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Zim rivals agree to share power, say sources


     August 05 2008 at 07:50AM

By Fiona Forde

Although the Zimbabwe crisis talks will require more than the 14 days
initially allocated to them, they are close to a settlement, according to a
number of sources close to the Tshwane negotiations.

The talks, which began in Pretoria on July 24 but deadlocked five days
later, resumed this week at an undisclosed location north of the South
African capital.

A memorandum of understanding signed two weeks ago in Harare
"envisaged that the dialogue will be completed within a period of two weeks
of signing", although it also stated that negotiations "will continue until
all the parties have finalised all necessary matters".

Those "matters" concern the structure of the government that will
shape the country's future when Zanu-PF and both factions of the Movement
for Democratic Change share power in a transitional authority.

The Star has been reliably informed that despite the five-day
suspension, the rival parties are finally agreed on a genuine sharing of
power, likely to install Morgan Tsvangirai as an executive prime minister,
with Robert Mugabe in a ceremonial role as president, while the 20-plus
ministries will be divided between the parties.

"They are down to detail now," one source claimed, "although how long
that will take is still unclear, but a deal is not far off. Not at all."

Although the negotiating teams will continue to meet throughout this
week in SA, the weight of the discussions has shifted to Harare, where party
leaders will meet with chief facilitator Thabo Mbeki on Thursday, and
continue to meet regularly until a settlement.

Following a round of informal discussions between Tsvangirai and
Mugabe in recent weeks, the two have agreed to discuss the serious issues of
governance between themselves, while their representatives will focus on
rolling out their decisions at the Tshwane talks.

Tsvangirai is expected to return to Zimbabwe on Wednesday.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on August
05, 2008

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Zimbabwe parties debate 'hybrid' government

05 August 2008

Dumisani Muleya

Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWE's rival political parties yesterday entered the second day in the
latest round of talks for a power-sharing deal debating the model of a new
government to end the country's drawn-out political impasse.

Informed sources close to the negotiations taking place in Pretoria said
Zanu (PF) and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
representatives were locked in delicate discussions on the system of
government needed to ensure power-sharing and economic recovery.

This followed close consultations between the negotiators and their party
leaders last week. President Thabo Mbeki, facilitator of the talks, met the
negotiating parties and their leaders last week in Pretoria and Harare to
clear the last hurdles.

Mbeki met Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and MDC faction leader Arthur
Mutambara in Harare last Wednesday after meeting the main MDC faction leader
Morgan Tsvangirai in Pretoria the previous day.

Sources said negotiators were focusing on a consolidated proposal, which
included aspects of Zanu (PF) and MDC initiatives. The proposal resembled
the hybrid French system which has positions of president and prime
minister. Apart from the framework for a new government, it also deals with
implementation mechanisms and global political engagement.

Sources said Mbeki was anxious to ensure the final deal would be endorsed
not just by Zimbabweans - including negotiating parties and their leaders -
but also the international community, especially western powers. The US and
European Union (EU) have expressed scepticism about the talks.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said although he would personally not
speak to Mugabe because of his appalling record of human rights abuses, he
backed Mbeki's mediation. He said there was "consensus" in the EU that Mbeki
needed more time to finish his facilitation.

It was becoming increasingly likely, sources said, that Tsvangirai would
become prime minister, while Mugabe would remain president in a
power-sharing pact. There would be at least two vice-presidents, and this
may be increased to three, and two deputy prime ministers drawn from the
three negotiating parties.

The structure would include Mugabe, his present vice-presidents Joseph Msika
and Joyce Mujuru.

The MDC's second-in-command, Thokozani Khupe, and Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe's
loyalist, would become deputy prime ministers.

The other alternative being debated has Mugabe at the top with Msika, Mujuru
and Khupe as vice-presidents. Tsvangirai becomes prime minister with
Mutambara and Zanu (PF) chairman John Nkomo as deputy prime ministers.

Tsvangirai had initially proposed he become prime minister, while Mugabe
would be ceremonial president in a move which would return the country to
the parliamentary system of the 1980s. However, Mugabe's hardline Zanu (PF)
politburo resolved that his position was "non-negotiable". It is said Mugabe
is only prepared to shed some of his imperial powers to Tsvangirai, and not
all of them, as the MDC wanted.

If the proposal being debated succeeds, Mugabe would appoint the cabinet and
the prime minister. Tsvangirai might be allowed to preside over the cabinet
and legislature, but the problem is that his party does not command a clear
majority in parliament.

Sources said if Tsvangirai had sealed a coalition deal with Mutambara to
firmly take control of parliament in an unassailable way, he would have been
almost guaranteed the post of premier - head of government - without
hassles, with Mugabe remaining as ceremonial head of state. A prime minister
is usually drawn from the majority party in parliament.

However, this was not done despite a coalition deal after the March 29
elections and so a parliament hung. None of the negotiating parties control
parliament on their own.

Sources said the disputed presidential election result and hung parliament
necessitated a compromise agreement. Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai are now
talking the language of a give-and-take situation, not defiance and lack of

"The talks are now focused on a consolidated, hybrid proposal which has
elements from Zanu (PF) and MDC ideas," a source said. "The proposal is
basically a French-style, hybrid system which Zimbabwe almost got into
during the constitutional reform process between 1999 and 2000."

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Serious challenges confront any new government

August 5, 2008

By Our Correspondent

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and leaders of the two MDC formations, Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, two weeks ago signed a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) setting the agenda for full-scale talks to resolve the
country's debilitating economic and political problems.

The stiffest challenge for any government that emerges from the talks is
achieving the main objective of "restoration of economic stability and
growth" in an economy which has shrunk by 60 percent within a decade.

The MoU states that the talks should be completed within two weeks from the
date of signing, but there is open admission now that this is not possible.

The talks are largely expected to come up with a road-map that will address
the economic problems that the country has been facing since 1998.

The MDC will come into a government which is virtually broke and heavily
indebted, to the tune of US$4 billion in a foreign debt and a staggering
amount in domestic debt.

The manufacturing sector is said to be operating below 30 percent of
capacity and all major sectors of the economy are depressed. The Zimbabwean
dollar was trading above $18 billion to the United State dollar on Monday.

Economist Tony Hawkins said there was need for the new government to restore
the credibility and discipline of the central bank and financial sector as a
whole. The revenue authority has reportedly been prejudiced of almost 60
percent of potential earnings which have been generated by the informal
sector, which is not a recognised source of funds.

The three parties which signed the MoU expressed commitment to dialogue,
saying it was the only way forward as President Mugabe and Tsvangirai met
for the first time in a decade.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa who is the Sadc-appointed and African
Union-endorsed mediator was present during the signing ceremony.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai later had lunch together while President Mbeki and
Mutambara dined separately, and held discussions for close to an hour.

The hope has been expressed that Mugabe and Tsvangirai were talking about a
serious economic rescue package instead of blaming each other for the
political madness that has gripped the country since February 2000.

President Mugabe said: "We sit here in order for us to chart a new way, a
new way of political and economic interaction and this out of the decision
that we made, we of Southern Africa, some time ago, that we assist each
other and in this particular case, we assist Zimbabwe to overcome the
political and economic situation which requires support.

"Our having signed this MoU is a serious matter on my part and my party
Zanu-PF; we take it seriously. The signatures we have appended there (on the
MoU), I hope reflect the sincerity of all of us."

But does Mugabe really appreciate the gravity of Zimbabwe's economy doldrums
since 1998? Thousands of companies have shut down, scaled down operations or
relocated to neighbouring countries as the economic environment became ever
more untenable.

The new government will inherit corrupt government structures and
institutions, a situation that might be difficult to undo.

The MDC claims to have a comprehensive plan to deal with problems but
analysts said it will be an uphill task to reverse the damage that has been
largely caused by the Zanu-PF government.

In their political manifesto the opposition has said it will restructure
government companies and institutions.

Zanu-PF officials who spoke to business digest said the MDC would not
achieve anything as they have a reputation of "talking too much but doing

As such, the parties to the talks could find it hard to come up with a
feasible "rescue economic package".

Tsvangirai said: "I sincerely acknowledge that if we put our heads together
we can find a solution; not finding a solution is not an option.

"As we sign the MoU, we all commit ourselves to the first tentative step to
solutions. I have been reluctant (to endorse the process), but I want to
share a heavy commitment that the process of negotiation is successful. We
want a better Zimbabwe economically and politically."

Mutambara described the MoU as a document of great significance that allowed
for dialogue, whose outcome should result in a political settlement and
later a new constitution.

"The signing of the MoU is very important," he said. "It allows us to begin
negotiations. This political settlement we seek to achieve in two weeks is
not the answer . . . we need national healing. Beyond the political
settlement, we want gatherings like these where leaders speak to

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A remarkable study in contrast

August 5, 2008

A BOMB planted in a kitchen in Harare’s Main Police Station along Kenneth Kaunda Avenue exploded on Saturday night, August 2,

“Doors were flung open by the force of the explosion and items of furniture were strewn all over the floor,” police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said, adding that nobody was hurt in the blast.

There has been no attempt to explain how a person or persons carrying bombs managed to break the tight security of Zimbabwe’s largest police station and proceeded to plant bombs in a kitchen situated on the first floor of the building.

The damage at the police station, as the top picture shows appears to have been minimal.

In the early hours of Sunday, January 28, 2001, a powerful bomb explosion reduced the printing press of Zimbabwe’s only independent daily newspaper of the day, The Daily News, to a pile of scrap metal. Ballistics experts said the explosives were of a type that could be found only in the Zimbabwe National Army’s armoury.

Damage at the printing factory, as the second picture shows, was extensive.

No arrests have been made in the case of the Daily News bomb blast, although the registration number of the truck used by the attackers was supplied to the police. The paper was subsequently banned in September 2003 and has remained defunct since then.

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Zimbabwe suspends export of basic goods

August 5, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Zimbabwe has suspended the export of basic commodities barely four
months after suspending import duty on selected goods in an attempt to
improve local supplies.

"The exportation of specified basic commodities has been suspended,"
Florence Jambwa, a commissioner with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, said

"This is with effect from July 23, 2008 and will last for a period of 12
months," she said. The goods covered included sugar, cooking oil, salt,
soap, candles, rice and sanitary pads.

Zimbabwe is in the throes of an unprecedented crisis; inflation is quoted
officially at 2,2 million percent while at least 80 percent of the
population now lives below the poverty threshold.

Many companies have downed their shutters while others are operating at a
fraction of their capacity due to shortages of foreign currency used to
import spares and raw materials.

Foreign currency-starved Zimbabwe 's total export shipments of goods
amounted to US$758,9 million from January to June this year - a 14% decline
from the US$882,7 million achieved during the same period last year.

This decline in export trade comes at a time when the country is
experiencing reduced productivity levels in industry and a weakening local

Agriculture, once the backbone of the economy, recorded US$210,7million
worth of exports during the period under review compared to US$228, 6
million last year.

"This represents a decrease of 7, 82 percent, largely explained by the
unfavourable weather conditions during the 2007/2008 agricultural season,"
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono said.
Mineral shipments accounted for 53 percent of the total export shipments,
while tobacco contributed 18 percent. Manufacturing accounted for 15 percent
of total shipment while horticulture made 2 percent.
University of Zimbabwe professor Anthony Hawkins recently said the decline
in exports was a reflection of an ailing economy.

"This is just part of a collapsing economy characterised by a completely
screwed up and distorted policy framework," Hawkins said.

He said the "overvalued" local currency on the official market, frequent
power cuts and erratic supplies has led to the decline in exports.

Another economic analyst attributed the decrease in export shipments to low
output which was not tallying with prices.

"We are continuously exporting raw materials (mining sector) at low prices
instead of finished products which have heavily affected our foreign
currency generation," the economist said.

"The agricultural sector used to function well but it has also been affected
by reduced capacity. The mining sector looks well largely because of the
firming of international commodity prices though it has to be noted that
output in most minerals, save for platinum, is going down."

Gono's monetary policy came as tobacco farmers' deliveries to auction floors
have declined because of transport problems. Tobacco was once the country's
top foreign currency earner but production declined after the government's
chaotic land reform six years ago.

Manufacturing companies say the unavailability of funds from foreign
currency accounts has led to the decline in the export of Zimbabwean

Companies sampled for the 2007 manufacturing sector survey revealed that
South Africa had become the main destination for Zimbabwean manufactured
products taking over from Zambia which has lost its position for the first

In a report released last week, the direction of Zimbabwe 's exports is
primarily a function of bilateral exchange rate movement.

"Companies will increase exports into a country against whose currency the
Zimbabwean dollar has depreciated most and reduce exports to countries which
the Zimbabwean dollar has appreciated," reads the report.

According to the report, the main reasons for the decline in exports are the
lack of foreign currency or its shortages, controlled exchange rate and
shortages of raw materials.

CBZ managing director John Mangudya, said statistics show that export
shipments from the manufacturing sector declined in 2007 to US$282.8 million
from US$290.9, the previous year, a representation of a 2.76 % decrease in
the sector.

"We, however, remain optimistic and do not believe this should plunge us
into further despondency," Mangudya said.

"The manufacturing sector will remain key to the country's economic revival
efforts because it is essential in the production of basic commodities,
generation of foreign currency and creation of employment."

"The decrease of the 16.34 percent in shipments can be attributed to the
increasing operational costs, power cuts/outages, brain drain, fuel
shortages and unavailability of foreign currency for the importation of
basic spares and accessories," said Gono in his statement.

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9 reasons why ZANU-PF won't give up power
image The JOC is firmly in control, why would they give power to the MDC, when they know they will be fired there and there?

Though many Zimbabweans, wary of the decade long crisis are looking for a solution from the GNU talks, the situation on the ground grim.

Zanu (PF) has no intention of transferring power to the MDC. The following reasons substantiate this opinion:

1. Organised Violence and Torture continues. No effort to offer security to perceived opposition and to offer protection to internally displaced persons is being made. While negotiations are taking place, Zanu (PF) is decimating the opposition party structures and driving human rights defenders from remote areas.

2. Humanitarian Assault on the Poor continues unabated. NGOs and humanitarian groups remain officially. The World Food programme estimates that over 2 million people are in need of food assistance and that this number will shoot to around 5.1 million people around Christmas and new year.

3. Institutions of Checks and balance are crippled. Parliament has not convened for over 6 months in breach of the constitution. The Judiciary is severely weak and unable to effectively check the JOC driven excesses.

4. JOC is running country as a military Junta. JOC has long replaced parliament and the executive as key policy formulation and implementation institutions in Zimbabwe. JOC are not represented in the negotiations even though everyone knows that they are the authors of the Zanu (PF) negotiation strategy.

5. Government or public service departments are ZANUFIED completely. Nothing shows that there is any genuine desire to credibly deal with this issue. Mbeki was taken seriously when he told Zimbabweans that he was handling the mediation. Now both SADC and Pan African Parliament have condemned the recent June 27 elections.

6. Macro economic destruction of Zimbabwe continues unmitigated. Unconscionable printing by Gono of ZB100 (worth 7p!) as an effort of hiding or rigging inflation shows the determination to hold on and not a desire to reform.

7. Expropriation Strategy Continues under guise of fighting the West and black economic empowerment. While the negotiations were taking place the Sunday Mail of July 20 said Zimbabwe had begun auditing the ownership of Western firms in the country as part of a black empowerment drive "and to counter the possible withdrawal of investment under sanctions imposed and proposed by Britain and the U.S."

8. Exclusion of CSOs and the wider society in the mediation process. It gives the impression that the problem in Zimbabwe is between Zanu (PF) and the MDC. It ignores the fact that the crisis is one of governance and therefore an issue for all Zimbabweans.

9. The Normalisation strategy is the current phase of the Zanu (PF) strategy. Domestically it was to climb down from general widespread violence to merely mopping up. It also entails letting humanitarian groups begin to feed people in a manner that portrays Zanu (PF) as caring. The government has not yet formally withdrawn the notice by Nicholas Goche (representing Zanu (PF) in the negotiations) of June 4 that banned operations of NGOs and humanitarian agencies. Diplomatically Zanu (PF) would create a sense of urgency in wanting to be accommodative and to talk to the MDC. Mbeki would be the natural target to lure the MDC into this discussion and create a "photo moment" involving Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara so that Mugabe would look normal and capable of being reformed. JOC expects this pact to slow down the pressure on Mugabe and buy him time that they so desperately need to further entrench themselves.


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Dabengwa to form new Ndebele party

By Xolani Sibanda 04-08-08

Bulawayo- Former Minister of Home Affairs in the Robert Mugabe led Zanu PF
government Dumiso Dabengwa has declared that he is under consultation to
lead a proposed political party project that serve the interests of the
minority Ndebele people.

Speaking at the Bulawayo press club on the 1st of August 2008 Mr Dabengwa
lamented the exclusion of former PF Zapu members in the six men negotiation
table at the on going GNU talks in South Africa.

Dabengwa exhibited a lot of bitterness against the ruling Zanu PF party and
shona people in general who he still blames for encouraging Mugabe to kill
Ndebeles in the early 1980s.

"I listen to people. I am a man of the people. I am being asked to lead a
party for the home region's interests and through my family I am considering

The man nicknamed the black Russian said. Asked about his position in the
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn project DAbengwa said"'I told Dr Simba Makoni that I
would only help him for the March 29, elections after that, count me out"

Dabengwa also said he does not have a problem with Morgan Tsvangirai
"previously when I was opposed to him it was due to the fact that I knew
very little about the man. I feared he would be another Fredrick Chiluba but
after speaking to him I realised I was wrong and had fallen for the
propaganda of my former party"'

However, Dumiso Dabengwa on the contrary shocked the audience when he
declared that he was still a Zanu PF member.

"I just don't attend Central Committee and Politburo meetings because of the
trivial agendas of these meetings. Did you ever hear anyone say I have been
fired from Zanu PF?"

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African network condemns Mugabe

Daily News; Tuesday,August 05, 2008 @00:02

The newly elected president of the Africa Liberal Network (ALN), Dr Mamadou
Lamine Ba said yesterday that the proposed resolution that a dialogue be
established between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai in order to promote
peace and stability in Zimbabwe would set a wrong precedence in Africa.

The president, who is also advisor to the Senegalese president, said that it
was not acceptable for parties which won elections through manipulation or
rigging to be accorded equal status with those which lost unjustly by
forcing them to form coalitions in such countries.

He also called on the global community to use all means possible to stop the
prevailing travesty in Zimbabwe in order to end the suffering of the
Zimbabwean people. "Coalitions could only be allowed when the parties
involved have respect for freedom of expression . not in a situation like
Zimbabwe where one party has been involved in massive killings, leading to
the continued suffering of the people of Zimbabwe," President Lamine Ba

He said that liberals were not happy with the brutality and violence
perpetrated by despotic regime and proposed that a government of national
unity must only be agreed within the framework of transparent and democratic
elections. Meanwhile, the former President of the ALN, Mr Ali Toure of Cote
D'Voure has said that it was unacceptable to allow despotic leaders to
continue remaining in power and called upon the international community to
bring such dictators to justice.

"I totally agree with the resolution to bring leaders like Robert Mugabe and
Omar Al Bashir to the Court of Justice to answer to the atrocities
perpetrated by their regimes," he added. He said this was the only way that
such leaders could be made accountable for their actions - or inaction - and
deter others with similar intentions to oppress their people to refrain from
such acts.

The Network recently stated that the elections in Zimbabwe were neither
transparent nor democratic and that Mr Mugabe could not be considered as a
legitimate president, saying the results of the run-off polls do not reflect
the will of the Zimbabwean people.It also condemned the acts of violence
committed by ZANU-PF zealots against the people and expresses concern that
this could set a dangerous political precedent in Africa. It said that the
liberals also believe that a government of national unity within the current
framework would not resolve the fundamental issues in Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe Banking System Struggles With Dual-Currency System


By Patience Rusere
04 August 2008

Cash shortages continue to be reported around Zimbabwe on Monday as banks
struggled to reconfigure equipment to handle the new currency that the
central bank started to distribute on Friday. Sources said the distribution
of new bank notes in smaller denominations has been limited so far and that
old notes remain in circulation in most locations.

Long queues formed outside banks in Harare, Bulawayo, Kwekwe and Gweru
today, according to sources who said bank computers kept crashing after
financial software updates although many banks remained open on Sunday to
give staff time to adapt their systems.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Governor Gideon Gono as saying cash shortages were the fault of banks, which
he said had planned poorly and did not submit orders to his institution for
the new currency in a timely manner.

Gono insisted the RBZ has enough notes to meet demand, but that the banks do
not have sufficient liquidity to cover the volume of bank note withdrawals
by customers.
Correspondent Netsai Mlilo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe traveled Monday
from Harare to Bulawayo and checked on the situation in a number of cities
where banks weren't finding it easy to do business simultaneously in large
and small denomination currencies.

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Zimbabwe Lawyers Express Concern At Continued Political Violence


By Jonga Kandemiiri
04 August 2008

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has expressed concern at reports of
continued political violence against opposition members in Nyanga North
constituency, Manicaland province, in spite of undertakings by the country's
ruling party and opposition to end such violence.

The civic group issued a statement last week deploring "continued
politically motivated violence compounded by the inaction of the police."

Opposition member of parliament-elect for Nyanga North Douglas Mwonzora, and
five others, have asked the high court to order ZANU-PF militia and war
veterans to halt violence in their troubled constituency. They want all
illegal militia bases be dismantled and are demanding the removal of illegal
roadblocks which have been set up by the ruling party militants.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change charged last week that ZANU-PF
militia had murdered two more MDC members. But the police dismissed the
claim saying that peace was prevailing across the country. Police spokesman
Wayne Bvudzijena told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that the
opposition tended to claim all dead bodies that turned up.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Paralegal Officer David Hofisi told Jonga
Kandemiiri that the group hopes the police will respect an eventual decision
by the high court.

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Zim court asked to order closure of torture bases

      by Brendon Tulani Tuesday 05 August 2008

HARARE - A prominent Zimbabwe human rights lawyer and top opposition
official Douglas Mwonzora has petitioned the High Court to direct President
Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party to close torture bases in rural Nyanga
North constituency, more than 200km east of Harare.

Mwonzora, who is Member of Parliament-elect for Nyanga North, also wants the
court to order the police to dismantle all roadblocks put up by ZANU PF
militia in Nyanga and that they stop war veterans from harassing and
assaulting villagers or stealing livestock from members of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

The urgent court application - which highlights the immense difficulty
power-sharing talks between ZANU PF and MDC face over what to do with Mugabe's
henchmen accused of masterminding political violence that has left more than
120 opposition supporters dead since last March - was filed last week. It is
yet to be set down for hearing.

Mwonzora says in the application that war veterans have been demanding food
from villagers to feed themselves at their "torture bases" and as
"protection fees", adding that the extortion and harassment was rife in the
areas of Nyakomba, Nyamaropa, Nyadowa Clinic, Mutetwa Village Magoshe and

"The harassments and beatings have also been extended to MDC election agents
in Ward 10, Nyanga North, while an elected councillor and the elected Member
of the House of Assembly representing Nyanga North have had travel
restrictions in the area imposed upon them.

"At least five councilors from Wards 5, 8, 9, and 10 in Nyanga North
constituency have been forced out of their homes and continue to seek refuge
outside the constituency," the court petition reads in part.

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi was not immediately available for comment
on the matter.

The MDC and human rights groups say political violence and rights abuses
have continued especially in outlying rural areas despite ZANU PF and the
two MDC parties beginning talks two weeks ago aimed at forming a government
of national unity seen as the best way to end Zimbabwe's long-running
political and economic crisis.

A memorandum of understanding on talks signed by Mugabe and MDC leaders
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara commits all parties to "take all
necessary measures to eliminate all forms of political violence, including
by non-state actors, and to ensure the security of persons and property."

The talks resumed in neighbouring South Africa last Sunday after they were
called off a week ago apparently because negotiators could not agree on what
posts Mugabe and Tsvangirai would take in the government of national unity.

However, chief mediator, South African President Thabo Mbeki, denied the
talks had hit deadlock and instead said the dialogue was still firmly on
track and negotiators had only returned to Zimbabwe to consult their
principals on ground covered so far.

Analysts say along with the issue of who will wield real power in the unity
government, the issue of security for Mugabe's followers who masterminded
his violent re-election in last June's controversial presidential run-off
election and in previous polls stands out as a major stumbling block to
successful dialogue. - ZimOnline

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The Beijing Olympics ‘One Dream, One Nightmare’


Media advisory – 5th August 2008



Four countries trashed by China are to stage a joint demonstration outside the Chinese Embassy in London on Friday 8th August to mark the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing,


Representatives of Burma, Sudan, Tibet and Zimbabwe will lay flowers outside the Embassy in mourning for the deaths of millions of victims of dictators supported by China. 


The demonstration will start at 10 am and there will be a media presentation at 11 am when the Zimbabwean, Burmese and Sudanese dictators will be seen bowing down to a figure representing China.  The realistic masks used were widely shown at the Europe / Africa summit in Lisbon last December.


The link is that all four countries are victims of China’s use of its veto in the UN Security Council to protect human rights abusers.


The demonstration will culminate at 13.08 when the Tibetan flag will be raised, accompanied by the national anthems of the four countries.  We will be joined the Falun Gong who have been protesting in support of freedom outside the Chinese Embassy for many years.


Contacts:    Tibet Society: Philippa Carrick 020 7272 1414

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

               Zimbabwe Vigil: Rose Benton, 07970 996 003, 07932 193 467, Dumi Tutani 07950 039 775

               Sudan Organisation against Torture: 020 7625 8055


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

Map link:

Underground:    Regents Park, Great Portland Street, Oxford Circus.


Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators


The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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MDC victims prevented from seeking medical treatment

Tuesday, 05 August 2008 06:04

The following is a report received from Manicaland MDC offices:

Buhera is still a no go area for MDC victims despite the calls to end
the state sponsored violence which started after the March 29th elections
when MDC romped to victory. Hundreds of injured MDC victims in Buhera are
still failing to access  medication as their homes and villages are guarded
on daily basis by the ZPF youth militias who are accusing them of wanting to
go to Mutare to 'uncover their ruthless brutality' hence they are forced to
suffer in agony in their homes.Several of these injured activists are
developing a green colour in their wounds and being feasted on by maggots as
they queue for panadols only at their nearest clinics.

Kokayi Vengenyedzai (68) from ward 28, Matengarumvi Village ,Chief
Nyashanu in Buhera South is one victim, who, despite the deeper cuts on his
buttocks, struggled to find his way to Mutare MDC offices for medication. He
is the MDC Vice Chairman for Chinyamukonde branch. Vengenyedzai was abducted
from his house to Jori business centre on 19/06/08 at around 1000hrs where
there was a ZANU PF rally organised by the bloodthirsty and losing MP for
the area Joseph Chinotimba. "I was asked if i voted MDC of which i admitted.
This was followed by a shower of beatings on my buttocks, back and face.They
tightly tied my hands and made me to lie down where they beat me using logs
and electric cables. "They left me for dead," said the ageing Vengenyedzai.
He was also made to pay 2 goats as punishment by ZANU PF youths only
identified as Magaya and Kombera. Since then he has been suffering in agony
and queueing for panadols on daily basis under guard by the militias at the
nearest Clinics.

Reginald Nendanga (28) from Ward 28, Chapanduka Village, Chief
Nyashanu in Buhera is one other victim who suffered in pain at his rural
home as the militias blocked their way out to Mutare. He was abducted on
26/06/08 by Tichaona MahumberuTaurai  and other ZANU Youths to their base at
Chapanduka where he was accused of supporting MDC and made to pay $50
billion as punishment. Nendanga was subjected to severe torture at the base
as he was being beaten by logs and cables. He is the Youth organising
secretary for Chapanduka branch. Since then he was silently suffering in
agony at his home in Buhera as all efforts to come for medication were being
blocked by the militias.

These two were among the group which was supposed to be ferried to
Mutare for medication by the car organised by MDC Manicaland which was
abducted together with the 2 drivers by Colonel Morgan Muzilikazi on
24/07/08. Innocent rape victims and several other MDC activists particularly
in Buhera are silently suffering in agony as efforts to help them are being
hindered by the ZANU PF thugs

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Zimbabwe Government Lifts NGO Food Aid Ban For HIV/AIDS Programs


By Patience Rusere
04 August 2008

The Zimbabwean government said Monday that it is partially lifting the ban
it imposed in June on the distribution of food assistance by nongovernmental
organizations so as to allow those groups seeing to the nutritional needs of
HIV/AIDS patients to restart their programs.

The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare said it agreed with the Ministry of
Labor and Social Welfare to let non-governmental organizations involved in
feeding HIV-AIDS patients resume their work as soon as possible. Health
Minister David Parirenyatwa told VOA letters are being sent to district and
provincial administrators telling them to authorize such activities.

The government banned NGO food distribution in June, accusing such groups of
campaigning for the opposition ahead of a June 27 presidential run-off
ballot. The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development last week
urged the Harare government to lift the ban, shortly after a similar call by
the European Union in the context of power-sharing negotiations.

Parirenyatwa said the letters were being distributed this week to expedite
matters, and that NGOs wishing to resume feeding programs for those battling
HIV/AIDS should present themselves to local administrators and request the
appropriate authorization.

Parirenyatwa told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that the policy change recognized HIV/AIDS patients need good food as well
as the right medicine.

Meanwhile, a World Food Program official said the United Nations agency is
in talks with Harare to provide more aid despite the ban on NGO
Spokesman Richard Lee said that although WFP distributions are currently at
a relatively low level it is clear that many more people in Zimbabwe will
need aid by early 2009.

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Missing: Zimbabwe at AIDS summit
image An AIDS patient in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 2, 2008. The government seems to be taking a laid back attitude towards the pandemic that is infecting 565 adults every day.

With roughly one person every three minutes getting infected with HIV in Zimbabwe today, one would think the govt would be proactive

Mexico, Mexico City-- With around one in seven adults living with HIV1 and an estimated 565 adults and children becoming infected every day (roughly one person every three minutes), Zimbabwe is experiencing one of the harshest AIDS epidemics in the world.

With such figures, where there is a propensity for the spread of feel good news in Zimbabwe, one would think the ZANU-PF government, in partnership with civil society and NGOs, would join hands and scour the world looking for funding, ways to fight the epidemic, and doctors who are willing to donate their labour free. 

Instead of funding trips by Zimbabwean AIDS activists to the AIDS Coference in Mexico, Mexico City, the government chooses  to fund patronage packages for civil servants.

The AIDS 2008 summit is designed to provide many opportunities for the presentation of important new scientific research and for productive, structured dialogue on the major challenges facing the global response to AIDS. 

Zimbabwe is represented by National AIDS Council Executive Director Tapiwa Magure. It remained unclear if Health Minister David Parirenyatwa would attend, but many AIDS activists expressed their frustration at their failure to travel to the annual event. 

Instead of working for the wellbeing of Zimbabweans, Dr. Parirenyatwa, MP for Murehwa North, spent his time over the past few months leading ZANU-PF militia units on the rampage in Murehwa, torturing, beating, killing and setting fire to the homes of MDC supporters and activists. 

Although the epidemic appears to be on the wane in Zimbabwe, the prevelance rate is still very high by global standards. 

In three southern African countries, the national adult HIV prevalence rate has risen higher than was thought possible and now exceeds 20%. These countries are Botswana (23.9%), Lesotho (23.2%) and Swaziland (26.1%). 

AIDS patients in Zimbabwe have suffered over the years, mostly due to the neglect of the ZANU-PF government of the state hospitals where most patients recieve their medication. Government hospitals are now plugged by mismanagement, lack of funding, lack of manpower, and shortage of drug. 

Hopefully, the GNU government that comes into office soon will focus a light on the AIDS pandemic, for it is a threat to the security of the country.--Harare Tribune News ( additional editing by Trymore Magomana)

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More AIDS risked as poor women trade sex for food


Mon 4 Aug 2008, 21:04 GMT

By Mica Rosenberg

MEXICO CITY, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Rising food prices around the world are
likely to drive poor women to trade sex for basic goods like fish and
cooking oil, raising the risk of new AIDS infections, U.N officials said on

Delegates at a major AIDS conference in Mexico cited the cases of
fisherwomen in the Pacific and women in Kenya desperate for food being
forced to sell their bodies, adding to concerns of a new twist in the spread
of the deadly pandemic.

"Food is such a basic need that you can see people really going to great
lengths," said Fadzai Mukonoweshuro of the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture
Organization in southern Africa.

Climbing food prices -- due to increased use of biofuels, the growing demand
for grains to feed a booming Asia, droughts and market speculation -- caused
50 million more people to go hungry last year compared to the year before,
the United Nations said.

"That might lead to various distress responses, one of which on the part of
women is having transactional sex to feed their kids," Stuart Gillespie of
the International Food Policy Research Institute said.

"Recent studies in Botswana, Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania have
shown associations between acute food insecurity and unprotected
transactional sex among poor women," he said.

Overfishing of tuna in the Pacific has forced Papua New Guinea fisherwomen
to abandon their smaller craft and join the crew of larger boats, where they
trade sex for food scraps, the officials and delegates said.

Such "fish for sex" deals are also common in Kenya on the shores of Lake
Victoria, where women fish traders meet incoming boats and sleep with
fishermen for a favorable price.

Experts at the conference, a biennial gathering of global medical experts
and government officials, also said malnutrition increased the risks for
people already infected with AIDS, experts added.

HIV drugs can upset the stomach if taken without food and AIDS patients,
many also infected with tuberculosis, need more nutrients and calories.
Without enough food they are more likely to die, said Martin Bloem, chief
nutritionist at the World Food Program.

Soaring food and other commodity prices might hinder the fight against AIDS.

"We really need to watch this very carefully. We are in a situation of
rising oil prices, rising food prices and at the same time the cost of AIDS
is going up along with new infections," said Kevin De Cock, director of the
anti-AIDS program at the World Health Organization.

Attacking both hunger and the disease at the same time can bring special
challenges. In Zimbabwe, some villages will reject food aid if they think it
is destined for AIDS patients, claiming it is contaminated, Mukonoweshuro

The human immunodeficiency virus infects 33 million people globally, half of
them women, and kills 2 million annually. (Editing by Alistair Bell and
David Storey)

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Zimbabwe faced with massive starvation

August 5, 2008

Farmer Mabel Zevezanayi holds a dried corn cob near Bikita.

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE – Zimbabwe stocks are fast running out raising the spectra of imminent starvation on a large scale.

At least four million Zimbabweans, who constitute nearly a third of the population, are in dire need of relief food aid to mitigate against the effects of a combination of official bungling and a poor agricultural season.

But while a greater percentage of the four million generally belong to the country’s most vulnerable groups, the remainder of the population comprising the usually less dependant also find themselves in equal danger, as food stocks are fast running out.

The problem has been attributed to government’s bungling of the last agricultural season and excessive rainfall that led to flooding in many areas.

Zimbabwe requires 2 million tones of grain and 400 000 to 450 000 tonnes of wheat to meet its annual national requirement.

Recently, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) issued an emergency statement saying Zimbabwe had its worst ever crop harvest.

According to FEWSNET, between a third and half the population will need food aid before next year’s harvest.

The situation is not being helped either by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which is reportedly paying maize producer prices of $80b ($8 revalued) for a bucket of maize, a mere pittance considering that a packaged bag already costs $40b ($4 revalued).

The GMB is responsible for organizing cereal for systematic distribution within the country.

The GMB’s ridiculous prices have scared away ordinary farmers who would now opt to sell their produce to individual buyers who pay them more than a $1 trillion ($100 revalued).

Some innovative farmers are now trading part of their yields for small groceries such as soap, sugar and cooking oil, which are also scarce in Zimbabwe.

The situation has become so critical that perennial high harvest areas such as Mashonaland Central and East provinces are reportedly producing a quarter of their normal yields.

While government dithers on food security issues, some villagers, particularly in areas such as Masvingo and Matebeleland, have taken to eating the edible root of a wild tree.

The food shortage was compounded government’s unpopular ban on the field work of all international aid agencies in Zimbabwe.

Government accused the philanthropic groups of allegedly meddling in the country’s political affairs by clandestinely providing campaign support for the opposition ahead of the March 29 elections.

Even if the restrictions are lifted now, humanitarian groups say, it would take until September for emergency relief efforts to begin.

This would be caused by the amount of time needed for the banned organizations to reassemble their distribution infrastructure for them to resume their operations.

Local food distribution agencies have warned that the food may be diverted to other countries if government does not heed calls for it to immediately lift the ban.

MDC deputy spokesperson Renson Gasela, who is also responsible for lands and agriculture within the Arthur Mutambara led faction, blames government for the food mess.

“Generally the issues that relate to these food shortages cannot be divorced from the governance issues of this country,” he said.

“We have failed to produce enough food because of government failure to provide inputs for the national requirements in time.”

The former Gweru Rural MDC legislator, who has also served as GMB chief executive before, said government should swallow its pride and allow the international community to come to the nation’s rescue.

In a desperate attempt to mitigate the situation, government has rolled out the so-called BACOSSI, a programme through which food hampers of imported and scarce basic commodities have been mad available to families at lower prices.

Analysts say this is unsustainable in a nation that is already reeling under a severe foreign currency shortage.

Agriculture minister Rugare Gumbo last week all but admitted his government’s bungling of the country’s food situation.

Gumbo told the state controlled Herald newspaper that farmers had again failed to meet the country’s winter wheat target after they planted only 43 percent of the targeted hectarage.

“We had a target of 70 000ha but we only achieved 30 379ha,” he was quoted in The Herald as saying. He cited fertilizer shortages of both Compounds A and D, power cuts, erratic supplies of fuel to farmers among so-called challenges.

According to Gumbo, government had projected 3, 5 tonnes of wheat would be harvested from each hectare.

This would translate to 105 000 tonnes from the planted hectarage, against the national annual requirement of nearly 450 000 tonnes.

Zimbabwe currently imports wheat from South Africa, Zambia and Malawi to meet local shortfalls.

Recurrent food shortages in Zimbabwe have been attributed to government’s populist decision between 2000 and now, to forcibly expropriate vast tracts of arable land from the minority but highly productive white farmers for redistribution to the landless blacks under a poorly executed land reform programme.

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In Zimbabwe, Low Cost Technology Saves Poor Farmers


Drip Kit

Most Zimbabweans -  about 70 per cent of the population - live in rural areas and are engaged in smallholder agriculture. These smallholder farmers, particularly in the country’s low rainfall areas, are extremely food insecure and have little or no access to new technology.

They suffer from low incomes and a generally low standard of living, poor health and nutrition, poor housing and an inability to send children to school. Soil degradation and outdated farming methods have kept rural families trapped in poverty.

Inadequate and unreliable rainfall and the recurrent threat of drought also restrict the potential of rain-fed agriculture, on which the livelihoods of most smallholder farmers depend. In a word, access to water for irrigation is one of the most critical constraints that small farmers face.

Making matters worse, AIDS is undermining agricultural systems and affecting the nutritional situation and food security of rural families. As adults fall ill and die, families face declining productivity as well as loss of knowledge about indigenous farming methods and loss of assets.

The devastating consequences of the epidemic are plunging already poor rural communities further into destitution as their labour capacity weakens, incomes dwindle and assets become depleted, with the latter affecting mostly women and children who have few property rights.

According to a survey conducted by the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union, agricultural output in communal areas has declined by nearly 50% among households affected by AIDS in relation to households not affected by AIDS. Maize production by smallholder farmers and commercial farms has declined by 61% because of illness and death from AIDS.

Women and girls are especially vulnerable. They face the greatest burden of work - given their traditional responsibilities for growing much of the food and caring for the sick and dying in addition to maintaining heavy workloads related to provisioning and feeding the household. In many hard-hit communities, girls are being withdrawn from school to help lighten the family load.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) describes household food security as “the capacity of households to procure a stable and sustainable basket of adequate food” (IFAD, 1996). It incorporates: (a) food availability; (b) equal access to food; (c) stability of food supplies; and, (e) quality of food. All aspects of this are affected by both the household-level impact of HIV/AIDS and the wider impacts of a generalised HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In households coping with HIV/AIDS, food consumption generally decreases. The household may lack food and the time and the means to grow and prepare some food. For the patient, malnutrition and HIV/AIDS can form a vicious cycle whereby under-nutrition increases the susceptibility to infections and consequently worsens the severity of the disease, which in turn results in a further deterioration of nutritional status.

The onset of AIDS, along with secondary diseases and death, might be delayed in individuals with good nutritional status.

Nutritional care and support may help to prevent the development of nutritional deficiencies, loss of weight and lean body mass, and maintain the patient’s strength, comfort, level of functioning and self-image.

In effect, the nutritional status of HIV/AIDS patients can also help improve the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy, when it does become widely available to poor rural people.

In such a context, labour-saving technologies that will adapt agriculture to new conditions generated by HIV/AIDS can help to compensate for the depletion of labour caused by sickness and death.

Drip-irrigation is a low pressure, low volume irrigation system suitable for vegetables, shrubs, flowers and trees, and can be helpful when water is scarce or expensive.

Already popular in countries such as Israel and India, drip-irrigation has been gaining attention because of its potential to increase yields and decrease water use, fertilizer, and labour requirements, if managed properly.

Drip irrigation (sometimes called trickle irrigation) works by applying water slowly and directly to the soil. It is the slow drop-by-drop, localised application of water at a grid above the soil surface. Water flows from a tank through a filter into lines then drips through emitters into the soil next to the plants. The high efficiency of drip irrigation results from two primary factors. The first is that the water soaks into the soil before it can evaporate or run-off. The second is that the water is only applied where it is needed (at the plant roots), rather than sprayed everywhere as in sprinkle or furrow irrigation systems.

Nutrients can be applied through the drip systems, thus reducing the use of fertilizers. Soil is maintained in a continuously moist condition. With a 100 square meter garden, equipped with low cost drip kit technology, a family of five can grow nutritious vegetables for consumption throughout the year.

This inexpensive kit offers a 50 per cent savings on water, over 80 per cent yields, and better quality vegetables and herbs. Because of its minimal labour requirements, the kit is well suited to serve HIV and AIDS affected households headed by orphans or their grandparents, where labour maybe in short supply.

In Zimbabwe’s rural areas, HNGs are widespread, yet they are largely neglected in spite of their potential to cushion disadvantaged and AIDS-affected families from food insecurity. Ordinarily, a HNG is cultivated close to home, thus eliminating the need for farmers to travel to distant fields.

HNGs can play a significant part in enhancing food security in several ways, most importantly through: 1) direct access to a diversity of nutritionally-rich foods, 2) increased purchasing power from savings on food bills and sales of garden products, 3) availability of food throughout the season and especially during seasonal lean periods, and 4) savings on water, time and labour.

Improving household gardening requires the optimal use of land and irrigation, as well as a dynamic integration of additional crops and crop varieties with specific value and uses. A well developed HNG has the potential, when access to land and water is not a major limitation, to supply most of the non-staple food that a family needs every day of the year, including roots and tuber, vegetables and fruits, legumes, herbs and spices.

Roots and tubers are rich in energy and legumes are important sources of protein, fat, iron and vitamins. Green leafy vegetables and yellow-or orange-colored fruits provide essential vitamins and minerals, particularly folate, and vitamins A, E and C. Vegetables and fruits are a vital component of a healthy diet and should be eaten as part of every meal, and are highly recommended for people living with AIDS

Smallholder farmers generally grow three cycles of crops per year. Typically, this includes at least one cycle of vegetable crops during the winter months, and an early maize or bean crop that can be harvested in December. The exact cropping cycles and systems will depend on regional climate, soils and input availability, in conjunction with the specific skills and nutritional needs of the household.

Farmers are encouraged to grow locally available indigenous crops that are highly nutritive but often neglected. The crops contain good nutrients and often require low labour-input. They represent a flexible source of food supply and can be easily preserved. Besides providing a source of income, they are adapted to cultural dynamics and local food habits.

They produce ample seeds without creating a dependence on external resources. Because the technology is new, smallholder farmers require technical support and training to help them tap into the full potential of the kit.

By strengthening the capacity to produce food at household level using low-cost technologies, negative impacts can be mitigated for AIDS-affected communities. Labour saving technologies and improved seed varieties can help to compensate for the depletion of labour caused by sickness and death, and assist farm-households to survive prolonged crisis, such as that caused by AIDS. Through agriculture and rural development, resilience against HIV can be built.

Drip irrigation technology offers much promise for landholders in the communal areas of Zimbabwe, where water application has traditionally involved the use of surface irrigation and “bucket watering”. Both methods are inefficient and waste a lot of water. Using the bucket involves hard work especially when the water is far away and scarce.

With drip irrigation, communal farmers, especially women, who are the primary carers and pillars of the community, can be able to maintain their gardens with ease, efficiently and at a low cost.

Also, drip technology will give quick returns on a small investment, and growing vegetables will provide both nutrition vegetables and year-round incomes.

As the old Chinese saying goes: “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.”

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Mugabe-Tsvangirai rotten alliance: Suffering continues for the Zimbabwean poor

Daily Triumph, Nigeria

 SHA'ABAN 3, 1429 A.H.

By Kola Ibrahim

Events postdating the political stalemate that precipitated the unilateral
elections in Zimbabwe where Pa Robert Mugabe was the sole contestant could
hardly be described as respite for the working but poor masses of Zimbabwe.
News had it that Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai has concluded agreement for negotiation with
possibility of forming a unity government (as witnessed in Kenya and as
advocated by Nigeria's Umaru Musa Yar'adua). This is coming at a time when
inflation in the country has skyrocketed to over two million per cent, a
sign of unprecedented plummeting of living standard while over 80 per cent
are officially poor.
The increase in living wage is linear while the inflation (which was 200,
000 percent about three months ago) is increasing geometrically.
The situation is so terrible that government had to give free food to the
masses. It is under this condition that the opposition that should serve as
the beckon of hope and platform of struggle for better living is forging an
alliance with the rotten, anti-poor and dictatorial Mugabe government.
This clearly reveals the real quagmire to which the poor masses of Zimbabwe
are - a rotten government with practically no platform of hope and change.
During the presidential run off, Tsvangirai had predicated his withdrawal
from election based on widespread violence against the opposition members
which he rightly claimed could snowball into serious crisis if the contest
should continue.
In as much as one cannot deny the reality of Mugabe's brazen violence, the
retreat of Tsvangirai and his party in the election is a reflection of the
political frustration that has beset the working poor.
How else could one describe a situation where the masses who voted out the
Mugabe dictatorship, (despite unprecedented campaign of violence) would back
off from defending their choice at the run off, even if it includes taking
harms against the regime? The main reason is that Tsvangirai and his MDC
party do not represent any beckon of hope for the masses.
No clear-cut economic programme to take the country's economy out of the
woods neither was there any programme to challenge imperialism.
A glance through MDC's website clearly reveals its pro-rich, pro-imperialism
neo-liberal economic orientation that will further economically
disenfranchise the working but poor Zimbabweans.
In its normal messianic nature, the opposition did not reveal how it intends
to resolve the land problem (which in the real sense affects the poor
Zimbabwean farmers than the much-touted white farmers).
Maybe he is taking after Nigerian crooked politicians who conceal their
ignorance cum hypocrisy with the argument that they do not want the other
party to steal (or maybe loot) their programme when they are really the same
birds flocking in different camps. This coupled with the fact that
Tsvangirai himself was formerly part of the Mugabe's dictatorship - his
former official physician - while many of the MDC stalwarts are former
staunch members of Mugabe's ZANU-PF.
The fact that Tsvangirai and the opposition do not pose any genuine
alternative to the masses is clearly manifested in the manner in which
Tsvangirai reacted to the violence initiated by the Mugabe's shock troopers.
Rather than appeal to the working masses and youth to organize and resist
the fascist troops (who are in actuality in minority), he is found of
calling on "international" community (note his definition of international
community means the imperialist nations of US and Europe) to use military
actions and sanctions against Mugabe. The implication of this is that he has
contempt for the masses which he claimed to be 'fighting' for.
Any international action by any imperialist country will not be in the
interest of the working poor of Zimbabwe but will either boost Mugabe's
status as an anti-imperialism - which he never was - or help imperialism
establish military and economic base in the country (and turn the country to
another Iraq - where "liberation" war by US/Europe has turned to war to oil
war and occupation).
This has further made the poor masses of Zimbabwe to develop a skeptical
attitude towards him which unfortunately has given the Mugabe regime another
lease of life.
The possible calculation of Tsvangirai is that reliance on the working
masses could inspire a mass movement that could push the masses to the
centre stage and maybe push him to the left.
This will definitely undermine his capitalist neo-liberal economic
programmes. This will definitely diminish his status to govern on behalf of
big business, which is sponsoring him.
Having realized that imperialism had more in its hands than the problems
facing Zimbabwe, and fearful of the consequence of mass movement to dislodge
Mugabe on his political interest, Tsvangirai resorted to negotiation with a
regime it has decried as dictatorial. He was even reported to have renounced
all his critical statements on Mugabe's dictatorship.
This treachery of Tsvangirai is not unexpected because - as I had earlier
stated in my previous treatises on Zimbabwe and Kenya (published in many
newspapers and websites) - as a pro-capitalist politician, he is bound to
limit his struggle for power within the precinct of capitalism and not raise
the masses to their feet.
The era of progressive capitalism is long gone, as the current neo-liberal
capitalism is not favourable to mass movement, even the one that tend to
give it a "human face".
It is vital to posit that the treachery and the pro-imperialism, anti-masses
character of Tsvangirai (and his MDC) confers no credibility on Mugabe's
autocratic regime.
As against the claim of many commentators that Mugabe is anti-imperialism,
anti-apartheid hero, he actually emerged from imperialism, even during the
apartheid struggle.
Of course, like every other nationalist petty bourgeois and in the spirit of
the mass anger against imperialism then, he was against apartheid, but he
was also used by British imperialism to maintain its presence in Zimbabwe.
It is noteworthy to state that the same Mugabe that claims to be fighting
white rule did not take white big farms during the anti-apartheid victory,
when the movement was raging, but rather negotiated with British imperialism
then. But, having lost control of the economy through subjugation of the
nation to the poisonous neo-liberal pills of commercialization of social
services, privatization of public corporations and trade liberalization
(which led to over 25, 000 job loss in 1996 alone and slashing of wages by
25 per cent in 1995 among other terrible results) and looking for a
shortcut, resorted to anti-imperialism slogans. Ridiculously, the land
distribution could only benefit just a thousand of rich black farmers (out
of millions of poor and landless farmers) most of whom have stakes in his
ruling ZANU-PF party. Therefore, it is a miscarriage of logic to present
Mugabe as fighting imperialism. The economic woes witnessed in Zimbabwe are
a product of the anti-poor neo-liberal policies of imperialism implemented
by Mugabe in the 1990s and not a resort of economic sabotage of western
imperialism as some people claim.
While of course the role of western imperialism, which in actual fact
benefited from the neo-liberal policies implemented by Mugabe (and
subsequently left the economy in ruins), could not be underemphasized, this
should not be done to bestow credibility on the Mugabe regime.
This also brings to focus the role and hypocrisy of imperialism in the
crisis facing Zimbabwe. Aside the fact that imperialism contributed to the
country's economic woes, the western imperialism's reactions again reflect
the imperialist hypocrisy.
It will be recalled that while these nations (especially US and Britain)
were condemning the Mugabe regime, they did not mention their roles in the
economic crisis.
No relief package was given to the poor people of Zimbabwe who are groaning
under economic woes that had provided unprecedented wealth to capitalist
corporations. Rather, imperialist nations in the UN Security Council prefer
to place sanctions - including economic and military - which will further
the sufferings of the Zimbabwean poor, who are up to 80 per cent of the
Though the sanction was vetoed by China and Russia, it does not however,
portray any section of imperialism in any good light. The fact is that it is
sheer selfish capitalist interests that drive foreign policy and
international politics.
The Russia's and China's vetoes are not a product of sympathy for the
Zimbabwean poor, but an attempt to boost their capitalist economic agenda.
For instance, Russia has been boosting markets in the third world countries
for its economy especially gas industry.
Also, Russia has been trying to stand on its feet in the comity of
imperialist nations after the collapse of Stalinism (a grotesque caricature
of genuine socialism), which is reflected in the recent nationalism campaign
started by Putin - a policy meant to mask the glaring failure of capitalism
in Russia.
The only way to stand therefore, is by posing to be an alternative to
US/British imperialism (but in actual fact pursuing the same capitalist
imperialist policies - Chechnya as example) in the eyes of third world
countries with the central aim of boosting its outreach economic status.
Also, it is a known fact that China's recent economic boom coupled with its
importance to the world economy (especially US's) has boosted its
international status which has further reinforced its struggle for resources
and market to sustain its economic boom - which failure will spell political
doom for the fragile ruling caste of China - and subsequently,

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Mbeki denies arms deal bribe claims

August 5, 2008

Johannesburg (BBC) - The office of South African President Thabo Mbeki has
denied a newspaper report claiming that a German firm paid him millions to
approve an arms deal.

Mr Mbeki's office said he had never received money from the firm.

It called the report in South Africa's Sunday Times a "hotch-potch recycling
of allegations that have from time to time been peddled" over the arms deal.

The paper said MAN Ferrostaal paid Mr Mbeki 30m rand (£2.1m at current
rates) to guarantee a submarine contract.

The Sunday Times said its story was based on a secret report by an unnamed
UK risk consultancy, commissioned by a central European manufacturer that
faced a hostile bid from MAN Ferrostaal.

The report cites a former South African official as saying the firm paid Mr
Mbeki to secure a 6bn rand contract to sell three submarines to the South
African navy, the paper said.

It said the company promised to build a 6bn rand stainless steel plant in
the Eastern Cape province as part of the deal.

The paper reported that Mr Mbeki had told investigators that the 30m rand
payment had been split between former deputy president, Jacob Zuma, who
received 2m rand, and the governing African National Congress (ANC) party,
which received the rest.

MAN Ferrostaal has dismissed the allegations as a "fishing expedition"
intended to damage its reputation and that of the South African government,
the Sunday Times reported.

Mr Mbeki's office said the report was part of the Sunday Times'
"enthusiastic voyage to re-writing the fundamentals of journalism".

"The presidency would like to place it on record that President Thabo Mbeki
has never at any stage received any amount of money from MAN Ferrostaal," it
said in a statement.

It noted a joint investigation into the South African government's Strategic
Defence Procurement Package, which it said found no evidence of "any
improper or unlawful conduct by the government".

It also challenged the paper to explain why it had not named the UK risk
consultancy, and asked it to explain the allegation that Mr Zuma had acted
as a front-man for Mr Mbeki during arms deal negotiations - "particularly in
the context of the court process currently under way".

Mr Zuma is currently seeking to have corruption charges linked to a separate
arms deal dismissed.

He defeated Mr Mbeki in the ANC's leadership contest in December and is the
favourite to become South Africa's next president.

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ANC supporters rally for Jacob Zuma

August 5, 2008

PIETERMARITZBURG (BBC) - Supporters of Jacob Zuma, leader of South Africa's
governing ANC, have rallied as he appeared in court to get graft charges
against him thrown out.

Addressing the cheering crowds in Zulu, Mr Zuma thanked them for standing by
him through thick and thin.
The ANC leader stands accused of corruption, fraud, racketeering and
money-laundering over a 1999 arms deal.

He says he is the victim of a political conspiracy designed to prevent him
from becoming South Africa's next president.

"In my life I have never been afraid of anything," AFP news agency quoted
him as telling the crowd outside the high court in Pietermaritzburg, where
some supporters had been camped out overnight dancing and singing.

"Those who know me will know that I am not a coward. I have never been
afraid of anything. I was willing to die for this country and I am prepared
to die for it."

He then sang his trademark anti-apartheid guerrilla song, Bring Me My
Machine Gun.

"I think he's got all the skills, he's got all the capacity, he's got all
the strength to become the president," said one supporter.

At the hearing, which will continue on Tuesday, his lawyers argued that
delays in bringing the case meant he would not get a fair trial, and said
prosecutors had not followed proper legal procedures.

Mr Zuma has said he will stand down as African National Congress leader only
if he is found guilty. Critics say he is just trying to delay proceedings
until after he is elected president.

This was to have been the start of Mr Zuma's corruption trial but the ANC
leader is challenging the state's decision to prosecute him, the BBC's Peter
Biles reports from Pietermaritzburg.

The shadow of corruption has been hanging over Mr Zuma for several years.

In 2005 he was sacked as South Africa's deputy president when his financial
adviser, Schabir Shaik, was found guilty of soliciting a bribe on behalf of
Mr Zuma and jailed for 15 years in connection with an arms deal.

Mr Zuma then went on trial, but the case collapsed in 2006 when the
prosecution said it was not ready to proceed.

He was charged again last December shortly after winning a bitter campaign
against President Thabo Mbeki to become ANC leader. He denies the charges
laid against him and says he has been the victim of a political conspiracy.

"There's a smear campaign for him not to be president," said a supporter
outside court in Pietermaritzburg.

The leadership of the ruling ANC is also standing squarely behind him.

"We believe that Mr Zuma has been persecuted more than prosecuted by the NPA
(National Prosecuting Authority) and he's been tried in the public arena,"
ANC's chief spokesperson Jessie Duarte said.

"It cannot take eight years to find enough evidence, if you have any, to
bring a matter to trial."

Mr Zuma suffered a setback last week when he lost a legal bid to stop
documents seized from his home and other locations being used as evidence in
a trial.

The ANC says it expects Mr Zuma, a former deputy president, to be its
candidate for president in next year's election, when Mr Mbeki steps down.

In February 2006, Mr Zuma was acquitted of rape in a separate case, though
he was widely criticised for comments about sex and HIV/Aids.

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Thabo Mbeki's Compromised Legacy

Friday, August 1, 2008 - Web posted at 9:03:29 AM GMT

Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari
ACCORDING to the theory of evolution, the initial structure of life,
the cell, has in it the capacity to recompose infinitely until it creates
the most complex human beings.

Using this theory as an entry point I recall that as a young student
in political science at the University of Stellenbosch, I had exceeded the
boundaries of admiration for Thabo Mbeki, the man hailed frequently at the
time as the philosopher president.

It is in this category where I put Mbeki, that of a complex human
being, and a sophisticated African leader.

His eloquence in putting Africa's cause across at Okinawa in Japan
exactly eight years ago as well as his articulation of the African
renaissance were all pleasing.

I even annoyed others with my admiration for Thabo Mbeki, notably the
acumen that he brought into Africa's presidential politics.

It even irritated a South African friend of mine at Stellenbosch

I don't believe that I was alone in this admiration at the time as
many of us had fallen in a collective swoon for this leader and felt that he
had set the bar too high on the continent.

Mbeki had become, or to put it more accurately, was becoming, the
standard-bearer of a continent that was short on inspiration in terms of

And crucially, it was for South Africa as a young country important
that it sold a different message to the world.

And admittedly, South Africans, at least my fellow students, including
some University teachers during my time at Stellenbosch, were all too proud
about what South Africa was in terms of leadership; it had Nelson Mandela, a
saint-like personality, who epitomised what was in essence good in us as
human beings.

And it had a fitting reformist successor in Thabo Mbeki, a complex,
well-educated and up-to-date African leader.

Yet a friend of mine, who went on to do her PhD at Cambridge,
constantly warned about the collective swoon for Mbeki and my idolatry of
the philosopher-politician.

I guess that she was visionary in the sense that she felt that I
overrated Mbeki as a human being.

With the benefit of hindsight, she wanted to say that Mbeki,
irrespective of his excellent credentials, might disappoint as a human being
or as an African leader tout court.

Perhaps, she simply didn't believe that Thabo Mbeki was indeed what I
thought he was, an outstanding African leader.

Now that history has passed, Mbeki's legacy as the leader of the most
powerful country in Africa has been compromised.

With events in Zimbabwe having unfolded as they did over the past
years under Thabo Mbeki's watch; South Africa's inexplicable timidity on
Darfur both in Africa and at the United Nations Security Council, has
emptied South Africa's foreign policy of its moral content.

Similarly, Mbeki's African jaunts on conflict resolution from Côte
d'Ivoire to Burundi have been less than successful given the sheer size of
South Africa's diplomacy and the moral legacy of Nelson Mandela.

At home, Thabo Mbeki is a leader whose political home has deserted
him; the xenophobic violence in Mbeki's own country has left many

On many of these issues, Thabo Mbeki had tried in vain to simply
explain events away, even when the facts had changed.

Even in the face of complete disaster, he would simply stick to his
model of events.

On the whole, we have gradually started to question Mbeki's judgment
as a leader.

Perhaps the question that may linger on is how this gifted raconteur
who mixes policy and politics in his analysis of issues, is leaving a
fragile South Africa behind? And what is troubling is the consequence this
may have on the important role South Africa should play in building a better

We could then argue that Thabo Mbeki's legacy is not just of a weaker
South Africa, but is also one of an uncertain Africa.

Most crucially, such interrogations begin to boil down to the simple,
but important question as to whether Africa will manage to build consistency
and consolidate on the all-too important issue of leadership.

* Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari is a PhD fellow in political science at the
University of Paris- Panthéon Sorbonne, France.

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