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Why Tsvangirai still says 'No!'

The latest talks in South Africa have failed - and here's why

Morgan Tsvangirai's supporters were relieved yesterday, Sunday, when it
became clear that the Johannesburg meeting of the regional summit of South
African leaders had failed to produce a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.
Many had begun to fear that if the MDC leader signed up to the agreement on
the table, he would have fallen into a Mugabe trap.

The apparent sticking point, at this meeting and at the previous talks in a
Harare hotel, has been the exact balance of power which would exist between
Robert Mugabe as Head of State and Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister of a
transitional government.

Mugabe tempted Tsvangirai with the offer of responsibility for finance,
health, education, transport, etc. But the President himself, far from being
just a figurehead, would retain control of the police, the judiciary and the
armed forces. And it is in this detail that the devil lies.

Tsvangirai's advisers have undoubtedly pointed out to him - if he hasn't
seen it for himself - that if he signed up to the deal, he would be walking
into a potentially fatal trap.

Using the police and the army, and of course the fearsome Central
Intelligence Organisation, Mugabe's people would waste no time in inventing
a fictional plot apparently designed to threaten the state. And Morgan
Tsvangirai would find himself squarely in the frame.

As one political expert put it to me: "Once Tsvangirai was installed, it
would be simple for Mugabe's generals and police chiefs and spies to
fabricate charges against him, such as plotting a coup or an assassination
attempt on the President.

"So-called 'witnesses' would be found and persuaded to testify against him.
Tsvangirai would be arrested, and find himself in a rigged court, facing
charges of treason and the death penalty."

At best the MDC leader and his party would be thrust into political limbo.
And then where would we Zimbabweans find ourselves? Right back where we

Posted on Sunday, 17 August 2008 at 21:04

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“Is that Zimbabwe?  We have another breakdown here in Sandton.”

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Mbeki still propping up Bob

Justice Malala: Monday Morning Matters
Published:Aug 18, 2008

Nine years later, 'quiet diplomacy' remains a sham

THERE has been a lot of talk by supporters, and even non-supporters, of
President Thabo Mbeki about his alleged "success" in bringing the opposing
factions in Zimbabwe to the negotiating table. In their view, Mbeki's "quiet
diplomacy" has been vindicated.

I have never heard such utter poppycock in my life.

The first time Mbeki mentioned his so-called quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe was
way back in 1999. Even then, we knew that the despot Robert Mugabe needed to
go. The mind boggles that after nine years of "quiet diplomacy", Mbeki is
only now apparently smelling success.

After nine years of Mbeki attacking those who took a moral stance in
Zimbabwe and taking every conceivable opportunity to attend international
forums to protect Mugabe against international censure, we are now asked to
claim that he succeeded.

In the nine years since he started his quiet diplomacy, Zimbabwe has fallen
into penury, its farmers have been obliterated and its people have been cast
to other lands.

Zimbabwe is today not a country, but a failed state and a shell of its
former self.

The truth of the matter is that even today, as we begin to know what is
happening inside the negotiations, Mbeki seems to be doing what he has
persistently done for nine solid years: ensuring that Mugabe stays in power.

These negotiations are not about ensuring that the will of the majority of
the people of Zimbabwe is respected (that would have seen Mbeki respecting
the results of the March 29 elections), but about co- opting Morgan
Tsvangirai and his MDC and ensuring that they fall into the same trap that
Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo fell into in the 1980s.

Let us look at an alternative reality. Imagine that way back in 2000, when
Nelson Mandela said that it was time for old rulers to make way for younger
blood in a pointed reference to Mugabe, Mbeki had also condemned Mugabe.

At that time, when the Zimbabwe economy was still capable of a quick rescue,
the world would have coalesced around South Africa's position and Mugabe
would have been out at least seven years ago.

Instead, at the SADC meeting in Johannesburg on Saturday, Mugabe openly fell
asleep while Zambia's foreign minister lambasted his performance and his
torture of opponents. The despot could afford to sleep: he knew that without
a shadow of doubt, Mbeki would do everything in his power to protect him and
his interests.

This is what Mbeki is about. Not the region's interests, not the Zimbabweans
whose starving children are encamped in South Africa and other places in
this winter cold, but some deluded concept of African solidarity. It is not
solidarity with Africans, but solidarity with the despots of Africa.

Hence support for Mugabe.

So how should this play out? Morgan Tsvangirai has in the past wobbled when
under pressure. But this past week he was courageous enough to stand up and
refuse to be part of the charade that aims to legitimise a despot, by
sitting him beside a man who represents the will of the people.

Tsvangirai must hold his ground, for he is on the side of truth and
legitimacy. Mandela was again and again offered a place at the table of the
Bantustan regimes by apartheid leaders.

He refused to be co-opted.

Tsvangirai will need to dig deep to find the strength of character and the
leadership skills to hold out for something that is meaningful and does not
betray the trust and hope that Zimbabwe's people put in him in March.

The Mbekis of this world will try to portray him as a spoiler. Well, that is
what the ANC was called before 1990.

Tsvangirai should insist that sticking by principle and standing for truth
is not being a spoiler.

Mbeki's quiet diplomacy was a sham and a cover for moral spinelessness from
the beginning.

It was wrong way back at the turn of the century and it remains wrong now.
It was wrong when he stood by Mugabe after the theft and torture of the 2002
election and it is wrong today. It is actually outrageous for Mbeki's
supporters to smugly claim victory for quiet diplomacy.

What victory is it that has stood by stroking Mugabe's grubby hand while he
has tortured, killed and displaced his people over the past nine years?
Support for a comprehensive diplomatic isolation of Mugabe would have
unseated him years ago.

Mbeki did not do it. Instead, we are expected to applaud him when he scrapes
in - morally compromised, tactically exposed and strategically
out-manoeuvred by Mugabe - as the last in class.

I have said this before and I will say it again: Africans are not
second-class beings. They deserve democracy, not a sham negotiated
settlement that accommodates murderers and despots.

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Morgan Tsvangirai under pressure to sign up to Robert Mugabe's deal

The Telegraph

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai came under increasing
pressure on Sunday night to sign up to the deal on the table in negotiations
with Robert Mugabe.

By Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg
Last Updated: 11:02PM BST 17 Aug 2008

The talks are being mediated by the South African president Thabo Mbeki on
behalf of the regional Southern African Development Community, and its
annual summit in Johannesburg at the weekend was dominated by Zimbabwe.

Mr Tsvangirai walked out of the negotiations last week over Mr Mugabe's
refusal to define in writing the powers of his putative prime ministership,
amid fears that the president would seek to marginalise him once in office.

But at the summit the final communiqué from SADC's security organisation
said that it "expressed strong opinion that documents as contained in the
facilitators report are a good basis for a global agreement".

The documents in question are the existing agreement text, which Mr
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change sees as insufficiently
guaranteeing his authority, and therefore unacceptable. "A prime minister
cannot be given responsibility without authority and be expected to
deliver," he said during the summit.

The SADC grouping also gave Mr Mugabe the green light to call parliament -
which would imply his recognition as president - saying that "while
negotiations are continuing, it may be necessary to convene Parliament to
give effect to the will of the people".

Mr Mbeki said: "I appeal to the Zimbabwean parties to sign any outstanding
agreements and conclude the negotiations as a matter of urgency." He added
that the dialogue would continue, but a source who was inside the meeting
stressed: "The ball is in Tsvangirai's court." Tendai Biti, Mr Tsvangirai's
secretary-general and chief negotiator, signalled that the opposition would
stick to its position.

"There are issues of principle that are quite clearly dear to one of the
negotiating parties," he said. Implicitly referring to Mr Mugabe, he went
on: "One has no business negotiating if you are not prepared to compromise.
I hope wise counsel will prevail.

"You don't negotiate with your wife or your friend, you negotiate with an
antagonist, an opponent." He repeatedly referred to the memorandum of
understanding the sides signed last month paving the way for the talks,
which explicitly states that during the negotiations no decisions, including
the calling of parliament, would take place except by consensus.

The summit of heads of state was boycotted by Botswana's new president Ian
Khama in protest at the presence of Mr Mugabe, who he regards as
illegitimate after he was "re-elected" in a one-candidate presidential

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 Batswana delegation in the hall were conspicuously empty.

In a hotel near the conference centre, Botswana's foreign minister Phandu
Skelemani gave warning that Zimbabwe faced the possibility of a military
coup or civil war if the negotiations failed to produce a settlement.

"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." Botswana faces a "very serious" situation as a
result of Zimbabwe's impoverishment, he added, saying that 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 SADC
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

"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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MDC opposes SADC nod to Mugabe bid to convene parliament

By Clare Byrne Aug 17, 2008, 20:39 GMT

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Sunday said it was committed to reaching an agreement with President Robert
Mugabe on the formation of a government of national unity, but warned him
against convening parliament before a deal comes through.

'Failure is not an option in this dialogue,' MDC secretary-general Tendai
Biti told a press conference at the close of a two-day Southern African
Development Community (SADC)summit in Johannesburg.

Biti said he was confident the dialogue would be concluded 'very soon' but,
in an apparent reference to Mugabe, added that one of the parties to the
talks had 'no business negotiating unless they are prepared to compromise.'

Biti also warned Mugabe against convening parliament, a move the MDC

A last-minute meeting of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security
said: '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 29
March 2008.'

Biti responded: 'We hope that no one would do anything to breach the
memorandum of understanding on the talks.'

The July 21 memorandum, which set down rules for the tripartite talks,
orders that the parties not convene parliament or form a new government
'save by consensus.'

An senior MDC official said the party viewed the SADC statement as an
attempt to pressure it into agreeing to a deal, but vowed it would not work.

'We don't have consensus to reconvene parliament. How do you reconvene
parliament with an illegitimate government?' the official told Deutsche
Presse-Agentur dpa.

Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has been calling for parliament to be reconvened
since opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai backed away from a power-sharing
agreement earlier this week that would have seen Mugabe retain some
executive powers.

Tsvangirai's MDC faction took more votes than Zanu-PF in the March elections
but Arthur Mutambara, the leader of a splinter faction of the MDC that holds
the balance of power between the two groups in parliament and is a party to
the talks, has said he would consider working with either.

Biti said the sticking point in the talks - the division of powers between
Mugabe and Tsvangirai, if Tsvangirai is made prime minister as proposed
under a draft deal - was a point 'of principle.'

The MDC official said there had been no progress towards a deal at the
summit and that the party had 'stuck by its guns.'

Tsvangirai, who took the most votes for president in the March election, is
pushing for full control of government while Mugabe is looking to share

Mbeki, who had been talking of the possibility of a deal over the weekend,
reiterated his hopes for a 'speedy conclusion to the negotiations so that it
becomes possible to address the enormous challenges that face the people of

Mugabe's attendance as head of state at the summit was controversial.

Botswana's President Ian Khama, who refuses to recognize Mugabe's victory in
a one-man June presidential election widely derided as a sham, boycotted the

Zambia, whose ailing President Levy Mwanawasa has been openly critical of
Mugabe, said the election had 'left a serious blot on the culture of
democracy in our sub-region.'

Zimbabweans are hoping a negotiated settlement will rescue the country from
the brink of economic collapse.

Mugabe's populist policies over the past decade are blamed for inflation of
several million per cent and widespread hunger.

Western powers such as Britain and the United States have vowed to plough
money into the country's reconstruction if Tsvangirai and the MDC head the
unity government and Mugabe takes a back seat.

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Zimbabwe talks must not fail: opposition



Zimbabwe's opposition said Sunday "failure is not an option" in talks to end
the country's political crisis, after a regional security meeting ended
without a deal between the main rivals.

"Failure is not an option," said Tendai Biti, the number two leader for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

"It is critical that we conclude these negotiations very soon. I hope that
wise counsel and wisdom will prevail. As the MDC, we welcome the fact that
the dialogue will continue under the framework of the memorandum of
understanding. We are fully and firmly committed to the process of

Zimbabwe's rivals signed a memorandum of understanding last month laying the
framework for power-sharing talks.

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March 29 Election showed People’s will- SADC
Local NewsAugust 18, 2008 | By Gerald Harper |

The Southern African Development Community on Sunday reteriated the MDC’s position that the March 29 election should be the basis for any agreement and said Parliament should be convened.

In a communique adopted at the end of the two-day summit, the SADC said parliament must be convened - saying that “while negotiations are continuing, it may be necessary to convene Parliament to give effect to the will of the people as expressed on March 29″.

The SADC grouping also encouraged and appealed to both the MDC and ZANU PF to finalise and sign any outstanding agreements and conclude the negotiations as a matter of urgency to restore political stability in Zimbabwe.

The convening of parliament will however require consesus as the Memorandum of Understading signed said no parliament should be convened during negotiations.

After the summit had officially ended, Mbeki summoned Mugabe and Tsvangirai back for a last-ditch attempt to get a deal,it failed.

Diplomatic sources said SADC leaders had tabled their own proposals in an attempt to break the stalemate. It would have amounted to Tsvangirai and Mugabe sharing power equally. Mugabe completely rejected it.

Tsvangirai then proposed that if Mugabe thinks the deal is fair, then let them switch roles. “His logic is that since Mugabe is saying the deal currently on the table gives the prime minister a lot of powers, then he must assume that position and Tsvangirai becomes president,” said a diplomatic source. “That suggestion made Mugabe furious and he rejected it.”

There are a few outstanding issues which are:

-Mugabe ‘s right to appoint and dismiss ministers
-Duration of the transitional government
-A clause in the agreement that states that if one of the parties pulls out of the government of national unity, elections would be held within 90 days.

Tendai Biti,the MDC secretary General told a news conference in Johannesburg after the summit the MDC was committed to the negotiations and that failure was not an option.

“We trust that there will be a conclusion … very soon. There are issues that are outstanding, but quite clearly one has no business in negotiating if you are not prepared to compromise,” Biti said.

“It is critical that we conclude this dialogue as a matter of urgency.”

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Mbeki to travel to Zimbabwe to continue with talks


August 18, 2008, 05:45

President Thabo Mbeki is expected to travel to Harare, Zimbabwe before the
end of the week for the continuation of power sharing talks between Zanu-PF
and the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change(MDC).

Yesterday, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit ended in
Johannesburg without concluding a Zimbabwean deal. The Extra-Ordinary Summit
of the SADC Organ of Politics, Defence, Security and Co-operation met for
three days on the sidelines of the summit in an attempt to broker an
agreement between President Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur

The talks have apparently stalled over the MDC's demand for the position of
executive Prime Minister. In a statement at the conclusion of the summit,
the SADC urged the parties to sign any outstanding agreements as a matter of
urgency and pledged its commitment to finding a lasting solution in that

Mbeki, speaking in his capacity as Chairperson of SADC, pledged the
organisation's commitment to finding a lasting solution in Zimbabwe. He
appealed to Zimbabwe's political parties to sign any outstanding agreements
and conclude negotiations as a matter of urgency to restore political
stability in Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe Opposition Committed to Ongoing Peace Negotiations


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

Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it is
committed to the ongoing peace negotiations between the opposition and the
ruling ZANU-PF party despite a reported stalemate at the talks in South
Africa. The talks, which are aimed at resolving Zimbabwe's political and
economic crises, continue in South Africa today (Monday). South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki who is mediating the talks said despite setbacks,
leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will continue
to help with the discussions.

Some political analysts are criticizing the regional body for not doing
enough to help resolve the Zimbabwe's crisis.  Glen Mpani is the regional
coordinator for the transitional justice program of the Center for the Study
of Violence and Reconciliation in Cape Town South Africa. He tells reporter
Peter Clottey that the sticking point of the talks has always been power

"What is important is to look at that issue that has caused the mediation
process appears as if it has slowed. It has to do with the major issue that
has to do with the distribution of power between the expected role of Morgan
Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and that of Mugabe as the president. For the
MDC, I think what they would not want to do is get into any government where
they don't have any meaningful power and more importantly what the MDC would
not want to do is to renege on the core issue that they've been fighting for
that is a new constitution. And also ensure that whatever drives the process
is based on the victory that they (MDC) got in March," Mpani noted.

He said the ruling ZANU-PF would prefer to hang on to power as long as it

"On the part of the ZANU-PF, I think they are also negotiating from a
position where they would not cede too much power. And secondly they would
also want to buy time in terms of ensuring that they can work on the ground
in terms of getting enough support. I don't think ZANU-PF would want to go
for an election very soon. They want to give themselves time and allow the
economy to recover," he said.

Mpani said both opposing parties at the ongoing talks are entrenched in
their positions.

"As far as we have seen, I think there is some evidence of commitment they
might be going into it for different reasons. The MDC might be going into
the talks for the reasons that they have a mandate and there are people who
are supporting them in terms of finding a solution. And for ZANU-PF, they
might be going in because they are legitimacy is under threat or their
legitimacy might be quite problematic," Mpani pointed out.

He said any failure of the ongoing peace negotiations would reflect badly on
the regional body, SADC.

"The implications of the failure of these talks are that one it shows SADC
these issues should have been resolved a long time ago. And where they are
now is that they have reached a crisis point and they see the Zimbabwe
problem is likely to threaten SADC as a regional body based on the criticism
from Zambia and the boycott of the meeting by Botswana. I think that in
itself is a signal that the future of the body is really threatened, and for
them (SADC) they would want to maintain that unity. And if that is to be
resolved, they need to find a solution to the Zimbabwe problem as soon as
possible," he said.

Mpani said South African President Mbeki could leave a legacy of bringing
both the ruling ZANU-PF and main opposition MDC together to find ways of
resolving Zimbabwe's crisis.

"I think Thabo Mbeki can boast that he has been able to one at least bring
Tsvangirai and Mugabe to a negotiating table. The second thing that he might
boast of is that the achievement that he has been able to get in the
negotiating process at least for them to be committed to the process,
signing the memorandum of understanding and going through a process of
negotiating. But I think for his legacy, one of the things that is going to
continue to daunt him is the fact that this agreement is coming rather too
late," Mpani noted.

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Zim bank: Inflation now 20 million percent


            by Nokuthula Sibanda Monday 18 August 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's annual inflation is now more than 20 million percent,
one of the country's leading banks has said, adding that a political
settlement was vital to any effort to break a vicious inflation cycle that
has left consumers impoverished and the economy in deep crisis.

"The country is suffering from hyper-inflation, with . . . reports
indicating a yearly inflation of over 20 million percent although the latest
official figure was 2.2 million percent as at last June," the locally owned
Kingdom bank said in its weekly financial report.

The bank predicted tougher times ahead for Zimbabwe in the absence of donor
support and foreign investment in an economy that has been in free fall
since 2000.

An acute foreign currency crisis will continue to hamper production as
companies struggle to raise hard cash to buy raw materials and machine
spares, it said.

"There being no immediate solution to the socio-economic problems of the
country, inflation is likely to continue with the upward trend, because
there has been persistent foreign currency shortages that have caused firms
to source the commodity on the illegal parallel market at exorbitant rates,"
Kingdom said.

The group said a shortage of maize and wheat will cause a significant
increase in the prices of the country's two main staple foods.

Zimbabwe is in the throes of an economic meltdown, and analysts said the
crisis had worsened following Mugabe's disputed and violent re-election in
the June 27 presidential run-off which was boycotted by his challenger
Morgan Tsvangirai over violence.

A regional leaders' summit in South Africa at the weekend failed to convince
Mugabe and Tsvangirai to agree to form a government of national unity seen
as the best way to end Zimbabwe's unprecedented recession that is also seen
in rising unemployment and deepening poverty.

South African President Thabo Mbeki said at the closing of the Southern
African Development Community summit on Sunday that the bloc's security
troika would continue to meet with Mugabe and Tsvangirai to try to find a
"speedy resolution" to the political situation in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's rival political leaders are said to agree on nearly all the
issues regarding the formation of a unity government but differ on who
between them should control the power sharing government. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe must openly denounce violence

August 18, 2008

By Geoffrey Nyarota

IF PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe genuinely considers himself a national leader who
has the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe at heart, then he failed dismally
to demonstrate the fact last week.

In fact he missed a golden opportunity to make history on Monday, August 11,

Had the thrust of his speech at Heroes' Acre on Heroes' Day been of a more
positive and progressive nature the process of negotiation that was aborted
the following day at the Rainbow Towers and, indeed the prospect of a
general improvement in the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe might have
taken a radically different turn. Instead, by the very hostile temperament
of his performance at Heroes Acre Mugabe demonstrated a total lack of
commitment to the ongoing talks and a clear signal that the negotiations
might not achieve easy success.

The most significant development to emerge from the current stop-start
negotiation process was the release by Zanu-PF and the MDC of a joint
statement last Thursday calling for an end to the brutal violence that has
bedevilled Zimbabwe since Morgan Tsvangirai inflicted defeat on President
Mugabe on March 29.

The joint statement became the most significant and so far the only signal
that the delegates attending the talks were perhaps now genuinely committed
to a peaceful and timely solution to the crisis that has dogged Zimbabwe for
almost a decade now.

Particularly welcome were the signatures of Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas
Goche, representing Zanu-PF, the party that has largely and quite rightly
been accused of perpetrating the wave of murderous violence, especially
following the party's own devastating and humiliating defeat on March 29.
There is a widespread and justifiable perception that Zanu-PF set out to
punish the electorate for finally showing Mugabe the red card. The
perception is based on both indisputable evidence and precedent going back
to 2000.

In that year Zanu-PF suffered its first electoral defeat ever when the
electorate voted overwhelmingly against a new constitution proposed by the
Mugabe government. Wholesale violence ensued, which culminated in the
chaotic and controversial invasion of the white-owned commercial farms. The
near defeat of Zanu-PF in parliamentary elections held five months later
exacerbated the bloody conflagration.

Zimbabwe's voters were penalized for daring to raise their voice in protest,
white the white commercial farmers were punished for allegedly inciting the
black population to turn against their erstwhile liberators, Mugabe and

While Zanu-PF has always used violence as an electoral weapon going back to
1980, the year 2000 became a major turning point. Claims by Zanu-PF
officials that the party has, in fact, been the victim of violence unleashed
by the MDC between April and June 27, 2008, are not based on evidence, not
even contrived evidence, such as the bombing of police stations.

Even as the delegates have faced each other across the negotiation table
over the past few weeks, the toll of MDC victims of political violence
perpetrated by Zanu-PF violence continued to mount. The Memorandum of
Agreement on July 21 took cognizance of that sad fact.

If a spade be called a spade, it was a mere procedural formality for the MDC
to commit itself to ensuring that it would "take all measures necessary to
ensure that the structures and institutions it controls are not engaged in
the perpetration of violence", as stated in Clause 10 of the memorandum.

The real culprits in this regard are Zanu-PF in general and Mugabe in
particular, as commander in chief of the institution, the Zimbabwe National
Army, that deployed senior officers, whose names were published on this
website early in April, to spearhead the orgy of violence that was designed
to secure an electoral come-back on June 27 following Mugabe's defeat on
March 29. It was structures over which Mugabe presides that, as a back-up
strategy, instituted Operation Mavhotera Papi to ensure that he would secure
his "landslide victory".

Mugabe, more than Chinamasa and Goche, is therefore, vested with both the
clout and the responsibility to bring the Zanu-PF-orchestrated campaign of
violence to an immediate end, if he so wishes. If Mugabe were to mount a
platform to denounce violence unequivocally, while calling for political
tolerance, those perpetrating the violence would heed his word. The Joint
Operations command, the army, the Central Intelligence Organisations, the
war veterans, the Zanu-PF youths or anyone else associated with the wave of
violence, believe they are acting on behalf of Mugabe. Even the police would
swing into instant action to arrest perpetrators and protect the victims, if
Mugabe said so.

But President Mugabe clearly has no wish to bring violence to an end.
Violence has clearly become the mainstay of his continued hold on power
after his defeat at the polls on March 29. It is for that reason that Mugabe
deliberately missed a golden opportunity at Heroes' Acre on Monday to
denounce violence in the national interest.

In so doing he missed an opportunity to redeem his much tarnished name and
damaged reputation, while rescuing the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe
from the continuing scourge of blood-letting and hardship. Instead Mugabe
elected to insult the patient and exceedingly tolerant citizens of Zimbabwe
by bestowing honours on those who very people who have orchestrated the
campaign of violence by pinning more medals on their chests,

By heaping renewed insults on Morgan Tsvangirai Mugabe displayed his total
disrespect for the majority of the electorate who voted against Zanu-PF and
him on March 29. Mugabe insulted the majority of Zimbabweans when he
showered praises on Professor Arthur Mutambara, a man who was mauled and
bruised in Zengeza West constituency, where he stood for Parliament. Many
justifiably view Mutambara as having willfully contributed to the extension
of their suffering beyond March 29. If it wasn't for Mutambara and Dr Simba
Makoni Zimbabweans would in all probability have divested themselves of the
heavy yoke of Mugabe's dictatorship back in March.

On his part the astute Mutambara needs to take heed that the accolades of a
discredited dictator are like the kiss of death in the assessment of the

Mugabe should acknowledge and respect the tolerance of the majority of the
citizens of Zimbabwe after he robbed them of their right to a free and fair
election. Mugabe should be eternally grateful that some of the same citizens
of Zimbabwe appear to be prepared to forgive him after all the pain and
humiliation he has caused over the past 28 years.

Mugabe has revealed himself to be an extremely insensitive man. Otherwise,
now is hardly the time to be taking cheap political potshots at the very man
who defeated him at the polls. Tsvangirai has a place in history as the man
who brought Mugabe down from his lofty pedestal and forced him to sit around
a negotiating table with mere mortals. It should have been a humbling
experience for Mugabe to be defeated by a man who was denied access to the
public media, who was consistently demonised without an opportunity to
defend himself and, above all, a man whose party was denied the opportunity
to campaign freely.

Perhaps, it is the patience and the tolerance of the people of Zimbabwe that
lulls Mugabe into forgetting that, in fact, he lost the presidential
election, even after ZEC had time to tinker with the result for five weeks.
He should also be mindful of the important fact that Tsvangirai won the
March 29 election after Mugabe and the Zanu-PF propaganda machinery
demonised him as a puppet of the West.

If the people of Zimbabwe have faith in a puppet of the West in State House,
why should Mugabe deny them their choice?

Far from raising his fist to silence both rivals and critics, as he
threatened at Heroes' Acre on Monday, Mugabe should raise his voice in
outright condemnation of violence. That is what he owes Zimbabwe. It is not
too much to ask of a man who seems to genuinely expect to be granted amnesty
for all the sins he has committed against the same people of Zimbabwe.

Dictators, by their nature, have a tendency to believe that they are
invincible, the greater the insecurity of their position the more convinced
they seem to become that they are untouchable. But eventually they all go
the same way. Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi, Zaire's Mobutu Sese Seko,
Idi Amin Dada, the Butcher of Uganda, Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Nicolae
Ceausescu.of Romania, Saddam Hussein of Iraq and others too numerous to
list, all believed that only divine intervention would terminate their
tenure of office.

Mugabe recently articulated blasphemous sentiments to that effect. But there
is nothing about him to suggest that his departure will be any different
from that of the rest, even with the obsequious support of the so-called

The current power-sharing negotiations are already assuming the countenance
an ingenious strategy to extend the Mugabe presidency by default. While we
are constantly told that Tsvangirai has refused to sign, we are never
officially informed why he refuses to append his signature the to whatever

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Examination markers fail to show up

August 18, 2008

By Owen Chikari

HARARE - Hundreds of school teachers selected to mark the June 2008 Ordinary
and Advanced Level examinations have not reported for duty since August 8,
arguing that their remuneration is too low.

The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council ZIMSEC had ordered the markers to
report for duty soon after closing schools on August 8 but no one turned up.
They all cited poor remuneration by the country's sole examinations board
for their decision.

Most of the country's examination markers especially O- and A-Level markers
are drawn from the teaching community. Teachers recently submitted
separately a demand for about US$500 each as their basic salary.

A spokesman for the markers who requested anonymity for fear of
victimisation told The Zimbabwe Times that the marking process had not yet
started as examiners had refused to work under the current remuneration.

"We were promised a paltry 50 cents per script which we felt is too little
in view of the country's high inflationary environment," said the spokesman
on Saturday. "We therefore decided not to report for work.

"ZIMSEC has since indicated to us that it is willing to increase our marking
allowances and has provided us with money for transport for a meeting at
Belvedere Teachers college today.

"We are demanding that every marker be paid allowances daily which are
adjusted everyday due to inflation in the country".

ZIMSEC director Happy Ndanga confirmed the impasse but said everything was
being looked into.

"We are holding a meeting today and all markers have been given money for
bus fare to come and attend", said Ndanga

"Once we agree the marking process should begin on Monday".

The country's June O and A level examination results should normally be
released in September but it appears this year's candidates have to wait
longer for their results.

Zimbabwe used to boast the best educational system on the African continent
but the situation has since changed as the government has failed to provide
the required resources to maintain the earlier standards.

Among other things the government has failed to pay teachers good salaries.
They since become the least paid professionals in the civil service. A
series of strikes for better pay have been organised by teachers.

Meanwhile nearly all boarding schools are failing to feed students because
of the effects of inflation and parents are constantly requested to pay-top
up fees virtually every month.

Books and other essential learning material are no longer available. ZIMSEC
has also not been spared from the problems and the credibility of the
examinations board has suffered.

A number of examination papers have been leaked to students over the years
because of the poor system of examination management.

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No Sadza No Peace - the Zim. Agric Balance Sheet

“Land is a national asset that cannot be allowed to be in the hands of any member of the opposition,” a ZANU (PF) declaration

Maize is a strategic crop that is necessary for the maintenance of social tranquility. Without the staple food Sadza- chibataura, Zimbabwe will descent into chaos. Hunger will cause men to take desperate measures in order to feed their families.

“Land is a national asset that cannot be allowed to be in the hands of any member of the opposition,” a ZANU (PF) declaration as it embarked on dispossessing land and other assets from its perceived enemies. Today only persons who support ZANU (PF) and its divisive prehistoric policies are still farming in Zimbabwe.

Modern agriculture is a science and an art acquired through agricultural education and apprenticeship. The incessant regurgitation of nauseating political bovine excrement by politicians who harvest bumper yields through rhetoric at political rallies and yet reap “sora” beans on these highly productive farms will cause a massive man-made famine this year.

Tobacco - The Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) of Zimbabwe has released its latest national tobacco sales figures, 36 332 098 kilograms (kgs) of tobacco sold thus far fetching US$116 183 389. We are at the halfway point of the tobacco selling season and if agricultural reform had been done properly 120 000 000 kgs would have been sold by now fetching US$382 800 000.00. However, this figure would have been higher for the quality of the leaf would be better. By the end of 2000 Zimbabwe had become the world’s third largest producer of flue-cured tobacco, producing 267 million kgs and over 700 000 families were supported by this industry. If these levels of production had been maintained and the current world price applied Zimbabwe would have earned at least US$1 billion dollars.

A fully functional Zimbabwean economy consumes 900 million litres of diesel per annum and the proceeds from tobacco alone would have been enough, leaving extra change for the purchase of other essential commodities.

Maize - This season 2008, Zimbabwe is only harvesting 575,000 metric tonnes (MT) of maize – 28% lower than last year’s yield a shortfall of 1.2 million MT. This shortfall has to be imported at a cost of US$260 per MT excluding transport and handling charges. Thus Zimbabwe has to fork out US$312 000 000.00 in order to feed the starving masses.

However before importing all this maize that could have easily been efficiently grown and harvested by 3000 commercial farmers, the nation needs to import seed , fertilizer, diesel and other farm inputs for next year’s crop and harvest. Zimbabwe’s fertiliser requirements are between 500,000 MT and 600,000 MT. Farmers have 60 days left in which to stock up with their seasonal inputs.

With the shortage of electricity necessary to power the country’s sole Ammonium Nitrate (AN) manufacturer, Zimbabwe now needs to import AN fertiliser and all compound fertiliser at a cost of US190 per MT which shall drain US$95 000 000.00 from the fiscus.

Zimbabwe requires 50 000 MT of maize seed in order to plant 1.2 million hectares and produce 2 million MT of grain in a normal agricultural season that starts on November 15.. According to the Minister of Agriculture, Rugare Gumbo, seed houses reported that they jointly hold stocks of a paltry 11 300 MT of open pollinated variety (OPV) and hybrid of maize seed from the 2007/08 agricultural season, leaving a national maize seed deficit of 38 700 MT.

Once again the treasury has to unearth US$178 020 000 for the importation of maize seed from neighbouring countries at a cost of US$4 600 per MT. Zimbabwe's seed companies have in recent years been failing to produce enough maize seed after most of their seed-producing farms were seized.

The 1988/89 season, Zimbabwe produced a bumper crop of 2.15 million MT, of which more than 800,000 MT came from the commercial sector. Commercial farmers normally produced about 30 to 40 percent of Zimbabwe's corn crop, but they accounted for up to 70 percent of output during drought years. They also produced the bulk of the corn that was exported when surpluses are available.

Wheat - Zimbabwe has failed to plant the 70 000 hectares government had earmarked for the winter wheat crop this season, managing only 8 963 hectares by May 23 2008. Zimbabwe had the irrigation capacity to irrigate 95 000 hectares of winter wheat, yielding an average of 5MT per hectare. The 450 000 MT of wheat per year required for Zimbabwe’s cereal needs is now unattainable.

A measly 40 000 MT of winter wheat is expected from the hectarage planted, assuming that there is adequate electricity and that the quelea and armyworms which have been left unchecked since the commencement of “Hondo ye Minda” fiasco, do not have a field day with this winter crop. On a comparative basis, the 8 963 hectares were 10 000 hectares less that the 18 989 hectares wheat farmers planted during the same period last year.

So persons, who were “empowered 100%” by ZANU (PF) through its land embezzlement programme, now fail to produce 10% of what was being produced by their fellow Zimbabweans whose land and home they illegally occupied and whose business they brutally dispossessed. The uneducated masses that had no modicum of understanding of  rudimentary economics of an agrarian-based economy, destroyed the country’s wealth at the behest of a few elitist politicians who now own vast tracks of land that lies idle.

The euphoria of “owning” a farm for weekend getaways has worn off, for most land invaders reality has set in. The majority of the beneficiaries now realize that agriculture is indeed a science and not a skill that you acquire by merely occupying a patch of land.

If ZANU (PF) manages to produce a quarter of the previous yields from the same land, financial and climatic conditions by which we had to farm then, I shall eat my veldskoens, for all I’ve learnt about agriculture over the years would have been turned on its head.

Phil Matibe

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Will the new SADC chair please stand up and be counted?

The Editor, The
Times Newspaper Published:Aug 18, 2008

Mbeki's mediation efforts in Zimbabwe seem to have yielded few results

EDITORIAL: PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki this weekend assumed the chair of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the last time.

By the time South Africa hands over the chair to another southern African
head of state in July next year, Mbeki would have already stepped down from
the presidency as his second term in office comes to an end in May.

SADC leaders must have thought it to be the best send-off for Mbeki when
they elected to give South Africa the chair during his last months in

Mbeki, after all, has played a leading role in regional and continental
politics over the past 10 years.

His efforts yielded a number of successes - the most notable of which was
the Democratic Republic of Congo's peace pact that saw the country hold
democratic elections, for the first time in 40 years, last year.

But there have also been serious failures, the most spectacular being his
"quiet diplomacy" approach to the Zimbabwean crisis.

As he took over the chair on Saturday, his mediation efforts in Zimbabwe
seemed to have yielded few results and the entire process was on the brink
of collapse.

But even if a deal is finally brokered, it would not mean an end to the
region's problems.

Over a decade ago, the SADC region was widely regarded as a beacon of hope
on a continent that was dominated by wars, coups and state-sponsored
suppression of democratic movements.

We have lost the initiatives to the likes of West Africa, whose member
states have rapidly democratised and have shown that they would not tolerate
the seizure of political office through undemocratic means in their regions.

SADC, on the other hand, remains tolerant of unelected and repressive
governments in Zimbabwe, Angola and Swaziland.

As SADC chair , Mbeki now has one more chance to turn things around.

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Dynamic business sector vital for Africa's prosperity


            by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 18 August 2008

OPINION: After 52 years, it must be accepted that the promise of a
prosperous and dynamic continent that independence was expected to bring
about remains elusive.

The construction of a post-colonial order was premised on the belief that
restoring political power to the majority through a constitutional
democratic order was in and out of itself a necessary and sufficient
condition for economic and social transformation.

Business was perceived to be closely aligned to the colonial state and,
therefore, in the construction of a post-colonial state, the role of
business in influencing the direction, rate, characteristics and
consequences of physical innovations as they develop, events, activities,
people by virtue of control over resources, particularly property; cultural
values, habits, institutions such as family, work life, and buying habits of
individuals, shape of the legal and constitutional order of post-colonial
Africa was and is treated with mistrust.

While there was consensus at independence that politics has a dominant role
in post-colonial Africa there was no consensus on what role business should
play in advancing the interests of change and progress in reducing the
frontiers of poverty.

The founding fathers of post-colonial Africa shared a common belief that
activity in the political and not economic sphere should be the primary
force for change and from this, change was expected to automatically radiate
into other spheres of human endeavour.

In the colonial state, political and business power was in the same hands
whereas in the post-colonial state, political power is theoretically vested
in the holders of sovereignty i.e. citizens while business power remains
predominantly in white hands.

There is considerable debate on whether business power that remains outside
the control of indigenous Africans is adequately checked and balanced for
the public good.

Views about the role of business and political power in post-colonial Africa
cover a wide spectrum but there are basically two opposing positions.

On one side is the theory that in as much as business was pre-eminent in the
colonial state that is blamed for contributing to African poverty primarily
because of its control over the continent's resources, the post-colonial
state should be dominated by political power.

It is argued that business power was and remains both excessive and
inadequately checked in post-colonial Africa. The self-interest of
corporations that are in the main foreign-controlled is then deemed to be
harmful to the general welfare of the continent calling for state

On the other side is the theory that organisation of the colonial state was
such that business power was exercised in an environment in which
institutions such as markets, government, labour unions (white), advocacy
groups, and public opinion had great influence and power.

Business power was counter-balanced, restricted, controlled and subject to
defeat through market forces whereas political power in post-colonial Africa
is not easily subject to defeat because of lack of market-based pluralism.

In post-colonial Africa, ambivalence still exists against business power as
an instrument of change in Africa.

The role of corporate citizens in building institutions that underpinned the
colonial state remains underappreciated but when the colonial state is
properly contextualised it becomes self-evident that companies in ascending
industries changed African societies by altering all three of their primary
elements - ideas, institutions and material things.

This effect is visible in the stories of dominant companies that have
African origins like: De Beers, Anglo American Corporation, Impala Platinum,
Old Mutual, Sanlam, Anglovaal; Rembrandt, JCI, Goldfields, Billiton, Sasol,
Iscor (now Mittal), and many others.

It is not accidental that most of the key corporate drivers of African
change originated from South Africa and the post-apartheid era has seen the
expanded role of South Africa's corporate sector in the continent's economic
transformation. The role of white Africans in both the colonial and
post-colonial eras must be understood in its proper context if the continent's
development possibilities are to be fully exploited.

It is important to ask the question: "What kind of Africa do we want?" so as
to properly locate business and political power in a developmental Africa.

The cumulative power of business in Africa is not as massive as it is in
developed states and only South Africa has a significant industrial, mining,
financial, and agricultural corporate base.

Business power is ordinarily a more dependable and irrepressible shaping
force of the destiny of any society than changes brought about purely from
the exercise of political power.

The use of power whether political or economic in changing human societies;
cannot be overstated.

There are many sources of power, including wealth, position, knowledge, law,
arms, status, and charisma. However, power in post-colonial Africa as it was
during the colonial era is unevenly distributed and there appears to be no
mechanism to control it for wider benefit.

The mechanisms used by the post-colonial state are as imperfect as they were
during the colonial state and these include governments, laws, police,
cultural values and public opinion.

The promise of multiple and competing formations of power in the
post-colonial era to check and balance each other for public good has
unfortunately not materialised not because of an imperialist conspiracy but
rather the inherent inability of Africa's founding fathers to properly
understand the utility of business power as an ally in the fight against

Business power is the force behind an act by a company, industry or sector.
Post-colonial African founding fathers should have known that the greater
this force, the more the action creates change or influences the actions of
other entities in society.

To the extent that the basic origin of business power is a grant of
authority from society to convert resources efficiently into needed goods
and services, it should have been self evident that a social contract was
required in order to energise business to take necessary actions from which
profit can be generated.

The existence of a social contract in the post-colonial order ought to
legitimise business power by giving it a moral basis. Regrettably in most
African economies, business is regarded as an enemy of development and more
emphasis is placed on the state as an engine of growth and development.

Legitimacy is the rightful use of power. The power of a government or a
corporation is legitimate when it is exercised in keeping with the agreed
upon contract.

For governments, the opposite of legitimacy is tyranny commonly defined as
the "exercise of power beyond right".

Many African governments and corporations breach the social contract when
they violate social values, endanger the public or act illegally.

Business or political power is legitimate when it is used for the common

In the construction of a post-colonial Africa, it is evident that the
absence of a social contract distorts the basis on which legitimacy can be

It is common cause that corporate and political actions can have an impact
on society in the sense that visible and immediate changes are caused by
business and political power.

However, the experience in post-colonial Africa has shown that political
power is not a reliable agent for change. Rather corporations expand and
contract, hire and fire, make and sell products while African politicians
build a business model on intimidation, force, and illegitimacy.

It is instructive that victims of the colonial state inherited a functioning
state but immediately after independence citizens find themselves unable to
control the post-colonial state. The state in country after country is
seamlessly converted into a "monster".

On a deeper level, the laws of post-colonial Africa - including
constitutional, civil and criminal laws - have not been shaped by the
consequences of economic activity rather by the consequences of political

On the surface, African politicians acquire through state control,
formidable resources that intimidate opponents as well as corporate actors.

Corporate Africa, to the extent that it remains controlled on visible racial
grounds, has not been able to influence meaningfully the economic, cultural,
technological, political, and institutional transformation of post-colonial
Africa and yet without a dynamic business sector, the continent will remain
condemned to poverty. - ZimOnline

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With short-game mastery, de Jonge claims Nationwide Xerox Classic

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Brendon de Jonge used an exquisite short game to bail him
out of trouble and propel him to victory in the Xerox Classic, his first
career Nationwide Tour title. De Jonge carded a 1-under-par 69 to finish
four rounds at Irondequoit Country Club at 13-under 267, four strokes better
than Australian Jarrod Lyle (69), who was seeking his third win of the 2008
Nationwide Tour season.

"This is such a tough golf course that sometimes when you hit a good shot it
doesn't end up in a good spot," said de Jonge, who was tied for 29th in
hitting greens but first in putting. "My short game was probably the best
it's ever been for a whole week. It was just one of those weeks."

Ricky Barnes (66), England's Greg Owen (71) and rookie Jonathan Fricke (71)
shared third place at 8-under 272. Five players tied for sixth place, six
strokes back of de Jonge, who collected $108,000 for the win, bumping him
from No. 12 to No. 2 on the season money list. The 25 leading money-winners
at the end of the year will earn their PGA TOUR cards for 2009.

"I'm very excited," said de Jonge, a Zimbabwe-born transplant who now calls
Charlotte, N.C., home. "It was about as hard as I thought it would be."

De Jonge began the final day with a three-stroke lead that disappeared
quickly with bogeys on the first two holes, opening the door for Owen to
first take the lead before Lyle assumed the leader's position.

"I knew the back nine was tough," said de Jonge. "I figured if I shot around
par on those last holes I'd be close, especially with the wind swirling
around in the trees."

De Jonge did better than that, posting a 2-under 33 that vaulted him past a
faltering Lyle, who bogeyed three of his final six holes. Fricke was within
two at the turn but a 2-over 37 on the inward nine ruined his chances.

Time after time, de Jonge's touch around the greens proved to be the
difference during Sunday's pressure-packed round. He got up and down for
birdie on the par-5 ninth after pitching to within tap-in range from 40
yards to get within one of Lyle, who had eagled the hole minutes earlier.

The shot of the day came at the reachable par-4 12th, which measured only
298 yards. De Jonge's tee shot landed in the front bunker but was in a
horrible lie and all he could do was blast out, leaving his ball on a steep
uphill lie.

"I didn't think that was a makeable chip," said de Jonge, who pitched in
from an improbable lie to close out Saturday's third round. "It was about 30
feet with at least five feet of break. It's nice to be able to be a little
more aggressive knowing you're chipping and putting well."

When de Jonge's ball found the cup for birdie, he figured something was
going his way.

"I'd be lying if I said that it didn't cross my mind when I chipped in," he
said. "When it's your week, it's your week."

It's been more than a week for the 28-year old former Virginia Tech standout
who has now posted par-or-better scores in 26 of his last 28 rounds and is a
combined 79 under in that stretch. In his last four starts, he has finished
tied for third, tied for 18th, fifth and first with a scoring average of

"This is the best lengthy stretch of golf I've played in my life," he said
after saving par seven times during his stroll to victory.

"You've got to make the most of your opportunities and Brendon obviously did
that," said Lyle, who has now held the No. 1 spot on the money list for
eight consecutive weeks and 16 total weeks this year. "He's too good a
player to be hanging around this Tour too much longer."

Final-Round News & Notes: Gibby Gilbert III played a single this morning and
completed 18 holes in just 1:44. Gilbert shot a 1-under par 69. The next
group, a twosome, was on the 11th tee when Gilbert finished. The PGA TOUR
does not keep any records regarding the shortest time needed to play a
single round. ... Players who were bogey-free for the final round: Bob May
(66), Brendon Todd (66). ... Ricky Barnes shot a final-round 66 to finish at
8-under 272. The finish moved Barnes up from No. 30 to No. 19 on the money
list. ... Hunter Haas also posted a 66 and moved up to a tie for sixth. Haas
wound up at 7 under par and moved up from No. 40 to No. 32 on the money
list. ... Scott Piercy birdied the final hole Sunday for a 2-under 68 and a
tie for sixth, one week after capturing his first career title at the
Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open. The finish helped Piercy move up from
No. 35 to No. 31 on the money list. Two weeks ago, Piercy was No. 123 on the
money list.

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