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Mbeki struggling to keep Zimbabwe talks on track: analysts

Yahoo News

by Fanuel Jongwe 18 minutes ago

HARARE (AFP) - South African President Thabo Mbeki's presence this week in
Harare pointed to deep-rooted problems in his efforts to mediate a
power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe's political crisis, analysts said Thursday.

Mbeki flew here and held face-to-face discussions with President Robert
Mugabe on Wednesday after negotiations at a secret location near Pretoria
between Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party and the main opposition MDC adjourned
in apparent deadlock.

After meeting Mugabe, Mbeki insisted the negotiations were on track and
would resume on Sunday. He also met with Arthur Mutambara, the leader of a
smaller Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction.

"There are naturally some matters which require the negotiators to come back
to consult. That's why they are all here in Harare today," Mbeki said.

But observers suggested that the South African leader was putting a positive
spin on a difficult situation.

"Mbeki's visit signifies that there has been a deadlock no matter what the
negotiators and facilitators would want the world to believe," Charles
Mangongera, a Harare-based political analyst, said.

"He (Mbeki) is trying to use his influence to push each of the leaders to
make certain compromises," he said.

Takura Zhangazha, a Harare independent political analyst said Mbeki's visit
pointed to "an urgency" surrounding certain issues in the power-sharing

"The visit was probably to emphasise to Mugabe what the MDC wants from the
talks," Zhangazha said.

Mbeki had met the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in Pretoria on Tuesday
before his visit to Harare.

Mugabe, 84, who has been in office since Zimbabwe's independence from
Britain in 1980, expressed his "total commitment" to the negotiations on

"We are still negotiating, we want to succeed," Mugabe said. "We would like
to see the speedy conclusion of the talks ... and successful outcome so that
we can focus in the future our attention around our economy".

Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga warned against reading too much into
Mbeki's visit to Harare, saying it was simply "part and parcel" of efforts
to achieve an all-inclusive government in Zimbabwe.

"There is no deadlock at the talks. Newspapers invented the deadlock and the
parties do not agree with that media suggestion," Ratshitanga said.

John Makumbe, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe,
argued that the media coverage was probably accurate.

"Things are not going well. President Mbeki can pretend that everything is
under control. But the body language, even of Mugabe makes it very clear
that there is a deadlock," he said Thursday in an interview on South
Africa's public broadcaster SA FM.

"I had expected all along that there will be serious problem on agreeing on
a vehicle for transition to democracy; either to adopt a government of
national unity, as canvassed by the ZANU-PF or create a transitional
government, as suggested by the MDC."

Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Mutambara signed an accord on July 21 in Harare to
begin talks on sharing power after a months-long election dispute.

While Tsvangirai believes his victory in the first round of a presidential
election in March should give him the right to the lion's share of power,
MDC sources say Mugabe's negotiators are so far only offering him the chance
to become one of several vice presidents.

The political crisis in Zimbabwe heightened after the June 27 victory in the
widely denounced and controversial presidential run-off in which Mugabe was
the only candidate after Tsvangirai boycotted it, claiming violence against
his supporters ahead of the poll.

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Talks hit deadlock over Mugabe-Tsvangirai roles

By Lance Guma
31 July 2008

South African brokered talks between Zanu PF and the MDC have reportedly hit
a brick wall because the ruling party insists Mugabe should lead any unity
government. Party insiders have dismissed the optimism expressed by South
African President Thabo Mbeki that talks are progressing well, stating
instead that Zanu PF negotiators are not willing to budge on Mugabe's
position. It has also been made clear by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
and Labour Minister Nicholas Goche that their mandate at the talks has to
fall in line with instructions from the Zanu PF politburo.

On Tuesday Tsvangirai flew to South Africa to meet Mbeki, in the first clear
sign the talks had reached a deadlock. On Wednesday Mbeki travelled to
Harare to meet Mugabe and tried his best to hide the collapsing initiative.
'There are naturally some matters which require the negotiators to come back
to consult. That's why they are all here in Harare today,' he told
journalists. Mugabe's role in any new government remains a polarizing issue
a diplomatic source told Newsreel. 'Any chance of these talks succeeding
will be riding on the back of how much Tsvangirai is willing to compromise,'
the source said.

On Thursday Tsvangirai arrived in Senegal for a meeting with President
Abdoullaye Wade, in what some are already seeing as attempts to pile up the
diplomatic pressure on Mugabe. A Senegal Foreign Ministry statement said
Tsvangirai was in the capital Dakar to 'learn the position and get the
advice' of Wade. A similar trip to Angola and other African countries is
said to be on the cards, an ominous sign the MDC might be preparing a plan
B, should the talks fail. On Wednesday Mbeki insisted the talks will resume
on Sunday, but an air of uncertainty now hangs over any chances of a

During an interview with British TV Channel 4 Tsvangirai struck a
conciliatory note, arguing Mugabe should be allowed an 'honourable exit.'
The MDC President insisted the talks should result in a transitional
government that will run the country for not more than 2 years. The behind
the scenes deadlock has not appeared to faze Tsvangirai who told journalists
in Senegal that the 2 week timetable for the talks was flexible and could be
adjusted as the process moves forward.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Tsvangirai says talks deadline flexible

DAVID LEWIS | DAKAR, SENEGAL - Jul 31 2008 18:00

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday he was "fairly
satisfied" with talks with President Robert Mugabe's party to end a
political crisis, and said a Monday, August 4 deadline was "not inflexible".

Tsvangirai said talks would resume as planned on Sunday with Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party. Power-sharing negotiations began last week under
international pressure after Mugabe's unopposed re-election in a poll
dismissed around the world as a sham.

"I am fairly satisfied, but there are, like in any negotiations, sticking
points that need to be unravelled," Tsvangirai told reporters in Dakar after
meeting Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.

The talks adjourned on Tuesday, leaving little time to complete them by the
August 4 deadline set out in the framework for negotiations signed on July

"Two weeks may appear too short, but it is not inflexible and I am sure that
the facilitation will adjust as progress moves forward," Tsvangirai said.

South African President Thabo Mbeki is mediating between the opposing camps,
whose political struggle has exacerbated an economic crisis that has brought
hyperinflation and food shortages and forced millions into Zimbabwe's

Tsvangirai won a first round of voting in March but official results said he
fell short of an outright majority. He abandoned a run-off vote against
Mugabe in June because of attacks on his supporters. He says more than 120
have been killed.

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 and wants to carry on with his new
five-year mandate, said on Wednesday that the talks were going well and he
wanted them to succeed.

 But the MDC has said only Tsvangirai can lead a new government as he won
the first round of voting.

 Analysts say both sides are deeply entrenched and finding middle ground
will be difficult. Tsvangirai declined on Thursday to give any details of
the progress made in the talks so far.

But he told Britain's Channel 4 news on Wednesday that he hoped the process
would allow Mugabe an "honourable exit".

European Aid Commissioner Louis Michel said he hoped the talks would
succeed, but said he was worried at continuing violence and intimidation as
well as restrictions on humanitarian work.

"This situation is unacceptable and is putting thousands of innocent
civilian lives, including women and children, at risk," he said. "I
therefore call upon the Zimbabwean authorities to denounce and abandon
violence and to provide unfettered humanitarian access." - Reuters

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Brussels "deeply worried" by Zimbabwe violence, aid restrictions

Monsters and Critics

Jul 31, 2008, 12:54 GMT

Brussels - Political violence and restrictions on humanitarian work in
Zimbabwe are putting thousands of lives at risk, the EU's top aid official
said in a statement Thursday.

'I am concerned about the continued widespread violence and intimidation (in
Zimbabwe). I am also deeply worried about the persistent restrictions
imposed to humanitarian activities,' EU Aid Commissioner Louis Michel said
in a statement.

'This situation is unacceptable and is putting thousands of innocent
civilian lives, including women and children, at risk,' he said.

On July 21, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai signed a deal which was meant to put an end to the widespread
political violence across the country and open it up to humanitarian aid

That deal was 'an important step towards a genuine political solution to the
current crisis in Zimbabwe,' Michel said.

However, violence in the country, especially attacks on Tsvangirai's
supporters by forces linked to Mugabe, remains rife, and aid workers have
not been given access to much of the country, the commission statement said.

Tsvangirai led the polls in the first round of Zimbabwe's presidential
election on March 29, but pulled out of the June 27 run- off after dozens of
his supporters were killed in attacks by Mugabe supporters.

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Mapped: 2094 cases of political violence in Zimbabwe

2094 cases of violnce in Zimbabwe

Last week the BBC had a report that groups of MDC supporters returning from South Africa were carrying out reprisal attacks against Zanu PF war veterans who had beaten up their relatives. The link to the piece was emailed to us by a few people with different messages ranging from “It’s about time someone did this”, to “I hope Sokwanele will condemn this as much as you do Zanu PF-led violence”.

The incidents, close to Zimbabwe’s border with South Africa, followed accusations of torture and arson attacks by war veterans.

Youths loyal to the opposition have now launched retaliatory attacks against the veterans.

Sokwanele campaigns for non violence, and that includes all forms of violence so we condemn these sort of actions completely.

I delayed my response to this because we’ve been adding more violence data to our map and I wanted to see if this latest sample included violence against civilians perpetrated by MDC supporters. It does: out of the total of 2094 cases mapped so far, there are four cases in Harare denoted by four bright pink map pins. These were not, as you might imagine, all MDC reprisal attacks against Zanu PF thugs - three of them are cases arising out of infighting between the two MDC formations and only one was of a Zanu PF supporter who came forward to report his experience at the hands of an MDC supporter.

Our political violence map reflects cases of violence and terror regardless of who is responsible: each pin is a victim. To date, our sample - and it is a sample - has seen little evidence that the opposition parties are attacking Zanu PF supporters. Solidarity Peace Trust’s latest report says that in the sample cases they used for their report, only 1% of the victims were Zanu PF supporters.

Because of the way we have mapped the data (recording confirmed testimony from victims) the picture sometimes doesn’t quite tell the whole story. For example, the colour-coded pins identify perpetrators of the crimes - ours is a map of accountability. In the few cases where Zanu PF supporters have been attacked, we have recorded who attacked them and not the fact that they are ‘Zanu PF-supporting’ victims. I am personally unmoved whether a victim is MDC or Zanu PF because no one deserves to be criminally assaulted,  and especially not because they exercise a democratic right to support a party of their choice.

What is significant in these cases is that the criminals have mostly been Zanu PF aligned, all organised by the State. What we hope the map will do is show the level of organisation and coordination and clearly identify who is responsible for the crimes.

There is another story not quite fully revealed on our map that appeared in our most recent batch of data, and this has to do with reprisal attacks.

A group of MDC youths in an area of Zimbabwe took it upon themselves to beat up Zanu PF thugs who had been responsible for a particularly vicious crime against an MDC supporter in their community. The angry youths went on a rampage and also destroyed the property of the Zanu PF thugs.

However, the reason why these youths ended up in our sample is not because they perpetrated crimes, but because they ended up being victims again as a result of them. Unsurprisingly, the Zanu PF youths counter-retaliated, this time backed up by the local police and militia, and the MDC supporting vigilantes had to flee for their lives. They continue to live in fear, unable to go home, everything they own has been destroyed and death threats have been issued against them. Our map records victims and identifies who attacked them, so each of these youths is now a map pin recording that they have been displaced, their property destroyed and that their lives have been threatened. The map shows that that their persecutors are Zanu PF aligned.

Would we map the victims that the MDC supporters attacked and would we identify that they were attacked by MDC youths? Absolutely, but these individuals have not reported their experience to the people who feed the confirmed cases our way. If they did, they would be treated fairly and reasonably and their experiences would be mapped by us. We can’t map them despite knowing that something happened to them because we don’t know how many were beaten, exactly what happened to them, or where it all took place.

To be clear for those who assume that Sokwanele deliberately does not map incidents of violence against Zanu PF, this group of cases that we cannot map, refering to actions against Zanu PF supporters, is among the first we have seen where violence against a Zanu PF supporter has been mentioned (out of the 2094 cases now on our map). I can think of only one other case (from Manicaland) where an individual had to flee death threats because, like the MDC in this case, he had attacked a Zanu PF supporter.

So why don’t the Zanu PF cases end up coming our way? It’s hard to say, but my interpretation is that they possibly do not consider themselves in the same light as the MDC people who have been beaten by Zanu PF thugs to an inch of their lives. Unlike the MDC victims, whose pictures we have seen and stories we have read, the Zanu PF victims of this case of MDC-led violence had alternative ‘options’. They didn’t need to resort to last desperate measures by appealing for help because they had nothing left at all and because no one else would help them and they had nowhere to go.

The Zanu PF victims used their other options and turned to the police and the militia who rallied around and chased away their persecutors. Yes, they have lost their property, but we know that the militia are given free reign when it comes to looting property. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if the Zanu victims recouped their losses by taking it from an MDC ‘enemy’ neighbour close by, possibly adding a few good whacks for good measure. We know the police will do nothing.

It is this bizarre case of knowing violence we can’t map, where ‘victims‘ became ‘violent vigilantes‘ only to be forced even deeper into ‘victimhood‘ as a result, that underscores why reprisal attacks simply don’t work.

Who won in this instance?

As for the comunity left behind after this spate of vigilantiasm, what’s to become of them? I can’t imagine there won’t be further reprisal attacks and that they won’t be drawn into a widening vortex of violence.

Will they be the next set of map pins on our map? Will their testimony read “Zanu thugs beat us and stole our property as punishment because MDC people took vengeance on them“? We can’t say at this stage, but given what we know about Zanu PF and retaliatory violence, it is not an implausible possiblity at all.

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Pressure on Mugabe to pay troops

Sydney Morning Herald

Connie Levett
August 1, 2008

ZIMBABWE'S leader, Robert Mugabe, is under pressure to resolve the country's
political deadlock because hyperinflation threatens his ability to pay his
key backers, the police and the army, say his opponents.

Power-sharing talks are to resume on Sunday, the South African President,
Thabo Mbeki, said after flying to Harare to meet Mr Mugabe amid reports that
the talks are at a standstill. Mr Mbeki is mediating the talks.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says Mr Mugabe is on a much
tighter timetable than it to find a resolution because of the economic

Today, with annual inflation officially at 2.2 million per cent, Zimbabwe's
Reserve Bank will introduce a currency that wipes 10 zeros off the previous
notes - $Z10 billion will be worth $Z1 in the new currency. But as the
regime has done nothing to improve economic fundamentals, the inflation will

"We would like to see the speedy conclusion of the talks . and a successful
outcome so that we can focus in the future our attention around our
economy," Mr Mugabe said this week in Harare. He voiced his "total
commitment" to a successful conclusion to the negotiations in South Africa
between his ZANU-PF party and the two factions of the MDC.

David Coltart, a senator-elect for the smaller MDC faction, said the speed
of the talks was being driven by what was happening in the economy. "I think
Mugabe understands he has no solution to hyperinflation and the looming
problem of him not being able to pay the military and police has put
enormous pressure on him to reach a settlement," Mr Coltart said in Sydney

The new currency was Mr Mugabe's last throw of the dice. "We had been told
they had new currency printed, that it was done in the hope they could
tackle inflation and then introduce the new currency," he said. "But they
have had to do it without tackling hyperinflation to buy themselves some

The regime's hand was forced last month when its German banknote paper
supplier refused to supply any more paper.

"The pressure is off us, we have more time, it gives us considerable
leverage," Mr Coltart said, "though of course, we can't adopt a callous
stance - the people are suffering."

with agencies

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Horrific injuries, but wounded go months without treatment

Thursday, 31 July 2008 07:40
Hospitals are only now treating people severely injured by Zanu (PF)
thugs as long ago as May. The delay in getting proper treatment has led to
injuries becoming infected.
Sixty-eight-year-old Simon Mapurisa Muphomo from Matengarumvi village
was attacked by Zanu (PF) militia in May, after being abducted and taken to
Jori Business Centre. The leaders of the group, whom Muphomo was able to
identify,  asked him why he had voted for the Movement for Democratic Change
and called him a sell-out. They tied his face tightly with a cloth and tied
his hands behind his back. He was severely beaten on his buttocks with logs
and forced to give his assailants two goats.
Reginald Nendanga (28), from Chapanduka village was abducted and
savagely beaten on June 26 by a group of Zanu (PF) youths who took him to
their local base.
Although beaten with logs, Nendanga was one of more than 20 MDC
supporters in Buhera South who received only paracetomol for their injuries
at Murambinda and nearby clinics.
Kokayi Vengenyedzayi (68) from Matengarumvi village was brutally
tortured after being forced to attend a Zanu (PF) meeting on June 1. The
meeting was organised by Joseph Chinotimba, the losing MP for the area.
Kokayi was the MDC Vice-Chairman Chinyamukonde Branch.
They attacked him using logs, iron bars and machetes, and was unable
to get medication or medical attention.
The three men were eventually brought into hospital on July 26.
Others were not so lucky. The driver, Witness Maamvire, who went to
collect the victims was abducted himself and detained overnight at Colonel
Mzilikazi's homestead in Mutiusinazita Village, Buhera South. He was unhurt,
but was prevented from rescuing another 20 people in urgent need of hospital

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Zanu chiefs kick white farmers off land

Thursday, 31 July 2008 07:42
HARARE - Government is evicting the few remaining prominent white
commercial farmers in Manicaland. The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said
dozens of white farmers in Manicaland were under pressure to leave
"The farmers are being told to pack up and leave their homes," the CFU
said in a statement. "They have been informed that police will not assist if
the new 'owner' comes and throws their belongings out of their houses."
The CFU said all the farmers were challenging the Section 8 notices in
court, and had applied for a stay of execution to harvest their winter crop.
"These applications appear to have been ignored by the individuals
involved in the evictions," the CFU.
The evictions fly in the face of appeals by Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono that evictions of the remaining white farmers must stop
CFU officials said the farmers who were still on their properties were
those who had been encouraged by government to stay on the land and grow
winter crops.
"Government is now issuing compulsory acquisition orders to
everybody," one farmer said. "Farmers are being told to get out of their
only homes by government officials."
Transport and Communications deputy minister Hubert Nyanhongo has
contemptuously defied two orders by the High Court to move off Gwindingwi
farm in Burma Valley owned by white farmer Johan Vorster.
The farm was highly mechanized and produced bananas for local and
export markets.
Nyanhongo has seized valuables at the farm including 45 tonnes of
fertiliser, 100 tonnes of bananas, six tractors, 15 trailers, a Mazda
pick-up truck, irrigation equipment and a seven-tonne CK10 Nissan lorry. The
farm seizures are being repeated across the province by senior government
officials and security officials.

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Woman commits suicide after humiliated & refused ZPF food aid

By Alex Bell
31 July 2008

The clamp down on MDC supporters is continuing across Zimbabwe, with
government officials using degradation and forced starvation to inflict
suffering on the desperate and hungry.

A woman from Mutasa Central constituency in Manicaland province took her own
life on Tuesday after she was publicly humiliated and refused permission to
buy cheap food packets at a government food distribution programme in her
village. The mother of three, identified as Mai Tarwa, joined a throng of
roughly a thousand people at the Moyoweshumba primary school where goods,
supplied by ZANU-PF under the Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention
(Bacossi) were under distribution.

Wellington Zindove, a co-ordinator for the Zimbabwe Youth Forum, told
Newsreel on Thursday the village headman who was leading the food
distribution process identified the woman as a known MDC supporter and
stripped her naked in front of the crowd, in an effort to force her to
denounce the party. Zindove said the woman was "humiliated and devastated
because she failed to condemn herself". She was then refused Bacossi goods
and fled to her homestead, where her body was found later in the day hanging
from a tree.

The poorest of the poor are bearing the brunt of the economic meltdown in
Zimbabwe, with basic commodities becoming luxury items in terms of cost and
availability. MDC supporters in rural areas have also often been forced to
give up their food and livestock to marauding ZANU-PF thugs. The situation
has left tens of thousands of people dependent on any form of food aid,
however, with the government blocking international food aid, people such as
Mai Tarwa are forced to rely on Bacossi or face starvation.

Zindove said the "continued victimisation of MDC supporters in the rural
areas" is unacceptable, particularly with regards to Bacossi food aid. He
said ZANU supporters are "the only ones benefiting from Bacossi" and called
it a "partisan campaign to thank those responsible for the violence". He
added in a Youth Forum statement released on Thursday that given the country's
economic meltdown, selectively refusing to give people basic food is a
tactic that has "increased the vulnerability of 80% of the population to
hunger and poverty".

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Robert Mugabe's glorious victory over Zimbabwe's dastardly zero

National Post, Canada

Posted: July 31, 2008, 11:54 AM

by Kelly McParland

There is something starkly simple at the heart of the ruination being
inflicted on Zimbabwe by Robert Mugabe. Or maybe the word should be

When something irks Mugabe, who was largely responsible for the creation of
the country, he simply orders it gone.

This week it was zeros.

There were 11 zeros in the Zimbabwe 100 billion dollar note, which was
nonetheless pretty close to worthless. A loaf of bread goes for about $250

It was embarrassing. Newspapers around the world showed pictures of the
bill, mocking it. Mocking Zimbabwe.

So Mugabe got rid of the zeros. Now the 10 billion dollar note is just 10
bucks. Still worth squat, and the German company that dominates the currency
business still won't sell them any paper to print it on, but not so
embarrassing as before.

Mugabe does this a lot. When Zimbabwe's ridiculous inflation rate, which
rises almost too fast to calculate, Mugabe got rid of that too. Or tried
too. He simply ordered shop owners to sell food to buyers at fixed prices.
How were the prices fixed? Who knows -- Mugabe doesn't sweat the small
stuff. Needless to say the plan didn't work, and shops simply stopped
stocking the shelves rather than give goods away. Eventually realistic
prices returned -- realistic being a relative term in Zimbabwe -- and set
off again on the spiral that made the 10-billion note a necessity.

Mugabe likes to bark out simple orders on more serious issues as well. When
the shantytowns around Harare irked him -- most were illegal structures,
though what really bothered Mugabe was that their occupants regularly voted
against him -- he had them bulldozed. He claimed it was an urban renovation
project, cleaning out riff-raff who operated unlicensed businesses and
participated in other nefarious activities. There was nowhere else for them
to go, and the government made only token efforts to relocate them or build
more permanent housing, but that wasn't the point. One day they were there,
the next they were gone, like the zeros.

Or the white farmers.

Mugabe's most damaging arbitrary order was the one seizing the property of
white farmers. The farmers were just supposed to leave, and let new owners
take over. In theory the owners were landless blacks who had suffered under
the discriminatory laws of earlier white governments, but in practise they
were cronies of Mugabe, who knew as much about farming as they later proved
to know about inflation or currency control.

The farms, once productive, prosperous and efficient -- feeding the country
and making it one of Africa's most comfortable -- collapsed, along with the
food supply, the economy, and eventually the currency. See, it's all
connected in its way.

This would be just another African corruption story if not for the singular
pedigree of Mugabe. Unlike many a usurping despot, Mugabe was already secure
in his status and his job when he suddenly careened off the rails. He'd been
president or prime minister for 20 years, and had no serious rivals, when he
embarked on his land seizure project. Zimbabwe wasn't shangri-la, but it was
in pretty good shape, and certainly livable. Then he went nuts, transforming
himself into a cartoonish caricature of the tinpot dictator.

It would be humorous if not for the tragedy of it. All those zeros, lopped
off the currency so the ruler-for-life won't be embarrassed any more. The
bills didn't bear the obligatory image of the president, a sure sign of
official discomfort. Maybe they should have carried a likeness of the grim
reaper, which is certainly hovering over Zimbabwe and one day will come for
Mugabe. Maybe soon; he's 84 years old. No doubt he'll order the spectre
gone. Odds are he'll fail at that too.

National Post

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Cartoon by Gado

Cartoon from

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Zimbabwe's 'worthless' $100bn notes sell for huge profit on eBay

The Telegraph
Zimbabwean banknotes with face values of up to 100 billion dollars are changing hands on eBay for hundreds of times their actual worth.
One of the Z$100 billion notes available on eBay
One of the Z$100 billion notes available on eBay

The Zimbabwean government this week responded to the hyperinflation crippling the country’s economy by knocking 10 zeros of the value of currency.

From Friday notes with a face value of Z$100 billion will be worth Z$10, the equivalent of 50p.

But the inflated notes, which will be legal tender in Zimbabwe until the end of the year, have become desirable collectors items on the eBay, with single notes changing hands for more than £100.

A Z$100 billion note - the highest denomination in circulation - currently up for auction on the website has already attracted bids of more than £110.

Bank notes with face values of Z$50 billion and Z$25 billion are also being sold, generally advertised in protective plastic sleeves.

They are technically “special agro-cheques” rather than traditional bank notes, and were introduced recently in a desperate attempt to keep pace with soaring food prices that have left millions of Zimbabweans hungry.

Unlike usual bank notes they are marked with issue and expiry dates, making them ever more desirable for collectors.

Under the terms of the revaluation the hyperinflated notes will be valid until the end of the year, when they will be replaced by new notes and coins.

But economists have warned that simply issuing new notes will achieve nothing without accompanying reforms to prevent the government continuing to print extra currency to pay its own bills.

Hyperinflation has been running at 2.2 million per cent a year according to official figures, with economists suggesting the true figure may be far higher.

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No food and no medical care

Food shortages and hyperinflation are forcing people to take desperate
measures to survive. Some extremely hungry people have taken to buying
animal feed intended for cattle and chickens by the cupful  (because a full
bag is too expensive) for their own consumption. It's a worrying development
because there is no telling what additives might have been added to the
feed. For example, if hormones have been added, what would the long term
impact be on humans or on child development?

The military, however, are not eating animal feed. They have been seen
buying animals for slaughter in some rural areas. Reports we've received say
that the soldiers are using foreign currency to buy the meat. The big
question is, where are they getting the cash? In addition to the 'forex'
clanger, we've been told that the Bakossi shops are being used primarily for
Zanu PF card holders. So Mugabe loyalists receive privileged treatment yet

The health service has crumbled beyond belief. People are dying in urban
hospitals for stupid reasons - because they have no saline, IVs, antibiotics
etc. Health care has been in a desperate state for a very long time now, but
it really feels like its on its very last legs. Zimbabwe has at least 60
dialysis machines, but only one is operational and it is in Harare. The
queue for that machine is no less than 100 people long per day.

Rural hospitals are now non functional: they have no drugs, plaster of paris
etc. People with broken bones are strapped up (if they can provide their own
bandages) and told to go home. But supplying your own medical drugs and
materials is also becoming harder and harder to do - assuming a person has
the money to pay the very high prices. Normally a person would go to a
pharmacy to stock up on what the hospital or clinic needed to treat them,
but pharmacies are going bankrupt as they have no forex to import drugs.
This means people are relying on local manufacturers of drug supplies, and
this is obviously very limited.

This entry was written by Hope on Thursday, July 31st, 2008 at 2:34 pm

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Children follow shoppers to South Africa

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)

Date: 31 Jul 2008

MUSINA , 31 July 2008 (IRIN) - Zimbabwean children are being drawn to South
Africa to run errands and perform piecemeal jobs for shoppers from their own
country - who are heading south because of the unavailability of basic goods
in their own country.

The South African border town of Musina has become a shopper's paradise for
Zimbabweans; these days there appear to be more vehicles with Zimbabwean
registration plates than there are with South African ones. The town is also
a regional trucking hub.

The collapse of Zimbabwe's economy, with annual inflation officially
estimated at 2.2 million percent, has turned Musina into a boom town.

"Don't worry mkoma [brother] I will look after your car, your small boy is
here," a boy shouts to the Zimbabwean driver who has parked his car outside
the supermarket.

The 14-year-old Zimbabwean boy, who declined to be identified, told IRIN: "I
do not charge a fixed amount - some give me R5 [US$0.65] per car, some give
me food, and some just drive away."

Polite Mpofu, 15, who gathers with other children at a South African café
frequented by truckers as night falls, earns money by loading and unloading
goods from taxis and buses crossing the border. Barefoot and dressed in
rags, he says travellers rely on his services.

Talent Dube, 13, from Zvishavane, told IRIN his main business was collecting
discarded water bottles in South Africa and then selling them in Zimbabwe,
where they are in huge demand.

"I make more money in South Africa, especially when I carry the 20 litres of
fuel - I am paid R10 [US$1.30]. The Zimbabweans across the border pay in
Zimbabwe dollars, which cannot buy anything," he said, waiting for a driver
to leave the food promised to him.

A security guard at a truck stop told IRIN that there appeared to be more
children coming to South Africa since the disputed elections in Zimbabwe in
March and April.

"Some of the children come in from Zimbabwe in the morning and return in the
evening. They go through the border and no one seems to do anything to stop
them from crossing," said the guard, who declined to be identified. "I am
worried about the little girls who enter the parking lot for the trucks, one
wonders what happens in the dark, the girls can be raped."

Sally, 14, from Zimbabwe, earns money by running errands for street traders.
She told IRIN that the South African police did not arrest or interrogate
the younger children, although this was not the case with children in their
late teens. "We actually sleep next to the police houses at night, we are
safer there," she said.

A 2007 report by Save the Children (UK): Children on the move - Protecting
unaccompanied migrant children in South Africa and the region, said the main
pull factors for most of the unaccompanied migrant children living in South
Africa stemmed from the belief that they had a better chance of finding work
or other income-earning opportunities and going to school than if they
remained in their home country.


This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or
its agencies.

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Tsvangirai visits Senegal


    July 31 2008 at 02:44PM

Dakar - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrived in
Senegal on Thursday for talks with Senegalese president Abdoullaye Wade
ahead of power-sharing talks between the ruling Zanu-PF and Tsvangirai's

"Mister Tsvangirai (..) arrived very early on Thursday to visit his
excellency Adoullaye Wade," the Senegalese foreign ministry said in a

Tsvangirai will meet Wade at 1.00 pm local time (13.00GMT) and is set
to give a press conference later on Thursday afternoon.

Tsvangirai and Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe signed an accord on
July 21 to begin talks on sharing power after a months-long election

The talks are set to resume on Sunday South African President Thabo
Mbeki announced on Wednesday.

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ZANU PF Terror Camps Now Brothels

GUTU, July 31 2008 - Most ZANU PF terror bases, dotted around many
districts in Masvingo province, have now turned into brothels, while
numerous cases of sexual abuse are going on unreported, Radio VOP has

Raging prostitution is endemic, some ZANU PF youths housed at one base
in Gutu's Hwiru high-density suburb said.  Some of the torture camps that
closely resemble brothels are found in Chivi district at Chamanyoka,
Chiurumukwe, Masunda, Gudoshava, Dombo and Mashindi business centres, as
well as in the ghost mining town of Mvuma's Mushayavhudzi Township.

While some ZANU PF youths resident at the bases engage in sexual
activities with their preferred partners, it is alleged force is being
regularly exerted on young women to have sex with some senior "youth

According to the ZANU PF constitution, "youth" means anyone below the
age of 40. This means that 40-year-olds and above are found in the camps,
mainly as "youth advisors".

"The bases have been turned into brothels.everyone is doing what they
like when it comes to sex. Girls take in their boyfriends; while some boys
also hire the services of prostitutes. Some senior youth advisors also
molest girls without their consent," one of the sources revealed.

Parents with children at some of these bases have raised concern over
their living standards after one allegedly found used condoms strewn around
one base in Chivi.

"One parent visited the base to see his female child but was very
disturbed after seeing used condoms strewn all over. He wanted to withdraw
his daughter but he was labelled a sell-out and went back home a very angry
man," said another source.

ZANU PF provincial chairman, Retired Major Alex Mudavanhu, denied the
existence of the bases.  "There are no such bases in the first place. so I
do not know where you are getting the story from," said Mudavanhu.

Meanwhile the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has reported the
murder of one of its supporters in Mashonaland Central province allegedly by
ZANU PF militia.

Tapuwa Mashakada, the MDC acting spokesman, said the body of Fungisai
Ziome, an MDC activist who was abducted at her home on 23 July 2008, was
discovered in a maize field on Saturday morning in Glendale, Mazowe South

"In spite of the SADC brokered talks violence is continuing," said

He said the discovery of Ziome's body followed the death of Kingsley
Muteta, a police officer who succumbed to injuries sustained from a severe
assault by ZANU PF militia in Mashonaland East last month.

Ziome, of Ward 13 in Glendale, was an active MDC supporter who was
abducted by Zanu PF supporters who mutilated, burnt and dumped her body,
which was later discovered in the early hours of Saturday by passers-by in
the area.

"A report was made about the murder to the police but no arrests have
been made," said Mashakada.

The MDC and Ziome's relatives are waiting for a post mortem before
burial arrangements are made.

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Bail for activist found with evidence of political violence

Thursday, 31 July 2008 07:41
Peter Muchengeti, an activist based in Gweru, has been released on
bail of Z$2 trillion dollars.
Muchengeti, Regional Chairman of the National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations, had been detained since last Friday, when he
was picked up by state security agents.
He is charged with possessing documents prejudicial to the state and
for spreading falsehoods in connection with documents found in his office
that detailed incidents of political violence and the names of the
perpetrators, and which included pictures of the victims.
Muchengeti said he was stripped and suspended upside down while being
His case is due to be heard on August 25.

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New report highlights barbaric nature of violence in Zimbabwe

By Violet Gonda
31 July 2008

The Solidarity Peace Trust report on violence since Zimbabwe’s March 29th election is a sobering read. The report entitled ‘Desperately Seeking Sanity: What Prospects for a New Beginning in Zimbabwe?’ has details of the kind of gruesome acts of violence that are being perpetrated.

Brian Raftopoulos, the Director of Research for the Solidarity Peace Trust, says the violence is a real indictment of the Mugabe regime that has used a wide variety of torture to deal with people it considers its enemies. He said the report provides details of; “graphic cases of people putting needles through the hands of victims, pressing barbed wire around genitals of victims and tying victims to logs.” The South African based NGO said although this kind of violence was prevalent during the Gukurahundi killings in Matabeleland in the mid 80’s, this kind of violence had not been seen in Zimbabwe since then.

Most of the victims are MDC activists, supporters or related to members of the opposition. The report provides shocking details - Temba Muronde died after being assaulted, given rat poison and finally being axed, Taurai Zindomba was axed open and his intestines pulled out with barbed wire. Furthermore, this is the first time in the violence of the last eight years that family members have been targeted. Out of the more than 100 MDC deaths, 7 are wives of activists, while 3 are sons of activists – two of these were small children. In Makoni district of Manicaland province there were two instances where both husbands and wives were beaten to death.

The forms of torture includes a tactic called falanga - beating on the soles of the feet, while other forms included being burnt with burning grass, plastic bags or being submerged in water. The Trust said it interviewed over 3 000 victims of human rights abuses over the last three months. “This figure represents a fraction of those directly affected by violence, the majority of whom are likely to have failed to access appropriate medical assistance.”

ZANU PF claims violence is being perpetrated by both sides, a claim supported by a group of South African academics from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). But Raftopoulos said retaliation violence by MDC supporters has been a fraction of the violence. He said: “The so-called findings of the HSRC report are based on no evidence and I think it’s really mischievous for them to try and create a parity of violence between the ruling party and the MDC, because quite clearly the overwhelming weight of evidence is that this violence has been carried out by the structures of ZANU PF.”

On July 21st the political parties signed an agreement dedicating themselves to putting an end to the divisions and intolerance that have characterised Zimbabwean politics; and to build a society free of violence, fear, and hate. But reports of abductions and killings continue to materialise after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Kingsley Muteta, a serving policeman died on Saturday, after he was attacked by ZANU PF thugs at his parent’s (MDC supporters) home in Mudzi, and the burnt body of Fungisai Ziome was found in a maize field in Mazoe on Saturday. She had been abducted from her home on July 23rd.

Raftopoulos said violence is a negotiation strategy for the regime, exactly what Zimbabwe saw in Matabeleland in the 80’s.

The full report by the Solidarity Peace Trust can be accessed via this link:


SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Anglo-American defends its plans to build platinum mine

Financial Times

By Rebecca Bream in London

Published: June 26 2008 03:00 | Last updated: June 26 2008 03:00

Anglo-American, the UK-based mining group, sought to justify its plans to
build a $400m (£203m, €257m) platinum mine in Zimbabwe despite the growing
political crisis there and the widespread international condemnation it has

Anglo-American, which was founded by South Africa's Oppenheimer family, has
been an investor in Zimbabwe for 60 years. It has sold several Zimbabwean
assets over the past few years, leaving just the Unki platinum project and a
37 per cent stake in Tongaat Hulett, a sugar and starch business.

The company stressed yesterday that its activities in Zimbabwe complied with
"all relevant national and international laws". It said the Unki project was
"a long-term investment for a mine which is yet to start production and will
not generate revenues for some years". The total budget for the Unki mine is
about $400m, but a person close to Anglo said only "a fraction" of this had
been invested so far.

Anglo's platinum division approved the project in 2003, but the company has
been proceeding slowly with the mine's development because of the
deteriorating political and economic situation in Zimbabwe. It said it was
monitoring the situation "very closely" and "reviewing all options
surrounding the development of the project".

"Anglo-American is deeply concerned about the current political situation in
Zimbabwe and condemns the violence and human rights abuses that are taking
place," it said.

The company added that if it stopped developing the Unki project, the
government of Zimbabwe would assume control.

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Minister Nabbed Selling Party Fuel

MASVINGO, July 31 2008 - ZANU PF Minister of Finance Samuel
Mumbengegwi was recently caught by police allegedly selling 6 000 liters of
diesel allocated for the party's 27 June run-off campaign on the viable
parallel market.

The arrest followed a tip off to the police by disgruntled fellow
party members, official sources told Radio VOP.

Mumbengegwi - younger brother to Minister of Foreign Affairs
Simbarashe Membengegwi - was picked up by the Criminal Investigation
Department police on Wednesday last week after he had sold 2 000 liters of
the precious liquid to desperate motorists at exorbitant prices.

The remaining 4 000 liters, which were later by the police at his
affluent residence in the Morningside suburb, are at Masvingo Central Police
station, a source within the party revealed. ZANU PF officials and Cabinet
Ministers get subsidized fuel per week, amounting to more than 400 liters
each.   Some of them are known to sell what they cannot use.

Mumbengegwi, who is the former ZANU PR provincial chairman, is accused
of bulldozing his way into local party structures here to grab for himself
large quantities of the fuel at the expense of other party members. He is
accused of employing a syndicate of fuel dealers at many "strategic points"
in Masvingo city, where a litre of diesel costs as much as $1, 5 billion
dollars on the parallel market.

"Everyone in the party benefits from the fuel but some want to benefit
much more than the others. Some of us do not get the fuel allocations at
times when others get large quantities; so this then causes problems," the
source said.

ZANU PF provincial chairman, Retired Major Alex Mudavanhu professed
ignorance on the matter, saying: "I am not aware of that, is that what you
want to write about?" He hung the phone, prematurely ending the interview.

However, police provincial spokesperson, Inspector Phibeon Nyambo,
confirmed that they were keeping large quantities of diesel that they took
from ZANU PF, but said the fuel was there for "safekeeping".

"It is true that we have some fuel here, but it came here for
safekeeping, not that the Minister was selling it at the black market,"
Inspector Nyambo said.

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Income tax slashed

Tribune Staff 31 July, 2008 08:52:00
Workers, those who still have a job, have been given relief by ZANU-PF
following the reduction of income tax and a high taxable income threshold

Zimbabwe, Harare--Zimbabwe Thursday increased the tax-free income thresh old
to Z$5 trillion, up from Z$25 billion, to cushion workers struggling against
hyper-inflation of more than two million per cent.

In a statement made available to the Tribune, the government also lowered
tax levels on incomes in an attempt to ease the pain workers were feeling
from an economy in free fall, characterised by high inflation and widespread
shortages of basic goods.

The measures, which take effect from August, come a day after Zimbabwe's
central bank struck off 10 zeros from the national currency in a bid to
tackle inflation and make transactions easier.

Most workers in Zimbabwe earn around Z$300 billion a month, barely enough to
buy a loaf of bread.

The government blames western sanctions and profiteering by manufacturers
and retailers for the high cost of living in the country, while economists
cite mismanagement of the economy by the government.--Harare Tribune News

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Mugabe's rant yesterday

Well Bob couldn't let the opportunity to speak go by and what a fool he made
of himself. The first thing that was obvious and apparent is that he sounds
really, really old, slow and weighed down.

He opened his rant after Gono's budget statement was over by claiming that
Gono's written statement ended with the words that he "committed the
monetary statement to God's hands", but Bob insisted he didn't hear Gono say

Well we heard it, over the radio, clear as day. Will somebody please turn up
Bob's hearing aid!

But we were shocked when he extended Gono's feeble joke and went on to say
that God's name also has a zero in it, but his does not, and he doesn't know
who can remove that "O" from God's name - blasphemous to say the least and
disrespectful beyond any bounds of taste.

He tried to redeem his attempt at humour with the idea that "as we work,
plan and think" the spiritual aspect of our lives is always with us. Later
on another religious reference was brought in that all those who work
against Zimbabwe are those who claim to be Christians, a religion that was
brought by the colonials, but whose ancestors are unchristian he said

One high note was his reference to the MoU and that those in government and
Zanu PF are totally committed, and that he "hopes" the "others" are too.

But then the geriatric ramble went from bad to worse.

He pontificated long and hard that we are not alone in this world, we "wake
and live" for each other. We all have flesh, a brain, a life, we all have
"love, sorrow, sympathy, pity" and it was about at that time that I started
to nod off. Then he said "I have a farm" and how he grows maize for others
who also have a stomach, but not only for that mind you, he does want to be
paid for his labour, he must also be satisfied.

This was the introduction to his attack on profiteering and black
marketeering and that it is those evil people who undermine the concept of
what is fair and affordable. He then moved to those people who are
responsible for the fact that we are down in production, but not in
resources, that so many lack discipline.

Then came the clanger: the threat to bring in a state of emergency -
"Entrepreneurs across the board, don't drive us further. If you drive us
even more we will impose emergency measures." He went on that emergency law
dictates that decisions are made for people, freedom is lost.

Of course he had to move into the sanctions arena, as expected. "Illegal and
vindictive" sanctions are not targeted against individuals, they are
intended to effect regime change.

Bob smirked over the state of Western stance claiming they say, "We don't
want that horrible government to be run by that terrorist". The illegitimate
president then claimed he has no time for those Browns, Blairs and Bush's,
who influence Zimbabwe with "puppets to echo their demands" ending with
dangerous rhetoric, "why should I leave the seat of power that my people
have given me?"

Bob is outraged that the United Nations' own charter, has been twisted and
manipulated to invoke Chapter 7 against him, hesays he is no threat to
international peace and security. He labelled as "dishonest, hypocritical,
unreliable leaders" those Western leaders who lie about Zimbabwe. "They want
our land. Their children are deprived." He lamented that we still carry the
burden of CJ Rhodes' ghost whose remains are still in Matobo, that he is the
cause of all our problems because he took our land.

"Keep outsiders out" is bob's mantra and he invoked this again towards the
end of the endless tirade, claiming that compromise is difficult, but the
MoU is the road map open for debate.

He made a further attempt at humour with his words to the effect that the
opposition has realised we are all the same, and that, "only through unity
can we defeat imperialism".

Well, Mbeki jetted in yesterday. Maybe he can make more sense of the
geriatric tyrant bent on believing his own pack of lies.

This entry was written by Still Here on Thursday, July 31st, 2008 at 1:17

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Kwekwe Journalists Convicted

KWEKWE, July 31 2008 - Kwekwe journalists Wycliff Nyarota and James
Muonwa were on 29 July 2008 convicted of publishing falsehoods in breach of
the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

Kwekwe Magistrate Oliver Mudzongachiso found Nyarota and Muonwa guilty
of contravening Section 80 (1) (a) of AIPPA for allegedly unlawfully and
intentionally publishing a false story in The Network Guardian that George
Muvhimi and Tatenda Munhanga were caught with their pants down while having
sexual intercourse in a vehicle at Mbizo Shopping Centre. He sentenced each
of them to a fine of Z$20 billion or 20 days imprisonment in default of

In his judgment, Magistrate Mudzongachiso said although Muonwa had
investigated the story he had still been unprofessional when he wrote the
story.  Their former colleague Blessed Mhlanga was found not guilty and
acquitted. The magistrate said Nyarota could not be exonerated as he was the
final authority at the paper in his capacity as the editor and could not
blame anyone for the things that had been published in the story. He refused
to believe evidence that Mhlanga had reinserted the names of the
complainants into the story after they had been removed by Nyarota as the

He also said the two had acted recklessly in publishing a false story.
The magistrate implored the media to be sensitive and professional in the
manner in which it conducts itself.

MISA-Zimbabwe, which provided lawyers for the journalists, said in a
statement it was extremely concerned by the conviction of the two. The media
watch-dog said it reinforced its position and calls for the repealing of

MISA-Zimbabwe's Legal Officer Wilbert Mandinde said the two
journalists would appeal to the High Court against the sentence on the
grounds that the magistrate misdirected himself in his interpretation of the
repealed Section 80(1) (a) of AIPPA.

"As MISA-Zimbabwe, we will assist the two journalists to appeal to the
High Court as we believe that their conviction is wrong," said Mandinde.

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SADC Meeting On Country Crisis Postponed

Angola Press Agency (Luanda)

30 July 2008
Posted to the web 31 July 2008


A summit of heads of State and Governments of the Organ of Politics, Defence
and Security of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), initially
set for August 1, in Luanda, has been postponed, an official source

A press note issued by the Services of Assistance to the President of the
Republic, says that the meeting was to discuss the crisis prevailing in
Zimbabwe. No alternative date has been set so far.

Talks for a solution to the crisis that followed the Zimbabwe's July 27
election have been taking place.

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CHRA officially meets City of Harare Mayor and Councillors

31 July 2008


The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) yesterday officially met the new Mayor of the city of Harare and the 46 councilors. The meeting took place at the council chambers with all councilors in attendance. The CHRA delegation comprised the Chairperson Mr. Simbarashe Moyo, C.E.O Mr. Barnabas Mangodza, Senior Programs Officer Mfundo Mlilo, Administrator Takazvida Chiumburu and Tendai Muchada. The meeting was meant to officially congratulate the new council and to express the interest of the Association to work with the council in developing the city of Harare.


The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) will be facilitating capacity building workshops for councilors. The workshops will focus on a number of local government themes i.e. legal and constitutional aspects of local governance, Roles and responsibilities of councilors, budget formulation, sewer and water management etc.  CHRA will partner the city of Harare in campaign for the reversal of sewer and water services from ZINWA to local authorities. This is expected to improve the water situation in the city while generating the much needed revenue to finance community projects. 


The Association is also making preparations to facilitate municipal budgeting workshops for the councilors so that they can be best able to analyse city budgets and make meaningful contributions. The workshop is being organized in full blessing of the mayor Mr. Masunda. CHRA has committed itself to improving and enhancing civic participation in local governance and will involve residents of Harare at these key platforms.


The Mayor, Mr.  Muchadeyi Masunda appealed to CHRA and other progressive forces to run capacity building programs to empower councilors with knowledge and skills necessary for effective and transparent local governance. The mayor also expressed his wish to work for the people of Harare and improve the quality of social service delivery with the assistance of organizations like CHRA and other key stakeholders. Speaking at the same occasion, CHRA Chairperson Mr. Simbarashe Moyo deplored the corruption and collapse of service delivery that characterizes the city of Harare as a result of political appointees who have no mandate of the people. CHRA will continue to monitor the operations of the council and will stand to defend the interests of the residents.


Farai Barnabas Mangodza

Chief Executive Officer

Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


Landline: 00263- 4- 705114


Contacts: Mobile: 011 563 141, 0912638401, 011862012 or email, and

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Zimbabwe Arts Experience

Today free expression in Zimbabwe is bloodied and torn. Repression and crisis have trampled upon our social and cultural life. Some Zimbabweans are creating the kind of life they wish to live; their chosen power is the arts. The humanity and freedom of African arts and its role in fostering social cohesion, is upheld at Book Café in Harare.
On Saturday 9 August African Synergy Book Café, the South African partner of Book Café Harare hosts a day of vibrant, pulsating Zimbabwean arts. The day and night event takes place at Atlas Studios in Johannesburg.
Since 1997 Book Café has been a place of joy and togetherness; celebrating free expression, where artists work with dignity and audiences appreciate the diversity of cultures in Zimbabwe. We laugh, sing and dance together.
South Africans and the cosmopolitan cultures of Johannesburg will be able to feel the magic at "Zimbabwean Arts Experience". 
Doors open at 1pm and the event kicks off with the 'House of Hunger' poetry slam, a movement of outstanding young poets that has changed the way people think, how they express themselves, and liberated the spoken word. Be prepared to laugh and cry.
'Ndlovukazi Zikanyongolo, theatre, dance and song ensemble, a product of Bulawayo's legendary Amakhosi Theatre takes us to the roots with authentic traditional dance, costume, soaring voice and movement from Murehwa to Gwanda; every dance tells a story, love and sadness, harvest and drought.
Dhindhindi punk soul singer Tomas Brickhill packs a new-style punch with his powerhouse brand of Zimbabwe-infused punk ballads. Young jazz diva Nomsa Mhlanga takes us back to the classic days of 60s 'township' swing in a duet with renowned guitarist Louis Mhlanga. The sweet, rhythmic melodies of Dark Mbira Crew dance into a place of ancestors and spirits.

Take a hilarious and haunting journey into the underground of Zimbabwe's psyche with classic play 'Great Escape' by Zimbabwe's acclaimed playwright  Andrew Whaley, featuring Michael Kudakwashe and Mandla Moyo, directed by Ian White. The play performed to 6 nights of full houses in Harare in June … under ominous threat from Zimbabwe's secret police.

We are proud indeed that our "Minister of Impending Projects" will also be joining us on this occasion, as he wishes to 'dialogue' with 'Zimbabweans of no fixed abode' and with the peace-loving people of South Africa. The Guests Comedy has been causing mayhem at Book Café for years; outrageous, unpredictable, the funniest stand-up comedy in Zimbabwe. 

Comrade Fatso, Toyi Toyi Poet, fuses urban street poetry with chimurenga, hip hop and Afro-beat. His poetry is insurrection. Fatso performs with Chabvondoka to create music that is rebellious and danceable. Their recent performance at the Harare International Festival of the Arts 2007 was labelled "the best performance of the festival" (Kinobe & Soul Beat Africa).

There will be a social forum of civic society groups active in humanitarian work. And if all this is not enough to whet the appetite, sample the authentic Zimbabwean food, nyama ne sadza, muriwo ne dovi. There will be a book sale and display, and arts and crafts. It is a family occasion, full of peace and happiness, so bring the kids.  
With freedom threatened, the economy in ruins and mob brutality tearing people's lives apart, there is humanity through the arts. Art is not escape, it is transcendence. Book Café and African Synergy fight for human dignity.
Through Book Café hundreds of artists derive their livelihood and thousands more benefit from development, training, support and services. African Synergy is a Johannesburg-based pan-African network of arts and artists, venues and festivals, from Zanzibar to Dakar, Johannesburg to Addis Ababa.

Zimbabwe Arts Experience takes place on Saturday August 9, at Atlas Studios, Auckland Park, Johannesburg from 1pm to 10pm. There is a R50 cover charge. There is safe parking. All are welcome. Let us be together.

For more information contact Vic Moyo 079 0243686



Cell: +277 90 243 686

Tel/Fax: +2711 447 5091


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Comment from a Correspondent

1.1 Recognising your entitlement to the freedoms of speech and other expression;
1.2 Recognising your rights to apply your skills and knowledge however you may desire;
1.3 Appreciating your contribution to  the improved access news and information for those that might otherwise have not; and
1.4 Appreciating your concern for Zimbabweans:

I would like to express concern over the lack of balance in your paper. Surely, you cannot be like the local state controlled paper that denies readers the rights to their own opinion by deliberately bombarding us with pro-Government propaganda and ignoring anything to the contrary. Your paper is very simillar to the Herald or ZBC, the only difference is that yours is pro-Western propaganda.

I am not a journalist, but I am convinced, as a consumer of journalism, that I have a right to be fed enough to leave room for my own analysis. I have the right to conduct my own affairs as I wish, within accepted laws. I have the right to conduct these without any undue influence from others.

I am not requesting anything of you, simply advising you that as the present becomes history, you might not be treated kindly within your own circles. It is wrong to carelessly promote the publication of news that has not been thoroughly researched just because it is in tune with your own agendas.

Furthermore, some foreign communities would treat me as a "poor, hungry, terrorised. etc" person, or believe I am coming from some "hell on earth" because of your "beautiful and loved work". I have, and still am, suffering a heartshattering personal experience which to a greater extent is a result of dis-information of foreigners by organisations like yours. MY TORMENT FEEDS OFF YOUR WORK- WELL DONE!!! I wonder what wrong i did to you. Or am I just "collateral Damage" to your organisations. I would never wish such for even my worst enemy, but it has happened to me. I cannot take on everyone who has contributed to my emotional trauma but I can at least let them know - if they have a conscience, they might re-think how they go about making money....right?

Once again, I am not requesting anything of you but your audience for a moment. There are many more that suffer from the negative effects of your work, mine is just but one story which, if you desire to find out from me, I will be glad to go into detail.

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