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SA insists Zimbabwe talks are still on track

Published:Aug 31, 2008

Zimbabwean power-sharing talks resumed on Friday to try to
end the post-election political deadlock that is making the catastrophic
economic decline even worse.

President Robert Mugabe and opposition MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai failed to reach agreement after more than a month of talks,
following Mugabe's unopposed re- election in a ballot boycotted by
Tsvangirai and condemned around the world.

"The most important thing is that the talks are going on,"
President Thabo Mbeki's spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, told Reuters. He did
not elaborate.

In a sign of the growing desperation in Zimbabwe , the
government has lifted a ban on aid groups providing food and humanitarian
assistance. They were banned ahead of the election, accused by Mugabe of
helping the opposition.

South Africa's deputy minister of foreign affairs, Aziz
Pahad, said no deadline for an end to the talks had been set. "All we do
hope is that these talks can lead to the finalisation of all outstanding
matters, so that we can start with normalising the economic, political and
social situation in Zimbabwe," he said.

However, the state-owned Herald in Harare earlier quoted
Zimbabwean justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, chief negotiator for Zanu-PF,
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 the talks.

Mugabe, who reopened parliament this week in defiance of
opposition objections, has said he will soon form a new government without
the MDC.

An MDC spokesman said the party would not co-operate with
Mugabe until the talks were concluded. - Reuters

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Mugabe is still the problem

Sunday Times Editorial Published:Aug 31, 2008

When Robert Mugabe gets booed by members of his own parliament, it is clear
that the tide has turned on the octogenarian dictator.

But what is also clear is that there is a palpable reluctance on the part of
Thabo Mbeki, the mediator to the power-sharing talks, to be firm with Mugabe
on his commitment to the deal.

The man who stole an election is still calling the shots at the negotiating
table, and is allowed to engage in acts of brinkmanship, as he did this week
when he threatened to pull out of the talks and announce his own cabinet
that would exclude the Movement for Democratic Change.

But most importantly, Mugabe had three MPs from the MDC - Broadwin Nyaude,
Mathias Mlambo and Pearson Mungofa - arrested on Tuesday, bringing to five
the total number of arrested MDC MPs.

Underpinning the memorandum of understanding, signed by Mugabe's Zanu-PF and
the MDC, is the creation of a climate conducive to reconciliation, the
restoration of democracy and the revival of the economy.

Until pressure is brought to bear on Mugabe to commit his party to an
agreement on the composition of a transitional government, the talks will
remain a charade.

Southern African Development Community leaders must focus on placing
pressure on Mugabe, not on the victims of his oppression.

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Remove a cockroach and a rat comes to take its place

George BN Ayittey
Published:Aug 31, 2008

Race has little to do with the crisis. Neither does colonialism. The most
singular cause has been the stubborn refusal of the leadership to relinquish
Nothing coming out of Zimbabwe makes sense. The country is now a certified
"coconut republic," where common sense has been butchered and arrogant
insanity rampages with impunity.

A loaf of bread not so long ago cost Z$6-billion and one US dollar exchanged
for one trillion Zim dollars. The rate of inflation is over three million
percent - whatever that means. African villagers laughed off the June 27
coconut runoff , in which President Robert Mugabe, the sole candidate, won a
"landslide victory".

Zimbabwe is a despicable disgrace to Africa and reinforces the racist notion
that black Africans are incapable of ruling themselves. We took over from
the departing white colonialists and in country after country we ran our
economies into the ground and ruined our countries. The exceptions are few.
Ian Smith, the former and late prime minister of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe,
must be dancing in his grave. This cuts deeply into my African pride.

Mugabe has angrily rejected criticism of his government for the economic
crisis. He always blamed British colonialists, greedy Western powers, the
racist white minority and the International Monetary Fund, which he
denounced as that "monstrous creature".

But Zimbabwean voters knew better. When Mugabe asked them in a February 15
2000 referendum for draconian emergency powers to seize white farms for
distribution to landless peasants, they resoundingly rejected the
constitutional revisions by 55% to 45%. Paranoid and desperate, Mugabe
played his trump card; he sent his "war veterans" to seize white commercial
farm land anyway.

To be sure, there is basic inequity in the distribution of land in Zimbabwe.
Abou t 4500 white farmers own nearly a third of the country's most fertile
farm land. But the land issue has become a political tool, ruthlessly
exploited by Mugabe at election time to fan racial hatred.

Race, however, has little to do with the crisis in Zimbabwe. Mugabe himself
did well in the beginning, after independence in 1980, and a handful of
African countries, such as Benin, Botswana, Ghana and Mali are doing well.
Neither does British colonialism, American imperialism, ethnicity, religion
or gender have anything to do with Zimbabwe's crisis. The most singular
cause has been the stubborn refusal of the leadership to relinquish or share
power when their people are fed up with them.

This has been the gruesome post-colonial African road to implosion, one that
was religiously taken by Liberia (1990), Somalia (1993), Rwanda (1994),
Burundi (1995), Zaire (1996), Sierra Leone (1999), Ivory Coast (2000) and
Togo (2005).

The source of Africa' s perennial crises can be traced to the alien system
of governance imposed on Africa by its leaders after independence in the '
60s - in particular, defective political and economic systems that were
blindly copied abroad and imported into Africa: the system of "one-party
states" with "presidents for life" and an economic system of dirigisme or
state interventionism.

These systems are alien to Africa's own indigenous institutions. The
traditional African system of governance was confederacy and participatory
democracy based upon consensus-building under its chiefs. The ancient
empires of Africa - Songhai, Ghana, Mali and Great Zimbabwe - were all
confederacies, characterised by great devolution of authority and
decentralisation of power.

The "one-party state" was a political system that concentrated a great deal
of power in the hands of the head of state. Any political system that
concentrates a lot of power in the hands of one individual ultimately
degenerates into tyranny, regardless of the geographical area where it is

Billions of dollars in personal fortunes have shamelessly been amassed by
African leaders while their people wallow in poverty.

The vampire state does not care about nor represent the people. It sucks the
economic vitality out of the people. Eventually, however, it metastasizes
into a coconut republic and implodes. The implosion nearly always begins
with a dispute over the electoral process - a refusal to hold elections or
outrageously rigged polls.

Since 1990, one African country after another has imploded:

In 1990, Liberia was destroyed by the regime of General Samuel Doe;

a.. In 1991, Mali was destroyed by the regime of General Moussa Traoré;

a.. In 1993, the Central African Republic was destroyed by the military
regime of General André Kolingba; and

a.. In 1993, Somalia was ruined by the regime of General Siad Barre - and so

In the case of Zimbabwe, the final chapter has already been written. The
country is finished. It has followed the same post- colonial African road to

Mugabe is no longer in charge. He is a "hostage president". A Joint
Operations Command is in charge, after a "military coup" in April.
Ominously, the command is led by military generals Constantine Chiwenga,
Perence Shiri and Phillip Sibanda.

Second, Africa's post-colonial story also shows that rebel leaders who seize
power are often no better. They are themselves "crocodile liberators",
exhibiting the same dictatorial tendencies they loudly condemned in the
despots they removed: Charles Taylor vs General Samuel Doe and Laurent
Kabila vs Mobutu Sese Seko.

As Africans often say: "We struggle very hard to remove one cockroach from
power and the next rat comes to do the same thing".

Stay tuned.

Ayittey, a Ghanaian by birth, is an author, and a professor at the American
University in Washington DC

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Mugabe to announce cabinet soon

August 30, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE- President Robert Mugabe is about to announce his cabinet following a
fresh stalemate in the power-sharing deal after a meeting on Friday in South

Presidential spokesman George Charamba said Mugabe had delayed announcing
his new cabinet "out of politeness and sheer expedience of ensuring that he
would not have to reshuffle the Government upon swearing".

A new round of talks began in South Africa with the state media accusing
Movement for Democratic (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai of making fresh
demands before he could sign the power-sharing deal.

In his weekly column in the state-controlled Herald, viewed as reflecting
government thinking, Charamba said Mugabe did not need the go-ahead from the
Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) to form a government.

"Cabinet will be announced, quite soon," the presidential spokesman, who
writes under the pen name Nathaniel Manheru said.

The MDC led by Tsvangirai, human rights activists and political analysts
have all said if Mugabe went ahead and appointed a Cabinet, he would have
breached conditions of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) his party signed
alongside the smaller faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara on July 21
to start negotiations mediated by South African president Thabo Mbeki.

Mugabe has already appointed provincial governors from his Zanu-PF party and
replacing four others with new faces.

Charamba also warned that the military police would intervene if MDC
legislators continued to embarrass Mugabe as they did when they heckled him
during his speech when he officially opened Parliament on Tuesday.

Mugabe received a stormy reception from the MDC MPs who taunted him, singing
songs that said his party was rotten.

"Judging by the welling fury in the service chiefs, it should not be
difficult to bring in a few muscular military police to rein in those
hooligans who are set to suggest and try pushing bad laws," Charamba said.

On the rebellion against the leadership of the splinter faction of the MDC
when  Matabeleland -based MPs  voted Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of Parliament,
Charamba said Mutambara and Welshman Ncube should be decisive and outlaw the

Both leaders, he added, should disown the rebels for "crossing the floor" to
the other MDC, thereby necessitating by-elections in their constituencies.

"That immediately wipes out Morgan Tsvangirai's newly found dominance..That
will precipitate a series of by-elections which the rebels MPs are sure to
lose," Charamba predicted.

"Neither the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC nor the rebel MPs have the stomach
for bye-elections."

Zanu-PF has sponsored a brutal campaign to reverse its initial presidential
loss in the March 29 elections when it unleashed party militia, war veterans
and the army in the run-up to the June 27 re-run.

Already, war veterans and the CIO are reported to have sealed off the Matobo
constituency in Matabeleland, to the opposition.

The seat became vacant after the election of Moyo as Speaker of the House.

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Child malnutrition crisis in rural Zimbabwe, say aid agencies

By Nina Lakhani
Sunday, 31 August 2008

Aid agencies which have been allowed to resume work in Zimbabwe have
reported a dramatic increase in malnutrition in rural provinces which were
at the heart of the recent election violence, even as President Robert
Mugabe hands out cash to the country's medal-winning Olympians.

The government announced last week that it would lift a five-month-old ban
on aid work in rural communities, imposed after Mr Mugabe accused agencies
of backing the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. On Thursday, the
Red Cross federation made an urgent appeal for almost $27m (£15m), saying
the food security situation was likely to be the worst on record because of
rocketing inflation and Zimbabwe's shortage of foreign currency.

Rachel Pounds, of Save the Children, told The Independent on Sunday from
Harare: "We are very relieved to be back at work, but concerned about what
we're going to find. Our local partners have told us malnutrition rates
among children are up, while thousands of the poorest children have dropped
out of school to look for food.... Five months is a long time."

Before the ban, the agency was working in Matabeleland and the three
northern provinces of Mashonaland, where there was savage retaliation
following the shock result in March, when voters rejected Mr Mugabe and his
party. Save the Children and other groups expect to learn from government
officials tomorrow how and where they will be allowed to operate.

Meanwhile, on Friday Mr Mugabe gave $148,000 (£81,000) in cash to the
nation's Olympians, $100,000 (£55,000) of which went to the swimmer Kirsty
Coventry, whom he called Zimbabwe's "golden girl". The money was in US
currency, not in near-worthless Zimbabwean notes.

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Tsvangirai Opens Up On Failed Deal

Saturday, 30 August 2008 21:38

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday vowed to resist any pressure to
sign an agreement that does not reflect the aspirations of Zimbabweans as he
revealed intricate details of what transpired during the collapsed
power-sharing talks.

Shortly before he left for South Africa, Tsvangirai told The Standard
he had a hard time during negotiations as he was pressured to sign a deal
with President Robert Mugabe.

He also revealed how tempers flared as they haggled over the roles
they could assume in a new inclusive transitional government.

Tsvangirai also made startling revelations that South African
President Thabo Mbeki prepared the controversial draft that would have made
him a lame duck Prime Minister and entrenched Mugabe's grip on the country.

The MDC leader refused to sign the agreement, saying he needed more
time to reflect and consult before putting his signature.

Tsvangirai said it was left to Mbeki to come up with the final draft
during the Heroes' Holiday after he and Mugabe had failed to agree on some
sticking points.

These involved the terms of the transitional government and its
duration, the constitution and the need for amendments, the roles and
functions of the Prime Minister and the President.

The sticking points were referred to Tsvangirai, Mugabe and MDC leader
Arthur Mutambara by negotiators who had failed to find common ground in SA.

Under Mbeki's draft, Tsvangirai realised that he would become an
overburdened Prime Minister without any authority: he would not chair the
Cabinet and would not have any power to appoint, censure or dismiss

Yet Tsvangirai would be expected to make sure the economy of country,
destroyed by Mugabe's policies, was back on track.

In that ceremonial role, it would be his responsibility to ensure the
state "has sufficient resources and appropriate operational capacity to
carry out its functions effectively".

Tsvangirai said he came under serious pressure from the three leaders
to sign the agreement.

Harsh words were exchanged as he was told that was the "best
agreement" he could get under the circumstances. If the agreement was
unworkable, he could still get back to Sadc leaders, he was told.

Tsvangirai said Mugabe fiercely opposed any constitutional amendment
that would dilute his duties, insisting, he needed to remain head of state,
government and being Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Frustrated by the process, Tsvangirai said at one point he suggested
that he and Mugabe swap roles in an effort to test the sincerity and
fairness of the arrangement.

"Mugabe fumed. He said no ways, he could not become the Prime
Minister," Tsvangirai said.

While Tsvangirai refused to sign, both Mugabe and Mutambara agreed to
the deal.

Tsvangirai said he took a right decision not to sign. He, however,
said he made the decision after exhausting all efforts to reach an agreement
that would ensure Zimbabwe had a transitional government that could take
Zimbabweans out of the present political and economic crisis.

While the MDC had pressed for Mugabe to be a ceremonial President,
Tsvangirai revealed he ended up making significant concessions to Mugabe for
the sake of the voters who wanted a way out of the crisis.

"Fully aware that we won the March 29 election, we could have demanded
nothing but outright victory," he said. "But we reached a position, where we
said it was important for cohabitation with Zanu PF for the sake of the

"I said yes, Mugabe can remain the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed
Forces. I also didn't object to Mugabe heading the National Security
Council," said Tsvangirai, referring to the body known presently as the
Joint Operations Command, a group made up of army, police, prisons and
Central Intelligence Organisation chiefs.

"We hoped this would show we were genuine in the quest to find an
agreement to establish a transitional government that rebuilds confidence in
Zimbabwe and ensure there is food, jobs and justice for Zimbabweans."

But Tsvangirai said his overtures were fruitless because Mugabe, whom
he said had not had a "paradigm shift and still thought he was the winner",
refused to make some compromises on the functions of the PM.

Mugabe insisted that he chaired the Cabinet.

"I pointed out we could not have a ceremonial Prime Minister. It would
have been unprecedented," Tsvangirai said.

"Mugabe wanted to me to be responsible for solving the problems he
created, yet he didn't want me to have the full authority to carry out that
task. The other problem was how could I be asked to sort out the mess
(economic problems) when the person (Mugabe) who created it in the first
place was in charge of the Cabinet," Tsvangirai said.

He said it was ironic that pressure was being brought on him to sign
the agreement, yet it was Mugabe who was supposed to be pressured into
ceding power.

"He refused to share power. He opened Parliament, now he is talking
about appointing a Cabinet. This goes against the spirit of the talks."

Despite failure of the talks, Tsvangirai said he would not give up.

He spoke as he prepared to leave for SA en route to Zambia where he
will attend the burial of Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa.

Tsvangirai would then embark on a diplomatic offensive in West Africa,
amid indications that the MDC intends to ask the AU and the UN to take over
from where Mbeki left.

Party leaders said it was time the two bodies took a central role in
trying to get a deal for Zimbabwe as economic hardships worsen.

Commenting on the way Mutambara's faction has sided with Zanu PF in
Parliament, Tsvangirai said: "Events this (last) week show serious political
opportunism and the betrayal of people's project."

Mutambara was unreachable last week. He is believed to be in the US.

By Walter Marwizi

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Heroic Or Stupid. . .

Saturday, 30 August 2008 21:36
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe steeled himself for a reception he never
imagined possible, for a hero of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle.

For the first time in the history of Parliamentary proceedings, MDC
MPs irked by the arrest of their colleagues in violation of Parliamentary
rules and procedures, gave him a taste of his own medicine. They disrupted
his address during the official opening of the Seventh Parliament, setting
the stage for a new chapter for debates between the political parties.

Members of the public have expressed mixed feelings over the arrest of
opposition MDC legislators ahead of the official opening of Parliament last
week and the subsequent jeering by their colleagues when President Mugabe
addressed Parliament.

On Monday and Tuesday, the police arrested five MDC lawmakers - Sure
Mudiwa, Broadwin Nyaude, Mathias Mlambo, Pearson Mungofa and Eliah Jembere -
on charges of political violence, and for one of them, rape.

The party said its deputy secretary general, Elton Mangoma, was
apprehended on his way into the House of Assembly, but managed to escape

Subsequently, the MDC legislators who made it to Parliament on Tuesday
jeered and heckled President Mugabe throughout his keynote address.

Reacting to the arrests, the MDC said the move was meant to frustrate
its victory during the March 29 poll, where it reversed Zanu PF's majority
in the House of Assembly for the first time since 1980. The party's national
chairman, Lovemore Moyo made history by becoming the first non-Zanu PF
Speaker since independence.

MDC legislators in both the lower house and senate also petitioned
Mugabe on his move to open parliament before the conclusion of the
inter-party talks between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations. Part of the
Memorandum Of Understanding signed by the principals of Zanu PF and the MDCs
on July 21 barred any of the parties from making such key decisions such as
convening Parliament.

Part of the petition reads: "We, the undersigned members of the
Movement for Democratic Change elected both to the Senate and the House of
Assembly declare that: This official opening of the 7th Parliament of
Zimbabwe is a clear breach of the Memorandum of Understanding and is
therefore of no force and effect.

"The purported opening by Mugabe, the illegitimate usurper of the
people's will as reflected on March 29 2008, is illegal and of no force and
effect. For the avoidance of doubt, the only person who can officially open
this session of Parliament will be determined by the outcome of the on-going
dialogue sponsored by SADC."

The petition also stated that continued harassment, arrest of MDC
legislators and activists was a direct affront to the will of the people of

Mugabe paid little attention to the hecklers during his speech. He is
said to have later told dignitaries at a dinner in the day that the MPs'
behaviour was "barbaric and nonsensical".

Newly appointed Mashonaland Central governor, Martin Dinha was also
quoted blasting the MDC for embarrassing Mugabe.

"This behaviour was deplorable and immature," Dinha said. "It showed
that some people were playing to the imperialist gallery."

Several people interviewed by The Standard last week, however, said
the two developments showed that the country's politicians were still
pre-occupied with personal agendas and thus not yet ready to work together.

"Now, those arrests and the clowning that followed proved beyond doubt
that these politicians are still playing ball at the expense of our
continued suffering. We have always known that these people can not work
together and they just confirmed it with those two unnecessary
developments," fumed John Chisvo from Mufakose.

Most people said they were worried the ordinary Zimbabwean would
continue in plight while politicians seek to advance their personal

"(Morgan) Tsvangirai just has to sign," Rodgers Mavhurume said. "As
long as he continues refusing, there will be no peace in that Parliament and
nothing of substance will come out of it. To us, that means continued
suffering and I do not understand why grown-up men and women would choose to
sacrifice millions of lives for their own personal interests."

Some were however optimistic there could be peace in Parliament once a
"better deal" is on offer.

"Some of us know that should Tsvangirai sign what is being offered by
Zanu PF, the pact would not solve our problems because we understand that it
is not in favour of what his donor friends set as conditions for funding,"
Catherine Mutodzaniswa said. "Let Zanu PF table a better deal and that way,
there will be peace in Parliament and that will be the beginning of the road
to happiness for all Zimbabweans."

While others said they hoped to see more meaningful co-operation from
the country's politicians in parliament, some said they hoped the MDC would
also be able to facilitate constructive debate and equally jeer at
"dangerous" laws proposed by Zanu PF.

"If these people are to work together, we hope MDC continues to be
alert," said Tawanda Pasimupindu. "That way, we can avoid the mistakes we
have been making in these past years."

By Jennifer Dube and Sandra Mandizvidza

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NGOs Give Lifting Of Ban Cautious Reception

Saturday, 30 August 2008 21:31

THE National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango)
yesterday said the government's lifting of the ban on the field operations
of NGOs, though a welcome move, could fail to bring about the required
change because of "selective application".

The lifting of the ban - which followed complaints from MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai and US ambassador James McGee - also did not have any
"tangible commitments by Government to remove the bureaucratic, security,
financial and other restrictions to effective humanitarian operations", it

On Friday, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
announced that the suspension of NGOs' and private voluntary organisations
(PVOs) field operations had been "lifted with immediate effect".

The lifting was for organisations involved in humanitarian assistance,
food aid, relief, recovery and development, family and child care
protection, care and protection of older persons, rights and empowerment of
people with disabilities, HIV/Aids treatment, care and related support

"This suspension is hereby lifted for all PVOs/NGOs registered in
terms of the PVO Act Chapter 17:05." said the statement, signed by the
Ministry's Permanent Secretary Lance Museka. The statement added that the
Ministry would tomorrow hold a meeting of all PVOs and NGOs to "clarify
operation modalities".

But in response yesterday, Nango spokesperson, Fambai Ngirande said
they "cautiously" welcomed the move. He said there was need for "further
clarification from government".

"The lift therefore characteristically excludes organisations
operating in areas such as transitional justice, human rights, governance
and democracy. It also does not recognise the inseparability of Civil
Society's social, economic, cultural, political and civic responsibilities,"
Ngirande said.

Among other things, Ngirande said there was need for the government to
"reform the PVO Act and other repressive pieces of legislation" which
scuttle the operations of NGOs.

"There is need for confidence-building mechanisms to allow stronger
cooperation between the State and Civil Society," Ngirande said. "This
should include the retraction of unfounded statements by public officials
accusing all NGOs of politicising humanitarian assistance in support of the
MDC and western imperialism."

Because of the violence that rocked the country prior to and
immediately after the disputed Presidential election run-off, Ngirande said
the demand for food and other forms of aid had also rocketed.

"The figures have now increased; we are now talking about maybe five
million who need food assistance. New work has to be done in terms of
re-organising the communities," he said. "As a result of the violence,
people now also need assistance for shelter, repatriation, clothing and
other such basic requirements."

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the lifting of the
ban was a "positive development (which) will help ensure that neutral and
impartial humanitarian assistance is provided to the people of Zimbabwe".

By Vusumuzi Sifile

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ZLHR Launches HIV/Aids,Rights Charter

Saturday, 30 August 2008 21:29
ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have launched an HIV/Aids and
Human Rights Charter that seeks to protect and promote the rights of people
living with the virus.

The charter was drafted by the ZLHR division, the HIV/Aids, Human
Rights and Law Project that was established in 2004 to cultivate a legal and
human rights-based response to the pandemic in Zimbabwe.

Keynote speaker at the launch, South African constitutional judge
Justice Edwin Cameron said the charter came at the right time given the
"extraordinary political situation" in the country and the shocking life

"Zimbabwe has one of the lowest life expectancy that put males at 35
and females two years longer than that. I am shocked by the fact that I read
in Time Magazine that 45% are undernourished."

It's a pity that government had banned the humanitarian food aid
organization in such a situation," Cameron said.

He blasted Zimbabwe's human rights record saying tyranny was linked to
poor health delivery and showed remorse "over his countries support and
unwillingness" to change the state of affairs in Zimbabwe.

Cameron, who said he was proud to be gay, added that it was
unfortunate that people where in denial that man to man sex happens in
Africa and Aids transmission was rampant in these circles.

Cameron cited section 4.8 in the charter that says "no person shall be
subjected to compulsory HIV testing" and further states that one should sign
a Consent Form before being tested, as discriminatory.

"Why should a doctor not go ahead and test without the consent of the
person. In the case of TB, Hypertension and Cancer does a doctor ask for
consent? Why do we make HIV discriminatory by saying one should feel he
needs to consent to be helped?"

Tinashe Mundawarara, programme manager of HIV/AIDS, Human Rights & Law
Project said: "This Charter is a result of concerted efforts by many
national partners who are committed to ensuring dignity, justice and
equality for all."

He added: "We want to lobby government to use this to formulate
legislative laws that protect HIV/Aids affected people."

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Govt Officials Accused Of Stealing Donated Food Aid

Saturday, 30 August 2008 21:26
THE United States government is demanding reimbursement for food aid
that was allegedly stolen by government officials and police officers in
June when the government banned the operations of humanitarian
non-governmental organisations.

This emerged in a letter to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare, Nicholas Goche by the American Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James
D McGee on August 25, 2008.

"We need to urgently finalise the outstanding matter of the theft of
20 metric tonnes of US Government donated food by Zimbabwean government
officials at the Bambazonke police station on June 6," wrote McGee.

The move could worsen already simmering tensions between the two
countries, as the government - indicates McGee's letter - denied
responsibility "for the disappearance of the stolen food and therefore not
financially responsible for reimbursement of the commodities".

McGee insists that government is responsible. "Because the Governor
(of Manicaland at the time, Tinaye Chigudu), police and military officers
were directly involved in the events that transpired, responsibility for the
theft does rest with the government of Zimbabwe," he said.

"We again request your assistance to obtain a police report of the
incident and to correct this matter through financial reimbursement of the
stolen food."

When the government banned the field work by humanitarian
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on June 4, it argued that some of them
were meddling in the country's internal affairs.

Attempts to get a comment from Goche were fruitless. But in a
televised statement on Friday, his Ministry announced that the ban had been

"The government has with immediate effect lifted the suspension of
operations of private voluntary organisations and NGOs," said the statement.

It could not be immediately established if the lifting of the ban was
in direct response to McGee's letter, and another one by MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai on Thursday.

In his letter McGee said the "draconian ban has turned an already dire
situation into a potentially catastrophic one".

On Thursday, Tsvangirai appealed to Goche to lift the ban. He said the
continued ban was against the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed
between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations on July 21.

"The effect of the MoU and the joint statement signed by all parties
was obviously understood to mean your letter banning NGOs from providing
food aid and associated relief was immediately revoked," Tsvangirai said.

The MDC leader said the situation had become so critical that there
was "rampant starvation throughout the country".

"In the circumstances, I appeal to you to immediately address a letter
to all NGOs unequivocally countermanding your instruction, to allow urgently
needed humanitarian work to be carried out in the country. Such a letter is
obviously within the spirit of the MoU, our joint statement and indeed in
the interest of every Zimbabwean."

By Vusumuzi Sifile

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Editor's Case Remanded To September

Saturday, 30 August 2008 21:24
THE Standard Press and newspaper Editor Davison Maruziva last week had
their application for refusal of further remand thrown out by Harare
magistrate, Morgan Nemadire who ruled that the application was premature and
its basis unclear.

Represented by Group Chief Executive Officer Raphael Khumalo, the
newspaper and its Editor were consequently further remanded out of custody
to September 22, 2008.

The paper and its Editor on Thursday applied for refusal of further
remand following the state counsel's proposal that the matter be postponed
to September 8, 2008, after a deal struck between the state and lawyers for
MDC leader, Professor Arthur Mutambara on August 6, 2008, without consulting
the newspaper and the Editor or their legal counsel.

"It is not readily clear to this court why accused 2 (Maruziva) and 3
(The Standard Press counsel) seek refusal of further remand at this stage,"
Nemadire ruled on Friday. "Is it because they will not be available on the
8th . . . Is it because they were not consulted . . . Or is it because they
feel the State is not ready. . ."

Their co-accused, leader of the smaller formation of the opposition
MDC, Mutambara was earlier this month remanded to September 8 to allow him
to travel to the United States of America on business.

The defence counsel for the newspaper and its editor, represented by
Advocate Eric Morris and Deepak Mehta respectively, said they were not
consulted on the new date of September 8, 2008.

Nemadire had initially remanded the newspaper and Maruziva to
September 8 saying despite the arguments over the date, the matter was still
going to be postponed anyway following the unavailability of state
prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare, who was said to have fallen ill.

Mehta then indicated that he and his client (Maruziva) already had
other commitments for September 8, 2008 hence a new date had to be agreed

Charges against the paper, Maruziva and Mutambara arose on April 20
this year following publication of the opposition leader's opinion article
titled A Shameful Betrayal of National Independence, which the state says
was prejudicial to the state and also in contempt of court.

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Activists Want Radical Action After Talks Flop

Saturday, 30 August 2008 21:20
AS uncertainty continues to shroud the inter-party talks between Zanu
PF and the two MDC formations, and the aftermath of the convening of
Parliament, civic activists have called for "radical action" as the best
possible solution out of the crisis.

On Wednesday, youth and students' organisations met in Harare and
resolved to lead a campaign of "civic disobedience". And on Thursday, a
political commentator said the only "legitimate" way out for Zimbabwe was to
allow Parliament to elect the President.

One of the conveners of the youth meeting, Zimbabwe National Students'
Union (Zinasu) president, Clever Bere said they resolved to mobilize youths
to protest against Zanu PF's grip on power, which he said was against the
people's will.

"We discussed many issues to do with the current political
developments, trying to find alternative ways forward and try to provide
leadership to the country. One of the key issues that came out is that the
young people do not recognise Robert Mugabe as the legitimate president of
Zimbabwe," Bere said.

Bere said the youths agreed that the official opening of Parliament
last Tuesday was in breach of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the
principals of the two MDC formations and Zanu PF on 21 July. The youths were
drawn from various organisations, mostly in Harare.

He said: "Indeed it was not within his mandate for Mugabe to
officially open parliament until and unless there was a political
settlement, political agreement and political consensus with the other
parties, particularly the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which won the
elections on March 29. We will soon be launching a petition against this

Bere repeated the same sentiments at a public discussion on Thursday,
where he said following his assumption of the chairmanship of the Southern
Africa Development Community (Sadc), SA President Thabo Mbeki could not
continue as mediator in the talks as there was now a clash of interest.

"Being the Sadc chairman, Mbeki cannot continue in his role as a Sadc
mediator. The mediator has to report to someone in Sadc, and being at the
helm, this means Mbeki now has to report to himself. This compromises the
whole process," Bere said.

Speaking during the same discussion, a political commentator from the
National University of Science and Technology (Nust), Dr Themba Dlodlo said
under the current crisis, Parliament should be allowed to sit as an
electoral college and choose a President. "We need to have a solution to
this. This crisis must end. Why not give power to Parliament to choose a
President? We cannot move forward in a situation where the governing party
has a minority, and the opposition has a majority," Dlodlo said.

The inter-party talks proposed that the current parliament would only
last for a limited time frame leading to fresh elections. This arrangement,
said Dlodlo, may still not work.

"We cannot go back into an election to solve a problem which was in
the first place created by an election," he said. "Parliament is the only
legitimate body at the moment that was elected fairly. The presidential
election was disputed. I propose Parliament should be given a role to choose
a President and Prime Minister if there is to be such a role, and have their
roles clearly separated."

Prominent Harare pastor who is also a human rights activist, Bishop
Ancelimo Magaya, said the crisis was now "a spiritual issue" that could only
be solved through "prophetic action".

"I believe at some point Zimbabwe will be able to recognize the
supremacy of God. A power-sharing arrangement can actually worsen, rather
than solve the crisis," Magaya said.

Last year, Magaya called on members of the Zimbabwe National Pastors'
Conference (ZNPC) to March to the President's Office in protest. The march
did not take place.

By Vusumuzi Sifile

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Disease Fears As Bulawayo Water Shortage Worsens

Saturday, 30 August 2008 21:18
Serious water shortages - blamed on increased power outages resulting
in the local authority failing to pump or purify water - have become
widespread in Bulawayo, igniting fears of an outbreak of water-borne

Hundreds of Bulawayo residents last year contracted water-borne
diseases owing to serious water shortages after the dams supplying the
country's second biggest city dried up.

The government refused to intervene to tackle the water shortages
because of a struggle over control of the city's water supply.

Authorities said they could not help Bulawayo unless the MDC-
controlled council handed over control of water supply to the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority (Zinwa).

The council refused, citing failure of the government to provide water
in other cities where it had control of the water utility.

A survey last week revealed that residents at various suburbs were
restricted to only a few hours of water every three days after the local
authority resorted to stringent water rationing, owing to lack of treated
water at the city's reservoirs.

"We have not had water for the past four days," said a seemingly
distraught Moreblessing Moyo from Cowdray Park on Wednesday.

Residents from other suburbs - mostly high-density areas where the
water cuts were more pronounced - said they only had water for a few hours a
day in the morning while some said they only had water for a few hours every
two days.

Officials at the local authority - who blamed water cuts on the
troubled Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) that has increased its
load-shedding regime - said the power cuts had grossly affected operations
at its water works.

Khonzani Ncube, the Acting Town Clerk of the Bulawayo City Council,
said the council could not treat or pump water owing to power outages. She
warned of worse water shortages since the municipal authority had little
treated water left in its reservoirs.

".Due to increased power outages by Zesa, pumping of water at the
municipal reservoirs has been greatly affected," Ncube said. "As a result,
residents are experiencing water shortages due to limited treated water in
our reservoirs."

Fullard Gwasira, the Zesa spokesperson last week said the troubled
parastatal was facing serious challenges, hence the increased power outages
sometimes lasting over 15 hours a day. He attributed the power cuts to
inadequate coal supplies.

By Nqobani Ndlovu

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Court Relief For Civic Activist As Lawyers Allege Torture

Saturday, 30 August 2008 21:15
A local magistrate on Monday relaxed the bail reporting conditions for
Peter Muchengeti, the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust, (Zimcet) regional
manager for the Midlands province.

Muchengeti, who had been ordered by the court to report twice a week
at the Criminal Investigation Department offices in Gweru every Tuesday and
Wednesday will now report only once a fortnight. The relaxation comes after
he briefly appeared before Magistrate Rosa Takuva.

Although Muchengeti's lawyers Brian Dube of Gundu and Mawarire legal
Practitioners and Reginald Chidawanyika of Chitere and Chidawanyika law
firm, had put it on record during his initial hearing that their client was
subjected to torture and inhuman treatment while in detention and that
Magistrate Takuva had ordered the state to investigate the matter and
present its findings on August 25 when Muchengeti reappeared in court, the
matter was not heard.

When Muchengeti reappeared in court there was no docket. Chidawanyika
told The Standard that there was no clear explanation why Muchengeti's
docket was not at the courts. "Muchengeti's docket was not with the public
prosecutor and unclear reasons were given by the police for the absence of
the docket," Chidawanyika said. "However, we will keep on fighting that this
matter be heard in court."

He said they would pursue the issue of torture on September 16 when
Muchengeti is due to appear in court again.

Muchengeti, who was arrested last month, is facing charges of
breaching Chapter 9: 23 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Muchengeti is being accused of publishing or communicating to another
person "a statement which is wholly or materially false with the intention
or realising that there is a real risk or possibility of
public violence or endangering public safety".

The charge is said to arise from comments that Muchengeti allegedly
made to the "Voice of America Radio Network (Studio 7 Broadcasting) through
its reporter Patience Rusere which was wholly false that there was a
discovery of six bodies at Mashekandumba Village at the 30-kilometre peg
along the Gweru-Kwekwe Road".

By Rutendo Mawere

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Mbeki Has Failed, Say Analysts

Saturday, 30 August 2008 21:13
SOUTH AFRICAN President Thabo Mbeki has failed in his bid to
facilitate a negotiated political settlement in the country and should seek
assistance from credible international bodies, political analysts have said.

Mbeki, who was appointed by the Southern African Development Community
(Sadc) to mediate in the Zimbabwe crisis, has been widely criticised for his
"quiet diplomacy". He was however hailed after he brought the parties to the
talks together to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which paved the
way for serious negotiations that raised hopes for a possible deal.

The deal however never materialised after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
refused to sign the power-sharing agreement.

The rift between Zanu PF and the MDC widened in the past week after
President Robert Mugabe unilaterally appointed resident ministers and opened
parliament on Tuesday in direct contravention of the MoU the parties signed
on July 11.

The MoU forbids the convening of parliament and the appointment of a
cabinet without the consent of all the three political parties.

But the 84-year-old leader, who has led the country on an economic
slide for the past 28 years, has vowed to appoint a new cabinet.

"We shall soon be setting up a government. The MDC does not want to
come in apparently," said Mugabe soon after opening Parliament last week.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, Lovemore Matombo
believes Mbeki has failed to solve the crisis in the country and should seek
assistance from other facilitators.

"The ZCTU is of the opinion that the facilitator should include AU
(African Union) and UN United Nations), since we are convinced that Thabo
Mbeki has failed," Matombo said.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred Masunungure agrees:
"Mbeki has failed. The problem is that he does not want to admit failure. He
wanted Tsvangirai to accept a deal which entrenches the status quo. No one
in his sane mind would have accepted such a deal."

He said although AU commission chairman Jean Ping and UN's special
representative to Zimbabwe Haile Menkerios were provided with regular
progress updates about the talks as part of the "reference group", their
contribution was minimal as they were not directly involved.

University of Zimbabwe political analyst Heneri Dzinotyiwei also
questioned Mbeki's credibility as a mediator. He said the South African
president failed to provide guidance at strategic moments.

Dzinotyiwei said although the Sadc summit held in South Africa this
month recommended the convening of Parliament, Mbeki was supposed to
reconcile that recommendation with the position in the MoU which forbids the
opening of the House before a final agreement has been reached.

Mbeki, said Dzinotyiwei, should have stepped in to prevent Mugabe from
convening Parliament without the consent of the two MDC camps.

"The performance of President Mbeki is questionable from all angles.
He is flip-flopping and time is running out for him to explain how he
proposes to proceed," said Dzinotyiwei. "Maybe the time has come for the UN
to step in."

Masunungure agrees: "It's a complex protracted crisis that does not
need one mind. He should seek assistance."

He said Menkerios and Ping's involvement in the talks was minimal
because Mbeki wanted to hog the limelight for resolving the crisis if he had

"The reference group was rendered redundant because it was not
involved in the talks. Mbeki wanted to steal all the glory by going it
alone," he said.

Masunungure does not see anything coming out of the on-going talks.
"Not in the immediate term. Zanu PF has dug in and is not prepared to cede
more power and I see the same in MDC."

As the search for a political settlement continues with no solution in
sight, ordinary Zimbabweans are feeling the pinch of worsening economic
conditions in the country.

By Caiphas Chimhete

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New Twist In Mutumwa Mawere Case

Saturday, 30 August 2008 21:01
MONEY the government accuses businessman Mutumwa Mawere of having
allegedly externalised is locked up in a South African company currently
under liquidation, it emerged last week.

In 2004, the police issued a warrant of arrest against Mawere accusing
the Zimbabwean born business mogul of externalising US$18 464 595.27, C$628
071.84 and ZAR4 515 367.48 from SMM Holdings Limited.

But fresh details emerged last week that Southern Asbestos Sales
(SAS), currently under liquidation owed SMM money in unpaid asbestos fibre
sales, which all but exonerated Mawere. The details, contained in documents
in our possession, will be another blow to the government's efforts to nail
the acquisitive businessman in the wake of the 2004 Presidential decree that
wrested Mawere's assets.

In his supporting affidavit filed in the High Court, Samson Mangoma,
an Assistant Commissioner with the Zimbabwe Republic Police alleged Mawere
had colluded with then SMM board chairman William Mudekunye to fleece the
group of money realised from the export proceeds of asbestos fibre from
Shabanie-Gaths mine.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa appointed Mangoma in 2004 as an
investigator of Mawere.

But papers seen by Standardbusiness show that the money in question
had not been externalised by Mawere but owed to SMM by SAS.

In the supporting affidavit of SMM Holdings in the matter of SAS,
Washington Samanga, chief operating officer of AA Mines, said SAS had
admitted being indebted to SMM in the amounts of US$18 464 595.27, C$628
071.84 and ZAR4 515 367.48 as at April 29, 2004 in affidavits filed in the
liquidation proceedings of SAS. He said SAS alleged that it had paid certain
amounts to SMM's behalf. He said SMM had denied barring an amount of US$4
646 445 of proceeds that ought to have been remitted to SMM by SAS but
instead were transferred to Zimre Holdings Limited.

"The amounts transferred to Zimre Holdings Limited were utilized to
acquire an asset, which asset had been recovered by SMM in terms of the
Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Reconstruction of State Indebted
Insolvent Companies) Regulations, 2004 of the Laws of Zimbabwe," he said.

Samanga said the amount of US$4 646 445 should be deducted from the
amount due and owing by SAS to SMM.

"Accordingly, the net outstanding amount due, owing and payable by SAS
to SMM in respect of asbestos fibre sold and delivered to customers is US$13
818 150.27, C$628 071.84 and ZAR4 515 367.48," Samanga wrote.

Documents in possession of Standardbusiness show that there could have
been collusion between AA Mines and SAS customers not to pay for asbestos
fibre delivered. The motive of the collusion could not be established last
week. In a facsimile dated January 5, 2005 to Hindustan Composite Limited,
Masimba Chandavengerwa, AA Mines marketing director thanked the company for
having delayed in paying SAS.

"We would like to thank you for having agreed to hold onto these funds
up to this date despite the pressure you have from your banks and SAS to
effect payment," Chandavengerwa wrote.

"We shall be grateful if you could hold on until end of January 2005."

He said: "Should you incur any expenses as a result of these delayed
payments, they will be for our account."

While AA Mines was urging SAS customers to delay payments, its holding
company, SMM was instructing customers to pay directly into its accounts.

In a February 24, 2005 letter, AMG chief Arafas Gwaradzimba wrote to
SAS client, Sri Venkateswana instructing them to effect money owed to SAS
directly to SMM.

Gwaradzimba wrote that in terms of a court order granted by the High
Court of South Africa SAS was required to pay Petter Trading, a company
associated to it a certain sum of money that SAS had owed to SMM.
Gwaradzimba said that the court order was obtained on the basis of a cession

In terms of the cession agreement, AA Mines agreed to cede to Petter
Trading its rights and interests to payments that it was entitled to receive
from SAS.

"The purported cession agreement relied upon by Petter Trading is a
false document and currently a matter of dispute between the parties,"
Gwaradzimba said.

Gwaradzimba said that the court order which SAS relied on to claim
payment was rescinded in the High Court of South Africa (Witwatersrand) on
November 29, 2004 which makes it necessary for SMM to receive all payments.

But in a nasty rejoinder, Aakhil Hoosain, SAS financial manager,
expressed concern about Gwaradzimba's blatant disrespect of commercial
transactions and applicable laws.

"The context in which you are interfering with my company's commercial
claims against our customer is disturbing," Hoosain wrote.

"The court order related to a commercial relationship between three
parties and does not extend to SAS customers/debtors."

Hoosain said there was no legal basis for SMM to give instructions to
its customers/debtors in respect of legitimate sales made by SAS as a

Gwaradzimba last week told Standardbusiness there was nothing wrong in
SMM demanding payment from SAS customers.

"SAS were selling asbestos on behalf SMM. They were selling to SMM
customers so SMM continued to liaise with the customers because the company
(SAS) was in liquidation," he said.

Mawere said it was ironic that Mangoma was looking for him to
investigate the allegation that funds allegedly owed by SAS to SMM were
externalized. Samanga on behalf of SMM lodged a claim in the estate of SAS
in South Africa claiming that SAS owed the same funds "the Administrator and
his colleagues have been busy trying to keep away from SAS".

"The question is why would SMM proceed to file a claim for the same
funds that I am being pursued by Mangoma?" he asked.

"So in this unusual case, it is interesting that even after the claim
has been lodged by SMM, Mangoma is still looking for me on the same

By Ndamu Sandu

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Sanctions: Travellers To Feel The Pinch

Saturday, 30 August 2008 20:59
Some commercial banks have stopped issuing travellers cheques from a
United States based company as sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe's
regime continue to bite.

Sources in the banking industry said American Travel Related Services
Company, the suppliers of the travellers' cheques, has stopped their
operations in the country to comply with the regulations under the sanctions
imposed by Western countries on Zimbabwe.

The scrapping of American Express Travellers cheques by most banks
with effect from September 1, is set to deal a big blow to Zimbabwe's
cross-border traders who are credited with keeping the battered economy

Zimbabweans intending to travel overseas would also be affected by the
move as they are only allowed to carry US$100 in cash when leaving the

A survey by The Standard revealed that most banks had stopped
providing the service.

Kingdom Bank Limited posted a notice advising its clients about the
latest development.

"Following a review of its operations in Zimbabwe, American Travel
Related Services Company (American Express), the issuers of American Express
Travelers cheques, has notified of its intention to suspend the sale of
Travellers Cheques in Zimbabwe," the bank said. "The suspension is with
effect from September 1, 2008.

"Accordingly, Kingdom Bank Limited will effectively suspend selling of
American Express Travellers Cheques by close of business on Saturday August
30, 2008."

A banking official at the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) added:

"We were notified last month by American based suppliers of the
travelers' cheques that there will be no further supplies to Zimbabwe."

John Robertson, an economist said the move will severely impact on
Zimbabweans travelers especially those who intend visiting the US using the
travelers' cheques.

"The development effectively sees those who intend to travel to
America incurring double costs since they would have to first travel to
neighbouring countries to purchase the travelers cheques," Robertson said.

The US has threatened tougher action against Zimbabwe if the stalled
crisis talks between the MDC and Zanu-PF do not produce a settlement
"reflecting the March 29 vote".

Last month, the US government expanded its targeted sanctions against
Mugabe's close associates to include other individuals and companies with
close links to his regime, citing continued politically motivated violence.

By Nqobani Ndlovu

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Setbacks For Gold Production

Saturday, 30 August 2008 20:57
THE delay in receiving payment coupled with power outages have stymied
Zimbabwe's gold production, projected to fall further this year, players in
the industry have warned.

Collen Gura, Metallon Gold Zimbabwe chief executive officer told a
business meeting that power outages were rampant despite miners paying in
foreign currency to power utility, ZESA Holdings.

"Most mines are getting four hours a day out of 24 hours and this
affects shifts," he said.

Gura said gold miners were incurring unnecessary costs through the
increased chemical consumption caused by power outages. He said power
outages also led to dewatering costs caused by flooding.

"One of our mines are below Mutare River and we have closed
underground mining because we have no pump space. We have equipment lying
idle," he said.

Gura said gold producers are hamstrung by late payments to gold
deliveries adding further agony to the sector.

"Not only are you getting it less, but you are getting it late," he

In its half year results ended June 30 2008, RioZim Limited said its
cashflow continued to be impaired by the delay in the payment for gold
deliveries to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe which dates back to November

Gura said gold prices have been trailing international prices. He said
Zimbabwe should take a leaf from Mali and Tanzania where producers are paid
in foreign currency but liquidate the proceeds to local currency.

"What is painful is when people deny that people in the gold sector
are operating in misery," he said.

He said mining is a long term venture which needs clear ground rules.

He said the mining rights and indigenisation laws should be clear and
consistent. Gura said Metallon has been trying to list on the London Stock
Exchange for the past four years but was encountering hurdles. He said
Metallon has failed to explain to potential investors the proposed
indigenisation law. Under the law, locals will have 51% shareholding in
foreign owned companies operating in Zimbabwe.

"The question we could not answer is to do with indigenisation. One
says if I put £1 is there any insurance to compensate me for the 51 pence
lost," he said.

It just stops certain things from happening and here now we are, not

Zimbabwe's gold production has declined over the years due to
operational constraints and poor incentives that have made investment into
the industry a tough choice. From a peak of 27 metric tonnes in 1999, gold
production plummeted to seven tonnes last year. This year gold production is
projected to fall to 4.5 tonnes.

By Ndamu Sandu

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New Parliament Power Shows No Part Can Govern Unilaterally

Saturday, 30 August 2008 20:24
THE faithful multitudes of the Beautiful Game, as that greatest of its
exponents, Pele called it years ago, are familiar with the oft-repeated
claim that no matter the level of the match, a team must always play to win,

if only because winning is a good habit. The same applies; more so,
perhaps, to that other game of life and death, the less aesthetically
pleasing one, called politics.

There can be no doubt that the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC scored a
significant political victory over their adversaries with the election of
Lovemore Moyo as the new Speaker of the House of Assembly, turning the
tables on Zanu PF, for the first time in 28 years.

These developments surrounding the institution of Parliament have to
be seen within the context of the negotiating process. Having failed to pin
down the MDC in Pretoria, Zanu PF played what they perceived to be a
disarming card, by going ahead with the convening of Parliament.

For a moment, this decision appeared to have caught the MDC unawares
given the apparently conflicting signals over the matter last week by the
MDC leader Tsvangirai and his Secretary General Tendai Biti. But after the
initial panic, they made the right decision to play their own card and, so
far, as events have shown, it was a card that Zanu PF found hard to counter.

Zanu PF, plainly, miscalculated, thinking erroneously, not only that
they would benefit from the support of the Professor Arthur Mutambara MDC
MPs but also in hoping that the MDC would carry out its threats of
boycotting, in which case they would have had ample room to manoeuvre and
gain an upper hand in a House of Assembly in which they are now juniors.

The proceedings also demonstrated the angst among MPs who showed they
can no longer be easily manipulated as has been the case in previous
Parliaments, when that institution was no more than a rubber-stamping organ
of the Executive.

At a time when the confidence in the judiciary as the last bastion of
protecting fundamental freedoms is very low, Parliament has, like a phoenix,
risen from the dead to demonstrate, at least fleetingly, that it can stand
its own ground. One can look to the future and say that gone, perhaps, are
the days when Parliament was simply part of the gravy train, which the
Executive took for granted. That can only be a good thing for Zimbabwe's
fledgling democracy. These are the small but no less significant gains in
the tortuous road towards democracy.

For my part, this new found power is something that the MDC must build
on. They should recognise that, finally, they no longer have to play the
hand-maiden at the party. It is no longer necessary to resort to the
all-too-familiar tactic of boycotting because they now have power which can
be used pro-actively. The MDC should not underestimate the kind of power
that comes with the type of leverage they now have in the main House of
Parliament. The heckling on Tuesday is just one form of protest but it is
not enough - they now have to be pro-active in the use of the law-making

Instead of boycotting and withdrawing into its cocoon for purposes of
scoring moral victories, the MDC must exploit their parliamentary power and
use it pro-actively to redress the repressive legislative framework
represented by laws such as AIPPA, POSA, the Electoral Act, etc. They might
fail because of obstacles that will be placed in their way but they should
not stop trying. In other words, instead of saying, "chitongai tione (Go
ahead and govern)", they should be saying "ngatitongei tione (Let's govern)"
because in this arena they can now assert a counter-power to their
adversaries in the business of government.

Clearly, what these developments show is that for as long as it
intends to use the veil of legal process to govern, Zanu PF has, rather
inconveniently, driven into a cul-de-sac and the options are very limited
without the co-operation of the MDC.

A government needs to make laws, which in terms of the Zimbabwe
Constitution, have to be passed by both Houses of Parliament - Assembly and
Senate. It is crucial to appreciate that under Section 32 of the
Constitution, the legislative authority vests in the legislature which
consists of the President and Parliament. Bills ordinarily originate from
the Assembly, pass through the Senate and eventually require Presidential
assent in accordance with the provisions of Section 51. And herein are the
ingredients of a possible constitutional crisis, which means no party can
govern effectively without the other.

The law-making process requires a simple majority except that where it
involves the amendment of the Constitution, there must be a two-thirds
majority. This means that on the basis of the precedence set at the election
of the Speaker, the MDC can, surely, muster a simple majority to effect
changes to the vast plethora of legislation that it has challenged without
much success over the years because it has been hamstrung by Zanu PF's

Of course, success will be subject, first, to the agreement of the
Senate, which is dominated by the handpicked faithful of Zanu PF and second,
the overall power of the President, who may withhold his assent to
legislation. But it is important to note that this power of rejection by the
President is not absolute.

This is because, the Constitution states under S. 51(3b), that where
certain conditions are met, a Bill that is rejected by the President may be
returned to him if the House of Assembly by a vote of at least two thirds
majority resolves that this be done. In that case, the Constitution states
in mandatory terms that the President 'shall assent' to the Bill within 21
days. His only other option at that point would be to dissolve Parliament, a
circumstance that cannot be ruled out, but is unlikely.

This, of course, is predicated on the assumption that the MDC can
persuade some Zanu PF MPs in order to muster that two-thirds majority. This
cannot be guaranteed but also can no longer be ruled out given the voting
pattern for the Speaker which appeared to show that some Zanu PF MPs voted
for the MDC candidate. Zanu PF's failure to crack the whip on this occasion
is unusual and indicates some fissures within the ranks, which the MDC might

There also seems to be a latent marginalisation of the Mujuru faction,
signalled most prominently by the relegation to the inferior divisions of
former Mashonaland East Governor Ray Kaukonde in favour of Aeneas
Chigwedere, who in the wake of electoral defeat had sought to claw his way
back by claiming the controversial Mubaiwa Headmanship. The question remains
whether and how they will react to this apparent marginalisation.

What this boils down to is that Mugabe cannot go ahead in the
"business as usual" mode. By convening Parliament, there is now the
realisation that Zanu PF will need to work with the MDC, as equal partners,
not juniors and his affirmation that negotiations are still possible
indicate his own recognition that there is not much way out of this

Conversely, the MDC would also need the cooperation of Zanu PF,
because it could create the same blockages, through the Senate or the
Presidency, which might be hard to surmount. In normal democracies, such a
scenario would ordinarily lead to a coalition arrangement. This indeed is
the case in older democracies such as Germany. This reliance on partners
presents an effective check on the potential excesses of the Presidency.

But, in the midst of the celebrations, it is important that the MDC
keeps the eye on the ball. They have now shown that they have the power in
Parliament which Zanu PF cannot do without unless it decides boldly to
by-pass that institution and rule by decree. President Robert Mugabe can, of
course, still use the temporary powers to make laws under the notorious
Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act. But these would eventually
require Parliamentary approval and can only buy time for no more than six
months. So ultimately, the convening of Parliament has shown both parties to
the argument that none of them can proceed with the business of government
without the co-operation of the other.

Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and
can be contacted at

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Canada And Zimbabwe Beyond Mugabe's Rule

Saturday, 30 August 2008 20:21
FOR most Zimbabweans, as for their friends abroad, the possibility of
an imminent end to President Robert Mugabe's presidential career is a
gripping prospect.

If Mugabe can still be persuaded by his African neighbours that it is
indeed time to go with dignity, Zimbabwe's future could be brighter than
many now believe.

However, if his Zanu PF inner circle join him in trying to protect
their jobs and power, Zimbabwe could be in for still more economic and
political deterioration.

But that will not last forever.

What many now overlook is the reality that whenever Morgan Tsvangirai
becomes Zimbabwe's next president, building a new Zimbabwe won't be easy.
Friends should be planning now for what needs to be done once Mugabe is

After 28 years of Mugabe's patronage, Zanu PF stalwarts hold nearly
all positions and perks of power. Every military chief, all senior
government officials, most judges and media editors, the great majority of
bureaucrats (and now, ironically, most big farm owners) owe everything to
Zanu PF.

It will be no surprise that they will struggle to hold on. Even if
power changes hands peacefully and the old guard agrees to serve the new
government or retire, there will be issues of trust and professional
confidence. Certainly, there will be a massive need for new leadership, new
experience, revived professional integrity and restored competence.

There are few in Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC, including Tsvangirai
himself, with obvious governance credentials other than evident integrity,
courage and commitment. Except for some doughty MDC members of the old
parliament, no MDC party loyalist knows much about running a country.

Encouragingly, there are still many top professionals, academics and
civil society leaders at home and abroad who will be ready to help. It is
largely these people - many with good MDC credentials, some, even, from
within the ranks of Zanu PF, and many others who have kept away from overt
politics and focused on civil leadership -who have led this change in
Zimbabwe. It is they who will sustain the new Zimbabwe. They will need and
welcome Canadian help.

Some of us may baulk at yet another demand for African

There will be those who argue that we should offer plenty of verbal
congratulation and encouragement, that we should be genuinely pleased that
the people of Zimbabwe can now get on with rebuilding their society and
economy, and that we should work to entice the new Zimbabwe back into the

But they will resist doing anything that costs money or requires
diversion of scarce resources from Afghanistan, Sudan or our
already-established list of CIDA countries of focus. If this is our
thinking, we should look again.

Despite its present economic desperation, Zimbabwe is far from the
usual resource-deprived, weakly educated, brain-drained development

Zimbabwe still boasts an infrastructure, a business, academic and
professional base that outstrips any other in sub-Saharan Africa except
South Africa.

Zimbabwe has rich mineral wealth, a fine tourist environment,
agriculture potential that is the envy of southern Africa, transportation
links that worked once and can work again, and a trained, willing population
(the latter thanks in large measure to Mugabe's early emphasis on

What is most needed now is sound economic and political management to
get it all going again.

This is something that Canada has been good at. It requires the sort
of experience that Canadians have in abundance. It does not require great
sums of additional funding.

Since 2002, Canada has promoted dialogue among Zimbabweans, providing
a venue for them to talk of their hopes and their efforts to bring about
change. We should continue to encourage this sort of national discussion.

We should increase our support to Zimbabwean civil society. Against
great odds they are doing a remarkably courageous and effective job for the
real people of their country.

Canadian NGOs like CARE and OXFAM provide food for hungry former farm
workers, and rural development opportunities to existing small farmers.

Zimbabwe's potential is obvious. The rewards of investing
realistically, but quickly, in the new Zimbabwe will be substantial.

By John Schram: A senior fellow at Carleton University's and a senior
fellow at Queen's University's Centre for International Relations. He
retired as Canada's ambassador to Zimbabwe in 2005.

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An Evil Monster Wraps Itself In The Mantle Of A Messiah

Saturday, 30 August 2008 20:17
AT every turn during Zimbabwe's nearly three decades of independence,
Zanu PF and the government have deliberately mounted sustained assaults
against ordinary defenceless citizens of this country, only to turn around
and wrap themselves in the mantle of a Messiah.

The latest demonstration of this is the unbanning on Friday of field
operations of non-governmental and private voluntary organisations.

On June 4 2008, the government banned the operations of the
organisations alleging that there was suspicion most of the non-governmental
organisations "were dabbling in politics". The sins of a few organisations
should not have been used as an excuse to punish others, who have so far
stepped forward to do what any people-orientated government would have done
in the first place - take responsibility and ensure that its people are not
left to go hungry.

The only reason why the NGOs are involved is because of the inability
of the government to provide for and protect its citizens from the ravages
of hunger.

The government has the resources and machinery to track down and deal
with those suspected of "dabbling in politics" if indeed such a conspiracy
exists. But since it has not named and shamed such organisations, we can
only conclude that this is yet another of the government's diversionary
ruses, meant to provide a patina of legitimacy for punishing its own people
just as it did with Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina and others. The list of the
violations this government has committed against defenceless citizens is

The government loathes competition, even where such competition only
exists in the realms of its fertile imagination. It is the government that
has politicised distribution of food aid by demanding Zanu PF membership
cards before starving villagers can access scarce food from the state-run
Grain Marketing Board. Similar concerns over proof of membership of the
ruling party are being raised even as the government rolls out its recently
launched food hampers under the Basic Commodity Supply Side Intervention

Banning the activities of NGOs has been nothing short of an attempted
genocide by starvation. Elsewhere in this issue, we report the deaths due to
hunger of several prison inmates in Masvingo. Institutions such as prisons
operate farms, meant to provide the food requirements of the inmates. It is
unforgivable that people should die in a place where they are supposed to be
looked after, while serving their sentences. We are certain if the crisis
facing the prisons was in the public domain, the very same NGOs whose
activities were banned, would have offered to help and thus saved lives.

Being imprisoned is punishment enough. Having to die in prison is
double tragedy.

So there is nothing to celebrate after the government lifted the ban.
How many poor souls and vulnerable children and the elderly died or have
been left on the verge of starvation just because Zanu PF wanted to assert
its supremacy and Trotskyite doctrine of "immediate action regardless of the

For nearly three months the government has refused to listen as the
local humanitarian groups and the international community warned of an
impending catastrophic humanitarian crisis. It is only the threat of this
scale of neglect being brought before the United Nations that has moved the
government from its indifference to the imminent disaster.

The government should be ashamed of such callousness. It should not
seek to portray itself as a saviour, because by its conduct, it has
demonstrated that it is an evil monster prepared to inflict further
suffering and misery on defenceless citizens.

The race must now be to ensure that ordinary Zimbabweans, who look up
to the government in their hour of need, are not allowed to suffer a day

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Opposition Can Use opportunity In Government For Strategic Reasons

Saturday, 23 August 2008 18:35
THERE is a saying that I often heard from elders in my days of youth.
They used to say, "Kufa kwemuJoni kamba haivharwi" when someone important
failed to turn up for an event or something that was anticipated didn't

I have no clue about the origin of that saying but I suspect it has
something to do with the colonial experience. I am told it literally means
that the death of an officer does not necessarily mean that all business
must cease. More generally, it is that the failure of one thing does not
necessarily mean that everything else has failed.

I am reminded of this old saying, as I observe the developments on the
Zimbabwean political scene and in particular Zanu PF's decision, apparently
supported by Sadc, to convene Parliament, notwithstanding that the talks
have yet to yield a meaningful result.

The MDC has gone some way to gain fluency in the difficult and complex
language of African politics and given the circumstances of Zimbabwe,
African leaders have found it increasingly difficult to ignore Morgan
Tsvangirai and his party. But it is repeating the obvious to say that one
should avoid total faith in the African leaders because many of them have
too many skeletons in their own cupboards.

Sadc was only going to be a key player in the heat of the tragic
circumstances of Zimbabwe's elections from March to June. Time, being of the
essence, was always going to be the enemy in the long run. Because, sure
enough, the more the dispute dragged on, the less there would be the world's
attention and consequently the less the pressure on the African leaders, to
"do something" about Zimbabwe, to borrow the ubiquitous phrase whenever
Zimbabwe is mentioned.

As it happens, the Beijing Olympics and the Russia-Georgia conflict
have robbed Zimbabwe of its prime slot in the global media. Indeed, in the
order of priorities, the worry of global leaders is over Georgia and Russia's
actions and less about Africa. Zimbabwe is lucky to get the few seconds on
prime time news. And with less media attention, African leaders tend to
return to familiar type, which is why Sadc's lackadaisical approach to
Zimbabwe is hardly surprising.

Sadc's failure so far to resolve the Zimbabwean problem is testament
to its youth and inexperience. It simply lacks the cojones to confront the
likes of President Robert Mugabe. There was always going to come a time when
Sadc would be ready to take a quick-fix deal. It's hardly surprising,
therefore, that Sadc appears to have largely endorsed the deal on the table,
contrary to the expectations of Tsvangirai and his faction of the MDC. It is
unlikely that Sadc will return soon to consider the matter and it now
appears that pressure will be exerted on Tsvangirai to agree,
notwithstanding his concerns, however genuine they may be.

For Mugabe, Sadc could not have delivered a better gift. For months,
he has suffered the ignominy of being the outcast, shunned by his erstwhile
comrades bar President Thabo Mbeki. At some point, even his old
battle-hardened comrade, Angola's President Eduardo dos Santos appeared to
have deserted him in his hour of need. But, it now appears, he took the
opportunity over the weekend to argue his case and convince them that what
he was presenting to his political nemesis was reasonable under the

For Sadc to agree that it may be necessary to convene Parliament is a
significant step in that it symbolically acknowledges Mugabe's presidency -
after all it is he who will preside over the opening of the legislative
body. That process had been suspended in order to deal with the
power-sharing issues and, in the process, Mugabe's legitimacy. Yet, as is
common cause, Mugabe's presidency is at the core of the talks.

It was thought that pressure from Sadc, even in the form of the
dreaded sanctions would be more effective to bring Zanu PF into line. That
prospect was, for the opposition, more likely at the height of the disquiet
over the chaotic elections. But in the aftermath of the recent Sadc Summit,
that now seems very unlikely. Mugabe appears to have managed to put off that
very uncomfortable pressure point. And that, too, is the opposition's loss
in this game of high stakes.

Zanu PF was desperate not to form a government at its greatest point
of weakness after the elections. Its main option was to seek some
accommodation with the MDC, and use the MDC as a "Juice-Card", that is, in
the language of mobile telephony, to secure some much-needed credit to run
for another few years. If that failed, the sub-option was to endeavour to be
seen as being conciliatory and willing to work with the opposition. That, at
least it hoped, would show its reasonable side.

svangirai's reluctance to sign is a result of fear of being used as
Mugabe's "Juice-Card". But given Sadc's current stance, Zanu PF appears to
have managed to persuade its erstwhile comrades that it is being reasonable
in trying to accommodate the opposition. The pressure from Sadc, it now
appears, is on the MDC to agree, however messy the deal is.

On its part the MDC's options are rather limited. It may be right to
refuse to be used as a "Juice Card" by Zanu PF if the power-sharing
agreement is hollow but it has to acknowledge that it has failed through
legal means to remove Zanu PF from power. The MDC does not appear to have
the facility or will to front a popular revolt. This closure of options is
why the MDC has agreed to talk to Zanu PF otherwise it would use other

For my part, I think it is futile to think that Zanu PF was ever going
to commit political hara-kiri on the negotiating table, when it went to such
great and, quite frankly, despicable lengths, to cling on in the first
place. There is, perhaps, need for some reality check on the part of the
opposition, recognising its strengths and limitations and appreciate that
what it would get through negotiations was always going to be far short of
what it could get through a total revolutionary victory.

The other option often touted by some people is the so-called "tongai
tione" stance; in other words, for the MDC to stand aside and let Zanu PF
govern in self-destruct mode. To their credit, of late, the MDC leaders have
shown none of this boycott approach to politics. They know it may provide
fodder for popular rhetoric but they also realise that the talks are their
most viable option at this delicate stage. They have consistently shown a
willingness to engage in order to resolve the differences. It has been
argued previously in these pages that entry into government will have its
positives and negatives and the challenge upon the MDC is to make sure that
the positives outweigh the negatives.

Crucially, they know that failures in their march to power are
consequent upon Zanu PF's exclusive control of the state apparatus, from the
media, finance, the security forces and importantly, the electoral
machinery. What they need to consider is whether entry into government would
lend them some influence and, possibly, control over these structures. Are
they likely to succeed in the next election whilst they remain outside
government or will their chances be better when they can counter Zanu PF's
influence in the state machinery? If they remain outside, what will have
changed in the next five years in terms of Zanu PF's strategies if it
retains exclusive control of the state machinery? These are questions the
MDC needs to consider its decision-making process.

For my part, I do not think the MDC has to enter government on the
basis that it will create any miraculous changes in the next five years. It
won't have the capacity to do that; not even the promised billions will
deliver those changes. Rather I have always viewed MDC's entry into
government in strategic terms. I am convinced that total control will never
be delivered by Zanu PF on the negotiating table. Remaining on the outside
will simply perpetuate more of the same.

There is not going to be total change at this stage, no, not even the
"tongai tione" approach can deliver that total control in the end - it
simply postpones some form of accommodation between the parties. The main
reason for the opposition to enter the ranks of government is strategic,
with an eye on the next phase of elections. Perhaps by then, if it stays
clean, it might have neutralised some of Zanu PF's influence in the state

By Alex Magaisa: based at Kent Law School, The University of Kent. He
can be contacted at

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Zim Standard Letters

Nothing Wrong With Heckling A Rogue Leader
Saturday, 30 August 2008 20:31
I notice that the Zanu PF controlled press did not like the booing and
heckling that President Mugabe was subjected to during the official opening
of Parliament.

Personally, I do not think that other than embarrassing and annoying
Mugabe, the booing would have achieved anything politically.

However, I do not see anything wrong with booing Mugabe, especially
considering that the majority of these MPs and the generality of other
Zimbabweans believe that Mugabe is only President because he won a
discredited election run-off which was characterised by violence,
intimidation, torture and sometimes even the murder of innocent civilians.

Given that the police, most likely with instructions from Zanu PF,
arrested a number of MDC-T MPs during the opening of Parliament, it is
difficult to understand why anyone would think that the leader of Zanu PF
should get anything less than a hostile reception from the MPs who make up
the majority in Parliament. For sure, President Mugabe has all the powers he
needs and can do whatever he wants, but for the majority of long-suffering
Zimbabweans, anything that reminds our Dear Leader that he is no longer
popular is certainly good news.

The state-owned media will never publish these home-truths, I have
deliberately forwarded these thoughts to The Standard whose Editor thanks to
President Mugabe's repressive media laws, has previously been arrested for
merely publishing people's opinions.

These are the issues that any self-respecting newspaper should concern
itself with, rather than worrying about the booing of unpopular presidents
in parliament. In any event, the booing and heckling of presidents and prime
ministers has always been a feature of many countries' parliamentary
politics, and the fact that the state-owned media or those who control them
never expected this would happen to Mugabe should not stop MDC-T repeating
the same thing next time Mugabe is in Parliament.

Hudson Yemen Taivo

United Kingdom

What President Mbeki Must Tell Mugabe
Saturday, 30 August 2008 20:30
PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki was set to head out to Harare, Zimbabwe, to try
and salvage the talks between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai over the
future of Zimbabwe.

He does so following a dramatic turn of events in that country as the
MDC won a vote for the position of Speaker and as opposition MPs jeered
Mugabe as he delivered his opening speech to Parliament.

Mbeki, already regarded with some suspicion by the MDC, goes to
Zimbabwe with his credibility as a mediator in tatters.

This follows the decision by the recent SADC summit that the
Zimbabwean parliament should be allowed to convene despite a memorandum of
understanding between Mugabe and Tsvangirai in which it was agreed that such
institutional action be suspended until a settlement was reached.

It seemed the decision was designed to pressure Tsvangirai into caving
in because Mugabe had, at the time, cobbled together an alliance with an MDC
splinter group that would give him a majority in the house.

This is largely academic now as it appears that the MDC splinter group
has thrown its lot in with Tsvangirai.

But Mbeki will not easily be trusted again by the MDC.

Fortunately, he has a ready opportunity to demonstrate his neutrality.
Mugabe is now planning to tear up what remains of his agreement with the MDC
by unilaterally forming a government.

This, coupled with the repeated detention of opposition MPs, suggests
that he has decided to go it alone.

Mbeki must refrain from holding hands with Mugabe. He must refrain
from grinning through garlands of flowers at Mugabe's side. He must refrain
from continuing the charade that Mugabe is a legitimate head of state.

He must stand up to Mugabe and deliver one simple message: Step aside,
the game is over.


South Africa

Two-faced Charamba
Saturday, 30 August 2008 20:29
GEORGE Charamba was angry because of the deportation of Caesar Zvayi
by Botswana.

This is surprising since he condoned the deportation of Ms Odinga.

It is not widely known that Ms Odinga, sister to Raila, was given 48
hours to leave Zimbabwe on account that she is related to Raila Odinga, the
Kenyan Prime Minister, who has been very critical of Zimbabwe's leaders in
Zanu PF. Ms Odinga is a true hero to the people of Zimbabwe.


Suffolk, UK

More Boos To Mugabe
Saturday, 30 August 2008 20:27
MDC legislators should be congratulated for showing President Robert
Mugabe during the opening of the Parliament on Tuesday how people truly feel
about him.

Mugabe is using the army and police to keep himself in power by all
means but he should know that the people of Zimbabwe have rejected him and
when the moment that he leaves office comes, we will come out in our
millions to celebrate the end of our misery.

Agrippa Zvomuya


Thestandard Sms
Saturday, 30 August 2008 20:33
CONGRATULATIONS to the MDC and all those who voted for the people's
Speaker of Parliament. - Elated.

THAT'S the way to go MDC legislators! The old man must suffer the same
treatment every time he wants to "officiate" as President!- Makagona.

WELL done to the MDC for their showing at Parliament. They made ZTV
delay the Newshour at 8pm. - Dawn.

What power-sharing?

WHAT does President Robert Mugabe mean by power-sharing when all the
provincial governors are appointed from Zanu PF? Morgan Tsvangirai should be
very careful. - S Dladla.


SURELY Morgan Tsvangirai cannot be made to report to President Robert
Mugabe, who has a record of failure even at party level. Mugabe had a longer
than normal period to prove himself but he kept failing, no matter the
number of chances to make corrections. The MDC is not prepared to have its
president reporting to Mugabe. - Mutinini.

Victims of hooliganism

IF President Robert Mugabe behaved like a leader of hooligans during
elections, he should expect hooligan conduct from victims of hooliganism. He
should not expect well-behaved children when he shows no respect for them.
He should have started by congratulating and welcoming the Speaker and then
apologised for the election violence on behalf of Zanu PF in the spirit of
the talks and reconciliation, then he would have gained our respect and we
would have blamed the MDC for not reciprocating the gesture. But if he doesn't
behave, he should expect more of that. We applaud the MDC for shaming him
for arresting elected MPs on such an important national occasion. Why does
he expect to be treated with kid gloves when he treats others with bare
fists? - Whirlwind.

Zanu PF sell-outs

ZANU PF MPs are sell-outs. How can Lovemore Moyo win 110 votes when
two MDC-T MPs were arrested before the opening of parliament? To say all 10
MDC MPs voted for MDC-T would be lying. Someone within Zanu PF voted for
Moyo. If Professor Arthur Mutambara thinks he has the support of his young
Turks then he does not know what's in store for him. Viva Lovemore Moyo. -
Anon, Mufakose, Harare.

MoU being violated

MDC-T MPs were transferred from Harare Central Police Station to
Matapi Police Station - which was condemned by the Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee and the African Commission - while Parliament was being opened.
The Memorandum of Understanding is being violated. MDC beware - Oracle.


MORGAN Tsvangirai must not sign the power-sharing deal because what
difference does it make when President Robert Mugabe still has all the power
to ruin and which is what he has been doing for the past 28 years? Better no
deal. - Master.


IS Professor Arthur Mutambara for or against us? Where do his MPs
stand? We did not vote to give President Robert Mugabe five years with
executive powers. Strip these politicians of power. - Nani.

Never mind time

IT is understandable that Zimbabweans want a deal between the parties
as soon as possible. However, anyone who knows anything about negotiating
will tell you not to be too anxious about time. Let us just pray for the
negotiators that our country will be salvaged by the outcome. - Prayerful.


THERE is something awfully wrong with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (Zesa) in Kwekwe. They switch off the town centre during normal
business hours. - Hopeless Johnso.

More Zesa power blues

I am dismayed by the services of Zesa in Chegutu. Power is on and off
every now and then. Can they please do something because some of us are
preparing for our final examinations and therefore need electricity to study
at night? Zesa needs to do something.- Nyasha Mandisekwe, Chegutu.

Zinwa disappoints

I am highly disappointed by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority's
negative reaction to minimise the loss of revenue and waste of huge
quantities of treated water through the overflowing of Epson Tower for
nearly 17 hours. Consumers have been deprived yet again of their right of
access to treated water. No wonder why Zinwa claims huge losses of
revenue. - Disappointed.


MOST parastatals are being headed by Zanu PF types with questionable
education and management credentials. It is time to weed them out for the
sake of the nation. - Gringo.


WE loathe all things Western, yet the grain that we depend on now is
from North America and our politicians got their degrees from Britain and
even the blind can see who the best of our swimmers is. - Reality.

Futile obsession

THE reality about the West is like an over-played record that has
become boring. The vast majority of the Western citizens are not interested
in Zimbabwe and the few who do probably wonder if we have nothing better to
do. While Western economies continue to grow, it's Zimbabwe that has the
world's fastest declining economy. It's Zimbabwe that is suffering. It's
Zimbabwe that has no food and not the West. Let's put our house in order if
we want the world to take us seriously. - Think about it.

More Zanu PF predations

ZANU PF is on the rampage again here in Gutu. People are being forced
to bring money or goods as tribute to Zanu PF. Self-styled war veterans and
youths then distribute these items among themselves. - Chomumadyira, Gutu


FOR those who are still to face the reality of the economic crisis
confronting Zimbabwe, here are the facts: the health system has collapsed;
the education system has collapsed; the transport system has collapsed and
industrial production has collapsed. -Forewarned.

lution to the talks that are taking place: Mugabe remains President
and head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. So the service
chiefs can continue to salute him as much as they want. Morgan Tsvangirai
becomes Prime minister and head of government as he is the only one who will
be able to attract new capital inflows into the country. So I do not see
where the problem lies. Let's not behave like we have nothing better to do.

We have a locally man-made economic crisis. It's Zimbabweans who are
suffering. They are the ones with no food, medicine, electricity, water,
foreign currency, no production in industries and a collapsing education and
transport system, yet in the West, they are going on with their lives while
their economies continue to grow. Furthermore, the vast majority of citizens
from the West don't have any interests we are made to believe by the
architects of the Zimbabwean crisis. The few who do are busy laughing at us
for destroying our economy. - Eclipse.

The opposition, the African Union, Sadc, the European Union, the
United Nations and all the other ones are mum on the Diaspora vote, which
could have been the deciding factor in our elections. - Why.

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JAG open letter forum - No. 560 - Dated 29 August 2008


Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject


1.  Letter from Stu Taylor

2.  Prayer for Zimbabwe


Dear Jag

It was music to the ears seeing Mugabe cajoled and heckled at the opening
of parliament - but that is a far cry from what SHOULD have happened -
remember Hendrik Verwoerd of South Africa?

Who in their right mind would have believed they could come to any form
of agreement with Mugabe - he is so far gone on his path of evil that we
must just let nature take its course; as he himself said, only God will
remove him - and God WILL - soon. Enjoy my book "Lost In Africa" - a
lighthearted, sometimes sad account of a whitey born in this neck of the
woods - the trials and tribulations of a life in a volatile region -
e-mail me on - cheers. Stu Taylor. I also have a
(working) landline: 079 - 26548 and sometimes a cell no - 0912 100475.



Lord, give us a vision for our country.

May it be a land of justice and peace,

Where people do not take unfair advantage of each other; Where all have
sufficient, and poverty and evil will have no place to fester;

Where seeking to serve others means more than honour and success. Where
order does not rest on force; Where faith, hope and love flourish, And
all work for the will of God.



All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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