by Fanuel Jongwe 1 hour, 3 minutes ago
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's spokesman Thursday called
reports of a deal in power-sharing talks "nonsense", but both he and South
Africa said negotiations over the country's crisis were advancing.
A day after Zimbabwe's two rival parties issued a joint statement calling on
supporters to halt violence, Mugabe's spokesman dismissed speculation that
an accord was imminent.
"All this talk about an agreement that has supposed to have been reached,
which is being reported, is utter nonsense," George Charamba told AFP,
saying Mugabe had asked him to relay the message.
"The talks are going on well, and the people of Zimbabwe shall be informed
in due course once an agreement has been reached."
Earlier on Thursday, a South African government spokesman refused to comment
on details of the talks being mediated by President Thabo Mbeki, saying only
they were moving ahead.
"The government as mediator won't give details except to say that the
negotiations are progressing extremely well," Themba Maseko told reporters.
Power-sharing talks following Mugabe's controversial re-election began in
South Africa after Zimbabwe's political rivals signed an accord on July 21
laying the groundwork for negotiations.
The deal set a two-week timeframe for discussions to be concluded, but
meetings have extended beyond that deadline.
Talks had broken up on July 29 as negotiators flew home to consult with
their leaders amid suggestions by the opposition that discussions on
power-sharing between Mugabe and rival Morgan Tsvangirai were deadlocked.
They resumed on Sunday at a secret location in South Africa.
A South African newspaper reported on Wednesday that Mugabe would have
amnesty from prosecution and a ceremonial role in government under what it
called a draft settlement to resolve the crisis.
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Tsvangirai would run
Zimbabwe as executive prime minister under the plan, The Star reported,
saying it had obtained a copy of the draft.
The paper also reported that Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, leader
of a smaller faction of the MDC, would hold a meeting in Harare later
Mutambara spokesman Edwin Mushoriwa told AFP the three would meet soon, but
likely not Thursday.
Officials from the main MDC faction refused comment on Thursday.
Tsvangirai boycotted the June 27 presidential run-off election despite
finishing ahead of Mugabe in the March first round, citing rising violence
against his supporters that had killed dozens and injured thousands.
The 84-year-old Mugabe defied widespread calls to postpone the vote and went
ahead with the one-man poll, handing himself a sixth term as president.
The rival parties issued a joint statement Wednesday calling on their
supporters to halt all political violence in a sign that the power-sharing
talks may have moved closer to an agreement.
Mushoriwa said the joint statement was agreed upon as part of the
discussions, which include Mutambara's MDC faction.
Tsvangirai believes his first-round total gives him the right to the lion's
share of power, but sources in his party said previously that Mugabe's
negotiators had so far only offered him one of several vice-presidential
The ruling party has insisted Mugabe must be recognised as president as part
of any deal, since he won the June 27 vote.
Aug 7, 2008, 16:34 GMT
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's government quashed reports that President Robert
Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai were to meet Thursday to
discuss the details of a power-sharing government, amid reports a
face-to-face meeting is in the offing.
Responding to a report in a South African newspaper that the two leaders
planned to meet Thursday. George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman said: 'I'm not
aware of any meeting which Robert Mugabe was scheduled to have today. The
president spent the day feeding chickens at his Norton farm.'
A spokesman for Tsvangirai, George Sibotshiwe, also said he was unaware of
any meeting Thursday, while adding South African President Thabo Mbeki had
been trying to organize a meeting this week.
Mugabe's Zanu-PF and two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) - the majority faction led by Tsvangirai and a breakaway faction led
by Arthur Mutambara - have been holding talks since July 24 in South Africa
on the formation of a unity government.
Mbeki is the Southern African Development Community's appointed mediator in
Zimbabwe. An MDC source told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa Mbeki was expected
to travel to the country at the weekend.
The African Union has proposed a powersharing government as a solution to
the political crisis in Zimbabwe, made worse by Mugabe's claim of victory in
a presidential run-off election in June that Tsvangirai boycotted.
The power-sharing talks resumed on Sunday after being suspended for six days
last week amid disagreement over who should head the next government -
Mugabe or Tsvangirai.
The MDC and the West is pushing for Tsvangirai to be made executive prime
minister on the basis that he defeated Mugabe in the first round of voting
for president in March.
Despite last week's hiatus, both sides, and South Africa, have expressed
satisfaction at progress made in the talks.
On Wednesday, in a sign the parties were edging towards agreement, their
negotiators issued a joint statement condemning political violence and
describing it as 'attributable' to both camps.
The MDC claims that more than 100 of its supporters were killed by
Mugabe-loyal militia and soldiers after March 29 general elections the party
The statement, which fulfills one of the conditions in the July 21
memorandum of understanding that kickstarted the unity talks, comes amid
separate claims by the MDC of fresh attacks on its supporters by Zanu-PF
The MDC said Mkululi Ncube, 28, and Rogers Nyoni, 70, were attacked in
Filabusi in Matebeleland South region on Wednesday.
Ncube suffered deep cuts in the head and a fractured leg and Nyoni received
arm injuries, the MDC said.
MDC sources claimed the MDC started the violence but that their supporters
PRETORIA, Aug 7 (AFP)
South Africa's government said Thursday power-sharing talks aimed at
resolving Zimbabwe's political crisis were "progressing extremely well."
"The government as mediator won't give details except to say that the
negotiations are progressing extremely well," government spokesman Themba
Maseko told reporters during a post-cabinet briefing.
He refused further comment on the talks.
South African President Thabo Mbeki has been mediating the power-sharing
talks between Zimbabwe's ruling and opposition parties following President
Robert Mugabe's re-election in a June vote widely dismissed as a farce.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
boycotted the June 27 presidential run-off, leaving Mugabe as the only
Tsvangirai announced he was withdrawing from the poll five days ahead of the
election, citing rising violence against his supporters that had killed
dozens and injured thousands.
The MDC leader finished ahead of the 84-year-old Mugabe in the March first
round of the election, but with an official vote total short of an outright
The rival parties issued a joint statement Wednesday calling on their
supporters to halt all political violence in a sign that the power-sharing
talks may have moved closer to an agreement.
Negotiations followed a July 21 deal signed by the two sides laying out the
framework for discussions.
A newspaper reported Thursday that senior members of Zimbabwe's security
forces have travelled to South Africa to meet mediators in the talks.
Members of Zimbabwe's Joint Operations Command, a powerful body that
includes President Robert Mugabe's top security chiefs, met with two South
African government officials mediating the negotiations, The Star reported.
Mbeki spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said he was unaware of the meeting.
for a deal
An agreement is expected to be signed in the next few days between both factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the ruling ZANU-PF party, which has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980.
The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 21 July, which paved the way for talks and committed the negotiators to a news blackout. However, speaking on condition of anonymity, a negotiator said: "We are just dotting the i's and crossing the t's. We should be forming a government in which we will be sharing power within the next few days."
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main MDC faction, is expected to return to Zimbabwe from South Africa, where the talks were conducted, on 8 August; Thabo Mbeki, appointed as mediator by the Southern African Development Community, is expected to arrive in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, the following day for the signing ceremony. If the power-sharing parameters were concluded in time, the agreement could be signed on 8 August.
We have agreed to adopt a
system which is almost similar to the French model, in which both the president
and the prime minister wield a lot of power
"We have agreed to adopt a system which is almost similar to the French model, in which both the president and the prime minister wield a lot of power," the negotiator said.
The power-sharing deal was expected to last for five years, after which internationally supervised elections would be held. He said despite public posturing and claims that there were serious differences on the formation of a power-sharing government, the opposite was true.
"Generally, we have been agreed on many issues, and that is why we have almost completed the talks in a short time. Everybody involved in the talks acknowledges that the people have suffered for too long as a result of the political and economic hardships caused by the political stalemate."
Amnesty for all
Mugabe had demanded that all people implicated in politically motivated crimes, himself included, be exempted from any trials, although the MDC believed there should be some form of accountability, a senior ZANU-PF official told IRIN.
Mugabe and his government have been implicated in Operation Gukurahundi (The rain that washes away the chaff before the spring rain) in 1983 - also known as the Matabeleland Massacres - when the North Korean-trained 5th Brigade was the vanguard unit in a campaign against alleged dissidents. At least 20,000 people were killed in the operation.
Operation Murambatsvina in 2005 - also known as Operation Restore Order, and officially described as a slum clearance programme - left more than 700,000 people homeless after houses and shacks were bulldozed. United Nations Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka, after visiting Zimbabwe, said the operation had breached both national and international human rights law.
The talks have gained so much
momentum that it would almost be impossible to abort them. All parties have
increased the number of negotiators and technical committees, while support
staff have been flown in [to South Africa] to prepare for the signing ceremony
expected by Saturday
"The talks have gained so much momentum that it would almost be impossible to abort them," the ZANU-PF official said. "All parties have increased the number of negotiators and technical committees, while support staff have been flown in [to South Africa] to prepare for the signing ceremony expected by Saturday. As ZANU-PF we have started inviting guests who should attend the ceremony where the power-sharing deal will be signed."
The negotiator said two key security ministries, defence and intelligence, were deemed "non-negotiable" by security chiefs, who are believed to have influenced Mugabe to cling to power after he lost the first round of voting.
"The MDC responded by saying home affairs, which controls the police and justice, were 'non-negotiable', as they wanted to safeguard themselves from possible unfair treatment before the justice delivery system," the negotiator said.
"That is why very few people are surprised by reports that the homicide section of the country's largest police station in Harare was bombed over the weekend." No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the blast destroyed the records of investigations into the recent political violence.
ZANU-PF has offered the opposition the ministries of finance and trade; the opposition declined the offer but were interested in the local government and foreign affairs portfolios.
"The MDC felt ZANU-PF needed to clean up the mess that it had created by running down the economy. Local government was preferable, as the MDC now controls most of the local authorities and it would give them influence to consolidate its presence countrywide."
Under ZANU-PF rule the economy has gone into meltdown, with the official annual inflation rate estimated at 2.2 million percent - although independent economists believe it could reach 50 million percent by the end of August - and unemployment is estimated at more than 80 percent, with shortages of food, electricity, water and fuel commonplace.
Civil society unhappy
However, civic society organisations warned that the power-sharing deal could be rejected by the electorate, as a transitional authority was preferred, with a shorter timeframe before elections would be held.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association said in a statement: "We humbly suggest that the outcome of the ongoing talks should lead to the setting up of a transitional authority, headed by nonpartisan technocrats mandated to come up with a people-driven constitution, as well as create an environment conducive to the holding of truly free and fair elections within a period of not more than two years."
McDonald Lewanika, the spokesperson for Crisis in Zimbabwe, a coalition of 350 civic organisations, said 'quick fixes' were not a solution to Zimbabwe's crisis.
"We reiterate our calls for the establishment of a transitional authority with a specific mandate of taking Zimbabwe to a lasting democracy, as opposed to a power-sharing Government of National Unity (GNU)," he said.
A Government of National Unity
is a stopgap measure which gives the ruling ZANU-PF party breathing space before
reverting back to its war path on the opposition supporters
"The transitional authority must run the state for a period not exceeding 18 months before going into fresh elections, to be held under a new constitution and supervised by regional and international observers."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Sydney Morning Herald
Sebastien Berger and Peta Thornycroft in Johannesburg
August 8, 2008
ZIMBABWE'S opposing sides were expected to meet yesterday to discuss a
possible deal that could leave the President, Robert Mugabe, in charge of
key institutions, including the army.
Under a 50-page draft agreement, Mr Mugabe would become a ceremonial
president, with the Opposition Leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, as prime minister
and head of government until new elections were held. In this form, the deal
could vindicate the insistence of the South African President, Thabo Mbeki,
on solving Zimbabwe's impasse through quiet diplomacy.
Zimbabwe's rival parties issued a joint statement on Wednesday calling on
their supporters to halt all political violence - a possible sign that they
were close to agreement.
However, a Western diplomat described the plan, which effectively amounts to
creating a government of national unity, as a "shocking outcome" that failed
to heed the will of the people as expressed in the first round of the
presidential election on March 29, which Mr Tsvangirai won. Observers said
it could leave key institutions, including the army and central bank, under
Mr Mugabe's control.
The worst outcome for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change would be
to join a government in which it ended up marginalised and powerless, while
allowing Mr Mugabe to claim legitimacy and receive international support.
"Unless Tsvangirai has real executive power then the whole thing will break
down almost immediately," said a constitutional lawyer in Harare. "There is
no mechanism for this transition to be policed, so who will Tsvangirai
appeal to if ZANU-PF break out of the deal once they have got their hands on
some international finance?"
Under the draft agreement, as reported in The Star, a Johannesburg daily,
ZANU-PF would control the defence ministry, while the MDC would run home
affairs, which includes police and prisons.
Other key ministries, including finance, land and justice, would go to
independents - although finding such people may be impossible.
The Joint Operations Command, the group of generals that wields ultimate
power, would be made answerable to a national security council chaired by Mr
A constitutional amendment would be required to implement the agreement and
Mr Mugabe would have to appoint Mr Tsvangirai to the Senate for him to
become prime minister.
In theory, this would be a transitional government leading to new elections,
which the MDC wants in two years and ZANU-PF wants to postpone for five.
Foreign aid has been promised if there were reforms in Zimbabwe, where
inflation officially runs at 2.2 million per cent. A senior Western diplomat
said: "We will look at the deal. If it reflects the will of the people as of
March 29, then fine; if not, then nothing will change."
A senior opposition MP said: "Unless home affairs, justice and the Reserve
Bank are out of ZANU-PF hands, there can be no deal that the people can
The agreement would give all those guilty of political violence, from Mr
Mugabe to his loyal thugs, a blanket amnesty.
As news of the deal circulated, the parties issued a joint statement vowing
"to eliminate all forms of violence".
Agence France-Presse; Telegraph, London
From The Star (SA), 7 August
Basildon Peta and special correspondent
Members of Zimbabwe's feared Joint Operations Command - the junta that has
effectively been running Zimbabwe - were in Pretoria to meet with President
Thabo Mbeki's emissaries to the Zimbabwe dialogue, it has been established.
Led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the JOC consists of the heads of Zimbabwe's
security agencies who have been the biggest stumbling blocks to all efforts
to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis because of their own fears over their
destinies in any post-Mugabe dispensation. Sources said the JOC members had
met this week with Local Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi and
presidential legal adviser Mojanku Gumbi, who are part of Mbeki's mediation
team in the Zimbabwe dialogue. It was not clear why the JOC had made the
sudden trip while negotiations were under way. The Star understands that the
JOC members, who are deeply worried about prospects of future prosecutions
as they have allegedly been responsible for the state-inspired violence
against the opposition, wanted to ensure that their interests are catered
for in any agreement reached in the talks. The JOC is said to have been
fiercely opposed to any deal that would demote President Robert Mugabe to a
ceremonial role and give executive powers to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The collapse of the first round of the talks, after Tsvangirai had been
offered the less influential post of third vice-president, was directly
attributed to the JOC. But with the economy in free-fall and the need for a
realistic compromise deal having become imperative, the JOC had been forced
to relent, hence the sudden visit to Pretoria to seek guarantees of its
members' future as it looks increasingly likely that Tsvangirai will walk
away with an executive post in any agreement to be reached in the talks.
Meanwhile, police officers have been made main suspects in a bomb explosion
which rocked Harare's main police station last Saturday. The motive of the
blast has largely remained a mystery. Although police have flatly refused to
give information on the investigations, The Star understands that at least
two officers have been arrested in connection with the bombings and are
under interrogation by police and the country's secret service, the Central
Intelligence Organisation. One bomb exploded in the offices housing the
Criminal Investigations Department, while two failed to detonate. A senior
police officer close to the investigations told The Star yesterday that what
has made the whole issue strange is that two officers have already been
arrested, although they have not made any headway in the probe. "It is a
bizarre investigation, because suddenly police were ordered to arrest two
young officers in a development which has left many in the force baffled,"
said the senior officer, whose offices are in the same complex which was
bombed. "It appears they just want to arrest the officers and force them
into some kind of an unknown confession."
Meanwhile, the ruling Zanu PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change
issued a joint statement yesterday, calling on their supporters to halt all
political violence. Five days into their investigation police are keeping
mum on how a controversial Zimbabwean politician came into possession of a
R1,4-million Mercedes-Benz, allegedly South African state-owned, writes Alex
Eliseev. Asked yesterday whether the ownership of the bullet-proof vehicle
had been established, police spokesperson Captain Julia Claassen was only
willing to say: "We're investigating that." A senior source in the police is
adamant the Mercedes-Benz - in the possession of Justine Chiota - is not
registered to the VIP protection unit. But two independent sources ran the
car's number plates and engine numbers through the relevant databases and
said they pointed to the specialised VIP fleet. Last night, police declined
to give any insight into the case of suspected stolen property under
investigation by Sandton police.
SW Radio Africa (London)
7 August 2008
Posted to the web 7 August 2008
South African President Thabo Mbeki was expected to meet Zimbabwean
political leaders in Harare on Thursday and the red carpet was rolled out
for him, but it was rolled up again when Mbeki did not show. Reports now say
he is expected at the weekend.
Iden Wetherell, the projects editor of the Zimbabwean Independent and
Standard newspapers, said Mbeki's non arrival indicates that not everything
is entirely in place, and wants to be satisfied that there is sufficient
consensus. Other reports say the South African leader is waiting for the
negotiators to brief their principals. The negotiators for the political
parties were heading back to Zimbabwe late Thursday.
And so the confusion over the talks continues - parties are sworn to
secrecy, and journalists have the difficult task of putting together pieces
of information, that may or may not be true, that are 'leaked.'
Zimbabwe is in a fragile situation, politically and economically, and the
lack of information over these critical talks is potentially very dangerous.
A report doing the rounds claims to be a draft settlement, making Mugabe
ceremonial President with Tsvangirai in the position of executive Prime
Minister. It also states that those involved in the campaign of violence
will have full immunity from prosecution.
But analysts are highly sceptical about the authenticity of this 'draft'
saying Mugabe is unlikely to accept the role of ceremonial president. They
also doubt that the opposition parties would call for a blanket amnesty on
perpetrators of violence. One senior MDC official, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said: "It's a difficult one to sell to our supporters and even to
some of us. The amnesty issue is not even an agenda item in the MoU."
The main bone of contention at the talks remains the same - the positions of
power - and this is the major stumbling block.
Meanwhile, it is understood that the negotiators had separate bilateral
talks with South Africa's chief facilitator, Minister Sydney Mufamadi. These
discussions also included other South African officials.
Sources say negotiators for the Tsvangirai MDC - Tendai Biti, Elton
Mangoma - plus their support negotiators Lovemore Moyo, Teresa Makone,
Elphas Mukonoweshuro, Innocent Chagonda - met the SA officials on Wednesday
Negotiators for the Mutambara MDC - Welshman Ncube, Priscilla Misihairabwi
Mushonga - plus their support negotiators Miriam Mashaya, Moses Mzila
Ndlovu, Romaldo Mavedzenge, Josphat Tshuma - reportedly met the SA officials
later on Wednesday.
ZANU PF negotiators, Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche, met Mufamadi on
Thursday morning. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the head of the notorious Joint
Operations Command, was present at this meeting and so were John Nkomo,
Sydney Sekeremayi, Oppah Muchinguri and Stan Mudenge. This was the first
time that the ZANU PF had brought in their additional negotiators.
Speculation is rife that Mnangagwa's presence is in order to discuss the
attitude of the state's security forces to the talks.
It is not known what transpired during the bilateral talks but it is
believed the South Africans wanted to talk to the parties individually to
hear their private thoughts on the progress. Sources say the negotiators
were heading back to Zimbabwe to brief their individual principals.
But it remains a mystery as to why Zimbabweans are denied any real facts
about these crucial discussions, that will have such an impact on their
SW Radio Africa (London)
7 August 2008
Posted to the web 7 August 2008
Jawet Kazangarare, a notorious war veteran accused of stabbing to death MDC
activist Tapiwa Mubwanda, continues his reign of terror in the Hurungwe
District of Mashonaland West, despite the ongoing power sharing talks.
In April this year Kazangarare killed Mubwanda, a prison guard who supported
the MDC, and with the help of 300 Zanu PF militia displaced many hundreds of
people in the area. With levels of violence subsiding and displaced
villagers trying to come back to their abandoned homes, Kazangarare is said
to be demanding payment in the form of cattle, goats and chickens before he
allows them back. Those who refuse to make the payments are being subjected
to further violence and intimidation.
Because of food shortages in the country Zanu PF militia are relying on food
confiscated from the victims of their violence.
Despite being briefly detained by police Kazangarare, who is still a serving
soldier, was released on the orders of Zanu PF senator Rueben Murumahoko and
former Zanu PF governor Peter Chanetsa. Newsreel spoke to Gift Konjana the
MDC Secretary for Mashonaland West who confirmed that violence in the area
continued. Five families that had camped in Harare after fleeing violence in
the area attempted to go back home a few days ago, only to come back saying
nothing had changed.
Further up north in Kariba in the Musambakaruma area, reports of continued
violence are also still being received. Although most torture bases in the
area have been dismantled, Zanu PF thugs are said to be gathering in large
numbers at pre-arranged times before unleashing violence on suspected
opposition supporters. Other reports from the Zaka area of Masvingo suggest
violence is also continuing. MDC supporters are being forced to go to Zanu
PF torture bases and told that despite Zanu PF candidates losing in
parliamentary and council elections, the MDC would not be allowed to run
anything in the area. MDC councils have already been sworn in the area but
this has not deterred Zanu PF intimidation.
The South African Council of Churches has meanwhile said if violence in the
country is not curbed it could undermine the legitimacy of any agreement
between Zanu PF and the MDC. The groups President, Tinyiko Maluleke, said a
political agreement served no use if ordinary people 'are living in the
midst of death.' The council said it was alarmed at the frequent reports of
atrocities, including the hacking off of opponent's limbs. 'Zimbabweans are
suffering, they are dying and Robert Mugabe's government has the primary
responsibility to act immediately and decisively to halt the violence,'
ZANU-PF militia violence, despite the imminent signing of a GNU deal,
continues unabated across parts of Zimbabwe, esp. here in Mash. West
Harare -- In May this year when Mugabe and ZANU-PF first unleashed the
ZANU-PF militia on the populace during the infamous Operation Mavhotera Papi,
Tipiwa Mubwanda, a Zimbabwe Prison Services (ZPS) guard, was killed. Mubwanda, a father of two, accused of being not only a member but an activist
of the MDC, was savagely attacked one night. His assailants, tortured and
stabbed him on the chest multiple times with whetted knives. He died of profuse
loss of blood. Mubwanda was attacked in Hurungwe North, here in Mashonaland West province.
His assailants were Jawet Kazangarare and Pvt. Peter Madamombe, a militia of the
Zanu-PF and soldier of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) respectively. Police took no action against these two murderers and their other
accomplices. Upto now, Kazangarare and the ZANU-PF militia unit he leads, have
continued their campaign of terror on the purported suporters and activists of
the MDC. Immitating Col. Mzilikazi and Cmdr. Joseph Chinotimba who are operating in
Manicaland Province, Kazangarare has led his units without regard of the
political situation in the country. The GNU talks between the MDC and ZANU-PF
hasn't made him stop his reign of terror. Recently, Kazangarare, now calling himself 'commander kaz,' was briefly
detained by the Mashonaland West provincial police, but was immediately released
at the intervetion of ZANU-PF senator Rueben Murumahoko and
former Zanu PF governor Peter Chanetsa. His release by the police has seen Cmdr. Kaz resume his reign of terror in
the area. With levels of violence subsiding and displaced villagers trying to
come back to their abandoned homes, Kazangarare is said to be demanding ransom
from the poor villagers. As payment for their safe return to their homes, Cmdr.
Kazangare demands live cattle, goats, chickens, pigs and anything else edible.
Failure to pay Cmdr. Kazangarare and his ZANU-PF militia units results in one
being refused returning to their homes, tortured as sell outs or assaulted. Drought has hit most parts of the country, including Hurungwe. Like a true
guerrilla army, the ZANU-PF milia units are living off the land, stealing food
from the villagers, commandeering food supplies from MDC supporters and through
general banditry.-- Harare Tribune Field Report
ZANU-PF militia violence, despite the imminent signing of a GNU deal, continues unabated across parts of Zimbabwe, esp. here in Mash. West
Harare -- In May this year when Mugabe and ZANU-PF first unleashed the ZANU-PF militia on the populace during the infamous Operation Mavhotera Papi, Tipiwa Mubwanda, a Zimbabwe Prison Services (ZPS) guard, was killed.
Mubwanda, a father of two, accused of being not only a member but an activist of the MDC, was savagely attacked one night. His assailants, tortured and stabbed him on the chest multiple times with whetted knives. He died of profuse loss of blood.
Mubwanda was attacked in Hurungwe North, here in Mashonaland West province. His assailants were Jawet Kazangarare and Pvt. Peter Madamombe, a militia of the Zanu-PF and soldier of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) respectively.
Police took no action against these two murderers and their other accomplices. Upto now, Kazangarare and the ZANU-PF militia unit he leads, have continued their campaign of terror on the purported suporters and activists of the MDC.
Immitating Col. Mzilikazi and Cmdr. Joseph Chinotimba who are operating in Manicaland Province, Kazangarare has led his units without regard of the political situation in the country. The GNU talks between the MDC and ZANU-PF hasn't made him stop his reign of terror.
Recently, Kazangarare, now calling himself 'commander kaz,' was briefly detained by the Mashonaland West provincial police, but was immediately released at the intervetion of ZANU-PF senator Rueben Murumahoko and former Zanu PF governor Peter Chanetsa.
His release by the police has seen Cmdr. Kaz resume his reign of terror in the area. With levels of violence subsiding and displaced villagers trying to come back to their abandoned homes, Kazangarare is said to be demanding ransom from the poor villagers. As payment for their safe return to their homes, Cmdr. Kazangare demands live cattle, goats, chickens, pigs and anything else edible.
Failure to pay Cmdr. Kazangarare and his ZANU-PF militia units results in one being refused returning to their homes, tortured as sell outs or assaulted.
Drought has hit most parts of the country, including Hurungwe. Like a true guerrilla army, the ZANU-PF milia units are living off the land, stealing food from the villagers, commandeering food supplies from MDC supporters and through general banditry.-- Harare Tribune Field Report
August 07 2008 at 02:34PM
Johannesburg - Violence in Zimbabwe might undermine the legitimacy of
any agreement between the two parties may reach unless curbed, the SA
Council of Churches said.
"While encouraged by the increasing signs that the talks might soon
lead to agreement, we are concerned about reports of persistently high
levels of violence in that country. It could undermine the legitimacy of any
political settlement reached," said SACC president Tinyiko Maluleke.
The council was pleased that Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change had at last managed to come to the negotiating table.
"But of what use is a political agreement when the people are living
in the midst of death."
The council said it was especially alarmed by increasingly frequent
reports of atrocities, including the hacking off of opponents' limbs. They
urged leaders on both sides to appeal for peace and tolerance.
"Zimbabweans are suffering, they are dying and Robert Mugabe's
government has the primary responsibility to act immediately and decisively
to halt the violence," Maluleke said. - Sapa
Mashonaland West Situation Report 06 -08-08
Persecution of MDC supporters still continues but on a smaller scale. In
Kazangarare area, near the town of Karoi Malberiegn Kauchivenga, a 53 year
old MDC supporter was seriously assaulted by Jawet Kazangarare on 25 June
2008. The victim had approached Kazangarare at his homestead claiming money
for a goat allegedly forcefully taken from him by the perpetrator as a form
of punishment and sign to show that he had repented from being an MDC
supporter. Kazangarare was detained briefly by the Zimbabwe Republic Police
in Karoi but was later released for reasons still unclear. Rueben
Marumahoko, Senator for Hurungwe, and Peter Chanetsa, previous governor of
Mashonaland West and now MP for Hurungwe North were seen entering Karoi
police station shortly after Kazangarare's arrest and ordering his release.
The police complied despite the many crimes he has committed.
The notorious Jawet Kazangarare, a "war veteran" is known in Mashonaland
West for spearheading the murder of Tapiwa Mubwanda, a MDC activist murdered
in cold blood on the 12th of April 2008, and for organizing and leading the
violent persecution of MDC supporters and accused sympathizers. Returning
residents, who had been displaced when the violence peaked, are being forced
to pay cattle, goats and chickens by Jawet Kazangarare for them to be
readmitted into the community. Those who are failing to do so are being
subjected to further violence and intimidation and the threat of being
permanently chased away from their homes and livelihoods. Confiscated
animals and grain are the major source of food for the unemployed Zanu PF
youth and "war veterans".
In Musambakaruma area reports of continued violence are being received.
Cosmetically, torture bases in the area have hurriedly been dismantled in
recent weeks but the perpetrators have now resorted to a "new" strategy. It
is reported that they gather up in large numbers after a short, prior
arrangement and descend on unsuspecting victims, unleashing an orgy of
violent beatings and arson.
The remaining provinces have reported that violence has died down but that
distribution of food aid and maize meal from the Grain Marketing Board (the
only source of the staple food) is still being controlled by ZANU PF
councilors and chiefs who are denying any known MDC supporters access to the
The violence experienced in the province of Mashonaland West has displaced
close to 100 MDC supporters with many being left homeless as their houses
and property burnt or destroyed. Three known deaths of MDC activists have
been reported and many more injured.
There is a distinct lack of $100 billion notes available: in Bulawayo there
appear to be almost none and in Harare very few, this is corroborated by the
fact that these notes are not being dispensed from automatic tellers or from
the main withdrawals at the banks.
Inside word is that Gideon Gono is taking all these high denomination notes
(nobody has yet seen the high currency new notes) and he is buying as much
gold as possible. Rumours and speculation are rife that he is preparing the
ground for himself and the upper echelon to do a runner.
Everyone knew that there was new currency in the wings planned to be
launched at some point. It was widely believed in 2007 that the currency was
set to be released to coincide with the 2008 March 29th elections. It was
understood that the let's smokescreen the economic situation Zanu campaign
strategy was to ensure that a loaf of bread would cost just $1 just before
elections. However, it is believed that the strategists did not expect the
run-on inflation and their timing was way out, so the launch planned for
March was scuppered.
The cash withdrawal limit that has been creating anger among Zimbabweans
could not be increased because previously the Reserve Bank simply did not
have the notes available - this was exacerbated by the Giesecke & Devrient
refusal to supply paper for notes. So Gono was therefore forced to mount the
new monetary launch last week, increase withdrawal limits and re-introduce
coins in order to prevent wide-scale rioting. This honeymoon will NOT last.
This entry was written by Still Here on Thursday, August 7th, 2008 at 11:55
Now that cash is in the system again, buying forex on the streets is in
On 4 August the street rate for buying South African Rands rocketed to
25billion ($2.50). Previously the street rate remained significantly lower
than the RTGS rate because nobody had available cash to buy. But the gap
between the two rates is closing.
The Zimbabwe dollar cash situation will dry up again fairly soon and with
that it is expected that the RTGS rate will go up again. Some unscrupulous
business people are cashing in on the market: they are buying at street rate
and then selling at RTGS rate, or they are buying fuel at street rate for
cash and selling the fuel at RTGS rate.
The effect of all this is the fuelling of free-fall inflation.
This entry was written by Still Here on Thursday, August 7th, 2008 at 4:01
BULAWAYO, August 7 2008 - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's coin mint
plant in Bulawayo which had stopped operating following the loss of coin
value, is now fully operational after the Central Bank lopped off ten zeros
and redenominated the currency last week.
The coin manufacturing plant was constructed at a cost of $500 million
and commissioned by President Robert Mugabe in 2001. Zimbabwe has not been
using coins since November 2004. Sources at the coin mint plant in Bulawayo
told Radio VOP on Thursday that production of coins at the plant has resumed
in earnest following the reintroduction of coins by the Central Bank last
week. "We started producing coins in March this year. The plant had been
lying idle since 2004' said a worker at the bank who refused to be named for
fear of victimisation. The worker said previous attempts to mint for
regional countries has not been successful due to a shortage of copper and
silver, critical components in the manufacture of the coins.
Presenting his Mid-term Monetary Policy Statement on Wednesday last
week, RBZ Governor Gideon Gono re-introduced 10, 20, 25, 50cent, $1 , $2, as
well as $5 coins.
The government endorses a whole new way of paying for what we want
Roll up, roll up, for a grand auction here in Harare this coming Friday.
Leading auctioneers Hammer and Tongues are putting cars and other valuable
goods up for knock-down sale. And the official currency for the event is the
This new purchasing phenomenon has the blessing of the government. It has
been advertised on television here, with the slogans: "Homegrown solutions
for Zimbabweans!" and "Now we are selling in litres, not dollars."
Under the system proposed by the auctioneers, potential purchasers will have
to put down a deposit of 1,000 litres of fuel coupons before they can make
their bids. At the current prices that amount of coupons is worth about
$US1,500. The balance will be paid - again in coupons - when the sale goes
But that auction is not the only aspect of life in Zimbabwe which is being
run on the barter system..
Workers in private businesses and state departments are also being paid, at
least in part, in essential food stuffs, while in their dealings with the
public many companies are accepting monetary payment only in US dollars - a
practice that remains illegal.
Private schools, currently sending out invoices to parents, are quoting
their fees in petrol coupons. One school I know of is asking for petrol
coupons to the value of a hundred litres per term. These the school
authorities will exchange for hard currency on the black market.
For a while, then, the petrol coupon may seem to be helping stabilise
commercial life here. But not for long. Already the value of a coupon is
beginning to soar. And it becomes clear again to the meanest intelligence
that such stop-gap and off-the-cuff moves will do nothing to salvage our
Posted on Thursday, 07 August 2008 at 19:08
Photo: Antony Kaminju/IRIN
to print notes
Without enough money to buy even a loaf of bread for his two school-going children, he borrowed a pick and a shovel from a neighbour and rushed to a nearby informal garbage site.
"I used to work as a till operator for a local shop owner who gave me coins to throw away because they had become useless. I followed his instructions ... Now that they [the coins] are back in circulation, I have something to smile about," Mapuranga told IRIN.
Coins last used in 2001 were brought back into circulation on 1 August. Gideon Gono, governor of the RBZ, has introduced new coins as well as new notes to replace the old bearer cheques, from which and 10 zeroes were removed.
On the first day Mapuranga dug up enough coins to transform himself into a "trillionaire" in the old currency. "I found about nine trillion dollars [Z$9,000 in the new currency, about US$60] on the first day of my secret treasure hunt, and half of that the following day, but the 'gold mine' is drying up now," said Mapuranga, whose windfall amounted to more than a quarter of a school teacher's monthly salary.
I have been struggling to put money on the table
for years, but in the past four days the sun has been shining brightly through
my window, thanks to the return of the coins
Shops and informal traders sometimes refuse to accept his coins because they are too blackened with dirt, but that does not worry him because he can still go to the bank and exchange them for new notes.
These days, Mapuranga can afford basic commodities like sugar, washing soap and maize-meal, and even manage to have a drink with friends at the local liquor shop.
"I have been struggling to put money on the table for years, but in the past four days the sun has been shining brightly through my window, thanks to the return of the coins," he said. "I can now give my children money to spend at school and I have even managed to pay up the top fees that the school was demanding."
Fortunate Kanhukamwe, 19, a housemaid who also lives in Chitungwiza, has suddenly found joy in the coins she used to use as play money to cheer up her employers' two-year-old son.
"My employers throw these coins everywhere and when they are away at work I look in every hidden corner - even madam's underwear closets - for them. They don't know it, but I have managed to gather about three times the salary they give me a month in a short space of time," Kanhukamwe told IRIN.
In her free time she searches the alleys and streets for coins, but is careful not to let her employers know, fearing they might take them away from her. "Sometimes we fight over the coins that we find in the streets, but that [the fights] is a lot of fun in these hard times."
However, there are fears that the joy brought by the reintroduction of the coins could be short-lived, and Mapuranga and Kanhukamwe admit that "We have to make as much hay as possible while the sun shines."
Innocent Makwiramiti, a Harare-based economist and past chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), told IRIN: "The coins are bringing back temporary joy. In two weeks or so they will be despised, because they would have been rendered useless by the hyperinflationary environment we are operating under."
Inflation is officially estimated at around 2.2 million percent, but independent analysts have put it as high as 15 million percent. Makwiramiti said the RBZ had been forced to reintroduce the coins because Giesecke and Devrient, the German company supplying the paper used to print notes, had decided to stop doing so in protest of the political violence in the recent elections.
Elton Mangoma, secretary for economic affairs in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said in a recent statement that "no amount of tinkering with currency denominations will address the Zimbabwean crisis", and described Gono's new measures as "the usual nonsense".
"Allowing people to scrounge for old money from their drawers will make it impossible to know how much currency is on the market," he pointed out, and this "could further push up inflation, which has now hit stratospheric levels".
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has appealed for about US$26.6 million to assist 260,100 people in need.
More than 5 million Zimbabweans will suffer food insecurity by the height of the hungry season between January and March 2009, according to a crop assessment forecast released on 18 June by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP).
"This figure [5.1 million] represents approximately 45 percent of the country's population," said Peter Lundberg, the head of the IFRC's delegation in Harare. "It gives a clear indication of how severe the situation is, and could become. We are very concerned."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
Olympics Demonstration in London - combined protest by Burmese, Sudanese,
Tibetan and Zimbabwean activists
8th August 2008
It's been confirmed that Kate Hoey, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary
Group on Zimbabwe, athlete and former Sports Minister, will be attending the
combined protest opposite the Chinese Embassy in London to mark the opening
of the Beijing Games on Friday, 8th August.
Four countries trashed by China are to stage a joint demonstration outside
the Embassy. Representatives of Burma, Sudan, Tibet and Zimbabwe will lay
flowers in mourning for the deaths of millions of victims of dictators
supported by China. 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 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 masks used were widely
shown at the Europe / Africa summit in Lisbon last December. A black coffin
will be on display representing those who have died in the liberation
struggles of these countries. Tibetans wearing gags will be representing the
216 Tibetans who have been killed in demonstrations since March this year.
The protest 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 by the Falun Gong who have been protesting in support of freedom
outside the Chinese Embassy for many years.
Contacts: Zimbabwe Vigil: Rose Benton 07970 996 003, 07932 193 467,
Dumi Tutani 07960 039 775
Burma Democratic Concern: Myo Thein 07877 882 386,
020 8493 9137
Tibet Society: Philippa Carrick 020 7272 1414
Sudan Organisation against Torture: 020 7625 8055
Venue: RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 6AD (opposite Chinese
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. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
By Eddie Cross August 7, 2008
In my last letter I said that progress was being achieved at the talks in
South Africa. My main reason for saying so was that we had not walked out of
the talks and this signalled that our core demands were being met. MDC
promptly walked out of the talks the next day!
Because of the complete embargo on what is going on at the talks we have
very little information. However there was one leak which basically said
that Zanu PF had tabled a demand that the status quo prevail, Mugabe remains
President until he finishes his 5 year term but that MDC join a Zanu PF led
government with Morgan Tsvangirai as one of three vice Presidents.
I can only assume that when they did that the MDC simply said that there was
no point in continuing with the dialogue and walked out. Mr. Mbeki was at
pains to say that the talks were going well and there was no impasse but I
think that was purely for public consumption - in fact the deadlock was not
resolved for a week and the talks only resumed on Sunday. A week was wasted
as a result and the mediators had to intervene and get the problem sorted
Clearly it was sorted out or the talks would not have resumed. Last night a
journalist on the Star newspaper in South Africa informed us that he had a
draft agreement - all 50 pages of it and that this showed what was on the
table. I have looked at the article this morning and it appears to be a
draft proposal from the mediators to both Parties.
The draft has a titular Presidency - occupied by Mugabe, an executive Prime
Minister - to be Morgan Tsvangirai, with two deputies - one from Zanu and
one from MDC. One aspect that will prove difficult is a blanket amnesty for
all who have committed human rights violations in the past. That will be a
tough call to make - especially as we have thugs still inflicting terrible
injuries on people and the State withholding food from the people - itself a
recognised crime against humanity.
The Star reports that Mbeki is traveling to Harare to hold talks with the
main principals on the draft. These talks are expected in the next day or
so - then the final draft will go to the Parties for their OK and then to
the SADC summit on the 16th August - after that I would expect Parliament to
be called and for the required legislation to be passed and the process of
These developments are totally consistent with what we have felt were the
fundamentals - the final deal may well stick in our collective gullets but
so long as the MDC takes the drivers seat and is clearly in control, we
should be able to live with it. Talks are taking place on the sidelines to
decide what will happen to the key players in the present regime. This
collection of monsters should in fact simply go from their offices to the
ICC in the Hague. Then what about corruption?
Despite the talks, the regime has still not lifted the ban of the
distribution of food aid - some 200 000 tonnes of aid are locked up in
warehouses around the country. More is stored at the Ports and still more is
at sea and due to arrive shortly. The NGO's who have been handling this vast
operation (feeding nearly 5 million people) have all been idle - staff on
full pay and doing nothing for two months. The suffering among the people is
horrific - many children and elderly are dying from hunger.
To me this is a clear crime against humanity and should be treated as such.
Goche - the Minister responsible should be told that if the ban is not
lifted immediately he would be the subject of an ICC prosecution. I am sure
that would get his attention. With the UN as one of the mediator team, this
should not be difficult.
While all of this is going on we are watching the circus in South Africa
with increasing apprehension. At the moment the spectacle of Jacob Zuma
trying to evade justice for a whole range of criminal acts, is hardly
credible. The case against him is solid, no one, not even Zuma, disputes
that - but he is using the legal system to try and delay the process until
he can get into Union Buildings and then deal with the problem from that
lofty perch. In any other democracy Mr. Zuma would not get within a 100
kilometers of the Presidents office.
Its got nothing to do with his ability or popularity - I think he might make
a good President and help unify a deeply divided country, but the charges of
corruption, racketeering and other misdemeanour mean that in ordinary
circumstances he should go to jail for a long time. That alone should
eliminate him from the position of a contender for the highest post in the
land. Instead we are faced with demonstrations outside the Courts and the
support of many key ANC leaders for the campaign to squash the charges. The
ANC is maintaining its commitment to the rule of law - but only just.
While all this is going on the Zimbabwe economy continues its downward
spiral. Inflation is running at 18 million per cent. It is difficult to
maintain any sort of understanding of what that means in the markets.
Somehow the informal sector keeps up and they seem to know, almost by
osmosis, what prices and exchange rates are doing. Many people are simply
working in US dollars or Rand. Business that relies on the local markets is
not coping and many are almost closed down.
In tandem with the rapid inflation in prices, all services are in a very
poor state. Urban roads have all but collapsed, water supplies in the urban
centers are very short and their quality dubious. Public transport is very
expensive and in short supply while all basic foods are virtually
unobtainable. Our schools and hospitals are barely functioning and hundreds
of thousands of our people are on the move to greener pastures.
The decision last week to chop another 10 zero's off our currency and to
issue a new currency was simply an act of desperation. The Reserve Bank had
run out of paper to print money and had no choice but to issue the new
notes - manufactured actually in 2006, to meet the demand for cash. They
brought back the coins - suddenly everyone was scrambling to find the coins
they had in every drawer.
I guess that will last a week and the new currency will be totally devalued
in a month. What does Gono do then? Rumor has it he has decided to
retire -not a day too soon in my book. But he better retire somewhere far
away and very quiet, because you can be sure, his recent past is going to
catch up with him.
Eddie Cross is the MDC Member of Assembly elect for Bulawayo South,and the
MDC Policy Coordinator he writes in his personal capacity.
By Jeff Miller
Posted: 08/07/08 15:09 [Submit Comment]
RAPAPORT... Police in Zimbabwe have arrested more than 9,600 diamond panners
and dealers in the country since the year began, according to a World News
Connection report. Authorities have recovered about 1,912 diamonds and
impounded 148 suspected stolen vehicles used by the dealers to illegally buy
The report suggested "diamonds worth quadrillions" of Zimbabwe dollars were
collected, but it did not provide a dollar figure of the siezed gems.
Zimbabwe's currency has fallen in value so much that it is difficult to
value against world currencies.
Authorities intensified efforts to curb diamond smuggling and mining at
Chiadzwa in the Marange area of Manicaland.
The government declared Chiadzwa a protected area and houses the Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation's diamond plant.
"We have tightened security at the diamond fields and the public should be
warned that there are 24-hour dog and horse patrols by armed officers. So we
want to warn the public that we will not hesitate to use minimum force to
apprehend any culprits," police inspector Makomeke was quoted as saying.
He also appealed to the locals not to assist dealers and panners anyone
involved in opperations faces arrest.
Additional reporting by Dialog NewsEdge.
HARARE, August 7 2008 - Prominent human rights lawyer, Andrew Makoni,
who skipped the country at the height of election violence in the run-up to
the June 27 presidential run-off, is back in Zimbabwe.
Speaking to RadioVop this week, Makoni said colleagues advised him
that the environment had changed in the wake of a negotiated settlement
between the country's main political parties.
"I had to come back at some point and I think I am ready for anything
now. My life was under threat then but I think a lot has changed now. I will
live each day as it comes," said Makoni.
Makoni, one of Zimbabwe's most prominent human rights lawyers who has
represented hundreds of opposition activists in court, fled to South Africa
two months ago after receiving tip-offs about the security officials
intention to kill him.
The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) then revealed that
several other high-profile human rights lawyers from Zimbabwe were also
Makoni's sources indicate that the secret security operatives'
strategy was to eliminate at least one prominent human rights lawyer to
deter others from defending victims of the post-election political violence.
They claim that a special team of security agents had been assigned to
the police station nearest his home to execute the assassination.
Alleged Zanu PF militia killed scores of opposition supporters in the
violence that ensued during the run up to the June 27 presidential run-off
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Date: 07 Aug 2008
MUSINA, SOUTH AFRICA, Aug. 7 (UNHCR) - For Absalom Moyo* the relief in
getting his asylum seeker permit is obvious. "It's like a dream come true,"
exclaims Moyo, who recently entered South Africa illegally, fleeing violence
in his native Zimbabwe.
"Receiving this so quickly has taken me by surprise and it has definitely
made up for the horrible experience I went through when coming to South
Africa," he says, displaying the permit he says has allowed him to relax and
not always be on his guard.
Moyo is one of hundreds of Zimbabweans to recently benefit from a Department
of Home Affairs' (DHA) initiative to process Section 22 asylum seeker
permits in Musina, just 12 kilometres away from the Beit Bridge crossing
where so many force their way through a weak link in the border fence town
to enter South Africa illegally. Previously they risked arrest or
deportation as they made their way 500 kilometres or more to Pretoria or
Johannesburg to register.
"What we saw here as increasing numbers of Zimbabweans came into the town in
need of international protection was that there was an urgent need for
improvement in access to the asylum procedures," explains Camilla Kragelund,
UNHCR Protection Officer assigned to Musina.
Just ask Moyo what a typical asylum seeker has to go through. He fled
threats to his life at the hands of Zimbabwe's Zanu PF youth in recent
weeks, only to run into more torment moments after his illegal "border
Like many Zimbabweans crossing illegally into South Africa through vast
tracts of bush, Moyo fell victim to the notorious Gumaguma gangs - groups of
marauding armed men bent on exploiting the vulnerability of their countrymen
and women. Moyo was set upon by seven Gumaguma who stripped him of what
valuables he had hidden on his person.
"They gave me some old shoes and an old maize meal sack to wear to continue
my journey to Musina," he recalls with anger and frustration. "All my money
including $57 U.S. and a few Zimbabwe dollars, gone just like that!"
Moyo's dignity was somewhat restored by a sympathetic vegetable stall owner
who took pity on him as he approached the town of Musina and gave him a pair
of trousers and a shirt. He then lay low at the Anglican Church in
Nancefield, a township some 3 kilometres outside Musina, to avoid detection,
arrest and deportation at the hands of the South African police and
immigration officers before getting his asylum seeker permit.
He was fortunate to be able to get it in Musina, though. Previously asylum
seekers entering South Africa through Beit Bridge had to go to Pretoria, 500
kilometres away, to apply for refugee status.
"That's far if you've come here with nothing and it's really far if you've
entered the country illegally and don't have any documentation at all," says
Refugees and asylum seekers traveling to Pretoria or Johannesburg have
always been at a very high and very real risk of being arrested and
deported. UNHCR has long advocated for improved and easier access to asylum
procedures in Musina, and with an increase in arrivals of Zimbabweans in
Musina, the DHA opened a refugee reception office in July this year.
"They responded remarkably quickly," says Kragelund. Four refugee reception
officers and four refugee status determination officers were recruited from
Pretoria and Johannesburg and in a matter of three working days they had
established a functional office that started processing asylum applications.
"It was impressively fast and what we've seen since then is that they can
process about 300 asylum applications per day," adds Kragelund. "It's quite
a high turn-out and they're working very efficiently."
The only concern for UNHCR at this point is that the asylum system in Musina
is being clogged by people who do not qualify for refugee status.
"There are people who have lived in Musina for a number of years who are not
refugees," says Kragelund. "They have not fled persecution, but arrived in
South Africa several years ago, seeking employment. Many don't have legal
status and they're trying to use the asylum system to legalise their stay in
Moyo considers himself one of the lucky few. Making his way to the
Nancefield Roman Catholic Church where he hopes to receive a blanket and a
food parcel, courtesy of the UN Refugee Agency, he is already planning his
"Now I need to find a piece job to make some money," he says walking
energetically to the church. "It will mean I can try and continue with my
life maybe in Johannesburg or Cape Town!"
By Pumla Rulashe in Musina, South Africa
*Name changed for protection reasons
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
email@example.com with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
POEM FOR THE DAY
"HAKA YAMUKA!!"... "The Pangolin has risen!!"
"MAKE OR BREAK SEASON".... So says Gumbo, "the foot" ready to put the final
"THE MOTHER OF ALL SEASON'S HAS JUST MISCARRIED"...declares The EU
So it's back to cents, not common sense, that's for sure!!!
From "Hero to Zero", he's done it again, Gono,
only this time he really is clutching at zeros,
Ten in all, and all for nought...
this fast track out of trillions is no cure...
but at least the money looks real and of course those coin have made a
"Haka yamuka"... "the pangolin has risen!!!"
I wonder how long that will last?
Indeed the nation is now truly scavenging....
In Dzvirasekwa I saw a family raking patiently through the grass grown
rubble of "Murambatsvina",
In the long hours since dawn they had found five by five dollar pieces, less
than one an hour,
Not enough for the day's bread, this is what we call scratching a living...
or is it?
I stopped and gave the man a cubby-hole full of gathered "wadges", now
normally saved for the ever present street kids, past my endurance to cash
in or spend. The man grinned and I drove on saddened by his joy and
gratefulness... I had just visited a friend who cares for five orphans...
crammed into two small rooms... neat and cheerful... both house and
occupants...a fridge in the corner only a few bottles of water inside, saved
to quench the thirst from interrupted supplies, a stove, spotless from lack
of use, the oven empty, no fresh baked smell here, to fill the tummies of
hungry children. Only a TV, ZBC, full mostly with vitriol, drivel or
propaganda, hardly food for the soul... fortunately punctuated by regular,
long, irregular power cuts... this last one two solid days, not even soccer
to view at the weekend!
Mostly she cooks outside, under a few sheets of corrugated asbestos, careful
to make sure the quick burning split gum is used efficiently... it costs 100
billion a meal just for the wood for one pot of sadza. She smiles and tells
me, "Life is like in the 'Bible', lived one day at a time"...truly trusting
that the Father who sees the sparrow fall will not let her down or the kids
now kicking a bundled plastic ball around the dusty street, grins and waves
everywhere, " Ona murungu" again and again as I drive off....
My heart wonders back to the days when for me the laughter and waves of
like children were a regular part of my day as I drove about my business on
the farm ... now long gone but ever a sore in my heart.... a loss I grieve
still, never quite able to pass the triggers of memory without a pang.
Still, I guess the joy I see here comes from never having, living truly in
the present, trusting in God's providence...
Yesterday I attended the 65th annual congress of the Commercial Farmer's
union, it was a sorry occasion, the President, Trevor, in a dark black suit
and white shirt tried to instil hope in a battered constituency, more like
an undertaker at the funeral of an old friend. There were quite a few there,
smiling old past presidents, doyens from a bygone era CG, Jim, John, Allan,
Andrew, Bob and Colin.
All I guess as saddened by the ongoing decline occasioned by the never
ending "Chimurenga" being waged on the country's last few white producers.
Seven straight years of decline, like Pharaoh's dream, our nightmare!!!
The questionable presence of a questionable Minister prompting still less
confidence from the gathered audience of farmers, long shattered into the
landed and the evicted, semi-evicted and the currently under "Jambanja" ,
all longing for relief. Not all with the same focus. Some wanting assurance
to go on, some to go back, others to get paid. A divided agenda by farmers,
split by the devious divide and rule tactics of a government bent on "100 %
empowerment!" Now the tactic taken to the extreme, with three ministries
each responsible for a different part of our
destruction...Agriculture...Land...and Mechanisation...open and closed doors
at the same time, serving only the interests of a lost ideology and a bunch
of people determined to reap where they have not sown, and sow where they
should not reap...with the disguise of the law. No wonder we are
scavengers!! Perhaps I can live without a farm but Zimbabwe sure as hell
can't live without farmers.... let's hope those negotiating don't forget
that... I guess we will just have to learn to trust God whilst we scavenge!!
1. Cathy Buckle
A letter from the diaspora
One week ago, Sunday July 27th. the SA Sunday Times carried a report that
Thabo Mbeki had finally told Mugabe that he had to talk to the opposition.
The report went on to quote verbatim Sydney Mafamadi's words to the
Zimbabwean 'leader'. "You don't have a government. You can't summon your
parliament. You have no legitimate president - thus you have no cabinet. You
cannot behave as you have been doing. Real talks have to start
straightaway." So, the article concluded, it was South Africa who had forced
Mugabe to enter negotiations with the opposition parties, the two MDC
parties. On the very same day, The UK Sunday Telegraph claimed that it was
Mugabe's other ally, China, who had forced the old man to 'behave himself'
because his actions were bringing the Chinese hosting of the Olympic Games
Well, who cares whether it was South Africa or China, I thought; at least
it's some kind of movement. So great is my distrust of Robert Mugabe and
Zanu PF that I had no real hope anything would come out of the talks but -
hope springs eternal! As the week went on, press reports on the progress or
lack of it at the talks between the two sides became wilder and more
confusing by the day. Were the talks on or were they off? Were the two sides
deadlocked or was there real progress being made? Was it true Tsvangirai had
been offered the crumb of the vice-presidency? With a complete media
blackout and no official spokesperson appointed to give the public the real
news, the print media was filled with speculation, rumour and often just
plain gossip. It was only on Tuesday July 29th that Mbeki himself announced
that the talks had adjourned for the negotiators to return to Zimbabwe to
consult their leaders, as indeed the MOU had made allowance for them to do.
The South Africa president insisted that the talks were going well and would
resume on Sunday, August 3rd.
Like many others I suspect, I decided early on in the week that my blood
pressure would not stand any more of the surges of hope and despair as each
contradictory report came out. Direct news from Zimbabweans at home in the
form of phone calls and emails was a much more reliable source, I decided
and the story they told was one of increasing despair as daily life becomes
more intolerable. The bloody violence continues, food is still being used as
a political weapon and the economy continues its descent into previously
unheard of depths. "Can I send you money?" I asked a friend. "No point," she
replied, "I can't get more than 100 billion out of the bank and a loaf of
bread is going for 200 billion. Any cash you send is just going straight to
And right on cue, in rode the knight in shining armour to rescue Zimbabwe
from the dragon of inflation. It was none other than Gideon Gono, the
Reserve Bank Governor, plump cheeks glowing with health and sporting a huge
buttonhole of fresh flowers. For the third time he offered the same solution
to the nation's problems: knock off the naughts! He did it in 2005; he did
it in 2006 and now he's doing it again in 2008. But this time it is a
massive ten naughts that will be removed, surely the dragon will truly be
slain this time? Ten billion is now worth just one dollar and a trillion has
become one hundred Zim dollars. Gone are the days of Zim billionaires - for
the time being anyway. And, that old jar of coins you had been saving
because you didn't know what else to do with them, now they are back as
legal tender. My friend in Murehwa laughed over the phone as he told me,
"You remember that box of coins you left, P. Well, they're real money
again!" Will they be enough to buy a loaf of bread I wondered.
In the Herald, Gono is reported as saying that he wants a six-month wage and
price freeze and it is every citizen's duty in terms of the Social Contract
to abide by the new conditions. "We will soon have no economy to talk about
if daily, hourly price increases continue." Gono is quoted as saying and he
adds almost as an afterthought that the fight against inflation will also
need increased agricultural output and reduced fiscal expenditure.
Meanwhile in a separate report the Herald tells us that the judges have all
been given new top-of-the-range Mercedes Benz, 32 inch plasma screen TVs,
(the Chief Justice and Judge President each get a 42 inch set) generators
and satellite dishes - even though other people are having their dishes torn
down. Explaining it all, the Master of the High Court, Mr Charles Nyatanga,
tells us that the judges get a new Merc every 5 years as one of their
conditions of service. As for the generators; well the poor dears, the
judges I mean, have to take their work home with them and in view of the
regular power cuts they need light to illuminate their deliberations as they
write their learned judgements. In addition to the Mercedes the judges have
Isuzu and Toyota trucks issued to them because explained Mr Nyatanga, "It is
not desirable to drive their Mercedes on rough terrain to their farms" No
And who is paying for all this? Why none other than Gideon Gono! The Central
Bank purchased and will install all these new 'goodies' for the judiciary.
So much for fiscal discipline! Now let's see if the MPs, cabinet ministers
and other assorted government lackeys will agree to a six-month pay freeze.
It is every citizen's duty after all.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle. PH
You can send SPCA to my place to witness cruelty. At least one calf dies
every day, today, two. I cannot get food for them - I paid for food in May,
and have been pulled around by the crooks since that day.
The price of milk does not allow me enough money after a month to buy one
ton of stock feed. Stock feed is quoted in US dollars - we get paid in Zim
So tell me SPCA, do I just slaughter all my calves now, and all calves at
Anonymous farmer trying to get through till something, whatever, however,
3. Tracey Liles
I am an actress currently involved in a devised project based on the crisis
in Zimbabwe. I am researching the land issue and am looking to hear from
people with the following experiences:-
who have previously owned land in Zimbabwe and lost it who still own land in
Zimbabwe and their experiences of having land in the current climate
farm workers who worked the land and lost their jobs as a result of land
families who have been affected as a result of the land invasions anyone who
has tried to legally challenge the loss of their land
I would be most grateful for any experiences shared and thank you in advance
for your generous assistance. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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