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Constitutional work to begin in January

By Lance Guma
17 December 2009

A Constitutional Select Committee, meant to drive the process towards a new
constitution, announced on Wednesday that it will resume its work on the 4th
January next year. Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara,
the three political party principals in the coalition government, are
expected to officially launch the process on the 7th January.

Co-chairperson's of the select committee, Paul Mangwana (ZANU PF) Douglas
Mwonzora (MDC-T) and Edward Mkhosi (MDC-M), held a joint press conference in
Harare to announce the names of the thematic committee members. Among those
picked for the different committees are Raymond Majongwe, Lucia Matibenga,
Bishop Goodwill Shana, Munyaradzi Gwisai, Joshua Malinga, Gertrude Hambira
and Reverend Andrew Wutawunashe.
A combination of deliberate ZANU PF disruptions and lack of money had
hampered the process and caused it to miss all its deadlines. In July ZANU
PF youths had stormed the first all stake-holders conference at the Rainbow
Towers, disrupting proceedings, booing speakers and clashing with rival
delegates. On the money front Mangwana told journalists the government had
since set aside US$43 million, while the United Nations Development
Programme provided US$2 million to ensure the successful implementation of
the programme.
Training of the thematic committees will begin on the 4th January and start
with members of parliament, then civil society leaders. This training is
expected to end on the 10th January after which consultations with members
of the public should begin. The entire process is now expected to be
completed by July or August 2010.
'The committees are expected to go to the provinces and gather people's
views on specific subjects and then report back to the full select
committee. After the consultation process the thematic committees will then
synthesize and debate on the information,' Mangwana said on Wednesday.
Mwonzora meanwhile said they had set aside 65 days for the constitution
process, but in the event that more time was needed, the period could be
Several civil society leaders have already expressed reservations that the
final outcome will not reflect a constitution desired by Zimbabweans, but
will merely be a document that reflects the trade-offs made by the political


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Mugabe slams western nations – again – over climate change

By Alex Bell
17 December 2009

Robert Mugabe has once again slammed Western Nations, using an international
platform, this time lambasting the world’s super powers for their role in
climate change.
Mugabe was speaking at the world climate conference in Copenhagen, which is
fast turning into a power charade, as the world’s leaders gather to discuss
how to tackle rapidly worsening climate change. Mugabe joined other
firebrand leaders who laid the blame of climate change squarely at the feet
of capitalism, lashing out at what they have called the hypocrisy of the
world’s wealthy elite. Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, was one of
the first world leaders to take the podium at the venue of the Copenhagen
talks, seizing the opportunity to label US President Barack Obama as a
warmonger. Chavez, paraphrasing Karl Marx, said “a ghost is stalking the
streets of Copenhagen... it’s capitalism, capitalism is that ghost.”
“The destructive model of capitalism is the eradication of life,” he said.
Chavez was followed by Bolivian President Evo Morales, the Andean nation’s
first indigenous leader, who said that the capitalist system itself bore
blame for climate change. The anti-capitalist theme was then swiftly picked
up by Mugabe, who used the opportunity to slam targetted ‘shopping’
sanctions placed on his regime by Western states, questioning where the
sanctions were for ‘eco-offenders’.
“When these capitalist gods of carbon burp and belch their dangerous
emissions, it’s we, the lesser mortals of the developing sphere who gasp and
sink and eventually die,” Mugabe said.
“Why is the guilty north not showing the same fundamentalist spirit it
exhibits in our developing countries on human rights matters on this more
menacing threat of climate change?” he added, blatantly dismissing the
scourge of human rights abuses still happening in Zimbabwe.
Veteran Zimbabwean journalist Basildon Peta called Mugabe’s comments the
“rantings of an old man who has nothing new to say,” adding it is no
surprise that he used the opportunity to slam the West. Peta argued that it
is the Western nations’ own fault for giving Mugabe the platform to voice
such acidic opinion, saying they are showing their hypocrisy with their
handling of African dictators.
“It is the height of hypocrisy and stupidity to invite the same people who
have destroyed countries to speak at international conferences,” Peta said,
adding that the ‘toothless’ United Nations needs to refuse to entertain
Mugabe on any level.
Mugabe’s presence at the international summit has already angered many
quarters, with observers arguing that it is dictatorships that pose more of
a threat to Africa than climate change. Political commentator Alemayehu
Mariam said this week in an article that the devastation African dictators
have wreaked upon the social fabric and ecosystems of African societies is
‘incalculable’, singling out Mugabe as one of the continent’s ‘bloodthirsty
dictators’ who are responsible for untold deaths on the continent. Mariam
argued that millions of Africans have starved to death because of the
“criminal negligence, depraved indifference and gross incompetence of
African dictators, not climate change.”

“The continent today suffers from a terminal case of metastasised cancer of
dictatorships, not the blight of global warming,” Mariam wrote.

Meanwhile NGOs, civil society groups and charities have expressed their
anger over being left out of the climate change talks, with a series of
protests lined up for the final days of the conference. Hundreds of
protesters, who tried to get into the locked-down venue of the conference,
have already been arrested after clashing with police on Wednesday.
Thousands of delegates, journalists and civil society representatives have
been refused access to the talks, apparently to make room for the world
leaders arriving for the final days.

Andy Atkins, Executive Director of Friends of the Earth, joined a ‘sit-in’
of more than 50 protesters after being barred from entering the centre, and
told the UK’s Telegraph newspaper that it was an “affront to democracy.”

“It is a crisis of democracy when campaigning charities like Friends of the
Earth are prevented from speaking up on behalf of communities around the
globe within the talks themselves,” he said. “This draconian measure is
completely unjustified - the Copenhagen conference is fast becoming an
international shambles.”

UN organisers insist the crackdown is simply because no more than 15,000
people can fit into the conference centre for the last few days of talks
when the world leaders arrive.

As all the world leaders are taking huge delegations with them, it is no
surprise. Mugabe alone has a team of 59 – presumably because the shopping in
Copenhagen is quite good.


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ZANU PF apologist smuggled back onto media commission

By Tichaona Sibanda
17 December 2009

There are reports Chris Mutsvangwa's name is back in contention for a place
on the new Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), following suspected political
horse-trading by the principals in the Global Political Agreement.

Mutsvangwa, who failed dismally during the interviews for the new
commissions four months ago, was not on the final list of candidates that
was sent to Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara for

There were some reports Thursday that said the three principals have agreed
on the final lists for the ZMC, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, but there are indications major changes have
been made to the original lists sent to Mugabe in August, by Parliament's
Standing Rules and Orders Committee.

Chris Mhike, a journalist turned lawyer, came first in interviews for the
ZMC but has, according to some reports, been dropped from the original list.
One of the panellists who conducted the interviews for the commissions told
SW Radio Africa on Thursday it would be 'a travesty of justice and fairness'
if it turns out to be true that Mhike does not feature on the final list.

'It's now obvious that ZANU PF and Mugabe felt uncomfortable with the
composition of a new ZMC, which had no party cadre in it to push or
represent its wishes,' the panellist said.

'It is also obvious there has been some political horse-trading, because we
now see names of people with strong links to ZANU PF being brought back when
they failed miserably during the interviews,' the panellist added.

Henry Muradzikwa, the former chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings, who was tipped to head the media commission, will now
come in as an ordinary commissioner.

Former broadcaster Godfrey Majonga is now tipped to take over that position.
Other ZMC commissioners are journalism lecturer and former newspaper editor
Nqobile Nyathi (a moderate), University lecturer Lawton Hikwa (considered
apolitical by his peers) central bank worker Millicent Mombeshora (married
to ZANU PF deputy Minister of Health, Douglas Mombeshora), Reverend Useni
Sibanda (apolitical),  former Zimbabwe Union of Journalists President
Matthew Takaona (strong links to ZANU PF politicians and also to some of
those in MDC), Miriam Madziwa-Sibanda (former journalist turned media
consultant, regarded as neutral).

Simon Muchemwa, our Harare correspondent told us speculation has been rife
in the capital that the lists were being altered to ensure there would be
voices who would stand up for Mugabe in the commissions.

'The imposition of politicians into these commissions is wrong. Instead of
correcting the anomalies in the media industry people like Mutsvangwa will
cause more problems as they will frustrate efforts to reform the media,'
Muchemwa said.

The media, human rights and electoral commissions are part of urgent reforms
that Zimbabwe's power-sharing government must implement to re-shape and
democratise the country's politics.  Violence and gross human rights
violations have been constantly inflicted on Zimbabweans, almost from day
one of independence from Britain in 1980.

Reports on Thursday also said the announcement for commissioners to sit on
three constitutional commissions has been put on hold as the principals'
work to finish the names of those who will sit on the fourth one, the
anti-corruption commission. Once this is done, Mugabe is expected to
announce the names sometime next week.

Radio VOP reports that former Harare High Court Judge Simpson Mutambanenge
is tipped to head a new-look electoral commission, to oversee elections
after the completion of the constitution making process. Mutambanengwe, who
sits on the Namibian bench after retiring from the Zimbabwe High court bench
in 2004, was this week still being consulted by the unity government on
whether he would be available to chair the new electoral body.

Latest lists of Independent commissions, according to media reports.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
Simpson Mutabanengwe (Chairsperson designate)
G. Feltoe
T. Gambe
Joyce Kazembe
P. Makoni
S. Ndlovu
Dr. Godwill Shana

Zimbabwe Media Commission
Godfrey Majonga (Chairperson designate)
Nqobile Nyathi
Dr. T. Hikwa
Dr. Millicent Mombeshora
Henry Muradzikwa
Chris Mutsangwa
Rev. Useni Sibanda
Matthew Takaona
M. Sibanda

Human Rights Commission
R. Austen (Chairperson designate)
K. Sithole
N. Jirira
E. Neseni
Joseph Kurebwa
N. Ncube
J. Mudenda
D. Gwatidzwo


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Journalists take journalist union to court

By Violet Gonda
17 December 2009

Four journalists from the private media filed an application in the High
Court on Thursday seeking the nullification of the results of the Zimbabwe
Union of Journalists (ZUJ) elections, that were held by the former executive
led by Matthew Takaona. The disputed congress which was held at the remote
Entabeni Lodge, How Mine - some 30 km outside Bulawayo on December 4th - saw
journalists from the state controlled media scooping most of the executive

The disgruntled journalists, Frank Chikowore, Guthrie Munyuki, Godwin
Mangudya and Conrad Mwanawashe say they were barred from contesting
positions in the ZUJ executive. They now want the High Court to declare the
election results null and void.

Chikowere told SW Radio Africa the congress was marred by serious
irregularities starting with a misleading advertisement that was placed
prior to the congress, stating that the event would be held in Bulawayo but
not saying exactly where. This left many delegates, especially from the
independent media, failing to locate the venue.

The delegates to the congress were also advised that the voting date would
be 5th December, but the polls were held on the 4th. Journalist Godwin
Mangudya is quoted by the media watchdog MISA Zimbabwe, saying: "Voting was
in fact not held on the 5th. It follows therefore that the voting indicated
in the notice has not yet taken place.there are members who are still
waiting to vote on the 5th of December."

Chikowore said he was the only person among the opposing candidates who
managed to find the venue of the congress, but he was told on arrival that
he would not be allowed to contest. "I was told I was not an invited guest
so I could not nominate myself or be nominated by any delegate of the
so-called congress. So I was eventually chucked out of the congress room
when voting began." He said observers were also 'chucked out' when elections
for the new ZUJ executive started.

The journalists say they are not worried about who was elected but are more
concerned about the process. They say the decision to hold the congress was
not made by their national council (their supreme decision making body) as
prescribed by the ZUJ constitution, but was made by the national executive
instead. The outgoing Takaona executive is accused of handpicking delegates
to vote for their preferred candidates from the state media.

Dumisani Sibanda, news editor of the government-controlled Sunday News, was
elected as new president of the union, taking over from long-time president
Takaona. Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings' Mercy Pote was elected first
vice-president and Michael Padera from the Herald the second vice-president.
However, independent journalist Foster Dongozi retained unopposed the post
of secretary-general.

Chikowere said: "Those people who were purportedly elected at the mine shaft
congress will not have the guts to deal with issues at hand against the
government. The executive of ZUJ must be all encompassing and must not
exclude people from the private media."

Although the journalists filed their papers on Thursday, the dispute is only
expected to be heard after the High Court reopens in mid January.

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Chiwenga tipped as political commissar

December 17, 2009

ZIMBABWE-POLITICS-MUGABEGen Constantine Chiwenga and Central Intelligence Organisation chief Happyton Bonyongwe, left, listen as President Mugabe speaks.

HARARE - Zimbabwe Defence Forces' chief, General Constantine Chiwenga, is being tipped in Zanu-PF circles as the most likely candidate to take over as the party's next secretary for the commissariat.The post has been vacant since the death in December last year of the former Zanu-PF national political commissar Elliot Manyika, who was a Minister without Portfolio.

Manyika died in Bulawayo after he was involved in a road traffic accident in the Zvishavane area of the Midlands.

Senior Zanu-PF officials said this week that General Chiwenga was likely to be appointed to the crucial position any time now. The sources said Chiwenga was expected to step down from his post in the military to join full-time politics. He is expected to be replaced as Commander of the Defence Forces by Air Marshall Perrence Shiri, the Air Force of Zimbabwe chief.

The sources said President Mugabe and the top hierarchy of Zanu-PF were impressed by how the army under Chiwenga masterminded the June 27 presidential run-off which controversially brought Mugabe back to office. He won the election after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC withdrew, citing violence against his supporters.

The military masterminded and executed a bloody campaign during the run-up to the run-off. Mugabe had lost to Tsvangirai in a free and fair election held in March 2009. The crisis which followed Mugabe's retention of power in June was resolved after he and Tsvangirai signed a fragile deal the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in September, which resulted in the formation of a Government of National Unity in February 2009.

Tsvangirai became Prime Minister, while Prof Arthur Mutambara, the president of a breakaway faction of the MDC, who was a co-signatory to the GPA, was appointed Deputy Prime Minister.

Human rights campaigners estimate that about 200 supporters of the MDC were murdered by Zanu-PF activists and the military during the campaign for the June 27 election. Thousands more were either displaced or fled the country, prompting Tsvangirai to pull out of the race to leave Mugabe as the sole candidate.

Despite the formation of the unified government, Chiwenga and his lieutenants continue to refuse to recognise Tsvangirai. They vowed never to salute him.

"The General is the most likely person to take up the post of secretary for the commissariat because he has shown beyond doubt that he can handle the portfolio," said a senior Zanu-PF official close to the Zanu-PF presidium.

He said it was likely Chiwenga would be appointed a Minister without Portfolio.

There were other suggestions this week that former Information Minister, Prof Jonathan Moyo, who recently rejoined Zanu-PF after four years in the political wilderness, and Youth Development Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere were also front runners for the same position.

The Zanu PF sources said the General's name was on top of the list.

The strength of Kasukuwere's candidature was based on an unwritten Zanu-PF rule that the position of commissariat secretary should be a preserve of Zanu-PF politicians from Mashonaland Central. The late Manyika and his predecessor, Border Gezi, both hailed from Mashonaland Central. Gezi also died in a road accident. Vice President Joice Mujuru is the most senior politician from this province.

Chiwenga was born in Wedza, in Mashonaland East on August 25, 1956. He joined the liberation struggle at the age of 17 and in 1974 was appointed a member of the Zanla General Staff, rising to become a member of the High Command as deputy commissar in 1978.

He joined the Zimbabwe National Army in August 1980. He was appointed Commander of 1 Brigade in Bulawayo in 1981. In October 1987 he was appointed Brigadier-General at the army headquarters. He was later promoted to Lieutenant General in 1994, taking over from Gen. Vitalis Zvinavashe as the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army when the general was promoted to become the first Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

In December 2003, Chiwenga, an ardent Mugabe loyalist was appointed the Commander the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

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Zimbabwe's supermarkets offer sweets instead of small change

December 17
2009 , 5:20:00

Thulasizwe Simelane, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's supermarkets have resorted to offering sweets instead of small
change at the tills. The country abandoned its worthless dollar in favour of
the US dollar and South African rand earlier this year.

While the multi-currency system has helped stabilise the economy, it has
left the market with a serious liquidity problem, manifest in a shortage of
foreign currency coins. With Christmas shopping now in full swing, children
are finding that checking their parents pockets after every shopping trip
may not be such a bad idea.

With foreign currency coins a rarity, change can be a real headache.
Customers at supermarkets can either accept a voucher to the value of their
change which they can redeem next time they shop at the store, or they can
just grab a handful for the little ones.

The retailers and sweet manufacturers are not complaining either. Sweets
manufacturer Jimmy Psillos says, "In fact for Zimbabwe this is our first
proper Christmas for a very long time and people are enjoying it. We are
very grateful that we have come out of our chaos and are now on the road to

However, the deal is not so sweet for street vendors, who are losing out due
to increased supermarket sales but for the young ones, it is sure to be a
delectable Christmas treat.

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Cross-border shoppers disappear

Photo: Antony Kaminju/IRIN
The shelves in Zimbabwe are being restocked
FRANCISTOWN, 17 December 2009 (IRIN) - Relative silence has replaced the bustle that Francistown, on the border between Botswana and Zimbabwe, used to experience during the peak shopping period at Christmas.

For the past decade the town has been the first port of call for Zimbabweans, who were unable to source necessities from basic foodstuffs to petrol and even soap in their own country, and relied on their neighbour for most things.

This year there is a marked shift in commercial activity, and the hawkers in the Francistown bus terminus are idle. "In the past, we used to get most of our money from Zimbabwean shoppers who would buy literally everything, from groceries to hardware and clothing items," Ikalafeng Maruping, a Francistown vendor, told IRIN. 
"Ever since their country had a unity government, the number of Zimbabweans buying our wares has been declining on a daily basis. The amounts we realize this year are a far cry of what we used to get in the last few years - they are just not buying anything."

The formation of a unity government in February 2009 has not ended bitter rivalries between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, but hyperinflation has ended and foodstuffs have again become available in Zimbabwe's shops. 
"These days, when I go home I do not buy anything here," said Ronald Mapfumo, a former Zimbabwean school teacher who now works as an assistant at a garage in Gaborone, Botswana's capital.

"I would rather keep my money and buy the items at home in Gweru [capital of Midlands Province], because they are now readily available ... It does not make sense anymore for me to go through all sorts of hassles, in the process losing some money transporting groceries by bus."
After graduating, Mapfumo taught for nine years in Shurugwi, a mining settlement in Zimbabwe's Midlands Province. "I qualified as a teacher in 1994 at Mkoba Teachers' College in Gweru," he said.

"When I started teaching, things were slightly better, but when we got into the new millennium the situation just took a rough patch and it seemed things would never normalize." He relocated to Botswana in 2003. "I tried all sorts of things to make life work, but it just didn't work, and I moved to Botswana."
Stringent work permit requirements meant he could not teach, but he found part-time work with Zimbabwean friends at garage. "This has been my life - working as an assistant at the garage. I now do some part time teaching at a school in my neighbourhood ... and I also offer private crash lessons for school children and college students. The money is not enough, but this is how I have been surviving for all along," he said. 
The greater availability of groceries in Zimbabwe has changed shopping patterns. Many Zimbabwean migrants prefer to spend their money in their home country, but US dollars or South African rands have replaced the discontinued Zimbabwe dollar, and they get less in exchange for their Botswana pula.

"Things are much better now, but the biggest challenge is that our currency is still not being properly valued. If you are not careful, you can lose out on a substantial amount through this cross-rate business," said Mapfumo.
A manager at a leading supermarket in Francistown, who declined to be identified, said business had nosedived. "I remember last year we would always run out of stocks, as the Zimbabweans literally swept everything in the shops," he told IRIN. 
''I remember last year we would always run out of stocks, as the Zimbabweans literally swept everything in the shops''
"This year things have changed. The Zimbabweans are no longer buying things in bulk like they used to do. From what we have gathered, they now prefer to buy items back home, where, we are told, some things are slightly cheaper."

Clifford Ncube, who runs a small transport company, said there was "virtually no business this year". "In the past, I would do two trips between Bulawayo [in Zimbabwe] and Francistown in one day, but these days I have to stay for days, at times more than one week, before I get a full load."

He originally came from Ndolwane, a village near the Zimbabwean border town of Plumtree, and acquired Botswana citizenship through marriage. "I no longer use a trailer like I used to do in the past. This time around, my loads comprise mostly household furniture and electrical gadgets - there is virtually nothing in terms of groceries."

The slump in demand was expected to have a beneficial spinoff for Francistown residents, as Zimbabwean shoppers had driven up prices. Boitumelo Motsumi, a Francistown resident, told IRIN: "In most cases, the prices of groceries in Francistown were almost double those in other towns."


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Tsvangirai pays tribute to older nurses - luncheon

zimnurses3The United Kingdom based charity organization, United Youth for Action broke new grounds in Harare today when they successfully organised a colourful Christmas luncheon for older nurses working in Zimbabwe's ailing health delivery system.

The luncheon attended by The Zim Diaspora was held at Monomotapa Hotel in Harare and attracted more than 250 nurses from across Zimbabwe. The event was graced by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who was the guest of honor.

The luncheon was meant to 'honour and thank'  Zimbabwe's older nurses over 60 years some of whom have come back from retirement. Other older nurses continued working in hospitals pass their retirement age owing to staffing crisis in the country as most young zim_senior_nursesZimbabwean professionals have left the country for greener pastures.

zimnurses5The nurses were treated to a three course lunch at the up-market Monomotapa hotel in Central Harare. The oldest member of the group was awarded a hamper donated by the hotel. The hamper included bed and breakfast for two at the said hotel.

Speaking Mr Tsvangirai said he was humbled by the nurses' love and commitment to save lives.

"Nurses are the light of life, without them many of us would not have reached forty. I am greatly humbled by the amount of love and commitment you have shown to the people of Zimbabwe at a crucial time." He said.

tsvangirai2The Prime Minister went on to highlight how the nurses heeded government's call of help without delay. He said their positive response averted a serious health catastrophe following a crippling brain drain that has hit the country in the last few years.

"You came back from retirement to serve your country again. You heeded government's call fro help. We were facing a crippling brain drain as younger nurses and health personnel went for greener pastures. Your coming back averted a potentially catastrophic health situation. We greatly appreciate your services. Without you it would not have been possible." The prime minister said.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Registrar of Nurses Council of Zimbabwe, Mrs Clara Nondo implored the inclusive government for taking a leaf from the organizers of the luncheon. She admitted that such a noble cause was greatly appreciated and made the nurses involved proud and worthwhile.

"We are greatly honoured today. This is a first in the whole history of nursing in Zimbabwe. We want to extend our deepest gratitudes to the local organizers of the event, Mrs Malyam Matsinde, Joy Kambarami and Mr Gibson Nyambayo. Above all, we thank and give honour to Ms Joyce King the brains behind all this" she said.

zimnurses7The Director of Nursing Services in the Ministry of Health Mrs Chasokela who provided the name list of senior nurses to the organizers was also present at the luncheon. She thanked all the senior nurses for a job well done.

She also urged the inclusive government to join hands with private partners in organizing future events for nurses.

"I implore the government to come on board and partner the organizers of this event so that it becomes an annual event. I would like to thank the organizers for a job well done" she said.

The older nurses who were also given an opportunity to address the gathering said they were pleased for being honoured to be recognized for thei dedication and committment to saving lives in their country.

Mrs Mildred Chirisa (75) who currently works in Chitungwiza satellite town told The Zim Diaspora that she started working as a nurse in 1957. She retired in 1999 after serving for 52 years. She came back in service again in 2003 up to today.

Mrs Chirisa said "This event is historic. Everywhere, even in neighbouring countries like Zambia. South Africa and Mozambique where I worked during my career, nothing like this happened. I thank God for this. It is wonderful. I thank the organizers. I hope and pray the event will be held annually until forever".

Obadiah Katiyo who first worked as a nurse in 1966 in Zvimba area of Mashonaland West province said: "Recognition has finally come to us. By this event I feel honored and recognized for my efforts. A heartfelt thank you is more than money. Truly I will save lives until I can not walk. Please may the organizers carry on such a noble cause".

Speaking to The Zimdiaspora after the event, the chief organizer of the event Mrs. Malyam Matsinde thanked individuals and cooperates who donated to the cause and made the noble event a success.

" We would like to thank companies and individuals who selflessly donated in cash and kind to the cause. We however would like to appeal to more corporate sand individuals to come on board in the next event. We feel honored by the presence of these senior nursing personnel" she said.

Zimbabwe's health system suffered a hemorrhagic brain drain over the issues precipitated by a crippled economy, worsening conditions of service and political persecution by the Mugabe led government. As a result of the brain drain the government had to recall retired nurses back to service. This averted a potential health disaster.

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Mugabe attempts to turn the tables

Yesterday Mugabe had a brief opportunity to address the Copenhagen Climate
Change conference - and, as we thought he might, he had a go at the USA and
the UK and the West in general.

What tickled me was his call for sanctions against "eco-offenders".

"Firebrand leaders Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Robert Mugabe turned up the
heat at the United Nations climate talks, dumping the blame for global
warming squarely at the feet of capitalism.

In speeches greeted with occasional ripples of applause, the long-term
critics of Western policy lashed out at what they called the hypocrisy of
the world's wealthy elite."

Mugabe neatly forgets that his destructive policies in Zimbabwe have
necessitated the West - the very counties that he points fingers at -
finding enough extra food to feed the starving Zimbabweans.

"The anti-capitalist theme was picked up on by Mr Mugabe, Zimbabwe's veteran
President, who is the target of Western sanctions over alleged human rights

"When these capitalist gods of carbon burp and belch their dangerous
emissions, it's we, the lesser mortals of the developing sphere who gasp and
sink and eventually die."

The 85-year-old said industrialised countries in the northern hemisphere
which bore historical responsibility for global warming showed none of the
zeal for punishing 'eco-offenders' that they did for abusers of human

"Why is the guilty north not showing the same fundamentalist spirit it
exhibits in our developing countries on human rights matters on this more
menacing threat of climate change?" he said.

"Where are its sanctions for eco-offenders? When a country spits on the
Kyoto Protocol by seeking to shrink from its diktats, or by simply refusing
to accede to it, is it not violating the global rule of law," he added in
reference to the core emissions treaty which the US has refused to sign."

Did Mugabe really intimate that he was a 'lesser mortal'?

We fully expected Mugabe to come out with his anti-capitalistic phrases, and
we were not disappointed.

This is the man that commandeered an Air Zimbabwe scheduled flight to bring
him, his wife and 59 members of his entourage to Copenhagen - where they,
under the eagle eye of Zimbabwe's first shopper, Amazing (Dis)Grace Mugabe,
will shop until they drop.

Then the goods purchased will be flown back to Harare where they will
circumvent the Customs & Excise route and be transported directly to the
Mugabe mansion.

How much of a carbon footprint will the laboured flight back to Harare

Mugabe cannot act the innocent when it comes to climate change - or any
other conference or summit - primarily because he has caused so much
destruction in Zimbabwe that it needs medication and food by the truckload -
that alone will add to the climatic problems this world faces. (Mugabe will
excuse himself from that footprint because the vast majority of the vehicles
carrying the much needed goods will be foreign owned, or owned by one of his
cronies making piles of money in the transport game.)

Mugabe is in no way as innocent as he might claim.
His worshipping followers call him 'Gushungo', their esteemed leader, their
'supreme' leader, the 'second son of God' and he is titled 'His Excellency
the Head of State and Government and Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces' in newspaper articles in the pro-Mugabe Herald newspaper and
in radio and television broadcasts. all by Presidential order, of course.

His avarice for riches, possessions and power has resulted in the entire
country falling to pieces around his ears, and instead of halting the slide
and fixing it, Mugabe would prefer to blame that slide upon the West - and
then continue with his destructive policies and operations.

Why should the 'eco-offenders' be sanctioned when the human rights offenders
are allowed to continue with their brutality, the ruinous rule of Mugabe and
his apologists is overlooked by the likes of SADC, the AU and the UN?

Mugabe needs to be stopped - and inviting him to address conferences that
have little in common with his need to destroy do nothing to assist the
oppressed people of Zimbabwe.

Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man

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This is the time for the MDC to also sharpen all its edges

ZANU PF is in full throttle re-organising their ramshackle party. No one can
blame them for doing so because every party is entitled to such
re-organisation. The only problem is that there are sinister intensions that
come with such deck re-arrangements.

The MDC must never be complacent in allowing the dying ZANU PF any
undeserved loopholes to scrap any form of victory, either stolen or
defaulted like in this GNU because this has allowed a party that completely
lost the elections to stay in power by default. The MDC party must show
clear signs of putting their house in order. Unlike ZANU PF the MDC is a
party that has benefited a lot from Diaspora support. The difference between
now and the liberation war years is that there were no such high numbers of
Zimbabwean nationals living outside the country. Of those who were outside
the country, only those who had specifically left heading for the training
camps were involved with the process. But these only numbered a few tens of

There were also Zimbabweans who were simply abroad mainly to study or in
very few cases to work. A number of such exiles were not at all involved
with the liberation process but were quite happy to return home to build
their country at independence. Today it's a different story because there
are millions of Zimbabweans living outside the country as a direct
consequence of the prevailing economic and political conditions. This is why
the majority of exiled Zimbabweans are very politically active. Those who
are not in mainstream politics are either involved in human rights or civil
rights campaigns that have been organised into countless groups. Most of
these are again filtering back home through organised structures such the
Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) and many others.

What the MDC has not done is capitalise to the maximum on the support,
sympathy and membership that the party has enjoyed among the Diaspora
Zimbabweans. The liberation war movements of ZANU and ZAPU turned exiles
into real trained soldiers who successfully waged the liberation war. But
because there is no war anymore in Zimbabwe, the MDC needs to turn the
Diaspora Zimbabweans into real votes that can successfully count towards
real election victory. There have been opportunities for the MDC to have
Diaspora Zimbabweans involved in the mainstream national politics but these
have been missed. The scant electoral reforms were a good example where
Diaspora Zimbabweans were left out without their much desired voting rights.
The constitutional reform process may as well just come and go without any
significant Diaspora input! The MDC needs to bargain harder for its Diaspora

 The exiles who have been involved with the MDC have been mainly involved in
a peripheral role because they have never had any real relevancy to the way
the party has been operating. There have been calls for people abroad to
"come back home and join the part" but this will never be heeded in any
significant way. The only people who will do so are those who are assured of
their role in the party when they go home. The rest of the exiled MDC
faithful will continue to shout and organise from a distance. What the MDC
may need to do is now to pursue the issue of the Diaspora vote with more
passion and purpose this time well ahead of the next elections. There is
need to ensure that the reported millions of Zimbabweans abroad can vote and
this will have a positive impact on the MDC vote because most people abroad
openly disapprove of the ZANU PF government because its policies were reason
why they left in the first place. However, there is seemingly equal
disapproval with the MDC's approach when it comes to harnessing Diaspora

There have been cases whereby the MDC has not been able to utilise to the
maximum all the resources that have been at their disposal in terms of
Diaspora manpower and support. For example in the UK where the party
probably enjoys the most significant support, that constituent was very
influential in raising the MDC international profile. There are people who
have worked very hard to help give the MDC party and international image.
This was why most international trips by MDC officials would either have the
UK in the middle as part of the itinerary. There are a lot of people who
sacrificed personally to ensure that the MDC was support at home from the
UK. But then the MDC UK was hijacked by a small group of people who
benefited from the rather isolated culture of patronage that almost
destroyed completely the party in the UK.

The recent suspension of the MDC UK was very timely in that in saved the
party from complete destruction at the hands of a small number of people
within and close to that executive who had their own agenda. Now the MDC has
a fine opportunity to sort out the mess that was about to contaminate the
party in the UK thereby threatening to sideline a lot of the party's
mainstream support. The fact that the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was
actually booed on stage was one of the clearest signals that all was not
well with the state of the party in the UK. That could have never happened
in a normal situation because normally, a leader is advised on the main
issues that are affecting that particular constituency of his support so
that he approaches the issues involved with sensitivity. But that was not
the case when Tsvangirai visited the UK in June when he was actually the
highest profile victim of the mediocre that had set in the party thanks to
the Jonathan Chaora executive.

The timely intervention with the suspension of the whole executive may have
had the unfortunate consequence of affecting some very loyal members of the
party who were also in or working closely with it, but that was the only way
of uprooting the small click that was holding the entire MDC UK at ransom.
These were the people who have been fanning hatred and division in the party
because some of them are ex-ZANU PF and they thought that the best way of
endearing themselves especially with the MDC leadership was to resort to
unorthodox means. This is what has destroyed ZANU PF because the least
capable people in that party are the loudest because they try to earn
favours through loud badmouthing of the very hard working members of the
party. That is what president Mugabe has taught his party faithful, to be
loyal to him and get it all. You do not have to do anything splendid to gain
favours in ZANU PF, all you need to do is praise the leader and you get all
the advancement you need. Jonathan Moyo simply said Mugabe must be allowed
to die in office and that earned him a speedy recall into ZANU PF that could
have otherwise dragged on and on.

The MDC needs to be wary of people who are wantonly importing ZANU PF style
tendencies into the party because this is what is derailing any progress.
The difference between the MDC and ZANU PF is that the former is party build
on democracy and the desire to usher in a culture of tolerance whereas the
latter is a dictatorial institution. Victory is certain for the MDC but only
if the party does not allow itself to be hijacked by unscrupulous elements
who are in it for themselves. There is a fine opportunity to give the party
back to the people in the UK and this can has a positive impact to the party
in Zimbabwe as well.

Silence Chihuri writes from Scotland. He can be contacted by email:

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