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Zimbabwe opposition accuses Mugabe backers of attacks

Yahoo News

Fri 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 Friday.

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 attacks.

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

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.

They are also seeking the dismantling of what they called illegal roadblocks
and semi-military bases.

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 veterans."

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 intimidation.

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 election.

In the document, the political rivals agreed to take "all necessary measures
to eliminate all forms of political violence".

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Senegalese President to Play Role in Zimbabwe Accord, Analyst Says


By Brent Latham
01 August 2008

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 visit.

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

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

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. Mugabe.

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 neighboring Chad.

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

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Zimbabwe Food Aid Ban May Hamper Future Distribution Efforts


By Peta Thornycroft
01 August 2008

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 food aid.

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 networks.

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.

In 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 retrovirals drugs.

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Thousands of coins in the fountain

Zimtodaycoins And suddenly they're worth money again

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 surface.

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 years.

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, spend!

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Governor Gono, please!

August 1, 2008

By Sibangani Sibanda

I DID 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

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".

Bearer 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.

They 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!

So, this 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 become money?

And how many bookish economists would have thought up such an innovative

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Gono must be fired, put RBZ under SADC curators

31 July, 2008 09:17:00 VOP
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Calls for Gono to be fired have been raised again, this time by Zimbabweans
& South Africans alike who spoke at rally in Cape Town

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.

"The Reserve 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.

"Given the 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.

Analysts 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.

 Sisulu said 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 Harare Declaration.

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

"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 Zanu PF.

"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.

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We'll be back in time for Christmas - Cartoon

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Zimbabwe central bank chief urges pay freeze to stall inflation

Yahoo News

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 threshold.

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 statement.

"As long as there is no production, we will continue to move in circles as a

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

"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.

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Botswana threatens to boycott SADC summit if Mugabe attends

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 Friday.

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 his supporters.

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 exiles.

Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are estimated to have made their home
in Botswana, where they compete with locals for jobs.

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 Democratic

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.

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Groups to march against Zimbabwe negotiations


August 01, 2008, 08:15

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 deal.

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 Zimbabwe.

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.

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Protesters slam Zanu-PF, MDC unity govt talk



August 01, 2008, 17:30

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.

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Robert Mugabe lavishes gifts of plasma TVs and Mercedes on Zimbabwe's judges

The Telegraph

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 televisions.

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

"Yes, the 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.

Its governor Gideon Gono harbours presidential ambitions, and will have been
keen to court the allegiance of the judiciary.

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BAE Systems linked to Zimbabwean arms dealer John Bredencamp

The Telegraph

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

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 Africa.

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.

The money was transferred to Kayswell Services, also registed in the British
Virgin Islands. Kayswell Services' list Mr Bredencamp as a beneficiary in
its documents.

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 2002.

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 received bribes.

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 continued.

BAE said: "It is our policy not to comment on payments to individual parties
or organisations or on the individuals parties or organisations themselves."

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Harare diary: No more trillionaires

Friday, 1 August 2008 09:31 UK

A $100bn note in Zimbabwe

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 decade

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 enough zeros.

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.

Passengers boarding a bus in Zimbabwe
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 inflation.

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.

Rumours abound

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 Change (MDC).

A dripping tape in Harare
Some parts of Harare have been without running water for months now

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 role.

Most of us have no idea what is going on, we just do not have much faith in the process.

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 available.

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 security forces?

So many of us wanted change, not compromise. How come our voices are not respected?

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Continuing violence and torture bases in Zimbabwe

Friday, 01 August 2008 08:07
31 JULY 2008


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 Constituency.

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, beaten up.

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 areas.

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 same.

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

(b) 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 criminal conduct;

(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 law;

(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.

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Combined Tibetan, Burmese, Zimbabwean Protest against China 08/08/08

One dream one nightmare

Dear Supporters

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 message.



Victims of Chinese Human Rights Abuses Speak Out

Tibetan, 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.


Programme – from 11.30

·    Welcome from Tibetan, Burmese and Zimbabwean representatives

·    People representing the 216 Tibetans killed through demonstrating since March will front the demonstration opposite the Embassy. 

·    They will 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.

·    Exiled Zimbabweans will be represented in protest at China’s support for the Mugabe regime. 

·    One minute silence followed by prayers by Tibetan Buddhist monk, Burmese Buddhist monk, Christian minister

·    12.08 Formal raising of the Tibetan flag accompanied by the Tibetan national anthem and drum beat. This will coincide with the opening of the Olympic Games.

·    Singing of Tibet freedom song, Burmese and Zimbabwean national anthems.


Photo Opportunities

·    Tibetans representing demonstrators murdered by the Chinese.

·    Black coffin on display

·    Wreaths / flowers to be laid outside Chinese Embassy.

·    People impersonating Senior General Than Shwe of Burma and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe will be seen kneeling before someone representing China.

·    12.08 Formal raising of the Tibetan flag


We will start assembling at 10 am and the programme for the media will be from 11.30 – 12.30.  


Special request

·   Please wear black in mourning for the heroes who lost their lives in the freedom struggle

·   Please bring flowers


Venue:        Outside RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 6AD (opposite Chinese Embassy)

Map link:

Underground:     Regents Park, Great Portland Street.

Contacts:    Philippa Carrick, Tibet Society 020 7272 1414

                   Myo Thein, Burma Democratic Concern, 020 8493 9137, 07877 882 386

                   Zimbabwe Vigil, Rose Benton, 07970 996 003

Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators

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 Zimbabwe.


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Police seize diesel from Finance Minister

August 1, 2008

Own Correspondent/Radio VOP

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 election campaign.

The arrest followed a tip off to the police by disgruntled fellow party
members, Zanu-PF official sources told Radio VOP.

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.

Mumbengegwi, 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.

"Everyone in 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 police.

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

"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."

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Talks Must Address Violence, Displacement

1 August 2008
Posted to the web 1 August 2008

Comfort Ero
Cape Town

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.

First, 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 compensation.

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.

Women's concerns 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 reforms.

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.

In 2003, 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 justice.

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 reach.

Comfort Ero heads the South Africa office of the International Center for
Transitional Justice, a human rights organization.

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Emergency SADC summit on Zimbabwe postponed

By Alex Bell
1 August 2008

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 deadlocked.

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 negotiating

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.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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European Commissioner urges Zim party leaders to end violence

By Alex 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 access".

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 Commission.

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 faces.

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

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Violence Still Rife Despite Talks

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 North.

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 Nyautare.

The six, said the ZLHR, also man illegal roadblocks in the area, and
occasionally force villagers to donate livestock at the military-style

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

One of 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.

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ZCTU Statement

Friday, 01 August 2008 10:06

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

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 galloping inflation.

The ZCTU is also concerned that issues related to the tax threshold
have not been adequately addressed, resulting in workers being

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 six.

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.

Wellington Taylor Chibebe

Secretary General
31 July, 2008

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State might have to pay for farm grab

Friday, 01 August 2008 09:56

Yesterday's 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 Africa.

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 Zimbabwe.

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.

Judge 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.

The judge said Germany, France and Denmark had intervened successfully
on behalf of their citizens who owned farm land in Zimbabwe, many of whom
operated there still.

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.

Nicole 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 well."

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

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.

  Chantelle Benjamin

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A crucial moment for transparency and accountability in Zimbabwe

Berlin, 01 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 memorandum.

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

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 immediately.

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 suffering.


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

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Appointment of new Harare City PR manager raises eyebrows

By Lance 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

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.

Gwindi 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.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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