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Zimbabwe security chiefs meet S.Africa mediators


Thu 7 Aug 2008, 5:36 GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Senior Zimbabwean security officials, seen as key to any
resolution of Zimbabwe's political crisis, have been meeting South African
mediators, South Africa's Star Newspaper reported on Thursday.

Citing unnamed sources, The Star said Zimbabwe's security chiefs, seen as
wielding wide power, "wanted to ensure that their interests are catered for
in any agreement reached" in power-sharing talks which began two-and-a-half
weeks ago.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
were due to meet in Harare on Thursday after signs that progress had been
made in the power-sharing talks.

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC on Wednesday called on
their supporters to end political violence in the country, the most tangible
sign of forward movement in the talks since they began two weeks ago.

Members of South African President Thabo Mbeki's mediation team met
Zimbabwean security officials this week in Pretoria, The Star said. Mbeki,
who has been leading regional mediation efforts, was expected in Harare on

Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) began
power-sharing talks last month, following the veteran leader's re-election
in a widely condemned June poll boycotted by the opposition.

The two sides are under heavy international pressure, including from within
Africa, to resolve a crisis that has ruined the once prosperous economy and
flooded neighbouring states with millions of refugees.


The protracted political crisis has deepened frustrations among millions of
Zimbabweans already suffering from inflation officially estimated at 2.2
million percent a year -- the world's highest -- and chronic shortages of
basic goods.

Under a draft settlement reported in The Star on Wednesday, Tsvangirai would
run the country while Mugabe would become ceremonial president.

According to the draft, Tsvangirai would head Zimbabwe as executive prime
minister during a transitional period, appointing two deputies -- one from
ZANU-PF and the other from the MDC.

But The Star said the MDC wants a 24-30 month transitional period, while
ZANU-PF wanted it to last five years.

The opposition says only Tsvangirai can lead a new government because he won
a first-round presidential vote in March before pulling out of the June 27
run-off because of violence he says killed 122 of his supporters.

ZANU-PF has said it will not accept any deal that fails to recognise
Mugabe's re-election.

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This is not the Zimbabwe we voted for

If the rumours swirling round the press are anything to be believed, Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and Robert Mugabe are on the verge of signing a power sharing agreement between Zanu PF and the two formations of the MDC.

If these rumours are true, I’m impressed by both the speed with which the negotiations have proceeded, and the fact that the talks stalled as infrequently as they reportedly did.

I haven’t seen the reported 50-page draft of the agreement. And perhaps the whole story is yet another fabrication for the press. But if the contents of what is signed resembles what The Star’s Fiona Forde is reporting, I have some deep misgivings.

Some key points of the proposed agreement include:

  • Morgan Tsvangirai to be appointed as a Senator and then to take up the role of Executive Prime Minister
  • Robert Mugabe to be President – with a position-for-life of Founding President, (if and) when he retires
  • Blanket amnesty for all Zimbabweans “who in the course of upholding or opposing the aims and policies of the Government of Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF or either formation of the MDC, may have committed crimes within Zimbabwe.”

Apparently the time frame is still at issue – the MDC envisages a 24-30 month time frame – which may make this arrangement feel like a long transition, but importantly, it’s a transition nonetheless. Zanu PF, on the other hand, is reportedly arguing for a 5 year time frame – this doesn’t make it a transitional arrangement, it makes it the duly constituted government until the next scheduled elections in 2013.

I’m a bit more at ease if, indeed, this is a temporary measure, with the promise of a transitional Constitution, but I still believe that the political parties are negotiating away certain fundamental issues, without opening up the debate to public discussion and input.

One of my colleagues in civil society recently wrote in an email discussion forum:

If the Zimbabwean citizenry vote in a government and a political party, and most of those in civics voted in that party, and then the outgoing party refuses to leave, why do the civics do anything but support the party that they voted in?

But to me that question is missing the point. These negotiations aren’t moving towards simply installing the party which most Zimbabweans voted for in the March Harmonised Election into power. They’re moving towards some form of negotiated settlement – about which there has been no election. Zimbabweans haven’t voted for who they’d want in a “coalition government” or whether they’d prefer a Government of National Unity as opposed to a Transitional Authority, or how they’d want such an arrangement to be structured.

And Zimbabweans certainly haven’t voted for a blanket amnesty for all political crimes – from Gukurahundi onwards. To paraphrase Spinoza, “peace is not the absence of war, it’s the presence of justice.” Zimbabwean analyst Knox Chitiyo may be willing to make the long-term sacrifice of justice for the short-term promise of peace, but is the rest of the country?

According to Forde, MDC and Zanu PF to divide key ministries – reportedly Zanu PF to take Defence, and the MDC to take Home Affairs. This, she speculates, would make campaigning in the next election more even: with control of Home Affairs, the MDC would have control of the police force, which would enable them to guarantee greater civic freedoms to demonstrate and assemble. But what about the role which the army has played in clamping down on public protest and gatherings? Not to mention groupings like the so-called war veterans and youth militia. And what about other basic rights like press and broadcast freedom?

Where is the referendum on these issues – and the independent body to oversee such a referendum to ensure that it was not subject to the same electoral machinery that Zimbabwe’s recent elections have suffered from? Where is the process for developing a new Constitution for Zimbabwe – not just the 19th Amendment, which would be required to, for example, (re)create the position of Prime Minister and define the roles of the Executive President?

As Mukoma Wa Ngugi wrote recently:

A power-sharing agreement that brings about a “Government of National Unity,” or a transitional authority, will in fact be undermining the most basic and important principle of democracy: the vote.

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Critical moment for Zim


    August 07 2008 at 08:18AM

By Fiona Forde

Harare - Zimbabwe's crisis talks will enter a critical stage today
(Wednesday) when Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai come face-to-face to
address the more contentious issues of the proposed settlement.

However, contrary to earlier reports, President Thabo Mbeki will not
facilitate the encounter, although Arthur Mutambara, as leader of the
smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, will join the two
rivals at Rainbow Towers in central Harare for this afternoon's meeting.

Throughout this afternoon, and Friday if necessary, the three men will
aim to reach an agreement on who will take executive power during the
transition period, how many ministries will constitute that government, what
areas of constitutional reform are necessary and who will be covered by an
amnesty in the future.

According to a draft settlement, obtained by Independent Newspapers,
Mugabe will be offered the role of ceremonial president until his retirement
at the end of the transitional government, after which he will acquire a
life-long title of Founding President of Zimbabwe, complete with a blanket

Tsvangirai, on the other hand, is tipped to take the position of
Executive Prime Minister who will preside over a government of 22

Critics of the draft settlement call it wishful thinking in a twilight

"How can you call this power-sharing when you have one man in a
ceremonial role and the other with full executive powers,?" asked Jonathan
Moyo, Mugabe's former information minister who is now an independent Member
of Parliament.

He strongly refutes the existence of the 50-page plus document, saying
"If the people of Zimbabwe were to give all the power to the MDC, then we
wouldn't need to have these power-sharing talks that are moving towards a
power-sharing agreement".

Yet Moyo is confident that an agreement is just a matter of days away,
and could be brokered as early as Heroes Day on Monday, which marks the
anniversary of the 1979 bush battle that claimed the lives of a number of
freedom fighters.

"If they can't respect that day and the significance of it for our
country, then they shouldn't be taking at all," he said.

"Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai have never reached out to each
other as much as they are doing now," he added.

"They have been in constant contact with one another."

In recent days Mugabe has begun to address the country on the
airwaves, courtesy of the public broadcaster ZBC, appealing to all
Zimbabweans whatever "their political affiliations" to work together towards
a better future.

The joint statement issued on Wednesday by representatives of Zanu-PF
and both MDC factions calling for an end to violence has been the talk of
the Zimbabwean capital where locals have begun to interpret it as the final
step towards an agreement being reached.

However, an MDC insider believes rushing a deal "is not in anyone's
interests, least of all the people of Zimbabwe, and just plays into the
hands of Mbeki who would like to see a deal going into the SADC summit",
which takes place in Johannesburg on August 16th when the outgoing South
African president takes on the rotating chairmanship of the 14-member bloc.

Regardless of when that settlement date might fall, it is clear now
that any future deal will be brokered in Harare and not in Pretoria, a
significant note for the historic recording of it.

As the focus shifts to the Zimbabwean capital today (Thursday) and
most likely on Friday, Independent Newspapers understands that the Pretoria
talks have been suspended until such time as the negotiators receive a
briefing from their principals on the outcome of the Harare meeting.

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White farmer's ordeal in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe farmers attacked
Zimbabwe Farmers Assn.
Mike Campbell, left, his son-in-law Ben Freeth, and Campbell's wife, Angela, recover in a Harare hospital after ruling party militiamen attacked them and held them for nine hours in June. Campbell has angered the Zimbabwe government by refusing to give up his farm.
Mike Campbell has fought efforts to seize his farm. Though shaken by a brutal attack on his family by Mugabe's militiamen, he remains undeterred.
By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 7, 2008
CHEGUTU, ZIMBABWE -- The ancient chestnut horse, Ginger, stands on the veranda near the farmhouse door, waiting for a treat. But the old farmer and his wife do not come.

The farm dogs leap like dancers, extravagantly pleased to have visitors. The cats bask in the sun. Four red hens peck busily in the flower beds. The garden is alive with bird chatter. But the house stands silent and empty.
No one has lived here since late June, when Mike Campbell, 74, and his wife, Angela, were attacked by militants associated with Zimbabwe's ruling party, which targeted white farmers as well as opposition supporters in the recent election violence.

The beating was so brutal that Campbell's friends didn't recognize photographs taken of him after the nine-hour ordeal. Angela, 67, says her faith sustained her when the men wanted to cut off her fingers because her rings had gotten stuck.

Campbell, one of the few white farmers left in Zimbabwe, had got plenty of government warnings to vacate his spread, which he had named Mount Carmel. He ignored all of them.

He was a feisty, gruff fellow with the determined vigor of someone convinced that he was right and with a hide as tough as a rhino's. If he had a soft side, he kept it well-hidden.

He approached life like a warrior, battling thieves who tried to steal mangoes and the government minister, Nathan Shamuyayira, who wanted to seize the farm where he and Angela had lived for nearly 35 years.

But even tough men can get broken. In early July, he was lying on a bed with four ribs, a collarbone and a foot broken, a dislocated finger and bruises all over his body, including a huge purple one covering the side of his head.

His voice quavered. Occasionally he lost a phrase or an idea and had to pause, racking his brain. Answering questions exhausted him.

He had survived. But suddenly, he seemed like an old man.

"Tough. Jeepers, he's tough," said Campbell's son, Bruce, 42, who farms with him. Remembering the night of the attack, he says, "I can't believe he survived. I thought my old man was going to die when I picked him up."

The ruling ZANU-PF, shocked by its poor result in the March elections, has accused the opposition Movement for Democratic Change of planning to return land to white farmers, reversing "the fruits of the liberation struggle" against the white regime of Ian Smith in the 1970s.

In the subsequent campaign for the presidential runoff, war veterans and ZANU-PF militias invaded farms, beat or evicted white families and their black workers and looted houses. The ruling party set up hundreds of militia bases from which to attack opposition activists and supporters.

Campbell believed the militias might burn down his house. But if he was afraid, he certainly wouldn't show it. He packed up his silver and china and a beloved antique military chest and sent them away.

He and Angela stayed put.

"Where do you go?" he said in Harare, the capital, where he was recuperating. "The best thing is just to stay. I don't think we would ever have given up."

On June 28, the last Sunday of the month, the day Robert Mugabe had himself inaugurated to another term as president after a one-man presidential runoff, the couple went to church and a family lunch in Chegutu. It was eerily quiet in town.

When they returned home at midafternoon, the two-way radio inside crackled urgently. Bruce had news that ZANU-PF militias had badly beaten an old man on a neighboring farm. The radio sputtered and died before he could warn them that the gang had declared it was on its way to Mount Carmel.

Less than 10 minutes later, Angela heard a shrieking yelp from one of her pointers as it was clubbed. Dozens of men had driven into the yard. They were young, in their teens and early 20s, and carrying shotguns and rifles stolen from a nearby farm. They leapt from a pickup also taken from the farm. Others poured from the back of a white minibus -- about 30 in all.

"They even had spears and sticks," she says. "Spears. Can you believe it?"

The men swarmed around them. Campbell was knocked unconscious almost immediately, beaten on the head. A tall, thin gunman smashed Angela's arm, shattering the bone above her elbow. The two were trussed up tightly.

When the radio died, Bruce had frantically phoned Ben Freeth, the Campbells' son-in-law, who lives in the homestead next to Mount Carmel. Freeth raced to the Campbells' house, where he was captured and beaten on the head with a rifle butt, causing a 5-inch fracture in his skull.

Bruce, 10 minutes away, realized there was little point in going to the police. He knew they had been ordered to stay out of election violence. So he was on his own. He had a pistol, against a mob he knew was heavily armed.

He had one goal -- to save his parents. But how?

Mike Campbell is an irritant to the Mugabe regime. He has challenged the government's efforts to seize his farm in the region's highest court, the Southern African Development Community Tribunal, which hears legal appeals from its 14 member countries. Seventy-seven other white farmers have joined him in fighting a 2005 constitutional amendment that denied them the right to appeal eviction orders.

Zimbabwe's land conflict is complex. Britain had funded the redistribution of land from white farmers to blacks in its former colony, but stopped in 1997, concerned that Mugabe's cronies were mainly the ones benefiting from the reform. Mugabe, angry that many white farmers supported the political opposition, ordered war veterans to take over their farms in 2000, triggering the collapse of agriculture, the country's main export business.

Once a regional powerhouse, the country no longer could feed its population. Related industries slumped. The government, starved of foreign currency, printed more and more money to pay its workers, triggering rampant hyperinflation.

In the last year, the highway running 60 miles southwest from Harare to Chegutu has crumbled into a honeycomb of potholes. The town looks tired and threadbare.

The roadsides are speckled with hitchhikers. But the poorest just walk. Some men wear shirts reduced to a lace of holes or plod along in shoes that flap open. People of all ages cart firewood from the bush, some balancing entire branches on their heads, others pushing handcarts. Even the rubber scattered on the roads from tire blowouts is reverently saved.

Days after the attack at Mount Carmel, people are selling tomatoes, sweet potatoes or oranges along the road. Bruce Campbell nods darkly at a gaggle of orange vendors.

"All those oranges are stolen," he says. "They're coming off my friend's place over there."

On the day of the attack, Bruce rushed to his parents' farm as soon as the radio died. He crept up on the house. He could hear shouting and thudding inside and people running around in the bedroom and living room. He heard his parents' car started up and driven off.

He sprinted into the house, but his parents were gone. He gave chase and the militants peppered his car with bullets; he fired back with a pistol.

The militiamen had thrown his father and brother-in-law into the back of the Campbells' SUV. As the cars played cat and mouse at terrifying speed, Angela was sandwiched in the back seat between the men shooting at Bruce. She could hear the broken bone in her upper arm grinding against itself. She was terrified that her husband was dying.

Darkness fell and Bruce lost sight of the militants. He sat in his car on the side of the highway, not knowing where his parents and brother-in-law were, whether they were alive or how to rescue them.

They had been taken to a nearby militia base, with dozens of young men wearing ruling party T-shirts and bandannas emblazoned with the slogan "100 percent empowerment." The militants drenched the captives with cold water.

"It was a very cold night. We were bitterly cold," says Angela. "I've never shaken so much from the cold for so long. The ordeal lasted nine hours from beginning to end."

They tried to take off her rings, but some stuck, so they discussed cutting off her fingers.

"I said, 'Look, there's a better way. Get some soap and water and I'll get them off for you.'" She removed the rings, but then the beatings started.

Freeth was whipped for hours on his back and the soles of his feet.

"They picked up this burning stick and just shoved it in my mouth and burned my lips," Angela says. The men forced her to sign a document pledging to withdraw the court case. Hoping to stop the beatings, she signed. But the document has no legal force.

The militants kept talking about killing them. At one point, Angela felt despair wash over her. She looked up at the stars strewn across the blackness. They gave her hope.

She prayed. Freeth, deeply religious, remembered a biblical phrase he had always struggled with: Bless your tormentors. So he reached out to the militants who were beating his feet, crying out blessings. He says he felt no hate.

About midnight, they were taken out and dumped beside the highway. By the time Mike Campbell got to the hospital, his breathing was labored and his veins had collapsed.

"Never once did terror take hold," Angela says. "All through this there was calmness, almost like a serenity that I cannot account for except that it was God that kept me from terror. I never once panicked. I kept my cool even when they were tugging the rings and some guy said, 'Let's cut off her fingers.' "

As she relates the story late one afternoon in July, her husband lies quietly in bed, adding a comment here or there, but saying little.

The Mike Campbell of old seems suspended like a ghost in the golden evening light: the man who relished a controversial debate; who couldn't help dominating the conversation; who reminisced nostalgically about fighting on the side of the white Rhodesian government against the black liberation fighters and thumbed his nose at political correctness.

That Mike Campbell told The Times last year: "Make no mistake -- a very large part of what has been going on is, the person who is on the land owns it. The moment you move off, you're finished."

He'd come from a family of "pretty resolute people." He seemed strong then, despite losses cascading like a complicated domino structure, nudged too early, before it was finished.

Campbell had achieved his life's dream, a successful tourist game farm, only to see the game killed off by poachers and the safari lodge burned to the ground.

The government had seized Bruce's farm. Campbell also had built a successful fruit export business, which the government was determined to seize. Grimly, he kept on going.

But after the attack, he seems whittled down, diminished.

Still, if Campbell's attackers hoped the farmer would be cowed into withdrawing his case, they would be disappointed.

"We never, ever had any idea of dropping the court case," Campbell says as he reclines in his hospital bed. "No matter what."

In a July hearing, his lawyers called on the tribunal to rule that the Zimbabwean government was in contempt for breaching an order that the 78 farmers should not be harassed or evicted before its judgment. In response, Mugabe's lawyers walked out of the tribunal. The case continues.

On the farm, Ginger neighs hopefully when visitors come. The staff is taking care of him and the other animals, but he misses Angela; he likes to follow her around the garden like a loyal, oversized dog.

When Angela speaks about returning to her home, she is a little vague. "Our future is really very blank," she says. "We have no idea of the future of Zimbabwe."

But put the same question to Mike Campbell, and he snaps back into his lifetime habit of grim determination. He shrugs off his shrunken self like a coat he's outgrown.

"We'll go back to the farm as soon as we can, as soon as our health allows us to," he says. "If you can give an attribute to the African person, one of the things he respects is not giving up."

After the attack, the Campbells spent just over five weeks in Harare, recovering. Today, they are going back home, to Ginger and their dogs and cats, their flower-filled garden and their farm.

Last year, Dixon wrote about the Campbells and the fight for their farm. To read that article, go to

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Call for peace as violence persists

August 7, 2008

Violence in Zimbabwe

By our correspondent

HARARE - AS reports intensified of the talks between the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties and Zanu PF drawing to a close, the negotiating teams issued a joint statement on Wednesday.

They challenged their supporters to desist from further acts of the political violence that gripped the country in the period between the beginning of April and June 27. Continuing acts of violence have been reported even as the negotiations reconvened this week.

The MDC has accused Zanu-PF of perpetrating the orgy of political violence that has left more than 200 dead, thousands maimed and thousands more homeless.

MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai defeated President Robert Mugabe, leader of the then ruling Zanu-PF party in presidential elections held on March 29. His margin of victory, however, fell short of the majority required for form a new government. An election re-run was declared for June 27. In between the two elections Zimbabwe has witnessed some of the most brutal political violence ever unleashed on the electorate in Zimbabwe.

Throughout the talks in Pretoria disturbing reports of violence continued to be issued by the MDC of violence being unleashed on its supporters. In the joint statement issued Wednesday, – the first public document to emerge from the talks being mediated by South African president Thabo Mbeki – the negotiators “unequivocally called for the cessation and end to all politically motivated violence in the country”.

The statement bore the signatures of Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche representing  Zanu PF, Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma, as well as Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi, representing the MDC parties led by Tsvangirai and Mutambara respectively.

“We unequivocally condemn the promotion and use of violence as a political tool and call for the cessation and end to all politically motivated violence in the country,” the delegates said in their statement.

“The parties, acknowledging that violence that is attributable to us and which has been injurious to national and human security has indeed occurred in the country after the 29th March, 2008 harmonised elections hereby call upon all our supporters and members and any organs and structures under the direction and control of our respective parties to stop and desist the perpetration of violence in any form.”

Even as the negotiators worked on their statement in Pretoria, Channel 4 News in London showed footage of ongoing violence that was shot at one of the Zanu-PF torture camps.

It is said to have been filmed at the invitation of camp guards five days after Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday July 21, which committed Zanu-PF and the two MDCs to negotiate a power-sharing agreement seeking to end the continuing violence.

One of the men on the film says the reason he is so opposed to the MDC gaining power is that he fears he will be punished for the campaign of terror in which he participated.

Located in a rural primary school near the capital Harare, the camp is run by a man who boasts on film of maiming and killing MDC supporters.

“Some we aim to cut off their limbs, some we remove their [sex] organs,” the man says.
“The MDC will never rule this country.”

The camera focuses on a man cowering as a group of Zanu-PF assailants brandishing machetes and clubs pulled him by his clothes and stamped on him.

Meanwhile, an MDC official circulated a statement of his own on Wednesday. He said although some militia camps were breaking up and dispersing of their own accord, no admission of their existence had ever come from Zanu-PF, in the first place.

“No order has gone out from anywhere to tell the police to arrest people who have been implicated in political violence,” he said. “The police seem willing, in some cases, to do the right thing but are hesitant without clear orders.

“The army still has not been removed from the rural areas. Sure, they are no longer playing such a visible role, but they are still there; still quietly threatening, still perpetuating fear.

“One can almost feel the JOC commanders plotting daily - trying to come up with a plan so that they will not have to relinquish their power. From everywhere come the whispers of their persistent, obstinate stance that there is no way they will serve under Morgan Tsvangirai.”

Last week, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights assisted MDC supporters in Manicaland by filing an urgent High Court application against self-proclaimed war veterans who were terrorising them in Nyanga North.

The following document details Zanu-PF militia bases reported to be operational after Monday, July 21 2008.

Download report

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DA warns against blanket amnesty for Mugabe

      by Own Correspondent Thursday 07 August 2008

JOHANNESBURG - Any political settlement to the Zimbabwean crisis should not
include a blanket amnesty for President Robert Mugabe and his supporters
implicated in violence and gross human rights abuses in the run-up to the
June 29 presidential run-off election, a South African opposition party
warned on Wednesday.

"While the Democratic Alliance (DA) supports any initiative to restore
democracy and the observance of the rule of law in Harare, we warn of the
danger of settling for an amnesty process without full disclosure," party
foreign affairs spokesperson Tony Leon said in a statement.

Political violence that followed Zimbabwean opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC)'s shock victory in presidential and parliamentary
elections last March is said to have killed at least 120 opposition
supporters and displaced 200 000 others.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who defeated Mugabe in the March 29 election
but failed to secure the margin to take power, withdrew from a June 27
run-off poll saying widespread violence against his supporters made a free
and fair vote impossible.

Ruling ZANU PF party militia and some members of the army have been accused
of committing most of the violence against MDC supporters. But Mugabe, who
went ahead with the presidential run-off election despite Tsvangirai's
withdrawal, has accused the opposition of carrying out violence and blaming
it on ZANU PF.

"To suggest that the injustices of Robert Mugabe's eight year plunder of
Zimbabwe - including the gross violation of human rights, the use of
political violence against opponents and crippling the country's economy -
should be swept under the carpet is to ignore the intolerable pain inflicted
by his repressive regime on the people of Zimbabwe.

"Any solution to Zimbabwe's political impasse must also offer justice to the
people of Zimbabwe," the statement said.

The DA urged South African President Thabo Mbeki, the chief mediator in the
Zimbabwean crisis, to take a leaf from the shortcomings of his own country's
Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which showed that an amnesty
process could end up dividing a nation if not managed carefully.

"South Africa will recall from some of the imperfections of the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that an amnesty process which is not based
on the principle of 'knowledge and acknowledgement' can divide a nation
further," Leon said, adding that any solution to the Zimbabwe crisis must
take into account the damage Mugabe and his acolytes have done to the
country so as to achieve national healing.

After the demise of Apartheid in 1994 the Nelson Mandela-led South African
government instituted a court-like body known as the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission to uncover the truth about past abuse, using
amnesty as a mechanism to forgive and forget, rather than to punish past

Seen by many as a crucial component of the transition to full and free
democracy in South Africa, most analysts felt the TRC had failed to achieve
reconciliation between the black and white communities arguing that justice
was a prerequisite for reconciliation rather than an alternative to it, and
that the TRC had been weighted in favour of the perpetrators of abuse. -

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Zim fuel deal collapses over pricing

      by Cuthbert Nzou Thursday 07 August 2008

HARARE - Negotiations between the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM)
and two international petroleum companies to supply fuel to the country have
collapsed over pricing, sources told ZimOnline.

Sources in the oil industry said NOCZIM was about to clinch a fuel deal with
Independent Petroleum Group of Kuwait and BP Shell of South Africa, but it
fell through after NOCZIM insisted that the landing rate be US$0,60 a litre.

"Negotiations collapsed. The two international companies were adamant that
the cost of landing must be between US$0,70 and US$0,90 a litre if they were
to make profit, but government was adamant that it should be US$0,60" said a
sources, who declined to be named.

As a result, the source added, the two companies opted out of the deal
forcing NOCZIM to look for other alternative sources of fuel, including
Equatorial Guinea.

Last year, a high-powered government delegation went to Equatorial Guinea to
hunt for fuel. The team was headed by Energy and Power Development minister
Mike Nyambuya, and included Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono.

Government has been on the hunt for fuel in Equatorial Guinea and Libya in
recent months.

In the past, President Robert Mugabe's government obtained but failed to pay
for fuel from Kuwait, Libya and other countries resulting in supplies being
stopped. Efforts to secure fuel from Iran, Sudan, and Angola also failed
because of Harare's poor payment record.

The country has been without adequate fuel since 1999 due to lack of foreign
currency and the severing of lines of credit by foreign banks and
international money-lenders.

Zimbabwe cannot get lines of credit due to its poor credit rating and high
political risk.

Zimbabwe consumes 3,5 million litres of diesel, three million litres of
petrol and five million litres of Jet A1 daily. The country needs about
US$130 million a month to import fuel.

In March, government came up with a plan to use diamonds illicitly mined
from Marange in Manicaland province in exchange for fuel from Equatorial

The two countries developed strong diplomatic and trade relations after the
arrest in 2004 in Harare of alleged mercenaries led by Simon Mann who were
purportedly en route to Equatorial Guinea to overthrow that country's

Zimbabwe received fuel worth US$24 million from Equatorial Guinea which it
was unable to pay for, resulting in the government coming up with three
options to settle the debt.

The options were: sourcing the fuel through the purchase and sale of
diamonds; NOCZIM supporting the Minerals and Marketing Corporation of
Zimbabwe with financial resources to mop up diamonds for resale; and the
state-run oil procurement company going into diamond mining.

While the energy ministry was in support of the first option, the central
bank opposed it saying the process was flawed.

In turn, the RBZ said it could come up with a debt settlement agreement with
the West African nation "rather than be part of an illegal process".

It was reported recently that government was negotiating with a Libyan bank
for a fuel line of credit, but the deal was said to be far from being sealed
after the financial institution demanded guarantees for loan repayments.

The National Economic Recovery Council reportedly recommended the use of
diamonds, beef or tobacco to back up the line of credit.

Efforts to get a comment from NOCZIM chief executive officer Zvinechimwe
Churu were in vain yesterday as he was reportedly out of his office. -

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MDC protests appointment of councillors

August 7, 2008

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO- Ignatius Chombo, the minister of local government, has provoked
anger among the ranks of MDC after he appointed three councillors into the
Masvingo City Council whom the opposition consider to be Zanu-PF supporters.

According to the amended Urban Councils Act, the minister has to appoint not
more than a third of the elected councillors into councils to represent
special interest groups.

Masvingo City Council has ten elected councillors. Yesterday, Chombo added
three more to make a total of 13 councillors.

Former Masvingo town clerk Tsunga Mhangami bounced back as an unelected
councillor while former councillor Fabian Mabaya was also brought back.

Chombo also appointed as councillor the losing Zanu-PF candidate for Ward 8,
Namatirai Elgy.

The MDC, which dominates the council, yesterday criticised the appointments
saying the three appointed councillors represented Zanu-PF, not special
interest groups.

Noel Mutisi, an MDC official, said Chombo should have waited for the outcome
of the SADC- mediated talks before appointing the councillors.

Said Mutisi: "Firstly, it has to be recognised that legally we do not have a
cabinet because all ministers ceased to be ministers following the
presidential election.

"For Chombo to appoint anyone this time means that Zanu-PF is not
negotiating in good faith (in Pretoria). We also want to know which interest
groups the three represent because to us Chombo only appointed Zanu-PF
sympathisers and not deserving people".

The Masvingo City Council has nine MDC councillors while Zanu-PF now has
four, including the appointed ones.

Meanwhile, the newly-elected Masvingo MDC mayor Femias Chakabuda was
yesterday officially installed as mayor.

However, Chakabuda faces a disciplinary hearing within the his party, the
MDC, following complaints by party supporters that he defected to the ruling
party during the run-up to the June 27 presidential election, which MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted.

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Refusing to relinquish power: Losing ZANU-PF councilors in Zaka District
image Flashback: Zaka District, at Jerera Growth Point, is where a number of MDC supporters fwere burnt to death in June

Losing ZANU-PF councilors in Zaka District, the same councilors who have joined ZANU-PF militia in violence, are refusing to give up power

Zaka--A report has come in from Zaka in the south East of the country that the violence continues there. On top of this all MDC supporters were ordered to the ZANU PF "terror bases" to be told that all the losing MP's and councillors from ZANU PF would still remain in charge of council affairs. This is despite the fact that the newly elected councils which are dominated by MDC have already been sworn in.

Throughout the country 73% of the councillors who were elected in the March 29th elections were MDC.

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SW Radio Africa Interview

August 6, 2008

Petina Gappah Brian Raftopoulos Munyaradzi Gwisai

HOT SEAT INTERVIEW: Journalist Violet Gonda interviews politician Munyaradzi Gwisai, lawyer and writer Petina Gappah and political commentator Prof Brian Raftopoulos.

Broadcast: August 1, 2008

Violet Gonda: We welcome on the programme Hot Seat, Petina Gappah a Zimbabwean writer and lawyer based in Geneva, Munyaradzi Gwisai a leader with the International Socialist Organisation and the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Social Forum and Professor Brian Raftopoulos a political commentator and Director of Research for the Solidarity Peace Trust. Welcome to you all.

All: Thank you.

Gonda: Let me start with Petina, can you give us your general thoughts on how you are seeing the situation in Zimbabwe and the talks that are ongoing between the political parties.

Petina Gappah: Well, Violet it is very difficult to actually come to any conclusions based on what we read in the press because I think that the press in Zimbabwe – the journalists in Zimbabwe have been grossly irresponsible in the way that they have reported on the ongoing negotiations.

Gonda: But is it the press that is to blame here or the political parties who have put this ban, this media blackout which has been very difficult for journalists to find what is happening with the talks?

Gappah: Well I blame both the politicians and the journalists. I don’t really think there is a media ban, I think what we have seen is a lot of spinning. There has been a lot of spinning by the political parties, there has been a lot of spinning by the mediator and I think it is absolutely disgraceful that journalists have failed to penetrate this web of spin and they have actually added even more spin themselves, depending on which particular side they happen to support. So it is very difficult to actually tell what is going on because nobody is really giving us any real information.

Gonda: You wrote an article entitled: ‘If Journalism is history’s first draft then Zimbabwe is in trouble,’ what were you concerned about in particular?

Gappah: Well, Violet I was really concerned about the extent to which speculation and rumour has become news especially for our web-based websites and the extent to which journalists seem to rely on anonymous sources and anonymous political analysts and they spice it up with a little bit of their own thinking. To the point that you wonder if what you are reading is actually news or reporting fiction – something invented by the journalist. And I am just really concerned that the press really served the Zimbabwean public quite badly in this last week and it has been happening for some time but this last week highlighted just how badly we have been served by the press.

Gonda: Munyaradzi what are your thoughts on this, and before you answer, can I add my thoughts – personally as a journalist I am finding it very difficult to cover the talks in South Africa. When you call ZANU PF, ZANU PF doesn’t talk. When you call the MDC it is now behaving like ZANU PF – you can’t even get a comment from the MDC. So that is a problem we are facing with the political parties. Munyaradzi what are your thoughts on this?

Munyaradzi Gwisai: Yes, we can only agree with you in terms of the civic society. We have now done about two meetings in the last couple of weeks - where we are extremely worried and frightened by what is happening in Pretoria, as Petina has said. Clearly the country is now at crossroads. The Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono made it clear that the country is standing on its last leg – if not the last toe – and yet the politicians have decided to sit together and slice the country amongst themselves at the exclusion of everyone else. So this is a very worrying situation.

That is our own view from civic society. That the exclusive talks that are being done cannot and will not be a resolution of the crisis in this country, which requires involvement of all stakeholders in terms of political, economic, civic and other players. So this is a very worrying situation that we are facing and we really have to stand up and demand our space and rights in this process.

Gonda: Professor Raftopoulos, you are there in South Africa. What are your thoughts on what’s been happening because on the other hand some say, some kind of a media blackout is necessary for the political parties to get some headway. How do you see things?

Raftopoulos: There has been a very strict media blackout on the talks so I really sympathise with journalists trying to get information because there is very little coming out. I think what should have been happening is that the mediators should have had a spokesperson who was at least keeping the Zimbabwean public in touch with the major processes underway. I think it is highly problematic that we will only know what’s happened once the deal is signed. I think there should have been a way of keeping Zimbabweans in touch – if not in all the details but at least with the general details or lack of progress in the talks. I think that really was the responsibility of the facilitator himself.

Gonda: And what about the conflicting reports we have been receiving from, mainly, the MDC? The Tsvangirai MDC spokesperson George Sibotshiwe said talks are deadlocked, but then we heard from Mr Tsvangirai saying he is fairly satisfied with the progress of the talks. What do you read into that?

Raftopoulos: We all knew from the beginning there was going to be major challenges – particularly around the type of government that would come into play, the role of Mugabe himself, the role of Tsvangirai. So we knew these were major problems and I think it is not surprising that there are periods of blockage and decline. But I don’t think this will stop the talks. I think the talks will continue. I think there is a lot of pressure to get some kind of agreement. I think it is going to be a messy compromise but I suspect that by next week this time we may have some kind of agreement facing Zimbabweans.

Gonda: Munyaradzi what are your thoughts on how the MDC has been handling things at the talks, are you happy with the way things are going where the MDC is concerned?

Gwisai: Not at all. As I have said they are the ones who really have been done up in this sense. The governing regime here – ZANU PF – clearly the March 29th election showed to what extent it has lost its popular appeal and obviously Mbeki’s mediation has been a mess, has been discredited. But the MDC allowing itself to be – that is the MDC Tsvangirai in particular – allowing themselves to be dislocated and be removed from their natural allies in civic society, in labour, in churches, the youth and so forth means they are going into these talks with naïve illusions about what is possible.

I hear what Brian is saying – the pressure for reaching an agreement and so forth – but it is also quite likely that given the arrogance, the intransigence of the regime in Harare that despite the economic collapse there might still be serious difficulties and problems with government keeping its position that they have said are non-negotiable.

So my real worry is the MDC is going into these negotiations without a plan B, without preparations and without mobilisation of its allies as we have seen in other crisis situations. Whereas the Mugabe regime has made clear its preparedness and ability to go for broke if need be - through what we have seen with Bacossi and so forth. The MDC requires a united front but they are allowing themselves to go alone and that to me bodes very ill for a people centred deal coming out of this.

Gonda: So do you think it is too late for the MDC to initiate this plan B and bring on board the civil society and other stakeholders?

Gwisai: No we don’t think it’s too late. In fact as civic society we have met under the auspices of the group that met under the people’s convention and we have made our position very clear. That we believe that these talks must be inclusive and we believe that whatever comes out of them, must result in a Transitional Authority that will ensure bread and butter concerns - because people are suffering, and also a people driven constitution. And we have made it clear that we are stakeholders in this country and we are mobilising our forces in the next couple of weeks for us to be heard and we hope that the MDC will rethink and be able to come back just like they did on 11 March last year, and just like what we have been doing in the last 10 years to come back and work together. And we hope that elites in the MDC especially business elites and other such elites will in fact not scupper those possibilities in favour of a compromised deal with ZANU PF, that does not deliver for the people of Zimbabwe.

Gonda: Petina do you agree that the MDC has gone into these talks without a plan B?

Petina: You know Violet I agree with both Munyaradzi and Brian on this. I agree with Brian that the MDC faced tremendous challenges and really beyond actually going into the negotiating process there was really not much they could do. So as a show of good faith I think it was important that they engage in the process. At the same time there is nothing in the MoU that says all the issues covered by that framework have to be decided within the next two weeks. I think this is the fallacy that we really should penetrate to its essence because there is nothing that prevents the parties, for instance from saying ‘yes, we agree on a new constitution and we take that constitution making process out of the negotiation process and put it to the people and we involve people and we engage civil society in coming up with a new constitution. SO I don’t really see that there is necessarily a conflict between the MDC engaging in these negotiations and also the participation of civil society. It is simply a question of what then happens, what sort of deal they agree on.

Gonda: What about the civil society’s call for a Transitional Authority – how realistic is that especially as the talks are now underway?

Gappah: This is one of the ironies of Zimbabwe. I am one of the people who would definitely agree with this Transitional Authority but we are essentially asking ZANU PF to be a participant in dismantling itself and I am really not sure how successful that particular approach will be. But certainly as a negotiating position I think that is something that the MDC should push for – backed by civil society as Munyaradzi says.

Gonda: And we have talked about the MDC not having a plan B, but what about ZANU PF? What happens to it if the talks fail because it is widely believed that Mugabe realises he needs the MDC to restart the economy?

Gappah: Well, Violet I am not a political analysts that is probably a question for Brian, but my sense of it is that I don’t think ZANU PF can survive any real democratic election. There is just no way can that it do that. It has relied so much on violence and intimidation. In a sense we are really, as I said before, we are really asking ZANU PF to be a participant in its own distraction here.

Gonda: And Prof. Can you give us your thoughts on this - I remember interviewing you on our news programme and you were saying ZANU PF is using violence to force the MDC into negotiations. But what’s its plan B if negotiations fail?

Raftopoulos: Well, I think what is likely to happen is the economy will get worse and as bad as things are they can get worse, as we have seen in other parts of the continent. Sanctions are likely to be intensified and Zimbabwe may come onto the UN agenda again. So ZANU PF simply doesn’t have a strategy to bring the country out of the economic and political crisis on their own. They very much require this negotiated settlement. Of course they could hang on for a certain period but the situation will certainly continue to deteriorate. With regards to the MDC it is clear that going into the negotiations was a correct strategy. I think they had little alternatives to do that.

In terms of plan B, I don’t think at this stage that the Zimbabwean populace and the nature of what’s happened to our society is capable of carrying out a frontal attack on the Zimbabwean State through mass action strategies. I think that will be highly problematic given the nature of the poverty in the country, the movement of people out of the country, the weakening of the central structures of the civic movement - like the trade unions. So it’s likely that plan B will be calls for international and regional pressure on the regime should the negotiations fail.

Gonda: But on the issue of the sanctions that you have just mentioned, it seems there is a growing number of people who feel that sanctions or smart sanctions are a wrong thing. What is your view on this?

Raftopoulos: Look I think that it was important for the sanctions issue to be put on the agenda it is one of the issues that certainly pushed the mediations forward - whether President Mbeki wishes to admit that or not - the threat of sanctions has been something that has had an effect in giving impetus to the discussions. Also I think that ZANU PF needs to know if they continue to spit in the face of Zimbabweans, and if the region is not able to take a stronger position then they will face greater obstacles from the broader international community. So I am not totally negative about the effects of sanctions. I think in some ways they have given an impetus to the negotiations.

Gonda: Munyaradzi do you support the sanctions?

Gwisai: No I must be quite clear on this. To assume that ZANU PF cannot survive over the next couple of months, over the next year or so I think will be a very dangerous conception of what is possible. And in fact I think when you look at what they are doing - the latest policy statement and the Bacossi activities - the reality is they will bunker in and go into a command economy, just like how countries like CUBA and North Korea and others have been able to sustain those regimes and made to sustain themselves under sanctions. And it will also massively increase repression - arguing that it is under siege from the West and the sanctions.

So yes the people of this country are going to suffer much, much more than we have ever seen if this happens. But already what we are seeing is ZANU PF preparing for that possibility if they don’t get what they want in these talks. Using the sanctions as a tool, I think, is a very dangerous approach because it simply empowers countries and forces at the global level, who would want a resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis but on their own terms. Whose own intervention in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan has not necessarily brought positive results for the ordinary people. So yes the sanctions are biting and are going to bite more.

I must point out that these talks started after 11 March (07) when in fact a united front activity of the MDC and civic society in Highfields activated action. I have no doubt that given where we are today, given the spirit of resistance we saw in the March 29th election, if the leadership and activists of the main opposition and civic society and the democrats in this country supported by working people in the region and nationally, I believe that the will and the possibility of taking on this regime is there and I think we can fight. We saw women of WOZA coming out this past week. What we now need to do is to do this together and fight for democracy and food.

Gonda: But Munyaradzi if the sanctions hadn’t been there do you think Mugabe would be at the negotiating table?

Gwisai: They might have their own effect in the sense but the negotiations that Mugabe does is then designed to respond to the pressures from the West, which could lead to an elitist view. But we must remember that long before sanctions were done in 1997, 1998, 1999 or the March 11 thing in 2007 - the action from below, the stayaways, and the general strikes created sufficient pressure to allow Mugabe in fact to accede for instance the demands for a new constitution in 2000. We also saw working class pressure in South Africa with the Chinese arms, managing to stop Mugabe from receiving for some time the arms from China-. So I believe the most powerful force and one that will ensure we have a people driven resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis is people to people action and solidarity in Zimbabwe and regionally.

Gonda: And Petina what are your views on the issue of the sanctions?

Gappah: Well, I just wanted to comment on this idea that the economy is what’s going to bring Zanu-PF down in the end. It’s a view I have heard expressed many, many times by people, you know ‘Mugabe can rig the elections but he can’t rig the economy.’ I don’t believe that for a minute because as Munyaradzi says there are ways of developing a command economy in such a way that you still manage to ‘bunker down’ and I suspect that is what we are looking at if these negotiations fail. I am not sure that the economy is going to destroy Zanu-PF for us. I think it has to be a combination of factors, it has to be a combination of pressure from the international community, pressure from within Zimbabwe and also the MDC has to try and get absolutely the best deal that it can, because I really think that beyond these negotiations there isn‘t really a lot of light at the end of this tunnel.

Gonda: And how do you think they should go around this ‘stalemate’ where we understand that they have agreed on most of the issues on the agenda but that they are stuck on the issue of who should lead this transitional phase.

Gappah: But I will go back to my first contribution in this discussion, I don’t really think it’s possible for us to comment on what’s going on, on the basis of what speculation we read in the press. And without the MDC really informing people and especially the civil society what is going on it is very difficult for us to come up here with models. Do we have an executive Prime Minister? Should Tsvangirai accept a 3rd Vice President? There are all these things that are being talked about and it’s very difficult to say what exactly should happen because we really don’t know what the models are that are being discussed.

Gonda: From a legal point of view what are your thoughts on the issue of amnesty for Mugabe because the country has been bludgeoned by a few individuals in ZANU PF? And some have said someone should answer for this. Is Justice being traded for unity here?

Gappah: You know Violet that’s a really important question and it’s something we all have to think about seriously. On the one hand you do not want people to get away with the horrific crimes that they committed, but at the same time we have seen throughout history that sometimes justice has to be traded for peace. And I really don’t know where we are going to be after next week on this. And it is actually quite striking that in the MoU itself that item is not a separate item on the agenda. You could argue that you can bring it in through the rule of law clauses but there isn’t a single item that talks about justice that talks about reconciliation. There are all these things about national healing but we really don’t know what kind of a commission or whether there is going to be any kind of truth and reconciliation at all. So this is something that again the civil society needs to pressure the MDC on, needs to pressure ZANU PF on.

And I will go back to my earlier contribution when I said that I don’t think that this process is necessarily closed to civil society. There are still issues that can be taken out to be discussed within the framework of the nation as a whole.

Gonda: Brian what are your views on amnesty for Mugabe? And also back to what Petina was saying, perhaps this is the reason the civil society should be involved in these talks and actually have some input, because how can political parties be trusted to give attention to things to do with humanitarian issues or human rights concerns?

Raftopoulos: I agree. I think the issue of transitional justice is something that the civil society groups need to be pushing and lobbying for not just now but in the near future. I don’t think they are on the negotiating table and what we are likely to see out of this current agreement is another round of immunity for human rights abusers. So we have now a long legacy of this abuse and I think it’s something that human rights organisations should take up.

I also want to come back to the question of the kind of factors that will bring about change. I agree that the economy on its own won’t be a factor. I think the economy can produce even more repressive conditions. And I think that it will be a combination of national, regional and international factors and that’s what we are seeing at play in the negotiations - precisely that combination of forces and unfortunately the weakest part of that combination is the internal social forces and that of course will affect the kind of outcome that comes out of these negotiations.

Gonda: And Munyaradzi what about the military’s role in this? It’s widely believed the military is in charge of the country - so how effective do you think these talks will be if the military is not directly involved?

Gwisai: Well, I suppose since this is part of the system that Mugabe is running whereby there is a situation that whatever is agreed there, their party is going to be in agreement in terms of consulting each other. We have heard they had their own consultative meeting and so forth. So when you look at ZANU PF now you are looking at a party that has become highly militarised and which is very difficult to distinguish between ZANU PF the political party and institutions of the State, in particular the military. So they are operating as a combined team, as a combined force.

Which goes back to my argument that no single force, no single party in the democratic political and civil movement is going to be able to take on such a force on its own. It can only be on a united front. But also that raises the issues that were also discussed by the other comrades about the issue of amnesty. I think Brian is dead right, if we leave this whole thing to politicians alone - as is the case right now - their concern is just going to be about sharing power and sharing benefits and for their own sponsors in terms of business and capitalist classes that back them.

But we are not creating a ground and a basis for a democratic society that ensures that those who perpetuate and perpetrates human rights violations are brought to justice and so forth. So whilst I would say that as part of a comprehensive holistic deal you could look at those issues but equally we demand as civil society - there are serious issues of compensation, there are serious issues of victims being given a reconciliation process in which they are able to have their matters raised and the perpetrators also showing remorse and so forth. So it has to be a holistic process before you grant that process. But ultimately at the end of the day what we require now is to put into place structures that ensure proper democratic governance in this country as well as economic justice for the poor and ordinary people in this country.

Gonda: And a final word Petina?

Gappah: I agree with everything that Munyaradzi has said. He is absolutely right.

Gonda: Brian?

Raftopoulos: Obviously the military are a key factor in the ZANU PF strategy. They are at the centre of Mugabe’s power that any agreement that comes out of there will have to have the go ahead of the military. At the same time the military are the key problem in the negotiations so it’s something of a paradox and a challenge for the current mediator.

Gonda: And Munyaradzi final word.

Gwisai: Well, all we can say is to encourage people of Zimbabwe that they came out in March - so the fight must continue. As civil society we are calling for national, regional and international protests in the next few weeks if not days. Details will be coming out. We must not give up. The time for salvation is arriving. Thank you.

Gonda: Thank you Munyaradzi Gwisai, Petina Gappah and Professor Brian Raftopoulos for taking part in the programme Hot Seat.

Comments and feedback can be emailed to

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Dabengwa says be wary of Moyo

August 7, 2008

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO - Dumiso Dabengwa, a former top Zanu-PF official and Minister of
Home Affairs has warned Zimbabweans to be wary of former Information
Minister, Jonathan Moyo in a new political dispensation.

Dabengwa one of Matabeleland's most seasoned and respected politicians and a
former Zanu-PF politburo member, said Moyo, now the independent Member of
Parliament for Tsholotsho North, was the kind of individual who could change
overnight for money.

"Moyo has proved to be a political chameleon," Dabengwa said.

It was recently reported in the Zimbabwe Times that Moyo, who worked close
to President Robert Mugabe as his spin-doctor from 2000 to 2005, had played
a central role in engineering Mugabe's violent re-election campaign in the
controversial single-candidate presidential election on June 27. Although
Moyo has denied the allegation, Dabengwa reiterated in an address at the
Bulawayo Press Club that Moyo had engineered Mugabe's campaign.

"Moyo cannot be trusted in a new political dispensation as he has, since
independence, shown that he has the political colours of a chameleon and
cannot be trusted in a new political dispensation," Dabengwa said. "He
crafted Mugabe's violent campaign for the June 27 elections.

"Moyo is such a usable person who can change overnight and can do anything
for money. He was with the MDC before the March 29 elections but later
dumped the party to craft a violent re-election for Mugabe."

In the run-up to the March 31 Moyo had appeared to be aligned to MDC leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai. The MDC therefore gave Moyo a free kick in the Tsholotsho
North parliamentary election by no nominating a candidate to challenge Moyo.
In the presidential election on the same day, Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe but
not by a large enough margin to be able to form the next government. An
election re-run was therefore declared. Tsvangirai withdrew his candidature
in the face of an orgy of violence, leaving Mugabe to win the election by
what Zanu-PF called a landslide.

Many in and out of Zimbabwe dismissed the election as a sham.

Dabengwa was a Zanu-PF politburo member until he joined former finance
minister Simba Makoni, also a member of the party's politburo, who quit the
party to launch his presidential bid a few weeks before the elections.

Makoni came a distant third in the March 29 presidential election.
Thereafter Dabengwa realigned himself behind the mainstream MDC led by

Dabengwa revealed that before the elections, Moyo had approached him with a
proposal that he challenge Mugabe in the presidential polls. He said he had
dismissed his proposal.

"Moyo was a government critic before 2000 but was lured with money and he
joined Zanu-PF during the constitutional referendum period," said Dabengwa.
While the government- sponsored constitution was rejected in a referendum,
Mugabe still rewarded Moyo with the post of information minister.

A professor of political science, Moyo was sacked from Zanu-PF and the
government after he stood as independent in the 2005 general elections. He
won the seat in Tsholotsho, which he regained this year after the MDC
decided not to challenge him in the constituency.

Last month, Moyo told journalists at the Quill Club in Harare that he did
not rule out the prospect of rejoining Zanu-PF, arguing that it was his
democratic right to join any political grouping of his choice. He also said
that Mugabe was the ideal candidate to lead a government of national unity.

His statement appeared to lend credence to claims that he was angling for a
return into a Zanu-PF government as a sequel to the crucial role he
allegedly played in Mugabe's controversial re-election.

During his tenure as information minister, Moyo influenced the
implementation of draconian legislation while the independent newspapers,
including The Daily News, became targets of his campaign against a free

Dabengwa disclosed that while he had not formally left Zanu-PF; he was no
longer attending the party's politburo and central committees meetings
because he did not agree with some of the issues discussed there, such as
the use of violence to win elections, he said.

"There is no statement which was issued to say that I have been fired from
Zanu-PF," said Dabengwa. "I just don't attend Zanu-F politburo and central
committee meetings because of the trivial agenda of these meetings, like
inciting violence to win elections."

The former Home Affairs Minister also said he advised Tsvangirai to agree to
proposals for the formation of a government of national unity with Mugabe as
the MDC leader did not have much political experience.

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AIDS victims pay price of Zimbabwe turmoil


HARARE (AFP) - HIV-positive widow Lilian Butau sits on a rickety stool on
the veranda of her home in Harare's Mbare township, chewing on a small piece
of calcium-rich rock, the only thing she has had to eat all day.

While many are going hungry in crisis-wracked Zimbabwe, Butau's case is more
disturbing in that she is both struggling to get food and has also been
unable to take life-prolonging antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for the last four

Butau -- who is blind, unemployed and has four children to look after -- is
entitled to free ARVs under a government-sponsored scheme, but when she last
went for new supplies, she was told the hospital had run out.

"I am taking this as a vitamin supplement. It's all I can afford," says
Butau, showing an AFP reporter a piece of rock believed to be rich in
calcium and widely licked by pregnant women in Zimbabwe.

The 45-year-old is just one of the many silent victims of Zimbabwe's
political and economic turmoil which has devastated the health sector.

She had been a beneficiary of food aid from a Harare-based aid agency until
last month when NGOs were ordered to suspend their operations after being
accused by government of meddling in politics ahead of an election.

Although the government says it has since issued an exemption for those
involved in HIV/AIDS and supplementary feeding schemes, the word does not
seem to have filtered through to those on the ground.

"Yes there was initially a directive that all NGOs must stop operating, but
we stepped in and said all those involved in HIV/AIDS should not be stoppped
because of the delicate nature of their work," David Parirenyatwa,
Zimbabwe's health minister, told AFP.

Parirenyatwa admitted the directive had had an adverse impact, but said
authorities were working to rectify it.

"It has had a ripple effect which we need to correct urgently.

"I am hoping that the disruption was not long. We fear not only relapses,
but also an emergence of resistance."

Despite the minister's comments, Fambai Ngirande, spokesman for the National
Association of Non-governmental Organisations, says field workers still face

"Some (NGOs) have tried going back to the field, but workers have not been
free to move with truckloads of food and get stopped at roadblocks and asked
for a clearance letter, which they would not possess," said Ngirande.

Douglas Muzanenhamo, who works with Butau as a counsellor for HIV sufferers,
struggled to suppress his anger at the impact of the original order.

"They have killed people," said Muzanenhamo who was until recently
coordinating a feeding scheme for orphans of AIDS victims.

"One of the children in my (feeding) programme died recently. It's

Despite the economic turmoil which has enveloped Zimbabwe since the turn of
the decade, the government's record on combating AIDS has won plaudits.

Officials representing Zimbabwe at the world AIDS conference in Mexico City
will be able to point to an HIV prevalency rate which now stands at 15.6
percent of the adult population, having dropped from 31 percent in 2000.

Some 110,000 patients are recipients of free ARVs under a programme which
began in 2004 and which ultimately aims to cater for 300,000.

"We want very well that those on ARVs should continue. We will not allow to
stock in some areas and not in others," said Parirenyatwa.

Parirenyatwa also denied there were any ARVs supply problems.

"All of our people on ARVs are able to access them for the next three

Infected 23 years ago, Butau's greatest concern is that while she has lived
this long with the virus, the stress of the past few months could accelerate
her demise.

"I get so stressed the moment I start thinking about my status that I lose
sleep," she said, her lips white from the stone she has been chewing.

"If we are going to die, it is going to be from hunger and stress."

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Child Health Days reach Zimbabwe's children and mothers at a critical time

UNICEF calls for the immediate lifting of the NGO ban

HARARE, 6 August 2008- Zimbabwe's national biannual Child Health Days kicked
off on Monday, with the aims of providing the country's two million children
(under-five) with essential Vitamin A supplementation and  catch-up
immunization,  and of providing communities with life-saving information on
nutrition and breastfeeding practices.

 "The nationwide campaigns are important life-saving, low-cost and
high-impact support towards reducing child illnesses and deaths in
 Zimbabwe," said UNICEF's Acting Country Representative in Zimbabwe, Roeland
Monasch. "The days are an essential boost to a health system under great
stress and children made vulnerable by declining social services."

The Child Health Days (CHDs) are led by the Ministry of Health and Child
Welfare in partnership with UNICEF, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and
Helen Keller International. Past child health drives have demonstrated that
this campaign method is highly successful. During the campaigns, UNICEF
adequately funds social mobilization and provides health staff and
volunteers with allowances and additional transport is provided for outreach

The week-long US$ 1million campaign is supported by essential funding from
the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), Canada's
International Development Agency (CIDA) and UNICEF's National Committee of
the Netherlands.

During the campaign health workers and volunteers conduct outreach
activities to schools, community centres and mobile clinics across the
country. Children, even those in hard to reach areas, are immunised against
tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B,
haemophilus influenza and polio.

UNICEF's Regional Director Per Engebak, who was in Zimbabwe last week,
reaffirmed that Child Health Days are pivotal for the well-being of
Zimbabwean children. The agency, however, expressed serious concerns about
the impact on children of the current ban prohibiting non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) from operating in communities. The ban, imposed on the
4th of June, has now been in effect for over two months.

"We applaud and are committed to efforts such as the Child Health Campaign,
but we cannot forget that a growing number of children are suffering daily
because of the NGO ban," said Mr. Engebak. "Every day that such an important
lifeline of humanitarian aid for children remains cut off, puts the children
of this country at ever greater risk."

Recent child health campaigns have boosted vitamin A coverage from less than
10 per cent in 2005 to over 80 per cent today. Overall immunization
coverage, which had dropped by almost 50 per cent, has once again reached 70
per cent. The campaign in November 2007 reached 81per cent of the country's
children with polio vaccination and 80 per cent with Vitamin A

The child health days are part of the country's ongoing efforts to eliminate
vaccine preventable diseases, maintain high vitamin A coverage and improve
child survival across the country.

UNICEF continues to provide support to the Zimbabwe Expanded programme on
Immunisation (ZEPI) in the procurement of vaccines for immunisation, cold
chain equipment for vaccine storage and technical support to the health

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China Key Arms Supplier to Human Rights Abusers

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 6 (IPS) - As China tries to boost its international
image, playing host to a summer Olympic games, the government in Beijing is
being singled out as a key arms supplier to some of the world's worst human
rights abusers, according to a new study released here.

Although China controls only 2 percent of the global arms market, Beijing's
impact "is measured less by the value of its sales than by the character of
its clients," says William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security
Initiative at the New America Foundation. A brief by the Washington-based
non-profit public policy institute, released Wednesday, points out that
China is currently "an arms supplier of last resort for dictators and human
rights abusers", including Sudan, Zimbabwe and Myanmar (Burma).

"China's domestic policies have come under much-deserved scrutiny in the
run-up to the Olympics," noted Hartung, author of the study, who says
Beijing's clients include politically repressive regimes.

"We shouldn't forget that the Chinese government's most egregious act has
been its role as an enabler of mass murder in Darfur," he said.

Without Chinese support, he argued, the ability of the Sudanese government
and its allies to kill, maim, and intimidate the people of Darfur would be
greatly diminished.

Asked whether Western nations are equally guilty in their arms sales
policies, Hartung told IPS that major suppliers like the United States,
Britain and France all supply dictatorships and human rights abusers.

But he pointed out that China's markets include the few repressive regimes
that these major exporters have chosen not to supply.

For example, in the case of the U.S., 17 of its 25 largest recipients of
weapons in the developing world in 2007 were designated as major human
rights abusers or undemocratic regimes by its own State Department.

"Under various laws and political commitments [not formal treaties], major
suppliers are committed to limiting sales to regions of conflict and major
human rights abusers," according to Hartung.

But in practice, he said, these rules are violated more often than they are
observed, generally on grounds of "national interest", which could mean
anything from exporting to major oil producing countries to supporting
nations in "strategic locations".

In order to address the hypocrisy of current arms export rules, such as they
are, Amnesty International, Oxfam, and scores of other groups are promoting
the concept of a global Arms Trade Treaty that would make these loose
promises to avoid arming dictators and human rights abusers into formal
legal commitments, he added.

In a statement released Wednesday, Human Rights First and the Save Darfur
Coalition said the International Criminal Court's (ICC) recent efforts to
charge Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir with genocide puts the world's
governments on notice that war crimes may well be occurring in Darfur.

Countries such as China and Russia are bound by the Genocide Convention to
take all possible action -- including immediately suspending arms sales to
Sudan -- the two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) said.

At a meeting of the Security Council last week, Chinese Ambassador Wang
Guangya spoke against the recent ICC indictment of Al-Bashir on charges of
genocide in Darfur. "China supports the reasonable request by the African
Union and other organisations for the Security Council to take early action
to suspend the indictment of the Sudanese leader by the ICC, in accordance
with the relevant provisions" of the Rome Statute that created the ICC.

Under Article 16 of the Rome Statute, the 15-member Security Council has the
power to suspend any indictment of Al-Bashir -- under a "deferral of
investigation and prosecution" clause.

Hartung said that China has been the most egregious violator of the global
arms embargo on Sudan, providing everything from guns and ammunition to arms
manufacturing facilities.

Since 2004, the vast majority of Sudan's small arms and light weapons have
come from China -- and many of them have found their way into the hands of
the notorious Janjaweed militias in Darfur.

The arming of Sudan is "just the most damning example of a Chinese policy
that has resulted in major weapons exports to repressive regimes in Zimbabwe
and Myanmar, as well as sales of missile technology to Iran and Pakistan,"
Hartung said.

China is essentially "bartering arms and political support for access to
Sudan's oil resources," Hartung explains.

China has also sold combat aircraft to Myanmar, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, as well
as air--to-air missiles to Sudan.

Asked to detail some of the Chinese weapons sales, Hartung told IPS that
shipments to Myanmar include 12 F-7 fighter aircraft; 40 PLA-2A short- range
air-to-air missiles; 40 PLA-2B short-range air-to-air missiles; and 12 K-8
aircraft, which can be used for training or for combat.

The arms shipments to Sudan include 3 A-5C Fantan fighter/ground attack
aircraft and 12 K-8 trainer/combat aircraft, along with 10 Type-85 IIAP
tanks and 10 WZ-551 armoured personnel carriers.

The sales to Zimbabwe include 12 K-8 trainer/combat aircraft, plus small
arms and ammunition.

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Zuma's long, dangerous walk to state house


by Mutumwa Mawere Thursday 07 August 2008

OPINION: "Long Walk to Freedom" is an autobiographical work written by
South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela, and published in 1995. It is
a story of the audacity of hope that describes his early life, coming of
age, education, 27 years in prison, his political ascension, and his belief
that the struggle against poverty and political inclusivity continues in the
post-apartheid order.

The road to freedom was closed to persons of colour during the
colonial/apartheid eras and yet for many would be candidates for political
office in post-colonial Africa, the road remains closed with the state
increasingly being manipulated to be the biggest and most lethal enemy of

In trying to better understand the construction of post-colonial
Africa, one is often reminded that the values, principles and beliefs that
informed the creation of an exclusive colonial race-based constitutional
democratic order are no different from those that drive the post-colonial

The state house in post-colonial Africa ought to be a house of the
people. The resident of the peoples' house must necessarily be an agent of
the people if democracy has to have a meaning.

The role of the state cannot, therefore, be more than the
administration of the people's agenda.

Who should qualify to be the first citizen in a democratic order? How
should the incumbent be selected? Whose agenda should he/she be pursuing?
What should be the role of the state?

In a constitutional democracy, any citizen as defined in the
constitution should be eligible to qualify for the office of president. Such
a citizen must come from the people through a credible and transparent

The state itself as an institution is a foreign construct in many
developing countries. Its foundation has to be located in the colonial
system that had as its cornerstone the values and worldview of a settler
community that had originated from so-called civilised societies.

The relationship between the settlers and the colonial state was
understood as was the role of the state. The alienation of the majority of
the citizens was justified on the grounds that natives could conceivably
have no interest in a constitutional democratic order.

The struggle for independence was, therefore, informed by the
interests of political elites to connect them to the state so as to
influence their affairs.

The charge against the colonial state was ably led by intellectuals
seeking to assert their civil rights. Intellectuals played and continue to
play an inspirational and leadership role in Africa.

It has been generally accepted although not written in any
constitution that a political leader must have some knowledge about how to
advance the interests of the citizens in a democratic order.

The transition from the colonial to a post-colonial order saw African
agitators assume positions in the state that they had been fighting hard to
destroy and undermine. When they took office, some of the intellectuals had
no clue about how to organise a successful and vibrant post-colonial state.

To a large extent it was always understood that the control of the
state would assist in alleviating poverty. It is evident that no serious
attention was paid to understanding the complex interplay between the
colonial state and the market system.

The colonial state was as successful as the settlers wanted it to be
rather than as a benign consequence of the whims of the imperial power. It
cannot be denied that the colonial settlers were good at building
institutions to serve their interests.

After 52 years of uhuru, Africa's youngest child, South Africa, at 14
years of age is already exhibiting classic symptoms of the African political
and succession disease. The transition from the apartheid state to the
Mandela regime was seamless and inclusive.

The transformation of the atmosphere of fear that characterised the
transition to a hopeful one was instrumental in building confidence that has
allowed whites to continue to earn income, a portion of which has been used
to help in the alleviation of poverty through taxes.

Thabo Mbeki, an intellectual, took over from Mandela having been his
deputy and it was widely hoped that the baton of power would also be
seamlessly passed on. His deputy, Jacob Zuma, occupied the number two spot
in both the government and the party until things went fundamentally wrong
in 2005.

What was expected to be a smooth and pleasant walk to state house has
been a tortuous and dangerous one.

Zuma has navigated carefully and purposefully through the landmines of
corruption and rape charges since his dismissal as deputy to Mbeki in the
state. Against all odds, he was elected in December 2007 as president of the
African National Congress (ANC) party and the next in line to be the state

Who would have thought that while Mandela is still alive, the ANC
would be found wanting on the leadership, values and principles debate?

Zuma genuinely believes that he has been unfairly treated by a state
whose legitimacy derives from the party that he now leads and yet he finds
himself helpless. Instead of relying on the state to advance the interests
of the party as is customary in post-colonial Africa, Zuma finds himself at
the receiving end of a system that emerged from the womb of oppression.

If Mandela by describing his journey from apartheid/colonialism to
post-apartheid as a freedom journey then he obviously had no idea that a
party that has given him a home is capable of doing worse things than
apartheid to those like Zuma who have the audacity to seek residency in the

The ANC under Zuma's leadership has been reduced to resorting to mass
action rather than using the organs of state to correct what they feel to be
abuses of state power by their own product, Mbeki.

Since June 2005, Zuma through his lawyers has thrown everything into
ensuring he does not stand trial or that, if he does, the amount of evidence
against him is limited. He has been put on the defensive while claiming to
be a victim of conspiracy.

Rightly or wrongly he has claimed all manner of dirty tricks on the
part of the state - from political persecution to seizing privileged
documents to obtain an inside track into his defence - while failing to
expose the "conspiracy" against him.

As expected, last week, the Constitutional Court (CC) rejected his
appeal against the Supreme Court of Appeal's decision to allow the state to
use 93 000 documents it had seized in the August 2005 raids on his homes and
offices and those of his lawyer, Michael Hulley.

The CC also rejected his appeal against the SCA's ratification of a
Durban High Court decision to allow the state to secure evidence against him
from Mauritius, including the encrypted fax allegedly soliciting a bribe of
R1 million for him from co-accused Thint.

What the CC has managed to do is to put pressure on Zuma to use the
courts to challenge the corruption allegations rather than giving the
impression that he has something to hide. By carefully managing Zuma, Mbeki
may achieve what he could not at Polokwane to ensure that Zuma will never
call the state house his home.

Mbeki's opinion on Zuma's presidency is already known and yet the
party that gives both of them legitimacy is of the opinion that Zuma should
be the next resident of the state house.

While Mbeki's view may have legal substance, an absurd outcome seems
to be emerging where the general consensus in the party and possibly in the
country if ANC were to be returned to power as expected is that
notwithstanding the corruption allegations, Zuma must be the head of state.

The manner in which Zuma has been treated by the state raises key
constitutional and legal questions that will continue to haunt the Republic.

The role of the courts particularly the CC in the contestation for
power will continue to be a subject of debate in years to come but what is
significant is that the ultimate jury and fountain of political power, the
people, hold different views from their servants in the state.

The ruling by the CC opens the way for the state to present nearly all
the evidence it has amassed against Zuma in an unprecedented five years of
investigation which has split the ruling party and led to the country's
biggest political crisis since the end of apartheid in 1994.

The ANC has already voted to disband the police unit that headed the

The mixed message from Zuma that he wants his day in court while using
all instruments within the law to ensure that the day will never arrive
while Mbeki is at the helm of the state may serve to undermine the position
of the party regarding his innocence.

Zuma's walk to state house is pregnant with lessons that much more
work needs to be done to realise the objectives of the liberation struggle.

Mbeki and Zuma have succeeded in exposing how fragile and perishable
the constitutional democratic order is.

A better understanding of the role of the state and the responsibility
of citizens to invest in the kind of society they want to see is critically
important in driving the transformation and nation building agendas. -

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