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Mbeki visit now deferred to weekend

August 8, 2008

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - South African President Thabo Mbeki on Thursday deferred his
proposed visit to Harare where he is expected to preside over the landmark
signing of the power-sharing deal negotiating between President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC.

The South African leader, who was the chief negotiator in the high profile
talks, is now expected to arrive over the weekend.

A power sharing deal between the two parties has reportedly finally been
thrashed out.

Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai are set to take a look at the
documents prepared by their representatives in Pretoria before a formal
signing ceremony is convened. There is speculation Mbeki will fly into
Harare Saturday to oversee the signing ceremony, possibly on Sunday.

Negotiators representing Zanu-PF and the two MDC parties led by Morgan
Tsvangirai and Prof Arthur Mutambara have over the past two weeks been
haggling over a power-sharing deal between the political rivals.

The negotiating parties were expected to fly back into Zimbabwe from
Pretoria Thursday with a draft copy of the deal.

Reuters news agency reported Thursday that Mugabe had dismissed media
reports about a draft agreement as nonsense.

"All that which is being reported is utter nonsense," Mugabe was quoted as
saying, in apparent reference to media speculation that there was a draft
agreement for a power-sharing deal between his Zanu-PF party and the MDC.
The talks are going on very well and the people of Zimbabwe shall be
informed in due course."

If sealed, the deal will usher in an entirely different political landscape
for Zimbabweans, who have reeled under a severe economic crisis, aggravated
over the years by an unstable political atmosphere.

But the nation has been kept in suspense for the past two weeks of
negotiation following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between
the rival parties. A blanket of secrecy has been cast over the negotiations.

But snippets of information sifting out suggest that President Mugabe may be
made to settle for a ceremonial presidency while Tsvangirai will assume the
position of executive Prime Minister.

MDC acting spokesperson Tapiwa Mashakada refused to discuss the subject
insisting, like every other official, he was bound by the terms of the
secretive talks not to make any comment to the media.

"Your guess is as good as mine," he said, "I am equally eager to know what
is happening behind the scenes."

No comment could be obtained from Zanu-PF spokespersons although President
Mugabe is quoted in the government-controlled press as saying the talks were
still "underway".

One of the most contentious clauses in the draft is the blanket immunity to
be granted to those accused of committing acts of violence against political
opponents. Another is the protection of the 84 year old leader from any
prosecution for human rights violations.

This represents a climb-down by the MDC from its pre-election commitment to
take Mugabe to account for human rights abuses.

The prospect of Tsvangirai ascending to the position of executive Prime
Minister is reported to be already sending shock waves through the Zanu-PF
establishment. Some of them are said to be skeptical that the MDC leader
will abide by the terms of the deal.

Press reports say Mbeki has met Zimbabwe's powerful military chiefs in order
to canvass for their input on the power-sharing deal.

There are equal concerns on the other side of the political divide where MDC
hardliners feel that Zimbabwe will never realize genuine peace if the
perpetrators of the pre-27 June political violence are not brought to book.

They cite the continued incarceration of some MDC activists who stand
accused of political violence as one sign that the Zimbabwean President is
not yet prepared for any meaningful political settlement between his party
and the MDC.

But away from the antagonistic sentiments of those directly involved in
politics, ordinary Zimbabweans are keen to see the end of an economic crisis
that has left the majority scrounging around for virtually everything
required to keep body and soul together.

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Gono increases limit "to honour heroes"

August 8, 2008

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Zimbabwe's central bank governor, Gideon Gono has with effect from
Friday (today) raised the maximum cash withdrawal limits from banks for both
individuals and corporate organisations to $300 ($3 trillion in old

A statement attributed to him said the withdrawal limits had been increased
as a tribute to Zimbabwe's fallen heroes who are due to be remembered on
Monday with the commemoration of National Heroes' Day.

"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has increased cash withdrawal limits for both
individuals and companies with effect from Friday," state television
announced Thursday evening.

"In a statement, RBZ governor said the new limit is now $300 for both
individuals and companies.

"The RBZ governor said this has been necessitated by the fact that in a few
days time the nation will be commemorating Heroes' Day in remembrance of the
selfless contribution of those who paid the ultimate price in liberating

However, there was no immediate word to explain the relationship between a
routine increase in cash withdrawal limits and the commemoration of Heroes'

The latest increase in the cash withdrawal limits comes hard on the heels of
the unveiling by the embattled RBZ governor of a new currency to replace
successive families of bearer and agro-cheques.

Then the cash withdrawal limit was $100 billion, now a revalued $10.

The new measures were announced simultaneously with the slashing of 10 zeros
from Zimbabwe's currency. A total of 13 zeros have so far been removed from
the currency.

The RBZ chief has increasingly come under fire for imposing a limit on cash
withdrawals, a situation that has resulted in many people making repeated
trips to the bank to withdraw cash that in many cases is hardly enough to
cover the cost of travelling to the bank.

Gono says this is aimed at keeping Zimbabwe's worthless notes circulating
within the formal system as a large quantity has allegedly been diverted to
the thriving black market for speculative purposes, leaving the formal
market starved of cash.

But there is an argument that the ever increasing price of most goods has
continuously increased the demand for cash.

Gono this month introduced a $500 dollar note that now anchors the new
formal currency. The $500 is the equivalent of the previous $5 trillion

The second highest single note is now the $100 note whose old value was $1

Zimbabwe is in the throes of a crippling economic crisis which many blame on
President Robert Mugabe's economic policies or lack thereof.

Official inflation is pegged at a record 2, 2 million percent while some
economists now estimate it at above 10 million percent.

Nearly a quarter of the population has fled the country over the past 10
years to seek economic opportunities abroad.

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Zimbabwe's domestic debt soars

August 8, 2008
Geoffrey Nyarota

By Our Correspondent

HARARE- Zimbabwe's domestic debt soared by 7 417, 5 percent inside four
months to $790, 6 quadrillion ($79, 6 million new currency) on July 15,
official figures revealed this week.

The debt rose from $10, 5 quadrillion ($1 500 000) recorded during the first
week of April.

"The stock of government domestic debt by mid July stood at $790, 6
quadrillion, reflecting an increase of 7 417, 5 percent from $10, 5
quadrillion," the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono

The rise in government domestic debt levels, which over the years was
sparked by huge interest payments, has worsened due to the Reserve Bank's
advances to government, largely for the March 29 harmonised and June 27
presidential run-off elections.

The mismatch between fiscal revenues and expenditures also opened a
significant funding gap resulting in government utilising the overdraft
window at the Reserve Bank, while at the same time borrowing from the
domestic debt.

"Cumulatively, since the beginning of the year, government raised 365-day
treasury bills amounting to $211, 5 quadrillion ($21 150 000) of which $210,
3 quadrillion ($ 21 030 000) was raised between April and July," Gono said.

The RBZ advances to government have over the past five years accounted for
about 80 percent of total debt, a situation which economists say is evidence
that the government was broke and had no other source of revenue than the
domestic market.

Figures from the RBZ show that the solvency of the government was already
seriously compromised with the current interest rates. Technically, the
government finances would not be better with even a one percent rise in
interest rates.

The increasing government debt stock raised fresh fears of renewed
turbulence in the crisis-strapped economy, battling with high inflation
currently at 2, 2 million percent.

The surge in domestic debt was the result of high interests on the market
which were in line with the inflation rate.

Government has also been forced to rely on domestic borrowings because their
tax revenue base has dwindled due to company closures which have led to
retrenchments. This means that in real terms, the government is collecting
less revenue through corporate and income tax.

"The monetary sector remained the major holder of government domestic debt
at 95 percent or $751, 5 quadrillion, ($75 150 000)," Gono said.

Analysts say the debt stock was likely to rise further on increased
borrowing by government to finance the import of wheat and maize,
electricity, civil servants salaries and sustain the Basic Commodities
Supply Side Intervention (Baccosi).

"Commercial banks accounted for about $750, 7 quadrillion ($750 700 000) or
99 percent of the monetary banking sector's holding of domestic debt. This
is attributed mainly to bank's active participation in Open Market
Operations," said Gono.

The major effects of rising government debt would be an escalation of the
inflationary rate due to increased recourse to the domestic market for

With inflation at 2, 2 million percent, the government's huge appetite for
cash is also likely to spur increased money printing, pushing money supply
growth upwards.

The fact that Zimbabwe has no access to international capital has only
aggravated the situation.

"The figure has a huge bearing on the returns that investors will be getting
from the money market," an economist with the central bank said. "The money
market is bound to continue issuing investors with negative returns in the
short-term to minimise the harmful effects of the huge interest cost
component on the debt figure."

Money supply growth continued on an upward trend, increasing to a new record
of 420 867, 4 percent in April from the December figure of 64 113 percent,
it also emerged this week.

According the RBZ, annual broad money supply growth has maintained an upward
trend reflecting the inevitable intervention by the central bank to
stimulate the supply side of the economy in the absence of external support.

"Resultantly, broad money supply growth increased from 64 113 percent in
December last year to 420 867, 4 percent in April," the bank said.

Money supply is the total supply of money in circulation in a given country's
economy at a given time. It is considered an important instrument for
controlling inflation.

The continuous rise in money supply would further trigger inflation.

Economists say the money supply figure could be over 600 000 percent by
August, due to expansionary fiscal and monetary policies being implemented
by the government and the central bank.

On an annual basis, domestic credit grew by 482 460, 9 percent in April -
412 919, 7 percent largely driven by growth in credit to the private sector,
734 013, 7 percent in credit to government and 216 066, 7 percent claims in
public enterprises.

"Credit to government has largely been from domestic banks due to the drying
up of external lines.

The bank said inflation had led to an increase in cash holdings for
day-to-day transactions. Resultantly, on an annual basis, currency in
circulation grew further fuelling inflationary pressures in the economy.

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Zanu-PF power struggles a threat to talks

August 8, 2008

By Francis Musoni

FROM its inception in 1963, as one of the two major nationalist
organizations which challenged Ian Smith's colonial regime in the then
Rhodesia, the Zimbabwe African National Union (now Zanu-PF) has been fraught
with internal power struggles. At the height of the 1970s war of liberation,
which ZANU and the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) led, power
struggles resulted in the purging (using various means) of rival high
ranking officials in ZANU and its military wing, the Zimbabwe African
Liberation Army (ZANLA).

Predictably, though unfortunate, the infamous 'struggles within the
struggle,' which the late Professor Masipula Sithole and other scholars have
thoroughly researched and written about, continue to haunt the nation of
Zimbabwe to this day. In fact, it would not be too far-fetched to argue that
Zimbabwe is where it is because of the failure by Zanu-PF to effectively
deal with its internal squabbles. If Zanu-PF had, soon after assuming power
in 1980, reformed its constitution to input a limit to the number of terms
for the party president, it would not have been hard to do the same at
national level. As it turned out to be, this serious constitutional loophole
has prolonged the succession question both in Zanu-PF and government, with
dire consequences for Zimbabwe.

Over the past two weeks Zimbabweans and Friends of Zimbabwe the world over
have waited for what promises to be the beginning of the end of a
decade-long politico-economic crisis that had threatened to tear the country
apart. With an economy on the free fall and a tightly squeezed democratic
Zanu-PF space, the hope is that the current talks between representatives of
Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the two formations of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) will put a stop to political violence and, at least,
slow down the rate of economic decline. Although it is difficult to accept
or dispute speculations concerning the proceedings at these 'secret'
negotiations mediated by President Mbeki of South Africa, there are
indications that some 'deal' has been cut out for Mugabe and Tsvangirai to
work together to resolve the crisis.

A joint statement signed and released by the negotiators from both parties
on August 6 calling for their supporters to desist from violent acts seems
to confirm speculation that something positive is on the way. However, on
the flip-side of it, the same statement indicates and confirms the existence
of strong under-currents that threaten the success of these talks. Whilst I
am aware that Simba Makoni and his Mavambo Project, Daniel Shumba and his
one-man party, Munyaradzi Gwisai and his purported allies in the civil
society have criticized the talks for being an elite affair, I wish to focus
my analysis on what I see as the real major threat to the talks.

There is a delicate symbiotic relationship between the current inter-party
talks and the intense power struggles within Zanu-PF, which, if not properly
managed, may spoil the party before it begins.

For a long time after the regrettable absorption of PF-ZAPU by Zanu-PF and
Mugabe's abandonment of the Prime Minister's post in favor of the Executive
Presidency in 1987, he has (ab)used his executive powers to systematically
silence potential presidential aspirants in his party, often craftily
playing one group against the other. With the emergence of the MDC in 1999
power struggles in Zanu-PF became more complicated as the latter's power
base and status as ruling party have been seriously threatened. Having
successfully campaigned against the government sponsored constitutional
referendum in February 2000, the MDC took away from Zanu-PF 57 of the 120
contested parliamentary seats in the June 2000 general election, ahead of
the 2002 Presidential election in which Tsvangirai is widely believed to
have won the ballot but lost the counting to Mugabe. The writing on the wall
was clear for everybody to see.

As in-fighting and jostling for the control of strategic positions in
Zanu-PF and government gathered momentum in the wake of the threat from the
MDC, Zanu-PF leaders resolved to down-play their power struggles in order to
put up a consolidated onslaught on the opposition. In the same manner that
Ian Smith's illegal regime used the law in a bid to stop change towards
majority rule in the 1960s and 70s, the Zanu-PF government crafted security
and media laws meant to make it difficult for the opposition to penetrate
the grassroots.

The notorious 'triad' of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA),
Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA) was unleashed, making it extremely hard for the
opposition to organize, mobilize and reach out to the masses country-wide.
It was not surprising therefore that in the 2005 general election Zanu-PF
reclaimed more than 15 of the seats it had lost to the MDC in 2000 and went
ahead to win a controversial two thirds majority in parliament.

Given that Mugabe had publicly stated, in 2003, that he would retire at the
expiry of his term in 2008, the country witnessed several personnel
movements in Zanu-PF and government structures as the ruling party's top
officials competed for eventual takeover. The major highlights of this
struggle came in 2004, when, bowing to pressure from the Women's and Youth
Leagues, Mugabe appointed Joyce Mujuru to the post of Zanu-PF's and
subsequently Zimbabwe's Vice President. The appointment of Joyce, wife to a
retired army commander and wealthy businessman believed to wield a lot of
power in the ruling party, came as a blow to Emerson Mnangagwa whom many had
seen as Mugabe's heir apparent.

In a few months Mnangagwa would painfully witness the purging of Zanu-PF's
leaders and structures that had openly supported his failed bid for the
party's vice presidency. If you add this to the events of the late 1990s
when the veterans of the 1970s war of liberation arm-twisted Mugabe into
awarding them unbudgeted for hefty gratuities, before plunging the country
into a chaotic 'fast track' land redistribution program, you will see that
Mugabe has since become dangerously weakened and compromised as president of
both Zanu-PF and the nation at large.

Over the next two years after her promotion, it would appear as if Joyce
Mujuru was going to take over the reins of Zanu-PF ahead of the March 2008
presidential election. However, just as the Mujuru camp was preparing for
Joyce's imminent entry into the country's highest office, Mugabe turned
around and declared that there was "No Vacancy" at State House. By the
beginning of 2007 it had become clear that the Mnangagwa camp had
over-turned the scale of power in Zanu-PF. Realizing that the MDC would
easily out-maneuver a divided Zanu-PF, the group influenced Mugabe to run
for the presidency in 2008, effectively closing the door in Mujuru's face.

It is therefore not surprising that following the March 2008 elections in
which Mugabe and Zanu-PF survived by a whisker, rumors spread that Mnangagwa
assumed the leadership of the Joint-Operation Command (JOC) which took
charge of a bloody campaign for Mugabe in the run-up to the chaotic
presidential run-off on June 27, 2008. Comprising of General Constantine
Chiwenga, the commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri of the police, Air Marshal Perrence
Shiri, commander of the Air Force, Happyton Bonyongwe, the Director General
of the Central Intelligence Organisation, and General Paradzai Zimondi, of
the Prison Services, JOC had become the sole authority after Mugabe
dissolved Parliament ahead of the election. In fact many people in and
outside Zanu-PF think that Mugabe himself had conceded defeat only to be
forced by JOC leaders, who, together with the 84 year old octogenarian
feared prosecution for wide-ranching cases of human rights abuses.

Zanu-PF's failure to resolve its succession question has virtually reduced
Mugabe to a puppet of whoever promises him an extra day in the state house.
Given that the leaders of the two major factions in his party can not face
each other except through Mugabe, both have continued 'supporting' him
against the MDC's Tsvangirai, while recruiting more key people to their
factions (especially the top security chiefs), and looting as much as
possible from the shrinking national cake. Mugabe's wife, twice younger than
him and unprepared to live outside State House, has become amenable to the
manipulative strategies of both camps fighting for the control of the ageing

Undoubtedly, succession fights in Zanu-PF have made it difficult for Mugabe
and his party to be consistent in their dealings with both the opposition
and the crisis facing the country. For instance, soon after the disputed
presidential election of March 2002, attempts by Zimbabwe's church leaders
to bring Zanu-PF and the MDC to a negotiating table failed largely because
Zanu-PF wanted the MDC to unconditionally withdraw court cases challenging
the results of both the 2000 and 2002 elections. A few weeks before the 2008
harmonized election, Mugabe is believed to have chickened out of the first
leg of the Mbeki-brokered talks at the eleventh hour. Somebody in Zanu-PF
must have felt severely threatened by a possibility of a smooth transitional
arrangement between Zanu-PF and the MDC and convinced Mugabe that he and his
party were going to win the election, anyway.

If this background is anything to go by, I find power squabbles within
Zanu-PF posing a serious threat to any prospects for a genuine resolution of
the Zimbabwean crisis. As such, the nature and outcome of the on-going
inter-party negotiations can not be meaningfully divorced from the vicious
succession debate in Zanu-PF. The two major camps in Zanu-PF will try all
they can to influence their heavily weakened leader to refuse any
power-sharing deal which threatens any of the factions' power bases and
potential to succeed him. Given the position of Joyce Mujuru in the
presidium, the Mujuru camp will most likely accept a situation where Mugabe's
executive powers are stripped off hoping that the former retains her post as
the VP in Zanu-PF and one of the two deputies to an executive Prime Minister
in the new government. But Mnangagwa and his camp which used JOC and Mugabe
to avoid an imminent defeat of Zanu-PF by the MDC will find it hard to
accept such a deal.

Unfortunately if it turns out to be true that the power-sharing deal assures
Mugabe immunity from facing justice for the human rights abuses he committed
since 1980, and a life career as 'founding leader' of Zimbabwe, they might
find it hard to convince him not to accept it. In that case the country will
again witness another wave of intense fighting in Zanu-PF as both camps try
to field their candidates in critical ministries that Zanu-PF will retain in
a likely 50-50 split with the MDC.

In the unlikely scenario that Mugabe allows himself to continue to be pushed
around by the feuding camps in his party at the expense of the suffering
masses, he will find it hard to accept whatever comes out of the talks
because both factions are not going to equally benefit. He and his handlers
should be reminded that any meaningful change to the status quo comes with
trade-offs that are sometimes painful to make. After all, these talks might
herald the beginning of an end to a protracted succession debate in Zanu-PF.

As an institution, the party will never be the same again.

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AIDS Group Cites Rapes in Zimbabwe as Terror Tool

New York Times

Published: August 7, 2008
MEXICO CITY - A 13-year-old girl was abducted, then raped repeatedly over a
two-week period during a campaign of political terror in Zimbabwe
surrounding recent elections there.

Hers is one of 53 cases documented by AIDS-Free World, an advocacy group
investigating rape as a political weapon in Zimbabwe, activists said
Thursday at a news conference at the 17th International AIDS Conference

Betty Makoni, director of Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe, said at the news
conference, "Rape is being used as a weapon of political intimidation to
instill fear in us, our families and communities." Youth militias have raped
an estimated 800 girls on bases, she said.

Other rape victims include the wives, sisters, mothers and grandmothers of
political opponents, Ms. Makoni said. Some were teachers, ward leaders and
clergy members, she said. Some were raped in front of family members and
some men were forced to rape their mothers-in-law. The victims were often
forced to say they would never support the opposition, she said.

"Pesticides, sticks and other objects have been inserted in their vaginas,"
Ms. Makoni said.

Many victims went to state hospitals to seek treatment to prevent pregnancy,
as well as H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted infections, she said, but
they were denied treatment, even when they were in pain and bleeding. The
victims said that doctors at government hospitals did not treat them,
fearing repercussions.

AIDS-Free World is a Boston-based advocacy group that focuses on
international AIDS issues. Stephen Lewis, the co-director of the group, said
it was collecting evidence of rape and other atrocities committed in the
campaign that was aimed at the political opposition in Zimbabwe. Rape and
other atrocities have long been part of wars and political campaigns in many
countries. But the evidence for charges of atrocities is often obtained long
after alleged crimes.

Documenting personal accounts now as well as collecting photographic and
laboratory evidence obtained soon after the alleged crimes, AIDS-Free World
said, should eventually make for stronger legal cases to present to
prosecutors under new governments in Zimbabwe than has been possible in
similar situations elsewhere.

Noah Novogrodsky, a human-rights lawyer and the advocacy group's legal
director, said the evidence would also be shared with the office of the
United Nations high commissioner for human rights for possible prosecution
as crimes against humanity.

The United Nations' latest report on AIDS says "widespread violence against
women not only represents a global human rights crisis but also contributes
to women's vulnerability to H.I.V."

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What I saw in Zimbabwe

Patriotic Vanguard, Sierra Leone
 - Friday 8 August 2008.

Dear Editor,

My name is Simon Seisay and I am the Secretary General of the Holland branch of the APC. I am currently working as a management consultant in South Africa.

I recently visited Zimbabwe to see things for myself. It was horrible. The economy is in shambles, people are suffering immensely and I was even forced to show support for ZANU-PF (president Mugabe’s party) even though they know I am a foreigner(see top photo).

I have never seen such a thing, even in Sierra Leone. In Zimbabwe, government ministers openly threatened civil servants and other government workers to vote for Mugabe and ZANU-PF or else...


The money is so useless that I instantly became a millionaire. Our national currency, the Leone, is far stronger and respected compared to the Zimbawean dollar. The people are not free, they live in fear and have to be careful what they say in public.


I therefore find it strange and very bad that some Sierra Leoneans are trying to compare Zimbabwe to Sierra Leone or president Mugabe to our president Ernest Koroma. It’s like comparing night and day.

At the moment, Sierra Leone is a far better place to live than Zimbabwe. At least in Sierra Leone we have food in the stores and the markets, not the empty stores you see in Zimbabwe. Our elections are far cleaner and safer than elections in Zimbabwe in the last couple of years.

So, please, fellow Sierra Leoneans, let’s be patriotic, let’s put politics aside and say the truth: President Ernest Koroma is a better leader than Robert Mugabe; Sierra Leone is a far better place to live than Zimbabwe.

Thank you very much.

Simon Seisay,

South Africa

Photos: Simon Seisay in Zimbabwe. He was there a couple of weeks ago.

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Activists barred from entering Zambia

August 8, 2008

By Our Correspondents

HARARE - Zimbabwe police late Wednesday raided the Harare offices of
pro-democracy group Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition while some members of the
pro-democracy group were barred from crossing into Zambia.

The group, a conglomeration of 350 civic groups, immediately condemned the
raid saying it made nonsense of the ongoing peace talks between Zimbabwe's
political parties in South Africa.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition coordinator Xolani Zitha was taken in by the
police at the Rhodesville police Station on Thursday and his whereabouts
remain unknown.

The Zimbabwe Times heard that on Wednesday heavily armed members of the
police and central intelligence agents swooped on the Crisis Coalition
centre in Harare, which houses the offices of the civic group near the
Rhodesville police station.

"They said we were a rogue NGO which is not registered and therefore our
existence was illegal," information officer, Tabani Moyo said.

The police seemed to be basing the raid on an illegal government edict to
all NGOs banning them from proffering crucial services they were registered
to deliver.

Meanwhile, some members of the organisation were stopped from entering
Zambia after Zimbabwean intelligence operatives claimed they were travelling
there for political meetings.

Ten members of the civil society organizations were due to hold a meeting to
discuss the situation in Zimbabwe after a negotiated settlement between
Zanu-PF and the MDC.

"Our members and those from other civil society organizations were stopped
from entering Zambia this afternoon (Thursday) after some Central
Intelligence Operatives (CIO's) told Zambian immigration authorities they
were attending meetings aimed at plotting the disruption of the so-called
peaceful situation in Zimbabwe," said an official of the organization.

He, however, said the meeting was not meant to plot the disruption of peace
in the country but to discuss ways in which civil society would contribute
to the post-agreement era.

"As civil society, we have no plans to disrupt whatever arrangement or
agreement is reached at the talks. We wanted to discuss ways in which we
could complement the agreement," he said.

Asked why they had chosen to meet in Zambia, he said it was impossible to
hold meetings in Zimbabwe.

"There has been constant harassment of civil society leaders and their
members in Zimbabwe," he said. "Given the seriousness of the agenda of this
meeting, we saw it fit to go to Zambia where we were assured there would not
be any disturbance of the meeting.

"But alas, we were unfortunate because intelligence operatives got the
better of us while at the airport."

Human rights lawyer Otto Saki also confirmed the group had been barred from
going to Zambia; he aid the delegation was on its way back to Harare.

Said Saki: "There were lawyers in that group as well as representatives of
various civil society organizations. Their mission was also to meet civil
society organizations in Zambia for consultations on other matters.

"We are surprised at the turn of events because there was nothing that made
the meetings a threat to the talks in South Africa."

Crisis Coalition was formed in August 2001 as a collective response by
Zimbabwean civics to the multi-faceted crisis facing the nation.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has been prominent in promoting peaceful and
democratic change.

Commenting on the raid, McDonald Lewanika, Crisis Coalition spokesman said:
"This is pure harassment. We roundly condemn such acts of intimidation
directed to civil society players by the state security agents, more so in
the context of ongoing peace talks in Pretoria."

The developments came as South Africa, which has been mediating an end to
Zimbabwe's political crisis, reported "good progress" at the power-sharing
talks between President Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the MDC.

President Thabo Mbeki, under whose facilitation the talks are being held,
was expected in Harare at the weekend where Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai were set to meet for face-to-face talks.

A draft settlement leaked to the press suggests Tsvangirai will lead
government as an executive prime minister, with Mugabe as ceremonial
president in an interim administration tasked with holding internationally
supervised election in 24 to 30 months.

The agreement reportedly prescribes the dissolution of the Joint Operations
Command - a think-tank of top security service chiefs - and the
establishment of a National Security Council answerable to the prime

Representatives of JOC were said to have travelled to South Africa this week
to establish where they would fit in the new scheme of things.

Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said a power-sharing deal was imminent.

"Government as the mediator will not be giving any details about details of
the talks except to say that they are progressing extremely well," he said.

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Charamba violating MOU - MDC

By Philip Mangena  August 7, 2008
An MDC official has accused Mugabe's outspoken spokesman George Charamba of
violating the Memorandum of Understanding signed between ZANU PF and the two
MDC formations by using abusive and hateful language in his weekly column in
state paperThe Herald.

In his 'Nathaniel Manheru'(Nathaniel at Night) weekly column in the state
newspaper The Herald Charamba implied that MDC leader,Morgan Tsvangirai was
half human.

". unlike the Unity palaver with PF-Zapu in the 1980s, the current talks
involve a political Minotaur (a part human and part bull creature) shaped
and disfigured by a complex web of external interests whose sole goal is to
teach revolutionary Southern Africa a sound lesson by defeating Zanu PF. ",
wrote Charamba

The accusation prompted the MDC official who requested anonymity to lash
out,'These are the same people were are talking to so as to find a common
solution to our nation 's problems,yet Charamba continues to use this kind
of language. How do they expect to work with us if they don't respect our
leader?',he asked.

"There are some in our (MDC) party who are treating these talks with utmost
scepticism knowing ZANU PF's solid history of insincerity.the ongoing
violence,intimidation,NGO ban and Charamba's language, these things just
serve to harden their positions.", the official a newly elected Member of
Parliament said.

The MOU states under Interim measures section 10.2 that, 'The Parties shall
refrain from using abusive language that may incite hostility, political
intolerance and ethnic hatred or undermine each other. '

Charamba who often uses coded language in his column went on celebrate that
one of the MDC negotiators was dismissed,repeating a line from a story
published by one website that has since been proved to be neither true nor

The Nathaniel Manheru column was inherited from sacked Information minister
Jonathan Moyo,who later exposed Charamba two years ago,".George
Charamba,Mugabe's irresponsible and reckless wordsmith, who regularly
violates his civil service oath and obligations by writing the Nathaniel
Manheru column in the Herald.",wrote Jonathan Moyo in 2005.

Meanwhile an editorial in yesterday 's The Herald indicates talks could be
heading for another stalemate. The Herald which usually publishes ZANU PF
policy maintains that the basis of the negotiations is the discredited
run-off election which was described as "Neither free nor fair" by SADC,PAP
and AU observers.

" If the will of the people is to be respected then it means the recognition
of June 27. to abridge the constitutional process so that it ends on March
29 is to stifle that same will of the people.
The will of the people is reflected in Amendment Number 18, which created
the run-off, and so June 27 is the will of the people.",concludes the

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Waiting for change, but are we ready for it?

August 8, 2008

By Jane Madembo

CHANGE is good. Love is good. Both offer prospects for a rosy future. But
change, like love can sometimes disappoint.

People have a tendency to expect too much out of change, in the same way
they do about love. Zimbabweans are enamored with the idea of change.
Anything to relieve them from the daily burden of hunting for food; a hunt
for bread, for sugar, for oil and so on. During the Stone Age our ancestors
spent a great deal of time hunting for food. The men would spend days away
from home hunting for meat. In Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, the people are
living in a modern day Stone Age. This is a life most people are tired of.

They are desperate for change. They wait and dream of the good times to

But Zimbabweans hoping for change must not fool themselves like a bride on
honeymoon by assuming that they will live happily ever after. A change of
government will not automatically mean things will change in Zimbabwe.

Today's Zimbabwe is in a worse state than when Ian Smith gave up power in
1980. People want change, but what does it mean. It means one thing for
Barack Obama to ask for change of leadership in Washington. It means another
thing when Tsvangirai asks the same of Zimbabwe. Those two are vastly
different government systems.

Positive change will not necessarily take place when Morgan Tsvangirai takes
over from Robert Mugabe.

It is common knowledge that civil servants have poor work ethics. It has
always been difficult to get anything done in government. People are always
forced to spent long hours waiting for service, wasting valuable time at the
Passport Office, the Vehicle Registration Office, the Pension Office, the
courts, among others. Those with friends or relatives in the right places
bypass the normal procedure and use the back door. The civil servants take
forever to process papers. When dealing with donor agencies, they employ the
same practice. Too much red tape, which serves no purposes except to
alleviate the status of the person playing the delay tactics.

Stanley Meda, in his paper, "Leadership, Ethics and Disciplinary Codes: The
Case of Zimbabwe," says, "At Independence Zimbabwe lacked the necessary
kills to run an efficient public administration system. The existing system
lacked moral and ethical values."

Most government workers don't take their jobs seriously, they see the
government office as a place to hang their jackets, and not work. It's not
uncommon to see offices occupied by jackets, or notes on doors saying the
occupant is coming later. They only make token appearances.

As the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorated, so did quality of service offered
by government agencies. The virus that emanated at the top spread all the
way to the bottom, that is regular small guys working for the government of
Zimbabwe. These days most alternate between work and other side trades. The
inflation and lack of transport also make it easy for people to explain away
their absence.

After Zimbabwe became independent, Zimbabwe was flooded with financial aid
and other material aid. The situation was good for a while as we kept
receiving aid after aid. The World Bank, the European Union, USAID, GTZ and
many others. Money flowed like a river into Zimbabwe. We didn't even have
time to think what it meant to be independent before we were submerged in
money and aid. Zimbabwe allowed itself like other African countries, to
become the spoilt brat of the West. We came to expect more and more.

We started whining if we didn't get enough or as promised. We took the aid
we received for granted. This beggar behavior would go down to ordinary
people. The first time I took my white friend to our village, my parents
asked me to ask the friend if he could fund the fencing around their plot.
This is how foreign western people are viewed in Zimbabwe as people who can
solve problems, like money. If I can get such and such for a project. Most
project money ended up benefiting those running the projects, consultants
and seminars. New Zimbabwe must not allow itself to fall into this trap of
dependence. When the West is displeased, like a parent is upset with its
delinquent son, it cuts the pocket money.

When Mugabe started his terror campaign most of the foreign agencies and
governments withdrew aid. The milk dried up. Mugabe became bitter because he
could no longer keep the country together without their help.

Furthermore, the political struggle between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, and their
supporters against each other has brought Zimbabwe into a state of
decadence. Zimbabweans used to be peaceful people, now they are masters of
all tricks in the book, fraud, murder and other transgressions. All these
are other changes that Zimbabweans have to work on.

Now that there are talks for a possible power sharing government agreement,
people's hopes are up. They see the good times coming again, the donor
agencies, the projects, and the money.

What is absent in all this daydreaming is a sense of reality. Zimbabwean
cannot demand change unless they are prepared to change themselves.

Change cannot be delivered like piece of pizza. When Barack Obama talks
about change, he says, "we have to work together to bring about change." Are
you listening Zimbabweans?

We have to work. We can't leave our jackets hanging on the chair anymore,
while we go home or run errands. We have to be serious. No more corruption.
We have to till that land that we took away from the white farmers. We have
to build roads. We have to build schools on those farms so that kids don't
have to walk miles to school. We have to strive for efficiency.

The West which we all are envious of has very efficient work ethics. People
work hard.

Unless we realize that we too have to change, then we will always forever be
on the receiving end of what-ever from the west. We will feel the pinch when
the West withdraws its aid when we are not ready. We will always be treated
like the beggars that we are. The West will give us conditions and rightly
so. As long as we look outside of ourselves to our political leaders for
solutions, we will always be dancing on the end of the strings while they
hold the other end. We will hate each other.

Let us be the change that we want to see. Don't ask for land that you can't
till. If you do happen to be rich, please give to charity or set up a
foundation. No more nepotism. No more bribing. No more corruption.

We owe that at least to our future generation.

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Mugabe,Tsvangirai In Decisive Meeting

Thursday, 07 August 2008 19:51

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his political rival Morgan Tsvangirai are
expected to hold a make or break meeting on Sunday in Harare under President
Thabo Mbeki's chairmanship to endorse a power-sharing deal struck in
Pretoria yesterday.

The meeting will decide whether or not the Zanu PF and the opposition
MDC draft agreement would be approved by their principals.

Informed sources said a final agreement was expected on Sunday,
although the talks ended yesterday.

Mbeki and his team are expected to fly into Harare either tomorrow or
on Sunday morning for the meeting. Zanu PF and MDC negotiators started
returning home last night.

There was speculation Mbeki would travel to Harare during the week but
this was not possible before negotiators finished their task to pave way for
Mugabe and Tsvangirai to meet to resolve "sticking points".

Mugabe and Tsvangirai are said to have been in touch while talks were
going on in a bid to reach common ground on the contentious issues of powers
and positions after their initial meeting on July 21.

If the final agreement is signed on Sunday, it is said, Tsvangirai
would appear for the first time since he founded the MDC in 1999 at a
national event with Mugabe during Heroes' Day commemorations on Monday and
Defence Forces Day on Tuesday. The holidays are held to honour heroes of
Zimbabwe's anti-colonial struggle.

Mbeki is said to be anxious to have an agreement before the Southern
African Development Community (Sadc) summit in Pretoria on August 16. Sadc
last year tasked Mbeki to mediate in Zimbabwe's political impasse.

Negotiating parties have already agreed on a number of issues but need
to deal with the roles, powers and functions of Mugabe and Tsvangirai. The
other issues to be finalised are transitional mechanisms and the period of
transition. Zanu PF wants a five-year transition, while the MDC prefers two

Mugabe and Tsvangirai would also tackle other contentious issues such
as the draft constitution, the post of Speaker of Parliament and provincial
governors that have triggered heated exchanges during the negotiations. All
three negotiating parties want the position of Speaker and this has delayed
the final deal. There is also disagreement on governors.

The parties initially wanted to share governors, five each, but a new
suggestion to scrap the posts has come up. It is understood the positions of
governors might be dissolved, like those of executive mayors, and in their
place there would be more appointed senators to accommodate Zanu PF and MDC
officials without parliamentary seats.

In terms of the constitution, for one to be in cabinet they need to be
in parliament. Mugabe has avoided appointing a new cabinet and swearing in
parliament to give talks a chance.

The proposal at the moment is to increase the number of appointed
senators from five to 11. A Constitutional Amendment (No19) has been
suggested to facilitate the deal if there is no transitional constitution.

"There are several issues which Mugabe and Tsvangirai would have to
agree upon before a final agreement could be signed," a source said. "It is
expected these matters would be dealt with once and for all on Sunday and an
agreement should be signed afterwards."

Sources said Mugabe and Tsvangirai would be engaged mainly on the
proposed government structure, likely to be hybrid system, and who would
occupy which position and with what powers. A French-style cohabitation
system is likely to be adopted as the framework for the new government
expected to have 38 ministers.

Sources said the draft agreement to be closely discussed by Mugabe and
Tsvangirai on Sunday and possibly signed afterwards includes the posts of;
*Executive president;
*Three vice-presidents;
*Prime minister and
*Three deputy prime ministers.

Mugabe would be the president with his deputies in Zanu PF, Joseph
Msika and Joice Mujuru, as well as Tsvangirai's second-in-command in his MDC
faction, Thoko Thokozani Khupe, as vice-presidents.

Tsvangirai would become prime minister, with three deputies who would
include his nominee who is not yet decided on as there are several names
being suggested, the other MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara, and Zanu PF
chairman John Nkomo.

If Nkomo is not included, Zanu PF bigwig Emmerson Mnangagwa could
become one of the deputy prime ministers.  Mugabe on Tuesday dispatched
Nkomo, Mnangagwa, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Zanu PF Women's
League head and senior politburo member Oppah Muchinguri to bolster his
negotiating team at the talks. The support group attended the talks for the
first time on Wednesday. Tsvangirai initially proposed he become prime
minister, while Mugabe would be ceremonial president in a move which would
return the country to the parliamentary system of the 1980s. This is the
proposal which is being presented in some circles as a "draft agreement"
when in fact it was just an MDC plan.

Mugabe's hardline Zanu PF politburo resolved on July 23 his position
is "non-negotiable". It is said Mugabe is only prepared to shed some of his
powers to Tsvangirai, and not all of them as the MDC wanted.

If Mugabe and Tsvangirai agree on Sunday, Mugabe in his capacity as
president would appoint the cabinet and the prime minister. Tsvangirai might
be allowed to preside over cabinet and the legislature, although the problem
is his party does not command a clear majority in parliament.

Sources said if Tsvangirai had sealed a coalition deal with Mutambara
to firmly take control of parliament in an unassailable way, he would have
been almost guaranteed the post of premier -- head of government.

By Dumisani Muleya

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JOC Opposes Zanu PF On Talks

Thursday, 07 August 2008 19:38

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is facing opposition from members of the Joint
Operations Command (JOC) and Zanu PF over talks to secure a negotiated
settlement to the country's decade-long crisis.

Reliable sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that JOC members were
against reported moves by Mugabe to cede executive powers to MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai in an all-inclusive government.

JOC, a national security think-tank made up of army, police, prisons
and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) chiefs, reportedly plotted a
violent campaign to secure Mugabe's victory in the June 27 one-man
presidential election run-off, a charge they deny.

The sources said JOC members were worried that Zanu was "conceding too
much" to the MDC at the talks being mediated by South Africa President Thabo

"The service chiefs don't want Tsvangirai to have executive powers,"
one of the sources said. "They wonder how they will relate to him after they
issued statements before the elections that they would not salute him if he

JOC members, among them, Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General
Constantine Chiwenga, Police Commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri and
Prisons Commissioner retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi, said just
before the March 29 elections they would not acknowledge Tsvangirai if he

Tsvangirai last week asked Mbeki to have JOC members appear before the
talks negotiators and spell out their position on the negotiations and their
likely outcome.

The source said the JOC members were also concerned about their
security amid fears that they would be arrested for alleged human rights
abuses during the violent run-off campaign.

"They are against the ceding of too much power to Tsvangirai," another
source said. "They are also afraid of being punished for human rights

Apart from JOC members' position, Mugabe was also facing stiff
opposition in his party over the looming unity government with the MDC.

Party sources said Vice-President Joseph Msika and factions in Zanu PF
were opposed to a deal with the MDC.

In a recent politburo meeting, Msika was reportedly livid that Zanu PF
wanted Tsvangirai to be part of cabinet.

"Msika questioned why Tsvangirai, whom he considers to be a puppet of
the West, should sit in cabinet. He is of the opinion that Tsvangirai should
not be part of government," a politburo source said.

Mugabe, the source said, told Msika that Zanu PF had failed to win a
majority of seats in parliament and needed to accommodate Tsvangirai for
effective governance.

"The president was frank that we now have a hung parliament and as
such, Tsvangirai and his party should be in an inclusive government," the
source said.
Mugabe also reiterated the need to accommodate the MDC when the Zanu
PF central committee and the national consultative assembly last met.

The 84-year-old veteran leader reportedly told the two party organs
that Zanu PF needed to restructure after it lost the parliamentary election
to the MDC.

The sources said leaders of factions in the party were also opposed to
the talks, as they see the negotiations as a threat to the succession claims
in Zanu PF.

The sources said the Solomon Mujuru-led faction felt alienated from
the goings on in the party since the March 29 elections and were concerned
that an agreement with MDC would see some of the camp's senior members left
out of the corridors of power.

Mujuru's faction was opposed to the perpetration of political violence
to secure the presidency for Mugabe.

The other faction led by Rural Housing and Social Amenities minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the sources said, was also concerned that a unity
government would derail the ascendancy of the party's legal secretary in
Zanu PF's presidium.

By Constantine Chimakure

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MDC Wants Gono Removed From RBZ

Thursday, 07 August 2008 19:33
RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono's future hangs in the balance as
opposition negotiators at the talks in Pretoria demand that he should be
booted out of the envisaged new government for allegedly propping up
President Robert Mugabe's regime.

The issue was raised during power-sharing talks between Zanu PF and
the two factions of the MDC in South Africa. Sources said the opposition
wants Gono to be replaced in the new government because it was unhappy with
his quasi-fiscal activities and funding of government operations, especially
security ministries whose organs have been accused of perpetrating political
violence during recent elections. Gono has always said he was acting
according to orders from his superiors and is prepared to leave anytime if
needs be.

One of the MDC negotiators Elton Mangoma slammed Gono's recent
monetary policy statement, especially the removal of zeros from bearers'
cheques, saying it was just inconsequential "tinkering" with the symptoms of
the problem.

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

Another MDC negotiator Tendai Biti has also criticised Gono during the
recent election campaigns reportedly describing him as similar to an
"Al-Qaeda" terrorist who should be put before a firing squad.

Sources said Gono's problem is compounded by the fact that he also has
a lot of political enemies within Zanu PF, especially within the faction led
by retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru.

Previously he clashed with former Finance minister Herbert Murerwa
until he was removed by Mugabe. Gono has been pushed many times before to
the brink of resignation due to political pressure. There have been reports
of late that he could resign, but sources said this highly unlikely
considering that his term ends in November.

If Gono's tenure is not renewed, he would be the first governor since
1980 to have only served one term as the other previous substantive ones
served full terms. Mugabe might save Gono by appointing him to cabinet, it
is said. Gono himself is understood to be contemplating going into the
private sector where he has interests in farming, export business, media,
property and financial sectors.

Sources said if Gono went he could be replaced by one of his three
deputies Edward Mashiringwani. Charity Dhliwayo and Nicholas Ncube are the
other deputies and both have considerable experience in their jobs.

Gono yesterday dismissed this as "speculation". "There is always a lot
media speculation about my position and our programmes. I think what you are
hearing is just speculation," Gono said. "People will always speculate and
in such public positions as we are in we don't have to raise our hackles
about that."

However, sources said MDC negotiators were insistent that Gono should
not have any role to play in a new government because he had allegedly
funded repression, while worsening the economic crisis.

Gono was also reportedly accused of being unprofessional and partisan
in his conduct of central bank business.

"The MDC wants the new government to make a number of changes, among
them the removal of Gono," one of the sources said.

By Nkululeko Sibanda

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Zim Bars UN Envoy

Thursday, 07 August 2008 19:31
ZIMBABWE has barred United Nations (UN) envoy from visiting the
country to assess progress on the ongoing power-sharing talks between Zanu
PF and opposition MDC to end the current political impasse.

Harare's blocking of UN assistant secretary-general for political
affairs Haile Menkerios, recently appointed as part of South African
President Thabo Mbeki's three-man "reference group" on the talks, is likely
to heighten tension between Harare and the world body.

UN Resident Representative in Harare Agostinho Zacarias is heading to
Pretoria today for an emergency meeting with Menkerios on the potentially
explosive situation.

The UN is likely to tackle Harare head-on over the issue.

The resultant diplomatic row could give ammunition to the United
States and Britain in their bid to impose UN-backed sanctions on Mugabe and
his key cronies over recent disputed elections, violence and killings.

The western nations, together with the European Union, recently
stepped up sanctions on Harare, although they failed at the UN level after
Russia and China vetoed a US draft resolution on sanctions.

The resolution, calling for an arms embargo, and financial and travel
restrictions on Mugabe and 13 other regime officials, was backed by nine
nations but foundered on the vetoes of the two permanent members.

The arms embargo would have affected Russian and Chinese arms

Diplomatic sources said Menkerios - who was due in Harare today - was
told by Zimbabwean authorities that he was "not welcome" since the talks
"reference group" worked with Mbeki, not Mugabe. They said Harare told him
that even if he came no official would meet him.

By Dumisani Muleya

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Photojournalist Flees To SA

Thursday, 07 August 2008 18:43
ACCLAIMED photojournalist Tsvangirai Mukwazhi last week fled the
country for South Africa after the police allegedly assaulted him on
allegations of owning an improperly registered vehicle.

The award-winning journalist covers Zimbabwe for the Associated Press
(AP) and a number of online news organisations.

Mukwazhi told the Zimbabwe Independent from South Africa this week
that his assault was a traumatising ordeal for him and his family and was
the reason why he sought temporary refuge in South Africa.

"Armed plainclothes policemen came to my house on July 24 around
5.30am and broke down the main door to my house, entered my bedroom and
started beating me up," Mukwazhi said.

"They also beat up my maid for no apparent reason."

He said despite telling the policemen that his vehicle was properly
registered, the officers manacled him and took him to Southerton Police
Station. His car was seized.

"I told them that my car was properly registered and even produced
documents to prove it, but they handcuffed me and took me to Southerton
Police Station," Mukwazhi said.

He said he was later released without charge, but the car was not
returned to him.

"I later saw my car being driven in town. I called my lawyer Beatrice
Mtetwa and together we went to the police station and asked about the
whereabouts of the car," Mukwazhi said. "The police insisted it was parked
at the station, but when we demanded to see it, it turned out that it was
not at the station as they claimed."

AP's bureau chief in Zimbabwe Angus Shaw told the Independent that
Mukwazhi's assault appeared to be part of an onslaught against the
independent media by the state.

"Mukwazhi is a committed photojournalist who has been recording events
that are part of the daily life confronted by Zimbabweans and that's why I
cannot understand why he was singled out," said Shaw.

"His persecution does not make sense and the only reason we can see
for his cruel treatment is the ongoing campaign against independent and
fair-minded journalists."

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said he was not aware of
the incident.

By Lucia Makamure

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Government Audits land Utilisation

Thursday, 07 August 2008 18:41
THE government has instituted another audit into land utilisation by
resettled farmers amid reports that it will repossess unproductive farms.

Agriculture minister Rugare Gumbo confirmed the audit yesterday.

"As government, we have started looking at how our farmers have fared
in the utilisation of land they were allocated," Gumbo said in an interview.
"We want to establish who has done what on the land he was given and who has

Since the advent of the land reform, four audits have been instituted
by President Robert Mugabe to assess on the utilisation of land by farmers.

First was the Charles Utete (ex-secretary to the President and
Cabinet) audit, which was split into two parts; then came the Flora Buka
(then minister of state, lands, and land reform) audit that was eventually
followed by the Didymus Mutasa (same ministry) audit. Gumbo said Zimbabwe
was importing grain from neighbouring countries despite critical foreign
currency shortages.

"We are trying all we can as government to import food from other
countries, but we are faced with a challenge of raising foreign currency for
the imports," he said. "That is why we have been encouraging our farmers to
increase their output capacity so that we can halt importation of food."

Gumbo revealed that government made available US$13 million to local
fertiliser manufacturing companies for the production of Ammonium Nitrate
and Compound D fertilisers.

"We want to make sure that there are adequate inputs in the
agricultural sector so that farmers stop complaining and do what they are
supposed to do, which is to produce food. As I stated, we might want to wish
things to happen but at the end of the day we will realise that our efforts
are affected by the shortage of foreign currency," Gumbo said.

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Women Say Under-represented At Talks

Thursday, 07 August 2008 18:38
IT is 5pm and it's time to go home. Chipo Swiza gently wipes off the
dust on her torn clothes.

Home to her is a little shack built of scrap metal and plastics at
Tongogara squatter camp in Whitecliff, Harare.

After spending a hectic day moulding bricks at a nearby yard, Swiza
managed to raise a $300 billion ($30 revalued) which is not enough to buy a
loaf of bread to feed her three hungry children.

Above all, she cannot buy medicine for her ailing husband.

Swiza looks malnourished, the skin of her face and legs is cracked.
She cannot afford to buy a bottle of petroleum jelly.

When she arrives home she still has a lot of work to do - fetching
firewood to cook supper for her children and nurse her bed-ridden husband.

Her children do not go to school because she cannot raise fees.

Life has been difficult for her, but she now pins her hopes for a
better future on the ongoing talks between Zanu PF and the two MDC

She prays day and night that the talks mediator, South African
President Thabo Mbeki, will manage to unite the protagonists and come up
with a negotiated political settlement to the country's decade-long crisis.

Swiza's only worry is that there is no significant representation of
women at the negotiating table to articulate the challenges she is facing as
a result of the political and economic crisis.

While most women and feminist organisations have welcomed the signing
on July 21 of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Zanu PF and the
MDC, they feel they have been let down by the under-representation of women
at the talks.

Only the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC has a woman among its negotiators -
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga. The MDC Tsvangirai's women assembly
chairperson Theresa Makone is playing a "back-up" role in the faction's

Founder of Girl Child Network (GCN) and gender activist Betty Makoni
decried the absence of women at the talks. She argued that women were the
most vulnerable to political violence that took place in the countdown to
the June 27 presidential election run-off.

"As a woman who has been working on the ground I cannot control the
volume of reports that came to me personally on women and girls raped in
Zimbabwe during the political violence," she said. "I am still trying to
come to terms with what happened and why it happened."

She said with women and girls making 52% of the population in the
country, she did not expect only one woman to be in the talks.

"Only Arthur Mutambara has been kind enough to send Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga to represent women. The mediator is male and all those
who give us updates are male, showing that those to be liberated first are
males and when they think we should, they will call us. So far these are
male talks and it is a shame that they have not pronounced peace plans which
we can work on locally," she said.

Makoni said during the violence it was the girls and women who
suffered the most.

"We must be given a platform to break silence on rapes that were
perpetrated by the youth militia. We want the leaders in our country to pay
particular attention to this," she said. "We would like to see to it that we
deal with issues of rape as a weapon of war in Zimbabwe and the region. It
must not happen again. We have the names of those who raped women and
government must allow justice to prevail."

Makoni demanded 50% women representation at the talks and national
building programmes, an improvement in education and health sectors with the
best professionals. She added that there was need for increased humanitarian

The Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) demanded a 50%
representation, space and audience within all processes of the negotiations.

The women demanded that they be included in peace building and
socioeconomic and political reconstruction processes.

The women's organisation said females have been targeted as weapons of
war where they have been forced to cook and clean for perpetrators, watch or
be cheer leaders or actively perpetrate violent actions.

The women expected an immediate dissolution of torture bases where
they claimed women were grossly abused.

"We demand a revamping of the legal and policy framework beginning
with constitutional reform, adoption of legal measures that restore the
dignity of women and girls and the building of public trust in law
enforcement agents," WCoZ said. "Women, since they bore the burden of the
political violence, demanded that they be granted assistance in rebuilding
their shelter, and accessing health, education and other services."

South Africa-based Zimbabwean gender activist Everjoice Win expressed
discontent with female representation at the negotiating table.

Referring to the MDC Tsvangirai faction and Zanu PF, she said: "Surely
you can't tell me that you have no women with functioning brains and mouths
in your parties.

"Aren't you ashamed of yourselves? This year the only one with a woman
on his team is Arthur Mutambara. That is just unacceptable. Both of you have
female vice-presidents, what is their role? It just showed you only wanted
them to get your votes."

Win demanded the redistribution of land to poor black women in their
own names as citizens, a new constitution, freedom of expression without any
fear, and pluralism in the media.

She also demanded a restoration of quality education at secondary and
tertiary level, an end to the brain drain, improvement in the health sectors
and availability of medicine to women.

"I would like young women to have hope, as they once did, that with
laws, policies and attitudes changing, they can become anything they dream
of. Not just sex slaves."

Pressure group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise recently demanded the
promotion of freedom of expression and assembly during and after the
proceedings of the MoU.

The group demanded an end to political violence and torture, an
address of the humanitarian crisis, a fair and equitable land reform
programme and an independent electoral commission to oversee a referendum on
the new constitution and a free and fair election process.

By Wongai Zhangazha

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Cash Problem: The Blame Game

Thursday, 07 August 2008 18:17
CASH shortages will persist as banks have little Treasury Bills (TB)
that they can use as collateral when collecting money from the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe.

Information gathered by businessdigest shows that the banks lack
sufficient TBs to collect cash from the Reserve Bank which has put in place
stringent conditions to release money onto the market.

Although Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono introduced a new currency,
long winding queues of withdrawers continue to be a common feature around
the central business district.

Cash shortages are the latest manifestation of Zimbabwe's
multi-faceted economic and political crisis, which has affected the country
over the past 10 years

Banks are required to lodge Treasury Bills at the Reserve Bank as
collateral before being given cash that meets their client base each day.

Bankers said Treasury Bills which are issued at 340% against official
inflation of 2 200 000% will compromise their earnings and force them to
scale down on the amounts they have been procuring in cash in relation to

Independent economists estimate year-on-year inflation to be above 10
million percent.

"Government is not interested in paying the right cost for capital," a
chief executive with a commercial bank told businessdigest on Wednesday.
Government has kept this stance since 2005, when the then Finance
Minister, Herbert Murerwa said high TB rates were "too expensive and not
sustainable" in managing domestic debt when he presented his 2005 national

Bankers who spoke to this paper also said cash challenges are expected
to remain entrenched in the economy as long as inflation remains high whilst
deposit interest rates are too low to incentivise savers in the economy.
While the Reserve Bank has kept the accommodation rates very high,
annualised at 1,5 decillion percent (33 zeros), depositors are languishing
with interest rates below 250% per annum.
The bankers also blamed the central bank for its "abrupt" change in
daily cash withdrawals.

The RBZ demands 45% of statutory reserves from banks and this
according to officials has seen most financial institutions "hurriedly"
offloading their securities portfolios to improve their liquidity positions.

"The recent tumble of the stock market is a reflection of this
problem," said a stockbroker.

"Banks have become victims of abrupt policy changes and disposing of
their stocks thus becomes the only option to improve liquidity."

Confounded with high inflation, depositors would see little incentive
to leave money in the banks, especially now when the interest rates on
savings and current
accounts are generally below 10% per annum. When asked by
businessdigest to comment on the cash situation, the country's 15 commercial
banks cited general preference towards Bankers Acceptances over TB's which
no longer have the "all important liquidity status".
Presently, 30 day Bankers Acceptances are being drawn in the market at
yields around 1 000%, which, when annualised, leave banks raking in returns
of about 147 731%.

These returns are well above the TB returns pegged at 340%. Banks have
had few TBs accumulating on their balance sheets.

Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president John Mangudya however said
cash shortages could end soon.

"What we are seeing now is the release of pent-up demand for cash
which is also a direct indication of the hyperinflationary environment that
we are living in," he said.

Although having what looks like super returns on banks lending books,
Genesis Bank has revealed a contrasting picture of the true cost of capital
in the region in its weekly bulletin.
Despite banks charging high overdrafts rates in nominal terms, the
real cost of borrowing in Zimbabwe appears to remain very cheap compared to
Zambia for example where the effective annualised cost of borrowing stood at
around 50% in US dollar terms. Commenting on this aspect, bank's group
economist Brains Muchemwa said "the high cost of borrowing in Zambia is
attributed more to the high interest rates relative to inflation, as well as
the strengthening kwacha that has appreciated 13% year to date".
The trend has seen most banking institutions moving away from their
core business of making money by lending money to buying properties and
participating on the stock market. Recent financial results by banks show
that they have included properties they own and ones they have acquired
during the

financial year on their balance sheets.
Government officials said if banks charge a "realistic market rate"
the government would go bankrupt, as it does not have any other source of
capital other than the domestic market whose production has been operating
below 30%.

Government's over reliance on the domestic market has resulted in it
incurring a domestic debt of $790 quadrillion ($79,6 million), a development
which will prompt high taxes for the future generation.

Gono on Monday accused banks of creating "artificial" cash shortages
by failing to collect money from the country's main bank to distribute it to
"Notwithstanding the high levels of cash stocks sitting at the Reserve
Bank ready for dispatch into the market, some banking institutions have been
noted to be engaging in imprudent and unethical practices which are creating
artificial queues for cash," Gono told journalists and bankers.

"Indepth analysis of banks' asset-liability profiles has shown the
following glaring malpractices by some banks, non-collection to pay cash for
such cash on collection."

"This inability at some banks is primarily a result of such banks
tying depositors' funds in illiquid speculative investments in the stock
exchange, real estate, motor vehicles, foreign exchange and other forms of
non-core investments," he added.

By Paul Nyakazeya

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Monetary Reforms Remain Futile

Thursday, 07 August 2008 18:13
BARELY 10 days after the presentation of the half year monetary policy
statement presented last week, the situation on the ground is showing the
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono only attempted to cure the symptoms rather
than the root cause of the economic crisis.

Economic analysts this week said as long as there was no production,
monetary authorities will continue to move in circles.

The supply side of the economy should be addressed by confronting
Zimbabwe's real crisis, which is the crisis of governance, sanctions and

Independent economist, John Robertson said monetary reforms just
announced will remain futile in the absence of substantive strategies to
shore up the country's battered economy.

"There should be increased production in all major sectors of the
economy. He (Gono) addressed symptoms as opposed to the root causes," he

University of Zimbabwe business school lecturer Tony Hawkins dismissed
Gono's latest strategy as little more than posturing.

"What monetary policy? That was a political statement that was made.
The nonsense about Zimbabwe being under sanctions was not monetary. There
were a few currency changes, but that is where it ends. Freezing wages is
not going to end hyperinflation," he said.

Hawkins said unless there was a political settlement, the zeros would
be back on the currency in a few months.

"We are looking at a situation whereby the (US) dollarisation of the
economy is going to increase, because our own money would have become

"The main causer of hyperinflation is Gideon Gono, who is printing
money, which is being used for handouts and is being given to political
thugs to beat up people," Hawkins said.

MDC-T Secretary for Economic Affairs Elton Mangoma said the latest
measures of removing zeros will fall flat and cause serious confusion among
the public.

He said the announcement that old coins are coming back into
circulation would benefit people who do not have a banking culture, which
will send a wrong signal to the market at a time when confidence building
should be top priority to the Reserve Bank.

"We believe that any central bank should know the amount of money that
is in circulation and clearly, allowing people to scrounge for old money
from their drawers will make it impossible to know how much currency is on
the market. It could further push up inflation," he said.

The increase of withdrawal limits from $100 billion (now $10 revalued)
to $2 trillion ( $200 revalued) has not brought any relief to the public at
time when prices have skyrocketed after the monetary policy statement. Many
people are also failing to access their money from banks.

Two litres of cooking oil now cost above $1,5 trillion ($150) from
$900 billion ($90) while 500g of fresh milk rose from $200 billion ($20) to
$500 billion ($50).

Two kg of rice now cost above $1,4 trillion ($140) from $900 billion
from ($90).

A full chicken now costs $2 trillion ($200) from $900 billion ($90)
while two litres of orange crush rose from $1 trillion ($100) to about $1,6
trillion ($160)

During the 2008 mid-term monetary policy last week, President Robert
Mugabe warned the country's business sector to stop profiteering or face
emergency measures.

"If you drive us more than you have done we will impose emergency
measures, and we do not want to place our country in a situation of
emergency rules, they can be tough rules you know," Mugabe said.

"We want to leave you with the freedom, the flexibility to make
decisions . . . You (businesses) need to be rewarded for your efforts,
customers also need a fair price, not ripping them off," he said.

It remains to be seen what government will do although some economists
have warned that controlling prices will result in shortages of basic

National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) chairperson Goodwills
Masimirembwa said prices being charged were not justified.

"The rate at which prices are rising is a major cause of concern which
needs to be addressed," he said.

Masimirembwa said business has been ignoring prices which have been
set by the commission.

The prices being approved by NIPC are way out of sync with the real
prices that are already prevailing on the market.

A survey conducted by businessdigest this month shows that by the time
the NIPC approve a price, the actual price on the market will be almost
three times higher.

The rise in the prices of most basic commodities has been blamed
largely on speculative tendencies in the country's frail economy.

But economists said the dwindling production levels on the back of
increased money printing and a weak currency has resulted in too much money
chasing too few goods, and this has been worsened by acute foreign currency
shortages which has triggered a run on the Zimbabwe dollar on a thriving
foreign currency parallel market.

Gono is being accused of opting for the easier alternative of striking
off the zeros to make the mathematics of the changeover easier and better
for the public but ignoring the stumbling bloc to any recovery by the
political situation.

"The Reserve Bank no longer has the capacity to print wads of useless
currency, so Gono has decided that the old coins must get back into the
system at their face value meaning that if one has a $5 coin, it is as good
as $5 dollars in today's new currency," said an economist with a commercial

But is it fair to criticise Gono?

Some analysts said Gono should by now realise that the economic
problems in Zimbabwe are political. All his attempts since he was appointed
governor in November 2003 have been hitting a strong political brick wall,
which once resolved could signal a positive direction for the country.

The dialogue currently taking place between the country's political
players is said to be the best way forward as long as there is sincerity
from all stakeholders.

By far the most important message in Gono's otherwise content-free mid
year monetary policy statement was subliminal.

Though he did not or could not say it, his message was obvious: "the
economy has reached the end of the road," Zimbabwe was now in endgame.

How this will be settled -- ? by the talks in Pretoria being
undertaken by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the two formations
of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara or by other means -- does not diminish the
certainty of this conclusion. Gono had nothing but bad news, with the
financial system in near-total gridlock.

A positive outcome of the talks will result in more investors coming
in the country which should lead to increased production in all major
sectors of the economy and a stable currency. More investment options will
also be opened.

By Paul Nyakazeya

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MDC Handed Zanu PF Victory

Thursday, 07 August 2008 18:25
I LEFT Zimbabwe the day after Robert Mugabe was reinaugurated as

Watching on state television as the old man swore fealty to the
country his party has ruined, I packed my bag for the long haul back to

It is winter now in Zimbabwe, meaning the days are like an English
spring in their lightness and warmth, and the nights plunge to just a few
degrees above zero. Everyone I talk to affects a jaded determination to
survive, but there will be cold nights ahead.

I have seen many Zimbabwean elections. My first was in 1980 when, as a
member of the Commonwealth observer group, I helped monitor the transition
to Independence and Mugabe's first electoral triumph. I have attended almost
all campaigns or elections since, including all of this year's polls - the
March elections and the June presidential runoffs. Over the years I have
seen - close up - the hopes of the majority of Zimbabweans dashed by a
corrupt and vicious oligarchy which cloaks itself in the rhetoric of
anti-colonialism and self-determination.

The situation is all the more tragic because this year the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) handed Mugabe victory on a plate - the
result of a miscalculation, a loss of nerve or both by its leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai. This failure has strengthened Mugabe's hand in the negotiations
over a national unity government now taking place, after the "memorandum of
understanding" signed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai on July 21. The memorandum is
a reason for cautious optimism - nevertheless, for the MDC the election was
a bitter defeat; for Tsvangirai a personal tragedy.

Mugabe was never going to surrender the presidency without a dirty
fight. Meanwhile, the anti-Mugabe forces were in chaos. The international
community was divided in its tactics. The Western nations - led by the
British and the Americans - condemned loudly and pressed for sanctions, much
to the discomfort of Zimbabwe's neighbours, who feared it might help push
the country closer to civil war. South Africa, Botswana and Zambia have
already absorbed large economic costs from the Zimbabwean meltdown and they
feared that the collapse of Mugabe's dictatorship would lead to anarchy and
further spillover into neighbouring countries.

Moreover, Western rhetoric didn't play well with the average
Zimbabwean. Seen from the Harare street, Gordon Brown's performance in the
House of Commons after the runoff election results, announcing a plan to
push for new sanctions, was exactly what was not needed. It was a
continuation of the Blair era, when foreign policy towards Africa could be
simultaneously well-meant and supercilious. Few in Harare have forgotten
Clare Short's infamous letter - written during the first days of the Blair
administration - in which the then development secretary pointed to her own
Irish "colonial victim" status and repudiated a British undertaking to fund
land nationalisation: an act that helped create the climate that later led
to violent (and uncompensated) land seizures. Meanwhile, US attempts to
advise the MDC on election tactics had, as we shall see, disastrous

If the foreigners were at sixes and sevens, the domestic opposition
was little better. The MDC went into the elections still split from the
divisions of late 2005 and early 2006, when a breakaway faction, led by
Arthur Mutambara with strategic direction from Welshman Ncube, established a
power base in western Zimbabwe and among many of the MDC's intellectual
supporters. The split occurred amid accusations that Tsvangirai was no
longer behaving democratically, taking decisions unilaterally which should
have received the approval of the party's executive committee. Tsvangirai
has always been impatient of process. Perhaps he came to believe he was the
MDC. This was enough to fracture the MDC's brittle unity - and even the
prospect of electoral victory was insufficient to repair it.

The two sides did try to heal their divisions, but Tsvangirai was
unwilling to withdraw from contesting enough seats in Mutambara's western
stronghold to reunite the party. Almost all Zimbabwean commentators agree
that this was a fatal misjudgement on Tsvangirai's part. Had the MDC entered
the first presidential round in lockstep with Mutambara, Tsvangirai might
have got the crucial extra votes to win the presidency outright. As it was,
Mutambara unselfishly refrained from running for president himself, giving
Tsvangirai a clear run (although he did endorse a third-party candidate,
Simba Makoni). But the voting patterns from the western constituencies show
that the damage had been done. Mutambara's people felt slighted and Mugabe
did much better than expected in the west.

Tsvangirai has always been a hit-and-miss politician - capable of
strokes of genius but also prone to periods of wayward and ineffectual
leadership. Tsvangirai has always been a man of action and used to like
teasing Zimbabwean intellectuals for thinking too much. He can be ruthless,
as in the late 1990s when the MDC arose from, then split with, the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), just when that body was becoming the largest
civil society group Zimbabwe had ever known. Many in the NCA took a long
time to forgive him, but the secession of the MDC decisively tilted the
struggle against Mugabe and Zanu-PF into the realm of party politics, rather
than grassroots action. Yet Tsvangirai's flashes of ruthless decisiveness
can be accompanied by protracted hesitation. The MDC has often seemed
rudderless. In fact, the captain is at the tiller but not steering the ship.

I admire Tsvangirai. I wrote a book about him, based on many hours of
face-to-face interviews, which was distributed underground in Zimbabwe to
help the MDC's 2005 campaign. I attended those elections and acknowledged
the book was mine. I was and am prepared to stand up for Tsvangirai. But I
also want to say that he screwed up.

Tsvangirai should have remained inside Zimbabwe for longer periods -
especially between this year's first and second polls. While he and his
deputy Tendai Biti courted international support, they left their party
leaderless. The split in the MDC had left Tsvangirai's party as the larger
of two factions, but Mutambara and Ncube had most of the politically astute
thinkers in their group. Tsvangirai relied increasingly on advice from Biti,
and with both of them travelling outside Zimbabwe, there was no second tier
to hold the MDC together and give party workers strategic direction. There
was also an undercurrent of suspicion, fanned by Zanu-PF, that Tsvangirai
had lost his nerve and was putting his personal safety above the welfare of
his people. The loss of MDC morale was clear.

Tsvangirai's main source of advice was the US embassy in Harare,
especially after Mugabe's government arrested Biti on treason charges and
imprisoned him two weeks before the runoff. The deliberate effect of the
arrest was to deprive Tsvangirai of local guidance during the crucial
closing stages of the campaign. This became a test of nerve: Zanu-PF wanted
to break Tsvangirai's will by isolating him and threatening him physically.

The US embassy sought to fill the gap, and was complicit in Tsvangirai's
decisions to withdraw from the elections and seek refuge in the Dutch
embassy. The plan was to hand Mugabe a hollow victory which the West could
then attack. The US analysis was that the polls had already been fixed so a
Tsvangirai victory was impossible. Participation would only legitimise a
brazen "steal." The idea was also to create an image of such great
intimidation that even a leader of the opposition could find safety from
assassination only on diplomatic soil.

I want also to say unequivocally that the Americans screwed up. When
Tsvangirai withdrew, Zanu-PF could hardly believe their luck. They were
beginning to realise they were on the verge of overplaying their only hand,
that of violence. Then, out of the blue, Tsvangirai solved all their
problems for them.

Contrary to Western information, Tsvangirai's consultation of his own
party members, who did indeed protest they didn't want to die for nothing,
was brief and sketchy. When the "consultation" took place, there was only a
week to go before the runoff poll. At that point, the worst was probably
over. Zanu PF was under pressure to reduce the violence in the face of
external African criticism. The party would have still sought to rig the
count, but the result would have been at least more contestable and, at
best, surprising.

Thabo Mbeki was reluctant to push too hard on Zimbabwe not just
because of his complex attachment to Mugabe, but also because he never
believed Tsvangirai would make an effective leader. This is unfair, as
Tsvangirai has clearly matured, both politically and morally. He has taken
almost all that Mugabe could throw at him. It may be, however, that Mugabe
and Zanu-PF finally found the cracks in a very brave man, and levered them

This will all be debated for a long time. But Tsvangirai took the
assassination rumours seriously enough to take his family into exile. Eleven
years ago, he came within inches of being killed as alleged government
agents tried to push him out of a tenth-floor window high above Harare. He
has been on trial for his life on treason charges. This time, there almost
certainly was a plan to kill him. It is unlikely to have been activated
while the world's attention was focused on Zimbabwe. In that gaze, he was
probably safe, but the weeks of drip-feed rumours finally did their work.

The net effect is that Tsvangirai is a diminished leader, even within
the MDC. He is universally regarded as courageous; even his Zanu-PF foes
give him that. But a huge strand of Zanu PF propaganda and covert action has
been devoted to probing and exploiting his weak points. Few people would not
have stumbled.

Following the disappointments of recent weeks, Tsvangirai needs to
rally his battered forces. The split in the MDC must be more fully healed
and all its leaders brought back into the tent if the party is not to be
outmanoeuvred again. But Tsvangirai may no longer have the prestige to
cement a reconciliation.

The election has rammed home his dependence on colleagues, even those
who were rivals, such as Ncube and Biti. Ncube has the feel for both
long-range strategy and policy. A professor of law, he has a strong sense of
procedure and was one of the first to become alienated by Tsvangirai's
liberties with the way the MDC operated. Biti, who remained with Tsvangirai,
is also a lawyer and was long prominent in the fight for civil liberties and
political freedom. But Biti's thinking is more like that of a
barrister -brief by brief. He is a tactician to Ncube's strategist, and both
will be needed in any new unity government. The exact form of such a
government is the next chapter in the story.

Meanwhile in Egypt at the African Union summit Mugabe was on his best
grandstanding. He gave a long, impassioned and, apparently, moving piece of
oratory, discoursing on the long historical cycle that would one day
vindicate his nationalist mission. But his subsequent willingness to enter
into talks with Tsvangirai shows that even he must know that the time has
passed when appeals to anti-colonial solidarity could rally the African
Union, even if his sentiments struck residual heartstrings. His lieutenants
must also know that, at the age of 84, he is of little further use to them.
It is these insiders - four top generals; Emerson Mnangagwa and Gideon Gono,
the governor of the Reserve Bank - who will determine the endgame.

It will be messy, of course, and will require Zanu PF to be persuaded
not to create a merely cosmetic unity government. For the MDC, one of the
key points of the July memorandum was that regional brokers other than Mbeki
will play a more prominent role. Time will tell if this promise is honoured,
but those now in the frame include Jean Ping of the African Union. Any
mediator needs to be able to dangle some carrots. The only constructive role
the West can now play is in underwriting the cost of economic recovery. This
is a bitter pill. It will involve underpinning the prosperity of many who
have stolen and plundered.

Many of Mugabe's supporters will demand influence around the table.
Much of his core support is still voluntary - and even enthusiastic - and
accounts for up to 40% of the electorate. Although Zanu PF supporters are in
the minority, they make up important sectors of society: probably the
majority of the intellectual class, because of Mugabe's nationalist
ideology; the huge majority of the senior military personnel from the
liberation war; the urban oligarchies who have profited from manipulating an
economy in free fall; village headmen who have never understood the MDC's
largely urban appeal and who have been well rewarded in return; and a small
but appreciable group of peasants who have finally gained ownership of
patches of land - an issue that remains hugely important in Zimbabwe. The
MDC, by contrast, is overwhelmingly the party of Harare and, to a lesser
extent, the other big cities such as Bulawayo and Mutare. Its backbone is
the salaried middle class, which has been the biggest loser from the
economic collapse.

Despite holding many of the cards, Zanu PF and its backers will have
to display restraint. Among the MDC, the key senior players such as Ncube
and Mutambara will need to be awarded significant ministries. And the best
of the technocratic wing of Zanu PF, people like Simba Makoni, Mugabe's
other challenger for the presidency, will need to be on board. The west has
always been prepared to do business with Makoni - a technocratic paragon of
"Zanu-PF-lite" who many feel never really left the party - and might insist
on his ministerial inclusion.

Of course, there will be arguments about Mugabe's eventual departure:
about the length of any transition and whether he should retain a titular
presidency. Although this would be largely ceremonial (Mugabe as the "Queen
of Zimbabwe"), Zanu PF would fight to retain the "commander-in-chief" role,
meaning Mugabe, and Zanu PF, would retain ultimate control of the military.

The elephant in the room is of course what role might be offered to
Tsvangirai. Ironically, the real threat to his long-term future may not come
from Zanu-PF but from within his own MDC. It is here that personal and
political tragedies intersect. Many within the party are disillusioned with
his recent performance. It is by no means certain he will remain at the top.
If there is a succession, this will involve as many factional fights within
the MDC as are likely to occur in a post-Mugabe Zanu-PF. The political
careers of Makoni and Biti may have some way to run.

Whoever ultimately runs Zimbabwe will, of course, inherit an economic
disaster. And whatever the political settlement, things will get worse
before they get better

*Chan is Professor of International Relations in the University of
London, and foundation Dean of Law and Social Sciences at the School of
Oriental and African Studies. This article is published in the August 2008
issue of Prospect Magazine.

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A War We Can't Win

Thursday, 07 August 2008 17:17
NOW that the two political protagonists are talking to each other in a
bid to find a political solution which should subsequently lead to economic
recovery, it is important that the nation gets to find out the reasons
behind the economic sanctions that have been imposed on the country.

This is because the country is indeed under sanctions, which affect
the economy and everybody in the country. The sanctions do not only affect
those against whom they are allegedly targeted.

The sanctions were imposed after the implementation of the land reform
programme. As a result, I think we should as a point of departure know the
country's policy on land reform, itself the main reason for the imposition
of economic sanctions.

What is the country's policy in regard to land reform? How is land
identified and how are beneficiaries identified? Previously, it was said
that the land reform was meant to inter alia decongest the communal areas by
way of creating A2 model farms, whereby communal farmers relocated from the
communal areas would be given slightly larger plots to practice their trade.

There was also the policy of creating a black commercial farming cadre
to buttress the already existing white commercial farmers so that we do not
as a country have only one racial group monopolising commercial farming

It would appear that these otherwise well-intentioned policies have
been all but abandoned as evidence on the ground shows that land
distribution has sadly been reduced from an orderly policy-driven exercise
to a process whereby influential blacks go around scouting for and cherry
picking the best white farms and then influencing the issuance of the
necessary papers by the office of the Minister of Lands and Land
Resettlement Didymus Mutasa.

It may well be that the majority of beneficiaries of the acquired
white farms meant to create a black commercial farming corps are influential
black people in the army, civil service, judiciary and other sectors. Mind
you, these "new farmers" have not left their other professions to become
full time farmers.

I thought as a nation we should have full time farmers to put our land
to full productive use, to feed the nation, just as we should have
professionals in other fields on a full time basis to serve the nation.

There is no evidence that there is any attempt to identify suitable --
able and/or willing communal farmers to avail A2 land to.

There is also no evidence that there is any effort to identify
suitable -- able and/or willing black would-be commercial farmers for the
availing of land to them to constitute a cadre of black commercial farmers
as envisaged by the policy of creating black commercial farmers to partner
existing commercial farmers.

Another policy pronouncement on the land reform was to the effect that
the government's land reform programme was non-racial and therefore all
white farmers who wanted to continue farming would be given land to farm so
long as they appreciated the need to share the land with their black
counterparts. But events on the ground seem to suggest that whites are not
wanted on the land as white commercial farmers are just being removed from
the land if some influential black person identifies their property as their
preferred farm.

It was also said initially that whites with one farm would be spared
acquisition while those with more than one farm would be left with only one.
Again events on the ground indicate that if you are white you may have your
only farm acquired if an influential black person wants it.

Also if a white farmer has more than one farm, they may well lose all
of the farms and be left with nothing.

Overall, the land reform as presently carried out aims at removing all
whites from the land and replacing them with blacks who have connections in
the political hierarchy who in the main are gainfully employed elsewhere and
have not made up their minds to become full time farmers.

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Patrick Zhuwawo recently
said at a rally that no black person will fail to get land as long as there
are white farmers still on the land.

In other words whites will be moved off the land even to their
destitution to make way for a black person who may want the land for
purposes of enhancing his prestige.

It is important that government should promulgate a credible policy on
land reform and stick to it in implementing the land reform.

The practice of driving out whites from the farms simply because of
their race may well be interpreted as blatant reverse racism, which is
frowned upon by the international community.

This could explain the sanctions imposed by the US and EU on the
country. It does not help us to punish the EU and US's kith and kin -- the
white farmers, by vindictively driving them off the land in retaliation for
the sanctions imposed on us.

Having ill-treated the whites' kith and kin on the farms here, how do
we expect their cousins who control the money in the IMF, the World Bank and
other donor organisations to give us money?

We are simply starting a war we have no capacity to win.

So when Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono issues a clarion
call to all Zimbabweans to denounce sanctions and work towards their
removal, he might do well to look at our own actions which might have given
reason for the imposition of sanctions.

It does not help us as a nation to persecute white farmers and
generally drive white Zimbabwean citizens out of the country simply on the
basis of their race, when we are living in a world which loathes racism and
where we have many of our sons and daughters earning a living in the white
world unmolested.

We need to retain the moral high ground in our fight with the British
over their refusal to honour the Lancaster House Agreement as it relates to
land reform, just as we had the moral high ground in our fight against
colonialism and apartheid. We need to show the world that here is a powerful
white world unfairly ganging up against and bullying little Zimbabwe for
simply insisting on having whites in Zimbabwe share land with their black

Grandstanding as the world's "mangindaba" (Mr I know it all), who can
humiliate the white man with impunity, can only bring trouble for us as a
people. We will no doubt get a place in history as the only African "amadoda
sibili" (real men) who humiliated the all-powerful white man, to satisfy our
ego, but it is hardly worth the price.

For, history will record that we killed a dozen white men, humiliated
a couple of thousands, killed 200 of our black brothers and tortured
thousands more who were not sufficiently enthusiastic in defending our noble
cause of humiliating the whiteman as they dared vote for his (the white man's)

History will also record that in retaliation, the white man imposed
sanctions which all but destroyed Zimbabwe's economy and in the process
destroyed the lives and livelihoods of millions of Zimbabweans.

So overall, the black man comes out the loser in this ego fight, as
there are more black casualties than there are whites because of the moral
high ground that we enjoyed in our fight against apartheid and colonialism,
we managed to rally world opinion against apartheid and colonialism.

Regrettably, we have not been able to get everybody supporting us in
our noble fight for land reform. Could it be that we come out as vindictive
and out to punish whites in the process of redistributing land? That we are
driven more by racist vindictiveness than by the desire to right a wrong?

To demonstrate that we were more interested in inflicting pain on the
white man than on equitably redistributing land, we totally disregarded the
recommendations of the 1998 Harare Donors Conference on Land Reform and
proceeded to redistribute land in a manner calculated to humiliate and
strike fear into the heart of the white man.

Otherwise how do you justify the very commonplace practice whereby a
black person goes to a farm where produce is ready for harvesting and
proceeds to claim the crop, the livestock, the tractors and other vehicles
on the farm all in the in name of land reform?

This is not land reform comrades. This is unconscionable.

Marazanye is a freelance writer and educationist.

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Real Peace Needed

Thursday, 07 August 2008 17:13
IT sounds like a bar room joke: a Tutsi general meets a Catholic nun
and, not knowing what to do, ends up in an arm-wrestling match. They both
end up winning.

Except, says American peacemaker Howard Wolpe, that it really
happened, in the small town of Ngozi in northern Burundi.

Well, if it was a joke, you might hope it would feature somewhere in
the Zimbabwe talks, the dealmakers with their elbows on the South
African-sponsored whisky bar, perhaps not to test each other's superman
qualities but to share the Johnnie Walker whisky both sides are said to

At the heart of the Zimbabwe crisis is the refusal of President Robert
Mugabe to relinquish power.

After several years of trying, President Thabo Mbeki got
representatives of the three main parties together to talk over a
power-sharing alternative, and Mugabe joined his arch foe Morgan Tsvangirai
for a surreptitious brunch in Harare.

Whether or not a deal is in the offing, in the view of the man in the
street, there are still many bridges ahead to cross.

All have to do with how to get two belligerent parties, one of which
swore never to serve the other, to work together to salvage what is left of
the country. On the face of it, Burundi and Zimbabwe cannot be compared.

The first lost a third of its population in a genocide; whatever you
want to say about Mugabe, and however loathsome his actions in Matabeleland
were, the two are not in the same massacre league.

Yet Wolpe, who heads the Project on Leadership and Building State
Capacity of the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington DC, is one expert who
insists that Burundi has a lot to teach the continent, including Zimbabwe.

At an audience of the Centre for Africa's International Relations at
Wits University recently, he explained his work -- and one could immediately
see what the connections between the two crises were. Burundi exploded into
war, whereas one of the features of the Zimbabwean crisis is that the
population -- to the great puzzlement and exasperation of commentators with
roots in South Africa's mass democratic movement -- has been so loath to
rise up against Mugabe.

A key African problem that Wolpe posits is the "zero-sum game" played
by so many belligerent groups in African conflicts, or the "winner takes
all" mentality.

One is used to this phrase being applied to the supposed unAfricanness
of the Westminster parliamentary system, where the winning party in an
election, if only by one vote, becomes the new government. But Africa's
parties and militias demonstrate the phrase's real meaning -- of the men
with the guns insisting that they should have everything: parliament, radio
stations, weaponry, mining concessions, ex-colonial homes . . . It is easy
to see that this militarist mindset still persists in Zimbabwe, and has
always been the basis of Zanu PF's approach to power.

This year a minister referred to non-Zanu PF voters as cockroaches who
should be dealt with as such, echoing the famous description of Tutsis by
Hutu extremists during the Rwanda genocide.

For Africa's armed groups, seizing the reins of government is just
another arrow in the quivers of power over their adversaries, says Wolpe.

But when it comes to conflict resolution, they are not the only
parties at fault.

His work at the Woodrow Wilson Centre "comes out of frustrations that
I experienced both as a diplomat and as a policy maker . . . in the
Congress", where Wolpe served for seven terms before becoming Bill Clinton's
special representative to the Great Lakes.

Diplomats, he discovered, had the right gravitas and the right
connections to bring parties to the negotiations table, but often were
unable to get real peace.

Very few envoys ever get any training in how to manage conflict
resolution. Through the years they have developed a "checklist approach", in
which they impose organograms of impressive-looking programmes on

A ceasefire is followed by peace talks, which lead to a power-sharing
deal, and then demobilisation and re-integration of rebel soldiers in the
national army. The underlying problems are not being dealt with, this is
where the peace often breaks down. Look no further than the DRC, where
"re-integration" has led to new abuses of civilians and even more charges of
rape by soldiers, all leading to new breakaway militias taking to the bush.

"We have a tendency," Wolpe told a US radio station, "to put a lot of
pressure on the leaders in a conflict to come to the table, to sign
agreements, but we do nothing to really work directly with their mindsets.

"There is no reason, therefore, to believe that the day after they
have signed an agreement they would see their conflict or each other any
differently than the day before they signed that agreement, and so it is not
surprising that, within five years, most societies that have signed
agreements are back at war."

Wolpe's alternative is simple: training, training and training, to
change the military mindsets.

This comes down to practically learning a set of very ordinary skills:
the nitty-gritty of negotiating, when to shake hands and when to wink, the
art of communication, how to assess perceptions of oneself, and how to
collaborate on simple tasks.

"We do not think it is very useful to lecture people, to preach to
them about human rights or about democracy. The challenge is to get people
to begin to comprehend their inter-dependence, to see each other as part of
the same political universe so that they will not dehumanise their

This is where the Tutsi general and the Catholic nun come in. Wolpe
and his project team designed a series of interactive, simulatory,
role-playing games when they began with their peacemaking in Burundi in

To break the ice, they asked a number of key players in Burundian
society, from both the Hutu and Tutsi sides, to arm-wrestle with each other.
Each pair of arm-wrestlers would form a team, and score points when either's
backhand touched the table. The general and the nun were quick to realise
that by letting each other win, they would score the most points.

Since 2003, more than 100 leaders and army commanders from all sides
in Burundi have been trained in a range of skills, enabling them to build
trust and a sense of commonality.

Wolpe claims his team needed only three days to get groups on fiercely
opposing sides to work together.

Another successful game was setting imaginary oil prices for imaginary
oil-producing countries. Instead of the contest raising prices, they
eventually hit rock bottom because of competitors' fears that the other side
would undercut them with even cheaper prices.

Wolpe said this taught the valuable lesson that what one side might
see as an attack was often a defensive measure.

A little of the outcome was evident during the meeting of Burundi's
main rebel leader, Agathon Rwasa, government army generals and emissaries
from the international community in Magaliesburg, North West, recently. It
was touching to see the circle of staid diplomats, young and pretty
technocrats, intense intelligence types and lounging soldiers taking hands
and praying with Rwasa, who afterwards confessed he wasn't particularly

So what was Wolpe's prescription for the Zimbabwean crisis? The thick
veil of secrecy over the dialogue might hide all sorts of carpet games
between the Tendai Bitis and the Patrick Chinamasas -- anyone for skittles
under the coffee table?

Wolpe did not hesitate with a suggestion, what one might call "Zim
socks", or, more accurately, "SimSocs".

Four participants are assigned to four imaginary regions with
different sets of resources, manpower, political structures and the like.

SimSocs was devised by William Gamson in 1966, and is used widely in
the US to train sociologists.  Wolpe believes this ability is one of the
keys in any conflict resolution -- but will this really work in the Zimbabwe
case? The key would be for Zanu PF bigwigs, especially, to acknowledge that
they are still playing a "zero-sum" game after all these years, when it is
not necessary.

Tsvangirai is said to have told Mugabe during their brunch that they
are all Zimbabweans, and that no foreigners would be at the dialogue table.

Playing a zero-sum game in a country that every now and then has to
lose the zeros of its constantly inflating currencies is a contradiction in
terms but SimSocs teaches another lesson.

One of the scenarios that is shown up beautifully, says one student
who has played in a SimSocs game, is that of a dictatorship. That South
Africa is molly-coddling the dictator Mugabe can no longer be in doubt.

Even if Mbeki delivers a deal, it would be several years too late, a
Pyrrhic victory in a Potemkin village stretching from the Zambezi to the
Limpopo. The odds would be stacked against it achieving Zimbabwe's

Another theme in Wolpe's approach is the "huge gap between the
political class and the mass of the population". Central to bridging the gap
is to bring influential civilians -- listed as such by all the sides in a
conflict -- into the process, and give them training too.

This has long been the call from various Zimbabwean civil
organisations, the unions and the churches. Mbeki has declined their offer.
Perhaps he is the one who should play a game of Zim socks, with lots of
holes in them.

*Hans  Pienaar works for the (SA) Independent's foreign desk.

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Erich Bloch: Zero Option For Currency Change

Thursday, 07 August 2008 17:09
AS was the case two years ago, Zimbabwe is again rife with pronounced
criticism and cynicism at the Reserve Bank's revaluation of the country's

All and sundry are outspokenly condemnatory of the action, contending
that it will do nothing to counter the extreme hyperinflation that afflicts
Zimbabwe (officially stated to be 2,2, million% at end of May, 2008, and
undoubtedly actually approximately 10 million% by end of July, 2008).

The criticisms would be well-founded if the motivation for the
currency revaluation had been to halt the horrendous inflation, but that is
not the case. The Reserve Bank's action was very necessary, but not in order
to bring inflation under control. Currency revaluation was vitally necessary
to deal with one of the consequences of inflation, and not to deal with
inflation itself.

Inflation had surged to such a gargantuan extent that it was
grievously impeding essential elements of economic administration. Hardly
any computer systems could cope with the magnitude of virtually every
transaction, severely impacting upon accounting administration of virtually
every business.

Amongst the greatest victims of the incapability of most computer
programmes to handle the processing of routine transactions were the banks,
with a result that most clients could not access bank statements for months
on end, let alone even to obtain confirmation of current bank balances, and
interbank transmissions of RTGS payments were taking weeks to arrive as
credits in recipient accounts.

In like manner, cash registers in all supermarkets, stores and other
enterprises could not record transactions which amounted to billions and
trillions of dollars, and meters on the few petrol pumps that had petrol to
dispense could not record the value of transactions. Similarly, desk
calculators had become totally ineffectual, unless they had a capacity of
sixteen or more digits.

And the consumer had as great difficulties, experiencing ever greater
difficulty in mentally relating to the continuous increase in the number of
zeros constituting the prices of almost every commodity, let alone those
attributable to the contents of a shopping basket. Security was at risk, for
everyone had to carry endlessly greater numbers of bank notes, not because
of any increase in numbers of transactions, but because of the increase, in
currency value terms of each and every transaction, as inflation continued
its unending upward surge.

Thus, some remedial action by the Reserve Bank was absolutely
necessary, and it determined that such action had to be currency
revaluation. Admittedly, almost all anticipated that the action would be the
dropping of zeros in units of three, whereby either three, six or nine zeros
would be removed from the currency, and therefore it was somewhat surprising
that it actually decided to discard 10 zeros, whereby $10 billion became $1.

But the many who inferred that the currency revaluation was motivated
in order to curb inflation have overlooked that that was not the objective
being pursued by the Reserve Bank through the currency revaluation measure,
and that the motivation was to address the administrative, accounting,
security and ancillary ills that had intensified exponentially as inflation
rose more and more. The critics also claim that the measure is pointless in
view of the fact that with continuing inflation, any benefits of revaluation
will once again be eroded and negated.

In this respect, the critics are partially right, for that erosion
will inevitably occur, until such time as inflation is effectively
controlled. However, in the meanwhile the benefits of revaluation do accrue
and, if necessary, further revaluations will have to be effected in due
course (Some countries that have experienced comparable inflationary trends
in the past found it necessary to effect recurrent revaluations until
inflation was contained, ranging from three to nine revaluations!).

The fact that currency revaluation was not intended by the Reserve
Bank to cure the causes of inflation, but only to treat one of the symptoms,
did not mean that it was oblivious to the need for vigorous, constructive
actions to deal with inflation. In fact, in his Monetary policy Statement,
Governor Gono was very outspoken as to the actions that must be taken by
Zimbabwe if that gargantuan Zimbabwean affliction is to be effectively dealt
with. He said "Resolving the inflation monster requires an unfailing
combination of the following critical pillars:

* The expeditious resolution of the current political differences
among the country's major political players to create an environment marked
by a deep sense of national cohesion and unity of purpose in committing to
resolve the economic challenges facing the country.

* An immediate unified call by all Zimbabweans across the board for
the lifting of the sanctions against Zimbabwe. Out of the sight from the
public eye, the sanctions are crippling literally all the veins and arteries
of the Zimbabwean economy, contributing to the current surge in inflation,
among many other difficulties.

* Within the context of the social contract, Zimbabweans must realise
that the country is in a practically binding state of socio-economic
emergency. As such, there is need for a universal moratorium on all incomes
and prices for a minimum period of six months.

* As a guide, the Reserve Bank has carried out a comprehensive survey
of the prices as to July 25, 2008 and if stakeholders mutually agree to
commit to six months moratorium, government, labour, business and civil
society must immediately map out a social pact, giving effect to this
intervention. The pact must be accompanied by a comprehensive package of
economic reforms across the board.

* Radical streamlining of fiscal expenditure, and hence, reduction of
reliance on monetary financing of the fiscal budget. Through this, there
will be scope for the rapid deceleration of money supply growth.

* Increased productivity in agriculture under the Food Security theme.

* Reduction of overheads in manufacturing through increased
utilisation of capacity via toll-manufacturing."

Resolution of the political issues will restore international
credibility and recognition for Zimbabwe, enabling access to developmental
and other funding, enhanced foreign investment, and readier access to export
opportunities, thereby providing Zimbabwe's foreign exchange needs and
consequently curbing highly inflationary parallel and black market
operations. It will also bring to an end such sanctions as are being applied
against Zimbabwe.

The conclusion of a social contract will halt the ongoing feeding of
inflation upon itself, for one of the biggest causes of Zimbabwean inflation
is the extent that prices are determined on estimated replacement costs,
wages continually rise to counter the inflation-driven decline in purchasing
power, and so forth. A social contract is not a lasting cure for inflation,
but it creates the essential enabling environment needed whilst the
principal causes of inflation are addressed.

One of the greatest causes of Zimbabwean inflation is governmental
profligacy, and hence Governor Gono's call for "radical streamlining of
fiscal expenditure". It is untenable that government's domestic debt rose,
from April, 2008 to mid-July, 2008, by 7 417,5%, being from $10,5
quadrillion to $790,6 quadrillion, with consequential highly inflationary
massive increase in money supply (which rose from 64 113% in December, 2007
to 420 867,4% in April, 2008, and has continued to rise astronomically).
Government must learn to live within its means, if it is not to continue to
destroy Zimbabwe and its economy.

And, as stated by Governor Gono, real restoration of productivity in
agriculture and in manufacturing is essential for achievement of substantive
inflation reduction.

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Muckraker: Plasma Screens In Judicial Comfort Zone

Thursday, 07 August 2008 17:03
A HEADING in last Friday's Herald caught our attention. "Judges get
vehicles, goods" it read.

The Reserve Bank has "donated" a fleet of new vehicles, generators,
plasma screen television sets, and satellite dishes to improve their
conditions of service, we were told.

While ordinary judges got 32-inch plasma-screen TV sets, the Chief
Justice and Judge President got 42-inch screen sets.

The central bank funded the acquisition of 16 top-of-the-range
Mercedes Benz E class saloons.

Each judge is entitled to a new Mercedes Benz after five years in
terms of their conditions of service, Master of the High Court Charles
Nyatanga explained.

"We are very happy that at long last the judges have been given their
entitlement," he said.

Apart from the Mercedes Benz the judges have utility vehicles which
include Toyota IMV and Isuzu trucks.

Nyatanga said it was not desirable for judges to drive their Mercedes
in rough terrain going to their farms. He also commended the donation of

"We have problems of power outages in the country and judges do not
work in their chambers alone but carry their work home," he said.

"They need to write their judgements at home and during weekends."

Muckraker would be keen to know exactly how much time judges spend on
their farms as against time spent in chambers.

And should the Reserve Bank be "dishing" out satellite dishes and
other perks when ordinary people are struggling to keep mind and soul

How sensitive is it for the Herald to proclaim "Judges get vehicles,
goods" in the midst of the worst economic crisis the country has

And doesn't this raise an impression of state patronage which judges
should be anxious to avoid?

Judges need to be well-paid and well-resourced. But not on an ad hoc

They need to be seen as independent of state agencies such as the
Reserve Bank, especially when the bank has been criticised for its
quasi-fiscal role.

How will judges react in cases where the Reserve Bank or its officials
are involved in litigation?

We were interested to read the Supreme Court ruling that the decision
by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to exclude Daniel Shumba and Justin
Chiota from the March election was unlawful.

The two, who head respectively the United Peoples Party and Zimbabwe
People's Party, had challenged the decision of the ZEC to exclude them in

If they had sought to quash the election there would have had to be a
re-run. But they settled for a declaratory order.

They claimed that the refusal of the nomination court to accept their
papers violated their rights.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and the four other judges who heard
the constitutional application agreed.

This is highly significant. The ZEC has been busy congratulating
itself on its conduct of the March and June polls.

And the government has been quick to publicise the views of those
observer missions that reported the ZEC as doing a good job.

In particular the decision by the ZEC to rule Morgan Tsvangirai's
decision to abandon the June run-off as of no legal effect enabled President
Mugabe to maintain the fiction that the MDC leader was still in the contest.

And we still haven't heard what accounted for the five-week delay in
the announcement of the March presidential poll results or the curious way
in which the constituency results were announced, in dribs and drabs, when
all the results were already in.

That aside, it would be useful to know why Shumba and Chiota decided
in this latest matter to eschew their right to fight an election when the
court ruled in their favour.

Were they serious contenders or not?

And who fed the Herald the disingenuous paragraph saying: "Although
the outcome has no bearing on the already completed election, the ruling of
the court will provide a useful guideline for future conduct of election

There has been some correspondence in the press recently about church
leaders who remained silent during the pogroms taking place in the
countryside after March 29 but were suddenly voluble on how we must all work
together with President Mugabe for peace once his main object was secure.

We were therefore interested to see the chairman of the Eminent Church
Leaders in Zimbabwe, the Rev Andrew Wutawunashe, attacking the US, Britain
and the EU for using sanctions "as a weapon of pressure" to ensure that "an
outcome according to their own definition prevails".

Isn't that exactly what Zanu PF did after March 29?

What is this outfit that Wutawunashe heads called the Eminent Church
Leaders in Zimbabwe? We have never heard of it.

Perhaps Wutawunashe could tell us what he said about the violence
taking place in May and June? We are sure he denounced it but seem to have
missed seeing his statement!

In case you were in any doubt where Wutawunashe's sympathies lie, he
made it abundantly clear in his fulsome tribute to Thabo Mbeki.

"President Mbeki has suffered completely unjustified, irrelevant and
unwarranted criticism from those who, had this process been put in their
hands, this country would now be in flames," Wutawunashe declared.

"The voice of his critics is not the voice of African patriots but
rather that of those who would sooner see African people under the tutelage
of colonial masters."

So no change there then.

Have you noticed how the totalitarian instincts of Zanu PF and its
allies manifest themselves in every facet of public life? "This is the final
battle for total control," President Mugabe declared in the run-off. That
seems to include mind control.

When Gideon Gono delivers his monetary review we all have to rally
round and support his latest project like Bacossi when all his previous
projects flopped.

And when the ruling party beats its way back into power we all have to
support the talks that emerge as it tries to salvage what it can from the
wreckage of the economy by engaging those it viciously denounced only a few
weeks before?

Indeed, anybody exercising their democratic right to comment on the
talks or express some very sensible scepticism around Mbeki's gullible
record are denounced by the regime's apologists as saboteurs.

We now have the strange situation where Mbeki is more popular in
certain circles in Zimbabwe than he is in South Africa!

Mbeki's mother Epainette wrote to the Sunday Times a few months ago to
express her views which did nothing for her son. But we were amused by what
a reader, Patrick Rampai, had to say in response: "Mbeki is a cunning,
manipulative, and vindictive character, and from MaMbeki's pronouncements
one can see that the apple does not fall very far from the tree."

Meanwhile, Zimbabweans should avoid any schadenfreude over Mbeki's
slow-motion demise.

Those predators with their eyes on his job are providing power-point
lessons in misrule that would make Mugabe's minions green with envy.

Reflecting the changing mood in South Africa where quiet diplomacy no
longer cuts quite the same ice, Home Affairs minister Nosiviwe
Mapisa-Nqakula has responded positively to appeals from the UNHCR not to
deport Zimbabwean refugees.

"I cannot continue blindly to behave as though nothing is happening
across the Limpopo," she said in Durban late last month after a meeting of
regional security, defence and home affairs ministers.

"I am not dumb. We can all appreciate the political and economic
situation in Zimbabwe . . . I mean we have seen pictures of people who have
been beaten up, women who have been burnt."

While she said she didn't want to attribute this to any particular
group, "It doesn't matter. The point is that there is clear violence."

Here at least is somebody who doesn't think it's all "lies"!

The UNHCR, by the way, said it detected a new pattern emerging in
cross-border migration.

While previously 90% of those crossing the Limpopo were single men
seeking work, now whole families were crossing over to avoid political
violence, it said last month.

The Sunday Mail's business section last weekend carried a large
picture of RBZ deputy governor Edward Mashiringwani having a chat with Zimra
commissioner-general Gersham Pasi.

Mashiringwani, readers may recall, last featured in this column when
it was reported that he had refused to allow the SPCA to take food or water
to starving pigs on his seized farm. Driven insane by hunger and thirst they
ended up eating their piglets.

We wonder what tips he was offering Pasi?

The privately-owned Sunday Standard newspaper of Botswana carried the
following item on July 27 which may be of interest to our readers.

"It has surfaced that one of Robert Mugabe's one-time leading
supporters is hiding in Botswana, quietly working as a journalism lecturer
at one of the colleges inside the country," the newspaper reported,
following Muckraker's disclosure of several weeks ago.

"Caesar Zvayi, who used to be the Political and Features Editor of the
state-controlled Herald newspaper is among the 37 supporters of Mugabe who
were this week listed by the European Union for sanctions and travel ban,"
it said.

"Zvayi is described as a key supporter of Mugabe who masterminded Zanu
PF's publicity campaigns.

"Zvayi and Munyaradzi Huni become the first journalists to join
Zimbabwe's notorious elite sanctioned by the European Union from entering

"Munyaradzi Huni works for Mugabe's weekly Sunday Mail while
Zvayi worked for the government daily, the Herald."

Publication of that story led to the following on the website headed "Batswana want Caesar Zvayi deported".

"Following the revelation that Robert Mugabe's leading surrogate is
hiding in Botswana working as a lecturer at one of the colleges, some
citizens have called for him to be deported from Botswana.

"The Botswana Standard reported on Sunday that Caesar Zvayi who was
until recently the (political) editor of the government propaganda
mouthpiece the Herald is lecturing at LimKokWing University in Gaborone. He
teaches among others the courses Writing for Print and News Writing and
Reporting 1 in the university's Faculty of Communications and Media.

"Some students said they were not aware that Zvayi was a key Mugabe
supporter and called for him to be kicked out of the country and the school
should find a replacement.

"If he supports Mugabe he must go back. He can be easily replaced by
another lecturer from Zimbabwe with morals.

"How can anyone support Mugabe when people are suffering, after all
why is he in Botswana if he thinks Mugabe is doing the right thing?" said
Kagiso Seloma, a student at the university.

"Seloma's sentiments were echoed by Gaborone resident Mary Kokorwe who
said Zimbabweans should stage a demonstration at the university.

"'He should be arrested for promoting hate and Zimbabweans should
demonstrate at the university campus, because that should send a message to
those who are violating other people's rights in Zimbabwe right now that
they will not get away with it.'

"Other students and locals expressed similar sentiments," reported. "Anti-Mugabe sentiments are particularly strong
among Botswana citizens and the Botswana government has taken a particular
hardline stance against Mugabe," the website said.

"Zvayi has in the past openly called for the alienation of the
opposition and celebrated the violent crackdown on the opposition in that

"He is well known for bastardising the MDC acronym to mean Movement
for the Destruction of our Country, sometimes with the word 'movement'
(substituted with) 'morons'. Last year he used a racial slur against the US
Ambassador calling him a 'house nigger'."

Batswana and Zimbabwean commentators make up in enthusiasm what they
lack in skills.

Zvayi's first name was misspelt throughout the Sunday Standard story
and is misspelt again (twice) in a letter to President Ian Khama sent by
Zimbabwean students complaining about Zvayi's presence in Botswana. Their
spokesman claimed Zvayi was teaching at the University of Botswana,
addressed Khama as "Your Excellence" and concluded the letter with

Perhaps Zvayi's literary skills are needed at home.

History was made" the Herald declared last month when Ambassador
Mohamed Lemine Selmane became Mauritania's first envoy to Zimbabwe.

The ambassador, based in Pretoria, had presented his credentials at
State House the day before.

Zimbabwe has precious few friends nowadays so this ostensibly
insignificant event was trumpeted as historic. The ambassador passed on the
greetings of President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

It's therefore somewhat unfortunate that President Abdallahi was
overthrown in a coup this week. His poor ambassador in Pretoria is now

At the same ceremony in Harare Nigeria's ambassador Adekunle Adeyanju
pledged to improve relations between the two countries.

It may be recalled that Nigeria has pronounced negatively upon the
election run-off result. So we were not surprised that as soon as the
ambassador started to give his views ZBC had a "technical problem" which
blocked out what he said.

Not in this case an "historic" event. Just the usual interference!

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Editor's Memo: Strong-arm Tactics Futile

Thursday, 07 August 2008 16:59
THERE is one fundamental phenomenon that our government has taken too
long to learn from and to which the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is slowly
coming alive:

that it is futile to fight the informal economy and inflation through
strong-arm tactics.

In his mid-term monetary policy statement last week, central bank
governor Gideon Gono almost conceded defeat in the fight against inflation
as he canvassed the "collective effort" of the whole country to arrest
inflation and speculative behaviour.

"As monetary authorities we once again wish to reiterate that the
battle against inflation cannot be consigned to a lone effort of singular
institutions or of singular groups among us," said Gono.

He added: "If we do not come to realise that the trigger for rapid
disinflation is to arrest the current run-away speculative mode in our
markets, then soon our workers will practically be confronted with employers
who cannot pay for their hourly wages.

"Indeed, soon we will find out that by allowing our markets and
pricing systems to degenerate on the inflamed path of perpetual daily
incomes and price hikes, we are incinerating the very fabric of our
collective existence."

This realisation is coming too late because that fabric of our
collective existence is already up in smoke due to the speculative nature of
the markets.

In essence, the balance of control and influence in the economy has
shifted from the formal sectors to the streets. Recently, Bankers
Association of Zimbabwe president Dr John Mangudya, at the launch of the
Manufacturing Survey spoke of an 80/20 phenomenon in this economy. He said
almost 80% of the economy has drifted to the informal sector and the smaller
percentage had remained formal.

His summation is believable especially when viewed in the context of
constant policy failure by economic ministries and the central bank.
Measures which have been promulgated by the government -- especially during
Gono's reign at the Reserve Bank have been designed to fight the black
market, forex traders, overcharging retailers, errant banks and other
financial institutions, speculative punters on the stock exchange and so on.

Taking the fight to the greater portion of the 80% has been a futile
campaign. The informal sector which drives the black market has in its
armoury the sickness of our politics and economy while government and the
central bank have tried to use legislation and bureaucracy to counter the
growth of the black market.

There is no need for a body count to tell who the winner has been in
this case.

The informal economy thrives in circumstances of instability and
uncertainty. The dealers on the street have not just flourished, they now
dictate policy formulation and the conduct of business in this country.

They now control and determine the foreign exchange market. The
streetwise fellows have also of late made a big entry on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange. Their advice on stock price movements should never be disregarded.
They usually have their finger on the pulse, and sometimes proffer better
advice than your stockbroker in a starched shirt and striped tie.

Informal traders have also distorted and contorted distribution
systems of the few goods being manufactured here. They are already in charge
of trading in imported merchandise. Has government managed to crack how the
traders always get scarce goods ahead of retailers?

The informal sector players do not just control distribution patterns;
they have become trendsetters in the pricing of goods and services.

They not so long ago created RTGS rates of exchange in addition to
their thriving cash street rates in the forex trade. Now the 20% - that is
the formal sector - has caught the cold and retailers have introduced a dual
pricing system for their goods depending on whether buyers want to pay cash
or transfer funds.

National Incomes and Pricing Commission chair Godwills Masimirembwa is
miffed by this new phenomenon.

This week he was talking tough and ordering manufacturers to stop
using the RTGS rate in pricing goods and services. Masimirembwa sounded like
he had just discovered the trigger for the rapid rise in price -- the RTGS

This is what his commission will be seized with in the next few weeks
as they open hostilities on a front where they face another humiliating

The NIPC and government have been focusing on the symptoms and not the
real cause of our malaise.

It has been the failure to remove the shroud of uncertainty that
pervades all aspects of the country.

It is important for Godwills and his comrades in government to wake up
to the fact that the negative sentiment is a boon for black market
activities which in turn is the trigger for steep price increases. Sentiment
now constitutes at least 50% of the price of any product sold here.

Dealers are asking themselves how much more they can make from the
same product the next day. Negative sentiment cannot be legislated away

As Gono has come to realise, it is "the expeditious resolution of the
current political differences" that is key -- not blitzes and operations.

By Vincent Kahiya

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Candid Comment: Dialogue With Magaisa Over Dialogue

Thursday, 07 August 2008 16:44
THESE are notes in response to Dr Alex Magaisa's article in the site titled "Managing the bad news from Pretoria" on the
current talks between Zanu PF and the two MDCs.

I found the article eloquent in a number of respects but also too
indulgent of the MDC's tendency to play victim even in cases where it makes
glaring errors of judgement and loses the game. I don't believe we are
helping the MDC to grow either as an opposition or as a ruling party by
playing the role of activists who must see no evil, hear no evil and speak
no evil about its leadership.

*The MDC is not out of power simply because it is an innocent victim
of violence and cheating by Zanu PF. To me this boils down to what Nelson
Mandela recently called a "tragic failure of leadership" as being
responsible for Zimbabwe's spiral of political and economic decay. Some of
this will be evident below.

*We should be careful not to overstretch the dangerous thesis that to
win a "democratic" election a political party always needs the military on
its side. This smacks of political opportunism. Democracy can't be all about
wresting control of the military and the police from President Mugabe and
handing over the same institutions to Morgan Tsvangirai.

*If Tsvangirai had not been fooled to spurn the one-candidate
principle, it is more than probable he would have won the March 29 election
outright. His failure to win the mandatory 50%-plus votes was almost a
repeat of the 2000 constitutional referendum -- a wake up call to Zanu PF.

*Having thus failed to win the required 50%, there was no way the MDC
could legally assume power without going through a presidential election
run-off. That is what the rule of law is about.

Once again the MDC leadership vacillated, claiming Tsvangirai had got
67%, then 56,1%, 53,1%, 54% and finally 50,3%. But the wish could not
translate into fact. By the time it accepted the reality of the June 27
election run-off, Zanu PF had embarked on its criminal campaign of violence
just as it had done in 2000.

But again at the last minute Tsvangirai was advised to take a suicidal
tactical gamble - pull out of the election race in the hope that Mugabe
would declare himself winner. That action by Mugabe would have been
perfectly legal but a sham victory since Tsvangirai received more votes (not
won) in the first round. It was a fatal miscalculation. Tsvangirai cannot
seriously claim to have pulled out of the race because of violence after he
declared that violence would not deter his supporters. He boasted that he
could win without campaigning. He said the injured in hospitals had been
more galvanised and itching to limp to the polls to finish off the dictator.

Having decided he needed to hide (as he did in Botswana and at the
Dutch embassy) to protect his life, Tsvangirai should simply have urged
those of his supporters who wanted to vote to go ahead. Any victory by
Mugabe would still have been contested on the basis of violence, not
Tsvangirai's withdrawal.

Forget this obsession with legitimising Mugabe. He hasn't had it since
2002 and he doesn't expect it from Western nations. The surprising thing is
that the MDC keeps trying to use the same fig leaf it has used to boycott
past elections, yet nothing has changed.

*There is nothing to be gained by pretending that Tsvangirai won the
March 29 election on the basis of speculation that it was rigged.
Reprehensible though it might be to delay the release of election results,
such a delay on its own doesn't confer victory on anyone.

*Closely linked to the legitimacy argument is the mistaken belief
that, having cheated his way into power, Mugabe will meet his Waterloo in
the battle with the economy. But an economic implosion doesn't automatically
translate into Tsvangirai assuming power and represents the height of
political despair, just like appealing for divine intervention in a
political dispute.

This is a favourite tune of those who make pious daily vigils at the
temple of the capricious deity of sanctions. It is treacherous terrain, not
least because while the MDC likes to dangle this for leverage ("economy will
worsen", "tongai tione"), it has absolutely no power to determine how and
when these can be removed and the money start flowing in. Who will make the
final decision on whether the sanctions have achieved their objective? In
the case of the US, George Bush will leave that burden to his successors
after the November elections.

To me, Mugabe has remained legally in power because of four
fundamental factors:

*The MDC's strategic and tactical blunders just outlined which have
allowed Mugabe to win against popular sentiment;

*The party's ideological muddle-headedness over the land reform
programme, an ambivalence inherent in its unfortunate, mixed parentage;

*Mugabe's refusal to defer to age Nelson Mandela-style, ascribed by
his critics to fear of prosecution for alleged human rights violations; and,

*Most fundamentally, a party and a national constitution modelled for
life presidency and thus with no term limits or clear succession plans.

To address the last point, one must hope that a new constitution will
set not only term limits for the president but also include a First
Amendment-type clause forbidding parliament from amending the constitution
to extend a president's term of office.

Thus in the context of the talks, beside posturing for the media, both
Zanu PF and the MDC must acknowledge that they are desperate to have the
talks succeed. The MDC must give its voters hope. It cannot continue to play
the advocacy role of mocking Zanu PF's failures from the sidelines in the
hope that this will appease its hungry supporters.

What ordinary Zimbabweans need right now does not require the
involvement of Jean Ping. No doubt there are many whose devious personal
interests are threatened by any peace deal and have been praying for the
collapse of the talks even before the ink was dry on the MoU.

By Joram Nyathi

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Comment: Talks Must Go Beyond Deals

Thursday, 07 August 2008 16:41
NEWS headlines this week proclaimed how close Robert Mugabe and Morgan
Tsvangirai were to agreeing to a power-sharing deal.

Since the talks started more than a fortnight ago civil society and
the media have been engrossed in power permutations in the so-called
Government of National Unity or a transitional authority.

But beyond the deals, there are key benchmarks that the new
dispensation must also bring on board. In fact citizens and civil society
should start preparing a checklist of what the negotiating parties promised
to achieve under the MoU signed on July 21. On Wednesday, Zanu PF and the
MDC issued a joint statement denouncing violence, a welcome development
which should however be continuously tested against developments on the
ground. We carry in this edition evidence of the appalling treatment meted
out to photographer Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, arguably the country's leading

There are other issues at stake, such as the plight of political
prisoners,outstanding charges against newspapers and trade unionists,
restrictions on humanitarian aid, and steps needed to lift sanctions.

The checklist is important because it fathoms the negotiators'
commitment to fundamental issues. This should be part of the process of
keeping politicians under check. It is easy for civil society and the media
to negate this watchdog role and train attention on the diplomacy
surrounding the talks.

The danger has always been for us to celebrate an event and not
interrogate its significance. In 1980 the country celebrated the coming of
Independence and political freedoms. But in the frenzy of celebrations there
was no real attempt to ensure that certain benchmarks guaranteeing
sacrosanct rights were established to ensure that the new government did not
stray from the ideals of the struggle. And indeed our rulers have gone off
the rails on numerous occasions under our collective watch as a nation.

This malfunction has manifested itself in the enactment of repressive
laws, lack of political tolerance, bureaucratic truancy in the civil service
and local government, and corruption in the private sector and the arms of
the state.

Also over the past 28 years of Independence, political leadership has
presided over policies that have seen the country sliding down the economic
slope to the morass we find ourselves in today. We have entered phases of
depravity wrought by lack of political tolerance. Dark spots on the fabric
of our history, including Gukurahundi, post-electoral violence in 1985,
political violence in 2002, Operation Murambatsvina, price controls, the
continued crackdown on civic society and oppositional forces and the madness
that followed the first round of polling in March all have their roots in
the quest by the government to create a conformist society under a
monolithic political leadership.

The resolution of the political impasse through the current dialogue
should be an opportunity for the country to reflect on the nature of society
the new political order should create. The biggest deliverable from the
dialogue should not therefore be a new power balance but the removal of
institutions that have over the years been used to promote hate and violence
and those which have served as outlets of patronage.

Civic society groups meeting in February drew up a people's charter
that is still relevant today as it was before the election. The groups which
have been demanding inclusion in the talks can get a foot in the door by
creating a nexus between their demands and the dialogue.

The civic groups said there was a lack of fundamental rights and
freedoms, including freedom of expression and information, association and
assembly. They said the climate was characterised by the militarisation of
arms of the state and government.

Zimbabweans should have a political environment in which all people
are guaranteed without discrimination the rights to freedom of expression
and information, association and assembly, and all other fundamental rights
and freedoms as provided under international law, they said.

The groups said all people in Zimbabwe should live in a society
characterised by tolerance of divergent views, cultures or religions,
honesty, integrity and common concern for the welfare of all. They demanded
guarantees for safety and security, and a lawful environment free from human
rights violations and impunity. The groups said all national institutions
including the judiciary, law enforcement agencies, state security agencies,
and electoral, media and human rights commissions, should be independent and

This is the time for the nation to collectively declare that never
again shall we let lives be lost, maimed, tortured or traumatised by the
dehumanising experiences of political intolerance and violence.
Nationalistic and sovereignty dogma should never again be used as excuses
for tyranny.

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Zim Independent Letters

Young Leaders In Zanu PF Giving Us A Raw Deal
Thursday, 07 August 2008 16:57
THE major problem that the youth in Zimbabwe have is that they seem to
have no purpose or mandate to achieve.

This is more apparent in the young ministers and legislators coming
from Zanu PF.

Their venturing into politics, I believe, seems to have been motivated
by the desire to amass wealth. In contrast Mugabe and his peers from his
generation had a goal, which was to free the masses from colonial rule. I
believe they achieved that goal and no one can take that away from them.

However, I must point out that their deeds, however valiant are now
history and the people have to move on. They want a new Zimbabwean vision
which will provide food on their tables, bread and butter issues, democratic
freedom, social and economic prosperity and justice among many other things.

It is my belief that the older Zanu PF members are reluctant to leave
power because when they look at their young brood, they do not see
leadership material.

We want our children to attend better schools, have access to good
health services, provide for our elderly and be able to save money for

I believe I speak for many when I say to the young leaders in Zanu PF,
give us a reason to believe in you as leaders, give us a vision we can be
part of and relate to.

Collen Ngundu.

No Future For Youth Militia Generation
Thursday, 07 August 2008 16:53
I AM a young Zimbabwean and I strongly believe that the use of young
people as Zanu PF militia is a disgrace to society and should be condemned
by all right thinking Zimbabweans.

When we see people looking on and not acting we start to think that
may be they condone the whole concept.

The question is, where is this youth militia going?

What country is going to be defended by ordinary, young and
inexperienced citizens?

The youths are young, what form of defence are they going to ensure a
nation when clearly they need defending themselves?

Their legs are hardly strong enough to carry them and already military
responsibility is being shoved on them.

Honestly it says a great deal about the Commander-in-Chief of the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces himself.

What seems to have been forgotten is the fact that these children have
a future too and that they need to look into it.

Why should they be the ones to protect the interests of a whole nation
while the president and his retinue send their children to schools.

They live their lives without caring what happens to the ordinary
child in their community.

Are their parents saying that it is fine with them having their
children embark in this dead end, fruitless career, that would either send
them to their early graves or leave them out cold with nothing to fall back

Is this what they have always wanted for their children?

Children are getting sucked into a dark, bottomless pit that they may
not be able to climb out of (at least not alive I am sure), and parents are
silently watching. Have society's standards really dropped that far down?

The point that I am driving at is, a nation is going down and people
are standing back and watching, no one is willing to condemn the use of
these children by Zanu PF in the guise of national duty. This is abuse of
office and power.

The future of a nation lies with the development and nurturing of its
young people.

How is that possible if the future leaders of that nation are being
sent off to military regimes instead of appropriate education facilities?

What becomes of tomorrow -- which is our future if today is fading
away each minute as we silently watch the horror unfold?

Putting it simply, youth militia could not be a bigger crime to
humanity anymore than it already is in Zimbabwe.

Emergency law enforcement has suddenly become more important than
human life in what is left of this once beautiful country.

Children are supposed to enjoy their youth and not spend their time
waiting for orders of state laws that condone such an inhuman act.

One may say it's not every youth that has been recruited into military
service so why the fuss, but I say as one nation, our voices should be heard
as one.

It should not matter whether you are affected by the situation in
question or not.

Greed is surely a dangerous thing.

Who could have thought that the youth of Zimbabwe would be working for
irregular or no salaries at all in such great numbers?

There is no greater exploitation than this one. It is true after all,
some people really do have fiery hands, everything they touch burns to

So is the case with the rulers of this country. Ironically, the world
watches in disgusting silence.

Trishia Mabhena,

by e-mail.

Goodies For Judges - Will System Improve?
Thursday, 07 August 2008 16:52
THE recent gifts to judges of plasma TVs, satellite dishes, Mercedes,
4x4's and generators by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe are a bit like the
cherry on top without the ice cream underneath!

They will undoubtedly be appreciated by the judges, but will hardly
improve the legal system in this country. On the contrary, the entire
package smells strongly of bribery -- like their farms!

Indeed, it is the height of offensiveness to the majority of citizens
for the Master of the High Court to justify the utility vehicles on the
grounds that "it was not desirable for judges to drive Mercedes Benz in
rough terrain going to their farms".

The question is -- why now? Can it be that either government or the
RBZ or both envisage being brought before these judges in the near future?

It would have been better to install generators at the courts or
indeed, to launch and implement a genuine economic turnaround so that the
courts and the rest of us do not have to think about generators any more!
Come on, RBZ, be serious please.

Trudy Stevenson.

Secretary for Policy and Research MDC.

All Should Support Talks
Thursday, 07 August 2008 16:50
ZIMBABWE'S talks should be supported by all and sundry.

Unfortunately it does not seem like there is some sense of hope for
Zimbabwe among many political commentators and analysts.

There is so much denigration of the talks in South Africa. What I
sense is a spirit among many that the troubling conditions can only get

Firstly, I do not think that the negotiators in Pretoria are anything
less than those that constituted the Kenyan dialogue (which included all
those who own democracy).

People like Raila Odinga seem to think that they have authored a GNU
model for Africa -- far from it. No one wants a model that develops in a
pool of blood and perfected around a white clothed table.

(How much I wish Zimbabwean politicians should do everything that
distances them from Odinga's loud diplomacy.)

My point is -- Zimbabwean negotiators must be credited with some
intelligence which allowed them to craft constitutional ammendments that
made it difficult for anyone to rig the March 29 elections. The same talks
are the ones which limited presidential appointees to parliament.

My second point is that there are political players out there who have
been wounded by their exclusion from the Zimbabwean talks, especially those
from the "best" side of the world.

In their frustration they have taught our "journalists" to embrace
meaningless jargon such as "quiet diplomacy". Most writers have frozen their
real understanding of the term diplomacy which actually represents what is
happening in South Africa.

Talking about terms, people should be reminded that the same people
are the ones who yesterday called Nelson Mandela a "terrorist"!

Do we realise that this is the same term that is used for Bin Laden?
How do we reconcile this?

Please give African diplomacy a chance, even if you decide to call it
"quiet or loud".

Time will come when Zimbabweans will be proud of having concluded a
deal good for their country's future. I am praying and hoping that the day
comes sooner than later.

Third! There are people in this world who are not happy that the MDC
did not choose the war path. In Zimbabwe I pray for, and I see a realistic
opportunity for opposition to attain power -- without a civil war. In Africa
we (all countries) are all on the same journey towards attaining democracy.

I say democracy is a journey because African countries are barely 50
years in independence yet they have accomplished so much which the "perfect
models" have failed in a couple of centuries.

And as we set out to democratise our continent we suffer from
stumbling blocks which include unfair interventions such as the one that
produced the "GNU model" in Kenya.

Jacob Maforo

Consumer Now Poorer
Thursday, 07 August 2008 16:49
DR Gono, what are you doing to us? On Friday August 1, at a
supermarket in Greencroft, an item was priced at $19. On Monday August 4,
the same item cost $370 an increase of 1 850%.

Now if the price is going to increase every four days at this rate, at
the end of August the same item will cost a whopping $20 370 227 553.

Either way the zeros are back by the end of August. Who is the winner
here? The guys collecting VAT and the shop owner. Who is the loser? Simple,
the consumer is left poorer. Why did you go through the exercise in the
first place?



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