August 14, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The travel documents of three top Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) officials, including party president, Morgan Tsvangirai, have been
An MDC spokesman says the documents were seized at Harare International
Airport by state security agents as MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai,
secretary general, Tendai Biti and Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, an
advisor to Tsvangirai were checking in for a Johannesburg-bound flight
The three MDC leaders were travelling at the invitation of the South African
Development Community (SADC) to attend the Heads of State Summit scheduled
for Sunday and Monday, August 17 and 18.
The seized documents were released four hours later, long after the flight
Tsvangirai on Wednesday called on South African President Thabo Mbeki who is
facilitating talks between him and the Zanu-PF leader, President Robert
Mugabe, to immediately ensure that leadership issues 'that continue to
divide us at the negotiations" are resolved.
Tsvangirai who said negotiations "might be difficult" urged President Mbeki
to ensure that they should reflect the will expressed by the people of
Zimbabwe during March 29 presidential elections.
"We hope that as facilitator, President Mbeki will ensure that the issues
that continue to divide us at the negotiation table are resolved as soon as
possible," Tsvangirai said in the first statement issued by his office since
talks adjourned on Tuesday. "Creativity, leadership and vision are essential
in this delicate stage. We need a government that transfers power to the
elected representatives of the people to carry out the people's mandate for
"We knew negotiations would be difficult, but a resolution that represents
anything other than the will of the Zimbabwean people would be a disaster
for our country. We are committed to a solution that recognizes that the
people spoke on the 29th of March 2008 - a solution that ensures tangible
deliverables are put on the table of Zimbabweans. A solution must thus put
the people first, not leadership positions and titles."
The opposition leader also called on President Mbeki to force president
Mugabe to lift the ban imposed on donor groups that have been distributing
food aid to millions of starving Zimbabweans and to insist that the Zimbabwe's
political turmoil is at the top of the agenda of the forthcoming SADC Summit
that will resume on this Friday in Johannesburg.
Tsvangirai reiterated his commitment to dialogue as the only way to resolve
the current political impasse.
August 14, 2008 | By Staff |
George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman has denied that Tsvangirai was barred
from leaving Zimbabwe,he said instead he was not allowed to leave the
country because his travel documents were invalid. He said his passport had
expired, and had not yet been replaced.
"We are not going to waive the rules for a politician who is merely
forgetful," he said before the travel documents were returned.
He denied that Biti's and Mukonoweshuro's were confiscated and said they
could have boarded the flight without Mr. Tsvangirai.
And he accused Mr. Tsvangirai of knowingly going to the airport with invalid
travel documents to provoke authorities "to secure one or two sound bites"
and gain political mileage.
South African President reportedly swiftly intervened and ordered ZANU PF to
return the seized passports of the three senior MDC officials.
Morgan Tsvangirai was earlier arrested and his passport and two other senior
officials seized as they were about to leave Harare International Airport on
his way to a SADC summit.
"The whole thing was going to be determined at this SADC summit," he said
"We were all scheduled to go and meet with the troika, the SADC organ on
politics and defence. We're not going anymore.
"It was the South Africans who invited us and paid for the tickets,"
Tsvangirai said clarifying that he meant the South African government which
is hosting the summit.
Tsvangirai, Secretary General Tendai Biti, and Secretary for International
Relations, Elphas Mukonoweshuro, were prevented from flying to Johannesburg.
"This is simply an attempt to prevent Morgan Tsvangirai from attending the
SADC meeting, to which he has been invited,a a demonstration of a lack of
sincerity on the part of the government of Robert Mugabe",MDC Presidential
spokesman George Sibotshiwe said.
"They have taken our passports. This is a reflection of their insincerity.
They want to talk to us yet they behave like hooligans," Tendai Biti,
secretary general of the MDC, told reporters.
August 14 2008 at 03:14PM
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on
Thursday he was "hopeful" talks to resolve the country's political crisis
"I'm hopeful that the talks will resume," Tsvangirai said by phone
after authorities seized his passport at Harare airport as he attempted to
fly to a regional summit in South Africa.
"The whole thing was going to be determined at this SADC summit," he
said, referring to the 14-nation Southern African Development Community.
He said he would not be able to attend the summit now that his
passport had been seized, along with the passports belonging to other
members of his party's leadership.
"We were all scheduled to go and meet with the troika, the SADC organ
on politics and defence. We're not going anymore."
By Lance Guma
14 August 2008
Zimbabwe's political drama continued Thursday, with accusations from the MDC
that ZANU PF government ministers and security agents were trying to bribe
its members of parliament to join a unity government. A statement from the
party said Mugabe's regime had approached several MP's asking them to submit
their C.V's for possible appointment into a new government. 'These are the
actions of a desperate and cornered regime, which we find corrosive,' the
Analysts say Mugabe and his party were hoping to pressure Tsvangirai into
accepting a junior role in a unity government, but that Tuesday's walk out
by the MDC leader had shattered the plan. The new strategy attempts to
side-step Tsvangirai and offer some of his 100 MP's positions of power,
influence and wealth. The state media reported Tuesday that a deal had been
struck with the Mutambara MDC to form a new government. This was denied by
the breakaway faction and even the talks facilitator Thabo Mbeki was forced
to deny a deal had been done without Tsvangirai.
While the SADC summit this weekend offers another window of opportunity to
break the impasse, MDC officials told Newsreel the regime was already
reaching out to its MP's with promises of money and positions. Our
correspondent Lionel Saungweme says the plot was activated two weeks ago
with a female Bulawayo legislator being the first to be offered a bribe. The
legislator told Saungweme she was offered government tenders for her
business and a car, if she ensured she voted for a speaker of parliament
from the Mnangagwa faction of ZANU PF.
The issue of MP's being offered bribes has been serious enough to warrant
Tsvangirai raising it in the last National Executive meeting of the party.
At the meeting Tsvangirai told party officials he knew several of them had
been offered bribes by ZANU PF but that it was important to remain loyal to
the people who voted for them.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
August 14, 2008
ON Wednesday, August 6, the Star newspaper of South Africa carried a story
by a Johannesburg-based Irish journalist claiming that it had in its
possession a copy of the 50-page draft agreement between the three
negotiating parties to the Zimbabwe political settlement.
The draft document has since been dismissed as fake by both Zanu-PF and the
South African government.
What is telling about the so called draft agreement is a paragraph in the
story that read: "In a move to appease the potential donors who needed to
finance a massive rescue package for the economically crippled country a
number of key ministries would be handed over to "independents" - skilled
individuals outside of party structures but approved by the cabinet.
It is anticipated that the Ministry of Finance and Investment would be one
such portfolio that would reside independently of either party chief so as
not to deter the expected and needed flow of money into the country during
the transition, which will last for something in the region of two years."
This can be read as someone trying to sneak as an 'independent'. A person
politically independent or neutral would be someone who is a professional
who is not known to be a member of a political party or holding a position
in any institution associated with a political party.
For the past few months, Gono has been presenting himself through opinion
pieces and editorials in his newspaper, the Financial Gazette, and official
statements as a person who is politically neutral. By this he created an
impression that he is failing in his job because of what he calls
politically inspired sanctions.
President Robert Mugabe and Gono have boasted publicly of the capacity to
bust the same sanctions they claim be hurting the people of Zimbabwe. In the
process there has been considerable self-enriching activities because there
has been high levels of officially sanctioned leakages of foreign currency
and externalization during the process of QFAs.
Zimbabwe has four forex rates in ascending order - interbank; cash; transfer
(payment for forex by a ZW$ bank transfer) and offshore (payment for forex
by a Zimbabwe dollar bank transfer and the forex supplier settles a foreign
Manufacturers and retailers have been pricing their goods and services using
the transfer rate. The hyper-inflation we have in Zimbabwe has largely been
driven by the money supply side for those buying forex on behalf of the RBZ.
Those monitoring the movement of forex rates, they will have realized that
the 'transfer' rate has not moved since 22 July 2008, pegged at $800 billion
(revalued at ZW$80).
The RBZ have a unit that gives highly trusted few people bags of cash to go
into the street to buy forex. The same unit also transfers Zimbabwe dollars
into a few and high trusted people's bank accounts to buy forex by way of
transfers. This is the money pushing exchange rates and since the signing of
the July 21, 2008 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Zimbabwean
political players, Gono was unsure where he will be in the new political
This explains his subdued Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) which was simply
nothing except the looping off of 10 zeros from the Zimbabwe currency. He
pushed for the first time presence of President Mugabe for a show of his
power and influence among political actors. Curiously this was not named
On January 31, 2007, he said, "The RBZ will, with immediate effect, bring to
an end quasi-fiscal interventions and wishes to concentrate on core business
activities. To achieve this objective, the RBZ is creating an appropriate
structure to shepherd out the interventions by:
(a) Putting a cap and ring-fencing quasi-fiscal outlays and facilities;
(b) Focusing on collecting and administering the outstanding loans on behalf
of the RBZ; and
(c) Providing ancillary technical and advisory services to
borrowers/beneficiaries as provided for in the various RBZ frameworks
establishing such facilities or as otherwise may be expedient.
"The RBZ will incorporate a special purpose vehicle to be called FISCORP
(Pvt) Ltd, 100 percent owned by the Reserve Bank, whose primary object will
be to step into the RBZ's shoes for purposes of collecting and administering
the outstanding loans. The RBZ and FISCORP will conclude the necessary
instruments/arrangements to enable FISCORP to carry out its aforesaid
"To ensure effectiveness, financial institutions, development agencies and
other borrowers will be engaged as necessary to facilitate these
arrangements. FISCORP will be structured in such a manner as to enable it to
focus on the recovery and administration of, and the provision of ancillary
services relating to, the Facilities.
"Whilst FISCORP will be a separate legal entity, it will remain an RBZ
vehicle to all intents and purposes, and borrowers and beneficiaries, who
shall remain legally bound under the Facilities, are expected to co-operate
with FISCORP to ensure the smooth implementation of the objectives set out
in this statement.
"FISCORP will operate within the parameters of the various frameworks and
instruments in place but with a clear mandate and authority to collect and
recover the outstanding loans on behalf of the RBZ. FISCORP will be
operational and in a position to assume the role envisaged with effect fro
1st March 2007."
But Gono has not returned the RBZ to its core functions. Just like Homelink
(Pvt) Ltd, the costs and benefits of the company called Fiscorp (Pvt) Ltd
are anybody's guess. Instead Gono has entrenched his role as the de facto
"Minister of Finance" who can buy and pay for anything for the country, the
ruling party, and national institutions (military, policy, judiciary, etc).
Preparing himself for the inevitable and intending to prune the RBZ of his
source of manipulating financial power, he repeated this statement in his
MPS presentation on July 31, 2008, ".it has become necessary that a more
permanent financing vehicle be created to fill up the developmental
financing gap arising from market failures. According, therefore, the
Reserve Bank is working to transform Fiscorp (Pvt) Ltd into a dedicated
financial intermediary" to develop financial packages and solutions to
bridge developmental financial gaps created by market failure.
The Ministry of Finance administers and regulates financial institutions and
structures of the economy of a country. The ministry administers
macro-economic policies and the national annual budget. It also handles
fiscal policy, economic regulations and government expenditure for the
Economic policy is now a responsibility of the Ministry of Economic Planning
The finance ministry has considerable control over other ministries as it is
the one that sets expenditure limits. The amount of power this gives to an
individual minister depends on his personal forcefulness, his status with
his party and his relationship with the President.
Institutions that are administratively under the Ministry of Finance are:
. ZIMRA (taxes and customs),
. Central Statistical Office (CSO),
. National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (NECI),
. Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG),
. State Procurement Board (STB),
. Consolidated Revenue Fund,
. Registrar of Banks and Other Financial Institutions,
. Registrar of Insurance, Pension and Provident Funds,
. Registrar of Building Societies,
. Consolidated Revenue Fund,
. Central Computing Office (CCO),
. Salary Service Bureau (SSB).
. Securities Commission and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
The incumbent is also responsible for being the custodian and final
authority of government investments in private and public enterprises.
Gono has the first option to remain the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
governor until his term expires in December 2008 and make himself available
for his term renewal for the next five years. When this happens, he will
have to operate within the confines of core business of a central bank and
lose so much self-acquired political power and influence through
Secondly, he can maneuver to be in a political position and the only one
available to secure his personal financial interests and continued
overseeing of the RBZ is being a Minister of Finance
The third option is the least expected from a power hungry and politically
ambitious person. He should take leave now pending the end of his term,
humbly admitting that he has failed and there is not much else he can do.
With these three options available for Gideon Gono, he has been endearing
himself for the second option. But Gono must just GO - far way from the
central bank and any political power!
August 14 2008 at 03:27PM
Johannesburg - South African President Thabo Mbeki faces a regional
summit this weekend without having brokered a deal among Zimbabwe's main
rivals, again raising questions about his often criticised approach to the
crisis, analysts say.
The summit will be held on Mbeki's home turf in South Africa and
follows three days of meetings he mediated earlier in the week in a push to
reach a deal to end Zimbabwe's protracted crisis.
This week's talks in Harare broke up without a deal between all three
rivals participating in the negotiations, and Mbeki is expected to update
his peers, who appointed him as facilitator, on his mediation efforts
While he will arrive at the summit with the crisis still unresolved,
simply managing to bring Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his arch-rival
Morgan Tsvangirai to the table may have provided Mbeki a measure of
vindication for now, some analysts say.
"It gives him a better operating space because now he can actually
report substantial progress, and it came at a critical point for the
pressure that he was under, both domestically and internationally," said
political analyst Tanana Mpanyane of the Institute of Security Studies.
But pressure remains for Mbeki's longstanding mediation efforts to
achieve results, the analyst said.
"Whatever progress and achievements made during this week may amount
to nothing if a deal is not achieved soon," said Mpanyane.
"It has to happen soon. Otherwise the goodwill and limited trust may
Some in the region have come out strongly against Mugabe, in sharp
contrast to Mbeki's refusal to publicly criticise the 84-year-old leader.
Botswana has threatened to boycott the summit if Mugabe participates
without a negotiated deal to end Zimbabwe's crisis.
The country has also urged its neighbours not to recognise Mugabe's
re-election in a June presidential run-off widely condemned as a sham.
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who remains ill after suffering a
stroke in June 2007 compared the country to "a sinking Titanic" because of
its economic crisis.
But Mugabe would likely not have accepted South Africa's mediation if
Mbeki had publicly criticised his regime or introduced sanctions, Mpanyane
"To the extent that the approach by President Mbeki led to Mugabe and
Zanu-PF to get to the negotiation table... then the much aligned strategy
did pay off," said Mpanyane, referring to Zimbabwe's ruling party.
"No other country outside South Africa would have been able to get
Mugabe to sit around a table."
Mugabe publicly praised Mbeki's facilitation efforts this week, while
Tsvangirai had previously called for him to be stripped of his role.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit this weekend
will see Mbeki take over as chairperson of the 14-nation regional bloc.
He is unlikely to change his approach after he takes on that role,
said Neuma Grobbelaar, director of studies at the South African Institute
for International Affairs.
"It's hard to ascribe directly the deterioration in Zimbabwe to South
African 'non-action', but a more critical and vocal stance might have given
the Mugabe regime pause and perhaps assist to arrest the deterioration at an
earlier stage," she said.
Zimbabwe's economy has been in meltdown, with the world's highest
inflation rate officially put at 2,2-million percent and major food
"By taking this soft approach, we have perhaps in many respects
allowed this to continue much longer than it ever should have," Grobbelaar
Siphamandla Zondi of the Institute for Global Dialogue said the Mbeki
government was unlikely to put forward "dramatic views" and would remain on
a more cautious path.
"They seem not to be in favour of naming and shaming."
Mpanyane argued that Mbeki had not failed in Zimbabwe but that the
lack of a deal pointed to "a very dangerous situation and a drawn out
process for all parties".
"The window of opportunity begins to close for a peaceful resolution
to the crisis in Zimbabwe." - Sapa-AFP
Thu 14 Aug 2008, 18:03 GMT
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Botswana's president, Seretse Khama Ian
Khama, will not attend a regional summit if Zimbabwe's ruling party and
opposition fail to reach a power-sharing agreement, Botswanan officials
"If there is no agreement on the government in Zimbabwe, the president will
not attend the summit," Chris Maribe, director of information at Botswana's
foreign ministry, told Reuters. The SADC summit is due to take place at the
weekend in Johannesburg. (Reporting by Phakamisa Ndzamela, editing by Tim
By Alex Bell
14 August 2008
The Southern African Development Community summit that is set to begin in
South Africa this weekend is heading for conflict over the Zimbabwe
political crisis - with two influential presidents unlikely to attend.
Botswana's President Ian Khama and his government threatened to boycott the
meeting, if Robert Mugabe attends before a deal to end the crisis in
Zimbabwe is reached. Mugabe has since reportedly been invited along with
Morgan Tsvangerai and Arthur Mutambara in order for SADC to address the
leadership issue which has caused a deadlock in the talks. Mugabe's
attendance is likely the reason why the Botswana government on Thursday sent
only lower-ranking officials to a ministerial meeting held to prepare for
At the same time, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa is still being treated in
hospital with a heart complaint after suffering a stroke in June. He was
also due to hand over the reigns of the SADC chair to South African
President Thabo Mbeki during the weekend summit, and because of a reported
"constitutional deadlock" in Zambia, Mwanawasa's second in command and
acting head of state may not perform the duty. However analysts have said
the real reason behind Zambia's non attendance, has more to do with
Mwanawasa's vocal statements against Mugabe, than his health.
Meanwhile, Mbeki is set to face some serious questions as the SADC appointed
mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis. Mbeki's mediation efforts and "softly,
softly" approach have been widely criticised and he has come under growing
pressure to garner results. The long time friend of Mugabe had been pushing
for a result before the summit was convened, even rushing to Harare last
weekend to thrash out a deal - but to no avail.
SADC itself has also come under pressure from rights groups, civil society
organisations and unions across the region, to intervene in the crisis.
Human Rights Watch this week called for SADC to pressure Mugabe's regime to
end the ongoing human rights violations in Zimbabwe, while South Africa's
trade union federation COSATU has organised a mass rally at the site of
Saturday's meeting, against Mugabe's dictatorship.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
The country's army will never cede power to Tsvangirai's MDC: it would be
tantamount to losing political authority
Thursday August 14 2008 17:30 BST
Trying to predict the outcome of the power sharing negotiations between
Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF, Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC and the Arthur Mutambara
MDC is a leap in the dark. The negotiating parties agreed to a wholesale
media blackout before the talks began. Accordingly, they have given very
little away, barring a dribble of spin lapped up by a gullible and culpable
media starved of newsworthy material about the talks. Nobody can speak
authoritatively about the negotiations - not even the negotiators
This uncertainty is symptomatic of Zimbabwean politics over the last decade.
Nobody foresaw that Mugabe's government would seize white-owned commercial
farms in the violent and economically disastrous way it did in 2000. The
country's economy continues its inexorable decline. Time and again we have
predicted total economic collapse. It has proved as elusive as Osama bin
We did not fathom the lengths to which Mugabe would go in stealing election
after election. Nor did we envisage the 2005 nationwide "urban clean-up", in
which more than 569,000 Zimbabweans lost their homes. It was unthinkable
that Zimbabwe would become so vilified internationally, and that Africa and
the international community would prove so impotent in arresting the
country's decline. Even more unimaginable was the emigration of millions of
Zimbabweans. We got so despairing as to speculate about Mugabe's "failing
health" countless times. The Zimbabwean bishop Pius Ncube prayed for his
swift death. It never came.
But, if there is anything we misunderstood and still overlook, it is the
political role of the Zimbabwean security forces, who today detained
Tsvangarai at Harare airport. In January 2002, they announced to the world
that they would "not accept, let alone support or salute, anyone" without
liberation war credentials. This statement was repeated on the eve of every
national election thereafter. We responded by labeling their routine
election time statements as intimidation. "They cannot be serious. Military
coups are not announced, they are just staged," we comforted ourselves. We
Interviews I conducted with Zimbabwean military officials in 2006 confirmed
this position. It was first forged in the early 1980s. Drawing from their
experience of fighting in the country's liberation war, some senior army
officers see themselves as the "guardians" of Zimbabwean independence. They
refuse to countenance the prospect of Zimbabwe being ruled by a political
party other than Zanu-PF - the "deliverer of Zimbabwean independence".
And so it was that when Mugabe and Zanu-PF wobbled in the March 2008
elections, the most powerful force that mobilised to shore them up was the
security establishment. The violence that followed was overseen by senior
members of the military, deployed to the country's various provinces. To
think that the security establishment will allow Zimbabwe's rival
politicians to decide the country's fate unfettered, through the talks, is
to misread their political role once again.
On August 11, Mugabe arrived for negotiations at Zimbabwe's Rainbow Hotel in
the company of Zimbabwe's senior army general Constantine Chiwenga - an
ominous sign. There can be no "success" to the talks without the security
officials' acquiescence. The institution of the Zimbabwe state has
degenerated, but the security establishment, while a shadow of its former
self, remains its most formidable and functioning arm. It is high time we
took its pronouncements seriously. The generals will never allow Mugabe to
cede executive powers to Tsvangirai. Doing so would be tantamount to
surrendering the political authority they have accrued.
Mugabe's own power ambitions should not be downplayed either. Mugabe is not
your average eightysomething-year-old man. Handing over executive powers to
Tsvangirai is negotiating himself out of the power he thrives on. Moreover,
within the Zanu-PF politburo, the party's supreme decision-making body,
there are powerful politicians, such as Emmerson Mnangagwa and Solomon
Mujuru, who have seen themselves as Mugabe's rightful successors for years.
They too will not countenance anything that would put paid to their own
Tsvangirai is stuck between a lions' den and a vipers' nest. He can turn his
back on the negotiations and forsake a chance of gaining a foothold in
government, or he can sign up to a compromise deal that does not relieve
Mugabe of executive powers and risk losing the support of many Zimbabweans
who see him as their champion.
Thabo Mbeki, meanwhile, can claim only a hollow victory for his "quiet
diplomacy" if the talks "succeed". The Zimbabwe crisis developed to its
current dire proportions under the South African president's watch. I have
discussed the factors behind Mbeki's stance on Zimbabwe on Cif before, but
will add one more. Given the Zimbabwean security forces' political role, we
must ask ourselves how Mbeki could have checkmated their power and
authority. This is a difficult question - because armies are only checkmated
by other armies, and yet force was unacceptable to Mbeki and the region.
August 14, 2008, 13:30
Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders must ensure an end to
violence in Zimbabwe, irrespective of talks on power-sharing, the Helen
Suzman Foundation said today.
The foundation was adding its voice to that of the Human Rights Watch, which
on Tuesday released a report on Zimbabwe entitled They Beat Me Like a Dog --
Political Persecution of Opposition Activists and Supporters in Zimbabwe.
In the report, the Human Rights Watch alleged ongoing abuses by the ruling
Zanu-PF against the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
It noted that local non-governmental organisations (NGO) claimed Zanu-PF and
its allies were involved in 32 murders after the run-off and another two
after the July 21 signing of a framework for power-sharing talks.
Expressing its deep distress at the contents of the report, the Suzman
Foundation said it meticulously detailed cases of ongoing violence, human
rights abuses and suffering.
Mbeki to brief regional leaders
Meanwhile Mbeki is expected to brief regional leaders on the Zimbabwe
negotiations at a summit of SADC leaders in South Africa this weekend.
Three days of talks between Zimbabwe's political rivals broke on Tuesday to
give MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai time to consider.
The foundation said detailed questions were emerging about the possible role
of Tsvangirai in a power-sharing agreement that, depending on their answers,
can seriously affect the credibility, legitimacy and outcome of these talks.
It also voiced concern at the adoption of a Kenya-principle of power-sharing
in which the post-electoral complexities and actual electoral outcomes in
Kenya were inadequately addressed.
The foundation said the Human Rights Watch made it clear that violence was
continuing despite the negotiations and that the Zimbabwean people were
suffering, as were key leaders. - Sapa
Thursday, 14th August 2008
Sean Martin 5:17pm
As the crucial negotiations in Zimbabwe drag on, Morgan Tsvangirai must hold
strong and not accept any deal that leaves Mugabe in charge of the military.
The offer of Prime Minster tabled to him this week is neither fair nor what
First, Tsvangirai polled over 180,000 more votes than Mugabe in the first
popular vote, any settlement that does not recognise that reality will not
be legitimate. Second, the control over the economy that Tsvangirai would
gain would be meaningless as Mugabe would maintain command of the military
and police; the military is the cornerstone of Zanu PF support and until
Muagbe's control over it is broken, Zimbabwe will not be free.
Time is on Tsvangirai's side. The South African labour union Cosatu is
promising a boycott of Zimbabwe headed imports starting on September the
3rd. With half of Zimbabwe's imports coming from South Africa, this move
will further tighten the screw on the Mugabe regime.
Aug 14, 2008, 19:28 GMT
New York - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked the government
of Zimbabwe on Thursday to immediately end the ban on international
humanitarian assistance in the country.
President Robert Mugabe, under attack for the violence in the presidential
elections in May, retaliated by imposing severe restrictions on
non-governmental organizations and private voluntary groups to assist large
populations affected by the violence.
In June, Ban asked Mugabe to lift the curbs on relief groups, but Mugabe did
'These groups have a vital role in the delivery of humanitarian aid,
including much-needed food assistance,' Ban said in a statement.
'Due to their inability to operate, only 280,000 people of the 1.5 million
in need of food assistance are being reached with distributions.'
The statement said: 'This ban must be lifted immediately so that aid
organizations can carry out their relief work and avert a catastrophic
'I call on the government of Zimbabwe to fully respect humanitarian
principles and the impartiality and neutrality of voluntary and
non-governmental organizations, allowing them to operate freely and with
unrestricted access to those in need.'
This extract below comes from the Avaaz website - please visit this link and participate, and if you are in
South Africa, please join in the Saturday protest march. Please forward this
information to everyone you know. Hopes for a deal between Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangarai that would resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe are slipping away. Yesterday Mugabe stated he would form a government and would open parliament
next week. If Southern African leaders, who hold a summit this weekend, reject
Mugabe’s attempt to hold onto power, and stand by the will of the people of
Zimbabwe – a political solution is possible. The key to influencing these leaders are their citizens and trade unionists.
We can join with thousands of them, who will be marching on Saturday outside the
summit, by raising a red card calling for Mugabe to go. [Visit the website] to send a red card and then forward this
email to your friends and family. Your red card will be held up at the summit
march. The text accompanying the petition signatures reads: We, the undersigned, issue a red card for Mugabe — and urge
Southern African leaders not to recognise Mugabe as President; to acknowledge
that the Mbeki-brokered talks have failed — and to urgently devise a new
negotiating process to bring a just and democratic resolution to Zimbabwe’s
This extract below comes from the Avaaz website - please visit this link and participate, and if you are in South Africa, please join in the Saturday protest march. Please forward this information to everyone you know.
Hopes for a deal between Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangarai that would resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe are slipping away.
Yesterday Mugabe stated he would form a government and would open parliament next week. If Southern African leaders, who hold a summit this weekend, reject Mugabe’s attempt to hold onto power, and stand by the will of the people of Zimbabwe – a political solution is possible.
The key to influencing these leaders are their citizens and trade unionists. We can join with thousands of them, who will be marching on Saturday outside the summit, by raising a red card calling for Mugabe to go. [Visit the website] to send a red card and then forward this email to your friends and family. Your red card will be held up at the summit march.
The text accompanying the petition signatures reads:
We, the undersigned, issue a red card for Mugabe — and urge Southern African leaders not to recognise Mugabe as President; to acknowledge that the Mbeki-brokered talks have failed — and to urgently devise a new negotiating process to bring a just and democratic resolution to Zimbabwe’s crisis.
The world famous Zimbabwean charity fest
is about togetherness, music, culture, sport and good times!
Every year at Zimfest time, thousands who love Zimbabwe, gather in a field,
listen to music, have a meal, play sport and for charity. The vibe at
Zimfest is astonishing.with the warmth, humour and resilience of the
Phillip Chikwiramakomo, from WEZIMBABWE charity said: "This is now the
biggest Zimbabwean Charity event in the world, and as we all know, our
people back home need everyone's help more than ever."
TUKU HEADLINING - This year the WEZIMBABWE charity are very proud to welcome
the Godfather of Zimbabwean music Oliver Mtukudzi - arguably Zimbabwe's
biggest ever musician who plays to adoring audiences across the world; his
unique brand of 'Tuku Music' embodies the humour, humility and towering
talent of this living legend. See: www.tukumusic.com He's joined by a host
of other excellent Zimbabwean artists through the day.
. Date: 30 August 2008. All day from 12 noon - 10 pm.
. Venue: Prince George's Playing Fields, Bushey Rd, Raynes Pk, London SW20.
. Tickets: £20 Advance: Online and over the counter (see
http://www.wezimbabwe.org/tickets.aspx for more details) £30 at the gate.
. Acts: Acts: Oliver Mtukudzi, Mann Friday, Siyaya Arts, Rina Mushonga,
Harare, BKAY n Kazz, Mashasha, Dhindindi, plus a few more surprises and
rotational DJs! See: http://www.wezimbabwe.org/lineup.aspx for links to
. Other: Braai, football tourney, sevens rugby, beer (cold and fast!),
women's sports, sadza, gochi gochi, stands, kiddies tent, marimba, drums,
mbira other cool cultural happenings.
There are so many stories to tell here, from the acts, to the survivors, to
the growth of the festival over the last six years and how the money helps
those at home.
Media Contact: Sinead Parsons at: email@example.com
or telephone: 020 7549 0355 - or 07879894762. (Or Sylvester Mutsigwa -
By Sebastien Berger, Southern Africa Correspondent
Last Updated: 7:01pm BST 14/08/2008
Elephants in Zimbabwe are being shot and eaten as wildlife is
decimated by the impact of the country's economic crisis, activists claimed
Almost 2,000 elephants have been killed in and around the Hwange
national park in north-west Zimbabwe this year, the Zimbabwe Conservation
Task Force claimed, adding that the country's national parks department
intended to authorise the shooting of 1,000 more by the end of the year.
Johnny Rodrigues, the ZCTF's chairman, said the information had come
from ex-employees of the parks authority, and the killings were the result
of a combination of hunting, poaching, and an alleged culling programme that
he believes is being used as a cover for illegal ivory trade.
"The actual employees can shoot these animals in lieu of wages," he
claimed. "It's the only way they can survive.
"With the economic meltdown these guys are getting paid about seven US
dollars a month, way below the poverty line. They shoot the animals and sell
the meat to the locals."
He said that under a population management programme adults with large
tusks were being chosen for shooting, and their skins and ivory were not
being delivered to the wildlife authority's central stores.
"The people have to survive, there's no food in the market so what are
they going to do? They are going to shoot the animals, that you can
understand. But this is something else. Where is it? There's a market
somewhere and somebody's buying all the stuff.
"It is heartbreaking that the wildlife is paying the biggest price of
all in the economic collapse of this country."
International authorities, though, cautioned that a number of
"alarmist" and "exaggerated" reports have been made about the wildlife
situation in Zimbabwe in the past.
Zimbabwe has one of the largest elephant populations in Africa,
estimated by various international organisations at around 100,000 animals -
although Mr Rodrigues puts the figure at about 45,000.
However a spokesman for Traffic International, the global
anti-wildlife- trafficking organisation, said: "Elephant numbers appear to
be stable or currently slightly increasing in Zimbabwe at the moment."
Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
Zimbabwe is allowed to export the remains of 1,000 elephants a year, 500 of
them as hunting trophies.
Last month CITES also authorised it to make a one-off sale of 3.7 tons
of ivory from its national stockpile.
John Sellar, CITES's enforcement officer, stressed that the sale would
not have been allowed if the situation was "out of control", and added that
he considered the country's wildlife management officials "very impressive".
"We have never had any reason to think they have something to hide,"
"It's clearly a country that's under a lot of pressure from a variety
of directions. I'm sure they are up against it in places. Given the
socio-economic problems there it would be astonishing if there wasn't
poaching taking place.
"The poaching of elephants is just as much motivated by a desire to
acquire the meat as it is to acquire ivory." He added that culling was an
accepted part of elephant population management across Africa.
"It's certainly true that Zimbabwe every year kills a large number of
elephants as part of problem animal control but I wouldn't have thought it
was 1,800," he said.
"If Zimbabwe has decided to engage in culling to control its stocks
that's a matter for Zimbabwe. They are completely entitled to do that."
Officials from Zimbabwe's Parks and Wildlife Management Authority
could not be reached for comment.
August 14, 2008 | By Staff
Zimbabwe's electronic payment system has all but collapsed,as the two main
point of sale terminal merchants; Zimswitch and Visa,are down most of the
Merchants and banks have blamed malfunctioning of POS machines on numerous
zeros, which had accumulated on the local unit.
But two weeks ago, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe cut off ten zeros from the
Zimbabwe currency. The situation on POS has not changed with selected
merchants and banks providing service only for their customers.
The Zimswitch platform, to which 13 commercial banks are logged, provides an
electronic platform for banks and their customers to transact easily and
One would have hoped with the currency reforms, banks would have also
corrected the anomalies of the POS to ease the burden of transacting amongst
depositors already feeling the pinch of limited cash allocations.
This has caused inconveniences to customers who could use their bankcards to
make payments through the interbank electronic system. Sixteen banks are
currently connected to the Zimswitch system.
At a time when cash withdrawals are limited, the use of plastic money would
make life easier for customers.
Even cheques are not being accepted, and this has made sure Zimbabwe remains
largely a cash economy where other world economies are turning electronic.
Daily minimum withdrawal limits are at $300 (revalued) having been raised by
$100 last week. In a country with runaway inflation, such an amount may not
be enough to meet the families daily cash needs.
Zimswitch general manager Mr Henry Brits yesterday said the challenges were
related to point of sale devices owned by its "various" members.
"We suspect the challenges . . . relate to ATM and point of sale devices
owned by our various members. Zimswitch does not own or operate any ATMs or
point of sale devices," said Mr Brits in an e-mailed statement.
"The Zimswitch system is not experiencing any intermittent challenges."
Mr Brits added the electronic funds transfer switch operated by Zimswitch to
switch ATM and POS transactions between member financial institutions has
been up and running consistently, without any downtime even prior to the
introduction of the new Zimbabwe dollar.
Zimbabweans queue to access their
accounts as banks run out of money.
Simon Gambaga, 43, who owns a backyard carpentry business, faces eviction from the middle-income suburban home where he and his family live, about 10km south of Harare, the capital, after refusing to pay his rent with petrol (gasoline) coupons.
"My landlord has told me to vacate the house because I indicated to him that there was no way I could raise the foreign currency to buy the fuel coupons. Houses to rent are difficult to get these days, and that means that my four children, wife and I might end up living in the open if we fail to secure alternative lodgings," Gambaga told IRIN.
The coupons are usually obtained from fuel stations in exchange for foreign currency. His landlord was asking for 200 litres of petrol in coupons, amounting to US$300, an astronomical figure for Gambaga, whose business has declined because he has hardly any buyers for his products. The landlord has no car and refused to accept payment in liquid petrol.
"As it is, I am struggling to keep the children in school, we barely have enough food and I need to settle a huge bill after my wife stayed for two weeks in hospital, where she was operated on for breast cancer. God knows where on earth I would raise that kind of money," he said.
[Fuel coupons are a] clever type of barter trade,
now the norm countrywide in an economy where the local currency is not worth
Like Gambaga's landlord, he cannot accept fuel "because that would leave me with the burden of having to go out onto the streets to sell it again". Landlords usually sell the coupons to illegal fuel dealers, who pay for them with foreign currency.
Zimbabwe's run-away inflation, estimated at 2.2 million percent by the government and at more than 15 million percent by independent economists, has severely weakened the currency.
The hyperinflation is characteristic of an economy suffering a biting shortage of foreign currency in the formal banking system, scarcity of commodities, power and fuel, as well as shrinking industrial production and unemployment levels thought to be around 80 percent.
"Fuel coupons are now firmly a form of currency in a country whose people will stop at nothing to ensure that they are protected against a hyperinflationary environment," John Robertson, an economic analyst, told IRIN.
"Like foreign currency, the value of the coupons does not change, even if kept for a long time and, that way, service providers realise that they are able keep their money in a stable form," he said.
"In other words, coupons are a replacement for foreign currency, and insistence on their usage by those who offer services or sell products amply indicates the level to which our economy has dollarised."
Robertson described payment in fuel coupons as a "clever type of barter trade, now the norm countrywide in an economy where the local currency is not worth much."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
When President Thabo Mbeki welcomes members of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to South Africa for its heads of state summit
this weekend, the agenda (ordinarily devoted to procedural concerns) will be
overwhelmed by one issue: the lingering political and economic crisis in
Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe will probably be at the summit
himself, despite calls for his exclusion while power-sharing talks continue
in Harare. After days of intense negotiations, the talks adjourned without
a deal on August 13.
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party apparently feel they are negotiating
from strength, and have insisted on immunity from prosecution for senior
regime figures, as well as the full implementation of the controversial land
reform and business indigenisation programmes. Rumours suggest that Morgan
Tsvangirai -- Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader and first round
presidential election winner -- is seeking the position of executive prime
minister, with control over the government's composition and agenda,
reducing Mugabe to a ceremonial role. However, the leader of a small MDC
faction, Arthur Mutambara, has also been included in the talks. When
negotiations adjourned on the 13th, all sides denied rumours that Mutambara
had reached a side deal with Mugabe -- his ten seats in the National
Assembly would allow ZANU-PF to overcome the Tsvangirai bloc's slim
Even if Tsvangirai is not marginalised explicitly, he will still have to
tread carefully. It is difficult to envisage the MDC being allowed to
exercise much power in a power-sharing deal with ZANU-PF, especially since
the police, intelligence and military have rejected the prospect of its
leadership. Moreover, by participating in a unity government, Tsvangirai
will have to push hard for electoral and constitutional reform, and fresh
elections much sooner than the full five year term ZANU-PF is asking. After
the government sponsored campaign of violence and intimidation against the
opposition since Mugabe's first round loss on March 29, Tsvangirai's
legitimacy will evaporate if he is perceived to have simply legitimised the
ZANU-PF regime by his participation.
TANONOKA JOSEPH WHANDE
The heart of the matter is that it is time that the people in each and every
constituency not only watched their representative but acted against him or
her should they promote ideas in the national assembly that do not reflect
their wishes Patience is a virtue, they say.
Nonsense, I declare.
When patience stretches on and on it becomes inactivity and that is also
known as cowardice.
The people of Zimbabwe's patience is running out and Zimbabweans are not
cowards as the number of graves at the hands of Mugabe can attest.
For years, week after week, Zimbabweans have been patient and have given
their support to various trialists and political upstarts: all in the hope
of retaining and protecting their hard won freedom Robert Mugabe.
But alas, for years, in spite of the fact that the nation has always
produced notable sons, they all end up being disappointments, charlatans who
quickly forgot the grandmothers and uncles who sent them to school.
Our brilliant sons and daughters are easily corrupted and confiscated to
work in the wrong camps.
I feel terribly sorry for Morgan Tsvangirai. He has courage and he means
But for what he has gone through and what he witnessed the nation going
through at Robert Mugabe's blood-soaked hands, why did Tsvangirai ever
believe he could get anything sensible out of Mugabe and the killing ZANU-PF
I have always cautioned against Tsvangirai going it alone and in several
articles urged him to invite other "stakeholders" to participate in these
talks with him.
Now, because he agreed to deny information to the Zimbabwean people, he is
spending a lot of time not attending talks, walking out of talks or denying
reports about one thing or other.
Zimbabwe will never be a one-man show nor will it ever be a one-party state;
try as he did, Mugabe can attest to that.
My advice to Mr Tsvangirai's advisors is to backtrack a little, it's never
too late; backtrack and take more Zimbabweans on board.
Had they done that, it would be clear to everyone now that Tsvangirai has a
principled stand supported by several other civic groups and freedom
fighting individuals and that Mugabe, always the conniving cheat, was the
one playing games with the nation.
Our brilliant sons were snatched from us by an unknown foreign spirit and
Zimbabwe does not know how to counter that invasion.
What did this Mugabe do to our illustrious sons and daughters?
I would give anything to have a chat with Jonathan Moyo's parents or legal
guardians. From them, I believe, we could get enough information to decide
what to do with a man who changes positions more frequently than a
Zimbabwe watches in awe as the once popular Jonathan Moyo, who dared and
taunted Mugabe, declaring at one time that there was nothing Mugabe could do
to him "because President George Bush (Senior) would not allow it", swings
from one political whorehouse to another.
In support of his corrupted literary protégé, Caesar Zvayi, who was thrown
out of Botswana last week, Moyo peeled layers and layers of fake decency
coating his soul and declared, "When a country has more goats than people it
suffers a serious leadership deficiency, as is happening in Botswana where a
primitive and intolerant military junta is masquerading as a democracy."
This is from a professor and former cabinet minister who should know what
words to use when dealing with people.
Do the people of his constituency care what is said in their name? But since
ZANU-PF spat into Jonathan Moyo's mouth, the man has become an embarrassment
to himself and those using him.
He has shown the same disregard for decency that ZANU-PF has shown over the
years. We see the deficiency of personal and political morals. We see the
craving for the spotlight and for diplomatic passports.
And, as we talk now, what does his constituency think? What do those MDC
activists, including Tsvangirai himself, think about having extended a
political truce and camaraderie to Moyo by not fielding a candidate in Moyo's
constituency and thereby allowing Moyo not to fight for political
recognition, survival and acceptance like other candidates?
Is the MDC so barren that their security departments do not care to
investigate and advise their bosses accordingly? How could such a popular
party be duped by Jonathan Moyo?
Such a thing would never happen in ZANU-PF because, from thousands of miles,
those murderers can smell a drop of embalming fluid in the ocean.
How did we lose prolific Caesar Zvayi to meaningless, empty-headed
Botswana deported Zvayi because he talked to much in the face of a
government that is struggling to stay afloat because of the fall-out of what
is happening in Zimbabwe.
Botswana, like many African states, supported the struggle for independence
in ways they could afford. And we have many of our people who were sheltered
in this country at great cost and loss of lives to locals.
But for the first time since way back when, Botswana had to admit that they
had a problem caused by the goings-on in Zimbabwe.
Yes, there is a problem in Zimbabwe and it is caused by the likes of
Jonathan Moyo and his mentors like Robert Mugabe and Joseph Chinotimba,
Chiwenga, Munangagwa and others.
But Jonathan Moyo, unschooled in verbal decency like his master Mugabe,
worries when other nations go about the business of protecting their nations
from unscrupulous chancers like Zvayi.
Given Botswana's admission of problems with Zimbabwe, how could it be
expected to accept Mugabe's spin-doctor to not only teach their students,
but journalism students.
If Moyo and Mugabe are proud of the country that they ravaged, why shouldn't
the citizens of Botswana do likewise? Why cry to let their friends be
And, who is Jonathan Moyo anywhere? He is just a small politically undecided
child given an overwhelming amount of toys and who does not know which one
to play with first.
We must, of necessity, take our leaders and elected representatives to task
and make sure that they do not make arbitrary decisions that may impact
negatively on the nation.
Like Zimbabwe continuously reminds the world, Botswana is a sovereign state
that reserves the right to accept or reject those people who show up at
their borders for whatever reason and for Jonathan Moyo, who himself
laughably imposed sanctions on members of Tony Blair's cabinet, to spout
this kind of gruel is also an indication of directionless political
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that is the way it is today, August 14,
14 August 2008, 16:59 GMT + 2
THE word "nutter" shouldn't be used lightly. It suggests that a person has
departed from reality and is now displaying delusional behaviour perhaps
with comical consequences.
It can now be said with certainty that: "Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe
is a nutter."
The fact that he entered power-sharing talks without the intention of
sharing power provides some evidence of nuttiness.
But the clincher is today's action by his security forces. Apparently acting
on a "list" of undesirables, they arrested Morgan Tsvangirai, the man Mugabe
has been negotiating with all week at Harare airport.
Mugabe is a nutter if he believes that this will advance his argument that
Zimbabwe should remain his personal fiefdom, regardless of what voters say.
He is a nutter if he thinks that his country will benefit from this sort of
arbitrary act of might.
He is a nutter if he thinks he can come to South Africa this weekend for the
SADC meetings acting like the head of state of a sovereign nation.
The people of this country know nutters when they see them. We have quite a
few choice examples of our own.
We recently described Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi as a Mampara in a front page
article because of his bizarre call on government to VAT zero-rate foods
that were already zero-rated. That was nuts.
But Vavi is absolutely right to call for action against Mugabe's presence in
It is an insult to the people of South Africa that a man who has brazenly
stolen an election and left a country's economy in ruins, should be treated
as a legitimate head of state.
Mugabe is not welcome in this country now and he will not be welcome here
even when he relinquishes power.
He cannot be rehabilitated. Period.
14 Aug 2008
Source : Bodyform
Bodyform today announces a major new pledge of fundraising and marketing
support to help provide vital sanitary supplies to the women of Zimbabwe, in
partnership with ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) and its high profile
'Dignity! Period.' campaign.
Bodyform will embark on a new fundraising push to provide 2.3 million
products by the end of 2008 to help the serious plight of Zimbabwean women
who are unable to afford packs of scarcely available sanitary towels, which
cost around five times the average monthly wage.
Bodyform believes every woman is entitled to their dignity.
The new marketing support for 'Dignity! Period.' is targeting 18-24 year old
women and involves press advertising, in-store activity, an on-pack
promotion, a new microsite, online marketing and PR.
The PR campaign launches with a fantastic array of new celebrity support
from the likes of Amanda Holden, Kym Marsh and Suzanne Shaw.
Press advertising will run in key women's weekly and monthly publications
and an on-pack campaign will feature across one of the brand's best-selling
ranges, Bodyform Ultra, featuring the strapline "Buy one and we'll donate
Packs will highlight Bodyform's donation of 2.3 million sanitary towels and
will be on shelf from 11th August for one month.
A dedicated microsite at www.bodyform.co.uk will raise awareness of the
cause and highlight that just £1 will buy two months supply of sanitary
protection, encouraging consumers to make a personal donation and give the
gift of dignity to the women of Zimbabwe.
In addition, an online advertising and PR campaign is planned through key
websites such as Facebook, MSN and ASOS.
Millions of women and girls across Zimbabwe are facing unnecessary suffering
The economic crisis means they resort to using dirty rags or newspapers,
which can lead to severe infections that in turn are often falsely
attributed to sexual promiscuity and can then result in domestic violence.
Yulia Kretova, Bodyform Marketing Manager, comments: "We are committed to
helping the women in Zimbabwe and showing consumers how even just a small
donation can make such a massive difference. At Bodyform we believe that
sanitary protection should be a basic human right and, through our new
pledge and marketing campaign, we can enable Zimbabwean women to get on with
their daily lives without the risk of infections, social stigma or abuse."