The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Food rots as Zim aid ban continues


 Aid agencies in Zimbabwe remain barred from reaching millions of starving
Zimbabweans, despite two separate agreements in the inter-party talks on the
lifting of the aid ban.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed between Zanu-PF and the Movement for
Democratic Change last month called for the lifting of all restrictions on
the work of aid groups. A subsequent joint statement condemning violence
also called for humanitarian assistance to be allowed into the country and
for aid to reach thousands of victims of political violence.

However, Robert Mugabe's government has still not lifted the ban it imposed
before the June 27 presidential run-off election, based on claims that NGOs
were using food aid to campaign for the opposition.

In an Orwellian twist the ban was announced by "Welfare Minister" Nicholas
Goche, one of Zanu-PF's negotiators in the talks. A partial lifting of the
ban was announced later, for groups providing assistance to HIV/Aids

NGOs say they have been asked to reapply for authority to operate, delaying
urgently needed aid. Food aid is rotting in storage facilities, said Fambai
Ngirande, a spokesperson for NGO coalition Nango.

The head of a major international aid agency, declining to be named, said on
Tuesday "we are also worried about the security of our field staff", even if
the ban is lifted immediately.

Some aid work continues, the official said, but aid is reaching only 280 000
of an estimated two million people who need food assistance.

The Zimbabwe Crop and Food Security Assessment report says the number of
people in need could rise to five million by January.

Charles Abani, Oxfam's regional director, said last week: "We know that
there is a growing humanitarian crisis and we are prepared to support
efforts to address this crisis, but because of the continued ban, we have
had to put all our operations on hold. There is a very real need to start
supporting farmers with agricultural inputs and seeds that are in short
supply for the next planting season."

 Reports from rural Zimbabwe show the dire need for food aid.

In rural areas of Mashonaland East and Manicaland maize supplies have dried
up. Households that previously produced maize on their homestead plots have
been hit by poor harvests, made worse by the lack of fertiliser, an
internationalresearcher who recently visited these provinces told the Mail &

The researcher did not want to be named for fear of intimidation.

"Over the years communalarea farmers have concentrated their farming efforts
by cultivating only their homestead plots and using manure if they have any
cattle. Like the large fields of the formerly white-owned farms that remain
uncultivated, they leave their larger fields untouched because it is of no
use to cultivate the sandy soils without any fertiliser," he says.

Near Mutare people walk across the border and barter fruit for maize and
other basic necessities. Besides the lack of maize there is no salt,sugar,
soap and other basics to be bought anymore. Rural business centres where
people used to buy such things have been closed for months.

In Harare food is becoming increasingly scarce and the urban economy turns
to rands and dollars with prices on the rise.

A taxi ride this week cost five times more than it did two weeks ago, while
the price of bread has risen from Z$40 to Z$200 during the same time. The
most severe rise has been cereal that retailed for Z$140 a month ago and now
sells for Z$1 500.

Minister of Information and Publicity Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told the M&G that
NGOs are welcome in Zimbabwe as long as they refrain from dabbling in
politics. "NGOs know they must re-register and do the work that they are
supposed to do. They must come to us and explain what exactly their work is.
We have nothing against the NGOs, but they were campaigning for the
opposition during the election and were giving food only to opposition

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SADC failure to broker Zim deal worries NGOs

by Nokuthula Sibanda Saturday 23 August 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwean civic groups have expressed concern at the continued
failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to broker a
lasting solution to their country's worsening crisis.

The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) said
Zimbabweans had hoped that a summit of SADC leaders in South Africa last
week would finally push through a power-sharing deal between President
Robert Mugabe and the opposition and pave way for Zimbabwe's economic
recovery and return to democracy.

"A workable agreement by the negotiating parties under the auspices of the
SADC mediation process, reflective of the primacy of the needs of the
suffering people of Zimbabwe is urgently required to pave the way for a long
awaited reform era," NANGO said in a statement this week.

NANGO also expressed regret that regional leaders appeared to recognise
Mugabe at the summit as legitimate president of Zimbabwe despite his violent
re-election last June which was condemned by SADC election observers,
African and Western governments.

Mugabe shared the table with other heads of state at the Johannesburg summit
while his main rival Morgan Tsvanagirai sat in the public gallery.

Zimbabwe's organised civic society does not recognise Mugabe's re-election
and has long argued that a transitional authority - not headed by Mugabe or
Tsvangirai - should be established and tasked to lead the drafting of a new
democratic constitution and the holding of fresh elections.

NANGO said: "This recognition continues to ignore the civil society position
on the need for a transitional authority not headed by either of the two
antagonists - Mugabe and Tsvangirai. This recognition also throws spanners
into the facilitation process as it advantageously positions Mugabe as an
unequal political player in these talks."

Power-sharing talks have hit deadlock because Mugabe and Tsvangirai cannot
agree on who between them should control a government of national unity seen
as the best way to end Zimbabwe's long-running political and economic
crisis. - ZimOnline

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Chaos at MDC-M National Council Meeting

BULAWAYO, August 23 2008 - Divisions within the Arthur Mutambara-led
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction came to the fore on Wednesday,
when the party leadership clashed with its Members pf Parliament (MPs) at a
national council meeting.

The MDC national council meeting held in Harare on Wednesday
reportedly degenerated into chaos when an angry Arthur Mutambara and party
secretary, Welshman Ncube allegedly accused the MPs of compromising their
negotiating powers by constantly backing Tsvangirai.

"The better part of the national council meeting was dedicated to
attacking us (MPs) and Tsvangirai, but there is no way we can distance
ourselves from our colleagues in the Tsvangirai led formation. It is
surprising that our leaders now want to back Zanu PF and President Robert
Mugabe," said one MP, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The MDC reportedly accused its MPs of selling out and backing the
Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC faction in the ongoing talks aimed at striking a
power sharing deal between the MDC and Zanu PF.

Three of the party's ten MPs who sit in the national council, were
taken to task at the tense meeting and ordered to stop talking to the media
and associating with MPs aligned to the Tsvangirai faction.

The MPs are, however, said to have refused to apologise for statements
they made in the media.

The MDC party leaders were reportedly incensed by media comments by
some MPs concerning Mutambara's position to support Zanu PF at the talks.

The three MPs, Njabuliso Mguni, Abednico Bhebhe and Nomalanga Khumalo,
in their defence, said the decision to oppose Mutambara was a result of
consultations with their constituencies.

The MPs went on to accuse some national executive members of being on
the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and Zanu PF payroll.

"The allegations raised by the MPs were not responded to, everyone
went quiet when the

allegations were raised but the exchange which took place at the
national council meeting is worrying as it shows that the majority of the
party's ten MPs will not support any Mutambara decision in parliament," said
the source.

The party however issued a statement warning the MPs to desist from
making statements to the press, after the meeting.

"We deliberated extensively on the issues which appeared in the media
which were to the effect that some of the party's MPs had attacked the party
leadership on allegations that they (the leadership) had signed a sell-out
deal to form a government with ZANU (PF) without the MDC led by Morgan

"We reiterated the party's policy that only its official spokespersons
are permitted to speak to the media on party affairs and underlined that as
the party's supreme organ in between Congresses, all officers of the Party
including its Members of Parliament are bound by and must at all times
submit themselves to the authority and resolutions of the Council in terms
of the Party's Constitution," read the statement signed by Ncube.

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Zim situation differs from ours, Tsvangirai should

Saturday Nation, Kenya

Posted Saturday, August 23 2008 at 19:59

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was in Nairobi this week to
compare notes with the Prime Minister. It was a logical stopover,
considering the parallel between our grand coalition with what he is trying
to negotiate with President Robert Mugabe.

The Zimbabwe power-sharing talks, mediated by South Africa's Thabo Mbeki,
have reached an impasse. It all boils down to one thing: will Tsvangirai get
executive powers or won't he?

Until now, Tsvangirai has held out for full executive authority. Mugabe has
rejected this outright. Quite plainly, he is not the kind of person who will
ever agree to become ceremonial.

Mbeki somehow understands this, as do most regional heads of state. I
suspect they have concluded that Tsvangirai can be convinced to accept a
Kenyan-type compromise; the real issue is likely how to sell it to Mugabe.

As things stand, it would probably work out best if Tsvangirai went for the
most he can wrest from the Mbeki-mediated talks and avoid playing zero-sum
games. Therein is the lesson to learn from Kenya.

The question of whether Mr Odinga's office can be described as 'executive'
can be debated the whole day long. But what the Prime Minister has done is
to take a fairly amorphous docket and work hard into making something out of

He is doing this incrementally, first testing his room for manoeuver by
pushing a few ministers here, the judiciary there, while carefully avoiding
a frontal collision with where the real seat of executive power lies.

He will be quite happy announcing changes at the Kilindini port but will
avoid stepping into the territory of the likes of Security Minister George
Saitoti. Or why else did he resort to a public appeal for the release of
post-election violence perpetrators if he has the authority to have them

As of last week, Parliament was proposing to allow him a weekly slot he has
long cherished called Prime Minister's Question Time. It is not quite an
executive function, but it expands the visibility the Prime Minister has
been seeking.

No one, however, should mistake Robert Mugabe for Mwai Kibaki. That is where
the first parallelswith the Kenyan experiment starts getting fuzzy.

The kind of leeway Mr Odinga has been able to extract is almost certainly
inconceivable in the context of a power-sharing deal between Tsvangirai and

Added to this is the pure bad blood between the two Zimbabwean protagonists.
Relations between the Kenyan principals are far less nasty, though it is
foolhardy to pretend there is much trust there.

Mugabe is a no-nonsense operator who would never brook the lawless disorder
we saw in January, irrespective of whether he caused it himself.

Tsvangirai knew instinctively that there would have been very serious
consequences if their party were linked to the kind of violence we saw here
in Kenya. God forbid if such violence had been directed at Mugabe's

For someone who supposedly held the reigns of state power, the post-election
displacements and bloddletting in Kenya were something that severely
tarnished President Kibaki's prestige.

In any case the only thing that forced Mugabe to talk is Zimbabwe's economic
meltdown (amid crazy hyperinflation of two million per cent) and the hope
that an agreement will result in an easing of Western sanctions and re-open
doors to normal investment.

Despite all, Zimbabwe's military, paramilitary, intelligence and police
commanders are solidly behind Mugabe. So is the ruling Zanu-PF party. The
divisions Tsvangirai sees there are mainly procedural, not doctrinal.

The party's top powerbrokers uniformly detest him. Most ominous is the early
declaration by the military that it would never take orders from a "Western
puppet." (Here is one regime where perceived puppets, traitors, snitches and
homosexuals have traditionally been given very short shrift).

Given their differences, Mugabe's concession - in principle - to share power
with Tsvangirai constitutes a considerably greater loss of face than it was
for President Kibaki.

That is why Mbeki opts to defer to Mugabe despite Tsvangirai's protests. The
manner in which Kofi Annan choose to deal with President Kibaki was
altogether different.

Talking of Zimbabwe, swimmer Kirsty Coventry has set an Olympic record no
other athlete representing Africa has ever achieved.

She becomes the first Olympian from the continent to win the most medals
(one gold, three silver) at a single Olympiad. Her four medals were the
entire haul Zimbabwe won in Beijing. Now, there is a lady who deserves

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CIO plans to arrest MDC MPs en route to parliament

Local News
August 23, 2008 | By Simba Dzvairo
The Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) has been instructed to arrest
newly elected MDC Members of Parliament on their way to parliament to
prevent the MPs from being sworn in and the MDC from winning the powerful
speaker position,sources told Metro.

State agents in Masvingo,Midlands and Manicaland are watching the newly
elected parliamentarians round the clock to prevent them from leaving their
constituencies bound for the capital.

Three Members of parliament-elects in Manicaland and three in Masvingo have
gone into hiding.

In Masvingo state agents want to seize Heya Shoko of Bikita West,Edmore
Marima of Bikita East and Maradza Tachiona of Masvingo West. In the ZANU PF
stronghold of Mashonaland Central province,CIO agents want to abduct
Shepherd Mushonga of Mazowe Central and Bindura South's Bedneck Nyaude.

The election of a house speaker is likely to be the first order of business
for parliament and the three main political parties ZANU-PF and both
formations of the MDC are fielding candidates for the position.
The results of that vote by the 210 members of the house of assembly could
set the tone for a parliament in which the combined MDC commands a majority.

The MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara has confirmed that it will put
forward Paul Themba Nyathi who in 2005 and in March this year lost
parliament re-election bids as its own candidate for speaker.
Unconfirmed reports say the mainstream MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai will
nominate its national chairman, Lovemore Moyo,MDC-Matobo South,other names
being floated around are former Zanu PF politburo member Dumiso
Dabengwa,Welshman Mabhena, Pauline Mpariwa,MDC-Mufakose., and its National
integration Secretary Gordon Chavunduka.

Fears of factionalism in ZANU PF between the Mnangagwa faction and Mujuru
faction could open the door for a deal between Mutambara's MDC and ZANU-PF,
in which ZANU PF might seek to secure the post of deputy speaker - and court
the MDC faction as a coalition partner by backing Nyathi.

Souces say ZANU PF will read the mood, but it has nominated its National
Chairman John Nkomo, other candidates are Chen Chimutengwende, Oppah
Muchinguri, Patrick Chinamasa,Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and Chris Mushowe.

It is still not clear if Mugabe will also appoint a cabinet,but legal
experts say once a parliament is convened current Ministers must step down.

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World Bank says ready to help Zimbabwe

August 23, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The World Bank says it is ready to help Zimbabwe out of its
economic crisis if the country demonstrates a willingness to cooperate with
the Bretton Woods institution and presents a credible economic recovery

Dr John Panzer, who manages the World Bank's 12 development policy
operations in SADC, told a business symposium in Harare Thursday that
Zimbabwe must firstly clear its arrears with the World Bank.

Zimbabwe is also in arrears with two other multilateral financial
institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African
Development Bank (ADB), whose interest component only is now a staggering
USD1,2 billion.

"Arrears have to be cleared first," Panzer said. "Donors can fund mechanisms
to pay off these arrears to the ADB, to the World Bank and to the IMF. The
IMF has a key role in all this. Multilaterals can only move forward if
arrears are cleared.

" Zimbabwe 's debt is not sustainable and would require debt restructuring
and forgiveness on an incremental basis."

Panzer said Zimbabwe needed to pass a set of gates or steps which will
require support from the whole donor community.

"All this is doable if the country maintains consistent record of
performance," Panzer said.

The two-day symposium, Just Business, being held at the Celebration Centre
in Borrowdale is looking at ways of addressing Zimbabwe's multi-faceted
crisis and is also giving the private sector an opportunity to offer
constructive suggestions on how an economic turnaround can be achieved to
policymakers and other stakeholders in the national economy.

The symposium has pooled entrepreneurs, business managers, banking
executives, industrialists, mainly miners, and politicians from the smaller
faction of the MDC. Dr Arthur Mutambara and his deputies, policy chief Trudy
Stevenson and secretary for Agriculture, Renson Gasela also attended the

Panzer said the World Bank expected Zimbabwe to unveil a plausible economic
recovery plan. Panzer, who joined the World Bank in 1990, rejected
allegations that the Bretton Woods institution was denying lending to
Zimbabwe because of sanctions or expectation of regime change.

He said Zimbabwe had failed to pay its debts and that is why it was not
eligible to lending and the Zimbabwean authorities were aware of this, he

He said that the World Bank still had offices in Harare and that the
Zimbabwe government remains a member of World Bank despite defaulting on its
obligations to the bank since 2000.

Classifying Zimbabwe as a "highly-indebted poor country," Panzer said the
agriculture-driven economy needed relief from its huge international burden
but had first to qualify for such relief through a credible economic

"We know of countries that have gone through episodes of high inflation and
declining incomes that turned around to become vibrant economies," Panzer

But, he said, Zimbabwe needed a comprehensive macro-economic stabilization
programme. First, government must live within its means, he said, stop
printing money and adopt a disciplined fiscal policy.

University of Zimbabwe business professor, Rob Davies said Zimbabwe 's
hyperinflation had monetary expansion as its proximate cause.

"The huge money supply growth in Zimbabwe is the result of populist fiscal
policies," Davies said.

He said before the economy could be fixed, there was need for some form of
political settlement, adding the uncertainty caused by the deadlock between
the rival political parties was fuelling dollarisation of the economy and
unbridled printing of cash.

Panzer said there was urgent need for central bank reform with emphasis on
eliminating quasi-fiscal activities and putting drastic limits on the roles
and objectives of the central bank.

"You should also strengthen the Ministry of Finance and clarify roles for
economic policy-making bodies," Panzer said. "There is also need for rule of
law and consistency of economic policy."

Panzer emphasized the need for policy reforms to deal with contentious
issues such as the rationalization of the land grab programme,
indigenization laws, privatization of parastatals, removal of price controls
and elimination of multiple exchange rates.

He said Zimbabwe should immediately expand its social safety nets to cushion
the vulnerable against the vagaries of hyperinflation and urged authorities
to immediately lift the ban on aid agencies.

Professor Caio Megale, an economist from Brazil who has written extensively
about the hyper-inflationary episodes in Latin America , said macro-economic
stabilization was a painful and arduous fight that can be disappointing.

"The consolidation and the trauma (of an economic turnaround) is
long-standing and needs considerable amount of sacrifice," Megale said.

Delegates were hopeful that a political settlement was on the horizon
together with a subsequent economic boom.

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Mutambara Fears Looming Targeted Sanctions

August 22, 2008 05:12 PMBy Trust

HARARE: Arthur Mutambara leader of the small faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change is likely to face sanctions from the European Union and
the United States for supporting Mugabe's grip on power even after losing
the March 29 elections.

Among those organisations lobbying for targeted sanctions against Mutambara
for siding with the dictator in the ongoing talks is the Zimbabwe Youth
Network, Zimbabwe Youth Forum, ZINASU, Revolutionary Youth of Zimbabwe,
Coalition of Exiled Journalists and many other civic groupings in and out of
the country.

The likely sanctions on Mutambara will be in line with those currently being
faced by the Robert Mugabe regime for rigging the past elections and
committing atrocities against defenseless citizens.

Mutambara is being accused for propelling Mugabe's dictatorship and also
adopting Mugabe's anti-western rhetoric that has seen the West and Zimbabwe
drawing far apart from each since year 2000.

In a leading social network site Face book, leading Zimbabwe civic
organisations leaders have already started lobbying for Mutambara to be
included in the targeted sanctions list that will see him losing some of the
investments he is alleged to be having in the West.

The youth umbrella body, Zimbabwe Youth Network's Munjodzi Mutandiri
commenting to this journalist raised extreme concern over Mutambara conduct
over the past few days and said anyone who supported dictatorship needed to
stomach a bitter pill.

"The behaviour that has been displayed by the Mutambara/Ncube faction is
shocking it is a betrayal of the decade. We are shocked that Mr Mutambara
has today found the moral standing to lecture the people of Zimbabwe on the
evils of the west!!

"A US trained professor, an American green card holder who is in the process
of attaining an American citizenship, it is unbelievable: what hypocrisy,"
said the ZYN in a statement in possession of this journalist.

Commenting on the same issue ZINASU President Clever Bere dismissed
Mutambara's recent marriage with the dictator as mischief lurking.

"Anyone who goes to bed with the dictator deserves an equal punishment that
is being received by the dictator himself. Anyone who supports an
arrangement that is blind to the victories of 29 March elections deserves to
be treated the same way like the dictator," said Bere.

Simon Mudekwa of the Revolutionary Youth of Zimbabwe whose organisation
lobbied strongly for the deportation of generals' kids from Australian
Universities said Mutambara had been given a long rope it was time for it to
be cut.

"Mutambara should be slammed with travel sanctions as he is helping the
dictator to cling on power after losing the legitimate 29 March election to
the MDC leader Morgan Richard Tsvangirai," said Mudekwa.

Meanwhile the Mutambara faction has been quoted in some reports denying the
reports that it was supporting Mugabe's dictatorship in the Mbeki led
mediations that have broken down a sign of fear over the impending targeted

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Police Launch Blitz Against Forex Dealers

HARARE - At least 100 illegal foreign currency dealers were Thursday
arrested in Harare by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Radio VOP can

The arrests were made at the famous Road Port and opposite the Holiday
Inn in Harare at about 4pm.

Other dealers were arrested opposite the five star Meikles Hotel and
were ordered to sit on the tarmac and count their earnings in front of
police details, who were laughing at them, saying they would rot in jail.

It is illegal to deal in foreign currency in public in Zimbabwe.

The rate had however gone down on Thursday from a peak of Z$100
trillion for 100 South African Rands to about Z$80 trillion for the same
amount. The rate stood at Z$300 trillion for the United States greenback
last week but tumbled to about $150 trillion Thursday.

Minimal sales were recorded as most people were only buying foreign
currency and not selling. A top dealer who was interviewed while detained at
the ZRP premises, a Mrs Dzingai said she would continue to deal in foreign
currency because it was the only job she could do in Zimbabwe.

She is very popular with the ZRP, who jokingly addressed her as
"Madam". Mrs Dzingai is reportedly building a double storey mansion in
Kuwadzana high-density suburb, much to the dismay of formally employed
Zimbabweans who are toiling for peanuts.

Mrs Dzingai said she had enough money for bail and really did not
worry about her arrest as she worked for some "Big Fish in Harare" who would
set her free.

The ZRP scoured the Avenues area and were arresting anyone found with
lots of money.

Zimbabweans can only withdraw a maximum of ZW$300 from banks every day
and the ZRP said it was illegal to carry more than this amount. They were
also confiscating foreign currency from citizens.

The foreign currency situation is still very precarious as dealers are
only buying and not selling the US greenback and the SA Rand in Harare.

The ZRP on Thursday vowed to rid Harare of foreign currency dealers.
The ZRP said more arrests would be made in early Friday until there were no
dealers in town.

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Zimbabwe Opposition Parliamentarians Allege Official Harassment


By Jonga Kandemiiri
22 August 2008

Opposition sources in the Zimbabwean provinces of Masvingo and Manicaland
said Friday that state agents are trying to intimidate newly elected
parliamentarians to prevent the two MDC formations from exercising the house
majority they claimed in the March general election.

The election of a house speaker is likely to be the first order of business
for parliament.

Opposition sources said three parliamentarians-elect in Manicaland have gone
into hiding.

In Mashonaland Central province, sources said authorities are seeking to
arrest member-elect Shepherd Mushonga of Mazowe Central and Bindura South
member Bedneck Nyaude.

Masvingo Urban parliamentarian-elect Tongai Matutu told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that ZANU-PF hopes to dominate the
fledgling parliament by ensuring some MDC members fail to be sworn in and
cast their votes.

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RBZ increases cash withdrawal limit

At the time the $300 cash withdrawal limit was announced it was equal to US$43.18 at the Reserve Bank's quoted Interbank Exchange Rate and US$5.95 at the RTGS "Parallel" rate. With the latest announcement of an increase to $500 the withdrawal value at the respective Interbank and "Parallel" rates is US$21.47 and US$1.16
Posted: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 14:44:53 +0200
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, RBZ, has increased the cash withdrawal limit from $300 to $500 for both companies and individuals with immediate effect.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, RBZ, has increased the cash withdrawal limit from $300 to $500 for both companies and individuals with immediate effect.
In a statement RBZ said the move is consistent with its promise to regularly review cash withdrawal limits.
Meanwhile, theRBZ is urging the banking sector to make necessary arrangements to ensure that it secures adequate cash to meet public demand.

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Less than a tin of jam

Saturday 23rd August 2008

Dear Family and Friends,
Our days and weeks blur into ongoing nightmare as we reel from one crisis to
another. I'm not talking about the politics of our country where talks have
either collapsed or stalled, or become corrupted - at this time it's not
really clear what is happening. The only hint we are getting that any chance
of a deal or coalition between the two main parties is collapsing, is the
barrage of blaming and finger pointing against Mr Tsvangirai that is being
aired by the State controlled ZBC radio and television.

The crisis that I'm talking about is the one of living every day. Food
supplies are lower than they've ever been. One morning this week in my home
town, four of the five main supermarkets were simply shut - doors closed,
bars up, gates padlocked: no notice, no apology, nothing. The one
supermarket which has a South African franchise was open, but the prices
were completely out of reach. A 250 gram bag of salt cost 150 dollars, a
small tin of jam was priced at 250 dollars. These amounts are the figures
after ten zeroes were removed a fortnight ago. In real terms the salt was 1
and half trillion dollars and the small tin of jam 2 and a half trillion
dollars. To put this in perspective you need to know that a junior school
teacher I met this week told me she currently earns 2 trillion dollars a
month (200 dollars without the zeroes). A month in the classroom for less
than one small tin of jam.

I chatted with a man from a rural village and he said that the situation in
the countryside had reached critical levels as people have started running
out of grain from their last harvest. He said that there was no help at all
coming to his village. The village Headman and the local Chief had not been
given any food supplies from the government to distribute to hungry
villagers. He said that the international organizations like the World Food
Programme weren't coming anymore and neither were the smaller NGO's or even
the Churches. He told me that feeding programmes for pre school children had
been banned by the government and even the monthly distribution of food
packs to pensioners had ceased. Elderly men and women, many in charge of
looking after orphaned grandchildren, had been receiving maize meal, sugar
beans and cooking oil before the March elections but now they were getting
nothing at all. People with HIV and AIDS in the village who had been tested
and registered and who had been receiving anti-retrovirals from NGO's have
also been abandoned due to the government prohibition on outside help. The
man shook his head sadly as he told me about the cessation of the drugs and
said: "This is a death sentence for these people; what's left for them now
is only to die."

I asked him if the villagers were able to get the cheap food through the
latest government "People's Shops" scheme. He said 120 villagers had been
identified for the programme and 10 were chosen each week to travel to the
nearest People's Shop warehouse. It is 40 kilometre journey, one way, but so
far only the first group of 10 people had managed to buy cheap food. For the
others, every week 10 people went but every week the warehouse was empty.
They persisted for six weeks in a row but now, he said, they have given up
going, it is wasting precious money travelling the 80 kilometre round trip
and returning empty handed.

The only hope is in the coming rainy season but with just six weeks until
the planting season, rural villagers have yet to see any seed or fertilizer.
"If they won't let anyone give us food or medicines, do you think we have a
chance for seed or fertilizer?" the man I was talking too asked. I looked at
the ground in shame and could find no words in response.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.

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Zimbabwe - Betrayed by Africa

2008-08-23 at 12:36 am

I think the most significant contribution to the Zimbabwe debate came from a
South Africa ANC stalwart, Kadar Asmal, last week. In a speech delivered in
South Africa, he stated that the democrats who have struggled so long to
secure democratic rights and practices in Zimbabwe and who clearly won the
last election despite irregularities, must not be abandoned. He called on
other countries, including his own, to support the struggle for democracy in

A careful review of all that has gone on in the past 10 days will show that
Mr. Mbeki constructed a trap for Morgan Tsvangirai, working in the final
throws of the negotiations with both Mugabe and Mutambara in the process. On
Tuesday last week Morgan walked into the final negotiating session in Harare
and was presented with an agreement that had already been approved by both
Mugabe and Mutambara. He was asked to sign and was told that the deal
offered an end to the long nightmare of struggle and suffering for himself,
his family and his country.

He asked for time out to discuss it with his colleagues and after a period
brought back to the gathering a counter proposal. The changes were small but
made all the difference. In the first document Mbeki and the others offered
Tsvangirai the post of Prime Minister, but to be appointed by the President
(Mugabe) and not allowed to chair cabinet - taking responsibility for all
the ministries that Mugabe could not give a damn about - finance, education,
health, labour and social welfare. It not only recognised Mugabe's election
on the 27th June under appalling conditions but also left him in power with
all his current privileges and rights. MDC would hold 13 of a 31-seat
cabinet; Mutambara and Welshman Ncube, both heavily defeated in the March
29th election would be rewarded with non-elected posts and a significant

The MDC counter proposal was totally consistent with the Parties position
from day one. It said that the results of the March 29th election had to be
respected in all aspects. That Parliament should appoint both the President
and the Prime Minister. It established a system that allowed Mugabe to
remain as President but with diminished power and responsibility. He would
still be Commander in Chief of the Armed forces. The Prime Minister would
have all the powers and responsibilities that are normally associated with
such a post in other countries.

The trap lay in what Mugabe then expected to happen; he had always known
that this was the key issue and that the MDC would never accept such a
proposal. So he carefully plotted with Mutambara to go for a deal that
excluded Tsvangirai and his Party, forming a Government with the Mutambara
faction of the MDC based on the deal negotiated over the past 18 months with
both the MDC groups but with the variation outlined above.

When the MDC rejected the deal and demanded that it be amended to reflect
the changes suggested, they fully expected Mbeki to go along with the
subterfuge. In fact he did not immediately do so - he advised them that a
deal that was not signed by Tsvangirai would have little weight in
international and African circles and that he would take the final areas of
dispute to the SADC for arbitration.

First stop in that process was Angola, "that haven of democratic process"
that is yet to hold an election for its own leadership. Angola held the
Chair of the SADC organ on Security and Politics. Then he returned to South
Africa to prepare for the SADC summit due to take place in Johannesburg that

At the summit the South Africans gave all participants a full written report
on the discussions that had taken place since March 2007. This included the
draft constitution crafted in the discussions and signed by all parties at
the Kariba meeting in September. You should know that we, the people of
Zimbabwe, who are most affected by all this, have yet to see these same

Mr. Mbeki, acting as the new Chairman of the SADC and as the official
mediator, told the grouping that the agreements reached represented a "power
sharing deal" that was fair to all parties and should be signed. Although
the MDC was represented at the meeting by a high powered delegation, they
were not allowed to address the leadership of the SADC and Mugabe was
allowed to sit in his allotted seat as President of Zimbabwe, even though he
has no right to do so and his election in June is not recognised by the
great majority of the SADC and other African States. Only Botswana said they
would not attend if he were given recognition.

At the conclusion of the SADC meeting Mugabe had just about all he could
have wanted - the majority of the SADC had accepted him as President, they
had told the MDC that their refusal to sign the power sharing deal was
unreasonable, and left it to a weak and indecisive Mbeki to carry on with
his mediation. Tsvangirai, in a desperate attempt to rescue the talks
visited a number of countries in the immediate aftermath and then returned
to South Africa. To no avail. No substantive help or support has emerged for
a final agreement.

Mugabe, encouraged by a call by Mbeki for Parliament to be convened and by
the lack luster approach of the SADC leadership, has set about doing just
that. Mutambara has reiterated his stance that the deal is reasonable and
declared they are going to cooperate in Parliament. Zanu and the Mutambara
leadership have selected a candidate for Speaker - Paul Temba Nyathi, who
will stand for this post on Monday. Threats have been made against any
Mutambara people who might vote against him and for the MDC candidate.

It is a dangerous move - if Mbeki fails to endorse the arrangements then
Mugabe and Mutambara are acting alone and without the formal endorsement of
the SADC. If they lose the Speaker battle (and they could) then we are in
for a period when they might not be able to pass legislation and budgets to
run the government. They are also running the risk of total alienation from
the electorate and if they cannot pay the armed forces at the end of the
month (and I cannot see how they can) then they run the risk that the armed
forces might take matters into their own hands.

We in the MDC have said since 2000, that we want a peaceful, orderly, legal
and democratic transfer of power in Zimbabwe. We have fought 4 elections on
this premise, been subjected to campaigns of terror and abuse on a massive
scale, seen hundreds of our leaders murdered and thousands beaten and
tortured. We have been subjected to continuous propaganda, have campaigned
under grossly unequal conditions and voted in a system that has been
manipulated and distorted by a corrupt and totalitarian regime.

Yet despite all the provocation we have not raised a finger in support of
violence. When our members have demanded a violent response, we have
restrained them. When an armed struggle has been proposed, we have rejected
the proposals and repudiated the people who made them. Despite all of this
we won the March 29th election - because we were able to secure minimal
improvements in the way they were conducted. We still believe that 60 per
cent of the Zanu seats were won by means of rigging.

Now - at the final hurdle, we are told that we are being unreasonable in
demanding recognition for what we are - a Party that has won the right to
govern. We are prepared for the sake of a peaceful transition to work
together with Zanu on a transition back to democracy in two years and to
share power in the transition even though Zanu does not deserve this. South
Africa will pay a high price for this dereliction of duty when it mattered

Eddie Cross

 Bulawayo, 23rd August 2008

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A letter from the diaspora

22nd August 2008

Dear Friends.
Another week has gone by, another year is almost over and still Zimbabweans
wait in exile all over the world for something to happen, anything that will
tell them their country is finally shaking off the shackles of dictatorship.
Here in the UK, as August draws to its wet and windy close we too watch and
wait for news of the change which seemed so tantalisingly close just a month
ago. For the past week the British media has been almost totally silent on
the subject of Zimbabwe, their attention has been elsewhere: Russian tanks
advancing into Georgia, the Olympics with its clutch of medals for Britain
and for a little while it was the resignation of Pakistan's president
Mushareff that dominated the news. Listening to Mushareff's resignation
speech it was hard not to wonder if there was a warning there for Robert
Mugabe? If there was, then Our Man in Harare just wasn't listening - but
then he rarely does. Now, top of the news is the Spanish air crash, that's
the story for the moment until some fresh disaster grabs the headlines.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe's disaster goes on: people die of starvation or Aids or a
combination of the two, Zanu PF continues its campaign of violence against
the opposition and the remaining white farmers are driven off their farms,
villagers are raped and brutalized, the shops are still empty, even affluent
suburbs are going without water for months and power supplies diminish by
the day while inflation climbs to even more dizzying heights. It's just the
same old story. So much for Gideon Gono chopping off the noughts; like white
ants climbing up the house wall no matter how often you knock them down they
will not go away; everyone knows you have to eliminate the cause if you
really want to rid yourself of the tiresome beasties. Left to their own
devices, they will bring your house down in the end.

Commenting on the Central Statistical Office's inflation figure of 11.2
million percent, the Minister of Finance - I didn't even know we had one,
he's been so silent lately - Samuel Mumbengegwi commented that Zimbabwe
wasn't the only country in the world with high inflation. In Zimbabwe's
case, the minister maintained, the situation was exacerbated by world food
prices and western sanctions. Perhaps it is better if the Minister remains
silent with that kind of reasoning! Since when has Zimbabwe with its
stone-age barter economics been part of the twenty-first century world
economy? The real Finance Minister, Gideon Gono aka the Governor of the
Reserve Bank says we must find a way of getting people in the diaspora to
contribute more to the country's economic revival. While Zanu PF sharks
gobble up the country's remaining assets, Gono expects hard-pressed exiles
to send even more of their precious pounds and dollars home to rebuild the
collapsing economy which he and his government cronies have plundered. Only
watch the parallel market rate and you will see in a five day period the
rate shot up from 340 to 800$ to the pound sterling. Those pesky noughts are
already back again!

In the absence of hard news, political hacks spend their time writing
stories whose sole purpose is to make trouble and create division,
particularly in MDC ranks. 'It's all Morgan Tsvangirai's fault that there is
no agreement signed,' they claim, ignoring the fact that it is Robert Mugabe
aided by Thabo Mbeki and SADC who stubbornly clings to power. Worse than
that, he still refuses to let the NGO's do their work of feeding the people.
An estimated 5 million Zimbabweans face starvation; villagers in
Matabeleland survive on wild berries and roots and urban folk struggle to
cope while the infrastructure collapses around them. It is indeed the same
old story.
Now we hear talk that Mugabe will reconvene parliament next week in direct
contravention of the MOU that all parties to the talks signed. Yet another
example of the spineless SADC mediation that virtually gave Mugabe the
go-ahead to do just what he likes; after all he is the Liberation Hero and
liberation credentials are apparently the only qualifications needed to run
a country - into the ground. Witness the antics of one Joseph Chinotimba,
the so-called war veteran, as he directs the terror campaign in Manicaland.

But it's Arthur Mutambara who continues to echo Mugabe's vitriolic rhetoric
against the west and appears to align himself with the dictator. Interviewed
by an Australian radio station, Mutambara was at his loud-mouthed, arrogant
best. "We are smarter than the Australians. We are smarter than the
Americans" he bragged. " We went to better schools than most of these
leaders in America, in Britain and Australia. I am coming out of Oxford.
None of your prime ministers can challenge me intellectually." With two such
massive egos: Robert Mugabe, the self-elected president, at the top and
Mutambara, the self-proclaimed intellectual giant, at his side in whatever
role, there is little hope that sanity will prevail in Zimbabwe soon but
Robert Mugabe will be 85 years old in February. He will go at a time of his
own choosing, we hear, not when he is told to. But what if the summons comes
from a higher authority? That's one call the Old Man will not be able to
Yours in the (continuing) struggle. PH.

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Press Release on Acquittal of Hon Ian Kay




Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) welcomes the acquittal of Marondera
Central MP-Elect, Ian Kay, on charges of inciting public violence.

Marondera Magistrate, Adonis Masawi, on 19 August 2008 acquitted Honorable
Kay after ruling that the State had failed to prove its case against him.
This was after Kay, who was arrested during the height of the
state-sponsored violence against the opposition, spent two weeks locked up
in police cells in Mutoko. The MDC legislator, who was subsequently granted
bail, has been on remand ever since and was reporting twice weekly to the
police prior to his acquittal on Tuesday.

Although ZLHR welcomes the long overdue exoneration of Hon Kay, we wish to
register our protest at this further example of the unwarranted arrest,
detention and harassment of legitimate political opponents and the abuse of
criminal prosecution by the state.

It is necessary to note that, when the original prosecutor in this matter
had sight of the docket, he instructed the police to release Hon Kay and
proceed, if at all, by way of summons. It was only after the subsequent
urgent intervention by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Florence
Ziyambi, and prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare from Harare, who insisted that the
matter proceed, that Kay was charged.

The inhumane treatment of Hon Kay represents a growing pattern of widespread
and systematic persecution rather than legitimate prosecution of perceived
political opponents and human rights defenders in the country. Kay's
decision to stand as Member of the House of Assembly in order to work for a
better life for his constituents in Marondera Central and the treatment he
has received as a result violates his constitutional right to participate in
the governance of his country. The violation of his rights such as his
unlawful arrest, his subsequent detention well in excess of the prescribed
48 hours before being formally charged, and the unwarranted seizure of his
travel documents has a chilling effect on the lawful activities of others
like him, as the state is no longer able to assure the public that it is
willing to comply with its constitutional and international legal
obligations to protect the rights of accused persons and prosecute only
where there is reasonable suspicion and/or evidence of criminal behavior.

The magistrates' ruling is a confirmation that the conduct of the police
details remains grossly unprofessional and often amounts to serious
violations of political opponents' rights to liberty, security of person,
and freedom of movement, speech and association. The acquittal of Kay, after
similar acquittals of other opposition politicians, also worryingly
demonstrates that the police are increasingly using detention as a
harassment technique.

Worried by this escalating phenomenon of arbitrary arrests, detention and
unsustainable charges, ZLHR therefore calls upon:

· The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and other state agents to cease the
practice and error of arresting first and investigating later in
contravention of constitutional and other legislative safeguards preventing
such action, and to comply with the legal requirement to have a reasonable
suspicion that an offence has been committed before arresting an individual;

· The Office of the Attorney-General to professionally perform its function
of providing correct and timely legal advice where it is clear that their
clients are not complying with the law, and to ensure that they disprove the
reasonable perception that they are complicit in allowing such prosecutions
to continue where there is no evidence to sustain the charges;

· Both the ZRP and the Attorney-General's office to maintain their
independence, impartiality and professionalism and to ensure that the
constitutional provisions protecting the rights of an accused person are
respected at all times

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ZANU-PF abusing women in Mash West

Tribune Staff | published: 23 August, 2008
Cases of abuse carried out by Zanu PF "war veterans" and youth during the
election campaign period are beginning to surface.

Mashonaland West Situation Report (23-08-08)

Maxwell Magoche Tongodiwa of Chibara, succumbed to his injuries and died on
the 6th of August 2008. The deceased was heavily assaulted prior to the June
27 runoff by Zanu PF militia led by L Chikede (District Coordinating
Chairman), A.Binda (Youth Chairman),N.Tapererwa (Rtd Soldier), R.Chikomo
(Border Gezi Youth), M.Ndlovhu, C.Chatyora, N.Marumahoko and others. The
reason given for the assault was that Mr Magoche had brought MDC campaign
material (posters and fliers) for distribution in his ward. Christine
Chinozingwa, Zanu PF Women's League Chairlady, brought the matter to the
attention to her fellow Zanu PF cadres, culminating in the assault.
According to the doctor's report Maxwell died from liver puncture caused by
a broken rib. His liver later swelled leading to his painful death.

Abuse of women by Zanu PF militia

Cases of abuse carried out by Zanu PF "war veterans" and youth during the
election campaign period are beginning to surface. Victims were sworn to
silence after receiving death threats from the marauding militia and are now
speaking out due to the cessation of political violence in most areas and
cooling of attitudes. The numbers of rape cases attributed to the notorious
Jawet Kazangarare are on the increase,adding to the reported case of 13 year
old Ella Ruvanga. He is accused of the assault and rape of Oripa Ndyara and
assault was prior to the rape after the victim had turned down his advances.
Kazangarare is also accused of raping and impregnating his own niece,
Sarudzai Kazangarare.  Violet and Maina Mwayira, all married women were gang
raped on the 23rd of June by Zanu PF members K.Kateyo and his 6 accomplices.
The perpetrators threatened to destroy the victims' home and murder family
members if they reported the case to the police. They told the women that
the rape was meant to show that they had forgiven them for being MDC.

Below is a translated transcript of Violet and Maina Mwayira's ordeal.

To whom it may concern

On the 23rd of June there was a Zanu PF meeting called by the Zanu PF ward
chairman, Kenneth Kateyo. He came to where I was seated and told me that I
was supposed to come to his house in the evening because the gravity of my
issue made it impossible for it to be discussed in a public setting. He went
on to say that I was supposed to attend the meeting at his home to finish
once and for all the issue of my involvement in the MDC, thus ensuring that
I was not going to cast my June 27 vote at Jawet Kazangarare's home, where
MDC supporters where being beaten up badly. When the meeting ended early in
the evening he then sent a woman by the name Evelyn Magova, who reiterated
that I was supposed to go to Kenneth Kateyo's home for the meeting. I went
home and returned in the company of my younger sister as it was getting
dark. We are both married to the same husband. When we got to his home for
the meeting, not much was said with regard to the meeting's main agenda,
which is my involvement in the MDC. He said the issue was now over and he
only wanted to know the contents of the statement that I had been forced to
write and send to Jawet Kazangarare, relating to my involvement in the MDC.
The meeting then ended, and his wife saw us off returned to her home after a
short distance. We walked and reached a stream, that's when a man emerged
from the bush. We were very scared and before we could run he identified
himself as Kenneth Kateyo and six more men armed with knockberries emerged.
He went on to say he was now going to resolve my issue and I was lucky to
have brought another woman otherwise If I had come alone I would have seen
red. Some of the men held us down and tied our mouths to muffle our screams
while the others began unbuckling their trouser belts and undoing their
trouser buttons and zips. They went further to say that if we screamed they
were going to kill not only us but our husband also since he is MDC. They
then took turns to rape us, all six of them and disappeared into the night
shortly afterwards. An issue that bothered me after the ordeal was that all
six men were wearing condoms, showing that the rape had been planned prior.
When we got home our husband had returned but we resolved not to tell him
our experience because we feared for his welfare and ours.  At the moment,
there is no happiness in our home.


Maina and Violet Mwayira

The case was reported to the police, but as in all other cases (assault,
arson and murder) that have occurred and have been reported in the
Mashonaland West province and the victims are members of the MDC, no action
has been taken to date.


Givemore Tsangu, an MDC activist was made to pay 20 kilograms of maize at
the Zimbabwe Republic Police Kazangarare sub office after being accused of
being involved in politically motivated violence. Corruption is rampant at
the base, where victims of violence and accused perpetrators are being
forced to pay in maize, sun flower seeds, ground nuts and any other
commodity that is agricultural to have cases dropped. It is reported that a
police sergeant by the name Mahomba was deployed at the sub office to
investigate cases of political violence in the area but he has now taken it
upon himself to fine the accused in the form of goats and the aforementioned
commodities.  A reported example of the petty nonsense and corruption
occurring at the base is the fining of Jawet Kazangarare  2 goats for his
involvement in the violence. No arrests have been made so far.

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Jonathan Moyo to vote for ZANU PF speaker, but..

August 23, 2008 | By Philip Mangena |
Independent Tsholotsho MP Jonathan Moyo has reportedly confided to close
friends that he will back a ZANU PF speaker,but only on one condition,if the
candidate is not ZANU PF National Chairman John Nkomo.

The vicious former Information minister said he will likely vote for losing
Mazowe MP Chen Chimutengwende, whose name was raised in the politburo
meeting as a another likely candidate alongside ZANU PF National Chairman
John Nkomo, Oppah Muchinguri, Patrick Chinamasa,Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and Chris

It is not clear why Jonathan Moyo would not back John Nkomo.

Meanwhile insiders in the both the Tsvangirai led MDC party and the
breakaway MDC faction revealed that some disgruntled MPs in the faction will
support an MDC-T candidate against Paul Themba Nyathi whom they say was
imposed on the MPs by the National Executive.

Without revealing the names of the legislators the MDC sources said the MPs
aligned to Mutambara had assured them of their vote during next week's
elections to choose the powerful post of Speaker of Parliament.

"We are together in this struggle. We can never hop in bed with ZANU PF at
the expense of our colleagues whom we identify with," said one source.

Fears of factionalism in ZANU PF between the Mnangagwa faction and Mujuru
faction could open the door for a deal between Mutambara's MDC and ZANU-PF,
in which ZANU PF might seek to secure the post of deputy speaker - and court
the MDC faction as a coalition partner by backing Nyathi.

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LonZim earmarks US$100m investment for Zimbabwe

by Nokuthula Sibanda Saturday 23 August 2008

HARARE - Investment firm, LonZim, is planning to invest up to US$100 million
in crisis-torn Zimbabwe and position for an anticipated recovery of the
southern African country's once brilliant economy.

Country manager Geoff Moss told a business forum in Harare on Thursday that
LonZim saw immense opportunities for growth in a revived Zimbabwe, adding
those playing the wait-and-see game could lose out because "economic
recovery was a matter of time."

LonZim is an investment company created by London-listed Lonrho Plc (Lonhro)
to acquire a portfolio of commercial property projects and investments in
assets and companies in Zimbabwe that have significant opportunity for
future growth.

"There is US$100million being planned by LonZim for this market," said Goss,
adding that the investment firm saw fruitful prospects in sectors such as
telecommunications and transport.

Zimbabwe also has a tourism sector that could become a leader in Africa,
according to Goss.

"Zimbabwe is one of the most stunning tourist destinations in the world," he
said, apparently unruffled by the country's long-running political crisis or
the fact that talks between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai to end the crisis appear to have run aground.

Several foreign-owned companies have packed their bags in the past seven
years, galled by Mugabe's controversial policies, including the seizure of
white-owned farms to resettle blacks, which have called into question Harare's
commitment to uphold property rights.

Mugabe - who often accuses foreign-owned businesses of plotting with his
Western enemies to bring down his government and externalising foreign
currency earnings - has in recent months stepped up pressure against the
businesses by threatening to force them to sell controlling stake to
indigenous blacks.

Goss urged investors not to fear the indigenisation of the Zimbabwean
economy, saying this would in fact provide a quicker route to local
knowledge. "Indigenisation is a good thing as it is a shortcut to local
knowledge that is critical for the survival of any venture," he said.

Zimbabwe is in the grips of a severe economic crisis marked by the world's
highest inflation of more than 11 million percent, growing unemployment,
shortages of foreign currency, food, fuel, water and electricity.

However economic analysts say despite the grim economic statistics, Zimbabwe
would at some point recover once the current political stalemate dissipates,
giving more reason for investors to position themselves.

The former British colony still has a good infrastructure, including road
networks and sits on large mineral reserves, including the world's second
largest platinum reserves after South Africa. - ZimOnline

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NGO Ban Stalls Farming Preparations

BULAWAYO, August 22 2008 - Communal farmers in the Nkayi communal area
who had been relying on aid from non- governmental organizations (NGOs)
under the drought recovery programme, have suffered a major set back as NGO's
remain barred from conducting field work at a time land preparation is
supposed to have commenced.

Thousands of farmers in the district had adopted conservation farming,
which was introduced by several NGO's as an alternative to conventional
farming in low rainfall ecological regions four and five.

Under the programme, now in its third phase, farmers were able to
produce maize seed, which they would share with newcomers to the programme,
to overcome the nationwide problem of seed shortage.

"Our farmers had harvested close to ten tonnes of maize seed and we
were supposed to have provided them with chemicals to treat the seed but
that did not happen because of the ban that was imposed by Government on
field operations during the build up to the June 27 presidential run-off
elections," said a field worker with one of the NGO's who could not be
identified for security reasons.

The officer said most of the farmers had been forced to consume the
maize meant for seed as they had run out of food since the vulnerable group
feeding scheme, through which thousands of families in the district were
receiving food aid, had been stopped by the government.

"The situation in Nkayi is so bad that some of the farmers had to soak
the maize seed left from the previous planting season to get rid of the
chemicals for feeding purposes," the officer said.

She said field teams from the NGOs were supposed to have started
visiting the farmers to start land preparation and distribution of seed and
fertilizer for the next farming season "but nothing is happening and we
wonder how the people are going to survive.

The Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention packages that the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been distributing are far from meeting the
needs of the thousands of starving masses in the district.

A Shop operator RadioVOP spoke to at Nkayi Centre on Thursday said
thousands of people gathered at the centre to try and buy mealie meal after
word had gone round that one miller had received some grain from the Grain
Marketing Board in Bulawayo.

"It was a sad scene as the miller had only been allocated one truck
load of maize. By 6pm the mealie meal was finished and most of the people
who had spent the day queuing for the commodity at the centre walked back
home hungry and angry," said the businessman.

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Towards Parity For Women In Politics

By Kudzai Makombe

HARARE, Aug 23 (IPS) - In a highly contested election marred by violence and
held under very difficult economic conditions, Zimbabwean women politicians
defied the odds to participate as candidates in the March 29th elections.

In terms of seats actually won, results fell far short of the 50 percent
female representation in political decision-making set out in the African
Union (AU) Protocol on Gender and Women's Human Rights or the recently
signed Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and
Development. Women got just 14 percent of seats in parliamentary elections,
down from 16 percent female representation in the previous parliament.

However, at a national conference held on 14th and 15th August in Zimbabwe's
capital, Harare, women celebrated the fact that they had participated as
candidates in their highest numbers ever.

"We managed to mobilise each other to increase women's contestation by
almost 50 percent," said Luta Shaba, executive director of the Women's
Trust, the organisation that has spearheaded the 'Women Can Do It' campaign
to get more women in politics.

Shaba explained that while the parliamentary seats were highly contested by
male candidates, they showed less interest in the council seats. This opened
space for 740 women to participate at the local level. The experience
elected women councilors will gain will serve them well should they decide
to run for parliament or senate in future.

The Women's Trust and other campaigners are already looking to the future.
With negotiations taking place between the ruling Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front and the two Movement for Democratic Change factions,
hopes are high that the 2013 elections will be more conducive for women

Civil society and other actors are pushing for a negotiated settlement that
will ultimately lead to a new and more gender-sensitive constitution. In a
communiqué, participants in this month's 'Women Can Do It' conference called
for a change in the electoral system to a more gender-sensitive one based on
proportional representation.

They also demanded a constitution that takes into account various regional
and international instruments promoting women's participation in

"I didn't know this election would be so difficult but I won't go backwards.
I will definitely do it again and I know I will win next time," said
Rosemary White, MDC candidate for Chitungwiza -- a satellite city of Harare.

White campaigned using her own money and with support from the 'Women Can Do
It Campaign'. After she was threatened with violence, she was forced to flee
her home, leaving behind her husband and children, and seek refuge at the
rural homestead of her grandmother.

Sceptics remain doubtful that Zimbabwe will meet the targets set out by
SADC, but the protocol does spell out some measures that member states
should take to increase women's participation, including "...public
awareness campaigns which demonstrate the vital link between the equal
representation and participation of women and men in decision-making
positions, democracy, good governance and citizen participation..."

Precedents for achieving the SADC and AU goals have been set by South Africa
and Mozambique. Both countries surpassed the 30 percent goal set out in the
1997 SADC Declaration on Gender, the predecessor to the Protocol on Gender.
Political will at party level has been the primary factor in their success,
with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, and the
Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) setting party quotas for
women's participation.

But the real example has been set by Rwanda, which has the world's highest
proportion of women in parliament, at 48.8 percent. Rwanda has a
constitutional quota for national elections, as well as election law and
legislative quotas guaranteeing a women's agenda for all elected bodies.

What is clear from these examples is that quotas, especially when combined
with an electoral system based on proportional representation, provide an
opportunity for women to play a role in politics.

The outcome of the ongoing talks between Zimbabwe's three main political
parties will have a crucial impact on the immediate future for Zimbabwean
women in politics.

What women expect from the talks in the immediate term is for the economy to
improve and the violence to end. Women have been hardest hit by the
country's economic crisis. They bear the burden of ensuring the survival of
their families where basic social services and goods are limited or entirely
unavailable and where incomes are consistently eroded by spiraling
inflation. According to Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office, annual
inflation came in at 11.2 million percent at the end of July.

Women were worst affected by the politically-motivated violence that
escalated ahead of the June 27th presidential run-off election. As political
activists, mothers, daughters and wives, they were targeted for retribution.
Unlike most men who were able to flee their homes, women faced with the
responsibility of caring for their families and property were forced to stay
behind and face the perpetrators, some of who were also women.

For the medium- to long-term, the challenges are broader.

"It doesn't matter what kind of structure comes up, what we are interested
in are the principles that will better serve us as women, including an open
democracy and non-violence," said Netsai Mushonga, Coordinator of the
Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe at a press conference on women's participation
in the talks, held on 30th July. The Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe is a
coordinating group of women's rights groups made up of 44 members.

The coalition is calling on negotiating parties to adhere to UN Resolution
1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which urges UN member states to ensure
increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national,
regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention,
management, and resolution of conflict.

They are also demanding the inclusion of gender experts on the negotiating
team and an open process and role in the implementation plan.

Shaba reiterated a statement made to weekly newspaper, the Sunday Mail, in
which she urged the negotiators to "seriously consider changing the
electoral laws for a system of proportional representation as the only
electoral process that can safeguard the interests of women."

For those women who have made it into decision-making, the pressure is now
on to make a difference to the lives of other women.

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Happy Days Are Coming

This Day, Nigeria

Pendulum By Dele momodu,, 08.22.2008

I  have a positive message for you this weekend. Happy days are coming. The
gloom of the moment will soon disappear, because world history and
contemporary events have shown that bad situations cannot last forever.
Changes do occur through three major possibilities, violence, peace, or a
combination of both. The critical solution is often determined by both the
rulers and the followers. The rulers often think they can perpetuate their
evil rule. The followers, who are usually coerced into submission, most
times believe they are powerless and can do nothing about their pathetic
living condition. Both the rulers and the followers are wrong.
We grew up knowing certain powerful names like Mobutu Sese Seko , Idi Amin,
Kamuzu Banda, and others who all gave the black man the image of a monkey.
The world was literally at their feet. Their word was law. And they took
their people as slaves. But who cares about those names today? They have
been dumped into where they rightly belong, the rubbish heap of history.
Life was hell generally all over Africa. From the North to the South,
everywhere was in turmoil. Nelson Mandela was in prison, and the blacks of
South Africa were in bondage. Many of us must have thought apartheid would
last forever. If anyone had told us then that Mandela would one day come out
to become the world's greatest living statesman, we would have laughed at
such a probability.
In Ghana, life was cheap. No food. No groceries. Ghanaians scattered in
every direction seeking the basic things of life and doing whatever was
necessary to keep body and soul together. Jerry John Rawlings once gave
Ovation the privilege of publishing his marathon interview on how paradise
was lost and regained in Ghana by the use of what was seen by the elites as
the unnecessary use of brute force, and cold-blooded murder. No matter your
camp, Ghana is on its feet again, and all the good things are going there.
Every world leader wants to visit Ghana. Tourism is booming with new hotels
opening every day. Holiday Inn just opened, while Hilton is building its own
at a frenetic speed. The Barclays Bank of England recently opened its only
African off-shore operation in Ghana. And Nigerian banks are boldly taking
over the high streets with their architectural wonders.
In East Africa, the Asians were thrown out by Idi Amin, the self-described
conqueror of the British Empire. Most of these Asians, especially the
Indians, knew no other place as home. They ran away from the rampaging
forces of the impulsive murderer, and sought refuge in Europe, especially in
Great Britain. They lost their worldly possessions and must have wondered
how cruel life could be. They picked up their lives in bits and pieces.
Today, they control all the corner shops, super markets, and the business of
real estates. They are doctors and lawyers. The Patels have taken over
everywhere, and they are rated in the top hierarchy of the wealthiest
Britons. Meanwhile, the Idi-Amin who chased them away is no more. The bloody
tyrant died in Saudi Arabia in acute penury and frustration.
In Zaire, as Congo was known at the time, Mobutu and his acolytes stole
their country blind. They plundered their economy without mercy, and kept
the fortune in foreign banks, under coded accounts. They misbehaved as if
tomorrow will never come, and if it comes, it will always take care of every
eventuality. Today, the era of the Mobutus is gone forever, and the youths
are coming together to rebuild their nation.
In Zimbabwe, the super man, Robert Mugabe, has ruled for as long as memory
can recollect. A most shameless man in his eighties, he has chosen to die in
power because it seems he has no where to go and nothing else to do, outside
power. It appeared no one would ever defeat him in an election. He had won
too many elections through the use of intimidation that he became so
complacent. Today, he's been shown to be just another tin god with feet of
clay. He was defeated in an election he personally conducted. For weeks he
could not declare the results hurriedly as he used to do. Today, the fire is
gone, and the old man is busy negotiating with opponents on how to share
All rulers are cowards. Don't you see how they cry like babies when they get
caught? A bully, they say, is always a coward. It requires little courage to
challenge the beasts of the jungle. Coups used to be fashionable in Africa,
but not any more. The world has become smaller, such that whatever touches
the eye touches the nose. The world has learnt to rise up in unison against
the forces of evil and darkness.
My thesis today is that the world is changing too rapidly, and our dear
country Nigeria cannot be an exception. See how election riggers are being
put to shame. See how thieves are being disgraced, and those who feel they
are no thieves are being allowed to prove their innocence in the law courts.
The thieves have lost the confidence and the swagger of old. They can no
longer spend their loot in public. We are told our economy is booming
because most of the loot is now kept at home, or kept under false names, in
many of our banks, or kept with proxies who will ultimately run away with
the loot, as history has taught us. Who says we are not making progress? The
world changed on September 11. Money has become more difficult to launder.
Why would any man steal more than he'll ever need? Why can't our leaders
build our own Dubai and Doha in our own country? How many times have we read
that an American governor or president is travelling abroad for medical
treatment? Have we ever read that an American President had a foreign bank
account? He does not need to carry cash around like an illiterate. A Visa
card in his wallet is all he needs everywhere he goes. He does not need to
steal for tomorrow, because he knows a good leader's greatest wealth is the
amount of goodwill he can gather. He can write books about his experience in
power and rake in millions. Just imagine that President Bill Clinton has
earned over $100m after leaving office. Tony Blair is still active after
quitting as the British Prime Minister. He can make as much money as he
wants by giving lectures alone.
Technology will play a major role in our next elections. Journalists would
be able to send I-reports from election centres, and it would be impossible
for an electoral agent to change his mind later, after his voice has been
recorded reading the original results. Agents of candidates would all be
armed with mobile phones that can get live recordings of how the votes are
being counted. The thugs will soon be jobless, because we'll be able to
record their faces and show to the world on television.
Nigerians living abroad would have a role to play. Even if they are not
allowed to vote from those countries, they can influence their families back
home, by telling them the good candidates to support. The signs are already
there that happy days are coming. Nigerians living abroad are returning in
droves to take up good appointments. I know of a good friend from Maryland,
USA, who's one of the whizz-kids setting up a powerful mortgage scheme for
UBA. Another young friend from Atlanta, an IT genius has also joined the
same bank. The bank's head of operations was one of the hottest Nigerians in
the City Bank of America. He never thought a Nigerian bank would ever be
able to afford his services one day.
We have a lot in common with India and must learn a lot from that great
Asian country. We have the population. We have the brains. And we have the
drive. Our men and women are doing well all over the world. In London alone,
Nigerian businesses are springing up. Our state-of-the-art restaurants now
compete with the Chinese everywhere you turn. You are likely to find many
Nigerian personalities dining out at many of these places. Our worthy
ambassadors will return home to replicate what they are doing abroad, like
the Indians have done.
Nigeria is a land of opportunities. But for too long, we have allowed the
illiterate and incompetent rulers free reign. It is time to regain our
freedom by rescuing our nation from the evil grip of parasites and vampires
sucking the blood of our people. The battle is not as difficult as it seems.
Just remember what I said earlier, that bullies are cowards. Together, we
will defeat them.

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They Can Only Go So Far

The world's bullies are throwing their weight around. But history isn't on
their side.
By Francis Fukuyama
Sunday, August 24, 2008; Page B01

Are we entering the age of the autocrat? It's certainly tempting to think so
after watching Russia's recent clobbering of Georgia. That invasion clearly
marks a new phase in world politics, but it's a mistake to think that the
future belongs to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and his fellow despots.

I'm particularly interested in trying to discern the shape of the new
international moment, because I wrote an essay in 1989 entitled "The End of
History?" It argued that liberal ideas had conclusively triumphed at the end
of the Cold War. But today, U.S. dominance of the world system is slipping;
Russia and China offer themselves as models, showing off a combination of
authoritarianism and modernization that offers a clear challenge to liberal
democracy. They seem to have plenty of imitators.

Although Gen. Pervez Musharraf finally agreed last week to step down as
president of Pakistan, that key U.S. client has been ruled dictatorially
since 1999. In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe refuses to give way despite having
lost an election. In the Andean region of Latin America, democratic freedoms
are being eroded by populist, democratically elected presidents such as Hugo
Chávez of Venezuela. Take all this together, and various writers have
suggested that we are now witnessing a return to the Cold War, the return of
History or, at a minimum, a return to a 19th-century world of clashing great

Not so fast. We are certainly moving into what Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria
labels a "post-American" world. But while bullies can still throw their
weight around, democracy and capitalism still have no real competitors. The
facile historical analogies to earlier eras have two problems: They
presuppose a cartoonish view of international politics during these previous
periods, and they imply that "authoritarian government" constitutes a
clearly defined type of regime -- one that's aggressive abroad, abusive at
home and inevitably dangerous to world order. In fact, today's authoritarian
governments have little in common, save their lack of democratic
institutions. Few have the combination of brawn, cohesion and ideas required
to truly dominate the global system, and none dream of overthrowing the
globalized economy.

If we really want to understand the world unfolding before us, we need to
draw some clear distinctions among different types of autocrats. First,
there's a big difference between those who run strong, coherent states and
those who preside over weak, incompetent or corrupt ones. Musharraf was able
to rule Pakistan for almost a decade only because the Pakistani army, his
base of support, is the most cohesive institution in a state that's
otherwise a basket case. Zimbabwe is in even worse shape, with Mugabe
presiding over horrific economic collapse. Feeble autocracies such as
Zimbabwe can threaten their own neighbors only by producing refugees
desperate to escape hyperinflation and poverty.

Today's autocrats can also prove surprisingly weak when it comes to ideas
and ideologies. Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and Mao's China were
particularly dangerous because they were built on powerful ideas with
potentially universal appeal, which is why we found Soviet arms and advisers
showing up in places such as Nicaragua and Angola. But this sort of
ideological tyrant no longer bestrides the world stage. Despite recent
authoritarian advances, liberal democracy remains the strongest, most
broadly appealing idea out there. Most autocrats, including Putin and
Chávez, still feel that they have to conform to the outward rituals of
democracy even as they gut its substance. Even China's Hu Jintao felt
compelled to talk about democracy in the run-up to Beijing's Olympic Games.
And Musharraf proved enough of a democrat to let himself be driven from
office by the threat of impeachment.

If today's autocrats are willing to bow to democracy, they are eager to
grovel to capitalism. It's hard to see how we can be entering a new cold war
when China and Russia have both happily accepted the capitalist half of the
partnership between capitalism and democracy. (Mao and Stalin, by contrast,
pursued self-defeating, autarkiceconomic policies.) The Chinese Communist
Party's leadership recognizes that its legitimacy depends on continued
breakneck growth. In Russia, the economic motivation for embracing
capitalism is much more personal: Putin and much of the Russian elite have
benefited enormously from their control of natural resources and other

Democracy's only real competitor in the realm of ideas today is radical
Islamism. Indeed, one of the world's most dangerous nation-states today is
Iran, run by extremist Shiite mullahs. But as Peter Bergen pointed out in
these pages last week, Sunni radicalism has been remarkably ineffective in
actually taking control of a nation-state, due to its propensity to devour
its own potential supporters. Some disenfranchised Muslims thrill to the
rantings of Osama bin Laden or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but
the appeal of this kind of medieval Islamism is strictly limited.

In lieu of big ideas, Russia and China are driven by nationalism, which
takes quite different forms in each country. Russia, unfortunately, has
settled on a version of national identity that is incompatible with the
freedom of the countries on its borders; I'm afraid that Georgia will not be
the last former Soviet republic to suffer from Moscow's sense of wounded
pride. But today's Russia is still very different from the former Soviet
Union. Putin has been called a modern-day czar, which is far closer to the
mark than misguided comparisons to Stalin or Hitler. Czarist Russia was a
great power with limited ambitionsthat became an integrated member of the
European state system of the 18th and 19th centuries even as it crushed the
weak states on its borders and deprived its own people of liberties. It is
in this direction that I expect post-Putin Russia will evolve.

China's nationalism, on proud display at the Olympics, is much more complex.
The Chinese want respect for having brought hundreds of millions of citizens
out of poverty in the past generation. But we don't yet know how that sense
of national pride will translate into foreign policy. Apart from the
flashpoint of Taiwan, China doesn't feel the type of intense grievances that
Russia nurses over the shrinking of its empire or NATO's expansion into the
former Soviet bloc. And Beijing will have its hands full maintaining
domestic stability when the inevitable economic slowdown occurs.

China's problem today, unlike in imperial times, is that it doesn't have a
well-articulated sense of what the country represents in the larger world.
The so-called Beijing Consensus, which mixes authoritarian government with
market economics, is popular in many developing countries, and with good
reason: Under Beijing's rules, national leaders can just do business and
make money, without being hectored about democracy and human rights.

But China's development model works well only in those parts of East Asia
that share certain traditional Chinese cultural values. In dynastic China,
no checks and balances restrained the emperor's power; instead, a sense of
accountability was fostered by the moral education of rulers and by an elite
bureaucracy that was oriented toward public service. That legacy lives on in
a host of modernizing, developmentally minded leaders, from the Meiji
aristocrats who founded modern Japan to more recent authoritarian rulers
such as Park Chung-hee of South Korea, Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore -- and the
current leaders of China.

But this sort of paternalistic stewardship is a far cry from the forms of
governance seen in much of Africa, Latin America or the Middle East, where
public-spirited authoritarians have been far more rare. Africa has seen
kleptocrats such as Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, warlords such as Foday Sankoh
in Sierra Leone and Charles Taylor in Liberia, and the more ordinarily
corrupt rulers of Nigeria. Simply lumping China in with the world's other
dictatorships makes no sense. But for all of China's strengths, its system
is not a serious challenge to the United States' animating -- and winning -- 

All of this makes our world both safer and more dangerous. It is safer
because the self-interest of the great powers is very much tied to the
overall prosperity of the global economy, limiting their desire to rock the
boat. But it is more dangerous because capitalist autocrats can grow much
richer and therefore more powerful than their communist counterparts. And if
economic rationality does not trump political passion (as has often been the
case in the past), the whole system's interdependence means that everyone
will suffer.

We should also not let the speculations about an authoritarian resurgence
distract us from a critical issue that will truly shape the next era in
world politics: whether gains in economic productivity will keep up with
global demand for such basic commodities as oil, food and water. If they do
not, we will enter a much more zero-sum, Malthusian world in which one
country's gain will be another country's loss. A peaceful, democratic global
order will be much more difficult to achieve under these circumstances:
Growth will depend more on raw power and accidents of geography than on good
institutions. And rising global inflation suggests that we have already
moved a good way toward such a world.

The totalitarian dictatorships of the 20th century induced us to draw a
sharp distinction between democratic and authoritarian states, a habit of
mind that is still with us. But democracies don't automatically all have the
same interests (just look at the clashing U.S. and European views on Iraq),
and neither do autocracies. Nor does the fact that a country is
authoritarian determine the way it will behave internationally. We need a
much more nuanced conceptual framework for understanding the non-democratic
world if we are not to become prisoners of an imagined past. And we
shouldn't get excessively discouraged about the strength of our own ideas,
even in a "post-American" world.

Francis Fukuyama is a professor at the Johns Hopkins University's School of
Advanced International Studies. His latest book is "America at the
Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy."

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