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Pretoria talks resume as Mugabe goes for broke

29 August 2008

Harare Correspondent

TALKS between Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu (PF) and opposition Movement for
Democratic (MDC) resume today in Pretoria amid threats by President Robert
Mugabe to proceed unilaterally to appoint a cabinet.

Zanu (PF) negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche flew to SA last
night. Three MDC negotiators, Tendai Biti, Elton Mangoma and Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, were already in Pretoria yesterday. The last
negotiator, Welshman Ncube, is due to fly in this morning.

Although talks are resuming, no agreement is likely to be signed because
Mugabe is said to be determined to resist pressure for him to surrender more
power to main MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, while the opposition chief is
also not willing to budge.

Tsvangirai has refused to sign a power-sharing deal with Mugabe that
regional leaders and his opposition rivals led by Arthur Mutambara think is
"fair and realistic in the circumstances", saying it would leave him as a
weaker junior partner.

Sources said President Thabo Mbeki, the mediator, who has called for today's
reconvening of talks, would not reopen negotiations but ask the parties what
should to be done to break the deadlock.

If the talks collapse, Mugabe would inevitably proceed unilaterally but his
new government could be paralysed by his party's loss of control of

Mugabe said on Tuesday he was in the process of forming a new government.
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga said yesterday his boss was going
ahead with his arbitrary plans to appoint a cabinet despite continuing

"Nothing is going to stop us from forming a new government," Matonga said in
an interview with public broadcaster SAfm. "We need to move forward, we need
to make sure that Zimbabwe regains its status, we need to work on the

Matonga suggested that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had
given Mugabe the authority to convene parliament and appoint a cabinet.

However, SADC, which authorised Mugabe to reconvene parliament during its
recent summit in Johannesburg, said yesterday it had not given him the
go-ahead to appoint a cabinet while talks were still under way.

SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao said the regional body gave Mugabe
the powers only to convene parliament, as reflected in SADC's communiqué
issued after the summit.

A memorandum of understanding for talks, signed by Mugabe, Tsvangirai,
Mutambara and Mbeki on July 21, prohibits such actions as the opening of
parliament and appointing a new cabinet.

Biti said the MDC would today lodge a formal complaint with Mbeki on these
issues, including the arrest of five of the party's MPs and a senior party
official this week.

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Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF says no need for more talks


Fri 29 Aug 2008, 7:24 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF said
there is no need for further power-sharing talks with the opposition, state
media reported on Friday.

The Herald newspaper quoted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who heads
ZANU-PF's team in the negotiations, as saying: "There was no need for more
talks since there was a deal already on the table that was waiting to be

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South Africans bid to kickstart Zimbabwe talks

Yahoo News

1 hour, 19 minutes ago

PRETORIA (AFP) - South African officials were locked in separate
negotiations with Zimbabwe's political rivals on Friday in a bid to
kickstart stalled power-sharing talks to resolve a ruinous political crisis.

"They (the talks) started this morning," the spokesman for South African
mediator, President Thabo Mbeki, told AFP.

The deputy leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), Tendai Biti, flew to Pretoria for a meeting with Mbeki's officials
but would not hold direct discussions with representatives of President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, the MDC said.

South Africa's Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said earlier Friday that
talks would resume on Friday "to finalise all outstanding matters".

But MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa, reached by phone by AFP, made it clear
that a resumption of full power-sharing negotiations was still some way off.

"Our good understanding is that there are no talks," said Chamisa.

"There is some kind of engagement to have some understanding ... of where we
are, because it's not clear whether the talks have collapsed or are still

"The mediator has to help us appreciate where we are in terms of locating a
way forward," he explained.

"We are trying with Mbeki to get ZANU-PF to be flexible, because there has
not been any indication of movement, of flexibility on the part of ZANU-PF,"
he added.

He said the MDC delegation were negotiating "just with the South African
mediators, there is no ZANU-PF."

South Africa's Mbeki is mediating the negotiations, under the auspices of
the regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Pahad told journalists in Pretoria: "We hope the talks can lead to the
finalisation of the political and outstanding matters so that we can start
with a normalisation of the political, economic and humanitarian situation
in Zimbabwe."

Harare later announced it was lifting a ban it imposed in early June on
foreign aid and humanitarian organisations, after it accused some of them of
siding with the opposition ahead of a run-off presidential election.

Relations have soured between Zimbabwe's political rivals since the talks
stalled on August 17 at the end of a SADC summit in South Africa that sought
to wrap them up.

Mugabe, whose ruling ZANU-PF party lost its majority in March elections, was
jeered and heckled during his speech to the opening of parliament on Monday.
And the veteran leader has insisted on forming a government without the
opposition, because of a lack of progress in the talks.

Divisions remain over how Mugabe, 84, and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
would share power in a national unity government, including what authority
they would have as president and prime minister.

Analysts believe Mugabe is reluctant to yield responsibility for sensitive
security ministries like the army, police and intelligence, given that
Zimbabwe's military are strong backers of the veteran president.

The parties are also divided over how long a transitional government would
remain in place, according to a South African official.

The MDC wants a clause in the agreement stating that elections be held
within 90 days of either of the parties pulling out of the unity government,
the official said, speaking before the talks stalled.

"Unless there is a political solution we don't have the necessary framework
to deal with the economic recovery package for Zimbabwe and the humanitarian
crisis," Pahad told journalists on Friday.

He said that no deadline has been set for the completion of the talks.

"It will be determined by the progress made. They will continue until all
parties feel they have covered sufficient ground," he added.

The talks began after both sides signed a memorandum of understanding on
July 21.

Mugabe won the June 27 run-off election after the first-round winner
Tsvangirai withdrew from the vote in protest at widespread election

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Mugabe go-it-alone threat hangs over renewed talks in South Africa

Aug 29, 2008, 9:31 GMT

Johannesburg - Negotiators from Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF
and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) resumed talks
on a power-sharing government in South Africa on Friday, a South African
official confirmed.

Foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa told SAPA news agency the talks
between Zanu-PF and the two MDCs - one led by Tsvangirai and another smaller
faction led by Arthur Mutambara - had resumed more than two weeks after they
reached deadlock.

Mamoepa would not say whether South African President Thabo Mbeki would be
meeting with the parties' negotiators, or whether he was leaving this round
of mediation to his representatives.

The new talks follow threats by Mugabe this week to form a government
without Tsvangirai, despite Tsvangirai's MDC having a majority in

Tsvangirai's faction has said such a move would mean the death of the talks.
Mutambara's faction has also said it is opposed to forming a government
without Tsvangirai. The document setting out the ground rules for the talks
also stipulates that no party should form a government, save by consensus.

Mugabe revealed his plans to defy the African Union's calls for a
powersharing government in Zimbabwe on Tuesday after being humiliated by
heckling MDC deputies when he officially opened parliament.

The MDC had opposed the act because it does not recognize Mugabe as

Zimbabweans are counting on a negotiated settlement to end nearly a decade
of hardship and political repression under an increasingly autocratic
Mugabe, 84.

Talks between the three parties ground to a halt in Harare earlier this
month when Tsvangirai, 56, baulked at a draft deal that would seen Mugabe
retain much of his powers.

Tsvangirai took the most votes in the last credible presidential election on
March 29. Mugabe won the second round of voting on June 27, but only after
Tsvangirai withdrew over a spate of killings of MDC supporters by Mugabe

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Security leaders back Mugabe to keep power in Zimbabwe

Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, August 29, 2008
It is uncertain if Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe is a free agent or merely a tool
of his security services as he moves to form a new government in defiance of
a floundering power-sharing agreement with the opposition.

What is not in doubt is that Mugabe, 84, to remain president, is now utterly
dependent on the support of the seven-member Joint Operations Command of
senior officers in the country's security services.

The JOC's importance to Mugabe has increased as the president's authority
and Zimbabwe's economy and social order have collapsed 28 years after he
came to the leadership.

Some regional analysts and intelligence services contend Zimbabwe is now a
military state with Mugabe as no more than a front man for the JOC junta.

This is a reasonable contention, but it is also evident that Mugabe and the
JOC have common reasons for clinging to power. If they fall, all face being
called to account for their abuses of human rights going back to the
massacre of tens of thousands of suspected opposition supporters in
Zimbabwe's southwestern Matabeleland in the early 1980s.

And it was by violence and intimidation of voters that Mugabe was able claim
victory in the lopsided race against Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in June.

Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-off because of the violence after he beat
Mugabe -- but did not a win a clear victory -- in March elections when the
MDC won parallel parliamentary elections.

The campaign of violence between March and June in which scores of people
were killed was orchestrated by the JOC, some of whose members said publicly
they would not allow Tsvangirai or the MDC to take power, whatever the
election results. The JOC is also known to have objected to the introduction
of a government of national unity, with Mugabe and Tsvangirai sharing power,
and urged the president not to even engage in talks.

The idea of a unity government has been promoted by South African President
Thabo Mbeki, in concert with the heads of neighbouring countries, as a way
out of the Zimbabwean political impasse.

But when, at the end of July, Mbeki persuaded Mugabe and Tsvangirai to
negotiate a compromise, there was little hope it would come to fruition.

So it proved. Mugabe was willing to see Tsvangirai appointed prime minister,
but rejected transferring any real authority to govern to the MDC leader.

Tsvangirai walked out of the talks and it is unlikely they can be revived.

MDC officials say there can be no further discussions if Mugabe forms a new
government that does not include MDC members wielding real administrative

But Mugabe's officials say he intends to go ahead and form a government
without Tsvangirai or the MDC.

Quite apart from pressure from the JOC to take this course, Mugabe will be
driven by what happened in parliament this week. On Monday the MDC used its
parliamentary majority to elect one of its members Speaker of the house. It
was the first time Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has lost a parliamentary vote in
28 years.

And when Mugabe spoke to parliament on Wednesday he suffered the indignity
of being jeered and heckled, a humiliation broadcast live on television.

Mugabe may try to give some thin but ultimately unconvincing semblance of
legitimacy to forming a new government by enticing Arthur Mutambara, leader
of a small but purchasable breakaway faction of the MDC, to join.

The JOC would probably agree to that, knowing Mutambara would have no real

In theory the head of the JOC is senior Zanu-PF member Emmerson Mnangagwa.
But several foreign intelligence services believe the real power in the JOC
and Zimbabwe is Gen. Constantine Chiwenga, commander of the defence forces.

Another member is air force commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri, who
orchestrated the 1980s killings in Matabeleland. Then there are army
commander Lt.-Gen. Philip Sibanda and Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri.

Like Chihuri and Chiwenga, the head of the prison service, Maj.-Gen.
Paradzayi Zimondi, publicly instructed his officers to vote for Mugabe in
the last election.

And finally, there's the surprisingly chatty Happyton Bonyongwe, head of the
much-feared Central Intelligence Organization.

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Zimbabwe lifts ban on humanitarian organizations

International Herald Tribune

ReutersPublished: August 29, 2008

HARARE, Zimbabwe: In a sign of the growing desperation in Zimbabwe, the
government of President Robert Mugabe lifted a ban on aid groups that
provide food and humanitarian assistance.

They were banned before the recent national election, accused by Mugabe of
helping the opposition.

South Africa said power-sharing talks between Mugabe's government and
opposition leaders would resume Friday although Mugabe's top negotiator said
there was no need for further discussions.

Mugabe and the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have failed to reach
agreement in more than one month of talks since Mugabe's unopposed
re-election in a ballot boycotted by Tsvangirai and condemned around the

All parties would participate in the resumed negotiations in South Africa
and no deadline for an end to the talks was set, said the South African
deputy minister of foreign affairs, Aziz Pahad.

"We do hope that these talks can lead to the finalization of all outstanding
matters, so that we can start with normalising the economic, political and
social situation in Zimbabwe," he said.
It was not immediately clear whether the talks had resumed.

Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper earlier quoted Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa, chief negotiator for the ruling ZANU-PF party, as saying:
"There was no need for more talks since there was a deal already on the
table that was waiting to be signed."

But Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change said it would not sign the
deal in its current form, although it remained committed to talks.

"ZANU-PF has dug a hole for itself," said an opposition spokesman, Nelson
Chamisa. "It is a tragedy that they want to continue to dig."

Mugabe, who reopened Parliament this week in defiance of opposition
objections, has said he will soon form a new government without the
opposition. Chamisa said his party would not cooperate with Mugabe until
talks were concluded.

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Zimbabwe's MDC says will not sign proposed deal


Fri 29 Aug 2008, 7:47 GMT

HARARE, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition MDC said on Friday it
would not sign a power-sharing deal with the ruling ZANU-PF in its current

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said it was "ridiculous" for the ruling ZANU-PF
to insist on MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's signature without addressing
"deficiencies" in the proposed agreement in terms of executive powers.

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Zanu PF Itching For Revenge

HARARE, August 29 2008 - Zanu PF is plotting to embark on a violent
terror campaign aimed at revenging the humiliation its leader, President
Robert Mugabe, suffered at parliament building on Tuesday.

Mugabe was humiliated as he arrived to officially open the seventh
parliamentary session, when opposition MDC supporters started singing songs
denouncing his government and continued stay in power.

Mugabe's woes were worsened inside the August house when MDC
parliamentarians, who continuously interjected as he delivered his speech to
officially open parliament, subjected him to further humiliation.

Addressing Zanu PF supporters at the party's headquarters in Harare
Thursday, party secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa said there was
need for the party supporters to hit back following the "punishment" that
the party president had been subjected to.

"We thank-you for being at parliament on Tuesday to support your
leadership. Had you not been there, it would have been a bad day in the
office for the President because of the behavior of those MDC hooligans and
mischief-riddled people.

"We were pained by the way they treated the party, the president and
the entire leadership of this country. This should never happen again. What
we are working on now is a strategy that will see us revenging that episode.
It should not be let alone for so long," Mutasa said, much to the excitement
of the hungry supporters who had spent the morning singing and chanting.

Addressing the same gathering, Zanu PF national political commissar,
Elliot Manyika said Zanu PF would not support the speaker of parliament
should the opposition continue with its unruly behavior.

"If they continue like they did on Tuesday, we will simply not support
them . Otherwise, we no longer want their speaker, Lovemore Moyo," Manyika

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Bush, Kikwete discuss Zimbabwe, Darfur

Yahoo News

1 hour, 19 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete said Friday that US
President George W. Bush had done more for Africa than any of his
predecessors and thanked him for his help on crises in Zimbabwe and Darfur.

"You have done so much for Africa, so much for Tanzania. When you compare,
no US president has done so much for Africa and for Tanzania as you have
done," Kikwete told Bush as they held talks at the White House.

The Tanzanian leader cited US aid to battle malaria, which he said had been
nearly "eliminated" on Zanzibar, and fight HIV/AIDS, as well as build up
African infrastructure, and praised Bush's stand on two of the continent's

"Zimbabwe is a common problem. Darfur is a common problem. We are in the
front line. And, of course, those of us who are in the front line always
look to the rear to continue to support us," he added.

"And there has been such extraordinary support, support of us in the
continent. We continue to work together," said the Tanzanian leader.

"I also am looking forward to continuing our discussions on issues like
Zimbabwe or Darfur. These are issues that the president is most familiar
with, issues in which he has got good judgment about how to proceed," said

The US president, who visited Tanzania in February, also assured the US
public that "your money is being spent wisely and compassionately in
Tanzania. And a lot of it has to do with the leadership of the president."

Bush decided not to send troops to end what he called "genocide" in Sudan's
Darfur province, but has pressed the international community to deploy a
UN-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force.

On Zimbabwe, Bush has expanded sanctions on what he branded in July Robert
Mugabe's "illegitimate" government and offered support to opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai.

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"Tanzania must help end Zimbabwe's military dictatorship"

Friday, 29 August 2008 17:22
"Tanzania must help end Zimbabwe's military dictatorship", Francois
Grignon in The East African
25 August 2008
The East African
Since the year 2000 and his defeat in a referendum destined to
reinforce his presidential powers, Robert Mugabe has been at war with his
opposition and his regime has become the equivalent of a military
dictatorship. Dismantling the military structure's control over the
country's politics, economy and civilian administration is crucial for the
country's future. But this will only be possible if real executive powers
are handed over to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the on-going

This is precisely where the biggest sticking point remains in the
negotiations between Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party and Tsvangirai's
opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The talks, destined to end the
two months-long post-electoral crisis, are deadlocked over the issue of
power-sharing. Although he beat Mugabe in the first round of the
presidential elections and was forced out the second by a wave of terror
against its supporters, Tsvangirai has agreed to give up the presidential
seat to leave Mugabe as head of state and "founding father of the nation".

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

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

The security structure is a major reason why Mugabe cannot keep
important executive powers. Removing Mugabe from power is not just about
him: it is about freeing the country from its military straightjacket.
Tsvangirai received a mandate from the Zimbabwean people to pull the country
out of the economic and political crisis, and he cannot accept the state
structure remains the same and the main reason behind the country's decay is
not tackled.

To put an end to the military dictatorship, Tsvangirai has insisted
that the infamous Joint Operation Command (JOC), Mugabe's kitchen cabinet
and real decision-maker in the country, be dismantled and replaced with a
National Security Council that they would co-chair. This new body would be
completely de-linked from ZANU-PF and would be truly at the service of the
country's security, not of a violent clique. Mugabe refused this outright
and argues that the JOC should be retained as it is.

Tsvangirai's most important trump card to get rid of the military
dictatorship is his unique potential to end the economic meltdown. ZANU-PF
can not pay its supporters and the rank and file of the security apparatus
are increasingly conscious of the need for radical change.  They cannot even
pay their children's school fees and satisfy their basic needs. Zimbabwe
desperately needs hard currency, which foreign donors will only provide if a
genuine power-sharing occurs.

There is also a role for African leaders. Until now, and apart from a
few exceptions such as Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga, or the late
President Levi Mwanawasa of Zambia, Mugabe has not been subjected to much
criticism or pressure from continental leaders. Chief mediator Thabo Mbeki
has been appallingly soft on him, going as far as implying that Tsvangirai
is the one holding up the talks. Hopes had been raised last week-end that a
deal could be reached during the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) summit. But a great opportunity was missed and these hopes were
dashed when it clearly appeared that Southern African states would not
pressure Mugabe more than Mbeki.

Jakaya Kikwete, Chairperson of the African Union, now needs to get
seriously involved in the negotiation process and step up the pressure on
Mugabe and the generals. It is Kikwete who provided the push to close the 28
February Kenya deal. Zimbabweans needs him to step in. He should voice very
clearly that a genuine executive power-sharing and a clear reform agenda
that includes the dismantling of the security structure are absolute
requirements for a settlement of the crisis and that the AU will not accept
any deal short of that.

Kikwete and willing SADC member states such as Botswana and Zambia,
can also approach China to contribute to the pressure on ZANU-PF generals
and close Mugabe's option to go east for his salvation. Incentives might
also be necessary. These could include giving Mugabe and other ZANU-PF
officials immunity for their crimes and guaranteed security to them and
their families. These would be controversial concessions, but if power can
shifted from a military dictatorship to a civilian democracy, this is
probably a price worth paying.

Francois Grignon is Africa Program Director of the International
Crisis Group

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Tsvangirai Meets Civic Society Leaders

HARARE, August 29 2008 - Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai, on Thursday met and briefed over twenty leaders of the
country's influential civic society in Harare, on the current power sharing
negotiations impasse.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa, said Tsvangirai updated civic society
leaders on the MDC's position in the talks, and what the party's decision
was with regards to the way forward.

Chamisa said Tsvangirai re-affirmed his commitment to the talks and
that his party's leadership would continue to engage ZANU-PF, in an effort
to save the country from the agonizing political and economic crisis.

However, Tsvangirai expressed concern over Zanu PF's insincerity,
shown by its leader Robert Mugabe's decision to unilaterally convene
Parliament and to appoint governors in clear violation of the Memorandum of
Understanding, signed last month.

"President Tsvangirai told the civic organisations that any genuine
dialogue process must be premised on the will of the people, as expressed on
29 March 2008. Anything else would be a betrayal of the sovereign will of
the people," said Chamisa.

Tsvangirai, Chamisa said, believes that a transitional authority,
which would govern for up to two years, after which fresh elections would be
held under a new, people-driven Constitution, is the only way to break the
country's current impasse.

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has written to Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare Minister, Nicholas Goche, requesting him to lift a ban imposed on
aid agencies' operations.

"The situation in the country is now critical. We are receiving
reports of rampant starvation throughout the country. If the situation
continues unaddressed, deaths will occur," read part of Tsvangirai's letter,
which was copied, to Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairman
and the facilitator of the power sharing talks, Thabo Mbeki.

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Billions Lost Through Diamond Smuggling

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

29 August 2008
Posted to the web 29 August 2008


Over 10 000 people from all over the world are visiting the eastern border
town of Mutare every month for illegal activities involving diamonds,
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono said Wednesday.

Gono told a conference of exporters that there were over 2 000 syndicates in
the town that were smuggling diamonds out of the country.

"The syndicates are depriving the country of billions in foreign currency,"
he said.

"Zimbabwe is too rich to be poor," he said.

Gono said the country had a lot of diamonds, platinum and other minerals to

He said illegal activities such as the smuggling of diamonds and gold were
affecting national development.

"There are over 2 000 syndicates smuggling diamond out of the country and
the town has slowly become more common with foreigners than locals.

Gono urged the Government and all relevant stakeholders to curb the illegal
activities to ensure the country benefited from its natural resources. -- 
New Ziana.

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Police Disrupt Crisis AGM

HARARE, August 29 2008 - Anti riot police, led by Inspector Mwenje of
Rhodesville Police Station, disrupted a Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition Annual
General Meeting Thursday, in another assault on human rights defenders.

The police said they were acting in their capacity as the regulating
authority, under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said police stormed the
meeting threatening the participants and even their lawyers with arrest, in
violation of POSA.

The police have since advised the conveners of the meeting, that they
must give notice of four days (4) required under POSA for convening "public

But ZLHR said the police had misinterpreted the law.

The organisation said that POSA expressly exempts internal meetings of
organizations where the public is not invited.

ZLHR said the provision of POSA relating to private meetings was
judicially interpreted in the High Court case involving the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Officer Commanding Zimbabwe Republic
Police Harare District.

The High Court ruled that organisations whose activities are not of a
political nature and not open to the public, need not notify the regulatory
authority in terms of POSA.

"The police continue to deliberately misinterpret the provisions of

"ZLHR deplores this illegal conduct of the police, which is tantamount
to legislating, thereby usurping the role of the legislature and the

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11 held at Beit Bridge for cable theft

Cape Argus

August 29, 2008 Edition 2

Eleven South Africans and Zimbabweans are in detention in Beit Bridge,
facing trial in connection with wire theft across hundreds of kilometres of
Zimbabwe's national grid and disintegrating landline telephone network.

They appeared in court in Beit Bridge this week.

Wire theft has paralysed vast tracts of southern Zimbabwe, already hit by
debilitating power cuts, as the bankrupt Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (Zesa) battles to meet industrial, agricultural and consumer

The thefts have been going on for most of this year. No sooner is the wire
replaced, than it is removed.

According to users along the section of the grid from Beit Bridge to Rutenga
and east towards the Mozambique border, several suspects have been
repeatedly arrested only to be released together with their vehicles loaded
with wire.

The last group to be arrested and released without charge had 30 tonnes of
copper in their vehicles. They and their loaded trucks were freed a day

Businessmen in the area claim their dockets were tampered with by some local
policemen in Beit Bridge.

A team of private detectives, employed by a range of businessmen in the
district, helped track down the alleged team of thieves which arrived across
the border last week.

Among those arrested are Patshasani Nkala, Richard Ndlovu, Artony Mumba,
Nomusa Kanyeja, Felix Ndlovu, Christopher Takuvinga, Njodzi Mbudonga, Victor
Sibanda and Tongai Muzenda.

Some are believed to be South Africans and some Zimbabweans with fake travel
documents. At least one vehicle, a red Toyota JNT 90463, is being held.

Ongoing theft of wire prompted Zesa to demand that consumers replace the
cables themselves, which spurred interested parties to hire private
detectives in a dangerous project to try and catch the thieves.

Independent Newspapers has seen seven receipts for various quantities of
extremely pure copper wire and aluminium bought by a Johannesburg firm.

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Cash Shortages Affect Turnout

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

29 August 2008
Posted to the web 29 August 2008


The current cash shortages have dampened the mood at the ongoing Harare
Agricultural Show with only 10 531 people visiting the Exhibition Park

The figure is almost a quarter of the 40 000 who passed through the gates on
the same day last year.

Zimbabwe Agricultural Society spokesperson Ms Heather Madom-bwe yesterday
said attendance brought the total number of visitors since the show opened
on Monday to 21 861.

Last year, about 150 000 people had visited the show by Thursday compared to
21 861 this year.

Ms Madombwe attributed the low turnout to the current cash shortages and
economic challenges.

"The low attendance is mainly because of the cash shortages and the economic
challenges the country is facing. Most people are spending days in queues at
banks and once they get the money, it's not even enough for bus fare. So you
should not expect that person to come to the show," Ms Madombwe said.

Despite the low turnout, those who managed to attend the show were treated
to top-class entertainment including displays by the Zim-babwe National
Army, traditional music by the Zimbabwe Republic Police Band, the Mufakose
Mbira Troop, Barbara Nyika Mbira Group, amateur athletics and displays by
the Zimbabwe Prison Service.

President Mugabe is expected to officially open the 98th edition of the
Harare Agricultural Show today.

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Doctors and teachers go on strike in Zimbabwe

Doctors at Zimbabwe's impoverished government hospitals are on strike over
pay and teachers have threatened to also begin a work stoppage.

Friday 29 August 2008, by Bruce Sibanda

"We are demanding viable salaries," said Amon Siveregi, president of the
Zimbabwe Medical Doctors Association [...] What we are getting right now is
not enough. I can't go into details because I sit on a board that bars me
from revealing doctors' salaries.

"We have informed the government about the strike and they are aware of our
demands, which are not unreasonable".

Crisis in Zimbabwe, a coalition of Harare-based humanitarian organizations,
described Zimbabwe's hospitals as "death halls'' in a report earlier this

It blamed poor salaries for health professionals and "acute shortages'' of
drugs and equipment for the problem.

This is a testimony of things to come if ZANU-PF refuses to share power with
the MDC, observers say.

The strike by doctors may be followed by another by teachers, the
Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe said today.

"The 448 percent increase on basic salary and the 900 percent
transport-allowance increase are basically a high sounding nothing,'' the
union's spokesman Takavafira Zhou said "It falls far short of our demands
for the equivalent of $800 U.S.''

"Sad faces were the order of the day today as teachers learnt that the
goverment is continuing to pretend to pay teachers when in reality they are
starving them."

Zhou said teachers have resolved to demonstrate their anger and poverty when
schools open on Tuesday.

This morning doctors in Harare said the government should act urgently to
improve their salaries and allowances, citing galloping inflation, which on
Tuesday was officially estimated at 11,27 million percent.

Doctors say it is difficult for them to practice proper medicine as even
basic drugs are not available.

"There is nothing, not even painkillers. Not one doctor has been going to
work since Tuesday and the situation will remain so until our grievances are

In February this year the health ministry teamed up with the Global Fund to
pay the salaries of 132 doctors, pharmacists and laboratory scientists in
foreign currency.

In the run-up to the March elections, the government acquired 200 vehicles
valued at US$4 million for senior health workers and doctors in a bid to
improve working conditions and boost morale.

The health sector is among those hardest hit by the skills flight and the
government has resorted to bonding newly qualified professionals to stem the

Zimbabwe trains an estimated 4 500 nurses and 149 doctors every year but
three quarters of these find their way into the private sector or leave the
country immediately upon the expiry of the mandatory bonding period.

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Zim business bemoan talks collapse
Posted on Friday 29 August 2008

Munyaradzi Mugadza, AfricaNews reporter in Harare, Zimbabwe

  The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has called on Zimbabwe's
rival parties in the negotiating parties to quickly finalise the talks to
find a long lasting solution to the political and economic standstill as
this had triggered a further business decline in the country.

  CZI, president Callisto Jokonya said in a weekly newspaper that the
economy has continued to plunge deeper in an abyss since the talks were

  Since the collapse of the talks this month, the prices of basic foodstuffs
and services have escalated beyond the reach of many while companies and
industries continue to register low capacity of production.

  "Business is concerned with the delay of the talks and is appealing to
politicians to consider the life of the 13 million people ahead of personal
gains," Jokonya said.

  Jokonya bemoaned the economic sanctions slapped on Zimbabwe by Western
countries and her allies adding that the power sharing talks should be
finalized as a matter of urgency and end the country's woes.

  The Central Statistics Office (CSO) this week said the official inflation
figures are estimated to be more than 11 million percent but the economic
analysts revealed that the figure is estimated to be between 15 million and
20 million percent.

  The talks were suspended when opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai refused
to sign the document saying he needed time to reflect.

  Zimbabweans from all sectors expressed happiness when Robert Mugabe of
Zanu PF, Morgan Tsvangirai MDC and Arthur Mutambara of the breakaway MDC
signed a Memorandum of Understanding hoping to bring normalcy to a
devastated economy.

  The CZI said there will never be a solution without the two parties
sitting down and finding a lasting economic and political solution". He said
the only hope for Zimbabweans was pinned on the outcome of the power sharing

  Former Deputy of Information and Publicity Bright Matonga said on
Wednesday that the opposition MDC is not serious about hammering an
agreement on the on going talks.

  Meanwhile the talks which were adjourned on the SADC heads of state in
South Africa are expected to resume on Friday but Morgan Tsvangirai's party
wants to petition SADC mediator Thabo Mbeki over the breach of Memorandum of
Understanding by Robert Mugabe.

  Mugabe convened the 7th session of parliament without the consent of other
leaders and is expected to announce his cabinet soon.

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Mugabe hands Olympic medalist $100,000 cash reward


Fri 29 Aug 2008, 15:32 GMT

HARARE, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Friday handed
the country's only Olympic medallist in Beijing a $100,000 cash reward for
her performance at the games.

Swimmer Kirsty Coventry smashed the world record to win gold in the women's
200 metres backstroke. She also captured three silver medals.

Mugabe handed the U.S-based swimmer the cash at a ceremony in Harare carried
live on state television.

"Our national spirit must exude joy and pleasure and say you have done well,
daughter of Zimbabwe. We are proud of you, we wish you well. She's our
golden girl ... take care of her," he said at the ceremony.

The U.S. dollars, scarce in a country struggling with an economic crisis
marked by a severe shortage of foreign currency, were carried in a briefcase
by Zimbabwe's central bank governor.

Other members of Zimbabwe's Olympic team received between $2,000 and $10,000
each. (Reporting by Nelson Banya; Editing by MacDonald Dzirutwe)

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A real deal

Zimbabwe's legitimate leader must use caution in any power arrangement with
tyrant Robert Mugabe
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Aug. 28, 2008, 11:09PM

Morgan Tsvangirai, the man recognized at home and abroad as the legitimate
winner of Zimbawe's presidential elections, is fighting to hold the
country's despotic leader, Robert Mugabe, to a power-sharing agreement, one
Mugabe is determined to disregard. Tsvangirai should remember the last time
Mugabe agreed to form a government with a rival political party - and
proceed with extreme caution.

Mugabe, 84, promised in July to begin talks on integrating Tsvangirai and
members of his Movement for Democratic Change into the ruling ZANU-PF
government that Mugabe has headed in one form or another for most of his 28
years at the helm of this once-prosperous African nation.

Tsvangirai can challenge Mugabe's longstanding rule because he finished
first in March elections, though with too few votes to win the election
outright. Tsvangirai removed his name from the June runoff ballot to protest
the violence Mugabe's forces unleashed on MDC supporters, leaving Mugabe to
win the one-man contest.

Mugabe then agreed to form a government with Tsvangirai, but talks were
suspended in August when the two couldn't agree on how to divide executive
functions. Mugabe, not surprisingly, insisted on maintaining his control
over the entire Cabinet and Zimbabwe's dreaded security forces. Human rights
groups claim the ruthless enforcers have killed between 100 and 200 MDC
supporters since March.

At least 2,000 rank-and-file opposition activists have been jailed for
months at Mugabe's behest, thousands more were beaten in the elections'
immediate aftermath and tens of thousands driven from their homes. In recent
days, Mugabe's force also arrested several top opposition leaders on false
charges of "political violence."

Now Mugabe has opened parliament in defiance of his pledge to work out a
power-sharing deal with Tsvangirai. Although this is a major setback for
Mugabe's rival, history shows that sharing power with the ruthless Mugabe
can be its own vale of tears.

When Zimbawe, formerly Rhodesia, gained independence from Britain in 1980,
Mugabe was faced with a similar challenge to his authority. Back then, he
dealt with Joshua Nkomo and his opposition ZAPU party by turning a North
Korean-trained police force on Nkomo's supporters. An estimated 10,000 were
executed and dumped in mass graves between 1982 and 1987.

Then Mugabe offered Nkomo a power-sharing arrangement, the so-called Unity
Accord of 1987. Nkomo accepted, and Mugabe's then-ZANU party merged with
ZAPU to form today's ZANU-PF. Nkomo and his party were eliminated as an
opposition threat, and Zimbabwe has been functionally a one-party state ever

Tsvangirai must maneuver deftly to avoid Nkomo's fate. His party already
controls the lower house of parliament. He is supported by a majority of the
population of 12 million, a third of whom have fled the country and its
hyperinflation of 11.2 million percent.

At last, a Zimbabwean holds a rare opportunity to bring relief to a
long-suffering people. Tsvangirai must play his hand shrewdly in this
dangerous game with the infamous Mugabe.

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The victory of democracy in Parliament

MDC Press Statement-

The victory of democracy in Parliament

The will of the people of Zimbabwe who voted for change on 29 March today
reverberated in Parliament when elected 110 MPs from across the political
divide voted for MDC national chairman, Lovemore Moyo, as the Speaker of the
7th Parliament of Zimbabwe.

This historic occasion has taken five months to fulfil; with at least 200
Zimbabweans having lost their lives due to political violence while
thousands were brutalised or had their homes burnt.

Hon Moyo won against Paul Themba Nyathi, who polled 98 votes. Nyathi's
candidature was co-sponsored by the unholy alliance of Zanu PF and Mr
Welshman Ncube, Mr Arthur Mutambara and Jonathan Moyo who tried in vain to
subvert the will of the people.

The MDC extends its profound gratitude all the MPs who voted for Hon Moyo,
including those from Zanu PF and from the other MDC who saw it worthwhile to
reinforce the will of the people as expressed on 29 March. They showed their
strength and desire to be true ambassadors of the people of Zimbabwe. There
is no doubt that the people of Zimbabwe have expressed themselves through
their elected representatives.

Some MPs braved arrests, intimidation and violence to come to Parliament to
give meaning to the people's wishes and aspirations as expressed on 29
March. Parliament has now become a true deliberative platform; the bastion
of real democracy. Today's voting pattern is a harbinger of good things to
come. With unity of purpose, the seventh Parliament will become a vehicle of
bringing change and a new culture in the way the people's affairs are

Today's election shows that the nation is guaranteed of robust debate and a
new era in which Parliament will cease to be a rubber-stamp of the whims of
the executive but becomes a true deliberative platform of the people's

History has been made. The onus is now on Parliament to deal with the
people's affairs taking into cognisance their basic needs of food, jobs,
transport, better health care and education.

We believe that the MPs will come up with a legislative agenda that
addresses the people's needs.

God is on our side. The people are on our side. History is on our side. The
people shall govern.

Hon Nelson Chamisa, MP
Secretary for Information and Publicity

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A letter from the diaspora


Dear Friends,

I have long believed that a politically compromised police force is one of
the root causes of the collapse of law and order in Zimbabwe. Without
impartial policing and an independent judiciary the citizen has nowhere to
turn for protection. From 2000 onwards we have seen that the so-called
forces of law and order are tilted in one direction only and that is to
uphold the political imperatives of the ruling party. The white farmers were
the first victims; as their properties were violently invaded and they were
driven from their homes, the police refused to intervene on the grounds that
it was 'political' and they could do nothing. Even when there were violent
physical assaults and murder, the police failed to act and, in many cases
actively supported the farm invaders. As Mugabe's political fortunes began
to wane he resorted more and more to racist rhetoric, "Our party must
continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy," he
said at the time

I was living in Murehwa when the first white farmer, David Stevens, was
murdered and five of his fellow farmers brutally assaulted as they attempted
to rescue their friend. It was April 2000 ( See Cathy Buckle's Beyond Tears
for an account; she calls it 'The weekend from Hell') The news of that
murder went all round the world; indeed I heard of it first on the World
Service of the BBC. Robert Mugabe, of course, was quick to respond with his
now familiar accusation of western racism. One white man is killed and the
western media goes into a frenzy he claimed. On the ground in Murehwa we all
knew that it was the police who had handed the white farmers over to the war
veterans. We knew the names of the killers and as the days went by after the
incident we saw those very men walking freely about the township. They had
acted with complete impunity knowing that no policemen would dare to lay a
finger on them. That was where it all began, the politicisation of the
Zimbabwe Republic Police, a body of men and women who had once been a highly
trained and disciplined force, trusted by the people as the guardians of law
and order. Now, eight years later, the ZRP has become no better than an arm
of the ruling party. Once called 'the dogs of Ian Smith' they serve a
different master now but one no less ruthless and they carry out his bidding
with complete disregard for human rights or considerations of justice and
the law. This week we had another example of police complicity when they
stormed a perfectly lawful AGM of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition at a
hotel in the middle of Harare and with a truck full of armed cops disbanded
the meeting on the grounds that it was an illegal gathering. Earlier in the
week the police had arrested five democratically elected MDC MPs as they
were about to enter the parliament building to attend the opening of the new
session. In a blatant attempt to prevent MDC members from voting for a new
Speaker of the House, the police had once again proved their total
partiality to Zanu PF. The democratic will of the people means nothing to
them, the MOU means nothing to them, they continue their blind allegiance to
Robert Mugabe and his party of thugs and thieves while the country slides
further and further into the abyss. With police and judges corrupted by
Mugabe's patronage and croneyism, law and order collapses. Traditional
chiefs, once the upholders of customary law in the rural areas have been
subverted too and there is nowhere to turn for justice. Rural or urban,
black or white, it makes no difference if you are opposed to Mugabe and Zanu
PF you are 'the enemy within' and the police will deal with you accordingly.

Ironic then that when Kirsty Coventry returned to Zimbabwe with her gold and
silver medals this week she was treated as a heroine despite the colour of
her skin. There was a victory parade through the streets of Harare and a
banquet in her honour. Mugabe congratulated her 'most heartily on that
heroic performance' Hypocrisy or just political expediency on the Old Man's
part? The truth is that he is using Coventry's victory because he thinks it
reflects well on him and his government; he fails to acknowledge that
Coventry went to the hated US to train for her medals so utterly desperate
are conditions in her own country.
Accompanied no doubt by a police escort the white Olympian is honoured and
feted by a man who will do anything to prove that the country is prospering
under his leadership despite the fact that he said only this week after the
State Opening of Parliament that his cabinet was to be restructured because,
in his own words, "This cabinet I had was the worst in history - most of the
ministers were unreliable - incompetent and spent time attending to their
own businesses. Many abused their power to deny people food." (Rich, coming
from the man who has banned NGO's distributing food aid!) Perhaps he has
forgotten that he appointed the cabinet in the first place - the same way he
extended Police Commissioner Chihuri's term of office three times thus
ensuring a sickeningly compliant police force whose only concern appears to
be propping up Mugabe's rotten regime while the real criminals stalk the
corridors of power. Will they ever be brought to justice?

Yours in the (continuing) struggle. PH aka Pauline Henson author of
Countdown a political detective story set in Zimbabwe and available on

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Remove punitive tax on foreign newspapers

Friday, 29 August 2008 14:12
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) registers its concerns on the
undesirable effects of the imposition of the punitive import duty on foreign
newspapers and publications on the Zimbabwean media landscape.

In June 2008, the government ordered foreign publications including
newspapers, journals, magazines and periodicals to pay an import duty after
unjustifiably classifying them as luxury goods. The Permanent Secretary for
Information and Publicity in the President's Office, George Charamba said
the imposition of the punitive tax was meant "to protect and defend the
national media space."

As a result of the imposition of the import duty some essential
publications have fallen foul to the new tax regime. South African
newspapers that have significant readership in Zimbabwe and the London-based
title, The Zimbabwean, have been hit hard by the tax and forced to cut down
on copies imported into the country. According to Wilf Mbanga, the publisher
and editor of The Zimbabwean, a popular weekly newspaper, the punitive tax
has resulted in the suspension of the publication of its sister newspaper,
The Zimbabwean on Sunday and the slashing of the print run of The Zimbabwean
from 150 000 copies a week to 50 000 copies. ZLHR considers the imposition
of the exorbitant tax on externally published newspapers as an
administrative and legislative ploy of curbing access to information and an
infringement of freedom of expression. This promulgation by the government
has thus effectively silenced divergent sources of information from
circulating in the country, thereby limiting people's access to alternative
views. Under such impermissible circumstances it becomes impossible to
create political pluralism, as characterized by robust, vibrant and
independent exchange of ideas by the citizenry, especially in a country
without a diverse and independent public media system, such as ours. Indeed
a  lack of media diversity and an independent press leads to lack of
political diversity.

The continued restrictions on access to information through punitive
taxation constitutes a clear breach of the right to freedom of the media and
expression, which is guaranteed under the country's Constitution and by
numerous international conventions, including the Windhoek Declaration and
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration
categorically states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and
expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without
interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through
any media, regardless of frontiers."The newspaper tax, together with the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA), the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) Act,
the Official Secrets Act, the Broadcasting Services Act and the Interception
of Communications Act, is in fundamental conflict with access to information
the right to freedom of the media and expression.

ZLHR strongly urges parties to the political dialogue to
constructively discuss the media environment in the country and urgently put
mechanisms in place for  the speedy repeal (or amendment)  of laws that
infringe media freedom and freedom of expression, so as to comply with
international  and regional standards guaranteeing access to information,
freedom of the media and expression.

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Three professors and an ancestral spirit

August 29, 2008
Petina Gappah

Another tragicomedy in one act

The scene is the August chamber of Zimbabwe’s House of Assembly. Professor Ncube and Professor Mutambara step down from the public gallery where they have been observing proceedings.  Professor Moyo waves to them to enter the now empty chamber. Professor Ncube passes a loving, longing, lingering hand over the white leather of the Speaker’s chair. Professor Mutambara crouches and begins to drum a gentle tattoo on the little drum beneath the horn to the right of the chair. Professor Ncube gives him a fierce look and he stops.

Prof. Moyo: So you saw how the Speaker election went down. I did what I could. Sylvester Mguni proposed a motion to elect Paul Themba Nyathi. I seconded the motion to elect Paul Themba Nyathi. I voted for Paul Themba Nyathi. Our comrades, 97 Zanu PF stalwarts, voted for Paul Themba Nyathi. Paul Themba Nyathi lost. There was not much to do after that.

Prof. Ncube: The main concern for us Prof, is how we can spin this to make our party look good.

Prof. Moyo: Well, Prof, I thought yours was the party of the master strategists?

Prof Mutambara: I am coming out of Oxford.

Prof. Ncube: Can you help at all?

Prof. Moyo: Well, at this point, all I can say is that you are on your own, boys. I mean Professors.

Prof. Ncube: Prof, you know that humility and I are strangers to each other, but I am wise enough to acknowledge a master. No one spins better than you. And remember Prof that your future is at stake here too, imagine if Tsvangirai assumes any real power. Do you think that he will trust you again after the way you shafted him?

Prof Mutambara: Morgan Richard Tsvangirai is an intellectual midget.

Prof. Moyo: Is there any way of shutting this fellow up?

Prof. Ncube: It is pointless - we have tried but he seems to be on some sort of auto-pilot. And lately, he has taken to repeating things he has said in the past. We sometimes need to shake him out of it, but we have found it best to just ignore him. So, how do we spin this?

Prof. Moyo: Do what the opposition is famous for doing.

Prof Ncube: Flip-flop?

Prof. Moyo: No, the other thing.

Prof Ncube: Boycott?

Prof Moyo: No I don’t mean that.

Prof Ncube: Run for cover to the Dutch embassy?

Prof. Moyo: I mean blame Zanu PF.

Prof. Ncube: But we have a common interest in ensuring that Tsvangirai does not taste any power. How can we blame Zanu PF?

Prof Mutambara: Over the past 27 years ZANU PF has developed a distinct socio-politico-economic culture and value system rooted in political illegitimacy, poor country governance, economic mismanagement, bad policies, corruption, patronage, incompetence, and disrespect for the rule of law. These traits are now deeply rooted within ZANU PF which is rotten to the core. Mugabe is the glue that keeps the rot together. A reformed Zanu PF as the panacea to the Zimbabwean crisis is not on the agenda.

(Professor Ncube moves to stand on the  white leather footstool beneath the Speaker’s chair and shakes Professor Mutambara who stops speaking. Professor Ncube turns his attention back to Professor Moyo)

Prof. Moyo: You are assuming that Zanu PF is a monolithic entity whereas …

Prof. Ncube: (with the gladsome cry of one who has seen the light) Whereas there are actually factions within factions within factions!

Prof. Moyo: So you divert attention to one faction.

Prof. Ncube: That way, the President will still like us, we will still be relevant, and we can still do a deal!

Prof Mutambara: Those that govern must do so with the consent of the governed. The will of the people must be sovereign. The victor in a fraudulent vote will neither have the legitimacy to govern, nor receive recognition internally or externally.

Prof. Ncube: And if we can cut a deal with the regime, that will weaken Morgan Tsvangirai.

Prof Mutambara: I introduced Morgan Tsvangirai to opposition politics.

Prof. Moyo: So all you have to do is to make sure that you identify the right faction to blame.

Prof. Ncube: We will blame Mujuru!

Prof. Moyo: Nah, too obvious. Everyone blames Mujuru.

Prof. Ncube: Mnangagwa!

Prof. Moyo: You are reasoning like someone with a mere Masters degree. Don’t you realise he is on the ascendancy?

Prof. Ncube: John Nkomo!

Prof. Moyo: You really have to be more subtle than that.

Prof. Ncube: Oh, oh, oh, I know. I know! Mutasa!

Prof. Moyo: Jane Mutasa? Good one, blame a woman. Always a smart move.

Prof. Ncube: No, I mean Didymus Mutasa.

Prof. Moyo: Does he have a faction?

Prof. Ncube: Well if he doesn’t, he is the only one without one; I mean, just look how many factions there are in Zanu PF.

Prof. Moyo: There are as many factions as there are journalists to write about factions.
(The two professors collapse into loud guffaws of professorial laughter at this professorial witticism)

Prof Mutambara: I am the anti-senate President of the pro-senate MDC.

Prof. Moyo: You want to get at someone with a little power but obviously not too much power, someone like Sithembiso Nyoni.

Prof. Ncube: Sithembiso Nyoni?

Prof. Moyo: She is the new Speaker’s mother-in-law.

Prof. Ncube: And even better, she is a woman!

Prof. Moyo: You said it, Prof, if you can get away with it, you should always blame a woman.

Prof Mutambara: (As though waking from a trance) We can make it a regional loyalty issue. This was just a case of people from Matabeleland picking one of their own.

(The two professors look at him with perplexed faces)

Prof. Mutambara: (Very slowly, as though explaining to two four-year-olds) Lovemore Moyo is from Matabeleland.

Prof. Moyo: (Equally slowly) Paul Themba Nyathi is from Matabeleland.

Prof. Ncube: I am from Matabeleland.

Prof. Moyo: And I am from Matabeleland.

Prof. Ncube: All our elected MPs are from Matabeleland.

Prof Mutambara: Right, yes, well, the experience of Gukurahundi should be understood as a total negation of the heroic revolution we exalt today.

Prof. Moyo: So that’s the strategy, blame a small, unimportant faction in Zanu PF. It was them who voted for Moyo, not your MPs.

Prof. Ncube: That is pure genius.

Prof. Moyo: What can I say, I am pure genius. Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror, blow myself a little kiss and say, Jonathan, you are ridiculously brilliant.

Prof. Mutambara: The time has come to execute an inter-generational mandate. We will not recognise a national leadership produced by a fraudulent process. We will not enter into any negotiations with such an illegal regime. There will be absolutely no compromise, retreat or surrender on this position. No one should force the Zimbabwean political parties, who won a majority of the votes on March 29, into negotiations with an illegitimate ruler. We hope that President Thabo Mbeki and other African leaders are listening carefully and understand our disposition clearly. We mean what we are saying, and we will walk the talk.

Prof. Moyo: What is he on about?

Prof. Ncube: I told you, everything he says is taken from a previous speech or statement. What he has just said is taken from the speech he made on 20 June 2008, just before the run-off.  The problem is that he makes so many conflicting speeches every week that his mind simply can’t keep up with itself.  The controls of his multi-sensor systems sometimes go a little haywire. His computational intelligence has been affected.

Prof Moyo: Multi-sensor systems? Computational intelligence?

Prof. Ncube: He wrote a book about it.  You should check it out, it’s on Amazon. Anyway, he just needs another good shake.

(Gives Mutambara another good  shake)

Prof. Mutambara: We need effective implementation planning and execution and not paralysis by analysis.

Prof. Ncube: So how about this for a statement: We are aware that Zanu PF parliamentarians, particularly the Sithembiso Nyoni group were canvassing and voted for Lovemore Moyo. We are more than certain that our MPs voted for our candidate.

Prof .Moyo: Don’t be too grudging. Remember to congratulate Lovemore Moyo. You never know when you might want to be his friend.

Prof. Ncube: Good one, Prof.

Prof. Moyo: In fact, Prof, I think he and I are related. As I recall, he is the first cousin once removed of my seventh cousin twice removed on our father’s side. And his cousin’s mother-in-law is a schoolteacher in Tsholotsho. It may be time to rediscover our common roots. I will send him a message using the “we are related” application on Facebook, and take it from there.

Prof. Ncube: You never cease to amaze me, Prof.

Prof Moyo: And I never cease to amaze myself, Prof.

Prof. Mutambara: We are standing on the shoulders of Nikita Mangena.
(There is a gust of wind and suddenly, Rotina Mavhunga, the diesel n’anga, hovers in the air before descending into the chamber).

Rotina Mavhunga: (In the dulcet tones that charmed Mugabe’s cabinet) Professor Ncube, Professor Moyo, and Professor Mutambara: Changamire Dombo has taken advantage of supernatural high-speed wifi technology to traverse across space and time and, using me as his medium, pass on this message to Professor Mutambara. The message says, Dear Professor Mutambara, I would be most appreciative if you could find somebody else’s shoulders to stand on from now.  You are a hefty chap, old boy, all those Sandton meals, don’t you know, and the old shoulders are not what they were, getting a little creaky, what. Very respectfully, and wishing you all the very best in your future endeavours etcetera, etcetera and cheerio, the spirit of Nikita Mangena.

(As she speaks, diesel suddenly starts to spew from the tips of two horns framing the Speaker’s chair, and towards the three professors. The three are thrown into turmoil, and, with distinctly unprofessorial screams of panic, they unprofessorially run out of the chamber without looking back.
Rotina Mavhunga gives a loud belch, and sits down in the speaker’s chair).

Rotina Mavhunga: (In Changamire Dombo’s deep but somnolent voice) Imported Chinese Leather. Top-quality stitching. Soft but firm seat. I could get used to this.

(He/she settles her/himself comfortably on the chair, and stretches her/his legs on the white leather footstool. S/he falls into a deep slumber, and in a matter of seconds, the chamber resonates with his/her snores.  The little drums flanking the Speaker’s chair begin to beat loudly. The chamber is filled with voices singing Mhondoro dzinomwa muna Zambezi/ Mhondoro dzinomwa munaSave/ Mhondoro dzinomwa zuva rodoka/ Mhondoro dzinomwa wohiye).

And we fade to black.

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