regarded and respected after the
country attained its independence in 1980 but today is a shell of its former
glory.

Re-education, taking the form of multiple refresher courses is very
necessary to re-install professionalism and public confidence in the civil
service. Respect and tolerance, not intimidation and fear are the building
blocks that need to be laid in order to rebuild Zimbabwe and restore her to
her former glory.


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Mystery illness may be Congo hemorrhaegic fever: SA

http://www.zimonline.co.za

by Own Corresondent Wednesday 08 October 2008

JOHANNESBURG - The South African health department on Tuesday said a
mysterious flu-like illness that has killed three people in the country and
put medical authorities on high alert may be Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever
(CCHF).

"We suspect that it may be Congo hemorrhagic fever but we have not made a
diagnosis yet," Frew Benson, the South African Health Department's deputy
director of communicable diseases, told reporters.

The country's authorities said they were closely monitoring the disease,
which causes external and internal bleeding, but called on the public not to
panic over the deaths of three people from the strange illness, saying the
disease was not airborne but transmitted through bodily fluids.

South Africa was set to send blood samples to the United States Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Tuesday, Benson said.

The first casualty was a Zambian woman who came to Johannesburg's
Morningside Medi-Clinic with flu-like symptoms on September 12. She was
treated for tick-bite fever and other potential infections but died two days
later.

Two other people have died from the same flu-like symptoms at the hospital
since September, including a Zambian paramedic who had accompanied the first
patient into South Africa.

A cleaner at Morningside Clinic who was suspected of contracting the disease
died of an unrelated condition, said the hospital's spokesperson, Melinda
Pelser.

The outbreak of the mysterious disease raised fears that it could easily
spread to South Africa's neighbours, particularly its strife-torn northern
neighbour, with an estimated three million Zimbabweans believed to be living
in South Africa and tens of thousands others passing through Beitbridge
border post everyday.

Zambian authorities said on Monday they, together with the World Health
Organisation (WHO), have mounted investigations into the unknown disease.

CCHF, which causes death in around 30 percent of hospitalised patients, is
carried by domestic animals and can be transmitted by ticks. It is found in
Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.

CCHF first appeared in Crimea in 1944 and was later identified in 1956 as
the cause of an illness in what is now Democratic Republic of Congo. Cases
have been recorded in Kosovo, Albania, Iran, Pakistan and South Africa.
Symptoms include headaches, back pains, vomiting, severe bruising and nose
bleeds.

The World Health Organisation says that CCHF can be treated but recovery is
slow and if treatment is not provided in time, death can occur in the second
week of illness.

Other strains of hemorrhagic fever, include Ebola and Marburg, which have
killed hundreds of people in outbreaks in Africa. These diseases cause
bleeding from multiple sites and can have very high death rates.

Ebola is rare, but there is no known cure and the virus usually kills
between 50 and 90 percent of its victims and is spread through contact with
bodily fluids of a patient. - ZimOnline


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45 degrees in an iron hangover hanger !

http://www.morningmirror.africanherd.com

If you need entertainment in Zimbabwe, book a trip on an Air Zimbabwe
flight.

Times are tight with Air Zim (Scare Zim some folk call it )

They are pretty short of planes and its becoming rather obvious. How they
juggle theirpilots and planes is anybody's guess, and trust me , it is a GIANT GUESS !!

They say the country is in melt down, well we were in total melt down last
Wednesday inmore ways than one..... when we were booked to fly to Johannesburg.

Now HeeHoo and I are quite used to flight delays, we settle down with our electronic toys
and can keep ourselves completely absorbed for many hours, but this was
rather different.

For example the Bulawayo Airport is still situated in an old metal aircraft
hanger, and has
been since time immemorial.

Air conditioning ? Nah ...... Catering ? nah ..... Cold drinks on sale ? nah ....

With perspiration pouring down our backs, we all made lifelong friends with
one another ,
and did as Zimbabweans are wont to do ... made the best of it....

The pilot needed some rest we were told initially, then it was too hot for the Chinese
propellor plane to take off, and so on and so forth ....

It must have been 45 degrees in mid October, dehydration set in and there on
the shelf inthe bar fridge were some vaguely cold bottles of water but we just could not
afford them !!

We pooled our cash and managed to round up 8 thousand Zimbabwe dollars, one tiny
bottle of water however was 9 thousand Zimbabwe dollars.

Gasp gasp, lets pay in forex we suggested tentatively but the bank rate
would have made
the bottled water prohibitively expensive and so I cupped my mouth around
the tap in the
bathroom instead ..... praying that the Matsheumhlope River Gut Rot God was
too far away to affect me !!

Five hours into the torrid wait a complimentary crate of tepid bitter lemon and lemonade
was dumped unceremoniously on the floor in the middle of the departure
lounge and we
all rushed frantically to grab one, searching furiously in our baggage for
an opener.

Six hours into the torrid wait, some wilting cheese and tomato sambos were passed
around gingerly, with the ground staff standing guard to see no one took
more than his or
her share !! Nothing even remotely edible for sale in the shop, even if one
could possibly
afford it !!

Eventually HeeHoo made an executive decision and sent for the company Food
and
Beverage Manager , Noel aka "HeeHoo Must Provide Liquid Refreshment." ......
A giant polypropylene sack full of ice cold Castles arrived and our party began ....

After an extraordinarily lengthy wait , as dusk fell, (now remember we had
been there since 8 am !! ) we were at last poured onto the bus, which drove at high
speed towards the
now cool plane, only to be told that no, sorry , mistake, that plane was now
going to Harare instead.

Patience had now run out totally, and several passengers argued loudly with
the Scare Zim staff while HeeHoo and Barry doggedly but surreptitiously pushed the baggage train
towards the loading ramp of the plane !!

Having none of that we were unceremoniously bundled back into the bus and returned to
the hangover hanger !!

The Harare lot were rather snooty about commandeering our plane and
haughtily embarked, we forgave them however, as many had a connection to London that
night, and we returned to our perch on the baggage carts under the stars. Besides we
were having far too much fun !

At least it was cooler now and some wag had found his way secretly into a
fridge at the back and was providing us with purloined cold cold beers !!

Anxious eyes scanned the darkening sky looking for the jet, which was now
promised to take us to Johannesburg. There were a couple of Traditional Healers on the
plane heading for a conference in Joburg and maybe they used some of their magic to
conjure up a plane at long last to take us on our merry way !!

Question ? Did the left hand actually know what the right hand was doing ?
Sadly the phrase "Headless chicken" comes to mind .......

We pray for better days once again and remember longingly when Air Zimbabwe
was known as " the Jewel of Africa."

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