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Zimbabwe opposition reports arrest at parliament

Yahoo News

41 minutes ago

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's main opposition says two members were arrested
as they entered parliament to be sworn in.

The opposition says police did not say where the men were being taken.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he was unaware of the arrests.

Opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa says his Movement for Democratic Change
remained determined to take up seats in parliament, which President Robert
Mugabe was to open Tuesday. The opposition won the most legislative seats in
March, and is trying to negotiate executive power sharing with Mugabe.

Police have said they are seeking seven opposition members accused of
involvement in election violence. Independent human rights groups have said
Mugabe's forces were responsible for most of the violence.

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Zimbabwe parliament reopens amid horse-trading over speaker post

Africa News
Aug 25, 2008, 8:08 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwe's new parliament was to be sworn in Monday in the first
part of a plan by President Robert Mugabe to try to force opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai into a power-sharing deal on his terms.

The 210 members of the lower House of Assembly are to be sworn in by the
clerk of parliament in a colourful ceremony in Harare. Members of the Senate
or upper house, will also be sworn in.

Mugabe's move to convene parliament risks derailing talks between his
Zanu-PF party and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on the
formation of a government of national unity.

Those talks are currently deadlocked over how Mugabe and Tsvangirai would
share power. The MDC warns the talks will be 'decapitated' if Mugabe goes
ahead with forming a government after the official opening of parliament
Tuesday, which the party has vowed to boycott.

The convening comes despite Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, leader
of a breakaway MDC faction, agreeing at the outset of their negotiations in
July not to convene parliament or form a government, 'save by consensus.'

Monday's proceedings will give a first indication of whether Mugabe has
enough support to form a government.

After being sworn in, the MPs must choose a speaker of parliament. But
neither Mugabe's Zanu-PF or Tsvangirai's MDC faction alone have the majority
needed to push through their own choice.

Tsvangirai's MDC has 100 MPs, Zanu-PF has 99 and an independent one seat.
The balance of power is held by Mutambara's faction which has 10 seats and
is fielding its own candidate for speaker.

Business Day newspaper in South Africa quoted unnamed sources as saying that
Zanu-PF was likely to support Mutambara's choice of speaker in return for a
promise from him to work with Zanu-PF in parliament.

But it was not clear whether all of Mutambara's MPs, who, until 2006, called
Tsvangirai their leader, would agree to a pact with Mugabe.

The power-sharing talks mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki
stalled earlier this month over what role Tsvangirai and Mugabe in the unity
government, with each insisting on having the lion's share of power.

The MDC is calling for Tsvangirai to have complete control of government.
Zanu-PF insists that Mugabe remain executive president.

Zimbabweans are counting on a negotiated settlement to end a nearly
decade-long political and economic crisis as characterized by inflation of
over 11 million per cent and widespread food shortages.

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MDC warns Mugabe parliament moves threaten talks


Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:28am EDT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition MDC warned on Monday that President
Robert Mugabe's appointments of parliamentarians were a threat to
power-sharing talks after it said police had arrested two of its members in

"Clearly they have chosen the path of arrogance, unilateralism that's a
serious blow to confidence building in the talks," said Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

The MDC said the two MPs were arrested as they entered the parliamentary
building and police also attempted to arrest another MDC MP but he was
rescued by other parliamentarians.

There was no immediate comment from the police on the arrests. But soon
after the March elections, police announced a manhunt for several MDC
politicians over charges of murder, rape and electoral violence.

Mugabe appointed three non-constituency members of parliament's upper house,
the Senate, and eight provincial governors, state media said.

Mugabe intends to officially open parliament on Tuesday despite protests by
Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that
this would scuttle negotiations on forming a unity government to end the
current political impasse.

Tsvangirai maintains that a power-sharing agreement is being held up by
Mugabe's refusal to give up executive powers. Mugabe says Tsvangirai wants
to strip him of all authority.

(Reporting by Nelson Banya; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Richard

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Mugabe gambles on gaining majority in parliament

Business Day

25 August 2008

Dumisani Muleya

Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe will, from today, put into operation his
strategy to gain a working majority in parliament and form a new government,
effectively sabotaging the stalled power-sharing talks with the main

The rollout of Mugabe's crafty but risky plan would heighten political
tensions between his Zanu (PF) party and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

It would also leave Zimbabwe facing a further plunge into the economic

The country already has the highest annual inflation rate in the world at
11-million percent, the weakest currency and the lowest life expectancy at
34 years.

Mugabe has been scheming to entice MPs from the MDC faction led by Arthur
Mutambara to support his party in parliament to ensure a working majority.

His manoeuvrings and horse-trading appeared to be paying off at the weekend
after his offer to back the Mutambara faction's bid for the speaker of
parliament position in return for its support in the house of assembly was

Sources said Mutambara's group had agreed to the offer, which is likely to
see their candidate for the speaker's post, Paul Themba Nyathi, win ahead of
the Tsvangirai faction's candidate, Lovemore Moyo.

Zanu (PF) is likely to withdraw from the race and support Nyathi in exchange
for co-operation in the lower house.

However, Moyo could still win if Mutambara's MPs who do not want to work
with Mugabe vote for him. Some of Mutambara's MPs want to join forces with
Tsvangirai's group to defeat Nyathi and Mugabe's plan.

The only problem for Tsvangirai is that up to 10 of his MPs are either out
of the country or underground, hiding from threatened arrest or attacks by
the Mugabe regime.

Clerk of parliament Austin Zvoma will swear in legislators today at a
colourful ceremony in Harare. MPs will be sworn in at 10am and senators at

"After the swearing-in ceremony, the members of the h ouse of assembly will
proceed to elect the speaker and d eputy speaker of the house of assembly,"
Zvoma said.

"Senators will also go on to select the p resident and d eputy president of
the s enate in accordance with sections 35 and 39 of the c onstitution."

Mugabe will then officially open parliament tomorrow. This is likely to be
followed by the appointment of a cabinet.

Mugabe successfully lobbied Southern African Development Community leaders
who met in SA recently to allow him to convene parliament.

In the process he secured a veneer of regional acceptability, but at home
and overseas his legitimacy crisis remains.

Tsvangirai has said such moves by Mugabe would be a repudiation of the

The framework for negotiations agreed upon last month prohibits such
unilateral measures by the negotiating parties.

Mugabe has also been banking on his former spokesman, Jonathan Moyo, now an
independent MP, voting with his party to regain control of parliament, which
he lost in March.

None of the three parties has a majority in parliament. Zanu (PF) won 99
seats, Tsvangirai's MDC 100 and the Mutambara faction 10 in the 210-member h
ouse of assembly. To control the critical l ower h ouse of parliament, a
party needs 106 seats.

If Mugabe's Zanu (PF) enters a deal with Mutambara's group and wins Jonathan
Moyo to its side, it would have 110 seats, four more than what it needs.

Zanu (PF) has a large majority in the senate because of Mugabe's appointees.

If Mugabe's plan succeeds, it would leave Tsvangirai in the minority in
parliament and weaken his bid to be prime minister.

Tsvangirai rejected Mugabe's offer of the post of prime minister at the
talks, saying the position was a weak one.

A secret talks document leaked to the media at the weekend says that, as
prime minister, Tsvangirai would share power with Mugabe as his deputy in
the cabinet.

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Mugabe delays the inevitable

Financial Times

By Tom Burgis in Johannesburg

Published: August 24 2008 20:04 | Last updated: August 24 2008 20:04

Robert Mugabe looks set to win the latest battle in his campaign to retain
his grip on Zimbabwe on Monday, when he will swear in a new batch of MPs,
blithely ignoring the terms of power-sharing talks with his arch rival.

He has outwitted Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader of the Movement
for Democratic Change, on many occasions, survived global opprobrium and an
inflation rate that might have dethroned less resilient autocrats in his

The octogenarian president has shown no sign of accepting his defeat to Mr
Tsvangirai in the country's last credible elections.
Few in Zimbabwe underestimate the potent combination Mr Mugabe wields of
tactical acumen, pig-headedness and force. People observing the stuttering
talks brokered by Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, say that he is
deploying all three to prolong his rule.

"He is a strategist and he likes winning but at some level he believes he is
right," says Heidi Holland, one of Mr Mugabe's biographers.

"He never intended to share power. Over all these years, he has never

Mindful of Mr Mugabe's knack for co-opting his enemies, Mr Tsvangirai, who
demands explicit executive powers to take a new role as prime minister with
Mr Mugabe taking a ceremonial position, stormed out of power-sharing talks
in Harare a fortnight ago. According to part of a draft agreement passed to
the Financial Times, executive authority would be shared between the
premier, the president and the cabinet: "The prime minister shall report
regularly to the president."

Two people privy to the negotiations say Mr Tsvangirai is coming under
"massive pressure" from regional leaders to sign up. At a recent summit the
heads of state recommended that parliament be convened, ignoring objections
from Mr Tsvangirai that many of his party's MPs are in hiding fearing for
their lives, effectively removing the majority won in the March elections.

Many expect Mr Mugabe's next move will be to form a new government of his
own choosing. Yet by delaying the inevitable, insisting after 28 years in
power that he retain executive control, some argue he may be squandering his
best remaining opportunity to influence the terms on which he and his
principal henchmen eventually leave.

Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe is setting new world records - officially 11.2m
per cent last week - making it ever tougher to control the vestiges of state
power. Some question how the army will be paid at the month's end. Hunger
and disease are becoming prevalent.

"Mugabe wants to go out in a blaze of glory," says Bella Matambanadzo of the
Open Society Initiative in Harare.

"But as time goes by he is going to lose these strategic opportunities to
prevent himself being unceremoniously removed."

The power-sharing talks have touched on the thorny issue of an amnesty to
coax Mr Mugabe into giving ground. However, the option of retirement was
severely complicated by Mr Tsvangirai's victory in March. That meant that Mr
Mugabe faced being dependent on his old foe as the guarantor of any amnesty
should he opt for a graceful exit. He is said to be preoccupied with the
fate of Charles Taylor, the Liberian leader who accepted his peers' promise
of immunity from prosecution only to be handed over later to international
justice to face war crimes charges.

Some people close to the power-sharing negotiations suggest that even if Mr
Mugabe were prepared to stand aside, provided his legacy and liberty were
assured, he would face dogged resistance from the handful of military men
who would be left exposed to retribution for violence.

Ms Holland disagrees. "He believes he can defeat them all."

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First the journalists, now their families

Death lists, arrests and torture are daily realities for independent
journalists in Zimbabwe, but in the aftermath of the elections Mugabe has
also started to threaten their children
Wilf Mbanga
The Guardian,
Monday August 25 2008

Another day, another death list. Despite having an arsenal of anti-press
laws at his disposal, the leader of Zimbabwe's junta, Robert Mugabe, has
resorted to using brute force and the threat of assassination to silence the
independent media. Yet another list, prepared by Mugabe's Central
Intelligence Organisation, is doing the rounds of internet websites. I take
a cursory look at the list, and yawn. The same old names are there - all the
stalwarts of our profession who endeavour constantly to bring to the world's
attention the appalling atrocities being committed in the name of
sovereignty by the Mugabe regime.

Nobody on those lists panics - we've seen and heard it all before. Mugabe's
dirty tricks department has been circulating similar ones since 2000. We
know this is just another hazard of working as a Zimbabwean journalist - our
so-called president wants to kill us.

Since his power began to wane in the late 1990s, Mugabe has seen the
independent media as his enemy. In 1999, the establishment of the country's
first independent national daily, the Daily News, rattled his cage. He
ordered the arrest and torture of the journalists Mark Chavunduka and Ray
Choto. Both were eventually released.

Then Mugabe lost the 2000 constitutional referendum and faced the spectre of
electoral defeat at that year's general elections by the newly formed
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The battle lines were drawn. He
unleashed an onslaught against the media that has worsened with each passing


In 2003, the misnamed Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) made it mandatory for all journalists and media organisations
operating inside the country to be registered - policed - by the Media and
Information Commission. Headed by a Mugabe apologist, Tafataona Mahoso, the
MIC holds the dubious honour of having closed down five independent
newspapers, including the Daily News and its sister, the Daily News on
Sunday, in its first two years.

During Mahoso's reign, countless journalists have been harassed, arrested,
beaten, tortured and locked up, among them Gift Phiri, chief reporter for
the independent weekly the Zimbabwean, who was tortured and had a finger
broken. A cameraman has been killed. More reporters have been arrested in
the past five years than during the first two decades of independence. In
all these cases, there has not been a single conviction.

But this year's general and presidential election, which Mugabe lost to the
MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai, made the previous decade's media repression look
like a grandmothers' tea party. The state-controlled media went into
overdrive - its ham-fisted spin and sickeningly blatant deception would have
been laughable had it not been so tragic.

The 2003 act was used to control media coverage of the elections. Exorbitant
registration fees were charged and only a handful of foreign correspondents
accredited. Major media groups such as the Associated Press, South Africa's, the US broadcasters CNN and MSNBC, and the BBC were all blocked from
receiving accreditation.

Lined up against Mugabe was a small array of independent voices - local
weeklies the Independent, Financial Gazette and Sunday Standard (producing
fewer than 30,000 copies a week between them), the London-based SW Radio
Africa, South Africa-based Voice of the People and the US-based Voice of
America's Studio 7. The Zimbabwean, a serious independent weekly tabloid,
had joined them in early 2005. Exploiting a loophole in AIPPA, the
Zimbabwean is published outside the country and trucked in from South

The Zimbabwean soon became the largest-selling newspaper in the country, its
circulation increasing from 20,000 copies a week to more than 100,000 during
2007. In the weeks leading up to the March 2008 elections and during their
aftermath, circulation increased further to 200,000 a week and the
Zimbabwean on Sunday was added to the stable.

Distribution of this title peaked at 100,000 before the truck carrying
60,000 copies of the Africa Day (May 25) issue was torched by eight
plainclothes goons brandishing new AK-47 rifles, with which they beat the
driver and his assistant before firing rounds into the petrol-soaked
newspaper truck to set it alight. A few days previously, Mugabe's election
agent, Emmerson Mnangagwa, had publicly blamed the Zimbabwean and other
"foreign media" for Mugabe's humiliation at the polls.

We managed to continue getting the newspapers into the country, using a
hired South African trucker, some brave drivers and various routes, and on
one occasion sending 40,000 copies in by air freight. But the Mugabe regime
had a nifty solution up its sleeve. Punitive duties amounting to 70% of the
invoice value of the papers were announced in late May. The first issue to
arrive at Beitbridge border post in June was slapped with the new duty -
£5,000 for 100,000 copies.

We reeled at the audacity and fulminated at the injustice of it. We slashed
the print run for the Thursday edition to 60,000 and scraped together all
our resources to get another three issues of the Sunday edition published
and into the country. But we could not go on. We suspended publication of
the Zimbabwean on Sunday after the issue of June 22 this year. We have
managed to secure funding to get 60,000 copies of the Zimbabwean into the
country each week for a short period. After that, who knows?

International response

Several international organisations, including the World Association of
Newspapers, have responded to our plea to condemn the duty and demand its
removal. WAN and the World Association of Editors have written to Mugabe to
protest. Needless to say, they have had no response. In the meantime, the
reign of terror back home continues. Thanks to modern technology and brave
MDC and civil society activists, the international media receive a steady
flow of information and pictures illustrating the junta's bloody reign of
terror. The few remaining journalists inside the country play hide-and-seek
with the police and do not sleep at home. Many have left for safer climes.

But back to the latest death threat. My eye is caught by a final paragraph:
"The majority of those named on the list, although they are living in the
bliss and security of the Diaspora and the anonymity of cyberspace, their
family members will not be so lucky." It's a chilling development. They are
now threatening to harm our families. And we know this is no idle threat.
Despite, for centuries, the family being sacrosanct in Zimbabwean culture
and never before threatened, horror has gone to new heights in recent weeks.
This flies in the face of everything decent. The unthinkable has become

I and my fellow journalists have chosen to take up the weapon of words
against Mugabe's guns. We are prepared to face the repercussions of our
actions. Some have already paid the ultimate sacrifice. But not my children.
A line must be drawn somewhere, and very soon.

· Wilf Mbanga is the founder and publisher of the Zimbabwean, the
largest-circulation newspaper inside Zimbabwe today. He also founded the
now-silenced Daily News, Zimbabwe's only independent daily from 1999 to 2003

This article appears in the British Journalism Review, Volume 19 Number 3,
available from SAGE Publications, 1 Oliver's Yard, 55 City Road, London EC1Y
1SP. Subscription hotline: +44 (0)20 7324 8701. Email:

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Zanu PF MPs vote in advance for Speaker

August 25, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF summoned all its recently elected
Members of Parliament Sunday and urged them to vote for a Zanu-PF Speaker of
Parliament ahead of their swearing-in on Monday.

According to the constitution of Zimbabwe the first function of a Parliament
after the swearing-in of legislators is to vote for the Speaker of the

Sources within Zanu-PF say Zanu-PF MPs were ordered to cast their ballot in
advance at the party headquarters in Harare on Sunday for Zanu-PF chairman
John Nkomo. He was the Speaker in the previous Parliament.

The party's chief whip, Joram Gumbo, will present the Zanu-PF vote in
Parliament Monday. MDC MPs said they will reject this, and insist that
everyone be handed a fresh ballot paper to cast their vote secretly in
Parliament. A senior MDC official claimed that his party had obtained
confirmation from several Zanu-PF MPs that they would vote for an MDC
Speaker rather than Nkomo. The election of Speaker is supposed to be by
secret  ballot.

As if  to prevent a situation where Zanu-PF MPs vote for the MDC candidate,
Zanu-PF summoned all its MPs to a party caucus one day ahead of the
swearing-in ceremony on Monday and obtained their votes for the Speaker in

The Zanu-PF chief whip was not immediately available for comment, but
official sources said Zanu-PF pressed members to close ranks and ensure the
party wins the Speaker position.

A senior Zanu-PF official expressed confidence that his party would win the
position of Speaker "because we have already managed the Mutambara camp",
which holds the balance of power in Parliament, with 10 seats in the hung
Parliament. The mainstream MDC led by Tsvangirai is represented by 100 MPs,
while Zanu PF holds 99 seats.

Former Zanu PF member and former Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo
holds the remaining seat in the 210 seat Parliament. He is as independent MP
representing Tsholotsho North constituency.

The nominee representing the party that secures the support of the 10
legislators representing the Mutambara faction will become the Speaker.
Sources told The Zimbabwe Times over the weekend that Tsvangirai had secured
the support of eight of the 10 MPs.

The two factions of the MDC have each nominated a candidate for the position
of Speaker.

While the mainstream MDC has nominated its national chairman, Lovemore Moyo,
the Mutambara faction is putting forward senior party member Paul Themba
Nyathi for the position, MDC officials said. Nyathi, along with the rest of
the leadership of his party, lost the March 29 parliamentary election.

The constitution of Zimbabwe stipulates that Parliament can elect the
Speaker from among persons who are current or have been members of the House
of Assembly.

Nyathi the former spokesman of the MDC before its split in 2005 was a member
of the previous Parliament. He is one of the most highly regarded members of
the Mutambara faction.

"Except for some few MPs who are in hiding, all our elected 100 Members of
Parliament should be there on Monday," mainstream MDC spokesman Nelson
Chamisa said.

"Our candidate is Mr Moyo, who is a war veteran and a man of impeccable

Chamisa said the MDC was hopeful that the election would be free and fair
but said there were lingering fears of vote rigging.

"Zanu-PF's appetite for criminal conduct is astonishing," Chamisa said. He
said there were concerns over the welfare of six MDC MPs whose names remain
on the police "wanted" list. MDC MPs reportedly wanted by police include
Pearson Mungofa, MP for Highfield East; Shepherd Mushonga of Mazowe central;
Elton Mangoma (Makoni North), Piniel Denga (Mbare) Broadwin Nyaude,
representing Bindura South and Edmore Marima, the MP for Bikita East.

Chamisa said his party had decided that while its MPs would be sworn-in they
would boycott the official opening of Parliament on Tuesday. Mugabe is
scheduled to preside over the official opening on Tuesday.

"We are not going to legitimize a person who lost the election (by attending
the official opening of Parliament)," Chamisa said. "He couldn't secure
legitimacy from the people of  Zimbabwe.

"Who are we as MPs to entertain a person who has been rejected by the

"If we attend the official opening, it will be a betrayal of those who have
died at the hands of Zanu (PF), those who have been tortured, who had their
homes burnt, those who were raped, and those who lost their loved one,"
Chamisa said.

He said the mainstream MDC would vote for an MDC Mutambara deputy Speaker,
"in the spirit of magnanimity towards our colleagues".

The Tsvangirai-led MDC would vote for MDC Mutambara deputy, president Gibson
Sibanda, for the position of President of the Senate. It is understood that
Sekai Holland of the Tsvangirai faction has been lined up for the position
of deputy President of the Senate.

In the Senate, Zanu-PF controls 30 seats, while the mainstream MDC holds 24
and the Mutambara faction has six. The Upper House wields no significant
power. It was abolished after independence but was re-introduced in 2005
mainly as a ploy to create positions for unsuccessful Zanu-PF candidates who
are unsuccessful in parliamentary elections.

The President appoints 33 senators representing traditional chiefs,
provincial governors, women, the disabled and other interested groups -
bringing the total number of Senators to 93.

Meanwhile, the police have since Saturday cordoned off roads adjacent to
Parliament to allow for rehearsals for Monday's and Tuesday's events.

On Sunday Zimbabwe Air Force jets flew over Parliament as part  of the

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Have you met our new friends?

Justice Malala: Monday Morning Matters
Published:Aug 25, 2008

Who needs human rights with China, Russia as allies

LET us now be proud of our friends. Let us be proud to stand tall, side by
side with them and acknowledge them as our friends.

The late Zambian president, Levy Mwanawasa, was not our friend. He dared to
condemn the despot Robert Mugabe. Let us not honour Mwanawasa.

Instead, let us now be proud of the democratic states of China and Russia,
who stood by us like good friends at the UN when we refused to impose
sanctions on Mugabe and his top cronies a month ago.

The UN Security Council did not propose much: a travel ban and asset freeze
on Mugabe and his cronies plus a ban on arms sales to the country. South
Africa voted against the adoption of the resolution and lobbied hard until
Russia and China vetoed the resolution.

The reason not to impose sanctions is ostensibly that they would harm the
people of Zimbabwe. How sanctions on Mugabe and his top thugs would hurt the
Zimbabwean people escapes me, but our friends China and Russia are wise.
They know all about human rights.

Which is why China supports Mugabe as he lays siege to his own land. China
understands democracy. That is why on June 4 1989 this paragon of virtue
murdered anywhere between 300 and 800 (according to the New York Times)
pro-democracy student protesters. The Chinese Red Cross put the number of
dead at more than 2000.

China's repressive regime puts apartheid's leaders to shame.

It still runs a system equivalent to our own, recently departed "pass"
system. "Rural" workers require six different passes to work in provinces
other than their own. Failure to produce your pass on demand leads to
incarceration in a detention centre followed by deportation.

Freedom of speech in China is curtailed to the extent that the use of the
word "democracy" on a search engine such as Google is forbidden. Amnesty
International has reported that in 2005 China executed 3400 of its citizens,
though a senior member of the National People's Congress announced that
China executed about 10000 people a year.

But this great friend of ours, and of Africa, has a long history of
supporting democratic governments on the continent. It supports the
government of Sudan, a regime known for its genocide in Darfur.

Indeed, just as China props up Mugabe's regime, it is also Sudan's largest
economic partner: it has a 40 percent share in the country's oil and also
sells Sudan small arms.

What a friend to have!

In Russia they kill journalists and dissidents, too. We know about the
murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, but not many people know that since
2000 at least 21 journalists have been killed under Vladimir Putin's watch.

The Russian state has failed to make any arrests related to these murders.

This year two journalists have already been assassinated. It is estimated by
Russia's own prison ombudsman that 50 percent of all prisoners in Russia are

These are our friends, hailed by our ministry of foreign affairs for
blocking sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies. These are people we
should be proud of. These are people who know human rights.

Last January Archbishop Desmond Tutu was so dismayed at South Africa's vote
to block a UN Security Council resolution demanding an end to human rights
abuses in Burma that he said it was "a betrayal of our own noble past".

After that day we have no noble past to speak of. We belong to the same gang
as China and Russia. What exalted company.

Let us put human rights aside. The argument put forward by the likes of
Mugabe and his cronies is that the US and the UK are gunning for Mugabe
simply because they want a foothold in that country. That is probably true.

What a baffling argument. Aren't China and Russia doing the same all over
this continent? Aren't these two countries pouring money into some of the
dodgiest regimes on this continent in exchange for control of the continent?

This so-called Africanist argument is an embarrassment.

I will miss a good and real friend of Africa, Levy Mwanawasa. The people of
Africa, saddled with Thabo Mbeki and Mugabe, will miss him.

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We Should Prepare For Post-Mugabe Era

Wall Street Journal

August 25, 2008; Page A12
James Kirchick was exactly right in "Mugabe Has No Intention of Sharing
Power" (op-ed, Aug. 20). I applaud Mr. Kirchick's suggestion that the U.S.
should recognize the Movement for Democratic Change as the
government-in-exile. In fact, the U.S. should go further. It should help the
MDC to put together the framework of a complete governmental organization
that would be able to pick up the reins once Mr. Mugabe has gone.

There will be a huge amount of work needed to repair the damage that Robert
Mugabe has caused to the entire fabric of Zimbabwe. The time to start
getting ready to do that is now.

Christopher D. Manning
Oakville, Ontario

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The Military is the Main Culprit

The East African (Nairobi)

24 August 2008
Posted to the web 25 August 2008

Francois Grignon

Since 2000 and his defeat in a referendum destined to reinforce his
presidential powers, Robert Mugabe has been at war with his opposition and
his regime has become the equivalent of a military dictatorship.

Dismantling the military structure's control over the country's politics,
economy and civilian administration is crucial for the country's future. But
this will only be possible if real executive powers are handed over to
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the ongoing talks.

This is the biggest sticking point in the negotiations between Mugabe's
ruling Zanu-PF party and Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic

The talks, destined to end the two months-long post-electoral crisis, are
deadlocked over the issue of power-sharing. Although he beat Mugabe in the
first round of the presidential elections and was forced out the second by a
wave of terror against its supporters, Tsvangirai has agreed to give up the
presidential seat to leave Mugabe as head of state and "founding father of
the nation."

The deal was also that Mugabe would co-chair the Cabinet and make some key
appointments in consultation with the prime minister. While Tsvangirai has
accepted such compromises, Mugabe still refuses to budge, offering
Tsvangirai a ceremonial position in his government and no cabinet positions
with real powers.

Over the past years, Zimbabwe's ruling party has increasingly relied on the
military establishment to guarantee its survival. In the run-off to the June
elections, war veterans, military and paramilitary forces were again
responsible for a campaign of violence. Last week, Mugabe rewarded its
leaders with promotions to higher military ranks for such a good

The security structure is a major reason why Mugabe cannot keep important
executive powers. Removing Mugabe from power is not just about him: it is
about freeing the country from its military straightjacket.

Tsvangirai received a mandate from the Zimbabwean people to pull the country
out of the economic and political crisis, and he cannot accept the state
structure remains the same and the main reason behind the country's decay is
not tackled.

TO PUT AN END TO THE MILITARY Dictatorship, Tsvangirai has insisted that the
infamous Joint Operation Command (JOC), Mugabe's kitchen cabinet and real
decision-maker in the country, be dismantled and replaced with a National
Security Council that they would co-chair.

This new body would be completely delinked from Zanu-PF and would be truly
at the service of the country's security, not of a violent clique. Mugabe
refused this outright and argues that the JOC should be retained as it is.

Tsvangirai's most important trump card to get rid of the military
dictatorship is his potential to end the economic meltdown. Zanu-PF cannot
pay its supporters and the rank and file of the security apparatus are
increasingly conscious of the need for radical change.

They cannot even pay their children's school fees and satisfy their basic
needs. Zimbabwe desperately needs hard currency, which foreign donors will
only provide if a genuine power-sharing occurs.

There is also a role for African leaders. Until now, and apart from a few
exceptions such as Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga, or the late
president Levi Mwanawasa of Zambia, Mugabe has not been subjected to much
criticism or pressure from continental leaders.

Chief mediator Thabo Mbeki has been appallingly soft on him, going as far as
implying that Tsvangirai is the one holding up the talks. Hopes had been
raised last weekend that a deal could be reached during the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) summit.

But a great opportunity was missed and these hopes were dashed when it
clearly appeared that Southern African states would not pressure Mugabe more
than Mbeki.

TANZANIA PRESIDENT JAKAYA KIKwete, who is also the chairperson of the
African Union, now needs to get seriously involved in the negotiation
process and step up the pressure on Mugabe and the generals.

It is Kikwete who provided the push to close the February 28 Kenya deal.
Zimbabweans need him to step in. He should voice very clearly that a genuine
executive power-sharing and a clear reform agenda that includes the
dismantling of the security structure are absolute requirements for a
settlement of the crisis and that the AU will not accept any deal short of

Kikwete and willing SADC member states such as Botswana and Zambia, can also
approach China to contribute to the pressure on Zanu-PF generals and close
Mugabe's option to go East for his salvation.

Incentives might also be necessary. These could include giving Mugabe and
other Zanu-PF officials immunity for their crimes and guaranteed security to
them and their families. These would be controversial concessions, but if
power can be shifted from a military dictatorship to a civilian democracy,
this is probably a price worth paying.

Francois Grignon is Africa Program Director of the International Crisis

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UK firms reject voluntary code on Zimbabwe

by Own Correspondent Monday 25 August 2008

JOHANNESBURG - The British government's attempt to persuade United Kingdom
based corporations to adopt a seven-point voluntary code requiring them to,
among other things, uphold human rights in the conduct of their business in
Zimbabwe has hit a brick wall, a UK weekly reported on Sunday.

The Independent on Sunday newspaper reported that British ministers mounted
a secret campaign to persuade British firms to adopt "an ethical approach"
to their investments in Zimbabwe, amid concerns that some could be "silently
complicit" in President Robert Mugabe's reign of terror.

The paper claimed to have learnt from internal Foreign Office (FCO)
correspondence that the British government feared its reputation could be
damaged by 16 companies, including Barclays, Shell and BP, trading with
Zimbabwe as it struggled to defuse the crisis over Mugabe's "stolen

A July email between senior FCO officials shown to the newspaper read:
"We're looking into how UK businesses with links to Zimbabwe can help. How
can we encourage an ethical approach from British Businesses (inc banks or
their subsidiaries) trading in/with Zimbabwe? What leverage do we have over
the behaviour of British businesses, and how can we apply it most

"It is to be hoped that UK companies are not directly complicit or
beneficially complicit in human rights abuses. Some may however be silently
complicit by failing to raise the question of systematic or continuous human
rights violations in their interactions with the appropriate authorities."

However, the response pointed out that only nation states, not corporations,
were bound by international human rights legislation.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has adopted a hard-line stance on
Mugabe, urging UK firms not to "prop up" the Zimbabwean government.

After Mugabe's disputed re-election in a June 27 single-candidate
presidential vote that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted because
of violence against his supporters, the European Union and the United States
announced an expanded list of targeted sanctions against Mugabe's government
including firms deemed to be propping him up.

The ministers' failure to control the firms by persuading them to sign up to
a voluntary agreement to uphold human rights in Zimbabwe undermines the
British government's efforts to deliver a crushing economic blow on Mugabe's
government and this comes amid revelations by the weekly paper that seven
British MPs owned significant shareholdings in companies trading in

The newspaper said FCO officials and the Cabinet Office were under intense
pressure to respond to the public mood and find a way to exert some
"leverage" on the firms resulting in the ministers' secret attempt to
resolve the crisis.

The departments came up with a proposed seven-point voluntary code that they
hoped British firms would agree to in their dealings with Zimbabwe. But the
code, including an obligation to oppose human rights abuses and
discrimination, failed to gain support from the firms.  - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe rebuff to Kunonga clergy

Monday, 25th August 2008. 7:32am

By: George Conger.

The Vice President of Zimbabwe has called upon clergy loyal to the
former bishop of Harare, Dr Nolbert Kunonga (pictured) to reconcile with the
Anglican Communion.

Speaking at a memorial service for his late son on Aug 6, Joseph Msika
chastised two Anglican clergy officiating at the service, members of the
faction backing ousted bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga, for the divisions within
the diocese.

"I am a true Anglican and at one time the church came and said we want
you to be a deacon but God called me to be a politician," he said.v "So when
they quarrel, I get worried," Msika said, according to an account printed in
the government-backed Harare Sunday Mail.v "They should sit down as priests
and solve their differences. I speak on behalf of the people," the
vice-president said. v In 2005 Dr Kunonga licenced Msika to officiate as a
lay reader in the diocese. Other members of the government and the country'
s secret police, the CIO, have been ordained as clergy by Dr Kunonga for his
breakaway Anglican Church of Zimbabwe. The vice-president's call for
dialogue, analysts note, may signal a lessening of support for Dr Kunonga
and presage an opening by moderates within the government towards civil
society leaders.

Dr Kunonga was deposed by the Province of Central Africa last year,
yet through support of the Mugabe regime retains control over the diocese's
churches, while Bishop Sebastian Bakare --- appointed last year as Bishop of
Harare, enjoys the near universal backing of the members of the diocese. The
controversial former bishop of Harare has been one of the Zimbabwe strongman's
most consistent supporters among the country's religious leaders --- and was
rewarded for his loyalty with a confiscated farm.

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