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Mugabe party claims deal struck with opposition faction

The Telegraph
Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party claims to have signed a power-sharing deal with a dissident faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change [MDC] to create a new government in Zimbabwe.
Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and Robert Mugabe
Morgan Tsvangirai left the meeting looking grim-faced, whilst Arthur Mutambara [centre] says it's 'rubbish' that he has come to an agreement with Robert Mugabe Photo: AFP/GETTY

The agreement with Arthur Mutambara would sideline Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main MDC bloc, who beat Mr Mugabe in the first round of the presidential election in March, taking just short of 50 per cent of the vote.

A senior Zanu-PF official had earlier said: "We, and the MDC headed by Mutambara have signed the agreement.

"Tsvangirai did not sign the agreement because he is basically trying to take us back, to renegotiate issues that we had already agreed on.

"We are proceeding, and the president is going to form a government of national unity including members of the opposition."

He said his party would not be "held hostage" by Mr Tsvangirai, and insisted that parliament would be convened next week.

The move would create a new government and close the door to further negotiations with Mr Tsvangirai. Negotiations between Mr Mugabe and the two MDC faction leaders have been stymied over the key question of executive authority.

The report of a new "government of national unity" agreement between Mr Mugabe and Prof Mutambara could be a negotiating ploy by Zanu-PF.

That hypothesis seemed to be supported by Prof Mutambara, a robotics scientist by profession, who denied the claims late last night. He told The Daily Telegraph: "It's rubbish, rubbish, rubbish," before hanging up.

If the report is confirmed, however, it would represent a stunning coup for the octogenarian president, splitting the opposition and reaffirming the political skills that have kept him in power over three decades.

But while it might help keep Mr Mugabe and the Zanu-PF in office, it would do nothing to solve the myriad problems they have imposed on the country.

As such it would be a humiliation for Thabo Mbeki, the South African president tasked with mediating the talks between the government and the opposition.

He has long been accused by critics of being too soft on Mr Mugabe, and if he presides over an agreement that excludes Mr Tsvangirai, his hopes for any legacy as an African statesman will be over.

It would also do nothing to help Zimbabwe's beleaguered economy, which is ravaged by hyperinflation and in desperate need of aid and investment.

Western countries have hinted at a multi-billion-pound reconstruction package if Mr Mugabe accepts a genuine power sharing government. But any deal that cut Mr Tsvangirai out would eliminate the prospect of foreign aid.

Key members of Prof Mutambara's own faction, which split off in 2005, last night denounced any deal along the reported lines, saying that none of them had been consulted.

"If this has happened I don't agree," said Abednico Bhebe, from southern Matabeleland and one of the faction's 10 members of parliament. "This will be disastrous. None of us will go with him. He would be committing political suicide."

David Coltart, who represents Bulawayo in the senate, said: "If that happened I don't agree and I doubt the majority of our executive would support that decision."

The talks between Zanu-PF and the main MDC faction had broken off earlier in the day.

Mr Tsvangirai left looking grim-faced but Tendai Biti, his secretary-general and chief negotiator, said: "The talks have not collapsed. It's just a time out. There is nothing that cannot be overcome."

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Mbeki denies Mutambara signed deal

August 13, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - South Africa President Thabo Mbeki has dismissed reports that
President Robert Mugabe signed a deal Tuesday night with the leader of a
breakaway faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) behind the
back of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the mainstream organisation of that

A story filed by Reuters Tuesday night quoted a senior Zanu-PF official as
having stated that a deal had been signed between Mugabe and Arthur
Mutambara leader of the breakaway faction of the MDC in power-sharing talks
that would lead to the formation of a joint government.

The deal was said to have been signed after Tsvangirai walked out of a
session of the meeting taking place at the Rainbow Towers three hours into
the session. Tsvangirai declined to comment, fuelling speculation that the
talks were, indeed, teetering on the verge of collapse.

The senior Zanu-PF official stoked the speculation flames when he told
reporters that Mugabe and Mutambara had signed a power-sharing deal because
Tsvangirai "was being unrealistic".

It now appears that what the Zanu-PF official described as a "controlled
leak" may have been a deliberate ploy to confuse journalists who had waited
anxiously for four days for an outcome to the negotiations.

President Mbeki, who has been facilitating the talks, told reporters just
after midnight as he was leaving for the airport en route to Johannesburg
that no deal had been signed by any of the parties. Journalists had been
informed that Mbeki was leaving for the airport after 7.30 Wednesday morning
and would address them just before departure.

"We have dealt with all the elements on which President Mugabe and Mutambara
agree, but there is disagreement on one element over which Morgan Tsvangirai
had asked for time to reflect," Mbeki told reporters. "We have adjourned to
give Morgan Tsvangirai more time to consider these matters."

The adjournment means Mbeki will not have a deal to present to his
increasing anxious principals, the SADC heads of state who mandated him to
preside over the negotiations in Zimbabwe. The South African leader is
scheduled to welcome his regional counterparts as they arrive to attend he
will host in Midrand. The general expectation had been that he would present
a signed deal from Harare.

Mutambara was quoted last night as having refused to either confirm or deny
reports that he had done a deal with Mugabe, saying an official announcement
would be made on Wednesday.

While Mutambara declined to comment, his secretary general Welshman Ncube
denied that any deal had been signed.

"Let me state that no deal has been signed by anyone," Ncube said. "Dialogue
is still continuing."

The key obstacle to the talks has been Mugabe's refusal to surrender
executive power to Tsvangirai, whose MDC party now holds a slender majority
in Parliament.

The talks on Tuesday were the third session following a meeting that lasted
five hours on Monday and a marathon session that dragged on for a record
14-hour on Sunday. Pressure has been mounting for the political rivals to
urgently resolve the crisis, which intensified after Mugabe's controversial
re-election in June.

Tsvangirai won the presidential election on March 29, before pulling out of
the June 27 run off vote, citing violence and restrictions on his campaign.

But Mbeki said a political settlement was still possible.

"I am quite confident they will resolve all their outstanding matters which
would result in this inclusive government, and in the second instance then
acting together," he said.

The Tsvangirai MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti said: "The talks have not
collapsed. It's just a time out."

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Ncube backtracks as 7 MPs threaten to quit

Local News
August 13, 2008 | By Philip Mangena | © ⋅ Post a comment
Before the ink was dry,MDC Secretary General Welshman Ncube was forced to
deny that his faction had signed a power-sharing deal on Tuesday with
President Robert Mugabe after seven MPs from the faction threatened to cross

“No deal has been signed by anyone. Dialogue is still continuing.”,said

Last night Emmerson Mnangagwa,the Joint Operations Command Chairman had said
they will go ahead and sign a power sharing deal with leader of an MDC
faction Arther Mutambara and will be appointed Prime Minister.

“Tsvangirai is not special,we will go ahead and rule with Mutambara”, he was
overhead saying as the ZANU PF delegation left Rainbow Towers on Tuesday

The Tsvangirai led MDC has flatly declined ZANU PF ’s proposal that as Prime
Minister Tsvangirai would control only the finance,local government and home
affairs portfolios in the cabinet,while all executive power will vested on
the president, including appointing the cabinet, powers to dismiss the Prime
Minister,dismissing a cabinet member and chairing the cabinet.

MPs Threaten to quit

Seven MPs threatened to leave the faction if its leadership goes ahead and
signs the deal, as rumours spread yesterday evening an MDC MP in the
faction,Edward Tshotsho Mkhosi,MDC-Mangwe told Metro that if any such deal
is made he will quit the faction.

“No I will not watch history being repeated,we have seen ZANU PF’s strategy
of divide and rule in the past and this time it will not work,not this
 time.”,he said.

Another MP told the Telegraph,”If this has happened I don’t agree,” said
Abednico Bhebe,MDC-Nkayi South. “This will be disastrous. None of us will go
with him. He would be committing political suicide.”

Sen.David Coltart,MDC-Khumalo, said: “If that happened I don’t agree and I
doubt the majority of our executive would support that decision.”

Another MP who requested that his identity be withheld said,”How do you
explain that kind of deal to your constituency,beside there is no way we can
turn things around without our erstwhile colligues”,he said.

Metro also spoke to three other MPs who also said they will not be part of
such a deal and would not feel comfortable betraying their voters.

The only MP who sounded receptive of the deal was Moses Mzila
Ndlovu,MDC-Bulilima who was one of the negotiators in the power sharing
talks in South Africa.

Mutambara and Ncube lost parliament bids in Zengeza West and Makokoba
respectively to candidates from the faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

It has since emerged that during the talks the Mutambara MDC faction pushed
for an amendment of No. 19 so as increase appointed senators from five to

“Morgan Tsvangirai is the main opposition leader, and any agreement that
doesn’t include his party will not work for the country. It actually just
complicates issues,” said John Makumbe a University of Zimbabwe Professor.

Meanwhile Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says any power-sharing
arrangement in Zimbabwe that does not include Morgan Tsvangirai would be a

“We know that Mr Mutambara has a small breakaway group of the MDC, they have
been involved in the talks as well, but any outcome which emerged which did
not involve Mr Tsvangirai would effectively be a farce.”,he said.

(Report by Philip Mangena,bulawayo/@/

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Confusion after 3rd day of Zimbabwe talks

ANGUS SHAW, Associated Press Writer

August 12, 2008 4:31 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - President Robert Mugabe and a breakaway opposition
leader have agreed on a power-sharing deal, news reports and officials close
to the talks said Tuesday - but a spokesman for the splinter group denied
the claim.

Reports that Arthur Mutambara, who heads a breakaway faction of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, had struck a deal with Mugabe
were ''a lie,'' his spokesman Welshman Ncube said early Wednesday.

Officials from Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party and the main opposition
movement had said earlier that Mugabe and Mutambara had reached an agreement
that did not include opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because South African President Thabo
Mbeki, who is mediating the talks in Harare, insisted on confidentiality.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe have been holed up for three days in closed-door talks
on a power-sharing government that appeared to make little headway Tuesday.

Mugabe brushed off questions as he left the hotel Tuesday, but denied the
negotiations had failed. ''Talks will never collapse as long as we have
tongues,'' he said.

Tsvangirai looked grim as he left the hotel. He made no comment other than
to say that Mbeki would make a statement.

His party's No. 2, Tendai Biti, denied the talks had broken down. ''The
talks have not collapsed,'' he said. ''We are taking time out.''

Mutambara himself would not comment Tuesday but his body language exuded
confidence as he left the latest round of negotiations.

Mutambara's faction has just 10 seats in parliament but if he switches
allegiances, that would be enough for Mugabe to seize back the parliamentary
majority the MDC won in March.

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Zimbabwe talks 'on course' Mbeki says; Tsvangirai walks out

Aug 12, 2008, 23:46 GMT

Harare - South African President Thabo Mbeki denied that powersharing talks
between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) of Morgan Tsvangirai had collapsed after they ended
abruptly Tuesday without agreement.

'The talks have not collapsed,' Mbeki, who is mediating in the talks, told a
press conference at the end of a marathon three-day round of negotiations in
Harare. 'The process is on course and a lot of ground has been covered.'

'There was disagreement on one element of the negotiations by Morgan
Tsvangirai,' Mbeki said, adding the talks had been adjourned to give
Tsvangirai time to consider the issues.

Asked about unconfirmed reports that Mugabe had struck a deal with the third
party to the talks, MDC minority faction leader Arthur Mutambara, to share
power without Tsvangirai, Mbeki said: 'Whatever happened between the two
parties, we've no knowledge of it.'

He did say, however, that Mugabe and Mutambara 'agreed' on the make-up of a

Tsvangirai walked out of the negotiations earlier, fuelling speculation of a
breakdown in the talks, which are seen as the only way of digging Zimbabwe
out of months-long political deadlock and a severe economic crisis.

Both Mugabe and Tendai Biti, Tsvangirai's chief negotiator, had also said
the talks had not 'collapsed' but MDC sources close to the discussions said
they were deadlocked.

The BBC quoted sources within Zanu-PF as saying the party had struck a deal
with Mutambara's faction to share power but also quoted sources in the
Mutambara camp as rejecting the report.

Mutambara's MDC faction holds the balance of power in parliament. In recent
days, remarks by Mutambara have echoed some of Mugabe's positions.

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Zimbabwe talks break to give Tsvangirai 'time to consider': Mbeki

Yahoo News

by Godfrey Marawanyika 2 hours, 42 minutes ago

HARARE (AFP) - South African President Thabo Mbeki said Wednesday talks over
Zimbabwe's crisis had paused to allow opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
"time to consider", while denying claims of a deal that excludes him.

After three days spent mediating power-sharing negotiations to end
Zimbabwe's political crisis, Mbeki said he remained "confident" that all
three parties in the talks would find a resolution.

The talks have included Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, opposition
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the head of a
smaller MDC faction, Arthur Mutambara.

"We have dealt with all the elements on which President Mugabe and Mutambara
agree, but there is disagreement on one element over which Morgan Tsvangirai
had asked for time to reflect," said Mbeki.

"We have adjourned to give Morgan Tsvangirai more time to consider these

"I'm quite confident they will resolve all their outstanding matters which
would result in this inclusive government, and in the second instance then
acting together," Mbeki told reporters.

It was not immediately clear when the parties would meet again to resume

Mbeki's comments came shortly after a ruling party official said Mugabe and
Mutambara's faction had reached a deal that would lead to a new government,
but which did not include Tsvangirai.

Asked about whether a deal was signed, Mbeki said, "I wouldn't know about
it. We are facilitating discussions among three parties."

Welshman Ncube, secretary general for Mutambara's faction, made similar
comments, saying "no deal has been signed by anyone. Dialogue is still

Tsvangirai left the discussions on Tuesday evening without commenting, and
officials from his party could not immediately be reached.

The opposition leader finished ahead of Mugabe in the March first round of
the presidential election but boycotted the run-off in June, saying dozens
of his supporters had been killed and thousands injured.

Power-sharing talks began after the rivals signed a deal on July 21 laying
the framework for negotiations, leading to more than two weeks of
discussions in South Africa between representatives of the three sides.

Mbeki arrived in Zimbabwe over the weekend after both his government and
Mugabe indicated progress in the talks, though the MDC had said little
publicly about the negotiations in recent days.

Pressure had been building for the political rivals to resolve the crisis,
with a summit of regional leaders set to take place in South Africa this

Mbeki is expected to brief regional leaders on the state of the Zimbabwe
talks at the summit, and he said he would travel to Angola on Wednesday to
update President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on the negotiations.

Dos Santos is chair of a security arm of the Southern African Development
Community regional bloc.

Zimbabwe's crisis intensified after Mugabe's re-election in the June 27
presidential run-off, which was widely condemned as a sham.

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch called on southern African leaders to put
pressure on Mugabe to end political violence in order to resolve the
country's crisis.

Tsvangirai believes his first-round total gives him the right to the lion's
share of power. The ruling ZANU-PF party has insisted Mugabe must be
recognised as president in any deal, as he won the June vote.

Negotiations have reportedly included proposals for Mugabe, who has ruled
since independence from Britain in 1980, to take on a more ceremonial role
in exchange for amnesty from prosecution, with Tsvangirai being made
executive prime minister.

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Zimbabwe deal without Tsvangirai 'a farce': Australia


 SYDNEY, Aug 13 (AFP)

Any deal on a new government in Zimbabwe that excluded main opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai would be a farce, Australian Foreign Minister
Stephen Smith said Wednesday.

He was commenting on reports that President Robert Mugabe had reached an
agreement with a small opposition faction which did not include Tsvangirai,
leader of the Movement for Democratic Change.

"Any so-called government of national unity which did not involve Mr
Tsvangirai would effectively be a farce," Smith told Sky News.

"Mr Tsvangirai won the first round of the presidential election. His party,
the MDC, won a parliamentary majority."

An official of Mugabe's ruling party had earlier said that a deal had been
reached with Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway faction of the MDC,
which excluded Tsvangirai.

Such an arrangement "would fly in the face of any semblance of respecting
the will of the Zimbabwe people," Smith said.

South African President Thabo Mbeki said Wednesday talks over Zimbabwe's
future had paused to allow Tsvangirai "time to consider", while denying
claims of a deal that excludes him.

After three days spent mediating power-sharing negotiations, Mbeki said he
remained "confident" that all three parties in the talks would find a

Zimbabwe's political crisis intensified after Mugabe's re-election in a June
27 presidential run-off vote which Tsvangirai boycotted, saying dozens of
his supporters had been killed and thousands injured.

Power-sharing talks began after the rivals signed a deal laying a framework
for negotiations, which have reportedly included proposals for Mugabe to
take on a ceremonial role and Tsvangirai being made executive prime

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Mugabe in deal with opposition faction: Mbeki


Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:10pm EDT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe agreed a power-sharing
deal with a breakaway opposition faction on Tuesday, but has yet to agree
with main rival Morgan Tsvangirai, South African President Thabo Mbeki said.

Mbeki, mediating in talks to end the political and economic crisis
paralyzing Zimbabwe, said negotiations had not broken down and Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Tsvangirai was still considering his

"We have dealt with all the critical elements on which President Mugabe and
Mutambara agree, but there's disagreement with one element over which Morgan
Tsvangirai has asked for more time to reflect," Mbeki told reporters.

Mbeki was confident a solution to the crisis was possible. "I have no doubt
that's what will happen," he said. "If it means staying in this country for
6 months, I will do that".

A senior official of Mugabe's ZANU-PF told Reuters a deal had already been
signed with Arthur Mutambara's MDC faction, however, a spokesman for that
group said it was untrue. Mbeki said he did not know whether the deal had
actually been signed.

An agreement that sidelined Tsvangirai could make it even harder to ease the
crisis, which is a threat to regional stability, and to get Western
countries to lift sanctions on Mugabe's government.

Talks on power-sharing began last month after Mugabe's unopposed re-election
in a vote that was condemned around the world and boycotted by Tsvangirai
because of attacks on his supporters.

But three days of meetings in Harare have failed to reach an overall deal.

"We, and the MDC headed by Mutambara have signed the agreement. Tsvangirai
did not sign the agreement because he is basically trying to take us back,
to renegotiate issues that we had already agreed on," the ZANU-PF official
told Reuters.

"We are proceeding, and the president (Mugabe) is going to form a government
of national unity including members of the opposition."

A spokesman for Mutambara's faction of the MDC said it was untrue it had
signed a deal with Mugabe's party. He did not deny that an agreement had
been reached.

The ZANU-PF official said Mugabe, in power since 1980, would form a national
unity government and convene parliament next week.

Mutambara's 10 seats would give the coalition the majority in parliament
that ZANU-PF lost in March elections for the first time since independence,
but excluding Tsvangirai would be unlikely to heal the deep rift in the
southern African country.

"Morgan Tsvangirai is the main opposition leader, and any agreement that
doesn't include his party will not work for the country. It actually just
complicates issues," said John Makumbe, a Mugabe critic and veteran


Tsvangirai's absence in a new government would be likely to keep investors
cautious over a country facing economic ruin, with the world's highest
inflation of 2.2 million percent and chronic food and fuel shortages.

Nor is it likely to bring an end to Western sanctions targeting Mugabe's
government. Western countries had demanded a big role for Tsvangirai on the
grounds that he won the first round of elections but pulled out of the

Asked whether they would continue talks with Mugabe after his agreement with
Mutambara, the MDC official said: "Yes, we remain committed to dialogue, but
we want a fair power-sharing arrangement."

"We will now have to go back to the people and explain our position. They
can go ahead and form their government. We made our position clear, that
this issue is now in the hands of the facilitator," he added, referring to

Mbeki said he would travel to Angola on Wednesday to brief the chair of the
political organ of the 14-nation regional grouping SADC and he is due to
address its weekend summit in South Africa on the talks. Mbeki dismisses
criticism that he has been too soft on Mugabe.

The ZANU-PF official said Mugabe had not closed the door on more talks with
Tsvangirai but the ruling party refused to be "held hostage".

"The president has said they have not collapsed, and that is the position."

(Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe and Nelson Banya; Writing by
Gordon Bell and Michael Georgy; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Matthew

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Mutambara dons the emperor's new clothes

By Chofamba I. Sithole
Last updated: 08/14/2008 00:33:40
READING Arthur Mutambara's Heroes Day article (read) left me quite
disillusioned. I struggled to see the point of the whole thing right up
until I got to the section where he addresses Zimbabwe's international

The key point that he communicates by way of this article is that he has
capitulated and found accommodation in some significant respect with Robert

The article has Mugabe's demagogic ring to it. By regurgitating Mugabe's
political rhetoric and flawed anti-imperialism in this article, Mutambara is
merely confirming to us that he has endorsed Mugabe's ideological position
and relieved pressure on the old dictator by taking up the mantle of
anti-imperialist spokesman on Mugabe's behalf. He has in the process created
the perception or semblance of national or cross-party ideological
coalescence around Mugabe's ideas and vision.

The theme on western intervention is reflective of Mugabe's regime survival
strategy. Mugabe's Third Chimurenga discourse deploys the outside-looking-in
approach, by which local political contradictions are explained through the
prism of international relations. That way, everything that is wrong within
is the result of exogenous factors. The use and abuse of history that is
central to the Third Chimurenga discourse - what Terence Ranger called
Patriotic History - arises as the necessary result of this attempt to marry
the international to the local in a cause-and-effect relationship.

Propaganda becomes the cement with which these linkages are maintained.
Propaganda also becomes the shield with which external accusations of
illiberal practices on the part of the regime are parried. The easiest and
commonly employed strategy is to point to the west's own moral
inconsistencies to pre-empt the criticism. Mutambara's piece endorses this
approach unashamedly.

What this thinking means, essentially, is that we will countenance no
criticism of the state of our democracy for as long as we can find evidence
of worse realities subsisting elsewhere, or of western double standards and
hypocrisy. This deliberate subterfuge is meant to distract from engaging
with the substantive, egregious reality of violence and abuse on the ground.
But it is incomprehensible and shocking when these bouts of defensiveness
seize the leader of a democratic opposition whose activists are actually the
victims of such brutality!

As a leader of a pro-democracy party, Mutambara's chief problem should be
with Zanu PF authoritarian nationalism, which has also been the key
contradiction in Zimbabwe's post-independence history. This same
authoritarian nationalism has retained the violence of the liberation war
era at its core; it has retained the democratic centralism of the

This resulted in stifled internal liberation and a crisis of democratic
expectations on account of Zanu PF's incapacity to respond to democratic
impulses and reform accordingly (one of the central pillars in Zimbabwe's
crisis today remains Zanu PF's own internal succession crisis). This same
authoritarian nationalism has in the course of our young history
deliberately attempted to jettison democratic politics by actively lobbying
for and mobilising towards a legislated one-party state, all the while
dispensing harsh and violent treatment towards the erstwhile opposition
then - Zapu, itself a legitimate nationalist movement - by use of the old
colonialist's arsenal of repressive laws and emergency powers. It is this
context that ushered in Mutambara's political consciousness and gave birth
to his activism.

Therefore, how can the leader of a party contending with such historical
authoritarianism not address the question of our violently stifled search as
a nation for viable, democratic post-nationalist politics? Why does he not
speak of the second phase in our struggle - which is to put democracy back
into national liberation? On the day we commemorate the heroes of
yesterday's war, how can he afford not to speak to the reality of our
incomplete internal liberation and the need, therefore, for new heroes to
keep the democratic torch blazing until Zimbabwe is truly free?

Given that he speaks as the blood of hundreds of our brave compatriots flows
fresh into the soil of our motherland, why does he not speak to the tragedy
of oppression and violence that still stalks our land? Instead, he chooses
to share the podium with the author of our oppression to fart into the
whirlwind about western hypocrisy, when the widows of my uncle Dickson
Sibamba, Tonderai Ndira, Joshua Bakacheza and countless other brave souls -
all murdered by Zanu PF militia - still don mournful sackcloth and cry out
for justice!

The paradigm of repressive nationalism that gave Mutambara political
consciousness is right now at its zenith, with the so-called liberator
having come out clearly and unashamedly to declare to the entire nation that
it stands imprisoned to the gun that ended white rule; that the ballot - a
mere pen and paper affair - will not compromise the will of the bullet. It
is worse now than when, as a student leader, Mutambara clambered down the
walls of his University of Zimbabwe (UZ) residence on the historic morning
of October 4 1990, to escape Mugabe's murderous assassins, following
attempts to commemorate the 1989 anti-corruption demonstration.

It was even worse when, during Learnmore Jongwe's student leadership, riot
police opened fire for the first time on campus and shot Morememories
Chawira in the neck during a demo; and it deteriorated even further for Dewa
Mavhinga's student administration when riot police went a murderous step
further and bludgeoned poor Batanai Hadzizi to death, giving the UZ its
first student funeral from police brutality on campus. If Mutambara's
political genesis arises from his confrontation with Mugabe's repressive
state as a student leader, his successors faced even worse, as I've just
tried to show. The entire nation has experienced violence and death and
hunger and disease at the hands of Robert Mugabe.

If Mutambara cannot see the glaring tragicomedy of his own antithetical
behaviour by sidling up to the author of Zimbabwe's misery and wearing his
rhetorical garb to make political headway for himself, then he's an utterly,
irredeemably lost cause. For good measure, he chooses to berate the west and
not even once mention Mugabe's friends in the east who have continued to
pour in weapons and lend diplomatic succour to a regime that is guilty of
brutalising its own people.

Not once does he mention China's insidious role not only in Zimbabwe but
across the continent, including that hell on earth that is Darfur. He does
not question Mugabe's mortgaging of the country's natural resources to China
for the survival of the Zanu PF regime. Mutambara's moral compass only
registers western hypocrisy but easily glides over Chinese and Russian
contributions both to Zimbabwean and global illiberalism. Do China and
Russia present a model of involvement in international affairs that is
benign and positive? Is that what we should expect from a Mutambara foreign

Mutambara's fulminations reflect little by way of critical thought and
political judgment. One gets the sense of someone in a hurry to bolt in
before the back door is bolted. This is opportunism of the worst kind. But
why the hurry, Arthur?

Chofamba Sithole is a Zimbabwean journalist. E-mail:

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Mugabe hopes to cling to power by agreeing coalition deal with breakaway MDC faction

· Agreement does not meet terms of £1bn aid package
· Mediator Mbeki criticised for 'hopelessly weak' role
Chris McGreal Harare
The Guardian,
Wednesday August 13 2008

Robert Mugabe's officials claimed to have reached a deal to form a coalition
government with a minor opposition faction yesterday in the hope of winning
international legitimacy after talks with the president's main rival, Morgan
Tsvangirai, collapsed when Zimbabwe's leader refused to relinquish power.

An agreement between Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway
group from Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, to form a national
unity administration could give the president control of the new parliament.
But it would not open the door to the foreign aid Zimbabwe needs to
stabilise its wrecked economy, which is collapsing under inflation estimated
at above 10m per cent.

Britain and other foreign donors have said they will not unlock a £1bn aid
package until Mugabe relinquishes power to Tsvangirai who won the first
round of presidential elections in March but withdrew from a run-off contest
three months later amid a state-sponsored campaign of murder, beatings and
abductions against his supporters.

The terms of any deal with Mutambara were not immediately clear, although it
is likely Mugabe offered him the newly created post of prime minister or a
vice-presidency and some cabinet posts. Mugabe will retain real power.

Mutambara's faction holds just 10 seats in parliament but they represent the
balance of power and could keep Zanu-PF in control after it lost its
outright majority for the first time since independence 28 years ago.
However, it is not certain that all of the Mutambara faction would support a
deal with Mugabe.

Some of Mutambara's aides denied Zanu-PF's claims of an agreement and it may
yet prove to be a negotiating tactic to add to pressure on Tsvangirai.

Mutambara, an Oxford-educated robotics professor who appeared to look down
on Tsvangirai as his intellectual inferior but who failed to connect with
the mass of voters, said he would make an announcement today.

But South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, who mediated the talks in Harare,
said Mugabe and Mutambara were "agreed" on the terms of a deal while
Tsvangirai objected.

Mbeki said the talks had not failed and were adjourned to give Tsvangirai
time to consider the issues. But sources close to the MDC leader said the
three days of negotiations in Harare ran into the ground after Mugabe agreed
to appoint Tsvangirai as prime minister but insisted on retaining ultimate
authority over government. Among the Zimbabwean leader's demands was that he
be the most senior member of the cabinet.

Mugabe also rejected significant constitutional reform and insisted that a
new coalition administration under his authority serve a full five-year
term. Tsvangirai wanted an interim government of about two years before new

"Mugabe wanted Tsvangirai as a ceremonial prime minister. There was never
any serious intent by Mugabe to give up power," said a source close to the
negotiations. "There is no future for these talks unless the facilitator
[Mbeki] is able to come forward with proposals that demonstrate a change in
Mugabe's position."

Last night Mugabe's supporters were attempting to blame Tsvangirai for the
failure of the negotiations, accusing him of storming out of the talks when
they did not go his way. The MDC said Tsvangirai left when the meetings were

Mbeki has persistently talked up the prospects for a deal between the two
main rivals for power. He arrived on Sunday with his aides predicting an
agreement within the day in the hopes that a new government and parliament
would be installed this week; that would have permitted Mbeki to claim a
great success at a regional heads of government summit in Johannesburg this

But a source close to the talks described Mbeki's role as "hopelessly weak".
The source said: "The pressure only went one way, on Tsvangirai, and he had
no proposals to break the logjam."

Human Rights Watch yesterday said the state-orchestrated campaign of
violence against the opposition had claimed at least 163 lives with more
than 5,000 others beaten and tortured.

Profile: Arthur Mutambara
· Born in May 1966, Arthur Mutambara is a former student leader who is
recognised as one of Africa's most prominent scientists.

· While at the University of Zimbabwe in the late 1980s, he led the student
opposition to the ruling ZANU-PF.

· A former Rhodes Scholar, he specialised in the study of robotics. After a
doctorate at Oxford, he went to MIT and became professor at several other
universities in the US.

· Leader of a breakaway faction of the oppostion MDC, Mutambara was arrested
in June for criticising Robert Mugabe's handling of the March elections in
an article in the privately owned weekly, the Standard. Mutambara also
accused the government of intimidation, and questioned its right to stay in

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Mbeki fails to address press after talks

August 13, 2008

By Our Correspondents

HARARE - Journalists who waited until late last night for President Thabo
Mbeki to issue a statement on the crucial power-sharing negotiations which
he has presided over during the past three days were disappointed when an
aide told them just before midnight that no statement was forthcoming.

"The president will leave for Johannesburg at 8.30 am," the official said,
"and he is likely to address the press before he departs."

The first official to depart from the talks was Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who stormed out of the power-sharing
talks being held at the Rainbow Towers in Harare shortly before 8.00 pm.

He was in a pensive mood and refused to talk to waiting journalists.

"Mr Mbeki will issue a statement," was all he said as he emerged from the

A source close to the Mbeki delegation said then it appeared the long-waited
deal had collapsed.

"What appears likely to happen now is that there will be a signing ceremony
between President Mugabe and Mutambara, with provision for Tsvangirai to
sign at a later stage," he said. "But as of now Tsvangirai has walked out of
the talks and there is no indication he is returning soon."

He said it appeared very likely Professor Arthur Mutambara would emerge from
the talks as executive Prime Minister.  Mutambara himself departed three
quarters of an hour after Tsvangirai.

He told journalists Mbeki would issue an official statement on the outcome
of the talks. He said his own organisation, a breakaway faction of the MDC,
would issue its own statement on Wednesday

President Robert Mugabe was the last of the three Zimbabwean leaders to
leave the venue of the negotiations.

"As long as people have tongues talks will never collapse," he quipped while
smiling weakly.

Around 11.30 pm a Mbeki aide approached the journalists to advise that the
South African president would not address them until just before his
departure for the airport for an early morning flight back home. Meanwhile
information that Mugabe and Mutambara had signed a deal after the departure
of Tsvangirai continued to gain in strength. No official confirmation was
forthcoming, however. The apparent reluctance of Mbeki to address
journalists who had waited anxiously over four days gave rise to increased
speculation that he was not the bearer of good news.

The talks appear to have come to a somewhat anti-climatic end after three
days, during which MDC officials were quoted in the press as saying Mugabe
had made few real concessions while rejecting Tsvangirai's claim to be
Zimbabwe's legitimate leader because he won the election held in March.

Tsvangirai reportedly agreed to Mugabe remaining in office as a ceremonial
president but demanded that political power be shifted to him as an
executive prime minister at the head of a coalition cabinet. But, so said
the opposition sources, Mugabe had demanded that the prime minister remain
subordinate to the president.

"Zanu-PF is not talking about conceding any real power. They are talking
about giving up positions in cabinet but they want to remain in control.

"These guys aren't serious," one official said. "The differences revolve
around who will have power. They're not giving up anything on that. They
entered these negotiations solely to give up cosmetic issues."

Tsvangirai was reported to have come under pressure from Mbeki, the
mediator, to allow Mugabe to keep some degree of real power. But the
spokesman said the MDC leader had argued that would be a betrayal of the

"There is a lot of pressure on Tsvangirai. People in the party are telling
him that he cannot agree to a deal that does not recognise the people's will
and democracy. Mugabe . should not be allowed to keep power just because he
terrorised the population into voting for him.

"The pressure for us is coming from the people. They don't want to see some
kind of half-hearted change. If we were to do that we would lose
credibility. If Morgan takes something cosmetic from Zanu-PF he will lose
the support of the Zimbabwean people."

The decision by Mugabe to publicly announce yesterday, the rewarding of
several key figures associated with his controversial re-election through
the unleashing of brutal violence throughout the country must have
contributed to precipitating the fall-out at the talks.

Two members of the Joint Operations Command, as well as the chairman of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission George Chiweshe, were all promoted from the
rank of brigadier general to major general. All have retired from the army.

The appearance at Mugabe's side at the talks, of the commander of the JOC,
Constantine Chiwenga, who has said he would never serve under Tsvangirai
could not have done much to thaw relations among the delegates in the final
stages of the talks yesterday.

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Zimbabweans Express Disappointment after Opposition Leader Walks Out of Peace Talks


By Peter Clottey
Washington, D.C.
13 August 2008

Zimbabweans are reportedly expressing disappointment after the leader of
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai
walked out of the ongoing peace negotiations with the ruling ZANU-PF party
last night. Tsvangirai reportedly refused to sign an agreement that aims to
resolve the ongoing political and economic crisis. Tsvangirai's action
follows the refusal of President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party to
make Tsvangirai the head of government as part of a proposed unity

Political observes believe this latest development is a serious setback to
plans by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who is the mediator of the
talks, to present a progress report this week to the Southern African
Development Community (SADC).

Sydney Masamvu is a Zimbabwean with the International Crisis Group. He tells
reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Harare that President Mbeki should
find a common ground to surmount the sticking point of the talks.

"Morgan Tsvangirai has walked out of a meeting in the capital, Harare and
has refused to sign for the simple reason that President Robert Mugabe has
refused to concede that he (Tsvangirai) becomes the head of government. I
think in his report, which Mbeki is supposed to present, should actually say
in the very least that the two key players, Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert
Mugabe, are not in agreement on those key issues," Masamvu pointed out.

He said there is need for the mediator of the talks to find a common ground
to bring the opposing parties together.

"What he (Mbeki) should do is to find out a common ground of how he can move
beyond the sticking point and try to reach a compromise between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai," he said.

Masamvu said international pressure should be applied to force the two
parties to work out the stumbling blocks of the current negotiations.

"I think without a major climb down from Mugabe that he can no longer hold
the same powers which he has, and acknowledging the power dynamic or the
power consideration that the MDC's Tsvangirai can hold nationally. What is
needed is more pressure to come to bear on Mugabe to concede some powers and
allow Tsvangirai to be the head of government. The MDC is saying if Mugabe
can be the head of state, Tsvangirai should be the head of government, and
that should be the baseline of any compromise position," Masamvu noted.

He said Zimbabweans are gravely saddened by the latest development at the

"I can tell you the nation has been enveloped this evening with an air of
disappointment that they are actually looking at the economic meltdown,
looking at the collapse all over. So Zimbabweans across the political divide
have actually vested so much hope in these talks and that it has stalled has
become a source of disappointment to Zimbabweans, who are looking for a
resolution to the crisis," he said.

Masamvu said the mediator has a Herculean task of bringing back to life the
stalled peace talks.

"South Africa's President Mbeki, who has been the facilitator of the talks
knows the sticking points and he has to make an open public report to SADC
leaders. And over above that, I think he has to find a mechanism to get the
two key actors to reach a compromise. I think the current situation is very
much retrievable and is actually how the facilitator moves in terms of in
terms of bearing pressure on both actors, whichever way to try to
compromise, which I think is the best way forward," Masamvu pointed out.

He said main opposition leader should play a significant role in any
possible agreement that could be reached at the talks.

"Any agreement which does not take on board Morgan Tsvangirai's group, as
far as Zimbabweans are concerned, is by and large null and void. So the
issue and the argument that (MDC faction leader Arthur) Mutambara can sign
with Mugabe does not at all allow any breakthrough in the resolution of the
Zimbabwe crisis," he said.

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Zimbabwe Impasse Gives SADC Leaders Chance to Press for an End to Violence


By Howard Lesser
Washington, DC
13 August 2008

Southern African leaders are to meet in Johannesburg on Saturday as the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) tries to end Zimbabwe's
political crisis. With eyes focused on the talks underway in Harare, rights
activists are stressing that stopping the violence that has resulted in
deaths of 163 government opponents since the disputed March 29 election,
should take priority over securing agreement on a new power-sharing
government between the ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). From Johannesburg, Human Rights Watch senior
Zimbabwe researcher Tiseke Kasambala says that demobilizing and disarming
all ZANU-PF supporters, youth militia, and war veterans is the only way to
heal political strife and make it last beyond what she called a quick
political fix.

"The problem here is that they have yet to come to an agreement, and the
danger is that the issue of human rights on the ground in Zimbabwe as a
matter of priority is being swept aside in the search for a quick political
fix. And our view is that one of the causes of this crisis is the fact that
human rights violations have taken place with absolute impunity since the
1980's. Without addressing this, there can't be any durable, long-term
agreement," she noted.

Human Rights Watch has expressed disappointment that Zimbabwe's ruling
political machinery continues to undermine its opponents by stirring attacks
against villagers in rural areas, improperly detaining 12 opposition MPs who
face what Human Rights Watch calls politically motivated criminal charges,
and by imposing severe restrictions on the distribution of food aid by local
and international humanitarian agencies. Kasambala says SADC leaders on
Saturday should insist on agreement by the sides to a comprehensive program
of human rights reform before any definitive political agreement can be
hammered out.

"We have seen bad faith on the part of ZANU-PF as a political partner in
that very little effort has been made to dismantle the torture camps and
bases, to disarm and demobilize the armed ZANU-PF supporters and war
veterans that are still rampaging through some of the rural provinces of
Zimbabwe. And also, there has been very little investigation into the abuses
that have taken place since March 29 and have few prosecutions of the
abusers. So that is a serious problem," she said.

Human Rights Watch researcher Kasambala says the challenge for SADC leaders
who will come together in Johannesburg this weekend is how to move the
process forward beyond the distrust that exists between the factions and
their inability to accept each other's terms for working together in a
combined government.

"SADC leaders have today indicated that they would like to see both parties
come to the table and negotiate. So in our view, they've been quite lenient
with ZANU-PF, who we believe have been behind the violence. And one of the
ways they can pressure the ZANU-PF is by saying, 'Look, we recognize that
your people are behind most of the violence taking place in Zimbabwe. And if
you want us to continue to support these negotiations and not to question
your credibility as a genuine political partner in these negotiations, then
you must take urgent measures to end the violence. Condemning and denouncing
the violence, as ZANU-PF has done in the past few weeks is not enough," she

With pressure mounting for SADC chief mediator President Thabo Mbeki of
South Africa to get the parties to break the negotiating impasse, Human
Rights Watch says that how SADC leaders react to being briefed by South
Africa's president could determine the direction where negotiations will
proceed. Tiseke Kasambala says that with a communications blackout on
progress at the talks, SADC leaders need to get President Mbeki to make
human rights concerns a top priority on the negotiating agenda.

"It does look like President Mbeki is under intense pressure to help resolve
the situation in Zimbabwe. And that's because the crisis has had a huge
impact on Zimbabwe's neighbors. And it is within the interests of all SADC
leaders to see this situation resolved," she points out.

If SADC does not make clear that there must be significant human rights
progress on the ground in Zimbabwe, and if President Robert Mugabe does
nothing to end the violence, then Kasambala says SADC should look toward
excluding him from attending future meetings of African heads of state until
Zimbabwe shows signs of making progress in curbing domestic violence and
human rights abuses.

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Before any resolution, Zimbabwe first needs justice

Georgette Gagnon:
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Talks in Zimbabwe aimed at breaking the political deadlock in that country
cannot succeed unless the human rights violations that are the root cause of
the crisis are addressed.

Lead mediator President Thabo Mbeki and other Southern African Development
Community (SADC) leaders should press Zimbabwe's leadership to address
crucial human rights issues prior to any transitional government arising
from the current negotiations.

The government of Zimbabwe has committed and continues to commit serious
crimes. Multiple Human Rights Watch interviews with witnesses ranging from
newly elected MDC MPs, councillors, activists, perceived MDC supporters and
others demonstrate the serious nature of abuses committed by these militias.
They include killings, beatings, abductions and torture.

Despite ongoing negotiations between the two parties, horrific abuses
continue. Hundreds of MDC activists who fled the violence before the 27 June
runoff remain in hiding while "war veterans" and youth militia continue to
terrorise villagers in the rural areas. According to local non-governmental
organisations, Zanu-PF and its allies have been implicated in the killing of
at least 163 people and the beating and torture of more than 5,000 people
over the past three months. Thirty-two of these people were killed after the
27 June runoff, and two since the two parties signed the Memorandum of
Understanding. The government has made little effort to dismantle the
torture camps that it established in the immediate aftermath of the 29 March

The continued existence of these camps and armed Zanu-PF supporters, youth
militia and "war veterans" raises the possibility of further violence and
highlights the precarious nature of the human rights situation .

Zimbabwe's long history of impunity for such crimes should not be ignored in
the name of political expediency, and should be immediately addressed by the
political parties with the help of SADC and the African Union.

SADC leaders should pressure Zimbabwe's leadership to put an immediate end
to the violent campaign against MDC supporters.

They should also press the police to dismantle all torture camps and bases
and prosecute those responsible for torture and other mistreatment.

The politically motivated arrests of MDC officials serve to undermine
Zimbabwe's claims to democracy. The state should halt this campaign and
release those arbitrarily detained.

To end the culture of impunity, there should be an effective and impartial
investigation of the abuses that have occurred to bring perpetrators to

From a new Human Rights Watch report, 'They Beat Me like a Dog': Political
Persecution of Opposition Activists and Supporters in Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe Central Bank Overhaul Seen as Answer to Hyper-inflation


By Barry Wood
12 August 2008

Inflation in Zimbabwe is the highest in the world, with prices having risen
over two million percent in the past 12 months. VOA's Barry Wood reports
that financial specialists familiar with Zimbabwe say the hyper-inflation
would halt if the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe stopped printing money.

Former World Bank Vice-president Callisto Madavo blames Zimbabwe's central
bank and political interference in monetary affairs for the country's
financial disaster. Madavo, a Zimbabwean who teaches African development at
Washington's Georgetown University, points to what he sees as two major
blunders by the Zimbabwe central bank.

"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, through a number of activities, has A, not
only been printing money, but B, playing the role of a quasi-finance
ministry," said Callisto Madavo. "Which is a recipe for disaster for any
economy. This has to stop."

Frank Young, a retired US diplomat who recently returned from a visit to
Zimbabwe, says people in the capital have developed their own system to cope
with a desperate economy.

"From day to day, they think in terms of what a loaf of bread would be
worth, what a liter of petrol would be worth, what a car battery would be
worth," said Frank Young. "And they establish networks through which they
can trade these items of value, really using barter as the medium of

Young says since prices change day-to-day and even hour-to-hour, consumers
think only in terms of what an item is worth in US dollars or South African

Madavo says for Zimbabwe's inflation to end, central bank chief Gideon Gono
must be replaced. More importantly, he says the country needs a successful
conclusion to the power-sharing negotiations now underway in Pretoria and
Harare. When some public confidence has been restored, he says,
policy-makers must then turn their attention to stabilizing the economy.

Former US central bank official Willene Johnson agrees with Madavo that when
the Zimbabwe central bank stops printing money the hyper-inflation could end
quickly. Zimbabwean policy-makers, she says, need to develop and implement a
plan for economic stabilization.

"It's a plan for economic governance which involves not only finance but
adherence to a set of rules," said Willene Johnson. "It involves a legal
institution, a set of governing structures for the central bank, for the
financial institutions."

The Washington-based US Institute of Peace Tuesday organized a conference on
the Zimbabwe economy. Speakers, including Johnson, Madavo and Young,
stressed the urgent need for reconciliation and an end to the country's
ongoing political crisis. Zimbabwe's leader for 28 years, Robert Mugabe, was
defeated in a presidential election in March, but is refusing to leave

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Cosatu to block goods destined for Zimbabwe

August 13, 2008

JOHANNESBURG (Mail & Guardian) - A week-long boycott of goods destined for
Zimbabwe and Swaziland will be launched next month throughout the Southern
African region, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general
secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Tuesday.

"We commit ourselves to the creation of an effective momentum for sustained
boycotts of goods destined for the two countries, throughout the region,
with the trade-union movement taking an active lead," said Vavi, addressing
the media in, Johannesburg.

He said Cosatu was planning a one-week long boycott in September during
which all workers will refuse to touch goods destined for these countries,
in a bid to put pressure on their leaders.

"All workers must refuse to serve President Robert Mugabe and King Mswati
III, as well as their close associates and collaborators, anywhere in the
region, so as to ensure that they indeed feel the heat of isolation."

Vavi said specific dates for the boycott will be announced at a later stage,
but Cosatu is hoping to hold it near Swaziland's 40/40 independence
celebration, planned for September, which marks the 40th anniversary of
Swaziland's independence from Britain.

The government's response will be evaluated after a week. If nothing
transpires, Cosatu may extend the boycott to a second week.

The boycott action was one of the resolutions taken at the Zimbabwe and
Swaziland "Solidarity Conference", which ended in Johannesburg on Monday.
The conference also called for a halt to Zimbabwe's political violence that
followed the March 29 elections.

"All the structures which have been perpetrating and directing attacks must
be immediately dismantled and international monitors should be invited to
Zimbabwe to assist," the conference said.

Another call was for a lift of the ban in Zimbabwe on aid groups and civil
society organisations, so that they could attend to victims of the
humanitarian disaster.

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Peace at gunpoint is not peace at all

August 13, 2008

By Clapperton Mavhunga

ON BEHALF of all those whose relatives were bludgeoned to death for no other
reason than that they chose to oppose an evil dictatorship, this comes as no
surprise. Some of us have always warned that any peace at gunpoint is no
peace at all.

Mr. Editor, this circus has been long in coming and surprises nobody. If you
recall Grace Kwinjeh's brilliant and well-researched article of a few months
ago, the intention seems to have been to try and play the Unity Accord tape
all over again. What the regime did not see is that Zimbabweans have now
grown up and are used to this ruse.

If indeed the talks have collapsed, it's Robert Mugabe's loss, not Morgan
Tsvangirai's or that of the people of Zimbabwe. Historians will record this
as the second Internal Settlement. Just like the first, this one is not even
a postponement of a solution; it's a non-event, as Mugabe himself said in

Not that Morgan Tsvangirai could retain his mettle as the tribune of the
people had he signed a defective piece of paper settling him upstairs while
everybody else was picking ants with their mouths (kunhonga svosve
nomuromo). The people of Zimbabwe are not stupid. He would have been ditched
for somebody else who values the significance of gallant Zimbabweans
slaughtered, raped, tortured, and scattered into the mountains by the same
people who are supposed to protect them.

For a few moments, signing that stupid piece of paper will appear to be a
very 'cool' thing to do for Arthur Mutambara. Like Abel Muzorewa in 1978, he
shall enjoy his brief two minutes in the limelight. But what he will not see
is that unlike the struggle of the 1970s when the media and other weapons of
democratic struggle were still weak and dependent on print media, and hence
the power of the AK-47 then, this time they may fire the biggest guns they
have, but the world knows. Thanks to the power of the internet media-the
world will be told the full facts and they will not unlock even a penny of
their money to butchers of innocent blood. The junta will be bled even drier
until they run, tail between their legs, to sign a peace that will free the
people of Zimbabwe from this black on black slavery.

Those who feel that Mutambara must be on the sanctions list are justified.
He will be surprised to find that his hands are now so soiled that it is
virtually impossible to extricate himself. It lends credence to the
interpretation that he has always been part of the same machinery
responsible for the suffering of citizens. Like Caesar Zvayi, he will face
blows intended for all other gods. With Cosatu's announcement of a blockade,
there is nowhere to run. Zanu-PF has missed a chance to escape without being
sent to the Hague; the illusion of an ostrich, which buries its head in the
sand masquerading as a peace settlement, oblivious to the impending
hardening of attitudes.

But spare a thought for the stupidity of Arthur Mutambara, please! Such a
bad specimen of an intellectual, one wonders what he is thinking. But we
should not be surprised: the guy completes an unusual feat of being a
visitor - a visiting researcher at MIT, visitor to NASA, visitor to Stand
Bank, South Africa, visitor to the MDC, and now a visitor to Zanu PF.
Zimbabweans can derive comfort from one fact of life: that by their very
nature, visitors are present on a temporary basis.

Those who used to subscribe to the notion that the MDC does not listen to
their advice will realize they were quite mistaken. Realizing that a lot of
deep intellectual analysis is now being provided on web papers such as the
Zimbabwe Times, the MDC seems to have tapped well into this free consultancy
to augment its own increasingly rich repertoire of strategy. This may be why
a number of journalists and analysts were reportedly put on the list of
those whose relatives are to be seconded for the usual Zanu PF treatment.
The hope had been that by forcing many of the MDC's members and independent
thinkers into the Diaspora, the regime would create a vacuum around
Tsvangirai. Through the magnificent efforts of the online papers, the
opposite has happened.

Whatever the rubrics the junta may use to define what they will do hopping
into bed with Arthur's gang, there is no doubt that these are the last kicks
of a dying horse. They will shower each other with empty rank in illegal
fashion confirming that the 'civilian' head of ZEC is in fact a serving
member who has now been promoted to another notch, and that the prison has
become an extension of the military! But there is something they will never
get without Morgan Tsvangirai's authentication; legitimacy.

Congratulations Morgan Tsvangirai and all the boys and girls behind this
decision. You have rescued the republic from a fraud and narrowly averted
being guilty of a serious act of treason. Hold firm, don't be cowed to
betray the people's wishes. If Mbeki thinks he can arm-twist Zimbabweans
into accepting his own formula for peace, he has got another thing coming.
We are Zimbabweans, Mr. Mbeki. This is not a Limpopo Province. When we say
we want democracy in Zimbabwe, we do not stop with half measures.

We will defend our right to reject a dictator who sends soldiers to rape,
torture, and kill innocent people using stupid pan-African rhetoric as a
shield to hoodwink Africa. And to those African countries who swallow that
line, to hell with you and whatever philosophy you stand for that renders
the sanctity of life dispensable just so as to make a statement about
Pan-Africanism and sovereignty.

It is our determination that if we have to die for fighting for our rights,
then such a death is not new in Zimbabwean history.

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Farmers Reject Maize Producer Price

BULAWAYO, August 13 2008 - Maize producers in the country have
expressed serious concern over the ridiculous producer price of maize which
is being offered by the government, which is just enough to buy a five
kilogramme pack of the staple mealie meal.

The government through the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is buying a
tonne of maize at ZW 8,2 revalued currency.

The Zimbabwe Maize Producers Association President Wilson Nyabonda
said due to the fluctuations in fuel, labour, transport costs and inflation
the ZW $8.2 per tonne offered by the government was no longer viable.

"Farmers are asking for a better price to help them purchase inputs
for the coming season. With what the farmers are currently getting most
farmers will not be able to return to the fields this farming season," said

Nyabonda said the government should de-control the marketing of maize
in the country so that farmers can sell their produce directly to private
buyers who are offering better and competitive prices.

Information received by Radio VOP this week indicates that some
farmers who have harvested their crop were deliberately withholding it until
the government came up with a viable offer. Maize among other cereal crops
like wheat is a controlled commodity, which should be sold to GMB only.

Zimbabwe, facing a serious political and economic crisis, is facing an
acute food shortage.

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Imire Safari Ranch

Imire Safari Ranch are absolutely delighed to announce the capture, prosecution and sentencing of the perpetrators who slaughtered and killed our three rhino Amber, DJ and Sprinter and the unborn calf which was due any day on November 7th 2008.
We would like to thank and congratulate National Parks in particular who have been extremely supportive and persistent in the face of serious adversity to catch the perpetrators.
The perpetrators have been sentenced to 28 years imprisonment.They were responsible for the death of 17 rhino.
Imire would also like to take this opportunity to thank the public both in Zimbabwe and from fields afar, for their endless support over that tragic time, the response and concerns to the horror of the deaths of these endangered species was incredible and extremely humbling for us all on Imire.
We  cannot thank enough Johnny and Cheryl Rodrigues who are devoted to the plight of the wildlife of Zimbabwe.Johnny and Cheryl have sourced, found and collected the generous donations of skimmed powered milk from South Africa for Tatenda.
Tatenda grows from strength to strength, now 11months old and Poggle the wart hog is still the love of his life, how blessed and priviledged are we to have these wonderful animals weaving their colourful thread into our lifes tapestry?
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