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Robert Mugabe humiliated as Zimbabwe parliament opens
President Robert Mugabe suffered public humiliation when opposition MPs
booed, heckled and sang through his speech at the state opening of Zimbabwe's
The event, supposedly a grand occasion, opened with Mr Mugabe arriving at
parliament in a gleaming Rolls Royce, once used by Lord Soames, the last
Governor of Rhodesia.
Two dozen mounted soldiers rode alongside him and traditional chiefs, clad in
pith helmets, waited to greet him along with judges in wigs and red gowns.
But MPs from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change snubbed Mr Mugabe
by staying firmly in their seats when he walked into the chamber. They soon
broke into song, denouncing his Zanu-PF party as "rotten".
This was probably the first time that Mr Mugabe, who is shielded from public
criticism, has ever faced an openly hostile audience.
He was jeered when he talked of the negotiations with the opposition,
mediated by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, which are now stalled without
"Landmark agreements have been concluded, with every expectation that
everyone will sign up," he said, expressing his increasingly unlikely hope that
the MDC will sign up to deal.
The anger on the opposition benches rose to a crescendo as Mr Mugabe launched
into one of his characteristic denunciations of the West and the supposed
sanctions that he claims have reduced Zimbabwe to penury, rather than his own
The volume reached its peak when Mr Mugabe referred to the carnage inflicted
by thugs loyal to him following the first round of the presidential election in
March, which saw the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai pull out of a run-off.
"Happily, all political parties in the country have acknowledged culpability
in this violence," said Mr Mugabe.
"Zanu is rotten," sang the opposition MPs.
At times Mr Mugabe was drowned out by the heckling, having to raise his voice
to be heard, and with his humiliation broadcast live on Zimbabwean state
television for the entire nation to watch.
With MDC backbenchers drumming their hands on the seats in front of them, Mr
Mugabe displayed his characteristic ability to see events his own way.
He told the house: “I wish to pay tribute to all Zimbabweans for having
exercised their democratic right in our recent election (jeers) in a peaceful
manner, notwithstanding the regrettable and isolated cases of political violence
(…inaudible through the heckling…) in the run-up to the presidential election
“Happily all political parties in the country (jeers) have acknowledged
culpability in this violence, itself an important step towards putting behind us
the odious habit of election-related violence,” he added, to more heckling.
Over and over again, the MDC MPs chanted in harmony: “Zanu is rotten, MDC is
for the people.” Nonetheless Mr Mugabe is a past master at hiding his emotions,
and his features remained impassive. But Eldred Masunungure, professor of
political science at the University of Zimbabwe, said: “He won’t take kindly to
that. He is not used to that sort of behaviour.
“It is happening in what is supposed to be an august house by august MPs.
Going by his track record he is likely to respond in quite a vindictive manner.”
Mr Tsvangirai's party has been emboldened by its success in choosing one of
its own MPs, Lovemore Moyo, as Speaker of parliament. Instead of boycotting the
state opening, the MDC attended in order to allow Mr Moyo to preside over the
"The purported opening by Mugabe, the illegitimate usurper of the people's
will, is illegal and of no force and effect," said its spokesman Nelson Chamisa.
Jeers, boos, heckling
Mugabe gets hostile reception in Zimbabwe parliament
Godfrey Marawanyika Tue Aug 26, 12:19 PM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's new
parliament got off to a stormy start Tuesday
when the opposition flexed its
new-found political muscle by heckling
President Robert Mugabe in the most
hostile legislature the veteran leader
has faced in 28
Four MPs of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
arrested, bringing the total number in custody to five, police
The party said its MPs had been arrested "on trumped-up charges of
violence," which were a "direct affront to the will of the people
Angered that a power struggle remains unresolved over
his refusal to cede
executive power months after a flawed presidential poll,
the MDC roundly
booed Mugabe during his speech.
intensified when he declared that "landmark agreements have
with every expectation that everybody will sign up".
Opposition MPs had
earlier abandoned plans to boycott the opening and
flocked into parliament
to denounce the session as meaningless, saying it
violated a deal signed in
July ahead of power-sharing talks, which have been
stalled for two
Despite his 28-year grip on power, Mugabe faced an unfamiliar
ZANU-PF party outnumbered by the opposition for the first time
"ZANU is rotten" chanted the MDC deputies, who
hold 100 seats to the once
all-powerful ZANU-PFs 99 following the March
general election. A breakaway
opposition faction holds 10 seats with one
independent making up the
brought to five the number of opposition MPs in custody,
arrest of another on rape charges on Monday in what the party
said was an
attempt to influence a crucial vote to elect the parliament
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said the charges against
Tuesday ranged from causing disaffection among the security
attempted murder, inciting public violence to rape.
used the ceremonial opening to try to draw a line under months of
deadlock and put the best face on the crisis.
"The elections are now
behind us.... Now is the time for us to put Zimbabwe
first," he said in his
And he accused Britain and the United States of a "vicious
saying Zimbabwe's "enemies" had tried to oust him by undermining
imports which had driven up regional food prices.
their latest weapon in their regime change agenda," Mugabe said.
said the delay in opening parliament was due "to a praiseworthy
peace and greater amity for our nation.
The 84-year-old president also
lamented what he called "regrettable and
isolated" cases of political
violence which caused MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai to withdraw from the
second round of a presidential election in
political parties in the country have acknowledged culpability
violence," said Mugabe.
This prompted further jeers of derision from the
opposition, who afterwards
handed in a petition addressed to Mugabe
rejecting his right to open the
"For the avoidance of
doubt the only person who can officially open
parliament will be determined
by the outcome of the on-going dialogue"
sponsored by the Southern African
Development Community, it said.
The petition denounced "continued arrests
and harassment of members of the
MDC" which it said was an affront to
The parliament was adjourned to October
Earlier, Mugabe had arrived to cheers from a crowd of supporters
outside the parliament building in Harare.
regalia of his ZANU-PF party, the crowd sang "He is our father.
He is our
leader" while Mugabe arrived in a Rolls Royce used for state
then inspected a guard of honour.
The opposition said earlier Tuesday
they would boycott the parliament
opening, saying it will not recognise a
government that was not a result of
"We will not attend...we don't expect any member of the
executive to address
us until that dialogue has been concluded," MDC
spokesman Nelson Chamisa
The MDC won the key parliamentary
speaker post in Monday's vote, but ZANU-PF
retained its presidency in the
senate, parliament's upper house, which has
limited veto powers against
lower house decisions.
more MPs arrested
MDC Press Release:
Three MDC MPs were today
arrested at Parliament bringing the number of
arrested MPs in the past two
days to four.
Hon. Broadwin Nyaude, the MP for Bindura South, Hon.
Mathias Mlambo, MP
Chipinge East and Hon. Pearson Mungofa, Highfield East MP
today while Hon. Eliah Jembere, the MP for Epworth is still in
custody after he was arrested yesterday.
The arrest of the
four legislators on trumped up charges of political
violence is meant to
frustrate the people's project following MDC's victory
in Parliament in the
29 March harmonised elections.
MDC views this continued harassment and
arrest of MDC legislators by the
state security agents as a direct affront
to the will of the people of
This entry was written
by Sokwanele on Tuesday, August 26th, 2008 at 7:02
says parliament opening "illegal", calls for talks
Byrne Aug 26, 2008, 16:12 GMT
Harare/Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said
President Robert Mugabe's opening
of parliament Tuesday was 'illegal' and
called for the speedy resumption of
talks on power-sharing as a state
crackdown on MDC officials
'The purported opening by Mugabe, the illegitimate usurper of
will as reflected on 29 March 2008 (elections), is illegal and
of no force
and effect,' the MDC said in a petition handed to Mugabe after
he opened the
two-chamber parliament to noisy protests.
person who can officially open this session of Parliament will be
by the outcome of the on-going dialogue sponsored by SADC
Development Community),' the petition continued.
In unprecedented scenes
reflecting the ebullient mood within the party after
scoring a parliamentary
victory Monday, MDC deputies occupying ruling party
benches for the first
time this week drowned out Mugabe's speech with
booing, clapping and
Mugabe's Zanu-PF was consigned to the opposition in March
elections after it
finished second to Tsvangirai's MDC faction - the larger
Tsvangirai's MDC won 100 seats to Zanu-PF's 99. The balance of
power in the
210-seat lower house is held by a breakaway MDC faction led by
The MDC had initially threatened to boycott the
convening of parliament
because it does not recognize Mugabe as
Mugabe stakes his legitimacy on a June presidential run-off
Tsvangirai - winner of the first round - refused to contest
because of a
spate of political violence directed at his
MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti said the party had reviewed
after its candidate, Lovemore Moyo, was voted speaker of
The party had wanted to show 'we now control parliament,' he
calling for the resumption of stalled power-sharing
'Dialogue must continue and dialogue must be concluded,' Biti
In a speech barely audible above the din, Mugabe admitted to 'cases
regrettable and isolated political violence' in recent months, in which
than 125 MDC members have been killed.
He also continued to cast
Tsvangirai as the spoiler in talks on a government
of national unity, saying
there was an 'expectation that everyone will sign
up' to the deal on the
Under the current proposal brokered by South African President
Mugabe would remain president with control of the army and
Tsvangirai is demanding full control of
the government, on the basis of his
Flogging a by now
familiar hobby horse, Mugabe also lashed out at what he
called a 'foreign
hand' in Zimbabwe's economic demise.
The 'destructive hand of our
enemies' was evident both in rising food prices
and the destabilization of
Zimbabwe's currency, he said.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of a grave
economic crisis that has forced Mugabe
into talks with the donor-backed
After Tsvangirai refused to sign up to the deal on the table, Mugabe
go-ahead from his neighbours in SADC to convene
He was expected to follow that up by appointing a cabinet,
some support from Mutambara's faction.
vote for speaker looks to have stymied those plans.
Tsvangirai's MDC won the
position, with support in the secret ballot from
within Mugabe's own party
and Mutambara's faction and despite the arrest of
two of its MPs. One was
On Tuesday, the crackdown continued with the arrest of
three more MPs and
Elton Mangoma, a negotiator for the party who has been
involved in the
negotiations with Zanu-PF.
The MDC sees the arrests
of the MPs as an attempt by Mugabe to shrink its
Zimbabweans are counting on a negotiated settlement to end
nearly a decade
of worsening hardship and political repression under Mugabe,
who has ruled
Zimbabwe since 1980.
MDC MPs, Senators petition Mugabe
26 August 2008 13:23
MDC MPs and
Senators today handed over a petition to Zanu PF President and
Secretary Mr Robert Mugabe when he came to "officially
The following is the full text of the
TO: Mr Robert Gabriel Mugabe-ZANU PF 1st Secretary and
FROM: MDC Senators and Legislators, Harvest House,
DATE: 26 August 2008
We, the undersigned members of the
Movement for Democratic Change elected
both to the Senate and the House of
Assembly declare that:
1. This official opening of the 7th Parliament of
Zimbabwe is a clear
breach of the Memorandum of Understanding and is
therefore of no force and
2. The purported opening by Mugabe, the
illegitimate usurper of the
people's will as reflected on 29 March 2008, is
illegal and of no force and
3. For the avoidance of doubt, the
only person who can officially open
this session of Parliament will be
determined by the outcome of the on-going
dialogue sponsored by SADC.
The appointment of Senators and governors by Mugabe is an affront
to the MOU
and a fraud on the people of Zimbabwe, which wrongfully and
designed to affect and did affect the election of both the
President and Vice
President of the Senate.
5. The continued harassment, arrest of MDC
legislators and activists
by members of the police and related security
institutions is a direct
affront to the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
The people of Zimbabwe await anxiously for the resolution of
SADC-brokered dialogue in order that the humanitarian crisis they face
urgently and immediately addressed.
MDC calls for urgent resumption of
26 August 2008 19:08
Wayne Mafaro and Hendricks Chizhanje
HARARE - Zimbabwe's
opposition called on Tuesday for urgent resumption of
talks with President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF
party, saying only a
negotiated political settlement could end deep-seated
the country apart.
Opposition MDC party secretary general Tendai Biti
said the unprecedented
jeering and heckling of Mugabe by opposition
legislators as he opened
Parliament earlier in the day was evidence of a
divided nation, and urged
neighbouring South African President Thabo Mbeki
to recall Zimbabwe's rival
political parties back to the negotiating
Mbeki is the Southern African Development Community (SADC)'s
"What happened today shows the obligations on
both sides that negotiations
should continue until we reach a negotiated
settlement. I hope the
facilitator (Mbeki), as a matter of urgency, will
re-convene the talks so
that dialogue will resume," said Biti, speaking
after the opening of
Parliament five months after last March's
Negotiations to form a government of national unity - which
say is the most viable way to end Zimbabwe's long-running
economic crisis - hit deadlock after MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and Mugabe
failed to agree on who between them should control
such a power-sharing
The election on Monday of an MDC
Speaker to preside over the key House of
Assembly while ZANU PF took firm
charge in the upper chamber of Parliament,
the Senate, has only helped to
further complicate the struggle for power
between Mugabe and
While the opposition-led lower chamber can originate and pass
will need endorsement from Senate and Mugabe's signature to
Judging on the palpable animosity between ZANU PF and the
MDC, this could
mean a paralysing tug-of-war between the two chambers on
nearly every major
issue that shall come before Parliament - unless of
course some form of
political settlement or cooperation agreement is reached
On Tuesday, the extent of loathing
between Zimbabwe's two biggest political
parties was on display when MDC
parliamentarians jeered and heckled Mugabe,
drowning large parts of his
speech to the new Parliament.
The MDC, which says it does not recognise
Mugabe's presidency, had earlier
threatened to boycott the opening of
Parliament but later decided to attend
the ceremony to show support for its
national chairman Lovemore Moyo who is
the new Speaker of the House of
To show their disdain for Mugabe, opposition legislators
when the veteran leader walked into the House. And when he
his speech, they interrupted him with embarrassing chants
"You killed people, we won't forget that," some of the MDC
shouted at Mugabe who defiantly continued with his speech
and attempted to
defend his record in power by narrating some of the
achievements of his
Meanwhile MDC parliamentarians have
handed a petition to clerk of
Parliament, Austin Zvoma saying Tuesday's
opening of Parliament was invalid
and that it was in violation of a
memorandum of understanding (MOU) on talks
signed between ZANU PF, MDC and a
faction of the MDC led by Arthur
The MOU, underwritten by
the SADC, had barred Mugabe from convening
Parliament or forming Cabinet
while talks were underway and said the
Zimbabwean leader could only take
such action with the consent of the other
parties to the
The MDC legislators said in the petition: "This official
opening of the 7th
Parliament of Zimbabwe is a clear breach of the
Memorandum of Understanding
and is therefore of no force and effect. The
purported opening by Mugabe . .
. is illegal and of no force and
"For the avoidance of doubt, the only person who can officially
session of Parliament will be determined by the outcome of the
dialogue sponsored by SADC." - ZimOnline
Zimbabwe's speaker makes history
Tuesday, 26 August 2008 12:28 UK
The speaker's seat in Zimbabwe's lower house of parliament is an
intimidating chair, overlooked by an artificial leopard mounted on the
It is a symbol of power.
The man who has occupied it as parliament opens is volleyball fan Lovemore
Moyo, 43, from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan
Mr Moyo becomes the first opposition speaker to assume that position since
the country attained independence from the United Kingdom in 1980.
It is a development that is forcing President Robert Mugabe to take a hard
look in the mirror as the balance of power slowly shifts.
It is creating tremors along the corridors of the lower house of parliament,
where the opposition commands more legislative seats than the ruling Zanu-PF
'Hate being patronised'
But the election of Mr Moyo as speaker does have its ironies.
The leopard which looks over proceedings in Zimbabwe's
He won with 110 votes to 98, meaning some Zanu-PF MPs voted for him.
One could have been his mother-in-law, Sithembiso Nyoni, a former minister in
President Mugabe's government, who may make it into the new cabinet.
It is not easy to guess if family or party loyalty won the day for her in
Given their different political backgrounds, Mr Moyo says the two "don't
discuss politics at home".
But if she gets out of line in the House of Assembly, Mr Moyo will have no
qualms in doing his job.
"I will call her to order," he chuckles.
The new speaker is warm and softly spoken. MDC insiders say it is difficult
to read his mind, because he is quiet and aloof.
"Quiet yes, but very tough," he says.
"I don't care who you are, I just hate being patronised."
Passion for politics
His relationship with Mr Mugabe over his five-year term is likely to be
turbulent given their wide political gulf.
"I'm not in this job to pander to the interests of individuals or political
organisations. Even with the head of state, we both have different
He says he wants to oversee a parliament where there are lively and real
"The polarised parliament of the past should remain in the past. I don't owe
anybody anything, I owe Zimbabweans a service."
Mr Moyo hails from Matabeleland, in southern Zimbabwe, and the marginalised
region will take comfort in an opposition speaker that will spearhead their
There will be no love loss between Mr Moyo and Mr
There is much resentment among the region's Ndebele people towards Mr Mugabe,
which stems from the massacre of an estimated 20,000 people after independence.
His passion for politics was cut early in life, when he and his seven
brothers went to join the liberation struggle against white minority rule.
He cut his education short and left for Zambia in 1977 and trained to become
a political commissar in Zipra - the military wing of Ndebele nationalist leader
Joshua Nkomo's movement.
At independence, he refused to join the army and retired to his rural home in
He describes himself as a cultural and developmental activist and founded the
Matabeleland Development Association.
finished his secondary education in 1990.
"I was taught by people that were younger than me," he remembers.
Now a father of three, he comes from a large family - his father had three
wives and 17 children altogether.
"We are many and proud of that," Mr Moyo says.
His favoured way to relax is to watch a game of volleyball.
He plays socially and has sat on the committees of Zimbabwe's Volleyball
Association and his favourite Bulawayo-based Highlanders Volleyball team.
His Matopos constituency is home to the grave of the man who engineered the
colonisation of the region, Cecil John Rhodes.
I tease him about the British puppet tag Mr Mugabe continues to put on his
"I went to war, I'm a freedom fighter. My whole Mute village in Matopos was
reduced to ashes during the liberation war.
"When Rhodesian forces would ask for terrorists, people would point at our
village," he says.
"Our family has a liberation war tradition and I'm proud of that."
His village, he adds, also has the grave of Mzilikazi - the last king of the
"Those that call us puppets, have no understanding of our history."
It's about power, stupid
MANDY ROSSOUW - Aug 25 2008
The talks to bring peace to Zimbabwe drag on,
check-mated by the conflicting
notions of power-transfer versus
power-sharing. Mandy Rossouw put a similar
set of questions to both Zanu-PF
and the Movement for Democratic Change to
assess the political
George Charamba: spokesperson for Robert Mugabe
in your view, did the talks take so long to reach agreement?
adopted a document that should have been signed by everyone, but
signed by only two of the three parties. The document stood the test
power-sharing deal if you go by the results of elections in March,
said there was no outright winner. They [the people] don't want power
transferred, it must be shared. The summit communiqué is an
the MDC-Tsvangirai to please proceed and sign the document.
are part of an entangled scheme; it is not about whether
understand one another politically. It is about how
Zimbabwe is being used
to protect external interests. We are dealing with
interests that have
nothing to do with Tsvangirai and Mugabe. It is about
the plight of the
white man and Britain and its mining interests. Zimbabwe
mineralised and that is our curse.
What should be the most important
outcome of these talks?
The reaffirmation of Zimbabwe's independence. To put
it down simply to
matters of democracy and good governance is missing the
Talks are of no significance if they do not address
There should be a broadening of empowerment to cover
more than land.
Zimbabwe is addressing a new question: what to do about
kingdom [that was won without winning power over the economic
Which country has firmly put on the agenda the social question
redistribution of resources] and had to pick a fight over national
[with its former colonisers]? Tsvangirai did not do that -- he
doesn't own a
It [the money] is with the settlers, the people
who matter economically. It
is the economy of ownership. There are 600-plus
British companies in
Zimbabwe. It is not this native of Buhera [referring to
can't be calling the tune in this country.
influence does the continuing economic decline in Zimbabwe have on the
I don't know what you are terming as economic decline. In terms of
stats, Barclays is declaring a dividend every year, so does Stanbic and
Zimplats. All the real players are sticking it out and doing brisk business.
The social condition of the native is on the decline. The condition of the
Zimbabwean black will remain the same for years from now, because it is
about who runs the economy. When [British Prime Minister] Gordon Brown wants
Tsvangirai to sign, he will sign.
All sanctions must be dropped. An
MDC that signs an agreement with Zanu-PF
removes the fig leaf from Britain
to uncover the interest of the British
[and shows the MDC to be a front for
What kind of support would Zimbabwe need once the
recovery process starts?
Zimbabwe doesn't need to be assisted. We are the
cheapest producers of
platinum. This is not a country that is poor but we
are suffering due to our
national mineral endowment. The $1,8-billion that
is promised by the United
States and United Kingdom will never
We don't have the capital and the investors of goodwill -- that is
Zimbabwe needs. We will be able to pull ourselves up if our
effort is not destabilised. Why haven't those companies that
here not made a difference?The capital that will liberate us is
that has liberated us before. You know about our Looking East
policy? We are
looking at China as a source of capital and also Iran, India
and Russia. If
the British and Americans make way, there wouldbe replacement
The Russians want to move in and exploit the mines. The
Chinese are already
trying to find a way into the platinum industry. We are
backwards, we are stumbling forward.
The status quo is
Tendai Biti: secretary general of the MDC
Why, in your
view, did the talks take so long to reach agreement?
It has not taken a long
time. If you look at negotiations in Darfur and
Sudan and South Africa, the
talks took nothing less than two years. It is
actually a shock just how
quickly we have been able to reach agreements on
the things we reached
agreement on. The principles of constitutionalism and
non-violence have been
agreed. The issue that is bogging us down now is the
nature of the state and
of its power relations. It's not a walk in the park.
What should be the
most important outcome of these talks?
The most important outcome is a
solution that places Zimbabwe on an
irreversible path to the resolution of
the crisis once and for all. This
can't be a piecemeal
What influence does the continuing economic decline in
Zimbabwe have on the
It is a reflection and proof of the fact that
nationalism has been a
failure. The problem is some people's value systems
are skewed and the
economy is the least of their concerns. Any government
that presides over
interest rates of well over 2 000% would have resigned.
But you won't resign
if that does not bother you.
Why is it important
for the talks to be concluded speedily?
The status quo is
You have thousands of people fleeing the country every
day. Inflation is
sky-high. Life expectancy is 34 years.
What kind of
support would Zimbabwe need once the recovery process starts?
One of the
ironies of the present matrix is that this regime that has made
the national religion has made the Zimbabwean economy so
has decreased our independence. This state will require
massive amounts of
money and assistance because these nationalists have made
us decrease our
Zanu PF are still delusional
Tuesday, 26th August 2008
Sean Martin 5:20pm
With the MDC still refusing to sign the
unacceptable power sharing deal, Zimbabwe’s future hangs in the balance. The discussions are as farcical
as we expected – a fact demonstrated by Mandy Russow’s piece in the South African Mail and
Guardian today. In it, she interviews both
George Charamba and Tendai Biti, from Zanu PF and MDC respectively, and asks
them identical questions about the deal negotiations. Charamba’s answers depict
the central cause of Zimbabwe’s ruin: Zanu PF delusions. He asserts:
mention of interest rates over 2,000% and hyperinflation then. The truth is that
any deal with Zanu PF playing a significant role will fail to address the
chronic breakdown of the Zimbabwean economy. It is hard to see how an effective
solution can be produced from these talks. We know one thing for sure though. If
Zimbabwe is to eventually recover it must be taken completely out of Zanu PF’s
“It is about the plight of the white man and
Britain and its mining interests…I don't know what you are terming as economic
decline. In terms of the stats, Barclays is declaring a dividend every year, so
does Stanbic and Zimplats”
opens as patients despair
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2008
As Zimbabwean guest blogger Helen watches the opening ceremony of
parliament, a friend tells her how patients are struggling to get necessary
I watched the opening of parliament on TV with Frank, a
friend who has
I hadn't seen him for a while and while we
waited for the live coverage of
the ceremony to begin, he told me what had
happened when he went to the
large government hospital a few days
Frank got to the hospital early in the morning, an hour before the
outpatients department opened. There were already forty people standing in
line and the queue was growing every minute.
When the doors opened at
8am there were about 200 people waiting to see the
pharmacist and collect
life preserving medication on repeat prescriptions
for conditions such as
high blood pressure, asthma, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and
happened for an hour and there was no explanation for the delay but
the pharmacist finally came out and he went quickly down the line
people's open case record books.
The pharmacist could not help the
woman and neither could he help Frank
who needs 3 tablets every night to
control his epileptic fits.
"Nothing, nothing, nothing," he
repeated as he looked at the books being
held open by the
The pharmacist at this big, provincial, teaching hospital had
none of the
drugs needed by the waiting people: no anti-retrovirals for HIV,
for diabetics, no blood pressure pills, nothing for asthma,
"You are wasting time here," he said "go and
try somewhere else, we have
In a few minutes the 200 strong
queue had all but dispersed. The pharmacist
offered to write referral
letters for people to take to chemists in South
Africa, Zambia, Botswana or
Mozambique and said he was sorry but there was
nothing else he could
This hospital, like all other government hospitals around the
no drugs on hand, no stocks on order, no money, no budget and
no idea when
there may be a change in the situation.
Frank watched a
woman, perhaps in her late fifties, sitting on a wooden
bench weeping. He
saw her tears dripping onto the cracked concrete floor,
their wetness bright
in the dust. He tried to comfort the woman but she was
"Now I am going to die," she said. "Without my tablets
I will die."
The pharmacist could not help the woman and neither could he
help Frank who
needs 3 tablets every night to control his epileptic
Frank drew quiet from telling his
story and we turned to watch the TV
screen - a rare treat as the electricity
is usually off for 16 hours a day.
We watched the police cars, the
mounted escort, the black, open topped Rolls
Royce and in the back seat just
one head - that of Mr Mugabe. No sign of Mrs
Mugabe today - strange,
After Mr Mugabe had inspected the guard of honour he disappeared
the spectacle started.
Five months after the elections and
now at last we could finally see the men
and women we'd chosen filing into
Parliament. The new opposition MDC MPs
were easy to spot: they were smiling,
waved and raised their arms to greet
after the elections and now at last we could finally see the
men and women
we'd chosen filing into Parliament.
"They are for the people!" Frank
said, "you can see it so easily."
Then followed the red robed judges, the
chiefs, senators and governors. The
green leather benches in the House of
Assembly held far more people then
they were designed for in our massively
inflated Parliament. Some people had
to sit back while others sat forward in
the leg spaces and still others
wedged in sideways.
When Mr Mugabe
walked in the ZANU PF MPs rose, the MDC MPs remained seated -
a sign of
things to come.
For thirty minutes Frank and I were riveted to an
The MDC MPs called out, shouted, sang, talked,
jeered, heckled and
challenged Mr Mugabe throughout his speech. "ZANU is
rotten!" they sang and
clapped while Mr Mugabe raised his voice and spoke
ever louder to make
"ZANU is dead and buried!" the MDC
MPs sang out repeatedly in gospel type
Mr Mugabe's forehead
glistened with sweat and he spoke faster and faster
until he got to the end
of his prepared speech. As Mr Mugabe left the House
the MDC MPs remained
Respect is lost. Recognition has gone.
Doctors' strike adds to country's pain
BULAWAYO, 26 August 2008 (IRIN) -
Mehluli Moyo's frail looking mother wheels him into Mpilo central hospital in
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city. Her son is suffering from an undiagnosed
illness, has lost a huge amount of weight and is in constant pain.
care strained |
Nurses at the main referral hospital in southern Zimbabwe advise his
mother, Jestina Moyo, 59, that she should take her son to a private hospital,
but she protests that she cannot afford the high consultation fees charged by
private doctors. The nurses then suggest that she buy pain killers for him.
Mehluli, 35, is just one of thousands of Zimbabweans bearing the brunt
of a strike by government doctors, who downed tools last week to protest against
salaries that are quickly eroded by the official annual inflation rate of 11.2
"This is painful to watch my son waste away like this.
The hospital says the doctors are on strike, demanding high salaries, and there
is nothing I can do for my son, as I have no money to take him to a private
doctor," Jestina said, wiping the perspiration from her son's face with a towel.
"So I just have to take him back home and buy painkillers as the nurses
have advised - I do not know what he is suffering from this time, and we needed
a doctor to diagnose what the problem is this time," she told IRIN.
this is a reflection of the political system we have in the country; everyone is
on strike at any given time, and things will not improve unless and until there
is new leadership that will address the doctors' concerns and those of other
professionals in the country," Jestina said. "As it is, my son will die a
painful death unless I find money to take him to a private doctor."
State hospitals provide health services to the majority of Zimbabweans
but the country's economic meltdown has brought shortages of most things,
including basic foods, fuel and electricity.
The situation in the health
sector has been compounded by acute staff shortages of medical personnel, drugs
and equipment; government hospitals were barely functioning before the strike
Health for a few
charge fees in foreign currency equivalents of between about US$35 and US$50,
far beyond the reach of most people: unemployment is above 80 percent, and the
salaries of those with jobs often do not even cover monthly transport costs.
In Mpilo hospital's emergency and burn wards, nurses are struggling to
treat patients because there are few medicines or other resources. "We are just
giving them ... [painkillers] as these are the only drugs available at the
hospital. Since the strike started we have registered deaths which doctors could
have dealt with if they were not on strike," a nurse, who declined to be
identified, told IRIN.
Tawanda Sibanda was turned away from the
hospital after seeking treatment for acute diarrhoea, and went to a traditional
healer. "It is cheaper to visit the traditional healers and under the
circumstances there is no choice, as private doctors are very expensive."
|Since the strike started we
have registered deaths which doctors could have dealt with if they were not on
Zimbabwe's health workers have gone on strike several times in the past few
years to try and keep up with the rocketing cost of living. Medical staff were
awarded wage hikes ahead of the 29 March elections, but the effects of
hyperinflation have rapidly devalued their salaries again.
of the Zimbabwe Medical Doctors Association (ZMDA), Amon Siveregi, reiterated to
IRIN that his members would not return to work until all their demands had been
"The situation countrywide is that all doctors at all the
country's referral hospitals are on strike, but we are negotiating with the
government on a new package," Siveregi said.
"At the moment I am not at
liberty to disclose to you our demands because of a confidentiality clause in
our dealings that we signed with our principals."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
Questions loom over the new role of parliament
By Violet Gonda
MDC parliamentarians were in attendance at the opening of
Robert Mugabe on Tuesday although the party had threatened to
event saying nobody has the mandate to address the House before
are completed. Despite getting a boost when the MDC won the
Monday, the party came under fire from people who felt they
attend the opening ceremony. They complained it was 'normalising
abnormal,' and accepting Mugabe's terms.
The Combined Harare
Residents Association (CHRA) issued a statement
condemning the convening of
parliament before the completion of the
inter-party talks. CHRA said without
an agreement between the two parties,
it is very difficult for the
Parliament to conduct its business.
On Monday the MDC made history by
becoming the first opposition party to
take away the position of Speaker
from ZANU PF, and it is widely believed
the impact would have been greater
if Robert Mugabe had been forced to open
parliament without the Speaker,
Deputy Speaker and the MDC's 100 members of
parliament. Critics also accuse
the party of being ambivalent and sending
mixed messages over the issue of
boycotting the convening of parliament.
Despite the mixed messages, the
MDC parliamentarians booed and heckled
during Mugabe's opening address in a
clear sign that they did not recognise
his legitimacy as Head of State. The
party said in a statement that the only
person who can officially open this
session of parliament will be determined
by the outcome of the on-going
dialogue sponsored by SADC.
In a functioning democracy the role of the
Speaker is fairly critical as he
leads the business of parliament, regulates
debate in the House and holds
the government to account. In theory,
parliament can also pass laws and
issue directives for Cabinet Ministers to
appear before it, and if they fail
to comply they may be held in contempt.
However, Zimbabwe is not yet a
functioning democracy. Analysts say winning
the Speakership is a victory for
the MDC but seems rather insufficient given
the extent and repressive nature
of the prevailing political
Political analyst Brian Kagoro said: "So the question remains, in a
where Parliament has previously been a rubber stamp, to what extent
wielding of a nominal majority and the election of an MDC Speaker
revolutionary change or the sort of meaningful transformation that
Kagoro said as long as Mugabe wields the imperial
Presidential powers the
parliament can go through the symbolic process of
legislations but the enactment requires Presidential
ZANU PF still has control of the senate and it is widely believed
of the two legislative bodies contribute to a deadlock in the
Some observers also fear that the regime is still up to no good
continues to arrest MDC MPs. Three more legislators were arrested on
while two others were arrested on Monday, although one of the MPs
released on the same day.
On the other hand some believe these
are the last kicks of a dying horse and
that Mugabe's position is now truly
undermined by Tsvangirai and his party.
It still remains to be seen if
Zimbabwe is witnessing the gradual transfer
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
future for Tsvangirai if he surrenders
August 26, 2008
ROBERT Mugabe's intentions are now quite clear. At the
SADC summit in Johannesburg he got what he wanted -
recognition as Zimbabwe's
president by his regional peers.
considerable pressure and manipulation by South Africa's President
Mbeki, SADC leaders, with the exception of Botswana's Ian Khama,
draft agreement that leaves Mugabe's powers as president intact.
As a bonus
the Zimbabwe leader was given the green light to convene
Parliament and form
a government. It is a given that the African Union (AU)
will take its cue
from SADC and accept Mugabe as a legitimate head of state.
recognition from Africa Mugabe intends to form a government
with the support
of Arthur Mutambara's faction of the MDC. That faction's
support is required
to give Zanu-PF a working majority in the House of
Assembly and to be seen
to comply with the AU's call for a government of
The decision to support Mutambara's candidate for Speaker of the
intended to secure collaboration between the two parties in the
The first prize for Mugabe is to get Morgan
Tsvangirai, the main MDC leader,
to sign the deal on the table which gives
him a subordinate role in
government. If he refuses Mugabe is determined to
forge ahead with Mutambara
on the grounds that Tsvangirai is being
unreasonably intransigent. Mbeki and
other SADC leaders are applying
pressure on Tsvangirai to sign a deal that
legitimizes Mugabe's rule for a
full five years.
African solutions for African problems.
recognition by Africa in the bag Mugabe is under no pressure to
He can form a government without Tsvangirai and dress it up as
one with the help of Mutambara. As South Africa's labour body
COSATU put it:
'' Mugabe believes he can get away with this manoeuvre
because of the clear
signal he received from SADC when they paraded him as
head of state at the
summit. It was the worst possible message they could
The significance of Monday's election of Lovemore Moyo of
as Speaker of the House is that it cast serious doubt on
to deliver his party's 10 MPs to Mugabe. All indications
are that Mutambara's
MPs defied the party leadership by voting for Moyo.
They are opposed to the
treacherous deal Mutambara is crafting with Mugabe.
They know how their
constituents feel about signing a Faustian pact with
Mugabe. It is obvious
that a deal was struck between Mugabe and Mutambara in
which the former
uncharacteristically let go the speakership of the House.
Mugabe, ever so
cunning, was looking at the bigger picture. A few senatorial
governorships are also on the table for Mutambara to further
Down the road lie cabinet posts. All this is
irresistible to Mutambara and
his secretary-general Welshman Ncube. The two
men are blinded to the perils
of this anti-Tsvangirai pact. Having no
constituents to answer to they
cannot see beyond their hunger for office and
Whither the talks?
Mbeki has convinced his regional
counterparts that the agreement on the
table is a fair one. All pressure
should be put on Tsvangirai to sign. There
is a thinly veiled threat that if
he does not play ball Mugabe will form a
government with Mutambara.
Tsvangirai will be left out to freeze in the
cold. Psychological warfare is
being waged against the MDC leader to sign a
political death warrant.
Central to that pressure is incessant propaganda
that Tsvangirai is being
dictated to by Western powers. The expectation is
that in an eagerness to
prove he is a good pan-Africanist he will sign the
now is whether Tsvangirai will buckle under the pressure.
Reasons for the
deadlock are now in the open. Under the terms of the
agreement Mugabe will
be both head of state and government with Tsvangirai a
prime minister who
reports to him. How Ncube, a constitutional lawyer, can
argue that this
amounts to power sharing boggles the mind. What power does
minister have under this agreement? Zilch. A genuine power-sharing
arrangement has a president as head of state with the prime minister in
charge of government. There is not an aorta of power Mugabe has conceded to
Tsvangirai. So devoid of power and responsibility is the office of Prime
Minister in this agreement that its incumbent will hardly need any staff to
The choice Tsvangirai faces is clear.
Does he stick
to principles and reject a deal that is insulting to his
party, himself and
the people who have sacrificed and lost so much in
support of genuine
democratic change in the country? Or does he succumb to
benefits of office and to the illusion of power? There is no
doubt that to
sign the agreement as it stands would be nothing short of
The former American president Abraham Lincoln famously
said: "Put your feet
in the right place and stand firm." There is a great
principle at stake. It
is time for African leaders to respect the wishes of
their people. Violence
was used to deny the people of Zimbabwe a free choice
on the June 27
presidential run-off. To sign an agreement that essentially
validates a poll
rejected by all observers is unacceptable.
support Mugabe's contention that the bullet is mightier than the
The purpose of these talks should be to create conditions for
transformation of Zimbabwe into a truly democratic nation. This
entails a genuine power-sharing arrangement with specified tasks
limited duration. The process must culminate in free and fair
yield a government of unquestionable legitimacy. Tsvangirai
must not shift
from this position because it is a principled and correct
The coming days and weeks will determine what the future holds for
Tsvangirai and his party. If they wilt under the pressure and surrender to
Mugabe a bleak political future awaits them. They will undo in a moment of
panic and stupidity all they have painstakingly built over the past nine
years. Their resolve must not weaken.
They must put their feet in the
right place and stand firm.
COSATU slams SADC support of Mugabe
By Alex Bell
South Africa's trade union federation, COSATU has slammed the
African Development Community's apparent support of Robert Mugabe,
the regional body gave the dictator clear signals that it is backing
The powerful grouping of heads of state effectively
endorsed Mugabe as
Zimbabwe's leader, after accepting him as head of state
at the SADC summit
in South Africa earlier this month. Meanwhile, leaked
revealed over the weekend that SADC sanctioned a
that would have seen Mugabe remain as head of state
as well as head of
government. The regional body proceeded to put pressure
on opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai to sign the deal during the summit
before giving Mugabe
the green light to convene parliament when Tsvangirai
refused to sign.
Mugabe ordered Parliament to convene on Monday ignoring
that the move could derail the stalled inter party
the move to recall Parliament appeared to backfire on
ZANU PF and its ageing
leader when an MDC candidate was elected Speaker of
the key House of
Assembly, the first time that the lower chamber of
Parliament is to be led
by the opposition.
COSATU said in a statement
on Tuesday that Mugabe, with 'clear signals' from
SADC's regional leaders,
was now on a mission to secure power to the
exclusion of the Tsvangirai lead
MDC. The trade union federation said 'it
was the worst possible message they
(regional leaders) could have given'
when SADC 'paraded him (Mugabe) as head
of state at the summit.'
The trade union federation has been vocally
opposed to Mugabe's reign of
terror and has insisted he is illegitimately in
power after he snatched back
power in the controversial one man run-off
election in June.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
CHRA demands legal reforms from Parliament
25 August 2008
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) condemns the decision to
convene the 7th Parliament of Zimbabwe. It is the Association's view that
the Parliament should have been convened after the completion of the inter
party talks between ZANU PF and the MDC. Without an agreement between the
two parties, it is very difficult for the Parliament to conduct its
business. None the less, CHRA reasserts its demands for legal reforms on
Zimbabwe's local Governance system. The following are CHRA's
o The return of the executive mayoral system
Constitutionalisation of Local Governance
o Creation of autonomous and
cooperative system of local Governance
o The reversal of the ZINWA
o Reform of the Urban Councils Act.
The Association is of the
firm view that these reforms will help create a
participatory and democratic
system of local governance in Zimbabwe; and
therefore open up space for
residents' participation in local Governance.
CHRA reminds the Parliament
that local governance is the link between the
central Government and the
grass root communities. It is the vehicle through
which the ordinary
citizens of this country can be able to actively
participate and influence
national policy formulation, implementation,
evaluation and management.
Through various reforms enacted by the previous
and successive Parliaments,
Zimbabwe's local Governance system is in a state
of collapse as the central
Government has taken over most of the critical
powers and functions of the
local authorities. The final nail to the coffin
of Zimbabwe's Local
Government system was the Local Governement Amendment
Act which stripped the
Mayors of their executive powers. In essence, this
has robbed the residents
of the only platform they could use to participate
in national and community
development. The previous cabinet's authorization
of the ZINWA takeover was
yet another blow to the innocent residents. As a
direct result of this
irresponsible decision, Harare residents are now
suffering a water crisis
while ZINWA seems not to have a solution at all.
The service delivery
problems currently bedeviling the once sun shining city
of Harare and indeed
all the other towns and communities are a direct result
decision to usurp the powers and functions of the local
remains firm on its demand for enhanced citizen
participation in local
governance. It is on this basis that residents across
the breadth and length
of the country rendered their support to the various
candidates who are now
Members of the 7th Parliament of Zimbabwe. The
Association realizes and
appreciates the significance of the 7th Parliament
of Zimbabwe in fulfilling
the residents' desire for a democratic, people
centered local governance
Farai Barnabas Mangodza
Chief Executive Officer
Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
145 Robert Mugabe Way
House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4-
Contacts: Mobile: 011 563 141, 0912638401 and 011862012 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Sinking Economy, Misery Index and Zimbabwe’s Moral Quandary
of duty best describes the indictment befitting a regime that
consistently failed its people for nearly three decades with Mugabe as
Commander-in-chief. The end-product of this incompetence has been an
impoverished nation whose out-of-touch government cannot even afford to feed
starving citizens or take care of the sick as productive farms were looted
and hospitals bereft of the most basic supplies and manpower,
It would have been unimaginable 10 years ago that Zimbabwe,
breadbasket, would ever experience a situation where outside help
be needed to help feed nearly half of its population facing
quality of life has drastically plummeted for all these
years and the
Zimbabwean story has become a glaring epitome of
Millions of Zimbabweans have been displaced by the economic
predominantly as economic refugees, across the world, overwhelmingly
into South Africa, Botswana and UK. Ironically, these are the same
whose meager remittances have collectively and indirectly
regime consequently slowing down the economy’s imminent
It is almost as if the officials of the current government do not
urgency to address the ‘black market’ economy they have presided
over for a
long time. As the economic crisis continues unabated, the rich
richer and the middle class has been totally wiped out and
levels below the poverty datum line. Yet the response from the
that characterized by a fundamental lack of empathy for the
For its size, Zimbabwe has a bloated bureaucracy with
all kinds of stupid
ministries and self-serving programs which do not serve
any purpose. No
wonder the government sanctioned a costly exploration and
undertaking by four cabinet ministers to analyze the ‘farting
habits’ of a
Chinhoyi ‘con-woman- cum-n’anga (witchdoctor) who claimed there
oozing=2 0out of a rock in Chinhoyi provided by medium spirits,
alleviate the nation’s fuel shortages. How retarded!
Due to the
wretched handling of the economy, recent reports indicate that
well over 50 million percent. The band-aid redenomination
scrapping ten zeroes is already wreaking vengeance on the
economy with a
double ricochet. The recent monetary announcements were meant
to serve as a
short-term expedient haphazardly designed out of desperation
by a government
that has no clue about how to get us out of this quagmire.
Misery index, an
indicator used to assess an economy’s health/well-being, is
adding the rate of unemployment and inflation. The current US
is 11.3% as of July 2008. Former President Jimmy Carter made a
successful campaign around ‘Misery Index’ during the 1976
that culminated in his victory. Carter’s message was very
simple: he argued
that a misery index of 13.75% (during that time) was too
high for the nation
to re-elect Gerald Ford, the incumbent president
responsible for that
Zimbabwe’s misery index is incomputable and out of range. At
50 million % + 95% (inflation and unemployment respectively),
is a typical ‘rocket science made easy’ scenario. Citizens’
outrage is the
missing link! For much longer will the regime continue to
ignore the voices
of the overwhelming majority immersed in poverty? The
damage done to the
economy is not for the faint-hearted.
regime’s beneficiaries have unashamedly basked in glory and flaunt
vast wealth, thanks to politics of patronage that has handsomely
them, the rest of the nation is squirming in abject poverty. It is
if the whole establishment of the current government is designed
Gono and his bosses are the biggest obstacles to economic
the current state of affairs economically benefits them.
Need Money? Print,
print, print! Need foreign currency? Mop up th foreign
currency floating in
the black market remitted by exiles and buy more luxury
cars for the army’s
top brass and government officials. It is an economy
conveni ently driven by
black market hence no accountability
What we have learnt from the just-held elections for speaker of
is that Zanu PF will lose any free and fair election. Even Zanu
sympathetic ‘good professors’ who were again acting like monkeys
feces on our hopes and dreams last week, could not stop the will of
people. Mutambara, the man with a Mugabesque similitude, must be
with shame for his well-deserved defeat after openly declaring his
for Mugabe despite clear indications that ‘his’ MP’s were ready to
him in protest of his association with Mugabe.
The military has
profoundly betrayed the people of Zimbabwe. Mugabe has
exploited the loyalty
of the top brass of the security apparatus for
Nonetheless his strategy in dealing with the nation’s
security forces is
highly flawed. It has just been revealed that the monthly
salary of a
Zimbabwean soldier is barely enough to buy two loaves of bread.
recipe for mutiny!
The poverty in Zimbabwe does not discriminate except for
those in the
echelons of power. Poverty has fiercely struck the men and
women in uniform.
The vast majority of the police, army and the CIO officers
living in extreme pauperism. The sad realization is that these
are the very
same people who personified the face of violent torture and
perceived enemies of Mugabe. The nation has very little
sympathy for them
even though they are ‘one of us’.
bosses are not the real soldiers; they are politicians
political survival. It is not surprising that the JOC is
the formation of a government of national unity. They know
that such a
government is a threat to their ill-gotten economic privileges.
sadly missing his best opportunity to mildly redeem a botched
Having worked tirelessly to give workers a voice, I have no doubt
Morgan Tsvangirai, whose stated policies closely identify with the
masses, will give due consideration to the plight of the
unemployed and the
suffering citizens. Tsvangirai is leve raged by a
stockpile of goodwill of
people from all walks of life in Zimbabwe and
across the globe. The totally
made-up argument that Tsvangirai will reverse
the gains of Independence is
ludicrous. Nonetheless, what gains are there to
talk about that we can be
made to be afraid of?
The nation needs a
people-oriented, stable and qualified leader. This
economic disaster of our
time demands that our politicians rise above party
prejudices and come
together to stop economic bleeding, if they care about
the ordinary men and
women of Zimbabwe. Politics is at the epicenter of
problems and lack of political will is the cause for
The moral quandary of a fraudulently run economy is there for
see. Zanu PF’s inability to connect with the suffering masses is
Mugabe and his cronies are acting as if they are not seeing the
that people are experiencing just to make ends meet. Mugabe must
he cannot take the position of ceremonial President as he has
Female Reporter Who Witnessed Police Violence Released After Several Hours
Reporters sans Frontières (Paris)
25 August 2008
Posted to the web 26 August
Reporter Rutendo Mawere of the privately-owned weekly "The
was arrested on 21 August 2008 in Gweru (in Midlands
province), 280 km
southwest of Harare, was released a few hours later
without being charged.
Mawere was arrested while watching police beat
residents who had been
queuing outside a shop for basic staples.
the search for a negotiated solution to the political crisis continues,
journalists are still being subjected to police brutality, arbitrary arrest
and constant intimidation," Reporters Without Borders said. "Trying to hide
the destitution of the population by arresting witnesses is
The arrest comes two weeks after freelance photographer
fled Zimbabwe with his family after being attacked and
beaten at his home on
29 July by the Harare police, who accused him of
owning an improperly
registered car. The police still have his vehicle.
Mukwazhi and his family
have found refuge abroad.
leaders concerned that time is running out in Zimbabwe
By Ecumenical News
26 Aug 2008
Christian leaders in Zimbabwe have called on
parties to continuing
power-sharing talks to shun partisan interests and
urgently break the
impasse that is holding back the conclusion of
negotiations aimed at
resolving the country's political and economic
"As the Church, we urge the political parties to take national
seriously and avoid advancing selfish partisan interests," Goodwill
chairperson of the Heads of Christian Denominations group, was quoted
saying in an interview with the government-run newspaper, The Herald, on
"We are losing time; we need to move forward and
break the impasse," said
South African President Thabo Mbeki,
mediating in talks between Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the Movement
for Democratic Change, which won a
majority of seats in the March
parliamentary elections, were adjourned late
on 19 August after reports that
Mugabe was demanding he retain power in the
negotiators have not officially given the reason for the
close to the talks say opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
refused to sign,
and was insisting that the post of prime minister that
reports say it is
proposed he would hold, should have real executive power
and thus more
influence than Mugabe in the proposed government.
community has so far not recognized the election of
84-year-old Mugabe as
president. For his part, the long-time leader of
Zimbabwe has refused to
relinquish his executive powers.
The current talks were expected to
resolve the political crisis that
resulted from the one-candidate
presidential run-off internationally
declared as a sham election, and which
sole candidate Mugabe won after
Tsvangirai boycotted the race following a
campaign period marred by violence
Catholic Bishops' Conference has welcomed the talks in South
although the bishops said the process should be more inclusive in
it to gain legitimacy. The Catholic leaders called on the
parties not to rush into a government of national unity but to
dismantle instruments of violence, reject impunity, and usher in a
political culture in which accountability, inclusiveness, transparency,
healing and reconciliation are paramount.
The bishops also urged the
negotiators to act with urgency given the
economic situation in Zimbabwe
that saw the official annual inflation rise
in June 2008 to 11.2 million
percent, although independent economists say
the real figure could well be
over 20 million percent.
"We urge negotiators to recognise the urgency of
economic priorities," the
Catholic bishops said in a statement reacting to
the earlier signing of a
memorandum of agreement on 21 July between the
three parties. "They will
need to create an environment in which production
can begin to take place
and economic stability established. We will continue
to pray for God's
grace, and to encourage all citizens to pray for the
process that has begun
so that . all people are reconciled and become
[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is
sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World
the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Conference of