Tue 19 Aug 2008, 6:34 GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's annual inflation, already the highest in the
world, jumped to 11.27 million percent in June from 2.2 million the previous
month, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) said on Tuesday.
The latest inflation figure shows the economic turmoil -- Zimbabwe is
already suffering chronic shortages of food and fuel -- is worsening with no
signs that Zimbabwe's rival parties will reach a power-sharing deal to end
the country's political crisis.
The CSO also said in a statement sent to banks that month-on-month inflation
accelerated to 839.3 percent from 433.4 percent the previous month.
by Cuthbert Nzou Tuesday 19 August 2008
HARARE - South African President Thabo Mbeki is expected to travel to
Zimbabwe this week to try one more time to push President Robert Mugabe and
opposition MDC party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to agree to share power in a
government of national unity.
Diplomatic sources told ZimOnline that Mbeki - who they said might arrive in
Harare on Wednesday - planned to meet Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara, who heads a breakaway faction of the MDC.
"Mbeki will be in Zimbabwe on Wednesday for the talks . . . he realises the
need for an urgent deal in the country to avert a humanitarian crisis," one
of the diplomats said, adding that it was not immediately clear whether
Mbeki would meet Tsvangirai in Harare after the MDC leader announced he was
going on tour of the region this week.
The planned trip to Harare will be Mbeki's first major move to push for a
political settlement in Zimbabwe following a weekend summit of leaders of
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that failed to flog Mugabe's
ruling ZANU PF party and the MDC into signing a power-sharing pact.
Mbeki, who assumed the rotating chairmanship of SADC, spent four days in
Zimbabwe last week trying unsuccessfully to nudge Mugabe, Tsvangirai and
Mutambara to form a government of national unity.
ZANU PF and MDC officials privately confirm that Mugabe and Tsvangirai agree
on nearly all the other aspects of a unity government but sharply differ
over who between them should wield more power.
Tsvangirai wants to be executive prime minister with Mugabe serving as
ceremonial president while Mugabe is unwilling to shed any of his
wide-sweeping powers and has instead offered to make Tsvangirai a
The two rivals also differ on the duration of the unity government with
Tsvangirai saying it should last up to two years while Mugabe prefers the
government to serve a full five-year term.
In a statement at the conclusion of the summit, SADC leaders urged Zimbabwe's
feuding political leaders to urgently sign any outstanding agreements to
pave way for a power-sharing government seen as the most viable way to end
the country's long-running political and economic crisis.
Analysts say Zimbabwe's crisis that is marked by the world's highest
inflation of more than two million percent, severe shortages of food, jobs,
foreign currency and deepening poverty worsened after Mugabe was re-elected
unopposed in a widely condemned June 27 presidential run-off vote boycotted
by the opposition because of violence.
Meanwhile the MDC has said convening Parliament before conclusion of talks
was contrary to the spirit of dialogue, hinting it could pull out of
negotiations altogether if Mugabe called the House to sit.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said last week that Mugabe could name a
new Cabinet and summon the seventh Parliament to commence following
elections on March 29.
Mbeki on Sunday also said Parliament could be convened while the
power-sharing talks continued.
Mugabe has delayed convening Parliament or naming a new Cabinet to give
talks a chance. - ZimOnline
Michealene Cristini Risley
Posted August 18, 2008 | 04:55 PM (EST)
Perhaps, I should say "You-Know-Who" or "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" but the
more we vocalize the name, the less power and fear he will use to violate
Zimbabweans. Mugabe. Mugabe. Mugabe. Voldemort is of course a fictional
character, who personifies evil and strikes terror at the very heart of the
world he inhabits. Mugabe, is unfortunately, real and evil and also strikes
terror in the hearts of those still surviving his despot regime. I wish
getting rid of Mugabe was as easy as closing the cover of a book.
In the last year since coming back from Zimbabwe, I have continued to
witness the rape, the abuse, the murders and lengthy tortures from human
beings who want a better life. The distribution of aid by local and
humanitarian efforts is still prohibited by his regime. The torture camps,
which I have written about in an earlier blog continue to operate:
The situation in this once prosperous country has gone from worse to
J. K. Rowling is the author of the wildly successful and creative "Harry
Potter" series of books. Her own story could be a book. The part of her
story that is relevant here is taken from her commencement Speech at Harvard
University earlier this year. Her speech was incredibly powerful and
poignant. In her talk: http://harvardmagazine.com/go/jkrowling.html, she
"One of the greatest formative experiences of my life preceded Harry Potter,
though it informed much of what I subsequently wrote in those books. This
revelation came in the form of one of my earliest day jobs. Though I was
sloping off to write stories during my lunch hours, I paid the rent in my
early 20s by working in the research department at Amnesty International's
headquarters in London.
There in my little office I read hastily scribbled letters smuggled out of
totalitarian regimes by men and women who were risking imprisonment to
inform the outside world of what was happening to them. I saw photographs of
those who had disappeared without trace, sent to Amnesty by their desperate
families and friends. I read the testimony of torture victims and saw
pictures of their injuries. I opened handwritten, eye-witness accounts of
summary trials and executions, of kidnappings and rapes.
And as long as I live I shall remember walking along an empty corridor and
suddenly hearing, from behind a closed door, a scream of pain and horror
such as I have never heard since. The door opened, and the researcher poked
out her head and told me to run and make a hot drink for the young man
sitting with her. She had just given him the news that in retaliation for
his own outspokenness against his country's regime, his mother had been
seized and executed.
Every day of my working week in my early 20s I was reminded how incredibly
fortunate I was, to live in a country with a democratically elected
government, where legal representation and a public trial were the rights of
Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on
their fellow humans, to gain or maintain power."
It is very clear to me, the lengths at which Robert Mugabe will go to
maintain his power. What is unclear to me is how the world continues to
stand by and let this man destroy Zimbabwe? South Africa's tarnished leader,
Thabo Mbeki continues to say that negotiations are on track for a power
sharing government. News today is that regional leaders put pressure on
Tsvangirai to accept a power sharing deal. The question is, power sharing by
whom? Mbeki- is the same man who ate denial for breakfast when it came to
addressing the crisis going on in Zimbabwe. WE need courageous leaders like
Botswana's President Khama!
I fully expect that one day soon, Morgan Tsvangirai will be dead. It will be
an accident, a simulated heart attack or an outright execution. Mugabe's
arrogance fears no repercussions and has no boundaries, so an execution
would not be a surprise. Morgan Tsvangirai has stood up to Mugabe, has
resisted "his evilness", but "BOB" will try to maintain power at all costs,
including standing over the dead body of Tsvangirai. What's one more body?
I find myself in awe of J.K. Rowling's ability to use those early
experiences and create great gifts of imagination and storytelling-I wish
that as a world we could write away the evil of Mugabe. It would go
something like this...
Mbeki is in the midst of the negotiations with Mugabe and Tsvangira in a
large hot room somewhere in the middle of Harare. They are surrounded by
military leaders who stand tall, watching attentively over there two African
leaders. Morgan Tsvangira is sweating.
There is a light knock at the door. The General closest to the door opens it
swiftly. All eyes look to the doorway. There is a large, lithe man standing
there. He wears a dark blue hooded sweatshirt. The hood covers almost
everything but the center of his face. His lean piano thin hands reach to
lower the hood. There is a collective gasp in the room; instant recognition
as the bald-headed man reveals himself. Mugabe's eyes alight, in awe he
stands and reaches for Voldemort's hand. Two distorted minds connect hands
and in a shower of sparks, Voldemort takes Mugabe's soul and both disappear.
Mbeki and Tsvangira are left behind with those familiar scars emblazoned on
Cut to a close up of the last pages of the Harry Potter novel, and it turns
by itself and the book closes. There is a loud thud as the book closes, then
a long silence. There would be initial silence and then a HUGE wave of
relief if Mugabe had disappeared with Voldemort into the pages of Harry
Potter novel, never to hurt a real human being again.
Okay, Okay...We need more than imagination to rid the world of evil beings
like Mugabe, but my fantasy allows me to at least finish a real breakfast.
August 19, 2008
JOHANNESBURG (dpa) - 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 thetalks
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
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".
A 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.
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has been calling for parliament to be reconvened
since opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai backed away from a power-sharinga
greement earlier last week that would have seen Mugabe retain some executive
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
theunity government and Mugabe takes a back seat.
August 19, 2008, 06:15
ANC stalwart Kader Asmal says the situation in Zimbabwe is a disgrace. He
says Zimbabwe and Burma are examples of countries where passive resistance
has failed. Asmal was speaking in Johannesburg last night at the 100th
anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent protests.
He said peaceful protests have failed in Zimbabwe because there is no
response from the international community. Asmal says that the people of
Zimbabwe, through their election in April 2008, showed that they had
transferred their allegiances and what they want now is change in that
Asmal said the international community is not rewarding the people of
Zimbabwe for taking part in elections and seeking change. "That is when
violence takes place, when the apostles of peaceful change are not able to
deliver anything. Let the people rightly say, you have asked us to put up
with murder, rape, the economic exploitation, exile, and then you have
nothing to show for that. And what we are doing now is to support those who
are the very instruments of the oppression," he said.
Meanwhile, Asmal said Mahatma Gandhi's passive resistance campaign played an
important role in the struggle for democracy in South Africa. On the August
16, 1908, thousands of people gathered outside the Hamidia Mosque in
Newtown, in protest at a law which required all Indians to carry
registration certificates. They burned their certificates in a large iron
Call by UN officials, civil society ignored
August 19, 2008 Edition 1
Activists, unionists and others slammed the failure of the SADC summit at
the weekend to deal with worldwide demands to have the Mugabe regime's
restrictions on humanitarian agencies lifted.
In the final communique from the body there is no mention of the call made
in the days before the summit by United Nations officials, NGO forums and
the Zimbabwe opposition.
Zimbabwean Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche banned field work by the NGOs
during the campaign for the June 27 presidential run-off election.
He accused them of having provided campaign support for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change during the March 29 elections, which the MDC
A communique issued on Sunday after a special meeting of the SADC organ on
politics, defence and security co-operation makes no mention of the
It calls on the parties to sign the outstanding agreements "as a matter of
urgency to restore political stability in Zimbabwe".
At a press briefing afterwards, President Thabo Mbeki said SADC facilitation
had been initiated over humanitarian concerns, but suggested several times
that addressing these would have to take a back seat to concluding a deal.
"We need this inclusive government to drive this process of addressing these
challenges," he said.
Observers pointed out that the SADC's original appointment of Mbeki as
mediator came after the international uproar over the near-fatal assaults on
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Elinor Sisulu, chairperson of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said the
summit showed the SADC's "undemocratic governments were not geared to
Zimbabwe was an "exaggerated symptom of the illnesses of regional
governments" in general.
The fault with the talks was that "everything has to be suspended", she
Meanwhile, the violence continues, despite undertakings in the memorandum of
understanding underpinning the talks. The danger is that an eventual deal
will lack legitimacy if violations continue.
"It is mind-boggling. It is like putting a gun to somebody's head. It is
extraordinary that you put pressure (on the Mugabe regime) by removing such
pressure," Sisulu said in reference to Mbeki's appeasement of Mugabe, which
was going "far beyond Neville Chamberlain's" appeasement of German dictator
"Mbeki's handling of the process is one of the most painful things I have
experienced in my life," she said.
Women of Zimbabwe Arise was to issue a report today detailing abuse of women
by the Mugabe government.
It concludes that "generally, women in Zimbabwe have experienced more trauma
after 1980 than pre-independence".
It says more than 50% of the women interviewed were at risk of developing
significant psychological disorders.
Trauma and the abuse of women would be highlighted, as well as testimony
from women who had recently spent weeks at the infamous Chikurubi Female
Prison, said a statement.
Nine members of Woza were held by police. Four were released only after
showing the police safe houses where the five others had been hiding.
People merely suspected of supporting the MDC are being targeted, according
to the statement.
While the negotiations between the major parties on Zimbabwe's future are
ongoing, I have specifically avoided giving any commentary. This is being
done to afford the negotiators every chance of succeeding while giving
Zimbabwe's starving masses the opportunity to receive aid.
I therefore find the continued refusal to give the aid agencies access to
the majority of the 5.1 million people at risk unbelievable.
While I'm not going to join in the speculation surrounding these
negotiations I would remind the parties, members of the SADC and the South
African government that the aid agencies are complaining that less than 20%
of the required aid is being allowed in.
As the ZANU-PF. MDC and MDC splinter group are supposedly representing the
people of Zimbabwe the first thing you would have expected was agreement to
rush through aid for these people.
Apparently that is not the case.
While everyone is fighting about positions and titles could they spare a
moment to remedy this (irritating I know) side issue.
In East Africa the Times of London is reporting:
"Rapidly rising global food costs have contributed to the worst hunger
crisis in East Africa for eight years, with at least 14 million people at
risk of malnutrition, aid agencies said yesterday.
In Ethiopia, the worst-affected country in the region, the Government said
that 4.6 million people faced starvation, but aid agencies claimed that the
true figure was closer to 10 million.
The United Nations World Food Programme is providing emergency food
assistance to 3.2 million people in Ethiopia and 900 000 people in northern
Kenya, where poor rains and political violence have disrupted food
The programme is also feeding 707 000 people in the Karamoja region of
northeastern Uganda, where erratic rainfall has prevented 90 per cent of the
population from planting for the current growing season and aims to give
help to 115 000 people in Djibouti - just under a quarter of the tiny
The UN says that 2.6 million people in Somalia are in need of food
assistance as a result of drought, conflict, hyperinflation, and high food
and fuel prices. The World Food Programme believes that the figure will rise
to 3.5 million in December. "
Let's also spare a thought for our brothers in that region.
While in West Africa the SABC is reporting:
"The combination of abundant natural resources, a history of autocratic,
unaccountable government and high perception of corruption have posed
particular challenges to governance in West Africa.
Civil bodies in the region are now working to get laws around access to
information and freedom of expression laws into statute books.
West Africa is abundant in mineral resources like oil, gold and fishing
stock. Yet its people have received little or no benefit from it all.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world where half of the
continent's population of 840 million people live on less than $1 a day."
Whether it's political, climatic or bad governance that is responsible the
time has come for Africa to start looking after its people and preparing for
contingencies like East Africa, a lot better than it is doing right now.
In the case of Zimbabwe and West Africa the circumstances bringing about
their situation is infinitely worse because the damage is self-inflicted.
Africa has got to learn that every life is sacred and that people are our
most valuable resource.
This entry was posted on Monday, August 18th, 2008 at 8:48 am
By Peace Kadiki
Published: Tuesday 19 August 2008
HARARE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono is on the forex
black market pouring huge amounts of quadrillion Zimbabwe dollars in order
to desperately raise money to pay off accumulating debts with regional power
suppliers that have threatened switching off Zimbabwe.
Zimdaily has established that Eskom of South Africa, reportedly owed in
excess of US$20 million and Mozambique's Cahora Bassa has also written to
Harare sounding a warning over a yet to be established amount in debt owed
by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).
Our investigations revealed that the power crunch has been the reason Gono
recently sunk his claws into the forex black market to trigger a massive
jump in major currencies' trading rates over the past week.
The US$ for example, jumped from trading at Z$160 billion (Old Currency) on
August 5 to a record high of US$1 selling for Z$1 trillion (Old Currency) on
Zimdaily on Wednesday visited the popular Roadport forex market in Harare
and established the existence of huge quantities of new notes of local
currency supplied directly from the RBZ.
One lady forex dealer revealed to Zimdaily in confidence that the bunch of
notes she had in the boot of her car amounted to Z$200 000 (new value),
which is equivalent to about Z$2 quadrillion in the old value.
"I get a bag (huge amount of cash) from my people at the RBZ daily and have
to make sure I finish all the cash in buying US dollars," the lady said.
An official at the RBZ who had seen the recent communication from Eskom told
Zimdaily Friday that the SA power utility-grappling with its own failures to
satisfy the market at home-had indicated to ZESA that its failure to service
its debt was severely affecting operations and causing a lot of tension
between Eskom and SA's government and business.
Efforts to obtain comment from Eskom failed. However, an official from ZESA's
public relations department who declined to reveal his name said in a
telephone interview, "I cant respond to that issue unless its put down on
paper". Gono was repeatedly said to be unavailable by his personal
19 August 2008
THE fact that a unity deal for Zimbabwe eluded the negotiating parties at
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit hardly came as a
surprise. Secret talks between elites are unlikely to yield conditions for a
lasting peace, let alone justice in Zimbabwe.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary Tendai Biti said as much when
he admitted that the lack of progress was due to the inability to find
consensus on "very clear issues of principles". The issues on which the
parties are struggling to find common ground include the duration of a
transitional authority and the timing of a new constitution.
But before these issues can even be resolved it is critical that an
environment is created in which there is no longer political violence, the
rule of law is established and humanitarian aid is facilitated without
interference from Zanu (PF) bully boys. Otherwise, any deal struck between
the parties will end up in smoke.
Hence the need to examine the options put forward by civil society
organisations from Zimbabwe and the SADC regarding levelling the playing
field and the mechanisms that need to be put in place to deliver a genuine
democracy in Zimbabwe.
Key among these include the proposal that the transitional authority in
Zimbabwe be headed by someone who is not a member of Zanu (PF) or the MDC,
especially considering the bias and shenanigans that characterised the
Secondly the argument put forward that such an authority needs to be made up
of individuals from a broad section of Zimbabwean society should be given
serious consideration because it ensures popular participation beyond
MOREOVER, the call that such an authority should have a limited mandate is
crucial. This is because it is premised on the belief that a transitional
authority should in no way seek to replace an elected government and that
its primary task is to facilitate the drafting and adoption of a new
constitution, which would form the basis under which legitimate elections
could be held.
The drafting of a new constitution too must include broad-based consultation
with public and civil society organisations and should not be the outcome of
a behind-closed-doors deal between Zanu (PF) and the MDC. Advocacy groups
say the draft constitution should not be enacted until it has been ratified
by the public in a national referendum. Such a transparent process will bind
not only Zanu (PF) but also the MDC from ever believing it is above the
Of even greater importance in the run-up to any new electoral process is the
need for the depoliticisation of state institutions such as the judiciary,
police, security services, and state welfare agencies. This is critical if
the political process is to be legitimate, given that many of these
institutions have functioned as mere appendages of the ruling Zanu (PF) .
The demand that restrictions on press freedom be lifted and that Zanu (PF)
release its hold on state media outlets is also important in levelling the
But it is proposals on an economic recovery plan that need closer scrutiny.
It is an open secret that Zanu (PF) high-ups are the only real beneficiaries
of any process that has been initiated by Robert Mugabe under the guise of
redistributing wealth. Initiatives should be undertaken to resolve the
economic crisis and ensure an equitable distribution of national resources
for the benefit of all Zimbabweans, including land as a national asset of
That such suggestions have come from civil society formations is
instructive. It points to new conditions in postcolonial Africa and a
changing global environment. It confirms that Africans are no longer
prepared to have their fate determined by political strongmen and liberation
movements long past their sell-by dates.
.. Brown is political editor.
19 August 2008
MDC seeks regional support to break deadlock in talks with Zanu (PF)
ZIMBABWE's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is again turning
to regional leaders to help break the deadlock in power-sharing talks, after
the failure to clinch a deal at the weekend summit of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) raised fresh doubts over the progress of the
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday headed off on a 10-day tour to
consult regional leaders in an apparent bid to bring greater pressure to
bear on President Robert Mugabe, and the SADC-mandated mediator, President
While Mbeki insisted after the SADC summit on Sunday that a solution
remained within the negotiators' grasp, observers said his credibility had
been further dented by the failure of the talks, which were dragging on well
beyond the original deadline.
Tellingly, Tsvangirai's first port of call is Botswana, whose President Ian
Khama has emerged as a staunch critic of Mugabe's ploys to stay in power.
Khama was a notable stayaway from the SADC summit. However, not only
Botswana, but several other southern African governments have registered
growing dissatisfaction with Mugabe and the wider effects of his misrule on
MDC sources said Tsvangirai hoped to channel this growing unease with the
Zimbabwean impasse into pressure on Mugabe and Mbeki.
His trip will add at least 10 days to the deadline, originally two weeks
since the signing of a memorandum of understanding on July 21. However, in
contrast with the MDC's apparent unease at Mbeki's performance, Mugabe's
ruling Zanu (PF) yesterday again came out in support of Mbeki, saying also
it remained committed to the talks.
"We hope a deal can be finalised in the fullness of time," said Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa. He declined to say when the talks would resume.
Chinamasa said parliament would have to be convened, a point raised by Mbeki
in his closing address to the summit.
This presents another potential dispute with the MDC, which opposes the
move, sensing it could solidify Mugabe's grip on power.
"Parliament will have to be convened sooner rather than later, but I cannot
say when. That is the president's prerogative, he will decide. It's almost
five months since they (the MPs) were elected," Chinamasa said.
Tsvangirai spokesman George Sibotshiwe said the regional tour was part of a
process to "unlock the deadlocks".
"The Zimbabwe issue is far from resolved and so the continent as a whole has
a responsibility to continue to engage with us in finding solutions," he
The tour is Tsvangirai's latest regional initiative.
Soon after the March 29 elections he went around the region explaining the
MDC's position and lobbying leaders for the release of election results
which eventually came only weeks after the poll.
Since then the mood in SADC has changed, with leaders appearing to have
broken ranks with Mugabe. Even staunch former ally Angola now seems less
Brian Raftopoulos, research director at the church-based Solidarity Peace
Trust, said Tsvangirai could be attempting to exert new influence on the
Continued on Page 2
SADC gets muscle: Page 3
Opinion & Analysis: Page 11
mediation. "He could be trying to put more pressure on the regional leaders
to put pressure on Mugabe and Mbeki," he said.
But sources close to the talks said the trip was an attempt to win over
regional leaders after they refused to accept Tsvangirai's position at the
"He believes he has lost ground," said a source, speaking on condition of
At issue was Tsvangirai's insistence that he assume all executive powers,
with Mugabe playing a ceremonial role. "He wants power transfer and not
power-sharing and obviously Zanu (PF) are not going to accept that," said
The initial target of the two MDC factions was a Kenya-style deal under
which there would be two centres of power. But having achieved that,
Tsvangirai wanted more control, the source said.
MDC officials said Mugabe wanted to retain control of the government, and
chair the cabinet, allowing Tsvangirai some ministries.
Key western countries, whose support would be crucial for turning around
Zimbabwe's economy, have said they will only recognise a government led by
Analysts said Tsvangirai's only leverage is the aid package he can unlock.
"Unless Tsvangirai signs on the dotted line the crisis continues, not only
simply because the billions of foreign aid does not become available, but
also because he does represent a significant majority of the Zimbabwean
population," said Adam Habib, a political analyst at the University of
Johannesburg. With Reuters
By Carole Gombakomba
18 August 2008
Zimbabwean non-governmental organizations focused on HIV/AIDS say their
treatment and support programs aimed at people struggling to live with with
HIV/AIDS remain significantly scaled back despite government promises to
allow them to resume such activities.
Representatives of two NGOs spoke with VOA on condition of anonymity, saying
that a state ban on NGO distribution of humanitarian aid has obliged them to
stop distributing food aid meant for people living with HIV/AIDS, despite
recent assurances from Health Minister David Parirenyatwa that the
government would lift the ban where HIV/AIDS was concerned.
Director Itai Rusike of the Community Working Group on Health said it is
hard to determine if the death rate has gone up due to the government ban,
as most of the statistics on AIDS-related deaths are maintained by
physicians in government employ.
He added that as most of those who cannot afford to provide for their own
care are dying at home, it would be difficult in any case to tabulate
accurate fatality data.
Rusike told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
progress in fighting AIDS through state programs that reduced the national
HIV prevalence rate and death rate could be lost due to the extended
political crisis in the country.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
18 August 2008
Zimbabwe opposition officials on Monday reported another abduction in
Manicaland province following the brief kidnapping last week of the wife of
an opposition activist there.
MDC officials said Moses Chirau, the younger brother of activist Killian
Chirau, was taken away by suspected war veterans and members of the ZANU-PF
militia who opened fire on him.
This incident followed the abduction Thursday of Killian Chirau's wife,
Juliet Dakacha, who was seized from her home in Manicaland's Buhera South
constituency and released the same day after being beaten and tortured. The
militia is said to be actively seeking Killian Chirau.
Moses Chirau's whereabouts were unknown but opposition sources said he was
believed to be held at the notorious Mutiusinazita torture base in the
Manicaland opposition officials said they have not been able to transport
Juliet Dakacha to the hospital because most of the party's vehicles are in
the hands of police who confiscated them during the turbulent period
following the March 29 general and presidential elections.
The party said hundreds of its supporters around the country have yet to
receive medical care for election-period injuries due to lack of transport
and other problems.
Buhera South Member of Parliament-elect Naison Nemadziva of the MDC, in
hiding in Mutare, told Jonga Kandemiiri that war veterans have sealed off
Buhera South, making it very difficult for opposition members who fled
violence to return to their homes.
Elsewhere, sources in Gokwe, Midlands, said suspected state agents have been
arresting opposition councilors then releasing them without pressing
charges. They said the agents have vowed to make life difficult for the
councilors until they resign or join ZANU-PF.
By Blessing Zulu
18 August 2008
Having failed to achieve a Zimbabwe power-sharing deal in the just-ended
summit of the Southern African Development Community, South African
President and SADC Chairman Thabo Mbeki was expected in Harare late this
week for another stab at persuading ZANU-PF and both formations of the
Movement for Democratic Change to come to terms.
Addressing reporters late Sunday, Mr. Mbeki said his mediation would
The failure at the SADC summit was not for lack of heavy hitters. Two
different SADC political and security "troikas" worked directly with the
principals, especially President Robert Mugabe and MDC founder Morgan
Tsvangirai, but in vain. The mandate of the first troika was expiring and
the new troika, comprising Mozambique, Swaziland and Angola, took over.
Tsvangirai on Monday set out on a tour of regional capitals aiming to
bolster support for his position on power-sharing, meeting first with
Botswanan President Ian Khama, who stayed away from the SADC summit to
protest the attendance of President Mugabe on grounds that his widely
condemned June 27 re-election violated SADC and African Union norms.
Tsvangirai was next scheduled to meet senior officials of South Africa's
ruling African National Congress before heading to Ghana to meet President
Reviewing the weekend's failed negotiations, SADC sources said the main
sticking point had continued to be the division of executive powers between
Mr. Mugabe as president and Tsvangirai as prime minister in a national unity
The sources said the Tsvangirai MDC argued that Mugabe could keep most of
his executive powers and maintain direct control of the state security
Tsvangirai, for his part, demanded full control of the cabinet.
But Mr. Mugabe, backed by rival MDC leader Arthur Mutambara, called this an
unacceptable transfer of power, saying Tsvangirai would then have all
In response, Tsvangirai offered Mr. Mugabe the post of prime minister, but
Sources told VOA that at one point late Sunday, Mr. Tsvangirai countered
that he wanted the presidency, not the prime ministership, which infuriated
The MDC later furnished the troika with a list of Mugabe's executive powers
according to the current Zimbabwean constitution. The SADC leaders are said
to have been shocked by the extent of the powers which the MDC argued that
Mugabe would be keeping.
Political analyst Brian Kagoro told reporter Blessing Zulu that Mr. Mbeki
must be firm with President Mugabe if his mediation efforts are to succeed.
August 19, 2008 | By Metro Investigations Unit |
The US government could revoke MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara's United
States Permanent Residence Permit which is valid up to 2017 amid growing
concerns he is abetting Mugabe's hold on to power.
The United states government's Acting Deputy Spokesman Gonzalo R. Gallegos,
told the state department's state briefing earlier during the week,
'We're going to continue to watch. We're going to continue to see what
happens there. Ultimately, as I've said before, from here, what we want to
see is that the will of the Zimbabwean people is reflected in the results of
this or any talks that may take place to come to a resolution to this
situation,and if anyone aids the subvetting of the people's will even if
they are not from ZANU PF will face the same measures we have taken against
ZANU-PF.' said Gallegos.
Mutambara reportedly dismissed MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's claim to power
when he addressed the SADC leaders and claimed the he and President Mugabe
should hold power.
Mutambara reportedly told the gathering that Mugabe who won the run-off
should have executive power and his faction should hold key positions in the
cabinet because they hold the balance of power in Parliament.
"The March 29 elections produced a hung parliament. We hold the key to
"Whomever we decide to go with will have the majority in parliament. In
these talks we are on our own. And anyone who thinks they have the majority
in parliament is a joker. Nobody must take us for granted," said Mutambara.
Sources at the US embassy in Harare say the US is watching closely Mutambara's
actions and say there is a general feeling he is aiding Mugabe's divide and
Mutambara gloated and bragged last year to a group of Zimbabweans and
journalists in the US among them The Zimbabwe Times's editor Geoff Nyarota
that if his political career fails to work out he can always go back to work
in the US because he has a green card and when he was asked why he was
silent about developments in his home country during the more than ten years
he spent in the united states he reportedly said, 'I don't believe in
talking or criticizing I rather act,some of you are illegal here but make a
lot of noise.'
Legal expects say Mutambara who lost his first bid for parliament could be
served with a Notice of Intent to Revoke, (NOIR) under the same law the US
is currently using to revoke residence permits of those who assisted the
Nazi in Germany and went to live in the United States and acquired the much
sought after permanent residence card.
The U.S. Has been revoking the citizenship of all those with past Nazi
involvement and to date the United States has deported and revoked students
permits of 37 individuals with close links to ZANU PF bigwigs and those
perceived to be assisting Mugabe 's regime.
The U.S. already has financial and travel penalties in place against more
than 170 citizens and entities with ties to Mugabe. If talks fail the Bush
administration is considering punishing the government of Zimbabwe as well
as further restricting the travel and financial activities of Mugabe
US president George Bush has already promised aid for Zimbabwe if the talks
result in "a new government that reflects the will of the Zimbabwean
people," he said, "the United States stands ready to provide a substantial
assistance package, development aid and normalization with international
ZIMBABWE'S opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says convening
the country's parliament before a political compromise is reached would be
contrary to the spirit of the ongoing dialogue.
This follows President Thabo Mbeki's remarks that it may be necessary to
convene parliament, even before the talks had been concluded.
The comments came as the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
summit ended in Johannesburg at the weekend without clinching a
power-sharing deal between Zimbabwe's rival parties.
The leader of the smaller MDC faction, Arthur Mutambara, is under the
spotlight as speculation grows that parliamentarians may be sworn in soon.
With 10 seats, Mutambara's MDC faction holds the swing in the lower house,
where Tsvangirai's MDC faction and President Mugabe's Zanu-PF are separated
by just one seat.
As a power-sharing deal continues to elude negotiators, Mutambara may soon
be called upon to decide whether to take part in parliament without
Tsvangirai on board. - DDC
August 19, 2008
By Tendai Dumbutshena
BRAVO Botswana. The 13 leaders who gathered for the SADC summit in
Johannesburg last weekend tried to put on a brave face but were visibly
uneasy and embarrassed.
The absence of Botswana's President Ian Khama exposed them for what they
are - spineless and morally bankrupt nonentities.
They could not argue against the reasons for Botswana's boycott. The
government in Gaborone - ironically the headquarters of SADC- reminded the
regional body of its protocols on good governance. There is one on the
conduct of elections in the region which clearly spells out what is
expected. Khama's boycott was a reminder to his counterparts that they did
not take this protocol seriously. That it could be brutally violated with
Observers from all SADC countries were sent to monitor both the March 29
elections and June 27 presidential run-off in Zimbabwe. Their verdict was
unanimous and unambiguous. All conditions for a free and fair election in
the run-off were not met.
Furthermore, the state was responsible for savage violence against the
opposition to the point that Robert Mugabe's only opponent Morgan Tsvangirai
had to withdraw from the race to save lives. Based on the reports of SADC
observers and its own citizens the Botswana government concluded that the
outcome of the run-off did not reflect the true will of the people of
Zimbabwe. It could therefore not accept Mugabe as a legitimately elected
president of Zimbabwe. Gaborone made it clear that its president would
boycott the SADC summit if Mugabe were invited as head of state.
There was hope that others would follow Botswana's bold and principled
position. Fat chance. Other leaders maintained an embarrassed silence in the
hope that the problem would simply go away. Lacking moral courage and
principles they hid behind the African Union's call for a government of
national unity. The region's official mediator, South Africa's President
Thabo Mbeki saw in the AU resolution an opportunity to legitimize and
prolong Mugabe's rule. He frantically tried to bulldoze an agreement that
would produce an essentially Zanu-PF government led by Mugabe with some MDC
ministers. Mindful of the fact that it was impossible to confer legitimacy
on Mugabe on the basis of the run-off he thought the best way was through a
Mugabe led GNU endorsed by the MDC. He wanted the deal signed before the
summit so that the awkward issue of Mugabe's legitimacy would fall away.
The SADC leaders should have convened an emergency summit soon after the
run-off to tell Mugabe that they did not recognize its outcome. Mbeki would
then have carried on with his mediation on a clear understanding that SADC
did not recognize Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean leader
would have been more amenable to compromise had SADC taken such a principled
stand. But knowing his peers well Mugabe realised that they would cave in.
They did not have the backbone to insist on a strict adherence to their own
protocols. It was easier to just let Mugabe take his seat at the high table.
At least this time they did not like imbeciles applaud when he walked into
the summit room.
To salvage their consciences they tried to bully Tsvangirai into signing a
document that would legitimize Mugabe's rule for five more years. One of the
tactics used to pressure Tsvangirai was to accuse him of being controlled by
Western powers. This is ironic coming from leaders whose countries and
governments are sustained by Western donor money, as Mugabe himself pointed
out no so long ago.
To his credit Tsvangirai stood firm and refused to append his signature to a
document crafted to serve Mugabe's interests.
Outside the summit hundreds of demonstrators made their voices heard on the
dictatorships in Zimbabwe and Swaziland. A petition for the leaders handed
to the SADC secretariat said in part that ordinary people were taking to the
streets because of an absence of political leadership in the region. In
other words people have lost faith in a regional leadership that places a
premium on friendship and solidarity among ruling elites above their
It has repeatedly been argued in this column that there are too many
dictators in Africa for the continent and its regional bodies to take
principled positions on issues of human rights and good governance. In SADC
a troika of nations is tasked with responsibility for political, defence and
security matters. It currently comprises Tanzania, Angola, and Swaziland
with the latter being chair. How can Angola and Swaziland pronounce on
issues pertaining to human rights and democracy? How can they stand in
judgement of Mugabe?
Since independence in 1975 Angola had only one election in 1976, and a
dubious one at that.
President Eduardo dos Santos would not recognize a ballot paper if it hit
him in the face. The Swazi monarch, King Mswati III presides over a feudal
regime that treats its citizens like serfs. ? How can they stand in
judgement of Mugabe?
At the moment both dos Santos and Mswati are custodians of the region's
putative commitment to democracy. Until Africa takes issues of human rights
and democracy seriously it will not be able to deal effectively with rogue
regimes like Mugabe's.
The SADC summit declared the region a free trade zone. Normally this would
have been a momentous occasion celebrated by all its peoples. Instead it was
a damp squib. The inability of SADC to deal with Zimbabwe cast a shadow over
all other issues. People in the region do not believe the free zone
declaration will have any bearing on their lives. Spineless and unprincipled
leadership breeds cynicism and pessimism. All they see are self-serving
leaders obsessed with protecting one another like the endangered species
that they are.
Mbeki is regarded as the architect of the New Economic Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD) which recognizes a direct causal link between
good governance and economic prosperity. African leaders undertook to
promote good clean governance in exchange for economic partnership with
Principles have a habit of being put to the test. When confronted with the
Zimbabwe crisis at the heart of which are issues of governance and human
rights SADC failed. Their commitment to these principles disintegrated. Old
habits and instincts took over. Their comrade, Mugabe, had to be protected.
In so doing they dimmed the hopes not only of Zimbabweans but all peoples in
Only Khama offered a ray of hope.
The Nation (Nairobi)
18 August 2008
Posted to the web 19 August 2008
Zimbabwe's main opposition today warned President Robert Mugabe risked
jeorpadising the ongoing power sharing talks by convening parliament on the
advice of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
This came amid reports that South African President Thabo Mbeki who is also
the regional body's appointed mediator in the talks was preparing to travel
to Zimbabwe to rescue the tripartite talks before the end of this week.
A weekend SADC summit failed to forge a hugely deal between the feuding
parties despite sustained pressure.
State media reported that Mr Mugabe was preparing to officially open
parliament 'any time soon', while talks with the two factions of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for a government of national unity
According to a July 21 memorandum, which set down rules for the tripartite
talks, the parties agreed not to convene parliament or form a new government
'save by consensus.'
But a meeting of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security late on
Sunday advised that: "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
The official opening of parliament will automatically mean the end of Mr
Mugabe's five month interim government as a number of his ministers lost
their seats during the March elections.
Mr Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary general said they did not expect such a
drastic move from the ageing leader, which he said will complicate the
"We hope that no one would do anything to breach the memorandum of
understanding on the talks," he said.
Another senior MDC official was quoted as having said: "We don't have
consensus to reconvene parliament. How do you reconvene parliament with an
Last week, the MDC accused Mr Mugabe of trying to lure its MPs into a new
government after their leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai briefly walked out of
the talks protesting against the veteran leader's refusal to cede executive
Analysts say Mr Mugabe was agitated by the opposition leader's approach to
the negotiations and felt that time was running out to form a new government
that will extricate Zimbabwe from its current economic morass.
An opposition spokesman said he will ask regional leaders to help resolve
the deadlock in power-sharing talks with President Mugabe's party.
"The Zimbabwean issue is far from resolved, and so the continent as a whole
has a responsibility to continue to engage with us in finding solutions," Mr
Tsvangirai's spokesman George Sibotshiwe said.
"Part of it is actually a process of trying to unlock the deadlocks that
have emerged in the negotiations."
Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said power-sharing talks would
continue under the mediation of South African President Thabo Mbeki.
"We hope a deal can be finalised in the fullness of time," Mr Chinamasa
By Howard Lesser
19 August 2008
The condition of Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has suddenly worsened. Mr.
Mwanawasa, who was elected in 2002 and is in the middle of a second
four-year term, has been under treatment in a Paris hospital since early
July after suffering a stroke. Zambian Vice President Rupiah Banda, who is
governing the country in the president's absence, said in a statement
yesterday that doctors noticed a deterioration in the 59-year-old leader's
condition late Sunday night. He had been flown to the French military
hospital after being stricken in Egypt on June 29. In Lusaka, Radio Phoenix
reporter Sanday Chongo Kabange said the timing of the president's stroke was
unfortunate, as he was due to play a key role in the debate on the election
crisis in Zimbabwe, both at the African Union (AU) summit that was just
getting underway in Cairo and at last weekend's Zimbabwe discussions at the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting that was held in
Johannesburg, South Africa.
"I think it's really been sad that the president has not been at the SADC
summit. You know, Mr. Mwanawasa had been the SADC chair. He was the rotating
chairman that is held for about a year and Mr. Mwanawasa had been one of the
main critics of the Robert Mugabe regime, so I think his absence might have
been felt. And I'm sure that there are certain things that he wanted to
mention, might have a lot of contributions he would have made if he himself
had attended this summit that was held over the weekend in South Africa," he
During his term as SADC leader, President Mwanawasa was outspoken against
the violence and political and economic instability in Zimbabwe that
contrasted with positions taken by other neighbors of Zimbabwe. Journalist
Kabange says those views were missing, not only from last weekend's SADC
discussions, but also from the African Union summit that opened in Cairo
back in June. President Mwanawasa suffered his stroke on June 29 on the eve
of the AU meeting, which commenced three days after Zimbabwe's controversial
runoff election. Robert Mugabe easily won that vote, running unopposed after
his opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, pulled out of the race because of
unmitigated violence against members of the opposition, most notably in
Zimbabwe towns and rural areas.
"His absence may have definitely played a negative role in the negotiations
for free and fair, or maybe a partial government in Zimbabwe because early
on, Zambia was actually considering going to boycott or snub the South
Africa SADC summit. Well I'm sure Zambia was supposed to be part of the SADC
summit in South Africa, probably, one, because Zambia's outgoing
chairperson, Mr. Mwanawasa, was outgoing chairperson. So he was supposed to
be there in order to hand over the chair from Zambia to South Africa, who
are the incoming chair of the group. So if Mr. Mwanawasa was there in
person, I'm sure he would have boycotted, because like in the case of Ian
Khama (president) of Botswana, who says he could not attend because he's not
content with the government of Robert Mugabe. So if Mr. Mwanawasa was there
in person, I don't think he would have taken part. Or if he had come, he
would have gone there just because he was supposed to hand over the
chairmanship of the 14-member grouping. So it's really a blow to the
negotiations in Zimbabwe that President Mwanawasa himself did not attend,"
At home, Kabange says Zambians are struggling with the suspended state of
their leader's rule. He says Vice President Banda has been doing more to
preserve citizen confidence by keeping the public informed about changes in
the president's condition.
"There was too much anxiety. There was some point where we were told that
the president had died. So that kind of anxiety had continued in some areas
and some people remained concerned. But he (Vice President Banda) has tried
to run the country and maintain peace. There might be a few incidents that
are taking place, but he has used his managerial ability to run the country
and maintain law and order," said Kabange.
by Norest Muzvaba Tuesday 19 August 2008
JOHANNESBURG - A leading international relief agency has expressed concern
at plans by South African officials to close down camps for foreign
immigrants displaced by xenophobic violence that swept across Africa's
economic powerhouse earlier this year.
President Thabo Mbeki's government, which strongly condemned attacks against
immigrants, has told the foreigners to return to the communities they fled
during the violence or face deportation to their countries of origin.
Oxfam's South African office said on Monday that while it supported plans to
remove displaced people from temporary camps so they could be reintegrate
back into their former communities, this should not be done at the risk of
the foreigners' safety and right to protection.
The group said in a statement: "The closure of the camps would have serious
impact in that people would be forced to go back to places without guarantee
of their safety and without proper support from the government.
"We support the reintegration of people into communities assuring that
their rights to protection, safety, and basic needs are met. Reintegration
should not become an abdication of responsibility by government and other
agencies of their responsibilities for meeting the needs of people who have
been displaced by violence."
The group urged South African officials to follow United Nations guidelines
on the handling of internally displaced people when deciding what action to
take regarding the thousands of mostly black African immigrants left
homeless by the violence.
Rampaging mobs of South African men armed with machetes, axes, spears and
guns attacked and killed immigrants looting their property in an
unprecedented two-week wave of xenophobic violence last May that shocked a
nation, which prides itself as among the most tolerant societies in the
It is estimated that more than 30 000 foreign nationals mostly from
Zimbabwe, Mozambique and other African countries fled xenophobic attacks in
poor South African townships and sought refuge in police stations, churches
and public buildings.
The government later set up temporary shelters for the homeless foreign
nationals and has been seeking to reintegrate displaced people back into
their communities. - ZimOnline.