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Zimbabwe opposition accuses Mugabe backers of attacks
Aug 1, 12:55 PM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwean opposition politicians have
accused hardline backers of President Robert Mugabe of harassment and
attacks against them and others in the country's east, a rights group said
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said an urgent high court
application had been filed by a lawmaker and five local councillors from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) related to the alleged
The five local councillors had been forced from their homes and
have sought refuge outside of the Nyanga constituency, the rights group
said, citing the court case.
The lawmaker is Douglas Mwonzora and the
councillors are Edith Baipai, Thenia Nyanhongo, Fidelis Katerere, Munyaradzi
Mwonzora and Passmore Mandikuvadza.
Their court filing requests that
the alleged harassment and assault of opposition members and supporters, as
well as the theft of their livestock, be stopped immediately.
are also seeking the dismantling of what they called illegal roadblocks and
The rights group expressed "serious concern over the
continued politically motivated violence and violation of the fundamental
rights of perceived and confirmed members of the MDC by war
The so-called war veterans are hardline supporters of Mugabe,
who won a new term as president in June in a one-man election widely
condemned as a sham.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the June
27 run-off days ahead of the poll, citing rising violence against supporters
that had left dozens dead and thousands injured.
The rights group
also criticised police "inaction" in reported cases of violence and
Mugabe and MDC leaders signed an accord on July 21 to begin
talks with a two-week deadline on sharing power after the one-man
In the document, the political rivals agreed to take "all
necessary measures to eliminate all forms of political violence".
Senegalese President to Play Role in Zimbabwe Accord, Analyst
By Brent Latham Dakar 01 August
A Senegalese political analyst says President Abdoulaye Wade
is likely to play an important role in moving Zimbabwe President Robert
Mugabe towards compromise. Brent Latham reports from our West Africa bureau
in Dakar, following opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai's
Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade will be a key figure in reaching
an accord in the ongoing talks to end the political crisis in Zimbabwe, an
analyst has said.
Speaking after Morgan Tsvangirai's brief visit to
Dakar on Thursday, Senegalese political analyst Babacar Gueye said
Tsvangirai is trying to leverage Mr. Wade's close ties to long time Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe.
Gueye says Wade can use his influence as an
elder statesman in Africa to help move Mugabe towards compromise. He says
Mr. Wade realizes the crisis is not just about Zimbabwe, but that it
concerns all Africans, and African heads of state.
Tsvangirai is very
familiar with Mr. Wade's close ties to Mr. Mugabe, Gueye says. He says by
coming to Dakar, Tsvangirai hopes to have convinced Mr. Wade to intervene on
behalf of other African leaders.
Gueye says intervention by other African
heads of state, including the mediation of South African President Thabo
Mbeki, is far more likely than international sanctions to persuade Mr.
Gueye stressed Mr. Wade's intervention is meant to complement and
not replace Mr. Mbeki's mediation efforts.
He says Mr. Wade is an
imaginative negotiator, citing the president's record of mediation in the
dispute between Sudan and Chad. Last month, Mr. Wade was credited with
convincing Sudan President Omar al-Bashir to restore diplomatic ties with
In June, Mr. Wade was among the first African leaders
to say the environment in Zimbabwe before the runoff between Mr. Mugabe and
Tsvangirai was not suitable for free and fair elections. Following
Tsvangirai's withdrawal and Mr. Mugabe's unopposed victory, Mr. Wade and
other African leaders were relatively muted in their criticism of Mr.
Mugabe, compared to Western nations.
Zimbabwe Food Aid Ban May Hamper Future Distribution
By Peta Thornycroft Harare 01 August
With many people in Zimbabwe at the point of starvation,
a government ban on field work by relief organizations is putting them at
further risk. As Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA, even if the restrictions
are lifted now, humanitarian groups say it would take until September for
emergency relief efforts to begin.
In early June, ZANU-PF welfare
minister, Nicholas Goche, banned all field work in Zimbabwe by international
aid agencies, accusing them of political meddling by providing campaign
support for the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change in the
March 29 elections.
Aid agencies deny they gave any support for the MDC,
which won the parliamentary vote.
Devastating news for a country,
where nearly four million people, or a third of the population, relies on
Now local food distribution agencies are warning that the
Western donated food - some of it stored in the South African port of Durban
for delivery to Zimbabwe - will have to be diverted to other countries if
the ban is not lifted immediately.
A spokesman for one of the largest
distributing agencies in Zimbabwe said Friday the ban is still firmly in
place despite warnings from humanitarian agencies. He said that when the ban
was imposed, many organizations had to dismantle their distribution
As a result, he doubts the infrastructure could be restored for
emergency feeding programs before September, even if the the ban was lifted
According to several key distribution agencies,
emergency feeding programs are not usually necessary between April and
October because of the summer harvest. But, the Famine Early Warning Systems
Network recently issued an emergency statement saying Zimbabwe had its worst
ever crops. According to FEWSNET between a third and half the population
will need food aid before next year's harvest.
There is little food
available in the shops here and even on the black market there is little of
the staple food, corn meal, available.
People on the streets in Harare
and money traders said there was almost no cash available Friday since the
central bank chopped off 10 zeros from its currency on Wednesday.
addition to food, the relief agencies provide clean water, medical care and
other services. Of particular concern are people suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Many are on treatment programs and are no longer getting their anti
Being a blind beggar in a city suffering financial and social meltdown is
hardly conducive to happiness, but Arnold Dzingai, who spends his sightless days
on the streets of Harare, is a happy man today. Suddenly, out of the darkness,
he has real money.
All around him there's an excited buzz in the air. At the end of the street
stands one of our public fountains. Respectable citizens can be seen plunging
head-first into the murky water and scavenging around beneath the
Meanwhile our town centre stores, so long deserts of near-empty shelving and
no customers, are suddenly so busy selling everything, including the shelves,
that one shop has to close its doors to keep the crowds out.
Everyone is smiling, everyone is excited, everyone is feeling rich. And who
do we have to thank for this sudden and almost universal reversal of fortune?
None other than that crook, that embezzler, that architect of financial
disaster, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dr. Gideon Gono.
Gideon managed his financial miracle with aplomb. When he announced in the
middle of the week that all those noughts would be knocked off the end of our
currency notes, that ten billion dollars would become one dollar, he also
quietly let it be known that Zimbabwe's long abandoned and forgotten coins would
also revert to their original value.
Thus our old $5, $2, $1, 50c and 10c coins, which hyper-inflation had made
redundant, were suddenly and dramatically spend-able. And it slowly dawned on us
that many of us had stacks of the things tucked away, somewhere or other.
Suddenly cupboards were ransacked, hands thrust down the back of sofas, ancient
money boxes raided. Real money was at our fingertips.
Arnold, our blind beggar, has more than most. When the inflation first took
off, and coins became worthless, many of us chucked them at him in frustration
and despair. Arnold took them all home.
"People want them back now," he tells me with a grin. "I would happily give
them back. But sadly I am blind, so I can't tell who gave me what."
Back at the fountain executives in suits jostle knee-deep with street kids as
they endeavoured to recover the money thrown in for good luck over the
Past them people stagger with buckets, carrier bags and paper sacks full of
coins, looking for somewhere to spend them before hyper-inflation gets going
again, and coins become worthless once more.
You may ask what sort of person hoards apparently useless coins for years.
Well, let me tell you this: I've found two five-kilogram sacks full of the
things. I'm still counting them. So far they're worth 78 United States dollars
at today's exchange rate, and as soon as I finish I'm off to spend, spend,
say, in one of my earlier articles, that we have a most resilient and
innovative Reserve Bank governor, who, I predicted would sooner or later
find a solution to our cash crisis.
He did. But there is one worrying
common denominator to Mr. Gono's solutions, however. They consistently do
not seem to actually solve any problem.
In an even much earlier
article, I mentioned that my wife likes to talk to me about a certain
madness that is displayed by mankind (of course, by "mankind", my wife will
normally be referring to yours truly, but that is beside the point). This is
madness in which a man will keep on doing the same thing over and over again
while expecting different results. If that is a universal definition of
madness, then our governor should relocate without delay to Ingutsheni
Hospital for the mentally challenged in Bulawayo!
Two years ago today,
our Mr. Gono unveiled what he termed "Sunrise" something or other. It was
supposed to usher in a new morning for Zimbabwe; it got rid of money as we
knew it, and replaced it with "bearer cheques" - a form of legal tender
that, it seems, was not subject to the normal constraints of what Robert
President Mugabe has disparagingly termed "bookish economics".
cheques could be printed at will, regardless of what the economy was doing;
they could have expiry dates that meant nothing because they continued to be
used long after they had expired; they could be "demonitised" (i.e. revert
to being worthless paper) as and when necessary. Bearer cheques started with
values of as little as Z$0.01 (one cent), and have grown to denominations as
high as five hundred million dollars, in just under two years.
then spawned another form of legal tender, the "Special Agro Cheque" with
values starting at five billion and growing to one hundred billion. The
special agro cheque was, we were told, for farmers. Surprisingly, they very
quickly became the preferred form of money for us all- while the bearer
cheque was slowly becoming obsolete.
Along with the introduction of
the bearer cheque, Mr. Gono "revalued" our money. This he did by removing
three zeroes from the currency. Thus one hundred Zimbabwe dollars became, at
the stroke of Mr. Gono's pen, ten cents. Many pundits predicted at the time
that unless the fundamentals of the economy were addressed, the zeroes would
be back with a vengeance!
It appears the pundits were right and Mr Gono
was wrong again. Two years down the line, Mr. Gono has revalued our currency
once again. This time, he has removed not only three, not six, not nine, but
a whopping ten zeroes from the beleaguered Zimbabwe dollar! This time, it is
one billion dollars that has become ten cents! I am not much of a
researcher, but I doubt that you will find this kind of simplistic problem
solving anywhere in the entire history of this planet!
But, as the
saying goes, there is always a silver lining. With this revaluation, Mr.
Gono has also "remonitised" coins that had become obsolete. Many had been
thrown away, made into ornaments or simply thrown into various cupboards,
drawers and other receptacles. Suddenly, at the wave of Mr. Gono's magic
wand, the coins are back, valued at many, many times more than they were
ever worth - in the eyes of many Zimbabweans anyway. One Zimbabwe dollar for
instance, which, after thirteen zeroes had been removed from it, should be
worth 0.000000000001 of a Zimbabwe dollar, is now worth what until
yesterday, was 10 billion dollars or today, one dollar!
morning on the ride to work, people were paying either 100 billion in
special agro cheques, or ten dollars in old coins. We were entertained with
many stories of how people have reacted to the new monetary dispensation.
How street beggars to whom most of the coins were thrown as they became
worthless are suddenly wealthy - relatively speaking, of course. How one
woman found herself with coins that would have been worth forty eight
trillion dollars yesterday - or 4 800 dollars today! And how in one
locality, a large proportion of the community spent most of yesterday
scouring the local rubbish dump for coins!
Governor Gono should be
proud of himself.
It is only the first day of the new money. One can only
speculate on the confusion that these changes will entail, or on how long it
will take the dreaded zeroes to make their even more dreaded return. For
now, we have to live with governor Gono's solution. It is the only game in
town. Still, who would not be happy to see that what was not money has
And how many bookish economists would have thought up such
an innovative solution?
31 July, 2008 09:17:00 VOP Font
size: Calls for Gono to be fired have been raised again, this time by
Zimbabweans & South Africans alike who spoke at rally in Cape
South African civic groups on Thursday called for the resignation of
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, whom they accuse of
bankrolling Robert Mugabe's regime.
Speaking at a social justice
gathering held in Cape Town under the theme, "Stand Up- For social Justice
in Zimbabwe, Against Xenophobia and For a Free Zimbabwe Now", Elinor Sisulu,
a human rights activist and daughter-in-law of the late South African
anti-apartheid hero Walter Sisulu criticised Gono for running the money
printing machines overtime, to buttress a ruthless regime.
Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono should be removed and we recommend
that the RBZ be put under regional curatorship," said Sisulu. Sisulu said a
government of national unity is bound to flop in the very same way that the
unity agreement between Zanu PF and PF Zapu failed in 1987.
PF ZAPU and
ZANU PF signed a unity agreement, which signalled the end of the violence On
December 22 1987, and the formation became known as ZANU PF.
almost one sided violence that had preceded the agreement, it appears to me
that ZAPU was bludgeoned into submission and so a government of national
unity was forged. That Unity Accord created a one-party state and that one
party, ZANU PF. It therefore marked the end of ZAPU as an opposition party.
Therein lies the first pitfall.
"Pitfall two; a government of national
unity as defined by the ruling party is one in which the ruling party calls
the shots. It is a method of co-opting members of the opposition and thereby
compromising them. Offer them a few cabinet posts and neutralise them. There
goes the opposition. Yet if there is one thing Zimbabwe needs, it is a
viable opposition," said political analyst Catherine Makoni.
have pointed out that a comparison of the events of the 80s and 2008 shows
that the events of the weeks leading up to the June 27th election exhibit
startling similarities- prohibition of independent media, the ban on food
relief and other humanitarian activities, among other ills.
South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki and Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe
need to accept MDC's preconditions for talks in the same way that South
Africa set the tone for talks for negotiations for its independence with the
The MDC has demanded an end to the ongoing political
violence, the repealing of repressive laws such as the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Public Order and Security Act
(POSA) access to aid among other conditions.
Sisulu said although
civic society does not condone the recent wave of xenophobic attacks, the
attacks were a reflection of the South African government's failure to
address the needs of the poor.
She criticised the current leadership in
Zimbabwe and South Africa, for robbing the youths of opportunities and
suggested that a delegation be sent from the Social Justice coalition,
Congress of south African Trade Unions, Treatment Action campaign, South
African Council of Churches and Amandla Publishers organisation, to probe
the Zimbabwe crisis.
The Movement for Democratic Change vice president,
Thokozani Khuphe also addressed the meeting and emphasized that the MDC
would only advocate for an all inclusive transitional government which will
be led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
"MDC won the March 29 elections and has
been winning elections since 2000, and only participated in the run off
election in order to give the people of Zimbabwe a second fighting chance,
but decided to withdraw after the launch of a brutal violence campaign by
"What Zanu PF should know is that it can never negotiate the
will of the people and we are not going to do anything above the heads of
the people or behind their backs," said Khuphe.
Zimbabwe central bank chief urges pay freeze to stall
2 hours, 41 minutes ago
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's central
bank chief has urged a six-month price and salary freeze in a bid to rein in
runaway inflation, with the country in the midst of an economic meltdown,
state media reported Friday.
"Zimbabweans must realise that the country
is in a practically binding state of socio-economic emergency," The Herald
quoted Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono as saying. "As such, there is
need for a universal moratorium on all incomes and prices for a minimum
period of six months," said Gono, who has repeatedly called for price and
wage freezes in the past.
The latest proposal came as the central bank
unveiled a new series of bank notes on Friday after knocking off 10 zeros
from its currency.
Long lines of people seeking to withdraw money from
banks spilled out onto the streets, as the withdrawal limit was also
increased by a factor of 20.
It also comes with Zimbabwe's ruling and
opposition parties set to resume talks on Sunday to resolve the country's
political crisis following Robert Mugabe's one-man election in June that
handed him a new term as president.
Once a model for the region, Zimbabwe
is in the throes of economic crisis with inflation officially at 2.2 million
percent and at least 80 percent of the population living below the poverty
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the
country's battered economy would only recover if full-scale production
resumed in local industries.
"The MDC believes that no amount of
tinkering with currency denominations will address the Zimbabwean crisis,"
the party's secretary for economic affairs Elton Mangoma said in a
"As long as there is no production, we will continue to move
in circles as a country."
The country's main labour federation, the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), warned it would take action if
Gono's proposal for a wage freeze is adopted.
"If the RBZ governor
insists on freezing wages, workers are prepared to go and camp at the RBZ
office, even if it means taking over the RBZ," ZCTU secretary general
Wellington Chibebe said in a statement.
Last year, the government set up
a commission to monitor and control prices and incomes. Violators of the
price ceiling pay fines.
Botswana threatens to boycott SADC summit if Mugabe
Monsters and Critics
Aug 1, 2008, 14:20 GMT
Johannesburg/Gaborone - The
government of Botswana has threatened to boycott an upcoming summit of the
14-country Southern African Development Community if controversial
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attends, South African radio reported
SAfm radio quoted the foreign ministry of Zimbabwe's diamond-rich
neighbour as saying that taking part in a summit of SADC heads of state on
August 14-15 in South Africa attended by Mugabe would be tantamount to
recognizing him as president.
Botswana has refused to recognize
Mugabe's victory in a one-man June 29 presidential election that opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted over a spate of deadly militia attacks on
After South Africa, which is home to an estimated 1-3
million mostly undocumented Zimbabweans, the wealthy desert state of
Botswana is the neighbouring country of choice for Zimbabwean
Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are estimated to have made
their home in Botswana, where they compete with locals for
Botswana's government earlier this week appealed for international
help to cope with the influx, which continued despite the thaw in relations
between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for
The two sides began talks last week on the
formation of a powersharing government. The talks were suspended on Monday
amid reports of disagreement over which party leader should lead the
country, but are due to resume again on Monday in South Africa.
Several Botswana groups will hold a march against the current
Zimbabwe negotiations today. The Botswana Civil Society Coalition on
Zimbabwe, Botswana's Human Rights Organisation Ditshwanelo, and Zimbabweans
in Botswana, will take part in the march. They're opposed to the talks
between Zimbabwe's opposition MDC and ruling Zanu-PF on a power-sharing
The coalition of Botswana NGO's on Zimbabwe, says the negotiating
parties have no public mandate to discuss a government of national unity.
They want the negotiators to discuss the appointment of a Transitional
Authority, which will first have to level the political playing field in
This they say is in preparation for national elections free of
violence and intimidation, in which Zimbabweans are able to freely express
themselves on who should govern them. A memorandum will be presented to the
Botswana government in support of their current stance on Zimbabwe. Botswana
does not recognise Robert Mugabe as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe.
The Botswana Civil Society Solidarity Coalition on Zimbabwe,
including Botswana's human rights organisation, Ditshwanelo and Zimbabweans
in Botswana have strongly condemned the current negotiations between Zanu-PF
and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
According to these
organisations, the government of national unity is a quick fix and
unsustainable solution that has been proved as a weak concept as
historically experienced in Africa. This came out at the protest march in
Gaborone in Botswana, where these organisations presented their petitions to
the South African High Commission and the Botswana government. The petitions
will now be handed to the presidents of Botswana and South Africa, in an
effort to mediate in the current negotiations.
Close to 250 000
Zimbabweans are estimated to be living in Botswana and the numbers are
increasing as most of them are running away from their country of birth due
to violence, poverty and the economic meltdown in their land. According to
the protesters, solutions for their country can not be resolved through
negotiations only from Zanu-PF and the MDC, since they do not have a public
mandate to do so.
The protesters say they have been let down by the South
African Development Community (SADC), which has taken too long to address
their concerns. The civil society organisations say they advocate a
transitional authority with a time frame and clear mandate to lead Zimbabwe.
Protesters have also called for the prioritisation of humanitarian relief,
such as affordable access to food, the revival of the economy, and an end to
violence and human abuses.
Furthermore, the civil society organisations
have called for the completion of the electoral processes for holding of
free and fair elections in accordance with Zimbabwean law and the SADC
electoral standards, once a transitional authority is in place.
Robert Mugabe lavishes gifts of plasma TVs and Mercedes on
The stress and strain of working as a judge in Robert
Mugabe's Zimbabwe, where the judiciary's upper levels are regarded as biased
and corrupt, has been marginally relieved by new plasma
By Sebastien Berger Southern Africa Correspondent Last
Updated: 6:19PM BST 01 Aug 2008
The Herald newspaper, a government
mouthpiece, revealed that senior judges of the high court and labour court
had all been given new 32-inch sets and satellite dishes, with the chief
justice and judge president receiving 42-inch screens.
A total of 16
new Mercedes-Benz E280 cars were also handed out, as were generators -
Zimbabwe suffers frequent power cuts as its infrastructure creaks towards
destruction in the face of Mr Mugabe's misrule.
The Herald said the gifts
were intended "to improve their conditions of service".
judges received Mercedes Benz E280," the Master of the High Court, Charles
Nyatanga told the newspaper.
"This was long overdue and some of the
judges had never been issued with Mercedes-Benz vehicles ever since their
appointment to the bench."
Utility vehicles including Toyota and Isuzu
trucks were also handed out, with Mr Nyatanga explaining that it was "not
desirable" for judges to have to drive their Mercedes over rough ground to
get to their farms.
Patronage is a major part of how Mr Mugabe's regime
secures loyalty, and many judges have been given farms seized from their
white owners since the land grab began in 2000.
In a sign of the
fractures within the ruling party, the newspaper stressed that the official
generosity came courtesy of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Gideon Gono harbours presidential ambitions, and will have been keen to
court the allegiance of the judiciary.
BAE Systems linked to Zimbabwean arms dealer John
The British arms manufacturer BAE Systems paid at least £20
million to a firm linked to a Zimbabwean arms trader associated with Robert
Mugabe's regime, it has been claimed.
By Tom Peterkin Last
Updated: 9:37AM BST 01 Aug 2008
Evidence of the payment has emerged in
documents seen by the Financial Times, which claims the paperwork purports
to give the first details of a financial relationship between BAE and John
Bredencamp, a controversial figure who has been involved in supplying
equipment to the Zimbabwe military.
British properties owned by Mr
Bredencamp were raided by the Serious Fraud Office 18 months ago as part of
a long running investigation into BAE aircraft sales to South
The Financial Times claims that the payments were made between
2003 and 2005 by Red Diamond Trading, a BAE subsidiary registered in the
British Virgin Islands, from a London-based Lloyds TSB account.
money was transferred to Kayswell Services, also registed in the British
Virgin Islands. Kayswell Services' list Mr Bredencamp as a beneficiary in
British Virgin Island company records show Red Diamond
was liquidated on May 30 last year, two weeks before BAE announced that Lord
Woolf, the former chief justice, would investigate its ethical conduct and
compliance with anti-corruption rules.
Mr Bredencamp, who is reported
to be a close associate of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the head of the Mugabe
Government's Joint Operational Command, has said that he always complies
with the European Union arms sanctions brought against Zimbabwe since
The sanctions ban "the provision of financing related to military
The SFO raids on Mr Bredencamp's UK properties were part
of an investigation into BAE's 1999 £1.6 billion jet fighter sale to South
Africa, when several ruling African National Congress officials allegedly
According to the FT, Mr Bredencamp's spokesman denied he
had any involvement in the South African sale and said it was "wholly
inappropriate" for him to make any comment while the SFO inquiry
BAE said: "It is our policy not to comment on payments to
individual parties or organisations or on the individuals parties or
Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and working in
Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is writing a regular diary on the challenges of
leading a normal life.
Zimbabwe is suffering from an acute economic crisis. The country has the
world's highest rate of inflation and just one in five has an official job.
At midnight, my bank stripped me of my trillionaire status - the Z$5
trillion sitting in my account will become Z$500.
Coins are coming back, we have not used those in close to a
So no more talk of trillionaires, quandrillionaires and quintillionaires.
At least, not for another six months or so.
People are relieved, while taking 10 zeros off our currency does nothing to
address hyper-hyper inflation, at least writing cheques no longer require a
maths wiz at your side, telling you if you've put too many, too little or just
And coins are coming back, we have not used those in close to a decade!
The sad thing is that it is deja vu. We have been here before.
Bus fares changed three times last week
Last August, the governor of the Reserve Bank knocked off three zeros, and we
were paying a few hundred bucks for bread, milk, and transport.
By December, it was hundreds of thousands, then millions in January, and
billions by April.
So while we welcome the convenience that's coming with dealing with smaller
figures, the general feeling is that something really has to be done about
Just last week, bus fares changed three times!
We started the week paying Z$50bn, then it was Z$70bn, then Z$100bn.
Thankfully it stopped there, but that was probably because the Reserve Bank
failed to change the daily withdrawal limit in that time, keeping it at Z$100bn
- just enough for one fare!
I know at least three professionals who failed to go to work at least once in
the week because they simply did not have the cash to commute while their
trillions were sitting in their accounts.
Another thing that gives us a feeling of deja vu are the ongoing talks
between the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Some parts of Harare have been without running water for months
A unity accord was signed in 1987 between Zanu and the late nationalist
leader Joshua Nkoma's Zapu party. Zapu is now but a distant memory in our minds,
that unity accord just gobbled it up.
Only the negotiators are so tight lipped... I'VE never seen a media blackout
that works that well! We don't know what's going on with those talks.
That of course means rumours abound - we hear the talks have collapsed
because Zanu-PF wants MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to take a vice president's
post, or because President Robert Mugabe refuses to accept just a ceremonial
Most of us have no idea what is going on, we just do not have much faith in
People in some sections of the capital have been without a constant supply of
running water for months now.
I know women who wake up in the dead of the night to fill up their water
containers and do their laundry because that's the only time running water is
Is a power-sharing deal going to address that, as well as the power shortage,
the rampant inflation and the 90% unemployment? Will it depoliticise the
So many of us wanted change, not compromise. How come our voices are not
Friday, 01 August
2008 08:07 31 JULY 2008 PRESS
CONTINUED ATTACKS AGAINST MEMBERS OF
THE MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC BY
WAR VETERANS IN MANICALAND
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR) is concerned by reports alleging continued politically motivated
criminals acts against members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
and the general public in Nyanga North Constituency by well known members of
the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA).
An Urgent Chamber Application has since been filed in the High Court at
Harare (Douglas Mwonzora & 5 Ors vs. Pasi Mukunza & 12 Ors H.C 3667/08)
seeking an order that all and any illegal bases and roadblocks be removed;
harassing, assaulting and stealing of livestock belonging to MDC members,
their agents and supporters immediately stop, and that the Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP) maintain law and order in Nyanga North
It is alleged in the court documents that
several members of the ZNLWVA have been harassing, beating and stealing from
suspected MDC members and the general public in Nyanga North. Those
suspected of committing these offences include Mr. Pasi Makunza, Wilfred
Pokoto, Antony Nyaguse, Joseph Gwenzi, Kennedy Tsvamuno and Charles Muronza.
The war veterans are said to have set up semi-military bases after the 27
June 2008 election run-off at different locations across Nyanga North
constituency, including at Sabvure Clinic, CBC Nyakomba, Arex Offices in
Nyamaropa, Nyadowa Clinic, Kambudzi Clinic, Chifambe School at Kiss Shopping
Centre, Avilla Mission Hospital and Dumba Business Centre in Nyautare. Road
blocks manned by the mentioned war veterans and their accomplices are also
periodically set up near the bases, whereat passengers in buses and motor
vehicles are searched, ordered to chant ZANU-PF slogans and, at times,
On 1 July 2008 a war veteran, Charles Muronza,
allegedly abducted one Mr. Edmore Njanji near Avilla Mission, and severely
beat him up. On 2 July 2008 teachers at Chatindo Primary School were rounded
up and one Mr. Misheck Mholo was severely beaten with sticks all over his
body. On 3 July 2008 another war-veteran, Francis Mwonzora, severely beat up
a Mr. Mutowo for carrying a suspected MDC youth in his car. The war veterans
have also been demanding food from villagers to feed themselves at their
bases and as "protection fees" in such areas as Nyakomba, Irrigation Area in
Nyamaropa, Nyadowa Clinic, Mutetwa Village Magoshe and Avilla
The harassments and beatings have also been extended to
MDC election agents in Ward 10, Nyanga North, while an elected councilor and
the elected Member of the House of Assembly representing Nyanga North have
had travel restrictions in the area imposed upon them. At least five
councilors from Wards 5, 8, 9, and 10 in Nyanga North Constituency have been
forced out of their homes and continue to seek refuge outside the
constituency. Upon being informed of the beating and harassment by a
councilor-elect for Ward 10, the Officer in Charge, ZRP Nyamaropa simply
advised the complainant to travel at night to avoid the marauding war
veterans. The same Officer in Charge was also involved in attempts to force
the elected councilor for Ward 12, Nyanga North to resign, which matter is
presently before the criminal courts.
The Officer in
Charge, ZRP Ruwangwe was also not forthcoming in protecting the victims of
the attacks by the war veterans despite pleas from the MP-elect for Nyanga
North, with his junior police officers advising the MP-elect that they had
not yet got orders from their superiors to dismantle the bases. The police
have turned a blind eye to these illegal and criminal acts against members
of the MDC and the general public despite receiving complaints of the
ZLHR expresses its serious concern over the continued
politically motivated violence and violation of the fundamental rights of
perceived and confirmed members of the MDC by war veterans, which has
unfortunately been compounded by the inaction of the ZRP. Such conduct is
more worrying considering that, in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
recently signed by the three principals of the ZANU-PF party and the two MDC
parties, it was agreed that all forms of violence must be stopped.
Paragraphs (a) and (c) of Article 10.1 of the MOU provides for "Security of
persons", stating that:
(a) Each Party will issue a statement
condemning the promotion and use of violence and call for peace in the
country and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that the structures
and institutions it controls are not engaged in the perpetration of
violence. (c) The Parties will take all necessary measures to eliminate
all forms of political violence, including by non-state actors, and to
ensure the security of persons and property. In light of such
provisions in the MOU and the need to protect the constitutional rights of
all persons from torture and any other inhuman and degrading treatment, and
violations of their rights to property, movement and protection of the law,
ZLHR calls for the following:
(a) That the Commissioner of
Police direct members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to act against all and
any criminal conduct or violations of the rights of a Zimbabwean citizen
without discrimination based on political affiliation;
That the Commanding Officer, ZRP Nyanga District and Officers in Charge at
Ruwangwe and Nyamaropa police stations fulfill their constitutional and
legal obligations to protect all victims of violations of human rights and
other criminal conduct from such continued violations while swiftly bringing
before the courts those responsible for such unconstitutional, illegal and
(c) That any and all torture and
semi-millitary bases set up across the country be immediately dismantled and
those continuing to maintain them be arrested and made answerable to the
(d) That in the spirit of the MOU all political parties
issue public statements and take positive and visible action against those
who instigate and perpetrate politically motivated violence within their
rank and file.
Combined Tibetan, Burmese, Zimbabwean Protest against China 08/08/08
FROM THE ZIMBABWE
One dream one
08/08/08 is the start of the Olympic Garmes in Beijing. Amnesty
International has expressed alarm at the abuse of human rights in China. The
Zimbabwe Vigil has been in contact with Tibetan and Burmese
human rights groups and we plan to hold a combined protest opposite
the Chinese Embassy in London on Friday 8th August. Our common link is that all
three countries are victims of China’s use of its veto in the UN Security
Council to protect human rights abusers. We are also in contact with a Sudanese
group and are hoping they will join us. Below is information about our plans so
far. With 3 or 4 oppressed nations working together, we have the potential to
put across a really strong
PLEASE COME AND SUPPORT US - THE COMBINED
PROTEST SHOULD ATTRACT LOTS OF MEDIA
Chinese Human Rights Abuses Speak Out
Burmese and Zimbabwean exiles are to protest outside the Chinese Embassy in
London on Friday
8th August when the Olympic Games begin. The three countries are
victims of China’s use of
its veto in the UN Security Council to protect human rights abusers.
from Tibetan, Burmese and Zimbabwean representatives
representing the 216 Tibetans killed through demonstrating since March will
front the demonstration opposite the Embassy.
be supported by representatives from Burmese groups who mark the 20th
anniversary of the Burmese military junta coming to power after gunning down
more than 3,000 demonstrators in the 8/8/88 uprising.
Zimbabweans will be represented in protest at
for the Mugabe regime.
silence followed by prayers by Tibetan Buddhist monk, Burmese Buddhist monk,
Formal raising of the Tibetan flag accompanied by the Tibetan national anthem
and drum beat. This will coincide with the opening of the Olympic
song, Burmese and Zimbabwean national anthems.
representing demonstrators murdered by the Chinese.
coffin on display
flowers to be laid outside Chinese Embassy.
impersonating Senior General Than Shwe of Burma and Robert Mugabe of
Zimbabwe will be
seen kneeling before someone representing
Formal raising of the Tibetan flag
assembling at and the
programme for the media will be from 11.30 – 12.30.
·Please wear black in
mourning for the heroes who lost their lives in the freedom struggle
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe
Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to
protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in
Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until
internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in
MASVINGO - The police in Masvingo last week
pounced on Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi while allegedly in the
process of selling on the black-market, diesel from an allocation of 6 000
litres issued to Zanu-PF in the town for use during the June 27 presidential
The arrest followed a tip off to the police by
disgruntled fellow party members, Zanu-PF official sources told Radio
Mumbengegwi - younger brother to Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi - was picked up by Criminal Investigation Department officers on
Wednesday last week after he had allegedly disposed of 2 000 litres of
diesel to desperate motorists at exorbitant prices.
The police found
the remaining 4 000 litres of the fuel at his residence in Masvingo's
Morningside suburb. Sources said the police impounded the diesel which is
now in their custody at Masvingo Central Police station, a source within the
party revealed. Cabinet ministers and Zanu-PF officials receive subsidized
fuel amounting to more than 400 litres each per week. Some of them are known
to sell any fuel in excess of their personal requirements.
who is the former Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial chairman, is accused of
bulldozing his way into local party structures in order to access large
quantities of fuel at the expense of other party members.
the party benefits from the fuel but some want to benefit much more than the
others," the source said. "Some of us do not get the fuel allocations at
times when others get large quantities; so this then causes
Disgruntled party members had tipped off the
While the Zanu-PF provincial chairman, Alex Mudavanhu professed
ignorance of the minister's allegedly illegal sales of diesel on the
black-market, police provincial spokesperson, Inspector Phibeon Nyambo,
confirmed that the police had collected a large quantity of diesel from
Zanu-PF in Morningside.
He however claimed that the diesel was at the
police station for safe keeping.
"It is true that we have some fuel
here," Nyambo said. "But it came here for safekeeping, not that the Minister
was selling it on the black-market."
GUEST COLUMN 1 August
2008 Posted to the web 1 August 2008
Comfort Ero Cape
If talks between Zimbabwe's government and the opposition are to
help Zimbabweans regain the kind of society they deserve, they will sooner
or later have to address a number of pivotal issues head-on.
Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) must demonstrate their commitment to restoring
Zimbabweans' right to life, liberty and the freedom to choose their own
government, rather than cynically using the negotiation process to share out
positions of power among themselves.
To prove that commitment,
negotiators must address the most immediate consequences of recent political
violence, by ending the state campaign of targeted attacks and intimidation,
and by immediately releasing all political detainees. They must also move
swiftly to allow internally displaced persons to return to their homes and
agree to the resumption of humanitarian aid without interference of any
kind. The parties should also affirm the rights of victims to
Second, the format of the talks will have to expand beyond
the chief political actors to include women and representatives of civil
society. It is civil society - concerned citizens and the non-governmental
organizations that represent them - that is best placed to ensure that the
talks reflect the needs of the Zimbabwean people.
are especially relevant given both their marginalization in political life
and their disproportionate suffering as targets of political violence.
Unfortunately, only one woman was on the MDC's technical team for the talks
taking place in Pretoria, South Africa; none were present to represent
Zanu-PF. Women's voices need to be heeded.
Third, Zimbabweans will need
tools to help address human rights abuses over an extended period - not just
the violence that has occurred this year. Genuine, lasting reconciliation is
possible only if society seeks accountability for past wrongs. Experience
elsewhere - during political transitions in other parts of Africa as well as
in Latin America and Eastern Europe - shows that truth commissions can help
repair deep divisions, by publicly examining the actions of national
institutions and authorities. A truth-seeking body can also provide a forum
for victims to be acknowledged, as well as make recommendations for future
Fourth, while those responsible for human rights violations will
undoubtedly seek to protect themselves from future prosecutions,
international law clearly rejects blanket amnesties for mass atrocities, and
Zimbabwean civil society agrees with this position.
representatives of more than 70 civil society groups met in Johannesburg and
rejected amnesty for gross human rights violations. "Blanket amnesties for
human rights abusers," the groups said in a statement, "should never be
allowed or find a space on the negotiating table." Mediators will need to
plan reforms of the military and police to undo the large-scale
militarization Zimbabwe has undergone in recent years. But as they find ways
peacefully to reintegrate fighters into society, the path must remain open
for the perpetrators of grave human rights abuses to be brought to
In the "Memorandum of Understanding" signed at the beginning of
the current talks, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara - leader of a
second MDC faction - pledged to work toward "a society free of violence,
fear, intimidation, hate, patronage, corruption and founded on justice,
fairness, openness, transparency, dignity and equality." This is no less
than Zimbabweans deserve. When the parties reach an agreement that includes
the essential elements outlined here, those goals will be within
Comfort Ero heads the South Africa office of the International
Center for Transitional Justice, a human rights organization.
The emergency SADC summit that was set to convene on Friday has been
postponed, shortly after South African President Thabo Mbeki announced that
the talks between Zimbabwe's rival political parties were to continue on
The summit of heads of State and Governments of the Organ of
Politics, Defence and Security had been called on short notice following
this week's report that the talks had broken down. Despite Mbeki's
insistence that the talks were "progressing well", the announcement of the
summit, coupled with the South African President's rush to meet the leaders
of the negotiating parties, were the first clear signs that talks had
With little information about the state of the talks
available due to the mass media blackout, one can only make assumptions
based on such signs. It would appear that while the SADC summit was convened
to "discuss the Zimbabwe crisis in light of the talks", the urgent nature of
the meeting might have been used as a threat to push the deadlocked
negotiating parties into action. The fact that the postponement came not
long after Mbeki's announcement that the talks were resuming, further fuels
belief that SADC used a power card to pressure the parties to resume their
The widely accepted belief is the deadlock had
been caused by the ruling party's insistence that Robert Mugabe should lead
any form of unity government. Morgan Tsvangerai has since stated that the
deadline for the talks is flexible, an indication that a resolution could
still be a long time coming.
Professor David Moore, a political
analyst at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, told Newsreel on
Friday that the argument over the distribution of power could see next
Thursday's deadline for the talks, further extended. He called the
negotiations a "cynical, manipulative process" that has put the two MDC
factions "between lots of rocks and hard places". Moore argued that while
the security and safety of the Zimbabwean people needs to be taken into
account, you cannot assume that the negotiating parties care enough about
this to ensure that the talks meet the deadline. He said the will of the
people was expressed in the March elections, but he questioned whether the
people had any power to affect the political crisis.
European Commissioner urges Zim party leaders to end violence
Bell 1 August 2008
The European Commissioner for Development and
Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel has called on the parties involved in the
Zimbabwean leadership negotiations to stick to promises made in the
Memorandum of Understanding to "renounce violence and support humanitarian
The MOU signed by Robert Mugabe and the leaders of the two MDC
formations, Morgan Tsvangerai and Arthur Mutambara more than a week ago,
sets out clear measures supposed to be taken immediately as a condition for
talks. These included the end of all politically motivated violence and the
immediate lifting of the ban on international humanitarian aid, including
the substantial assistance offered by the European
However the talks have continued against a backdrop of
continued violence and intimidation against MDC supporters, with numerous
reports of deaths and serious injuries inflicted by government militia and
ZANU-PF thugs since the signing of the MOU. At the same time foreign aid has
still not received the go-ahead to help ease the dire circumstances and mass
starvation that the majority of the Zimbabwean population now
Commissioner Michel's spokesman, John Clancy, told Newsreel on
Friday the Commissioner is "very concerned" about the situation in Zimbabwe
given the grave humanitarian crisis there. He said the "total clamp down on
humanitarian aid access means the country's most vulnerable are not given
crucial assistance". Clancy added the ongoing reports of violence are
"unacceptable" and a continuing threat to the crucial negotiations taking
place between the ruling ZANU-PF and the MDC.
Clancy continued by
saying that the conditions set out by the MOU have clearly not been adhered
to and, while the talks need to continue, the basic measures to end violence
and suffering needed to be taken as a matter of
HARARE, August 1 2008 - Suspected
ZANU PF supporters in Manicaland last week deviated from their party's
pledge to end violence by continuing to terrorize MDC supporters in Nyanga
This emerged in an urgent chamber application filed
at the High Court by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) demanding
"that all and any illegal bases and roadblocks be removed; harassing,
assaulting and stealing of livestock belonging to MDC members, their agents
and supporters immediately stop".
The court documents
identify six war veterans - Pasi Makunza, Wilfred Pokoto, Antony Nyaguse,
Joseph Gwenzi, Kennedy Tsvamuno and Charles Muronza - as being responsible
for "harassing, beating and stealing from suspected MDC members and the
general public in Nyanga North".
The six have led set up terror
bases at different locations in Nyanga North. Among others, the bases are
said to be located at Sabvure Clinic, CBC Nyakomba, Arex Offices in
Nyamaropa, Nyadowa Clinic, Kambudzi Clinic, Chifambe School at Kiss Shopping
Centre, Avilla Mission Hospital and Dumba Business Centre in
The six, said the ZLHR, also man illegal roadblocks
in the area, and occasionally force villagers to donate livestock at the
On July 01, the war veterans
allegedly abducted Edmore Njanji near Avilla Mission and severely beat him
up. The following day, they rounded up teachers at Chatindo Primary School
and thoroughly beat some of them.
Said the ZLHR: "The
harassments and beatings have also been extended to MDC election agents in
Ward 10, Nyanga North, while an elected councilor and the elected Member of
the House of Assembly representing Nyanga North have had travel restrictions
in the area imposed upon them. At least five councilors from Wards 5, 8, 9,
and 10 in Nyanga North Constituency have been forced out of their homes and
continue to seek refuge outside the constituency."
the main segments of the agreement signed between Zanu PF and the two MDC
formations was that all parties should make sure their structures do not
engage in violent activities.
SUBJECT: Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Monetary Statement
falls short of workers' expectations
Following the release
of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Monetary Policy Statement yesterday,
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) notes with dismay that the
statement dismally failed to address the plight of the workers in so far as
cash withdrawals and the fight against inflation is concerned. In
his policy, the RBZ Governor indicated that minimum withdrawals have been
upped to Z$200 (revalued or Z$2 Trillion old currency) which falls below the
Z$2.5 trillion per day as suggested by the ZCTU.
In our letter
dated 22 July 2008, the ZCTU also called for the review of the minimum
withdrawals to be reviewed after every three days to cushion workers against
transport costs that are rising everyday. The call was necessitated by the
fact that as a Workers Representative Board, the ZCTU was receiving numerous
calls from members who faced serious problems, simply because they could not
access cash from their accounts.
When the letter was written to
Dr. Gono on 22 July 2008, transport costs were around Z$150 billion for a
round trip to and from work, and by today, the average transport is around
Z$350 billion for the same round trip.
The ZCTU does not
see how the monetary policy would solve the problem of inflation. We also do
not know how the introduction of the old coins would solve our problem of
shortage of currency as the new coins would soon be rendered useless by the
The ZCTU is also concerned that issues
related to the tax threshold have not been adequately addressed, resulting
in workers being short-changed.
The $5 Trillion threshold
which was announced by the government comes far short of the Poverty Datum
Line (PDL), which now runs into more than $14 Trillion for a family of
The ZCTU therefore observes that yesterday's monetary
policy and tax threshold are simply a dump squibs and it would not hesitate
to call upon workers to exercise their right to be heard.
Friday, 01 August 2008
09:56 PRETORIA HIGH COURT RULES IN FAVOUR OF CRAWFORD VON ABO: SA GOVT
FAILS TO OFFER DIPLOMATIC PROTECTION
landmark judgment was critical of the government, finding that it failed to
offer a South African farmer diplomatic protection after the seizure of his
land in Zimbabwe. A JUDGE has taken the government to task for not
protecting the rights of a South African citizen whose farms were
nationalised in Zimbabwe, in a ruling that holds the promise of extra
protection for South African businessmen operating in
Free State farmer Crawford von Abo yesterday won
his court battle against President Thabo Mbeki, Foreign Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma and Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa to get
compensation from SA's government for 14 farms taken without compensation in
The landmark Pretoria High Court judgment was highly
critical of the government, finding that it failed to offer Von Abo the
diplomatic protection he was entitled to, and gave Mbeki and the ministers
60 days to remedy the "violation of (Von Abo's) rights" either through
diplomatic pressure on Zimbabwe to restore the seized land or though
compensation, expected to come to more than R80m.
Bill Prinsloo said he found the government's excuses for lack of action over
the past six years "feeble" as SA was a powerful country.
judge said Germany, France and Denmark had intervened successfully on behalf
of their citizens who owned farm land in Zimbabwe, many of whom operated
Legal experts believe the ruling in Von Abo's
favour, if not contested by the government, has implications for other South
African farmers and businessmen operating in Africa. It is the first ruling
upholding diplomatic protection as a legal right.
Fritz, head of the Southern African Litigation Centre, said yesterday that
the finding had "enormous implications for the protection of South African
citizens" and was a "huge move forward" for SA's legal position in this
regard, bringing the country into line with international
"President Thabo Mbeki's quiet diplomacy is having
negative consequences on all fronts," she said. "Mbeki's government's
reluctance to take a position of censure against Zimbabwe has directly
affected not only Zimbabwean citizens but South African citizens as
Zolile Nqayi, spokesman for Justice Minister Brigitte
Mabandla, who was also a respondent, said yesterday that lawyers were still
reviewing the judgment, and would decide in the next few days whether to
appeal against the judgment.
In his ruling, Prinsloo,
referring to Von Abo's six-year battle during which he was sent from "pillar
to post" by various government departments and ministries, said the
government did nothing to help him. "It is difficult to resist the
conclusion that (the government) was stringing (Von Abo) along, and never
intended to offer him any proper protection," Prinsloo
"Their feeble efforts, if any, amounted to little
more than quiet acquiescence in the conduct of their Zimbabwean counterparts
and war veteran thugs."
Judge Prinsloo was critical of the
government's lack of movement on the Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreement, which has been in the pipeline since 2002, which
contains a clause providing for compensation for actions by errant states
against South African citizens, but has yet to be signed.
The government argued in the court that it could not intervene because the
farms, registered as companies, were Zimbabwean companies and that it was
"not wrong for a sovereign state to nationalise the property of its
The high court ruling has to be confirmed by
the Constitutional Court. In 2004, in a finding on 69 South Africans held in
Harare in connection with an alleged plot to overthrow Equatorial Guinea,
the Constitutional Court found that the government did not have an
obligation to provide diplomatic protection in that case.
August 2008 Transparency International's chapters in Africa, as members of a
global coalition dedicated to the fight against corruption, urge all parties
currently involved in talks that will determine the future of Zimbabwe to
guarantee full transparency of the political process. Only by establishing a
climate of transparency and accountability can Zimbabwe's leaders ensure
credibility of the talks that will resume this weekend to overcome
Zimbabwe's deep political, economic and humanitarian crisis. The ongoing
widespread violence and intimidation, particularly against civil society
representatives, must end immediately.
In a "Memorandum of
Understanding" between President Mugabe's party, ZANU-PF, and the Movement
for Democratic Change on 22 July 2008, all parties confirmed their
commitment "to build a society free of violence, fear, intimidation, hate,
patronage, corruption and founded on justice, fairness, openness,
transparency, dignity and equality", and promised to adhere "to a dialogue
with each other with a view to creating a genuine, viable, permanent and
sustainable solution to the Zimbabwean situation". The current situation in
Zimbabwe, where citizens and civil society organisations fear retaliation
for criticism or pursuing accountability, does not reflect the spirit of the
Transparency International strongly believes that a viable
solution and a society free of corruption and founded on transparency can
only be possible where political leaders are accountable towards civil
society. The failure to provide regular information regarding the
development or outcome of the talks threatens to diminish the legitimacy and
credibility of the entire process.
Civil society organisations,
including those distributing aid to alleviate the suffering of the
Zimbabwean people, must be allowed to operate freely throughout the country.
Without freedom of speech and peaceful assembly, corruption and other abuses
of power cannot be overcome. The arrest and questioning of activists have
resulted in a climate of fear, mistrust and impunity that must end
In this defining moment for Zimbabwe, Transparency
International chapters in Africa stand together in Pan-African solidarity
and in support of TI Zimbabwe, to demand that the soon to resume talks rest
on the pillars of transparency and accountability. Respect for active
participation by citizens and NGOs demanding accountability is crucial for
helping the people of Zimbabwe overcome their current
Signed by: Association Algérienne de Lutte contre
la Corruption (TI Algeria), TI Cameroon, Ghana Integrity Initiative, TI
Kenya, Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, Transparency
International Initiative Madagascar, Transparency Mauritius, Transparence
Maroc, Association Nigérienne de lutte contre la Corruption, Transparency in
Nigeria, Forum Civil (TI Senegal), TI South Africa, TI Uganda, TI Zambia
Appointment of new Harare City PR manager raises eyebrows
Guma 01 August 2008
Long time Zanu PF supporter and former Dynamos
Football Club Secretary-General, Leslie Gwindi, has bounced back as public
relations manager for the Harare City Council. An MDC dominated council
several years ago sought to get rid of Gwindi, before Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo imposed a commission to run the city. Chombo's own
commission recommended that Gwindi be fired for insubordination and
absenteeism. The Minister however kept blocking these attempts, cementing
Gwindi's status as an untouchable blue-eyed boy.
On Tuesday Muchadeyi
Masunda, the new Mayor voted in by MDC councillors, raised eyebrows when he
announced that Gwindi had been handed back his old post. Sources however say
the ceremonial mayor has no powers of appointment and the decision was made
by the town clerk, Tendai Mahachi. However this appointment still has to be
endorsed by the councillors, in this case all from the MDC. 'Another way of
looking at it is that in being re-appointed PR manager he has been cleverly
demoted from the Directors position, which he was not qualified to hold in
the first place,' a council source told Newsreel.
In an interview
with Newsreel Mayor Masunda said the dismissal of several officials in
council over the past few years, including Gwindi, were not handled properly
and the City Council had no legal leg to stand on . Several other problem
cases include Misheck Mubvumbi (City Treasurer), Numero Mubaiwa (Director of
Housing), James Chiyangwa (Acting Director of Housing), Tendai Kwenda
(Treasury Department) and the late former town clerk Nomutsa Chideya.
Mubvumbi for example was fired over accusations made by former turncoat
'Mayoress' Sekesai Makwavarara, who said he was aligned to former MDC Mayor
Elias Mudzuri. Masunda said all these cases posed legal minefields and
needed to be addressed in a sober manner including Gwindi's case.
has been regularly in and out of the headlines, over issues involving
corruption. He has had controversial tenures at the Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority, a diplomatic posting in New York, and his past work as Harare's
PR manager was punctuated by one corruption scandal after another. Several
reports have suggested his mother is the sister of Labour Minister Nicholas
Goche, one of the key negotiators for Zanu PF in South Africa. The new mayor
suggested the past allegations against Gwindi had not been properly
substantiated and council could not act on them. He said the council is
starting on a clean slate and everyone is on performance related contracts
and will have to prove themselves.