The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Summit ends in Zimbabwe stalemate

Sunday, 17 August 2008 18:49 UK
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrives at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) opening ceremony in Sandton, South Africa on Saturday
Mr Tsvangirai says he is prepared to compromise on a deal, but only so far

Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition have been unable to reach a power-sharing agreement at a regional summit of Southern African leaders.

Asked if a deal had been reached in Johannesburg, a spokesman for the main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said: "No, not at all".

However, South African President Thabo Mbeki said after the official summit closed that talks would continue.

Hours earlier, Mr Tsvangirai said the talks had been going "very well".

Mr Mbeki is the regionally appointed mediator for Zimbabwe, and the latest talks took place at a summit of leaders of the 14-member Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

When people are hungry, they are pliable
MDC official (unnamed), speaking to the BBC's Orla Guerin

As the summit formally ended, Mr Tsvangirai's spokesman, George Sibotshiwe, told reporters: "There is no deal yet."

Mr Tsvangirai is said to have agreed in principle for Mr Mugabe to retain the title of president, while he takes on a beefed-up prime ministerial role.

The key sticking-points are reported to be over the exact balance of power.

In other business at the summit, the Sadc agreed to launch a regional trade zone aimed at eliminating import tariffs, with plans for a common currency by 2018.

Zimbabwe is among a majority of Sadc countries who will participate in the trade zone. Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo did not join up immediately.

Red lines

Mr Mbeki said that some Sadc leaders would continue to discuss Zimbabwe after the close of the summit.

Protesters demand the removal of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe outside the meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Saturday
Protesters outside the summit made their feelings clear

Mr Tsvangirai finished ahead of Mr Mugabe in the first round of Zimbabwe's presidential election in March and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) also won a majority in parliamentary elections.

But Mr Tsvangirai pulled out of the second round of the presidential election, citing a campaign of violence against his supporters. Mr Mugabe went on to win the vote unopposed.

Mr Tsvangirai told the New York Times that the most basic issue of how he and Mr Mugabe would share power remained unsettled, and there were limits to the compromises he could make.

“It's better not to have a deal than to have a bad deal,” Mr Tsvangirai told the newspaper.

Sticking-points in the power-sharing talks are reported to include

  • the balance of power between Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai
  • the make-up of any coalition cabinet
  • control of Zimbabwe's security forces
  • the possibility of an amnesty over post-election violence

Mr Tsvangirai had a seat at the summit with other invited guests on the floor while President Mugabe joined other regional leaders at the head table.

Arthur Mutambara, head of a breakaway MDC faction, also attended.

Pressure on Mbeki

Some critics believe regional leaders' handling of the Zimbabwe crisis has reflected badly on them.

Events in Zimbabwe were a "blot on the culture of democracy", Zambia said.

The rare public criticism, attributed to Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, comes after Botswana's president decided to boycott the summit in protest.

Zambia's Foreign Minister Kabinga Pande said the "regrettable events" in Zimbabwe had "no doubt left a serious blot on the culture of democracy in our sub region.

"These events... brought into question Sadc as an institution capable of promoting the rule of law and democratic governance," he said, speaking on behalf of President Mwanawasa, who is in hospital after suffering a stroke.

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No deal for Zimbabwe

August 17, 2008

JOHANNESBURG (AP/Own Correspondent) - Zimbabwe's feuding political rivals
had not reached any agreement by the end of the two-day SADC regional summit
where the country's crisis was placed high on the agenda amid high
expectations of agreement.

"We're finished," George Sibotshiwe, a spokesman for the mainstream Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) which is led by Morgan Tsvangirai and which won
parliamentary elections in March. He was referring to the meeting held with
regional leaders on the sidelines of the summit while responding to a
question whether any agreement had been reached.

"No, not at all," Sibotshiwe said.

In a speech to southern African leaders on Friday Tsvangirai had indicated
that his party was negotiating for him to assume the proposed office of
Prime Minister with executive powers, while President Robert Mugabe, leader
of the party in government retained the office of President and command of
the military as a means of resolving the contentious issue of who would lead
any unity government.

Tsvangirai outlined his party's proposal in a speech he delivered to
regional cabinet ministers gathered for the SADC summit on Friday, on the
eve of the summit.

Tsvangirai said the proposal presented by the MDC in the deadlocked
negotiations with Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, would mean a major curbing of the
powers Mugabe has wielded over the past 28 years. Details of Tsvangirai
speech were only revealed publicly on Saturday night. He said the two sides
remained unable to agree on how powers would be divided between him and
Mugabe. A South African Cabinet minister closely involved in the talks,
Sydney Mufamadi, said on Saturday that a deal was close but was unclear if a
breakthrough would come during the summit.

And after months of attacks on opposition supporters, the prospect of Mr
Mugabe remaining commander in chief was worrisome. Eliphas Mukonoweshuro,
Tsvangirai's foreign policy adviser, acknowledged there was "a possibility
of abuse", but said regional leaders could keep a check on Mr Mugabe.

The opposition may have little choice. Zimbabwe's military leaders who are
members of the powerful Joint Operations Command, which now wields immense
power in Harare, have said publicly that they would not recognise Tsvangirai's

South Africa's President, Thabo Mbeki, who has been mediating Zimbabwe's
power-sharing talks, spent much of last week trying to push Mr Mugabe and Mr
Tsvangirai to strike a deal.

The question of Mr Mugabe's role has been a major sticking point, with the
long-time President reportedly refusing to yield any power and his
administration publicly mocking Tsvangirai's claim to have the mandate to
lead Zimbabwe.

At the opening of the summit on Saturday, Tsvangirai sat in a prominent
position on the floor while Mugabe sat at the head table with other
presidents. The southern African leaders gathered again on Sunday on the
final day of the summit, amid a push for a Zimbabwe deal before the end of
the meeting.

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SADC says Zimbabwean parliament may have to be convened

Monsters and Critics

Aug 17, 2008, 19:05 GMT

Johannesburg - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) said Sunday
it might be necessary to reconvene Zimbabwe's parliament despite continuing
negotiations between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The call was contained in a communique issued after a meeting of the SADC
organ on politics, defence and security on Zimbabwe.

That meeting took place after the close of a SADC summit of heads of state
and government in Johannesburg earlier Sunday.

'While negotiations (on a government of national unity) are continuing it
may be necessary to convene parliament to give effect to the will of the
people as expressed in the parliamentary elections held on March 29, 2008,'
the communique said.

Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has been pushing for parliament to be reconvened
since opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai backed away from a power-sharing agreement that would have seen
Mugabe retain executive powers.

The MDC took more votes than Zanu-PF in the March 29 elections but Arthur
Mutambara, the leader of a splinter faction of the MDC that holds the
balance of power between the two parties in parliament, has said he would
consider working with either parties.

The main summit of the 15-nation SADC grouping had failed to resolve a
disagreement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai on how they would share power in
a unity government, if, as has been proposed, Tsvangirai is made prime

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Mbeki says Zimbabwe talks to continue after summit


Sun 17 Aug 2008, 13:55 GMT

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African President Thabo Mbeki said on Sunday
that some regional leaders will continue talks aimed at ending Zimbabwe's
post-election political crisis after their summit closes.

Earlier opposition MDC officials sent out conflicting signals on progress in
the talks.

It was not clear whether Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai would take part in the talks after the summit.

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Regional security body to deal with Zimbabwe crisis: Mbeki

Yahoo News

Sun Aug 17, 11:20 AM ET

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - South African President Thabo Mbeki said a regional
body on security issues will discuss Zimbabwe's crisis on Sunday after the
end of the Southern African Development Community summit.

"The organ of SADC on politics, defence and security co-operation has been
dealing with the issue of Zimbabwe since Friday and continues to engage with
this matter, and indeed after we have closed formally, the organ will
convene again just to deal with the situation in Zimbabwe," Mbeki said.

He was giving a closing statement at the 14-nation Southern African
Development Community summit in Johannesburg.

Mbeki is the regionally appointed mediator for Zimbabwe, and at the opening
of the summit on Saturday had raised the possibility of a deal being reached
between the country's political rivals before the gathering wrapped up.

On Sunday, he said he hoped for the "speedy" resolution to the crisis that
intensified after President Robert Mugabe's re-election in a June run-off
poll widely condemned as a sham.

A spokesman for Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Sunday
that there was no deal between the country's main rivals, and the party had
planned a news conference for later in the day.

Both Tsvangirai and Mugabe were in attendance at the summit, and significant
stumbling blocks had been said to remain to a deal, with disagreement
centering on the division of power between the two.

SADC's body on security issues had agreed at a meeting on Friday that a deal
to resolve the crisis should be signed during the summit, a foreign minister
who attended told AFP.

Tsvangirai boycotted the June run-off despite finishing ahead of Mugabe in
the March first round of the election, citing rising violence against his

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Robert Mugabe facing coup or civil war, warns Botswana

The Telegraph

Zimbabwe faces the possibility of a military coup or civil war if
negotiations between President Robert Mugabe and the democratic opposition
fail, Botswana's foreign minister has warned.

By Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg
Last Updated: 6:58PM BST 17 Aug 2008

As heads of state from Zimbabwe's neighbours gathered in Johannesburg for a
regional summit, Ian Khama, Botswana's new president, boycotted the meeting
in protest at the presence of Mr Mugabe, who he regards as illegitimate
after he was "re-elected" in a one-candidate presidential run-off.

While the octogenarian leader sat on the podium nodding his head in time to
a military band playing "When the saints go marching in", the front row
seats of the Botswana delegation in the hall were conspicuously empty.

Talks between Mr Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change, and Arthur Mutambara, who heads another MDC faction,
continued during the gathering, but without reaching a resolution.

Botswana's foreign minister Phandu Skelemani said a successful outcome to
the negotiations was crucial.

"If they fail the situation will spiral," he said. "There's going to be
turmoil. Then we are really heading for trouble. Some mad chap might think
these fellows have failed, now I'm taking over. Those are the risks you run.

"I'm not sure that the Zimbabweans are not going to start fighting, then we
are all in trouble. There's no option but to agree. The consequences are too
ghastly to contemplate."

Thabo Mbeki, the South African president mediating the talks, claimed that
the negotiations could be finalised during the summit. But after a
suggestion said that a deal "should" be signed over the weekend Tendai Biti,
Mr Tsvangirai's secretary-general and chief negotiator, retorted: "He's

The negotiations are understood to be stymied over the question of executive
authority, with Mr Mugabe insisting on remaining as head of the government,
leaving the effective power of Mr Tsvangirai's proposed prime ministership
open to question.

In a speech to ministers Mr Tsvangirai said: "We have agreed that Mr Mugabe
will be president whilst I become prime minister. A prime minister cannot be
given responsibility without authority and be expected to deliver.

"We envisage that the prime minister must chair the Cabinet and be
responsible for the formulation, execution and administration of government
business including appointing and dismissing his ministers."

On the summit sidelines he added yesterday: "No deal in the short-term is
better than a bad deal."

Botswana's foreign minister Phandu Skelemani said his country faces a "very
serious" situation as a result of Zimbabwe's impoverishment, with economic
refugees were "streaming across" their shared border at an increasing rate.

He did not want to single out Mr Mugabe for criticism over the talks, saying
that "all the parties involved" had to "see reason to see failure to agree
implies catastrophe for Zimbabwe".

But in a clear reference to the man who has led Zimbabwe since independence
28 years ago he said: "Over the years the political situation may have been
bad, the crunch has now come.

"The country is melting economically, I don't think Mr Mugabe can fail to
see that. If he sees that and being the patriot that I believe he is he must
have only one answer, that the Zimbabweans look up to him and the other
leaders of the political parties to find a resolution."

It was wrong of the Southern African Development Community to invite Mr
Mugabe to the summit, and even more so to seat him at the top table while Mr
Tsvangirai was relegated to a seat in the hall, Mr Skelemani added.

"They are equals and they ought to be treated as such. Neither one of them
has won the presidential election.

Botswana had to boycott the meeting to remain true to its democratic
principles, he said. "To sit down with Mugabe or his ministers, we have said
no. Those who break all these rules should not expect to sit at the same
table with us before the situation is corrected.

"I'm sad that it should have come to this."

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Free Trade Area set to enhance economic growth

SADC member nations FLAGS

It has been made official that the Southern African Development Community is now a Free Trade Area

August 17, 2008, 18:15

It is official, the Southern African Development Community is now a Free Trade Area (FTA). It's a historic step toward the vision of a fully integrated economic region. The FTA is expected to enhance economic growth, create jobs and fight poverty but Zimbabwe continues to cast a long shadow on the region.

First proposed and adopted in 1966 in Maseru, the dream has finally come to fruition. SADC chair President Thabo Mbeki had the honour to launch the trade protocol, praising the region's joint effort. It demanded hard work and dedication and the new chair has cautioned against taking the achievement for granted.

“I raised this because we need to resuscitate the shared vision and commitment, the unity and cohesion that has characterised SADC from its inception”, said Mbeki.

In his closing address he pledged the SADC troika's total commitment to resolving the Zimbabwe crisis.

Meanwhile, efforts to resolve the political crisis in Zimbawe are continuing after the conclusion of the summit. The meeting of regional leaders has ended, but the SADC's Organ on Peace, Security and Defence has now convened with Zimbabwe's negotiating parties to thrash out a solution. The SADC's peace and security troika consists of Swaziland, Angola and Tanzania. King Mswati the Third of Swaziland is chairing the session on Zimbabwe.

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MDC wary of Mugabe deal 'plot'

Sunday, 17 August 2008 13:29 UK

As Zimbabwe's government and opposition continue to hold power-sharing talks, the BBC's Africa correspondent Orla Guerin reports undercover from inside Zimbabwe - where BBC journalists are banned - on opposition worries at whether promises will be fulfilled.

An MDC supporter in a hospital in Ruwa. Photo: 7 July 2008
Many MDC supporters say they have been beaten by pro-Mugabe activists

After months of state-sponsored violence and intimidation, and a sham election run-off, it is easy to see why Zimbabwe's opposition MDC (the Movement for Democratic Change) has a problem with trust.

Many MDC supporters and officials we have spoken to here in Zimbabwe believe that the President Robert Mugabe has no intention of ceding any real authority to their leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Some fear that a power-sharing formula could be a trap at best, and a political death sentence at worst.

MDC insiders joke grimly that President Mugabe only wants to give Mr Tsvangirai one thing - responsibility for trying to fix Zimbabwe's ruined economy.

"You can never trust Zanu-PF," said MDC councillor Chengerai Mangezuo, who has the trademark of opposition activists - broken limbs. He is in hospital with two broken legs.

"Today they share power, and tomorrow they turn things upside down."

The MDC supporter in the bed opposite him agreed.

"Zanu-PF is not a party you can trust," said Rufaro Chakawarika, who also has two broken legs. "If we look back at what they promised people, they didn't do it. They might agree on some aspects and tomorrow it will never be fulfilled."

Betrayal fears

These two bedridden casualties of the fight for change agree on something else - that Robert Mugabe should face charges.

I would be happy to work very hard for this country as long as there is justice... and those that committed crimes are actually brought to book
Emmanual Chiroto, MDC lawmaker

"I would be happy to see him tried," said Mr Chakawarika, "so that in future he would not send his people to go in the country and attack innocent people. Once he remains in power this is going to happen again and again."

Mr Mengezuo believes that - as long as Zanu-PF holds power - his life is at risk.

"They want to have a by-election, so they will kill me to have it. They will come again, I know they will come again," he says.

These men like other opposition activists we have met say they still want to see an agreement, but only if it puts real power in the hands of Morgan Tsvangirai.

They argue that anything less would be a betrayal of all those killed since Zimbabwe went to the polls. Reliable sources here say the death toll has now reached almost 200.

Victim's story

Abigail Chiroto was one of them - a 26-year-old wife and mother, taken from her home in June, by armed supporters of Zanu-PF.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrives at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) opening ceremony in Sandton, South Africa on Saturday
Mr Tsvangirai says he is prepared to compromise on a deal, but only so far

Her four-year-old son Ashley was abducted with her, and witnessed some of his mother's final anguish.

Ashley is now a solemn, withdrawn child. When we met, he shook my hand silently, then dropped his eyes to the ground.

"Since Ashley's mother was abducted, he doesn't talk much," said his father Emmanual Chiroto, an MDC MP, formerly mayor-elect of Harare.

But sometimes the little boy asks questions for which his father has no answer - like when will he be able to see his mother again.

"He wants to drive to the place where they left her, and make sure she is no longer there", said Mr Chiroto.

The MP wants justice for the church-going woman he calls his "perfect-partner for life".

"She was so nice," he said, "always encouraging me. We never had a quarrel. She can never be replaced."

He says there can be no new beginning for Zimbabwe, and no power-sharing agreement, unless the guilty are punished.

"I would be happy to work very hard for this country," he says "as long as there is justice and the rule of law is respected, and those that committed crimes are actually brought to book. But without that I feel that my wife died for nothing."

'Painful days'

While the opposition wants justice, many of President Mugabe's henchmen want a blanket amnesty. It is understood that his hardline security chiefs are particularly concerned about that.

Shoppers walk past empty shelves in Harare. File photo
Many Zimbabweans have been hit hard by the economic crisis

Mr Mugabe's critics say he is simply going through the motions, and trying to repair his image by appearing to be willing to share power.

The opposition maintains that Morgan Tsvangirai knows his foe, and is not going to be fooled by that.

For this weary and broke nation, there is a great deal at stake. Only real change will trigger an international rescue package - Western donors do not plan on lining the regime's pockets.

One newspaper here says these are "painful days, of hoping and waiting".

For many in Zimbabwe it is a hungry wait, but opposition supporters may be hungrier than most.

Government grain supplies - such as they are - do not go to opposition strongholds, and foreign aid organisations have been banned from operating.

"Our people are hungry," one MDC official told me this week.

"The government is doing this deliberately, because when people are hungry, they are pliable."

But hungry or not, many opposition supporters are not ready to swallow an agreement that leaves Robert Mugabe in control here. Better no deal at all, they say, than a bad one.

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Hoping against all hope

Sunday, 17 August 2008 13:01
When I was in South Africa over the last month I was able to see two
very good friends who are Zimbabwean expats. One works in the business end
of biotech and we were both graduate students together at Rhodes University
back in 1997, albeit in very different disciplines. The other is a historian
whom I met at a conference in Pretoria a couple of years back. He's hit hard
times after funding disappeared for his position at an important online
history site and he is holding on to hope that something will come through
soon, before he has to go back into the maw of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe.
Neither of my friends is optimistic about Zimbabwe, and, after all,
why would they be? Even forgetting the rapaciousness of Robert Mugabe's
regime and the politics he has created, the immediate concerns that my
friends have for their families and friends do not involve roaming bands of
ZANU-PF thugs. Instead their fears are of famine, the mind-boggling
inflation that continues to skyrocket - it is at an incomprehensible 2.2%
with no signs of abating - despite (because of?) the introduction of
laughable bank notes, such as the new Z$100 billion bill that is worth about
$1 US and can buy approximately four oranges, or could as of last week, if
one could find oranges to buy, and the fact that a loaf of bread now costs
approximately a third of a teacher's monthly salary. These economic
conditions are all the direct result of Mugabe's politics and failed
policies, of course, but for the average Zimbabwean these are not matters of
politics qua politics but rather of how to eke out a life.
So what to make of the apparent success of the "talks about talks"
that have led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding about future
meetings between Robert Mugabe and his beleaguered challenger (and
presumptive true choice of the voters) Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for
Democratic Change? And what to make of the commencement of meetings this
week? Certainly Mugabe's willingness to sit down with his rival, the
handshakes and photo-ops, the signs of movement after so much stasis, and an
interregnum in the bloodshed are all worth something. But what? After all,
"talks about talks" has a rather Orwellian ring to it, even if the idea of
"talks about talks" was a vital moment in leading to the CODESA negotiations
that led to the end of Apartheid in South Africa.
One cannot really blame observers in southern Africa or elsewhere for
holding on to hope. The tendency is to hold on to hope when hope is all one
has on which to hold. And perhaps the new agreement finally to meet, to hash
out these difficulties, really does represent a breakthrough, a new dawn,
however tentative. But I cannot shake the images of the last few months
(indeed the last few years) and the lengths to which Robert Mugabe has gone
to hold on to power. And I cannot shake the thousands and thousands of words
I read about the Zimbabwe crisis while I was in South Africa, more even than
I read on a daily basis here in the US, from sources even more wary than I,
such as The Zimbabwean, which has chronicled in grim and unremitting detail
the situation in that country. And I think of the day-to-day fears of my
friends for their families. And I think again of what I think the odds are
that after all that has transpired Mugabe will suddenly yield even a modicum
of control to a man and a party he has terrorized and abused and harassed.
By all means, then, let us believe that the process, however slow and
tortured, is going to result in some sort of compromise. Let us believe that
after all of the silent diplomacy and seeming aloofness Thabo Mbeki's gambit
has worked, however belatedly. Let us imagine that a new day is dawning and
that the talks about talks have yielded talks that will lead to concrete
change. By all means hope that finally we have more than hope before us. But
forgive me if I am skeptical. Skepticism seems to be the one currency that
still spends at its full value in Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 16th August 2008

After the deluge of rain last week we had a sunny Vigil to exchange opinions
on how things are going at home. We were pleased to see the strong support
for our cause by COSATU members. The Vigil management team took soundings at
the Vigil for a meeting afterwards.  Despite suggestions of progress at the
talks between the MDC and Zanu-PF people remain skeptical that Mugabe will
yield enough power to make a real difference.

The management meeting reaffirmed our mission statement. This means we
expect to remain outside the Embassy for the foreseeable future and will not
accept a deal that does not provide for real change.

The meeting also discussed the strategy behind our two current petitions.
Despite the talks, the Mugabe regime has still to lift the ban on
humanitarian aid agencies distributing food. Unless things change
dramatically the Vigil will soon present its petition calling on European
Union members to suspend government aid to the SADC countries - apart from
Botswana and Zambia which have spoken out against Mugabe. We want this money
to be used instead to finance refugee camps in South Africa, Botswana,
Zambia and Mozambique where our starving and beaten brothers and sisters can
find refuge.  All reports suggest that the food situation is becoming
desperate and there has been no end to the violence.

The management team noted that some other organisations have also taken up
the issue of the 2010 Football World Cup and - again depending on the
outcome of the talks - we will be looking to present our petition calling on
FIFA to move the event from South Africa because of the instability that can
be expected to follow the collapse of Zimbabwe.

The team also discussed what effect the outcome of the talks might have on
Home Office decisions on asylum.  If real power remains with Zanu-PF we will
need to make sure that the Home Office does not make any attempt to send
back Zimbabweans.

Despite our recent clarification (reprinted below) it is clear there is
still some misunderstanding about the roles of ROHR and the Vigil.  We will
be asking ROHR representatives at the Vigil to ensure that people understand
what they are giving money for.

A throwback to times past: despite all the publicity about the atrocities in
Zimbabwe Mugabe still has his supporters in London.  We had one of them
waving his fist angrily at us from across the road.  He seemed demented...
perhaps worried.

Apart from the Vigil there are 2 other organisations that operate at the
Vigil on Saturday afternoons: Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR)
and the Zimbabwe Association.  There has been confusion about the
relationship of the 3 organisations so a clarification is outlined below.

The Zimbabwe Vigil: the Vigil is a non-party political group of human rights
activists who protest weekly on Saturday afternoons outside the Zimbabwe
Embassy, London. To be a member of the Vigil all you have to do is attend on
Saturday afternoons (and sign the register if you wish to).  There is no
cost for joining the Vigil and you do not have to be a member of the other
two organisations.

ROHR: is the Vigil's partner organisation based in Zimbabwe.  ROHR grew out
of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe
which reflected the Vigil mission statement (see above) in a practical way.
ROHR in the UK actively fund raises through membership subscriptions,
events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Association is a member of the Zimbabwe Vigil Coalition and is
a support group for Zimbabwean refugees and asylum seekers. They offer
members help and advice on asylum matters and have been responsible for a
long-running campaign to stop detention and removals of Zimbabweans in the
UK.  There is a small annual fee for membership. For more information check:

NB the 3 organisations support each other but operate separately as far as
support for individuals is concerned.

For latest Vigil pictures check:  .

FOR THE RECORD: 168 signed the register.

·   Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 28th August, 2 - 6 pm. Venue: Argyle
Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724
·   Zimbabwe Association's Women's Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays
10.30 am - 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton
Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury
Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355
(open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

Vigil co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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ZESA tightens load shedding regime

From The Sunday News, 17 August

Sunday News Reporter

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has in the past few weeks
tightened its load shedding regime as it anticipated reduced power supply,
with some areas going for as much as 12 hours without power." According to
the initial load shedding scheme released by ZESA, electricity was to be cut
for about four hours a day, but recently the load shedding seems to be
haphazard without a clear timetable. Zesa spokesman, Mr Fullard Gwasira said
the utility had no choice but increase the hours when electricity was cut
due to reduced power generation at Hwange Power Station. "We are facing coal
constraints, output is down to 120 megawatts instead of the usual 500," he
said yesterday. Mr Gwasira said some conveyor belts had broken down at
Hwange Colliery Mine, but these had since been repaired. He was optimistic
that the situation was going to improve mid this week.

The failure by the authority to provide adequate power comes at a time when
repairs to Hydro Cahorra Bassa Dam had been completed and Zimbabwe was
expected to be one of the countries to benefit from power exports. Zimbabwe
was expected to buy 200MW of power from HCB, which should ease the power
shortage. However, Mr Gwasira said they were not getting that much power
from the giant Mozambique Dam, instead he said the country was getting 50MW.
He said when the utility had enough money it had an agreement to buy up to
150MW. It has also been revealed that at a time the country was facing power
shortages, Zesa had entered into a deal with South African power utility,
Eskom, for the refurbishment of three power stations with a combined
generation of 500MW. Presently Zesa has a deal with Nampower of Namibia. Mr
Gwasira however declined that they had entered into any deal with Eskom. "We
hear about the Eskom deal from the media, we have no such deal," he said.
"We are only in an agreement with Zimasco."

However, sources at Zesa claimed that load shedding was here to stay, as
most power stations at the power utility were in an advanced state of
disrepair. They revealed that load shedding was going to be tightened this
week, with power cuts set to last for almost 24 hours. They revealed that
power generation was constrained at Hwange and this was worsened by the fact
40MW of power had to be exported to Namibia daily. A source revealed that
most of the power generating units at the colliery were down and this had an
adverse effect on power supply. "Only units 3 and 6 are operating and the
rest are down," the source said. "Unit 6 was only brought on line recently
but it constantly develops faults." The source said power generated from
unit 3 was shared between Namibia and Zimbabwe and this meant that not much
power was being used for the country. He said units 1 and 4 had developed
outages and were not producing any electricity. An Indian company was
contracted to repair the two units and they were supposed to have finished
the repairs. "At the rate they are going, I do not see them completing the
repairs before December," he said. Zesa was also failing to get spares to
repair unit 5, as most of the parts were obsolete. The utility was
reportedly removing spares from other units in an effort to repair the unit,
but this had failed.

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Herald Reporter Exposed
Local NewsAugust 17, 2008 | By Metro Investigations Unit |

In what could be mounting evidence that the state media is being used by some key people in ZANU to destroy talks through fabricating stories and vilifying Tsvangirai. Herald Journalist Mabasa Sasa who on Tuesday wrote the ‘Deal sealed ‘ story and was handed the sensitive talks documents by George Charamba has been exposed.

In his latest news report the reporter claimed that,

“When Tsvangirai briefed the Organ on Politics he was challenged by President dos Santos and asked how he reconciled his power claims with the requirements of Zimbabwe’s electoral law.’

Metro has since established that there were only three people in the briefing Dos Santos, Kikwete and Mswati,neither of these presidents spoke to the press. Tsvangirai’s briefing was the last and was in the evening.

No journalist had any contact with the three presidents, it is unimaginable let alone feasible that Sasa could have been told by any leader,or source and at what time.

Without giving any back up to his report the reporter further claimed that ‘Indications are that the Sadc secretariat is also “angry” with the manner in which Tsvangirai had been stalling and pressure was mounting on him to “be reasonable”.The reporter did not specify what those indicators were.

However what all journalists saw and was widely reported by respected news agencies was that an estimated 2,000 and 3,000 people protested against Mugabe’s presence outside of a regional summit venue.

The protesters also delivered a memorandum to the executive secretary of SADC saying, “Robert Mugabe is not legitimate leader of his country … he has not been democratically elected by the people of his country.”

Metro has already reported that Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information George Charamba gave the reporter the talks documents to publish before the talks had collapsed and specifically told the reporter the headline should read ‘ New dawn:Deal sealed’.

The same reporter went on to publish a doctored version of the documents under the headline:Tsvangirai U-Turn : The facts, he claimed that MDC negotiators agreed with ZANU PF on the issue of sanctions,it said;

‘On the 25th of July, Tsvangirai agreed that sanctions were not targeted and the Western economic embargo was hurting the nation and should be lifted as a matter of urgency.

The claims have since been debunked MDC National Chairman,Lovemore Moyo , who was also part of the expanded negotiating team publicly said the MDC flatly refused at the talks to speak out against a targeted travel ban on Mugabe and some senior ZANU PF members.

George Charamba who directs the Herald editorial content belongs to the Mnangagwa faction and was major player in the ill-fated Ndiyane plot in December 2004 which was meant to catapult Mnangagwa to the vice presidency, Charamba drafted a speech for Mnangagwa for the event and hired a plane for the meeting.

The Mnagagwa faction is reportedly strongly opposed to any meaningful power sharing deal and is in favour of a cosmetic deal through accommodating a willing partner, the Mutambara faction. Already almost all 10 Mutambara faction MPs have been approached by the faction,some using close friends.

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Just out of reach

Sunday 17th August 2008

Dear Family and Friends,
The will of the people. It is impossible to believe that 140 days after
Zimbabwe voted for an MDC Parliament and an MDC President the will of the
people has yet to be accepted or implemented. After nearly five months we
remain locked in a truly horrible state without sworn in legislators,
without a parliament and without legitimacy. Everything around us is falling
apart so fast now and yet the people and party in power for the last twenty
eight years simply refuse to go.

The electricity is now off more than on - in my area its only been on twice
during daytime working hours in the last week. Urban water supply seems to
have virtually collapsed and in my home area taps are dry for at least 20
hours a day. Massive environmental devastation is being done as people have
no choice but to cut trees down for fuel wood. Shops remain barren of
virtually all goods and banks have become nightmare places where hundreds of
people queue for hours at a time to withdraw the maximum daily allowance
which is now handed out as a small bag of coins. At some banks the situation
is so bad that the doors stay closed and locked all the time and people are
only allowed to enter in small batches.

Much as the old leadership would have us believe, we are not a country at
war, no one is trying to invade us or take us over and the future is
waiting, just out of our reach. It is very hard, however, to stay sane,
healthy and focussed on the Zimbabwe that the majority voted for on the 29th
March 2008.

One afternoon this week I went with a friend to a small environmental
education centre and game park at a local school and the magnificence of the
Zimbabwean bush helped revive flagging spirits. The Msasa trees are coming
into new leaf and putting on a spectacular display of copper, caramel,
burgundy, port and hot red. The wild oranges are starting to turn yellow and
they hang heavily from branches of leafless trees. On rocks and kopjes there
are unexpected and vivid scatterings of lime green and bright orange lichen.
In between trees and rocks, superbly camouflaged, there were giraffe, zebra,
wildebeest and impala. This small environmental education centre, a vision
from the past, giving knowledge and understanding to our children in such
troubled times and promising hope for the future of our beleaguered, broken
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.

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Mashonaland West Situation Report  (15-08-08)

 Sunday, 17 August 2008 16:45
Hurungwe North - Kazangarare
Jawet Kazangarare, the notorious Zanu PF war veteran responsible for
spearheading the violent persecution of MDC supporters in the Hurungwe
areas, is accused of raping 13 year old Ella Ruvanga at a base camp prior to
the June 27 runoff.
The case was reported to the police at Zimbabwe Republic Police Kazangarare
Sub Office but no action has been taken to date, as with all the other cases
of politically related violence reported countrywide where Zanu PF
supporters are the perpetrators. The victim and other young girls from the
area where forcibly taken from their homes and taken to the base camp where
they did household chores (cooking,washing clothes e.t.c) for the war
veterans and Zanu PF youth as they went about their day to day business of
terrorizing accused MDC sympathizers and supporters. After the alleged rape,
the victim did not seek medical treatment and is reported to be experiencing
vaginal bleeding to date.
Hurungwe West - Magunje ,Ward 11
The Grain Marketing Board manager, Homela , Zanu PF District Coordinator
,Dr. Karonga and the Zanu PF MP for Magunje Frank Ndambakuwa have spent the
previous five days denying maize grain to the winning MDC councilor for Ward
11, Ruth Chinhanho on the basis of being MDC. They told her that she was
only going to obtain maize grain from the GMB after she  reformed to being
Zanu PF. Frank Ndambakuwa went on further to threaten her with death,
telling her that he would prefer to see her dead because of being MDC.
Ndambakuwa is responsible for the April shooting of Peterson Kwenda, who he
shot in the leg for being an MDC activist. Kwenda was denied the urgent
medical assistance he required as ambulances where being turned away from
Karoi Hospital by State Security Agents and Zanu PF loyalists resulting in
the wound be gangrenous.By the time medical help came his way it was already
too late and he had to have the leg amputated in two places, below the knee
and later on above the thigh.
On August 10 2008, Ndambakuwa,armed  with a gun, and a certain Zanu PF youth
by the name Darlington drove to Richard Chokumanda's place, with unknown
intentions. Chokumanda is a well known MDC activist in the area. He saw
Ndambakuwa's car prior to its arrival and ran for dear life. Later during
the day he accidentally had a run in with  Ndambakuwa at the local business
centre where he threatened him with death because of his participation in
the MDC. The gun that is used  for threatening MDC supporters by Frank
Ndambakuwa and used in the Peterson Kwenda shooting belongs to the GMB, and
he confisticates it from the security guards who guard the GMB premises
whenever he feels like it.

  Hurungwe West - Nyamupfukudza Town ship, Ward 26
The Nurse In Charge for Doro Clinic, Mrs Bwanari was assaulted on the 26th
of June 2008 by Zanu PF youth led by a Zanu PF Councilor known as Chakanyuka
after being accused of being a MDC supporter. She then sought refuge in the
far away town of Kadoma amongst relatives and only returned to her place of
work last week, more than a month after the assault. After learning of her
return, Chakanyuka assembled his band of Zanu PF thugs and assaulted Mrs
Bwanari again, this time seriously injuring her and breaking one of her
ribs. Battered and bruised, she returned to her relatives in Kadoma. Three
days after the assault, two heavily pregnant women arrived at the clinic
seeking medical attention only to find out that the only nurse for the
clinic, Mrs Bwanari was not around, chased away from her place of work by
Zanu PF youth and the only personnel manning the clinic were HIV/AIDS care
givers who could not help the two patients in any way. One of the patients
died at the clinic due to heavy bleeding and the other while being
transported to far away Magunje Clinic aboard an ox drawn scotch cart.
Residents from the community were outraged by the deaths, teamed up and
approached Councilor Chakanyuka rebuking him for the continued assaults on
health workers and laying the two womens deaths squarely on him. Chakanyuka
then travelled to the Ministry Of Health offices Karoi in a bid to request
another nurse for Doro Clinic. His bid was denied on the grounds of the
ongoing assaults and the clinic is now on the verge of closure due to lack
of medical personnel, with devastating effects on the community.
Hurungwe West - Magunje, Ward 13
Vaison Kavharasiya worked as an ambulance driver for Karoi General Hospital
but was dismissed from work after being accused for being an MDC supporter.
He then returned to his rural homestead in Rengwe, a community not very far
from the town of Karoi, and took over the position of Village Head from his
ageing father. He benefited from the farm mechanization program, launched by
the Zanu PF government as a vote buying gimmick just prior to the March 29
elections and continued ahead of the June rerun. He was given a knapsack and
ox drawn plough. After the rerun, Happy Dandawa , the Chief for Rengwe area,
to whom all Village Headmen report to, organized  Zanu PF youth goon squads
that moved around the area collecting the government given farm implements
from all residents accused of being MDC after the March 29 election,
including those given to Vaison Kavharasiya. Information reached him that a
jealous relative had "sold him out", telling the Chief that he was MDC and
had benefited from the government program. Vaison approached his relative
and a fist fight ensued yesterday that resulted in injury. This shows the
polarization along political lines that has become prevalent amongst most if
not all communities in rural Zimbabwe, and has resulted in the destruction
of previously cohesive family structures. Chief Dandawa is now calling for
the forced removal of all residents accused of being MDC. The same Chief is
responsible for spearheading the pre June 27 assault by Zanu PF youth of
Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Zimbabwe pastor, Pastor Muguti resulting
in his hospitalization. The flimsy reason given for the assault was that the
rate of attendance at Pastor Muguti's church is always high while attendance
to Zanu PF rallies is low. So the Pastor  is MDC because he is not
instructing his flock to attend Zanu PF rallies. The assault resulted in
condemnation from Zimbabwean church bodies.

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One woman, one nation

Zimbabwe can unite to cheer for Coventry
By Mark Zeigler

August 17, 2008

BEIJING - Olympic swimmer Kirsty Coventry flies home to Zimbabwe each
December from her training base in Austin, Texas.
She does because she likes to visit her family over the Christmas
holiday, and because it's summer in the southern hemisphere. And because
what few remaining pools in Zimbabwe that actually have water and aren't
covered in green algae are no longer heated.

Coventry braves the sometimes frigid water as much as she can when she
goes home. Her coach writes up supplemental dry-land workouts and prays it's
enough so that her training regimen isn't set back irreparably.
"I wasn't super excited that she was going home," says Kim Brackin,
who recruited her from Zimbabwe to Auburn in 2000. "But I also know at her
age you need to have a happy athlete. And that makes her happy. We went to
the Opening Ceremony, and everyone was like, 'Why are you going to Opening
Ceremony? You have to swim the next day.'

"But that's Kirsty. She just wanted the experience of walking with her

Hers is a country rapidly descending into the realm of the absurd.

The longtime president, Robert Mugabe, has been accused of fixing the
most recent election through intimidation and violence.

Inflation is hovering around 2 million percent, if you listen to
official government figures, and several times that on the black market -
forcing people to pay for a loaf of bread with backpacks full of bills that
quite literally aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

Unemployment is pushing 80 percent. The average life expectancy,
according to the CIA World Factbook, is 39.73 years.

But Coventry swims on, and tiny Zimbabwe is 18th in the medal count at
the Beijing Olympics.

Zimbabwe has a gold and three silvers.

Coventry has a gold and three silvers.

"Right now," Brackin says, "I'm sure people are doing some serious
celebrating in Zimbabwe, as they should be."

Michael Phelps won five individual events en route to his record eight
gold medals. Coventry nearly won four, finishing second in the 100-meter
backstroke, 200 individual medley and 400 IM by a combined .82 seconds. She
finally claimed a gold in the 200 backstroke yesterday, and now is
responsible for seven of Zimbabwe's eight all-time Olympic medals.

"Part of the reason I'm still swimming and still motivated is to raise
my country's flag high and shine some good, positive light on my country at
home," says Coventry, who refuses to comment publicly on Zimbabwe's divisive
political crisis. "I don't know how many athletes have their whole country
supporting them. Every time I go home, I have people in the street cheering

Or parents naming newborn sons and daughters after her. Shortly after
the Athens Olympics, there was a Swimmingpool Nhanga born in Harare, a
Freestyle Zuze, a Breaststroke Musendame, a Butterfly Masocha, a Backstroke

Her grand return to Harare was televised on live TV for two hours.
Mugabe presented her with the equivalent of $50,000 U.S. as "pocket money."

That Coventry is a white girl from a Harare suburb who went to college
in the United States and still lives there doesn't seem to matter to the 12
million residents of Zimbabwe, all but a few thousand of whom are black and
poor. They consider her one of their own, a lifeline to the rest of the
world, a beacon of hope in an ever-darkening existence.

"Sometimes it's more pressure," Brackin says. "She's expected to bring

She also brings electricity. As the government's supply of foreign
currency dwindles, it is unable to pay neighboring countries for electrical
power and rations it with rolling blackouts that often last for days.

Except when an important event is on TV and the government doesn't
dare shut off the power. Except when the daughter of Rob and Lyn Coventry
dives into a pool half a world away.

"Things are tough for everyone at home," says Coventry, whose parents
own a household and industrial chemical company. "Things have definitely
changed a lot, but the one thing that hasn't changed, as bad as things have
gotten, is that people are still very nice.

"They're fighters in Zimbabwe and they're going to make it. That's
what I can help bring to the situation - that dreams still can come true and
all that good stuff."

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