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Explosion rocks main police station in Harare

Washington Post

Saturday, August 2, 2008; 3:39 PM

HARARE (Reuters) - An explosion rocked the main police station in Zimbabwe's
capital Harare on Saturday, but there was no immediate word of any injuries.

"They (the bomb squad) are investigating. The office where the explosion
occurred was not manned and so far there is no indication that anyone was
injured," a police official at the scene, who declined to be named, told

He could not say what had caused the explosion. Police sealed off the area.

Bombs are rare in Zimbabwe despite political upheaval in recent years, but
last year the government accused opposition activists of throwing petrol
bombs at some police stations though no one was ever convicted.

The explosion hit the criminal investigations department of the building
which is in the centre of the city.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday he was fairly
satisfied with talks with President Robert Mugabe's party to end a political

Tsvangirai said talks would resume as planned on Sunday with Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party. Power-sharing negotiations began last week under
international pressure after Mugabe's unopposed re-election in a poll
dismissed around the world as a sham.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe, edited by Richard Meares)

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Zimbabwe President In Singapore To See Physician -Source


SINGAPORE -(Dow Jones)- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was in Singapore
Saturday and scheduled to see a physician during his trip, a person close to
the city-state's government said.

Mugabe's medical appointment was with a doctor in Singapore's Orchard Road
area, the person said. The person said the 84-year-old president visits
Singapore regularly to see physicans.

His visit to Singapore was strictly private, and he wasn't on official
business, the person added.

It wasn't clear when he would leave Singapore.

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

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Zim violence ongoing

Article By:
Sat, 02 Aug 2008 08:34
Zimbabwean opposition politicians have accused hardline backers of President
Robert Mugabe of harassment and attacks against them and others in the
country's east, a rights group said on Friday.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said an urgent High Court application had
been filed by a lawmaker and five local councillors from the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) related to the alleged attacks.

The five local councillors had been forced from their homes and have sought
refuge outside of the Nyanga constituency, the rights group said, citing the
court case.

The lawmaker is Douglas Mwonzora and the councillors are Edith Baipai,
Thenia Nyanhongo, Fidelis Katerere, Munyaradzi Mwonzora and Passmore

Their court filing requests that the alleged harassment and assault of
opposition members and supporters, as well as the theft of their livestock,
be stopped immediately.

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

The rights group expressed "serious concern over the continued
politically-motivated violence and violation of the fundamental rights of
perceived and confirmed members of the MDC by war veterans."

The so-called war veterans are hardline supporters of Mugabe, who won a new
term as president in June in a one-man election widely condemned as a sham.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the 27 June run-off days ahead of
the poll, citing rising violence against supporters that had left dozens
dead and thousands injured.

The rights group also criticised police "inaction" in reported cases of
violence and intimidation.

Mugabe and MDC leaders signed an accord on 21 July to begin talks with a
two-week deadline on sharing power after the one-man election.

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


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Shumba challenges talks in court

August 2, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The president of Zimbabwe's United People's Party (UPP) says he is
challenging in the Pretoria and the Harare High Courts, the exclusion of his
party from the ongoing power-sharing talks in the South African capital,

UPP president Dr Daniel Shumba's lawsuit, which is being handled by a
prominent South African law firm, registered in both countries, charges that
the talks have violated Zimbabwe's Constitution by refusing other political
players the right to be heard.

The talks, facilitated by South Africa President Thabo Mbeki, which resume
on Monday, the same day they are scheduled to end, involve the two MDC
factions and President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Shumba's lawsuit cites the SADC executive secretary, Tomaz Salamao, as the
first respondent, the SADC-appointed mediator, President Mbeki, as the
second respondent, as well as both Zanu-PF and the two MDC parties. South
Africa, as host of the negotiations, which adjourned on Tuesday, and as
represented by the Foreign Affairs ministry, is not spared either.

Shumba wants the two High Courts to declare that whatever outcome the talks
achieve will have no force and democratic effect whatsoever on Zimbabwe.

The plaintiff charges that the bilateral talks between Zanu-PF and the MDC
are not inclusive or representative. He says he wants them to reflect the
broader sector of Zimbabwean society such as labour, the women, churches and
other political parties, including his UPP.

A former Zanu-PF provincial chairman in Masvingo, Shumba formed the UPP in
2005 after he was suspended from the party. Shumba did not contest the March
29 presidential election after he failed to lodge his nomination papers
within the stipulated time.

His lawsuits states that the ongoing SADC-brokered bilateral talks between
the MDC and Zanu-PF are "partisan, unrepresentative and undemocratic," and
wants the courts to compel the convener of the talks to involve more
stakeholders or declare the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding last
week null and void.

The talks, which began on Thursday, July 24, adjourned on Tuesday and
parties are expected to reconvene Sunday.

The negotiations were adjourned to allow party representatives to return to
Zimbabwe to consult their principals.

The negotiations reportedly broke off after reaching a deadlock over Mugabe's
insistence that he retain the presidency in any new government, while
offering the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, the position of third deputy.
The MDC reportedly rejected the offer out of hand.

The negotiations are shrouded in secrecy.

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Mugabe not welcome in SA, warns Cosatu

From The Cape Argus (SA), 1 August

Lavern de Vries

Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich last night warned that, should
embattled Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe ever set foot in South Africa,
South Africans would perform a citizen's arrest. The statement was met by
applause from a 500-strong crowd at St George's Cathedral who had gathered
for a civil society rally in support of the plight of Zimbabwean citizens.
Ehrenreich said that scores of trade union members' hearts bled with their
brothers and sisters of Africa. "It is only through solidarity that we
brought our own country from the brink of disaster to the brink of
possibilities . we can't be the aggressor against our own people and expect
to have a shred of credibility," he said, referring to the recent xenophobic
attacks as well as President Thabo Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" approach to
Zimbabwe's crisis. "We assure you, our people will rise up against
government if they don't speak up . drastic action must be taken to bring an
end to the atrocities in Zimbabwe," he said. TAC leader Zackie Achmat
pledged TAC's support. He also voiced concern for Zimbabweans living with
HIV/Aids, and about the life expectancy of Zimbabweans - 34 years for women
and 37 for men. Author and activist Eleanor Sisulu apologised to the
Zimbabwean youth for not offering them what was expected - a democratic
country with a thriving economy. Referring to South Africa's quiet
diplomacy, she said to more applause: "We cannot condemn the thugs who
committed the xenophobic acts but then not condemn the thugs who sit in
State House and perpetrate violence." For many foreign nationals present,
the highlight of the night was the address by MDC vice-chairperson Thokozane
Khupe who updated them on the negotiations. "When Zimbabweans went to the
polls they gave Morgan Tsvangirai a mandate to run the country. That is
something that will not be negotiated - the will of the people," she said.

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Where is civil society?

August 2, 2008

IN THE Western world where I have now decided to set up home, income
generated from the taxes as well as from the countries' natural resources is
used to develop public facilities such as nurseries, schools, universities,
roads and transport systems.

Such income is also used to provide social benefits for those at the lower
end of the scale, such as housing, tax credits, child benefits, to mention
some. Because of that there is not much real poverty in the Western world.
In Zimbabwe taxes and income from the country's resources is used to fund
the life style of the elite and those in power.

Imagine the RBZ buying numerous top of the range cars, plasma TVs,
generators, satellite dishes for the judges as was reported in the Herald
yesterday? If it was in the Western democratic countries the public or
someone would take the RBZ to court. It would actually cause an outcry and
people would be forced to resign.

Mr Editor, why don't your papers lobby the civil society to take the RBZ to
court? When you see things like this happening in Zimbabwe it's just a tip
of the iceberg. You can rest assured the same items have been bought for
whoever matters in Zanu-PF. I don't think my family will ever settle again
in our mother country.

Some might say this is bribery of the judiciary but I would say this is pure
corruption. The bribery took place when most of these judges were appointed
corruptly to the bench. Why do our people keep quiet when such things

Where is the civil society?


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Gono’s cosmetic reforms do not address the Zimbabwean crisis

By Elton Mangoma ⋅ © ⋅ August 1, 2008 ⋅
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono lopped off 10 zeroes from the country’s
bearer cheques yesterday in a desperate attempt to cure the symptoms rather
than the root cause of the economic crisis.

This will definitely not work, given that the last time the zeroes were
removed, they came back with a vengeance barely three months after the
monetary policy measures were taken.

In any case, it would have been easier to remove either three zeroes, six
zeroes, nine zeroes or 12 zeroes to make the mathematics of the changeover
easier and better for the public.

The latest measures, once again, will fall flat and will cause serious
confusion among the public. The announcement that old coins are coming back
into circulation will benefit people who do not have a banking culture,
which will send a wrong signal to the market at a time when confidence
building should be top priority to the central bank.

We believe that any central bank should know the amount of money that is in
circulation and clearly, allowing people to scrounge for old money from
their drawers will make it impossible to know how much currency is on the
market. It could further push up inflation, which has now hit stratospheric
levels of over 10 million percent.

Moreover, the token increase of withdrawal limits from $100 billion (now
$10) to $2 trillion (or $200) will not bring any relief to the public at
time when that amount can hardly buy you two bars of soap.

The performance of our mining and agricultural sectors has significantly
declined. The monetary statement also paints a gloomy picture of Zimbabwe’s
export performance. Exporters were retaining 65 percent of their proceeds
and selling 35 percent to the RBZ. The increase in the RBZ share to 45
percent as announced yesterday will make it harder for industry to operate
at a time when our expert performance needs to be boosted for the good of
our economy.

The MDC believes that no amount of tinkering with currency denominations
will address the Zimbabwean crisis. As long as there is no production, we
will continue to move in circles as a country. The supply side of the
economy should be addressed by confronting Zimbabweans real crisis, which is
the crisis of governance and legitimacy.

The dialogue currently taking place between the country’s political players
is the best way forward as long as there is sincerity from all the players.
Ordinary Zimbabweans have been brutalised, their houses have been burnt.
Others have been killed.

They want to start afresh.They want food, jobs, better education and health
care. They want the outcome of the dialogue process to bring back their
dignity, which has been lost because of many years of corruption and

We must not fail the nation.

Elton Mangoma is the MDC Secretary for Economic Affairs and Member of
Parliament Elect for Makoni North

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Currency reforms, food hampers dominate Zim press

Afrique en ligne

Harare, Zimbabwe - With a virtually collapsed economy, the press in Zimba
bwe this week focused on the central bank's monetary policy statement
delivered Wednesday in anticiation of a possible economic salvation.

The press urged central bank governor Gideon Gono to confront, with all
available force, the multi-faceted challenges facing the economy, primarily
high inflati on and a collapsed currency.

It highlighted the problems the public faced with daily price increases for
basic goods and the difficulties related to shortage of cash in the banks,
made worse by restrictions on cash withdrawals imposed by the central bank.

The press also dwelt on transacting difficulties associated with the
mounting zeros on the national currency, particularly among the less

The bank introduced a Z$100 billion bank note a week earlier, in response to
ris ing inflation.

The press urged the bank to slash the zeros to make life easier for the
public to trade, a point which the central bank took into account and
removed ten zeros on the Zimbabwe dollar.

Hailing the move, the media said it would count for nothing if monetary and
fiscal authorities did not introduce other belt-tightening measures to reign
in inflation, among other economic ills.

It also focused on the start of distribution of food hampers among the urban
poo r by the government in response to rising poverty, a move that followed
the introduction of food hampers for the rural folks, who have been
devastated by Zimbabwe's economic melt-down.

Media views differed on the programme, with state-owned newspapers praising
the move as helping to ease the pain of the urban poor, while urging the
authorities to ensure tight security over distribution, to avoid leakages to
the untargeted rich.

The private press, however, saw the programme as a vindication of its
long-held view that the authorities were bankrupt of ideas to turn around
the economy.

"How do you distribute food hampers to the whole country?" was the most
common question asked by the private press, wondering "How sustainable is

Harare - 02/08/2008


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Media Blackout Alarms Journalists in Zimbabwe


Saturday , 02 August 2008

Zimbabwe's independent media say it is in no one's interests for crucial
talks to take place out of the public eye.

By Jabu Shoko in Harare (ZCR No. 157, 30-Jul-08)

Journalists in Zimbabwe are seething with anger at a blanket ban on
negotiators talking to the media while talks are under way between President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,

The talks, scheduled to last a fortnight, opened in Pretoria, South Africa
on July 24, but the memorandum of understanding signed three days earlier
made it clear the dialogue was to remain confidential.

Clause 8 of the document says specifically states that as long as the talks
are going on, neither side should "directly or indirectly communicate the
substance of the discussion" to the media, nor should they use the media as
a negotiating platform.

Media representatives who spoke to IWPR complained that this provision was
tantamount to stifling freedom of expression, as well as denying Zimbabweans
the right to information about a process that could decide their future.

Iden Wetherell, chairman of the Zimbabwe National Editors' Forum, said
denying reporters access to information about the talks was "unhealthy and

"There should be intense debate in the media around the issues contained on
the MoU," he said. "The MoU has been made public, so as editors we believe
it should be debated in public. There should be frequent briefings on what
is going on behind closed doors. The public have a right to comment on it
and on other issues."

Wetherell said the editors' forum believed reporters should not be shut out,
especially since the agenda for the talks suggested that a new government
look at media as a priority issue. Current legislation covering media and
communications is restrictive so any change will be a matter of interest to
journalists themselves.

"The media has legitimate concerns, for instance the tough media laws and
the issue of the public media, which has a duty to inform the nation but
abuses it. Currently the public media parrots only the voice of the
incumbent," he said.

Foster Dongozi, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, ZUJ,
agreed, saying, "The media is being denied access to information. It is
totally unacceptable. We will not be able to know what they are plotting
about our future as journalists and the media."

During negotiations late last year, the MDC and ZANU-PF agreed amendments
slightly softening the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act -
a tough law used to restrict media rights since 2001. But as Dongozi said,
there was no consultation with media stakeholders when the parties agreed
this deal.

In the current round of talks, he said, "We need to know what's going on,
especially if there are discussions on media law reform."

In 2003, the information and privacy law was used to close down the popular
Daily News and its sister paper The Daily News on Sunday, The Tribune and
The Weekly Times.

The closure of these newspapers dealt a severe blow to the MDC, which is
covered unfavourably in the state-owned newspapers and the public Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation. The Broadcasting Services Act has allowed
government to perpetuate the monopoly enjoyed by ZBC, an institution the
opposition accuses of naked bias.

Loughty Dube, who heads the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of
Southern Africa, a regional watchdog, welcomed the signing of the MoU but
insisted that negotiators should ensure the "transitional process" enjoyed
public confidence.

"This can only be achieved in an environment that immediately allows
citizens to enjoy their fundamental right to freedom of expression,
association, assembly, access to information and media freedom," said Dube.

Citing the need to end harassment, arrest and assaults against journalists,
to repeal repressive laws and to allow unrestricted reporting in Zimbabwe,
Dube said media freedom must in future be enshrined in a new constitution.

Despite attempts to starve them of infomation, journalists working for
independent media in Zimbabwe look set to continue reporting on the talks
process as best they can.

"The parties to the negotiations want to turn journalists and the media into
fiction writers," said Nelson Chenga, a journalist with the privately owned
Financial Gazette "Naturally we will speculate due to the gravity of the
talks, which is a historic event that holds the key to the Zimbabwe crisis."

According to Wetherall, "Nothing should be hidden from the public. The media
have a duty to inform the population of what is happening behind those
closed doors in Pretoria.

Attempting to silence the media, he said, would merely encourage
"disinformation, half-truths and speculation, which is not very helpful at

Jabu Shoko is the pseudonym of a reporter in Zimbabwe.

August 02, 2008

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Zimbabwe has to figure out its future - the West can only hope it gets it right


YOU CAN KNOCK ANY AMOUNT of noughts off a nation's banknotes, butreadjusting thefigures won't get rid of the basic problem. When Zimbabwe's head banking
honcho Gideon Gono announced that every 10 billion zimdollar note would be
revalued at one zimdollar, he was acting with the best of intentions.Hyper-inflationhas made a nonsense of the nation's economy and it was patently absurd to
print more supplies of the new $100 billion banknotes now that they can be
revalued at 10 zimdollars and everyone can have lighter wallets.

It's not a new idea and it can only offer a sticking plaster to a gaping
wound. Weimar Germany tried the same ploy when its economy spun out of
control in the 1920s but it hardly helped matters and left a situation which
the Nazis were later to exploit. With inflation running at 2.2 million per
cent in Zimbabwe it's unlikely if Gono's intervention will do very much
better. What is needed is an immediate political solution to the impasse
which has bedevilled the country since the elections earlier this year.

Tomorrow will see the first deadline in the power-sharing talks between
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) but even if it comes and goes, as well it might,
hopes are still reasonably high that some kind of accommodation can be
found. In the past any hint of stalling would have sent the talks into
freefall, but now there seems to be a new willingness to compromise. It's
not impossible that the vexed question of leadership roles will finally be
solved, thus opening the door to a workable power-sharing arrangement.


That much became clear last week when Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade
acted as an intermediary, thereby taking the talks beyond the southern
African nexus which has largely been run by President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa. Asked if the west African leader's intervention was a snub to the
main mediator, Tsvangirai responded with a quick denial, adding that it was
simply a case of the more the merrier. I don't think he was being diplomatic
or merely offering a soundbite; he was just being realistic.

For the first time in many a long year there's a real possibility that an
African solution will be found to this hitherto intractable African problem.
All along that has been the key. While it is true to say that Mbeki's "quiet
diplomacy" has been canny to the point of inaudibility, he should be
applauded for his persistence in encouraging Mugabe and Tsvangirai to put
their names to the accord that led to this weekend's final push. The silence
from the West has also been helpful.

As ever in dealing with post- colonial problems, it is useful to try to see
the issue from the other side's point of view. Mugabe might over-egg the
pudding when he blames all his country's woes on what went wrong during the
Rhodesian period, but there are still lingering suspicions that Britain has
to accept some of the blame for what happened in 1980 when Zimbabwe came
into being.

Not only did Britain back the wrong horse in Mugabe, but the land issue was
never resolved satisfactorily. The first blunder led indirectly to the
demise of Mugabe's rival, Joshua Nkomo, and then to the massacre of
thousands of his supporters in Matabeleland; the second paved the way for
the illegal land grabs of the past few years. Throughout that period Western
critics argued that as the white-owned farms generated most of the country's
income they should be protected, but it was not the whole story. Yes, the
white farmers were excellent at working the land and it's undoubtedly true
that they helped make Zimbabwe southern Africa's breadbasket, but there is
no gainsaying that the wealth came at a cost to social cohesion.

Under the terms of the Lancaster House Agreement of 1979, legislation was
enacted to allow land to be sold on the "willing seller, willing buyer"
principle, but the funds were insufficient and most land reform went by the
board. There was much dragging of feet, with the result that Mugabe used
land as a weapon and Zimbabwe quickly went to hell on a handcart. Farms that
were once productive fell into disuse as land passed into the hands of
Mugabe's cronies, who in turn became just another elite.

Complaints from the West were dismissed as post-colonial rants and even
those Zimbabweans who did not like Mugabe bridled when they heard him being
attacked. In the next few days we'll know if he is capable of changing his
tune and working with Tsvangirai. Threatening sanctions hasn't helped
matters but simply made things worse.

If there is any hint of a workable solution, the best thing would be for
London and Washington to put their weight behind it. It will be a darned
sight better than removing another fistful of zeroes.

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Job Sikhala showers Gono with praise

By Roy Chinamano ⋅ © ⋅ August 2, 2008
Losing St Marys MP Job Sikhala showered Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono
with praise and is reported to have hailed the monetary reforms announced by
Gono, ZTV’s Newsnet reported last night. Read the ZTV story here.

The controversial former MDC legislator who is also MDC (Mutambara)’s
Secretary for defence and Security is quoted saying,MDC and ZANU should set
aside their differences and work towards finding a lasting solution to the
challenges facing the nation.

The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai together with other respected Economic
analyists have already dismissed Gono ’s monetary policy

“The MDC believes that no amount of tinkering with currency denominations
will address the Zimbabwean crisis,” the party’s secretary for economic
affairs Elton Mangoma, MDC-Makoni East., said in a statement.

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

Sikhala together with three Mutambara faction MPs in the capital lost their
re-election bids in March,the rest are Trudy Stevenson(Harare North), Edwin
Mushoriwa (Dzivarasekwa)and Priscilla Misihayirambwi Mushonga(Glen Norah)
who is representing the faction in talks in South Africa.

Sikhala who represented the impoverished St Marys constituency is a former
student leader he lost to another student leader Marvellous Khumalo.

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