by Own Correspondent Thursday 28 August 2008
JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's opposition said on Wednesday it will not join any
government formed by President Robert Mugabe before conclusion of
negotiations meant to bring the country's feuding political parties into an
all-inclusive government of national unity.
Reacting to Mugabe's announcement at a luncheon after opening Parliament on
Tuesday that he would soon name a Cabinet, the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party labelled such a move "a declaration of war
against the people".
"It's very clear that if he announces the new Cabinet it's a declaration of
war against the people. You can't just have a Cabinet without a mandate,"
said Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson of Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC, urging the
84-year-old Zimbabwean leader to wait for the conclusion of negotiations.
The state-owned Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday that Mugabe had told
government officials that he would soon be naming a new Cabinet without the
MDC which the veteran leader said was unwilling to join in the new
Chamisa accused Mugabe of trying to "hijack the leadership" of Zimbabwe and
appealed to South African President Thabo Mbeki, the Southern African
Development Community's official mediator on the Zimbabwe crisis, to
urgently intervene as Zimbabwe was "sliding and gliding into anarchy".
"The talks have not been formally terminated so the natural conclusion is
that the talks are on," Chamisa said, adding that they were yet to get
formal communication on the way forward from Mbeki since the talks stalled
two weeks ago after Mugabe and Tsvangirai failed to agree on who would wield
more power between them.
A breakaway faction of MDC led by Arthur Mutambara, in what appears to be a
departure from its increasingly pro-ZANU PF stance, also said it would not
join a Mugabe government.
"We are actually looking forward to the conclusion of the dialogue when
Mugabe and Tsvangirai form a transitional government," said party spokesman
Meanwhile five MDC parliamentarians were on Wednesday still in police
custody following their arrest this week, and a High Court bid by the MDC
secretary general Tendai Biti, to dismiss treason charges brought ahead of
the presidential run-off vote in June, was postponed. - ZimOnline
"This cabinet that I had was the worst in history. They look at themselves. They are unreliable," Mugabe was quoted as saying in the Herald newspaper following the opening of Parliament on Tuesday 26 August 2008.
For a man who is 84 years old that is a long history.
What is a cabinet? – “A Cabinet systems of government share two common principles. First, they observe the principle of collective responsibility. Cabinet ministers share in the process of making cabinet decisions and are duly bound to defend those decisions in public irrespective of private opinion. Secondly, they observe the principle of parliamentary accountability.”
All current Zimbabwean cabinet ministers serve at the pleasure of Robert Mugabe, are answerable to him and appointed by him without consultation with parliament or any other arm of government.
When the “cabinet” established a committee of bare-footed ministers to further explore scientific ways of harnessing diesel oozing out of rocks in Chinhoyi, at the behest of a clairvoyant, it was as a result of combined cabinet decision that included the then President Mugabe.
The same cabinet concluded that monkeys were responsible
for the shortage of wheat in 2005, after the monkeys had sabotaged the
transformers at Sable chemicals, Zimbabwe’s sole producer of Ammonium Nitrate
Below is ZANU (PF)’s idea of a patriotic “dream team”, the cabinet of failure. Men and women, who have collectively cancelled all private title deeds, created the world’s highest hyperinflation and produced the lowest life expectancy since record keeping commenced:President. Robert MUGABE
• Vice President. Joseph MSIKA
• Vice President. Joyce MUJURU
• Agriculture Rugare GUMBO
• Defense Sidney SEKERAMAYI
• Economic Development Sylvester NGUNI
• Education, Sport, & Culture Aeneas CHIGWEDERE
• Energy & Power Development Michael NYAMBUYA
• Finance Samuel MUMBENGEGWI
• Foreign Affairs Simbarashe MUMBENGEGWI
• Health David PARIRENYATWA
• Higher & Tertiary Education Stanislaus MUDENGE
• Home Affairs Kembo MOHADI
• Indigenization & Empowerment Paul Mangwana
• Industry & Trade Obert MPOFU
• Legal & Parliamentary Affairs Patrick CHINAMASA
• Local Govt. Ignatius CHOMBO
• Mines Amos MIDZI
• National Security Didymus MUTASA
• Policy Implementation Webster SHAMU
• Public Services Nicholas GOCHE
• Rural Housing & Social Amenities Emmerson MNANGAGWA
• Science & Technology Olivia MUCHENA
• Small- & Medium-Scale Enterprises Sithembiso NYONI
• State Affairs Responsible for Land & Resettlement Programs Flora BUKA
• State Enterprises, Anti-monopolies, & Anticorruption Samuel UNDENGE
• Tourism Francis NHEMA
• Transport & Communications Chris MUSHOWE
• Water Resources & Infrastructural Development Munacho MUTEZO
• Women's Affairs, Gender, & Community Development Oppah MUCHINGURI
• Youth Development & Employment Ambrose MUTIHIRI
• Without Portfolio Elliot MANYIKA
• Governor, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Gideon GONO
This cabinet and its various appendages was essentially the ZANU (PF)’s board of directors, for its criminal enterprise that specialised in looting of private property especially commercial farms, national asset theft, embezzlement and the murder of innocent Zimbabweans opposed to its archaic policies.
Mugabe is about to announce another illegal, bloated cabinet and appoint recycled political fossils from ZANU (PF) archives.
The Irish Times
BILL CORCORAN in Johannesburg
ZIMBABWE: IF ZIMBABWEAN president Robert Mugabe appoints a new cabinet
before powersharing talks have concluded, it would be viewed by the
opposition party as "a declaration of war" against the people, opposition
spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said yesterday.
The warning from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was issued in
response to a report in Zimbabwe's state-controlled Herald newspaper
yesterday that quoted Mr Mugabe as saying "we shall soon be setting up a
government . . . The MDC does not want to come in apparently".
Until now Mr Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party have remained committed to the
powersharing talks with the MDC, even though the process has stalled since
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai refused to sign an agreement two weeks ago
during a regional summit in Johannesburg. Mr Tsvangirai is understood to
have felt the proposed agreement allowed the president to retain too much
No official word has been released by the ruling regime in relation to the
appointment of a new cabinet. This would leave talks in tatters, as
according to rules, a consensus is needed among the participants before a
government can be formed.
Following the publication of the report, Mr Chamisa accused Mr Mugabe of
trying to "hijack the leadership" of Zimbabwe by riding roughshod over his
political opponents. "It's very clear that if he announces the new cabinet
it's a declaration of war against the people. You can't just have a cabinet
without a mandate," he said.
Mr Chamisa called on South African president Thabo Mbeki, the main mediator
in the crisis, to intervene because Zimbabwe was "sliding and gliding into
The talks, which are a response to the country's disputed presidential
elections that took place in March, began on July 21st.
Initially, all sides seemed to believe a deal to end the country's
decade-long economic and political crisis could be achieved.
However, hopes of a breakthrough have slowly begun to fade since Mr Mugabe
left the Johannesburg summit and indicated he was about to reconvene
parliament, which he did on Tuesday.
August 28, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Student organisations in Zimbabwe on Wednesday took a swipe at
President Robert Mugabe for officially opening the 7th Parliament in clear
breach of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) he signed with his
counterparts in the opposition.
Among other things, the organisations said they would lead campaigns of
civic disobedience and petition regional and international leaders to
discredit Mugabe and the government he would appoint.
On July 21, Mugabe, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, of a
splinter faction of the opposition, signed a Memorandum of Understanding
which set the platform for inter-party dialogue under the mediation of South
African President Thabo Mbeki.
One of the requirements of the MoU was that Parliament would only be
convened after the talks had been concluded.
Part of the MoU read: "The parties shall not, during the subsistence of the
dialogue, take any decisions or measures that have a bearing on the agenda
of the dialogue, save by consensus. Such decisions or measures include, but
are not limited to the convening of Parliament or the formation of a new
But in clear breach of the section, Mugabe officially opened the seventh
Parliament on Tuesday, amid heckling and jeering by MDC legislators.
Mugabe has since announced he would appoint his Cabinet without Tsvangirai's
And on Wednesday, representatives of youth organizations meeting in Harare
said Mugabe's moves would be challenged.
"We discussed many issues to do with the current political developments,
trying to find alternative ways forward and try to provide leadership to the
country," said Clever Bere, president of the Zimbabwe National Students
Union (ZINASU), one of the organisations at the meeting.
Among other things, said Bere, the youths resolved, "the young people
recognise that Robert Mugabe is not the legitimate president of Zimbabwe.
"Indeed it was not within his mandate for Mugabe to officially open
parliament until and unless there was a political settlement, political
agreement and political consensus with the other parties, particularly the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which won the elections on March 29,"
"This was also in breach of the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding
signed by the principals of the MDC and Zanu-PF. We will be petitioning
other African and international leaders to act against this move, which is
clearly against the will of the people."
Bere said the talks could not continue under the mediation of Mbeki as there
was now a clash of interest and roles.
"As you know, Thabo Mbeki is now the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) chairman," he said. "As such, he cannot continue in his role as a
SADC mediator because he has to report to someone. Now he has to identify
someone who will be reporting to him. At the moment, if he continues, he
would be reporting to himself."
Youth organisations at the meeting included the Students Christian Movement
of Zimbabwe, the Students Solidarity Trust, the Zimbabwe Youth Forum and
Two weeks ago, the organisations successfully led a campaign for the
deportation of former Herald Political and Features editor, Caesar Zvayi,
who had secured a job as a media lecturer at the University of Botswana.
by Jameson Mombe Thursday 28 August 2008
JOHANNESBURG - The United States (US) has urged President Robert Mugabe to
resume power-sharing negotiations with the opposition, reiterating it would
only recognise and support a Zimbabwean government based on a March election
won by the opposition.
Washington played down the convening of Zimbabwe's Parliament this week -
five weeks after elections - as inadequate to provide a lasting solution the
southern African country's long running crisis.
Mugabe opened Parliament on Tuesday ignoring protests by the opposition MDC
party not to do so before conclusion of power-sharing talks. The Zimbabwean
leader, who had delayed convening Parliament or forming a government to give
talks a chance, also said he was planning to appoint a government excluding
A US State Department spokesman Robert Wood urged Mugabe to abandon his
unilateral course. "We would like to see the Zimbabwean Government sit down
with the opposition and come to some sort of agreement. Our basic policy is
we want to see the will of the Zimbabwean people fulfilled . . . based on
the March 29 election results."
Wood, who spoke hours after Mugabe opened Parliament, said the international
community was willing to assist the recovery of once prosperous Zimbabwe but
would only work with a government based on the March polls.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a first round presidential
election in March but failed to secure the margin required to takeover the
presidency. Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party also lost to the MDC in a parallel
parliamentary poll in March.
However, Mugabe went to win the second round presidential vote in which he
was sole candidate after Tsvangirai pulled out because of violence against
his supporters. The West and several African governments rejected the June
27 presidential ballot as undemocratic.
Efforts to find a negotiated settlement to Zimbabwe's political impasse have
hit deadlock because Mugabe and Tsvangirai cannot agree on who between them
should control a government of national unity that some said is the only way
to break the country's political and economic crisis.
The US and other key Western donor nations whose financial support is vital
to any plan to revive Zimbabwe's comatose economy insist they will only back
a Harare government whose executive head is Tsvangirai. - ZimOnline
August 28, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - The election Monday of a mainstream MDC official to the influential
post of Speaker of Parliament has all but scuttled a foggy deal between
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF and the Arthur Mutambara-led
faction of the opposition.
MDC national chairman Lovemore Moyo was voted Speaker by 110
parliamentarians against 98 votes garnered by Paul Themba Nyathi, who was
backed by both Zanu-PF and MDC Mutambara legislators.
The development left Mutambara in a weak position, forcing Mugabe to quickly
change or put on hold plans to share government posts with members of the
Eager to seize control of the lower house ahead of Tsvangirai's MDC which
had a mathematical advantage over the other two parties, Zanu-PF
relinquished its own bid for the powerful post, choosing to back Nyathi.
Highly-placed MDC sources privy to the deal revealed Wednesday that Mugabe
had used the concession as a bargaining chip with the Mutambara group.
In turn, Mugabe had earmarked Mutambara for the ministerial post of science
and technology, while Welshman Ncube, the secretary-general of the faction,
was set to take over the justice ministry.
The deal, sources reveal, also secured an ambassadorial post to London for
MDC deputy secretary general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga while deputy
information officer Reason Gasela was set to take the Midlands governorship
with the party's national chairman Jacob Jume becoming Masvingo governor.
"The deal collapsed on the election of Moyo," said the source. "The idea was
to completely isolate Tsvangirai who is viewed as the stumbling block to
Mugabe's bid to continue clinging to power."
Mugabe is set to announce his cabinet soon.
Tsvangirai's party is currently involved in inter-party talks with Zanu-PF
and the opposition faction led by Mutambara..
Tsvangirai has refused to sign a power-sharing deal which he says leaves
Mugabe firmly in control.
The deal was brokered through the mediation of South African President Thabo
Mbeki who is facilitating the high-profile negotiations through SADC.
Talks are set to continue this week with the South African facilitators
expected to fly into Harare today.
According to the source, Mugabe had successfully convinced SADC leaders
during their summit this month, that Tsvangirai had no genuine basis to
claim he was popular.
Mugabe, it is said, argued Tsvangirai did not take part in the June 27
runoff election as stipulated by the country's laws, hence had no legal
basis to claim power.
Tsvangirai pulled out of the race a week before citing continued state
sponsored violence against his supporters. This left Mugabe to run it alone
and later declare himself president.
Buoyed by Mutambara's pledged support, the Zimbabwean leader further argued
that he now had popular support even among legislators in the lower house.
To prove this, Mugabe was allowed by SADC leaders to convene parliament in
between the talks. The Zimbabwean leader had hoped to use the election of
Speaker favoured by him and Mutambara to prove his support among
Things came to a head when Tsvangirai's MDC garnered 110 votes, against its
parliamentary representation of 100.
This indicated Mutambara had no support even among his own 10 MPs, who are
assumed to have voted for Moyo, a situation that completely diminished his
Mugabe, who had tactically reserved the Masvingo and Midlands governorship
posts when he announced his non-constituency senators and governors Monday,
was left with no choice but to appoint two Zanu-PF officials to the posts.
But Misihairabwi vehemently denies the rumours; she says it is all
speculation by the press.
"Mugabe is going to appoint his cabinet very soon," she said. "Why don't you
wait? Why are you speculating? This has nothing to do with Mutambara or
anybody for that matter."
Although this has been met with equal intensity of denial by Mutambara,
Zanu- PF officials revealed two weeks ago Mugabe would proceed with a
power-sharing agreement without Tsvangirai.
Political analysts warn any deal brokered without the former trade unionist
would not last as the mainstream MDC leader commanded greater popular
support than Mugabe and Mutambara.
Tuesday, 26 August 2008 09:41
Negotiations between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai rumble on,
but the devil lies in the detail. STEPHEN CHAN examines their likely outcome
LONDON - Variations on South Africa's plan for a Zimbabwean government
of national unity were on the table last September. They were agreed, in
outline, by negotiators from both the government ZANU (PF) and opposition
MDC parties - in the unlikely setting of a houseboat moored on Lake Kariba
between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
As with earlier South African efforts, the plan came unstuck when it
was put to Mugabe's State House in Harare. There followed a pattern which
had become chronic. Mugabe dug his feet in, not only for himself, but for
the sake of the powerful coterie who dominated ZANU (PF) and the security
forces. Mbeki, notwithstanding the work of his mediators, failed to put the
boot in and demand acceptance.
The MDC, meanwhile, had its own equivocations - never sure as to
whether to accept a compromise or hope that it might secure outright victory
in the elections set for March 2008.
The South African plan acquired its current detailing in the wake of
the Kenya crisis of late 2007, and the subsequent unity brokered against the
odds by Kofi Annan. The principle of a president with reduced powers and an
executive prime minister derives from this Kenyan example.
When the results of the first electoral round went against Mugabe in
March, he was inclined to accept defeat. But his hard men and generals
demanded that he stay and fight. It was at this point that Mbeki again
failed to apply pressure when it mattered. Over a protracted period, the
true results of that first round - in which more than 50% of the vote went
to the MDC's Tsvangirai, were expertly whittled down by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission, to support the need for a runoff. But that runoff was
so blatantly prejudiced against Tsvangirai's MDC that even Mugabe's most
loyal neighbours could not accept the result. The South Africans, led by
Mbeki, have been pressing hard ever since.
There was almost a breakthrough at the SADC (Southern African
Development Community) summit in Johannesburg last weekend. The pressure was
The Botswanan president had refused to attend and the Zambian foreign
minister had delivered a stinging note of rebuke to the Zimbabwean
But neither Mugabe nor Tsvangirai were able to make the final push. It
is widely speculated that the issue of core disagreement is the relative
shares of power that the two men will wield as president and prime minister.
Yet the differences are finer than that.
Tsvangirai is prepared to concede power over the military to Mugabe,
if Mugabe is prepared to concede power over the cabinet to Tsvangirai. Power
over the police then come to Tsvangirai. The key sticking point is who
controls the intelligence services. That will likely remain a portfolio
controlled by ZANU (PF), but if the minister responsible sits in the
cabinet, how much final veto will Tsvangirai as prime minister have over
him? This is of key importance.
The military may array all its top generals behind Mugabe, but 70% of
the rank and file voted for Tsvangirai in the first round. There are games
of leverage that can be played within the military. The CIO (Central
Intelligence Organisation) is the lynchpin of all that can happen
politically in Zimbabwe. There are divisions within it but, by and large, it
has always supported ZANU (PF). It is a slick and professional machine. It
rigs the elections - and whoever controls it controls the brains behind
coercion in Zimbabwe.
The final point of difference is the longevity of a coalition
The MDC wants two years and fresh elections. ZANU (PF) wants five. It
wants to rebuild itself and give the MDC enough rope to hang itself in
power. Watch for a compromise of three.
Mugabe knows that there is a final deadline awaiting him, and that is
the likely ascension to power in Pretoria of Jacob Zuma next year. Mugabe
won't wait until then. Even his hardest men know that now is the time to
make a tactical retreat in order to regroup and cling to as much power as
It may finally come down to a formulation that says: "the president,
in council with the prime minister" will control both the military and the
intelligence services. ZANU (PF) will want the formulation to say that: "the
president in council with the prime ministerial leadership of government",
and will hope to bargain for control of the deputy prime ministerships -
though it may settle for one of the two posts. Mugabe will likely have
extracted all he can by September and will present the compromise to the
meeting of the ZANU (PF) Central Committee scheduled for that month.
It is Tsvangirai who will have to convince a greater number of
sceptics within the MDC that he has gotten all that he can. But he will. And
the resulting unholy alliance will lead Zimbabwe into an uncertain, though
at least less violent future.
Tuesday, 26 August 2008 09:57
BY WILF MBANGA
JOHANNESBURG - They sleep wherever they can, however they can.
Exhausted by stress and the battle for survival. Any place in the
Johannesburg Central Methodist Church will do - the hall, the passageways,
the stairs. Even the entrance lobby is warm enough and safe enough for the
thousands of Zimbabwean refugees who come here for a roof over their heads.
It's winter here at the moment and it gets pretty cold at night.
Joburg may not quite be the murder capital of the world, but it is a pretty
tough place. No one takes security for granted. Well-heeled South Africans
live cloistered in walled, gated and guarded communities. Hardened criminal
gangs roam the streets - willing to kill just for a cell phone.
Enter the Methodist Bishop of Joburg, Paul Verryn. The diminutive
graduate of Rhodes University in Grahamstown watched in shocked disbelief as
thousands of refugees began trekking across South Africa's northern border
in 2000. The trickle quickly became a flood as state-sponsored violence,
political oppression and economic collapse gripped Zimbabwe under the regime
of Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF).
He knew he could not stand idly by in the face of such a flood of
human misery and threw open the doors of his church in downtown Joburg. Some
of his congregants were horrified. But most rallied behind their beloved
Bishop. The government took a dim view. The police raided the church a few
times and rounded up the refugees for deportation back to Zimbabwe. On one
occasion Verryn was roughed up by the police. But they had underestimated
this Good Samaritan.
He speaks in measured tones but does not mince his words when it comes
"The refugees streaming across the border are our neighbours. Jesus
Christ taught us to love our neighbour," he says. In opening up the church
as a place of refuge, he says he is merely following the teaching of his
I came to the Methodist Church last Sunday with a BBC crew to film
Zimbabwean refugees seeking shelter there. What confronted us shocked me to
the core. There were mothers nursing their babies, there were young students
desperate to learn. Teachers, artisans, simple rural folk - they came from
all over Zimbabwe, from Mudzi, from Tsholotsho , from Nkayi, from Nyanga.
They all had one thing in common - that they were prepared to live like this
until Mugabe had ceded power to Morgan Tsvangirai. Until and unless that
happened there was no point in going home.
A single mother from Zengeza, who is the MDC chairwoman for her ward,
said she fled after Zanu (PF) thugs had been to her house and told her
children they were going to kill her. She fled that night. And she was
adamant that things would not change until Mugabe has gone.
Also at the church was a 41-year-old blind teacher who left the
teaching profession after 11 years to pursue a masters degree at the Africa
University. "I left teaching in a high school because the ministry of
education denied me study leave to do my masters. This is cruel, especially
after I had served them loyally for 11 years and want to go back to teaching
afterwards. I came here to work as I don't have a scholarship. I have to
earn money to continue with my studies," he told me. Jobs have not been
forthcoming though and he was preparing to go back to Zimbabwe for the
opening of the third term. He made an impassioned plea for donations to
continue his study. (Anyone wishing to help please contact the Vice
chancellor, Africa Univ, P O Box 1320, Mutare or phone on +263 20 61611.)
When we finally finished filming it was after 11pm. We did not say
good bye to Verryn as he was busy registering new arrivals. Their welfare
came first. They had to get registration cards which give them access to the
church. As we picked our way down the stairs in poor light some people were
trying to sleep, others trying to read -oblivious to the chaos around them.
Tuesday, 26 August 2008 09:47
BY MAGARI MANDEBVU
People ask why the SADC leaders continue to back our old man. Some say
he has special influence on them. He has. They all rule the same way, so he
can threaten to pull them down with him if he goes.
Now he wants to pull the house down over his own head, they risk their
positions if they don't let him fall.
They all work by patronage, bribing their voters to vote for them.
Zimbabwe runs the greediest patronage system: paying with post-dated
cheques, which can be cancelled if they don't deliver the votes and
depriving black commercial farmers of the farms they bought because they
don't depend on him.
Botswana runs the most generous system, giving people food, clinics
with nurses and medicines and schools with teachers and books, but it is
Our old man has pushed us so far that we don't want just a bigger
slice of the cake. We want to run the bakery. As we have seen over the
Chinese arms shipment and COSATU's march in Joburg during the SADC meeting,
other people in the region are getting that idea. The system is threatened
in their countries too.
But that doesn't mean they must resist change. That is what the weak
do, not the strong. The tree that doesn't bend to the wind breaks. If they
stand by him till he collapses, their people could decide to bring them down
President Khama has seen this. He feels least threatened and can offer
more to his people without visibly weakening his power. He would probably
strengthen it. Some of the others are not so sure.
They need to be persuaded that this is the last desperate effort of a
weak man. He daren't bend for fear of breaking if he does. Well, his bones
don't bend any more and can break more easily than for us younger people,
even if we have grey beards.
Most of the people in the other SADC countries would still be happy
with a few more gifts from their governments - a bigger slice of the cake -
and most of the governments can afford to give that. They are not so weak
yet that they can't bend.
Supporting our aspirations for democracy might be enough concession.
Even if some of them can't give more food or social services, this gesture
would mean something to their people. Refusing it would only make their
people more impatient, leading them to insist on bigger changes. Our old
man's violence only strengthened our resistance. You catch a chicken with
scattered grain, not a big stick.
When the other leaders in their meeting went back on the Memorandum of
Understanding that our parliament should only meet if all parties agreed,
they looked to me like the Philistines cheering the blinded Samson until the
moment he pulled the roof down on them. But he hasn't brought it down yet.
They have time to get out before he does.
Tuesday, 26 August 2008 10:12
Students asked to pay deposit fees in advance
BULAWAYO - A three-month strike by lecturers at Zimbabwe's National
University of Science and Technology (NUST) has forced authorities to
postpone the re-opening of the university amid desperate efforts to end the
NUST was supposed to re-open for its first semester on Monday, but
because of the industrial action, authorities now expect to admit students
on September 29.
They expect to have sealed a new salary deal with their employees by
The strike for better salaries and working conditions by academic
staff at the university started in June and has continued with no end in
A lecturer at the university who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
their salaries ranging from $150 billion ($15 revalued) and $250 billion
($25) are ridiculously low and they cannot continue to report for work.
Continuing to turn up for work when they earn such low salaries, said
the lecturer, is tantamount to subsidizing the employer.
"We were expecting back pays at the end of June, but the university
did not pay us. From then on we decided not to turn up for work because the
salaries are too low. You cannot continue coming to work when your salary is
not enough to pay for your transport for one day. You will be subsidizing
The salaries are not enough to buy a single loaf of bread, whose price
now averages $2 trillion ($200 revalued). Junior and middle-level doctors
last week also went on strike, to press the government to increase their
salaries or alternatively, to pay them in foreign currency as promised.
Although other civil servants have had modest salary increases of late;
those working for universities have not had any meaningful increases because
they are not paid by the government directly through the Salary Service
Bureau, but through their universities.
In an apparent bid to cushion itself from financial distress, NUST
this week made an unprecedented appeal for students to pay deposit fees by
the end of this week before they can be admitted for the new academic year.
Usually students are given until the end of their first week at the
university to pay up.
Felix Moyo, the university's Director of Public Relations, said new
applied sciences students must pay $3,3 trillion ($3 300 revalued) while
those in the faculties of commerce and communication and information science
must pay $ 2, 3 trillion ($2 300). He said those who fail to do so by the
close of business yesterday would lose their places to others that are on
the waiting list. - ZimbabweJournalists
Families forced to range over harmful dumpsites
Gail Muza and Stephen Tsoroti
Published 2008-08-28 04:10 (KST)
On the outskirts of Chitungwiza Town, east of Zimbabwe's capital city of
Harare, is a sight few foreigners will get to see -- rubbish dumps that
flank street corners. And atop tons of foul-smelling waste are scores of
adults and young people jostling with each other for space as they search
for long discarded coins and paper money.
As in many other cities of Zimbabwe, dumpsites have become the only means of
survival for impoverished and hungry families.
"This is an omen. We come here, dig and we get the money," said Joyce Manda,
an exuberant mother of two and a resident in the town. "We threw away the
coins and paper money some years ago thinking it will not come back, but now
that the Reserve Bank governor has reintroduced the currency, we have had
weeks of relief as we have managed to buy some food with the coins."
The diggers say they have no option but to rummage through the dumpsites
despite the possible health hazards since they have to find money to buy
their daily basics.
Businesses, for their part, while basking in the glory of their newfound
treasurer, have failed to cope with the influx of the coins, since they did
not anticipate their return.
"It has been a chaotic day," said Marble Chikumba, a teller filling plastic
banking bags with coins at a small supermarket at closing time. "Customers
have been digging out their old coins."
A businessman, Muziri, who carried a plastic bag full of coins that bought
him a kilogram of beef, said, "It's a bonus for anyone like me who didn't
know what to do with the coins and didn't throw them away."
Concerns have been raised by health experts who feel that there are
potential side effects if families work without protective clothing in these
unhygienic conditions, but that does not seem to have stopped many from
"The rubbish dumps have been with us for several years. The authorities have
done nothing about the dumpsites. I don't think they will do us harm," said
an adamant 63-year-old Jephat Kamanga.
Social experts say that poverty induced by the government's bad economic
policies over the last decade is the major factor forcing families onto the
Alleviating Zimbabwe's crippling poverty will take many years. With the
government ban on NGOs that had been providing food and on a wide range of
projects that could have helped the fortune seekers in the short term, the
prospects seem even more daunting.
The coins had gone out of circulation due to spiraling inflation. They were
reintroduced after a decade-long economic meltdown caused by government
corruption and political malaise. The Central Bank governor unveiled the new
monetary policy weeks ago in an attempt to combat severe hyperinflation.
Zimbabwe's 2,200,000 percent biting inflation rate has caused company
shutdowns and job losses. Shops have gone without basic goods for months.
Hospitals have no drugs to give patients. The average family gets but a
single meal per day.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono said he acted because inflation was
hampering the country's computer systems. Computers, electronic calculators
and automated teller machines could not handle basic transactions in
billions and trillions of dollars.
August 28, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Hundreds of fans gathered at the Harare International Airport on Wednesday to welcome Zimbabwe’s gold and triple-Olympic silver medal winner Kirsty Coventry and her colleagues in the team which represented Zimbabwe.
It was an outpouring of passion for the 25-year-old as hundreds hailed the swimming sensation with one placard reading: “Kirsty, we will give you a farm.”
The message carried connotations on the use of land as reward following the campaign to confiscate land from white farmers by President Robert Mugabe’s government in 2000. Mugabe has been accused of parcelling out the land to Zanu-PF heavyweights and supporters.
But the official hate campaign against the dwindling white community was shelved on Wednesday afternoon. When Coventry’s modest motorcade swept into town, roads were lined up by curious on-lookers and waving fans.
The national anthem was played three times at the airport amid an outpouring of support for Coventry, who was draped in the Zimbabwe flag.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mugabe was heckled and taunted in Parliament when he attempted to win political capital by hailing Coventry during the official opening, with opposition MPs reminding him of the swimmer’s race.
Traditional dancers, beating drums and gyrating in mesh skirts and animal skins, greeted Coventry at the airport, along with hundreds of chanting fans waving banners.
A hastily arranged press briefing was conducted by the Information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu. The Chinese ambassador Xan Jiango also addressed the press conference, together with Coventry.
“I was just trying to show the rest of the world that there are also good things in Zimbabwe,” Coventry said. “I can never be anything else but Zimbabwean. I am glad I am home to share my success with all of you.”
The team drove into town in twin-cab trucks along Airport Road, then turned into Seke Road, then into Julius Nyerere Way, then turned left into Samora Machel Avenue.
There was a rousing welcome in the city centre
before the team, which also included Brian Dzingai, Mike Fokorani, Ngonidzashe
Makusha and Susan Hill, proceed to the Zimbabwe Olympics Committee headquarters
It was the kind of welcome that Mugabe could only dream of now. The contrast between the reception received by Coventry Wednesday and Mugabe at the official opening of Parliament a day earlier, was striking.
Mugabe’s motorcade elicited sneers and derision from a weary population. Brave opposition activists gathered in Africa Unity Square - directly opposite Parliament - waving red cards at the president during the most important ceremony of the official calendar.
In spotless green uniforms, 200 soldiers from the elite presidential guard paraded outside Parliament while the sound of horses’ hooves heralded the arrival of Mugabe.
Escorted by 32 mounted policemen, dressed in the 1890 uniform of the British South Africa Police, complete with white pith helmets, the president came into view.
A regal Mugabe was riding in the gleaming Rolls Royce once used by Lord Soames, the last Governor of Rhodesia. As he mounted the saluting dais and the national anthem was played, a chorus of jeering began.
A sea of red cards appeared directly in front of Mugabe and roars of “Chinja” – the MDC slogan for change - drowned the efforts of the military band. His supporters responded with cries of support, but were easily outnumbered by joyful MDC activists.
Only a flypast from four MiG jets silenced the raucous whistles and cries. Looking inscrutable, Mugabe retreated inside Parliament and took his seat on the Speaker’s chair, facing opponents outnumbering his deputies for the first time since independence in 1980.
The reception Mugabe got inside Parliament was much worse. MDC deputies refused to stand up to salute him as he entered the buidling, and his speech was regularly interrupted with singing and heckling.
“Let us exert our full effort towards raising our country and its flag in the manner our Olympic team has done in Beijing,” Mugabe said amid interruptions.
“I am sure you all join me in congratulating them, especially Kirsty Coventry, most heartily on that heroic performance,” Mugabe added, amid shouts of “She is white, why are you kicking out whites?”
With one gold and three silver medals, all of them courtesy of Kirsty, Team Zimbabwe finished third among African countries on the final medals table, and number 38 in the world.
Only Kenya, with five gold, five silver and four bronze, and Ethiopia, with four gold, one silver and two bronze, fared better than the Zimbabwean team in Africa.