August 14, 2008, 05:45
President Thabo Mbeki says he has no doubt a power sharing deal will be
concluded soon between Zimbabwe's rival parties.
Mbeki has briefed Angolan president Jose' Eduardo dos Santos, who chairs the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) organ on politics, defence and
security, which mandated South Africa to mediate in Zimbabwe.
This comes as media reports of a purported power sharing deal between
President Robert Mugabe and the leader of the smaller MDC faction Arthur
Mutambara is collapsing in Zimbabwe. However, Mutambara has dismissed these
reports as lies.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai was making a diplomatic appeal to express his
position. Yesterday, the opposition leader met African diplomats accredited
to Zimbabwe. The inconclusive outcome of this week's series of meetings
appears to have knocked some wind out of the sails of ordinary Zimbabweans.
In the meantime, the political leaders and the mediator remain in constant
contact, in a bid to reach agreement on the outstanding issue, preferably
before this weekend's SADC summit in Johannesburg.
Published: August 14 2008 03:11 | Last updated: August 14 2008 03:11
With Zimbabwe’s power-sharing talks once again stalled, the country’s fate
now depends on which of the four negotiators – trade unionist, liberation
hero, former McKinsey consultant or Africanist intellectual – will blink
When he emerged on Tuesday night from power-sharing talks at Harare’s
Rainbow Towers hotel, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change who came first in March’s first round of
presidential elections, was taciturn.
It appeared initially that the former labour organiser, beaten up by
security forces a year ago, might have been excluded from a deal.
Rumours circulated that Arthur Mutambara, a business strategy professor and
consultant, who leads a breakaway faction of the MDC, had cut a deal with
President Robert Mugabe.
But Mr Mutambara contradicted the state mouthpiece that had reported the
pact, saying there could be no agreement unless all parties signed up. Some
members of his faction argue that Mr Mutambara’s political reputation would
be fatally tainted by such an accommodation.
Even so, he left little doubt as to where his sympathies lay, joining the
government in accusing Mr Tsvangirai, who insists that he is entitled to
lead any transitional government as executive prime minister, of
Commenting on the talks on Wednesday, Mr Tsvangirai reiterated his
commitment to dialogue provided it reflected “the will of the people”. He
did not reveal the key points of disagreement.
Senior aides to Mr Tsvangirai have been ambivalent about the prospects for a
deal, saying that one could be in the offing, but hinting that a breakdown
of the talks could be in the opposition leader’s interests. “We will just go
off round the capitals again,” said one aide, referring to a diplomatic
campaign that has seen Europe and the US, as well as several of Mr Mugabe’s
neighbours, demand that Mr Mugabe cede power to his old rival.
With the economy collapsing, the MDC holds one important card. Donors will
refuse to hand over the $2bn (€1.3bn, £1bn) in planned reconstruction aid
should Mr Mugabe and his followers retain power.
“Without Tsvangirai, neither Mugabe nor Mutambara can form any sort of
government that will be credible in the eyes of Zimbabweans, the region and
the international community,” says Bella Matambanadzo, head of the Zimbabwe
programme at the Open Society Initiative.
But Mr Mugabe has insisted he retain some executive power. One person close
to the talks said his demands included the right to dismiss the prime
Even if Mr Tsvangirai wins executive power, he would have to overcome deep
divisions in his party.
As regional leaders gather in Johannesburg this weekend for a summit of the
Southern African Development Community, the MDC hopes its international
backers will exert more pressure on Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s president
who has been mediating the talks.
Mr Mbeki’s star has fallen since he hailed an “African renaissance” more
than a decade ago. Much criticised for his “quiet diplomacy” approach to
Zimbabwe’s crisis, he is scrambling for a deal that will secure his legacy.
With Botswana threatening to boycott the summit if Mr Mugabe attends, and
the powerful labour federation that is part of the ruling South African
alliance planning a massive demonstration for Saturday, Mr Mbeki will take
the bloc’s chair under unprecedented strain.
14 August 2008
Eddie Cross writes that the Zanu-PF leader's position can only weaken
Who said a day is a long time in politics! Last night we all witnessed a
sombre Morgan Tsvangirai walk out of the talks at 20h00 with a terse comment
to the press 'Mbeki will make a statement'. Then finally at midnight, a
clearly weary Mbeki came out to say that the talks were being interrupted to
give Morgan time to consider certain ideas.
On the sidelines Emmerson Mnangagwa claimed that they had done a deal with
Arthur Mutambara under which the Mutt would be Prime Minister and a Zanu/MDC
(M) cabinet. Mutambara was all over the place - to one set of journalists he
confirmed a deal was in the making and to another he denied any such deal.
Outside the Conference Centre, the Mutambara faction supporters and their
elected Members of Parliament were furious.
I once said to a visitor to our fair land, 'If you are not yet confused, you
have not been here long enough!' We continue to live up to this reputation
and the secrecy surrounding the talks does not help. I still think that the
policy of quiet diplomacy is wrong - it should be a much more open and
transparent process with much wider participation. Still that is not our
call to make - but to treat the press in such a cavalier way is just not
Morgan Tsvangirai will address a press conference this afternoon and after
that things should be a bit clearer [see here] but what is already apparent
is that little progress has been made in 4 days of intense talks. The main
issue remains power - who will exercise power in the transitional
government. Morgan is saying that since we won the March 29th election it
should be the MDC that controls the reins of government in the transition.
Mugabe just refuses to accept that reality.
To bridge this gap requires no skill - just brute strength. It's
hand-wrestling time. Mugabe is playing a dangerous game - if he conceded the
main issue and then worked on the other matters on the table he might make
progress. If he continues to refuse to do so he runs the very real risk that
when he finally has to give in he will not have the strength to defend the
essential interests of his supporters.
In 1973 I was part of a small group of exceptional young business executives
who were all also serving in one capacity or another in the Rhodesian
security forces. We were all under 30 years of age, rapidly rising through
the ranks in business and all born Rhodesians. We were a patriotic bunch
drawn from every possible profession.
We agreed to put our heads together and project different possible outcomes
for the war that was then in the second year of real conflict. After a month
of work we thought we had it pretty well sewn up - all our predictions were
for defeat in the long run and the different ways to get the best deal out
of the process of seeking a solution. We drafted a memorandum and sent it to
the Prime Minister with a letter asking him to see us.
Within a week we were called to a private home in Highlands where we found a
relaxed Ian Douglas Smith waiting for us. We sat on the floor and after we
had presented our conclusions to him with supporting argument and facts, he
responded by saying 'I simply cannot accept that we are not going to win
this war, we are winning the war and I can see no reason for changing
course.' Within six months, only 8 of that outstanding group of men were
left in the country - the others just packed up and left saying that that
they could see no reason to sacrifice their lives on a lost cause.
Three years later Smith was called to South Africa to meet a man called
Henry Kissinger, along with the South African President. It was the end of
his political career. When finally he got to Lancaster House to negotiate
the end of the war, he had lost the power to dictate anything except a short
transition protecting the narrow short-term interests of the white
community. In 1973 we had argued to Smith that he should settle
immediately - negotiate the best deal he could and if you look at the
proposals on the table at that time, had he done so he might have saved all
of us a lot of stress and suffering.
The similarities with that situation and the one we face today are uncanny.
Mugabe is winning the political skirmishes but losing the war. He is
gradually being forced to retreat and lose ground. It's a struggle he cannot
win, this is a numbers game and it's already lost. The longer he hangs on
and tries to defend what he has the less influence he will have over its
Mr. Mbeki says that the talks will go on and that he will stick at it until
a deal is reached. He is probably right to adopt such a stance as to abandon
the talks route is to open the door to bloodshed and violence and this can
only make the situation much worse. With the economy now disintegrating fast
it is unlikely that the regime will be able to pay the civil service at the
month end. Tax revenues lag government payments by about two months on
average - in two months with 42 million percent inflation; those tax
revenues will be worthless.
At yesterdays parade pf the army, Mugabe thanked the Chinese government for
a gift of new uniforms for the armed services - if he cannot get them to
also pick up the tab on their salaries at month end he might face a real
crisis and find himself - like the Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu in
1989 - ending up a casualty and in no position to negotiate anything, not
even where he should be buried.
Kissinger wrote in his autobiography, that it was the saddest day of his
life when he had to end the career of Smith in Pretoria. But in doing so he
began the process that ended a long and bloody war that was only going to
eventually conclude with defeat for the tiny embattled white minority and
their supporters. History has laid that mantle on the shoulders of Mbeki.
Eventually he will have to pull the trigger or someone else will do it for
him. Like all unpleasant tasks it is best not to dilly-dally about what is
This article first appeared on Eddie Cross's website August 13 2008
August 14, 2008
By Our Correspondent
BULAWAYO - Elected House of Assembly elects representing the breakaway
Arthur Mutambara led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have reacted
angrily to reports of a secret deal between their leader and President
MDC officials hastened to deny any such deal had been signed.
The legislators, all representing constituencies in Matabeleland, distanced
themselves from any signing of a power-sharing deal between Mutambara and
the Zanu-PF leader behind the back of Morgan Tsvangirai leader of the
State-owned newspapers, radio and television reported in detail on Wednesday
that Mugabe and Mutambara had signed the deal after Tsvangirai walked out of
the talks on Tuesday night. They reported that the signing would pave the
way for a government between Mugabe and the Mutambara MDC. They quoted
unnamed senior Zanu-PF officials as the source of the detailed information.
Legislators representing the Mutambara breakaway faction who are mostly from
Matabeleland South and North provinces reacted angrily to this development.
They spoke to The Zimbabwe Times on Wednesday and warned that they would not
work with Mugabe if Mutambara signed any deal with the 84 year old Zanu-PF
leader in the absence of Tsvangirai.
Mutambara's faction has one senator and 10 Members of Parliament who, like
the rest of the legislators elected on March 29, are still to be sworn-in.
They represent constituencies in Bulawayo and Matabeleland North and South
provinces. Mutambara himself, his deputy, Gibson Sibanda, and secretary
general Welshman Ncube as well as the rest of the leadership of his faction
were all defeated in the elections.
There is a perception that Mutambara, who was not a presidential candidate
and who was defeated as a parliamentary candidate has used the 10 seats as a
bargaining point in the negotiations.
"So far we have not been told anything about the deal but if the reports in
the state media are true that Mutambara signed the deal, this will be
disastrous as none of us will go with him. He would be committing political
suicide," said Abednigo Bhebhe, the MP elect for Nkayi South in Matabeleland
"There is no way we would agree to a deal without our colleagues in the
Another MP from the Mutambara group accused Mutambara of allegedly making
his own decisions in Harare without consulting the elected MPs.
"These guys are just making their silly decisions in Harare without even
coming down to the electorate who elected us,' said the MP who represents a
constituency in Matabeleland South.
South African President Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday confirmed that Mugabe had
agreed on certain aspects of the proposed power-sharing deal with a
breakaway opposition faction on Tuesday, but was yet to reach agreement with
his main rival, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mbeki, mediating in talks to end the political and economic crisis that has
paralysed Zimbabwe, said negotiations had not broken down and Tsvangirai was
still reflecting on certain aspects of the proposed deal.
Talks on power-sharing started in Pretoria last month following Mugabe's
unopposed re-election in a vote that was boycotted by Tsvangirai and widely
condemned around the world.
But three days of meetings in Harare failed to reach any binding agreement.
A Zanu-PF official was reported by The Herald to have told the paper that
Mugabe would form a national unity government and convene Parliament next
If that happens, Mutambara's 10 seats would give the coalition the majority
in parliament that Zanu-PF lost in March. Analysts say, however, that
excluding Tsvangirai from any deal held little prospect of healing the deep
rift between Zanu-PF and the MDC or of solving the current economic crisis.
The Herald reported that Mugabe and Mutambara had signed an agreement,
saying Tsvangirai had refused to do so at the last moment, "but this does
not affect progress".
"The principals of the other two parties have agreed that they cannot wait
any longer and the nation demands progress. As such, President Mugabe will
go ahead and form the next Government and Parliament will soon sit," the
newspaper quoted the senior Zanu-PF official as having said.
"President Mbeki understands that the negotiations cannot be stalled any
longer. The negotiators found it unfortunate that Tsvangirai pulled out at
the eleventh hour, but the talks are not over."
He said President Mbeki would be flying to Angola Wednesday to brief the
Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security on the progress of the talks.
Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos is the current chair of the organ.
Mutambara and his secretary general, Ncube, hastened to deny that any deal
been signed as widely reported.
14 August 2008
By Never Kadungure
Officials from the breakaway Mutambara MDC faction were locked in intense
meetings the whole day Wednesday amid speculation the party was on the verge
of disintergrating after its leader Arthur Mutambara unilaterally entered a
deal with Mugabe to share power.
On Tuesday evening Tsvangirai stormed out of a meeting with Mbeki, Mugabe
and Mutambara following a refusal by the Zanu PF leader to give up executive
power. With the state owned Herald newspaper confirming a deal was later
struck with Mutambara, the move created chaos within the faction.
Nehanda Radio understands Mutambara was offered a third Vice Presidential
spot to add to current Vice Presidents Joyce Mujuru and Joseph Msika. Other
officials from the party like Welshman Ncube, Priscilla Misihairambwi,
Gibson Sibanda and others who lost elections were offered influential posts
under the set up.
However 7 of the 10 MP's in the party threatened to resign if Mutambara
formed a government with Mugabe. Edward Tshotsho Mkhosi the MP for Mangwe
told journalists, '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.'
Abednico Bhebhe the MP for Nkayi South also made his position clear, 'If
this has happened I don't agree. This will be disastrous. None of us will go
with him. He would be committing political suicide.' Senior official Trudy
Stevenson seemed to warn Mutambara in a statement Wednesday that the
National Council of the party would not endorse such a position.
Only 3 MP's are said to support Mutambara's position but whichever way the
tide goes, Zimbabweans made their voice emphatic, telling the faction it
risked becoming irrelevant if it proceeded with the marriage.
August 14, 2008 | By Simba Dzvairo
MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti took a swipe at MDC Faction leader Arthur
Mutambara in a new row over talks and accused him of "Elitism".
As talks hit a deadlock last night over executive power and ZANU PF 's
demand that Mutambara be made deputy to Tsvangirai, all parties were on a
media stampede trying to explain their positions.
Mutambara in a press conference called Tsvangirai indecisive and the state
controlled media which usually publishes ZANU PF press statements as news
declared that a deal has been sealed.
Mutambara that Tsvangirai was indecisive,"Three times he agreed to this one
aspect and three times he changed his mind." Last year Mutambara called
Tsvangirai an 'intellectual midget'.
In an interview with VOA's Studio 7 Tendi Biti,MDC-Harare East took a veiled
swipe at Mutambara for rushing to commit to a deal with President Mugabe.
"We are mindful that we cannot sell the people of Zimbabwe and this party
cannot be swallowed and for positions and elitism rush into any agreement.",
Biti said in an interview which was broadcast last evening.
Biti also poured scorn over report in The Herald that Mugabe will go ahead
and convene parliament next week.
"The Memorandum of Understanding makes it very clear that no party during
the duration of the talks will do anything that will structurally derail the
talks and it makes it very clear that they are too things that cannot happen
which are mentioned by name which the appointment of a government and the
calling of parliament ", he said.
"If anyone in his wisdom of lack of it, is going to appoint a cabinet that
will amount to a unilateral repudiation of the agreement in simpler terms a
declaration of war on the talks", Biti said.
Meanwhile pundits say the inclusion of the smaller faction in the power
sharing talks was a bad idea by Mbeki in the first place and it was bound to
"The presence of a third party in any dialogue complicates matters, as you
will notice since the talks began ZANU PF has been trying to curry favour
with the Mutambara faction so they could get concessions from the Tsvangirai
MDC which a real threat to ZANU PF."
"The larger MDC faction is also trying to avoid any action that might upset
their colleagues so they have to maintain a delicate balancing act while not
conceding too much ground", noted Asher Tarivona-Mutsengi, a social
Stephen Bevan writting in the Times said the first time he spoke to
Mutambara he struck him as a elitist and a man driven by ruthless ambition.
"Two and a half years ago when he granted me a rare interview in
Johannesburg he refused to get up from his desk to pose for the photographer
because his jacket did not match his trousers. "I'm very concerned about my
image," he said.
Business Day (Johannesburg)
14 August 2008
Posted to the web 14 August 2008
ZIMBABWE's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai walked out of talks with
President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday after Mugabe was unable to guarantee in
writing that Tsvangirai would be head of government in a power-sharing deal,
it emerged yesterday.
Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), said yesterday he remained committed to the talks and hoped the
sticking points would be resolved soon.
On Tuesday evening he refused to sign a draft power-sharing agreement at a
meeting chaired by President Thabo Mbeki.
Informed sources said he refused to sign a document titled Functions and
Powers of the Prime Minister, the last part of a consolidated draft
agreement. The sources said the draft made Tsvangirai a prime minister, a de
facto but not de jure, head of government. A new constitutional framework
would have given him the powers of a head of government, but that title was
omitted from the draft.
It is understood that Tsvangirai insisted on insertion of a clause
stipulating him as head of government, but Mugabe refused, saying it would
render him a merely ceremonial president. Talks then collapsed.
Yesterday, Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller, breakaway faction of the
MDC, confirmed that Tsvangirai had initially agreed to sign the document but
changed his mind several times. "Tsvangirai has requested time to reflect
and consult. Three times he agreed to this one aspect and three times he
changed his mind."
Tsvangirai yesterday said he remained committed to the talks because he
wanted a peaceful settlement.
"Our objective is simple -- a peaceful resolution to the crisis that
respects the will of the people. The MDC remains committed to participating
in any meaningful and genuine dialogue that urgently moves this process
forward," he said, adding that he wanted a solution that recognised the
results of the March 29 election. His party won 100 seats in parliament,
Zanu (PF) 99 and Mutambara's faction 10. A majority of 106 is needed to form
a government. Mutambara yesterday denied that he had signed a deal with
Mugabe, but said any party was entitled to enter into bilateral discussions
should the talks fail.
MDC spokesman Tapiwa Mashakada said to resolve the talks impasse would
require a "proper distribution and balance of power" to ensure political
Mbeki has said the talks have not collapsed, echoing remarks by all the
negotiators. "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 Tsvangirai more time to consider these matters."
Wed 13 Aug 2008, 23:04 GMT
By Luke Baker
LONDON, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Like millions of Zimbabweans living abroad,
Leslie Maruziva follows the tortuous power-sharing talks going on at home.
He wonders about leaving London and going back. But for now, he is
Up to 4 million Zimbabweans are estimated to live outside the country, in
neighbouring South Africa, Mozambique or Botswana, or further afield in
Britain, the United States and Canada, while around 13 million remain at
If President Robert Mugabe were to step down or agree to share power with
the opposition, which boycotted June elections condemned internationally as
unfair, many might decide to return to Zimbabwe. But until there are
guarantees about the pace and extent of change, most will hold off.
"I have one eye looking very closely at developments back home -- I speak to
people, I have family there -- but I'm not going to rush anything," said
Maruziva, 38, a senior executive with the London Development Agency.
He has lived in Britain since 1989 and is now married -- to a Ghanaian --
with young children. His friends in Britain include Zimbabwean investment
bankers and doctors.
"I've been here a long time, I have a family here and it's not just a case
of upping and leaving and going back. There's a lot to take into account. I
know a lot of Zimbabwean professionals who are in a similar situation."
A large percentage of those who have left Zimbabwe are well-educated
professionals -- the kind of people many African countries want to lure
back. They have found jobs in their adopted countries and started families.
Returning when things are uncertain is, for many, just too much of a risk.
"I don't want to go back blind," Maruziva said. "I need to be able to go
back and set myself up with a job that allows me to provide for my family,
both my immediate family and the extended family, and that is not going to
"Political stability is essential, and other things will fall into place
after that, but it will take time."
EYEING THE PRIZE
Thousands of Nigerians, Kenyans, Ghanaians and other Africans, who left as
refugees or to study and work abroad, have returned home in recent years to
invest, eager to help their countries' development and cash in on
opportunities for growth.
But the countries that have enticed back their educated diaspora are
generally relatively stable -- like Ghana and Nigeria -- or have enjoyed
several years of peace after war, like Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Zimbabwe has not been at war but its once promising economy is in ruins,
with the world's highest inflation and chronic fuel and food shortages.
Without a resolution to the political crisis, there is little hope of
Zimbabweans, whether educated professionals or the millions of less well-off
who have fled by foot across the border, can't afford to wait forever for
their homeland to turn around.
Traditionally a stable and productive nation, Zimbabwe has natural beauty,
minerals like platinum, gold and diamonds and an education system that is
the envy of the rest of Africa. As a place to invest, it is a hot ticket and
the earliest movers may very likely have an advantage.
Russian and Chinese entrepreneurs are already looking at opportunities, and
wealthy Zimbabweans abroad are also lining themselves up, having bought
property and small businesses on the cheap in recent years, betting that the
situation would eventually turn and they would be well placed.
This year, investors have so far poured an estimated $150-$250 million into
what was once southern Africa's major grain producer, and Zimbabweans abroad
send back around $50 million a month.
Investors from other African nations, such as Nigeria and Ghana, are also
staying abreast of the situation, familiar with how rapidly nations can turn
around and business opportunities spring up. Timing, for all, is of the
"Right now, the risk-takers are already taking up positions," said Shingai
Ndoro, 29, the chief executive of JT Global Group, a London-based
consultancy that is looking to help investors and skilled Zimbabweans return
to the country.
"Even the regular man on the street in Zimbabwe right now is very
entrepreneurial -- he has to be or otherwise he won't make enough to
survive. I think that entrepreneurial spirit is going to be carried forward,
and so people will have to be sharp.
"A lot of colleagues and professionals living here in England have already
developed their networks back home. For me, it wouldn't take me more than a
few months to go back, even if it might take five years for the situation to
really turn around, or even for the exchange rate to stabilise."
WHAT ABOUT JUSTICE?
Opportunities may abound, but the challenges run deep.
Inflation is running at more than two million percent, a figure that is
essentially meaningless -- until a redenomination of the currency this
month, the largest note was worth 100 billion. Most fundamentally, there is
not enough food.
Even if Mugabe, 84, were to step aside, or at least share power, the
differences between his ZANU-PF party and their rivals would not be settled
overnight, and the militant mobs who support him are unlikely to stop their
attacks on opponents.
Thousands of people who have voted against Mugabe or openly opposed his rule
say they have been beaten and tortured by his followers before fleeing into
exile. They want justice, or at least a fair hearing, and won't return until
they feel sure.
"There are many, many people who would want to return and contribute to the
rebuilding of Zimbabwe, but there is still uncertainty and a lack of clarity
about what role the diaspora would play," said Gabriel Shumba, the director
of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, a support group based in South Africa.
"There are people who have been tortured, raped, people whose families have
been killed. Do they want to return right away, without knowing if there
will be justice?
"I think many people will wait to see how the situation develops, to make
sure that there is no longer violence, that inflation has gone down. Perhaps
it will be one or two years."
For Maruziva, who left as an adventurous 18-year-old to go backpacking in
Europe and didn't return partly for political reasons, the key will be
striking a balance between keeping the family he now has in Britain
comfortable, and not missing out on opportunities Zimbabwe may soon offer.
"I think you will see Zimbabweans making new ties, testing the water to go
back, but not leaving everything they've got here because they can't afford
to go back and lose everything.
"People with money to invest, whether in property or small businesses or
mineral processing, they are ready. But the time is not yet. It's still some
time off," said Maruziva.
14 August 2008
THIS weekend's Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit has all
the elements of a dysfunctional family's Christmas gathering, if one member
comes another chooses to stay away.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was invited despite the wish of some SADC
members that he be shunned. He is accused of stealing the country's
presidency and orchestrating a terror campaign against the opposition. His
presence is likely to split the 14-member grouping.
SADC executive secretary Tomaz Augusto Solamoa yesterday said all regional
heads of state and governments, including Mugabe, had been invited to the
"It's now up to the relevant authorities in Zimbabwe to decide who's going
to come," he said at a media briefing.
Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Zimbabwe had confirmed its
attendance but not who would represent the country at the Johannesburg
It was also unclear if Botswana head of state Ian Khama would attend .
Dlamini-Zuma said it would be sad if he stayed away. A critic of events in
Zimbabwe, Khama had threatened to boycott the summit if Mugabe was invited.
The outgoing SADC chairman, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, is
recuperating from a stroke, and it is uncertain if acting head of state
Lupando Mwape will attend.
Dlamini-Zuma said it was unclear if the Zambian constitution allowed an
acting head of state to be out of the country in the president's absence.
President Thabo Mbeki is due to take over chairmanship of SADC from
Siphamandla Zondi, of the Institute for Global Dialogue, said the weekend
summit would reflect an uncanny tussle between "the normal security agenda
that usually dominates" and issues of economic and human development. The
challenge for the outgoing chairman was to strike a balance between the two
agendas, thereby setting the brief for Mbeki, the incoming chairman. For
SA - the dominant economy that elicited a measure of hostility in the
region - perceptions that it was placing its own economic interests ahead of
regional interests could undermine support for the political agenda, said
Zondi. With Sapa.
August 14, 2008 Edition 1
The SADC weekend summit was heading for disarray yesterday, with the two
presidents critical of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe unlikely to attend, and no
official yet on hand to hand over the reins to South Africa.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called on President
Thabo Mbeki to use the summit to reverse Mugabe's ban on humanitarian
"I would feel very sad," said SA foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,
when asked about Botswana's mooted non-attendance.
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa is due to officially hand over the SADC
chair to Thabo Mbeki. Since he is in hospital with a heart complaint, he
will not be able to perform this duty.
Mbeki flew to Luanda yesterday to discuss the crisis with President Eduardo
Dos Santos, who heads the SADC's organ on politics and security.
Meanwhile, Arthur Mutambara, who has been negotiating with Mugabe and
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, denied he had signed a deal with
Mugabe. A well-placed source in the talks said Mutambara had initialled the
draft agreement prepared by negotiators in South Africa before the Harare
meeting. The four went through it until they came to a section on the prime
The draft would keep Mugabe as chairman of the cabinet and appointer of the
prime minister, and he would retain most of his powers. After Mugabe and
Mutambara had initialled the page, Tsvangirai refused.
Yesterday Tsvangirai issued a statement to the "people of Zimbabwe",
describing Zimbabwe as "one of the worst man-made humanitarian disasters of
a new and hopeful century".
He said a deal would have to be based on the wishes of the electorate as
expressed in the March 29 elections. - Mercury Foreign Service
August 14, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Runyararo Mugauri, an MDC activist who was severely attacked by
Zanu-PF supporters early this month in Chiweshe, died in Harare on Saturday.
According to medical reports, Mugauri, who was the MDC youth secretary for
Mazowe District was attacked with blunt objects at his homestead. He
sustained serious injuries.
Party officials ferried Mugauri to Harare for treatment but due to the
nature of the injuries doctors failed to perform skin grafting leading him
to succumb to his death on Saturday night.
"We tried our best to help him but due to the seriousness of his injuries,
Mugauri could not live for long. He was in urgent need of skin grafting on
his buttocks but this could not be performed as he was in a very bad state,"
said the doctor who was attending to Mugauri.
The death of Mugauri brings to 125 the number of MDC supporters who have
been murdered at the hands of Zanu-PF militants.
Last week Zanu-PF supporters allegedly killed two more MDC supporters,
including Fungisayi Ziome also of Chiweshe. Although a report was filed with
the police with some of the alleged perpetrators being identified, no
arrests have so far been made.
Mugauri is expected to be buried in Chiweshe on Friday.
August 14, 2008
By Geoffrey Nyarota
(Published in The Financial Gazette, 2006)
ANY Zimbabwean politician who despises those of his compatriots who are less
academically inclined or accomplished than him invites the wrath of people
who constitute the majority of the electorate.
While our country's adult literacy figures are high by any standard, the
highest on the African continent, men and women of outstanding scholarly
achievement constitute a tiny percentage of the population of Zimbabwe.
Long before the October 2005 split within the ranks of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, the much-talked about lack of dazzling
academic accomplishment of party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, had become a
potentially divisive matter among the top hierarchy of the party. As a
parliamentary committee worked on the draft of the 2005 constitutional
amendments, which ushered in the controversial revival of the senate, the
then MDC secretary for legal affairs, David Coltart, attempted to sneak in
an amendment clause which would have barred non-degreed politicians from
aspiring to be President of Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai was the obvious target of the proposed amendment. Coltart
submitted the clause without the knowledge of Tsvangirai, who only got wind
of the intrigues taking place behind his back after the proposed clause was
rejected by the committee. The same Coltart now portrays himself as arbiter
in the dispute which subsequently raged, pitying MDC secretary general, Prof
Welshman Ncube against Tsvangirai and which Coltart quite clearly fuelled in
Those within the leadership of the MDC breakaway faction who collectively
despise Tsvangirai's lack of higher education do not all possess the
attribute of an impressive academic record, unless, of course, they now
consider themselves well-read merely by their association with their learned
secretary general. They must now feel an enhanced sense of accomplishment as
they bask in the reflected glory of the academic distinction of Prof Arthur
Gibson Sibanda, Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga and Trudy Stevenson, for
instance, are politicians of modest academic attainment. Sibanda was a train
driver before he became a trade unionist. Before him, Sir Roy Welensky, who
became Prime Minister of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1956,
was a former train driver and trade unionist as well. In his younger days he
was Southern Rhodesia's heavy-weight boxing champion.
While Harvard and Yale Universities are the veritable training ground for
United States politicians and business leaders, academic prowess does not
always translate into fine political acumen and socio-economic benefits for
ordinary people. If the long-suffering masses of Zimbabwe have derived any
direct benefit from the fine intellectual aptitude of their compatriots of
profound erudition such benefit must be of miniscule proportion.
Names of individuals such as Prof Ncube, former Information Minister Prof
Jonathan Moyo, education minister, Dr Stan Mudenge and Dr Tafataona Mahoso,
chairman of the Media and Information Commission, as well as a host of other
Zimbabweans, including the President himself, immediately come to mind.
They include the ultra-eloquent Dr Herbert Ushewokunze, the politically
shrewd Dr Eddison Zvobgo, the cosmopolitan Dr Bernard Chidzero, now all
late, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, the eminently loyal Zanu-PF cadre, the gifted
but lackluster Dr Simba Makoni and the once all-powerful Dr Charles Utete.
Dr Naomi Nhiwatiwa, now in the Diaspora, Dr Ibbo Mandaza, who became
disastrously imbedded with the CIO, the uninformed Dr Joseph Made, and of
late the headstrong Professor Mutambara and the voluble Mr David Coltart
also deserve mention in this regard. Prof Phenias Makhurane, Dr Themba
Dlodlo and the illustrious Dr Frank Khumalo should also be cited.
Before her sojourn at Harvard Margaret Dongo was a political firebrand. On
return from there the shrew in her had been tamed. As I write, two
well-educated Zimbabweans, Prof Moyo and dispossessed entrepreneur, Mutumwa
Mawere, are locked in disgraceful and mortal conflict. Having both benefited
from Zanu-PF patronage in the past they are now engaged in mutually
destructive combat on a Zimbabwean website, where they have taken to
exposing as much as possible of each other's allegedly sinful past, much to
the delight of readers. Discerning observers must wonder, however, whether
their combined energy cannot be exploited more profitably for Zimbabwe.
At the attainment of independence in 1980 the Mugabe cabinet was hailed as
one of the most educated in the world. Today what benefits do Zimbabweans
have to show for that rare collective distinction?
In fact, some of our learned professors have aggravated a national dilemma,
whose origins can be traced back directly to the policies and actions of our
much-degreed President and his equally erudite cohorts. Generally, the rest
of Zimbabwe's educated elite have a disturbing tendency to recline in the
comfort of their armchairs while puzzlingly lamenting that President Thabo
Mbeki of South Africa does not intervene to extricate their country from its
It was in such circumstances of political lethargy among the educated that
Tsvangirai overcame his own fear and academic handicap to challenge
government's growing authoritarianism and provide leadership to a robust
opposition movement. If it wasn't for the cunning intervention of the same
scholarly Prof Moyo on behalf of the ruling Zanu-PF in 2000, the MDC's
campaign against dictatorship would have, in all probability, succeeded
then. Once his subsequent divorce from Zanu-PF was finalized, the same Moyo
announced that he was forming a political party of his own. The name eludes
my memory. The party died in its infancy, however, despite Moyo's much
acclaimed education. He immediately assumed the role of self-appointed
advisor to those established politicians whose parties remain the mainstay
of our politics.
It is not the uneducated masses who relegated Zimbabwe, once the prosperous
and bountiful breadbasket of southern Africa, to a basket case itself. The
educated unleashed Gukurahundi on Matabeleland and peasants of limited
educated suffered the dire consequences. The uneducated may have physically
planted the bombs that destroyed the Daily News printing press, but they
were assigned by the educated. It is not the unschooled who amended the
constitution to create a de facto life-presidency before enacting the
draconian AIPPA and POSA. It is a select few who now seek to further
undermine Zimbabwe through senseless pursuit of the so-called Republic of
At the height of Moyo's reign as Minister of Information, I was
editor-in-chief of The Daily News. We published in the paper a touching
letter to the editor. Submitted by a Bulawayo reader its content has
remained indelibly imbedded in my memory.
"If that is what education does to people," the correspondent opined with
regard to Moyo, "I will not send my children to school."
That notwithstanding, Tsvangirai, on the other hand, needs to address the
cause of general disaffection with his leadership qualities. He must take
cognisance of Joyce Mujuru's remarkable achievement. When she arrived in
Harare at the end of the war of liberation in 1980 she was barely literate.
I hear that today, while still lacking political charisma, she has become a
fairly articulate Vice-President, after she went back to the desk. As they
say in Ndebele: "Ukufunda akupheli." There is no end to the learning
Strictly speaking, however, while a reasonable level of education is a
prerequisite, one does not need to be a man or woman of much book to be an
effective leader. A more critical attribute is the capacity to attract
experts in various fields of human endeavour in order to build a broad-based
and multi-skilled team. A head of state cannot be expected to be a farmer,
an economist, a surgeon, a lawyer, a metallurgist, a media expert, a
military strategist and a sociologist, all rolled into one.
A significant weakness of the Mugabe administration has been the element of
cronyism. This resulted in the appointment of Zanu-PF stalwarts to
ministerial portfolios for which they possessed no relevant qualification or
previous experience. Notable examples are the appointment of Enos Mzombi
Nkala and Dr Herbert Murerwa to the crucial Ministry of Finance and the
selection of the late Enos Chikowore to head the Ministry of Transport.
Zimbabwe suffers today from the disastrous consequences. In similar fashion
Mugabe shunted Victoria Chitepo and Joyce Mujuru subsequently to the
Ministry of Information.
Above all, a political leader must demonstrate that not only is he or she in
touch with the people, but that he or she is also prepared to make personal
sacrifices for their welfare and benefit; not just for self.
From a different perspective, an entrenched lack of ethnic cohesion within
the ranks of the political opposition will continue to bedevil the
achievement of genuine democracy, development, peace, and prosperity long
after Mugabe has departed, unless this dilemma is addressed squarely without
To strengthen the position of the opposition in the face of a weakening
ruling party, Tsvangirai must be magnanimous as he rides on the crest of
what appears to be a current wave of political popularity. He needs to
extend a hand of friendship and reconciliation to his erstwhile colleagues
in the MDC executive in a bid to restore the MDC to its former national
grandeur and supremacy.
On their part, Welshman Ncube and Gibson Sibanda must swallow their
misplaced pride, especially now that it is apparent their largely
ethnic-based break-away faction of the MDC stands limited prospect of
generating a national political following, whatever Mutambara may say about
the alleged irrelevance of numbers in politics.
Placing nation before self, all three politicians should reconcile their
differences, whatever Coltart says now about the alleged violent disposition
August 14, 2008
By Jonathan Moyo, MP
(NewZimbabwe, December 2007)
IF PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe truly and honestly believes that he is a serious
presidential candidate in the general election scheduled for March 2008 and
that he can best govern this battered country until 2013 should he win, then
he miserably failed to demonstrate that at the controversial Zanu PF
extraordinary congress which started late yesterday afternoon.
The simple truth is that Mugabe has no national reason to seek reelection
and that Zanu PF is being particularly irresponsible by allowing him to do
that in a disgraceful manner as shown yesterday at the special congress.
So pathetic was Mugabe's performance that when he was formally declared the
ruling party's presidential candidate, fair-minded Zimbabweans in and
outside Zanu PF who had or still have a soft spot for him for one reason or
another did not know whether to laugh or cry.
The televised ill-fated declaration was as unwise and as sad as a different
but morally equivalent event some 29 years ago when an aged and out-of-shape
Muhammad Ali unwisely agreed to defend his world heavy weight boxing title
against a young and agile Leon Spinks who went on to clobber and humiliate
him on February 15 1978.
Because Zanu PF's irresponsibility has caused it to fail to protect the
national interest and because Mugabe is apparently determined to thrive
under that failure in pursuit of his personal ambition to be president for
life, it is now up to Zimbabweans across the political divide to rise to the
challenge by finding a united front to stop Mugabe and his cronies from
turning their self-indulgence into a national catastrophe.
Before he was declared as the Zanu PF candidate yesterday, Mugabe opened the
Zanu PF special congress with an uncharacteristically insipid speech,
delivered in a cracking voice and notable for its shocking incoherence,
irrelevance and lack of inspiration. His rambling speech sent a clear, loud
and very worrying message to bemused delegates that Mugabe now represents an
But if Mugabe's speech was pathetic from the point of view of someone who
desperately needed to convince his special congress delegates and the
television audience that he has what is required to solve the nation's
daunting problems many of which have been caused by him or during his
controversial rule over the last 27 years, the proceedings that followed his
uninspiring speech proved beyond any doubt that the Zanu PF special congress
was a charade.
Consider the following: Mugabe's hopeless speech, which was full of the same
old clichés he has been saying over and over again to no useful end, was
immediately followed by a perfunctory tabling of the central committee
report for adoption by Vice President Joice Mujuru who had the appearance of
someone who was so removed from it all that she could not care less. Her
dutiful act was followed by long-winded and useless vote of thanks from Vice
President Joseph Msika whose essence was to confirm that the Zanu PF
presidium would be better consigned in a museum than anywhere else in a
properly functioning society, let alone a democratic one.
When the presidium was done, the secretary for legal affairs, Emmerson
Mnangagwa, was asked to announce the main purpose of the special congress
and he outlined two. First, he said that the special congress was being
asked to ratify constitutional amendment 18 and he narrated the background
to its enactment by the Parliament of Zimbabwe which he situated in the Sadc
mandated South African led talks between Zanu PF and the two MDC factions.
What was shocking is that Minister Mnangagwa did not seem to appreciate the
absurdity of asking a Zanu PF congregation, with no standing in our
Constitution whatsoever, to ratify an Act of the Parliament of Zimbabwe. The
matter would have been different and even understandable if he had asked the
Zanu PF special congress to ratify decisions of the Zanu PF central
committee in support of processes, including the inter-party dialogue,
leading to the enactment of Amendment 18.
Someone needs to tell Zanu PF's manipulative barons that once a law has been
enacted by the Parliament of Zimbabwe, and assented to by the President,
only the courts can pronounce themselves on that law one way or the other.
No other body has the competence to ratify or do anything else about that
law besides abiding by it.
After the absurd and meaningless ratification of Amendment 18, Minister
Mnangagwa then announced that the second, and obviously most important,
business of the day was to declare Mugabe as the Zanu PF presidential
candidate in the 2008 presidential election allegedly "in compliance with
Article 5 section 22(4) of the party's constitution and in terms of Article
6 section 30(3) of the same constitution".
Article 5 section 22(4) of the Zanu PF constitution deals with the convening
of an ordinary, not special, congress and provides that resolutions
emanating from the party's provincial structures, youth league and women's
league shall be circulated to the constituent organs of congress at least 14
days prior to the date of congress.
A number of these organs did not meet the requirement for making resolutions
14 days before the congress and some of them, like Matabeleland North, made
their resolutions in support of Mugabe only last Saturday on December 8
while Masvingo reported to have done so only yesterday on the day of the
congress! In the circumstances, while all the reporting organs recited
Article 5 section 22(4) of the Zanu PF constitution to justify the
resolutions they read in support of Mugabe, a majority of them violated that
provision and shamelessly displayed their violation on national television.
In addition to this, all the reporting 10 provinces along with the youth
league and women's league claimed that they were declaring Mugabe as the
candidate of the party in terms of Article 6 section 30(3) of the Zanu PF
constitution which deals with the powers and functions of the national
people's conference. Section 30(3) of that article provides that the
national people's conference "shall declare the president of the party
elected at congress as the state presidential candidate of the party".
What is instructive here is that this article is specifically about the
powers and functions of the national conference and not congress or a
special congress. It was very strange, and indeed incomprehensible, for the
youth league, women's league and 10 provinces to pretend to be following the
Zanu PF constitution when they were in point of fact using a provision on
the national people's conference and mischievously conflating it with the
While those who read the strange resolutions in support of Mugabe's
candidacy did not know what they were doing and clearly are not familiar
with the Zanu PF constitutional provisions that they were invoking, those
who drafted the resolutions new exactly that they were manipulating the
party's constitution in order to violate it . This was done as part of the
desperate efforts to impose Mugabe's candidacy on an unwilling but helpless
ruling party now incapacitated by deep divisions.
After all the organs had read the resolutions that had clearly been written
for them by manipulative powers behind the scenes, Zanu PF national
chairman, John Nkomo, formalised the declaration of Mugabe as the
presidential candidate by acclamation.
The delegates responded by looking at each other in bewilderment. The usual
chanting of slogans, singing and dancing were all forgotten. Even the
singing national commissar, Elliot Manyika, remained glued to his seat
looking as confused if not as sorry as everyone else. Mugabe himself looked
equally perplexed and even fearful. As if there was the hand of God at work,
Nkomo looked at Mugabe and sought to reassure by saying, "Cde. President we
All this was live on television. There was something about the images which
seemed to foretell what we are most likely to see on the day of the results
of the 2008 general election.
To any discerning observer who was either inside the special congress
yesterday or who watched the charade unfold from the beginning to the end on
television, it was clear that nobody in Zanu PF actually supports Mugabe's
candidacy. Everyone understands that it is wrong and the most telling
statement in that regard is the holding of a sham special congress when a
national people's conference was in order.
The tragedy in Zanu PF is that its leading factions, especially those
associated with Solomon Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa, are now using their
mutual hatred as a way of expressing their support for Mugabe. The divisions
between these factions has widened and deepened as they compete to prove
which faction supports Mugabe more than the other. One can only imagine what
would happen if these factions were to unite against Mugabe in support of
* Professor Jonathan Moyo is the Independent MP for Tsholotsho. He can be
contacted on e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
August 14, 2008
NOW that Arthur Mutambara has shown his true colours to the people of
Zimbabwe as a sellout, it is now time to expose his true past.
Can you please solicit a comment from him under what circumstances he left
Standard Bank in South Africa? Can he explain to you why he was fired from
there? I will supply you with the true information once he has explained the
circumstances under which he left.
This is certainly going to be breaking news!!! Zimbabweans will not be raped
by the likes of Mutambara again!!!
EDITOR: A set of 19 questions was submitted to Professor Arthur Mutambara by
The Zimbabwe Times at the beginning of December, 2007, in preparation for an
interview scheduled with him.
Question Number 17 read as follows: "Is it true that you left Standard Bank
in Johannesburg under a dark cloud?"
To date no response to this or any other of the wide-ranging questions has
been received from the good Professor.