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Tsvangirai cautious to Makoni alliance

Zim Standard


MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said he was cautious about an
alliance with Simba Makoni because he did not know what he stood for,
officials close to him told The Standard.

Tsvangirai is expected to meet today more than 200 MDC candidates in
the forthcoming elections in Harare, to brief them on the party’s election
strategy and its stance on the Makoni element.

After the meeting, he is expected to announce how the party viewed the
"Makoni formation" of Zanu PF.

But officials close to Tsvangirai pointed out the MDC leader,
knee-deep in the political trenches since 1999, said he would not take a
stand on Makoni’s group until he knew what they stood for.

Sources said Tsvangirai’s problem with Makoni stemmed from the former
cabinet minister’s insistence that there was nothing wrong with Zanu PF, but
"something wrong with (President Robert) Mugabe".

Tsvangirai’s position, on the other hand, was that there was
"everything wrong with the entire system" which had to be changed from top
to bottom.

Tsvangirai's spokesperson. Nelson Chamisa said: "This is a Zanu PF
split, Now there is the Mugabe Zanu PF formation and the Makoni Zanu PF
formation. All we can say is that a weakened Zanu PF presents an opportunity
for us - it means their rigging machine has been severely weakened."

Welshman Ncube, the secretary-general of the Arthur Mutambara faction
said his formation had not entered into an agreement with Makoni, although
there were reports that some of its officials were keen to work out a deal
with Makoni.

Ncube said: "Arthur Mutambara was endorsed at our national council
meeting held on 2 February. That decision has not been reviewed."

Well-placed sources in the Makoni formation said yesterday the former
finance minister would not fight a lone battle. He would have candidates all
over the country contesting under the Mavambo/Qhathula/ New Beginning

There were reports yesterday that senior Zanu PF officials had
approached the Makoni camp after it was discovered the Zimbabwe constitution
did not allow for floor crossing.

Sources said the politicians had entered into a strategic alliance
with heavyweights in Zanu PF that could possibly result either in Joyce
Mujuru or Dumiso Dabengwa becoming the Makoni formation’s first and second
Vice- Presidents.

There were unconfirmed reports a number of Zanu PF heavyweights would
soon start campaigning for Makoni to win the 29 March presidential poll
against Mugabe.

But this arrangement could change in the event the MDC agreed to back
Makoni, The Standard was told.

Meanwhile, teams of the Makoni formation were dispatched to the
provinces last week to start identifying candidates for the council,
parliamentary and senatorial constituencies.

There were indications that among those to be selected for Harare
could be Margaret Dongo, Dzinashe Machingura, and Ibbo Mandaza.

Mandaza, in charge of administration in the Makoni campaign, could
stand either in Mbare or Mt Pleasant. He still had an option to fight it out
with Zanu PF and MDC in Mazowe.

In Masvingo, another key Makoni strategist, Kudzai Mbudzi, in charge
of operations, had been earmarked for Masvingo West.

In Mutare, prosecutor Levison Chikafu was slated for a Mutare seat
with Edgar Tekere tipped to contest a Senate seat under the Makoni banner.

The selection process was underway in the other provinces but party
sources said Makoni’s candidates would not be fielded in constituencies
where either MDC or Zanu PF candidates, dubbed "friendly forces", were
taking part.

These "friendly forces" were politicians who were either openly or
secretly supporting the Makoni campaign. Matabeleland was one such area with
many "friendly forces", it reported yesterday.

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Move over MDC, Enter Vox Populi

Zim Standard

  By Vusumuzi Sifile

AN unusually large number of newly-formed fringe political parties
have emerged since the beginning of the year, all promising to turn around
Zimbabwe’s fortunes once elected to power.

In the past month, leaders of the United Democratic People’s
Constitution (UDPC), Zimbabwe Integrated Party (ZIP), Voice of the
People/Vox Populi (VP) and the Zimbabwe Development Party (ZDP) knocked at
The Standard doors to announce their arrival on the political scene.

All the parties have, somewhere in their manifestos, symbols depicting

The Christian Democratic Party (CDP) was launched in Harare recently.
It is led by William Gwata. The Zimbabwe Progressive People’s Democratic
Party (ZPPDP) has been advertising its manifesto in this newspaper over the
past two months.

Except for Kisinoti Mukwazhe, the president of ZDP, the leaders of all
the other parties have no known political background. Mukwazhe is a former
Zanu PF member. He was defeated in the Zanu PF primaries for Masvingo
Central in the 2005 elections.

In September 2004, he called for the indigenisation of the name of the
country’s currency, changing it from Dollar to Ivhu (soil).

While all the party leaders insisted there were genuine, there is some
suspicion in some circles they could be are part of a grand plan by Zanu PF
to create the impression of a healthy multi-party system..

This, say analysts, would make Zanu PF’s victory more genuine if the
main opposition, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) boycotted the

But in separate interviews, the new parties’ representatives said they
were entering the elections, even if they are yet to be officially launched.

Mukwazhe said his ZDP was formed in December 2006 and spent last year
laying the groundwork for its campaign.

"Our delay is strategic," he said. "In fact, it was deliberate. We
want to launch a surprise attack. If you look at African opposition parties
that ended up in power, you will realise that only those launched just
before an election were successful."

Despite the "strategic delay", the party still has no offices. Its
structure so far has only three members: Mukwazhe, his deputy, Jansen
Mudzadzavara, and organising secretary, Facemore Museza.

UDPC leader Tasunungurwa Mhuruyengwe said a "struggle starts any time;
it doesn’t need years of preparation".

"I know there is limited time," said Mhuruyengwe. "But it would be
stupid for me not to participate. The trick is to use a different approach,
that has not been used by the other parties."

Mhuruyengwe, an army deserter, would not explain his "different

The party is still to register with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The party’s leadership currently comprises Mhuruyengwe, who claims he
was jailed for two years for desertion from the army.

Vox Populi president and secretary general, Moreprecision Muzadzi said
the party was formed in January 2006 by Zimbabweans living in Botswana and
South Africa. Muzadzi said their membership was drawn mostly from members of
Pentecostal churches.

The ZIP chairperson, Fanuel Zimidzi, said he was not even aware of the
existence of a party with a similar name.

The first ZIP was formed by mathematics professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei
over a decade ago. It started off as a pressure group for the involvement of
rural Zimbabweans in the decision-making process for their development.

Zimidzi appeared unaware of a number of key issues on the current
political landscape, raising doubts about his political credibility.

Apart from the new parties, there are oldrt ones rising up from their
slumber as election draw closer.

The Zimbabwe People’s Democratic Party (ZPDP), led by Isabel
Shanangurai Madangure, has bounced back on the internet, with a colourful

Although it was not immediately possible to contact Madangure or any
of the party’s leaders, information on the party’s website indicates that
ZPDP "is focusing its efforts on developing its capacity to provide
Zimbabweans with a viable opposition choice in 2008".

The leader of the African National Party, Egypt Dzinemunenzva, a
perennial loser in all presidential and parliamentary elections, says this
year his party "means business". Dzinemunenzva has, since 1995, been among
presidential candidates, and always contests by-elections.

Since independence, only few opposition parties have been able to
mount a meaningful challenge to Zanu PF. There was PF-Zapu,, led by Joshua
Nkomo. In the 1985 parliamentary election, the party retained most of the
seats it had won in the 1980 election.

In the 1990 election, Edgar Tekere’s Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM)
scored well in the presidential election, where Tekere lost to Mugabe but
was generally said not eto have been disgraced.

In 2000, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) provided the
stiffest challenge to Zanu PF, winning 57 seats.

No other opposition party had performed so well since independence.

There have been unconfirmed reports that the proliferation of new
parties this time around may part of an intelligence ploy to create the
impression of a multiplicity of opposition parties.

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High Court blocks Mpofu re-election

Zim Standard

  By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO – Industry and International Trade minister, Obert Mpofu’s
re-election bid suffered a major blow after his rival won a High Court
appeal against his endorsement as Zanu PF’s candidate for the Umguza
parliamentary seat.

Mpofu is among several Zanu PF heavyweights who allegedly declared
themselves unopposed in the party’s ongoing primary elections.

Last week, the primary elections were thrown into disarray following a
flood of complaints with some disgruntled candidates resorting to the

Others directed their complaints to the party’s presidium, which met
on Thursday to review their cases.

On Friday, Mark Mbayiwa, a former army major who is accusing Mpofu of
masterminding the disappearance of his curriculum vitae (CV) leading to his
disqualification, won a provisional High Court order setting aside the
minister’s endorsement.

Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Nicholas Ndou, directed that the
respondents, including Mpofu, the Zanu PF Umguza district coordinating
committee, the provincial elections directorate and Zanu PF commissar Elliot
Manyika, should be served with the papers.

"I was horrified to learn that the MP for Bubi-Umguza (Mpofu) was the
only candidate," Mbayiwa said in his founding affidavit.

Job Sibanda of Job Sibanda & Associates represented Mbayiwa in the

In a similar development, Justice Ndou on Wednesday also declared the
results of the Zanu PF primary elections in Insiza South null and void
following allegations of irregularities.

Charlton Sibanda, a war veteran, went to the High Court after he was
disqualified from the primary elections in unclear circumstances.

The poll was won by Zanu PF’s Matabeleland South provincial
coordinating committee member, Patrick Hove.

In his ruling, Justice Ndou observed that Sibanda’s disqualification
did not conform with the "rules of natural justice."

Sibanda and Mbayiwa also want the sitting of the Nomination Courts for
their respective constituencies to be delayed until their cases are

Environment and Tourism minister Francis Nhema lost a similar case in
the High Court when the Zanu PF primary elections began a fortnight ago.

A re-run of the primary elections for the Shurugwi North parliamentary
seat was ordered after his rival, Fenet Mbengo complained that he was
unfairly disqualified.

President Robert Mugabe postponed the sitting of the Nomination Courts
from last Friday to this week amid reports his party’s primary elections had
been disrupted by Simba Makoni’s decision to enter the presidential race.

On Tuesday, the former finance minister and Zanu PF politburo member
announced he would challenge Mugabe for the presidency, warning that many
party members would join him.

Zanu PF commissar Elliot Manyika announced they were considering the
extension of the primary elections to allow for an audit of the chaotic

Last week, Zanu PF’s commissariat was forced to withhold the names of
candidates who had won primaries countrywide after supporters protested
against the alleged imposition of candidates.

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'Woman scorned' turns tables on hubby, politically

Zim Standard


MUREHWA — A disgruntled woman successfully took her domestic dispute
into the political arena by challenging her estranged husband in the Zanu PF
primary elections in Musami district.

Jennifer Chirenda is a very happy woman after she defeated Eric
Jonasi, the Zanu PF chairperson of Musami.

A source close to the family said disagreements leading to the divorce
in 2004 started when Jonasi, a member of an apostolic sect, decided to marry
a third wife.

This infuriated Chirenda, the second wife, who had not expected him to
marry another wife. She was determined to teach him a lesson, like any woman

She decided to take him on head-on in his favourite game: politics.

In 2006, she challenged him for the post of councillor in their
district but lost narrowly to him.

But undeterred, she did her political homework thoroughly and
challenged her him again last week in the ward 13 party elections.

This time she beat him 512-162 votes, setting tongues wagging in

Regis Chikwekwe, a deputy information and publicity secretary for
Musami district, confirmed the election results, saying the contest had
generated excitement in the district.

"Naturally, when ex-wife faces former husband, people are bound to
notice, even if they are estranged," said Chikwekwe.

But some of Jonasi’s supporters alleged she could have been propelled
to victory by MDC youths who managed to take part in the Zanu PF primary

They said the youths might have been keen to humiliate her former
husband, a councillor for more than 20 years.

Shortly after the elections, held at Musami business centre, a group
of youths who took part in the election rushed to a waiting MDC vehicle,
where celebrations started.

"We are now afraid that these youths voted for Chirenda so they could
beat her come election time. They knew that if Jonasi won, MDC would not
stand a chance — that’s why they voted for Chirenda," said one of Jonasi’s

But Chikwekwe dismissed the MDC’s role in Chirenda’s victory.

"Those who voted were Zanu PF members. It’s possible that members of
the MDC were just passing by," said Chikwekwe.

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Poll candidate fees 'exhorbitant'

Zim Standard

  By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO – A NUMBER of aspiring candidates and political parties might
fail to take part in the elections next month after the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission set what were described as "exorbitant" registration fees.

Last week President Robert Mugabe postponed by a week the sitting of
the Nomination Courts to accept aspiring candidates after political parties
complained they had not been given enough time to prepare.

The courts will now sit on Friday this week. But several opposition
parties said the fees set by the ZEC might force candidates to withdraw from
the race.

According to the fee schedule seen by The Standard, a political party
will need at least $30 billion to register 210 candidates for the House of
Assembly and 93 for the Senate.

Candidates in both the House of Assembly and Senate elections will pay
$100 million each while those vying for the presidency will pay $1 billion.

Council election candidates will not pay anything.

Abednigo Bhebhe, the deputy spokesperson for the Arthur Mutambara
faction of the MDC, complained that, moreover, the fees were announced late.

"It is clear Zanu-PF wants to ambush the opposition," said Bhebhe. "It
is also meant to ensure that we don’t campaign extensively as we won’t be
able to raise money to print campaign material.

"Zanu PF knows it is the only party on the safe side because it can
abuse taxpayers’ money."

Paul Siwela, who launched his Federal Democratic Union on Tuesday and
will participate in presidential and parliamentary as well as council
elections, said the delay in the announcement of the fees "raised eyebrows".

The spokesperson of the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the MDC, Nelson
Chamisa, said the fees were calculated to reduce the election challenge to
Zanu PF.

"It’s meant to drain the resources of progressive individuals and
opposition parties, considering the financial resources required," said

A political analyst in Bulawayo, Jethro Mpofu, said the government was
trying to cripple its opponents financially to gain an unfair advantage.

"(President) Mugabe dug into his bag of tricks to catch the opposition
MDC napping by disturbing and hindering its efforts to go deep into the
rural areas and campaign, given the little time left before the polls," said

Zimbabwe holds presidential, parliamentary and council elections on 29
March. ZEC officials were not available for comment on Thursday as they were
said to be busy with the voter registration.

Mugabe, who has ruled the country since independence in 1980, is
seeking a sixth term of office despite the economic crisis that critics
blame on his damaging policies.

Zanu-PF and the two formations of the MDC are currently selecting
candidates for the elections, the biggest in terms of human and financial
resources and logistics..

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No tests for Harare water as workers strike

Zim Standard


EFFLUENT into Harare’s water bodies and drinking water has not been
"independently tested" for the past week after Environmental Management
Agency (EMA) workers downed tools over better pay last Tuesday.

The Standard was told this posed great danger to Harare residents
drinking water from the taps..

EMA monitors effluent discharged into the country water bodies as well
as conducting verification tests on the quality of drinking water.

EMA workers said the strike had compromised the quality of Harare’s
drinking water as discharges into water bodies were not being monitored.
Several companies have been fined for polluting the city’s water supplies.

A laboratory technician with EMA, who requested anonymity, said the
situation had been aggravated by Harare council’s serious shortage of
chemicals to treat drinking water.

"Zinwa purifies and does its own tests," said a laboratory technician
with EMA. "As EMA we do our own independent verification of the water
because there is no way Zinwa can tell residents that the water is not
clean, when they are the culprits."

There are fears there could be an outbreak of water-borne diseases
because EMA is not monitoring companies and individuals discharging effluent
into the city’s water system.

Last year, Harare was hit by an outbreak of cholera and diarrhoea,
which killed over 10 people.

Another technician said there were times when their verification
process established that water brought for testing by Zinwa had been
declared "unclean".

"There are times when they send to us unclean water and our results
have confirmed this," he said.

Zinwa public relations manager, Marjorie Manyonga, dismissed the
workers’ claims., saying Zinwa and the council’s health department always
monitored and tested the quality of drinking water in the city.

"I can assure you the water is clean and safe for drinking," she said.
"The agency only monitors discharges into water bodies."

EMA tests water from rivers, dams and drinking water at a laboratory
at Zinwa complex at KGIV in Harare. It was the national quality laboratory
before it was put under EMA last year.

The workers went on strike after management failed to honour an
arbitration award reached between EMA management and employees, represented
by Gibson Mushunje of the Zimbabwe Electricity and Energy Workers Union
(ZEWU) on 3 January.

The award gave the least paid worker about $30 million a month
backed-dated to last October.

"Bearing in mind that the adjustment is for October, November and
December 2007, when the known poverty datum line (PDL) for October 2007 was
around $26 million, an adjustment of the rate for the least paid grade from
$4 501 000 to $27 million a month for October and $30 million a month for
November and December 2007 would be fair and reasonable adjustments," reads
the award signed by an independent arbitrator, Mr N. Mukwehwa.

The lowest paid worker at EMA, which falls under the Ministry of
Environment and Tourism, is paid $4,5 million a month.

Mushunje said it was criminal for the ministry to pay "slave salaries"
to its workers.

"This money is not even enough for a single trip to work. This is
criminal," said Mushunje.

Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema could not be reached
for comment.

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Men in black car harass paper vendors

Zim Standard

  By our staff

UNIDENTIFIED men, believed to be State security agents, last week
picked up a newspaper vendor and locked him up at State House, for defying a
"directive" not to sell private-owned newspapers along Borrowdale Road.

The road leads to President Robert Mugabe’s mansion.

The vendor, who was selling The Standard, The Zimbabwe Independent and
a number of South African newspapers, was detained for hours at State House,
The Standard was told.

The vendors’ harassment comes hardly two weeks after the vendors were
given a 1 February deadline to leave the road "as they were selling
newspapers that attack President Robert Mugabe".

Points from which vendors are "banned" include the corners of
Churchill-Borrowdale Roads, Sam Levy’s Village and Borrowdale- Harare Drive.

The vendors said last week the alleged agents drove a black car
without number plates and asked for the government-owned Herald daily.

When told the paper had not been delivered, they shouted abuse at the

Zimpapers has failed to provide its titles on the streets on time
because of a sharp decline in newsprint supplies.

This has left vendors with only The Zimbabwe Independent, The
Standard, and the South African newspapers – all distributed by Munn

Nicholas Ncube, Munn Marketing operations manager confirmed the
harassment of vendors.

"One vendor was picked up at Borrowdale primary school on Sunday and
they took him to State House where he spent some hours," he said.

Ncube said he went to Borrowdale police station to make a report on
the harassment of vendors and when he told the officers of agents moving in
a black car without number plates and terrorising vendors, the officers said
they had "no capacity" to deal with the agents.

Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka said he was not aware of that

"I have checked with Borrowdale police station and they are not aware
of that report," he said.

The Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard, the country’s remaining
independent newspapers, have been critical of Mugabe’s rule in the wake of
declining living standards and hyperinflation - unprecedented in a country
outside a war situation.

Yesterday morning the black car, a Toyota Yaris, was back, this time
with number plates (AAW9286).

The sight of the car sent the vendors scurrying for cover.

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48 days before poll, ZEC struggles to find offices in Bulawayo

Zim Standard

  By Kholwani

BULAWAYO — THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) provided strong
evidence last week it was ill-prepared for the 29 March elections: it was
still searching for offices in Bulawayo.

ZEC was struggling to secure office space for its officers less than
48 days before the harmonised Presidential, House of Assembly, Senate and
local authority elections.

ZEC is responsible for almost all the logistics for the elections;
preparations should have begun last year.

It emerged last week that its 13 officers and clerks in Bulawayo
province were squashed into four offices at the Mhlahlandlela government
complex, raising questions about its independence.

According to a letter written by ZEC to council on 28 January, the
commission said it was "desperately" looking for accommodation "so that it
can have some form of independent operation".

Initially, it asked the council to lease to it the former Art Gallery
building, which also houses the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP)

The request was turned down on the grounds that the council planned to
create office space for its housing and community services department.

But the council had to reconsider the matter on Thursday when the ZEC
wrote back to plead for temporary accommodation during the election period.

"ZEC is appealing to at least be authorised to use the offices for its
district functions during the election period as from the 1st of February to
the 30th of March," read the letter.

The full council meeting only gave in to the plea on condition the
commission paid "market-related" rentals.

The government has dismissed concerns by the West and local civic
groups that it has no capacity to hold the elections without outside
support, saying ZEC is not fully-funded.

Last year the government allocated $209 trillion for the harmonised
elections but observers say the money would not be enough, considering the
inflationary environment.

ZEC says it will be setting up an average of four polling stations in
each ward as the synchronised elections will be ward-based.

In the past, voters could cast their votes at any polling station in
their constituency.

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Drug shortage hits Bulawayo

Zim Standard

  By Makaita Mupare

BULAWAYO — Government hospitals have been hit by a serious shortage of
anti-diarrhoea drugs at a time when major urban centres are experiencing an
upsurge in cases of water borne diseases, it has been learnt.

Since late last month, Bulawayo has drastically reduced its daily
water allocations to residents, citing lack of funds to buy water treatment

The Harare city council has also blamed frequent water cuts on erratic
electricity supplies from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa).

Residents are resorting to water from unprotected sources, sparking an
increase in diarrhoea cases.

A survey at Bulawayo’s two referral hospitals, Mpilo and the United
Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) last week revealed that patients suffering from
diarrhoea were being told to buy drugs from private pharmacies as the
hospitals’ stocks were dry.

Sources at the two institutions told The Standard that stocks of
nalidixic acid, a commonly used in the treatment of diarrhoea were fast
running out, forcing the authorities to reserve them for "critical cases".

"I have been to Mpilo hospital several times, only to be told that
there are no drugs," said a Barbourfields resident.

"They only gave me a prescription, so I could look for the drugs at
pharmacies in town but I don’t have the money because I am unemployed."

There was no respite for residents at the city council’s 19 clinics,
which are usually well-stocked with drugs. In a recent report on the
diarrhoea outbreak, the council’s health, housing and education committee
said municipal clinics were running out of essential drugs.

"Drugs play a crucial part in the management of patients yet the
supplies remain erratic," the committee said. "There is a poor supply of all
external applications, dressings, suture material and infection control
material and antibiotics levels are very low."

Lindiwe Mlilo, the Mpilo chief executive officer and her UBH
counterpart, Nonhlanhla Ndlovu refused to comment.

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Zimbabwe prepares for Global Fund Round 8

Zim Standard

  By Bertha Shoko

ZIMBABWE will be submitting its bid yet again to the Global Fund to
fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria in response to the funding body’s call
for proposals, despite a failed previous round grant application by the
Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) last year.

The CCM, responsible for coming up with proposals to the Global Fund,
had last year applied for about US$74 million for TB and malaria

The Global Fund turned down this application for "technical reasons".
After the Global Fund turned down Zimbabwe’s Round 7, senior officials in
the Ministry of Health cried "foul" and attacked the Global Fund for being
"politically motivated".

They also accused the Global fund of failing to disburse in time funds
approved in previous rounds.

There had been unconfirmed reports that Zimbabwe would this year not
be applying for Round 8 because some members of the CCM felt that it would a
futile exercise. They argued the Global Fund had become the "politicised".

But now, The Standard understands that Zimbabwe will again be applying
for funding and that members of the CCM, including prominent HIV activist
Lynde Francis, will be meeting on 14 February to deliberate on this issue.

In an interview last week, chairman of the CCM and Minister of Health
and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, said the country would
"definitely" be seeking funds from the Global Fund in Round 8.

Parirenyatwa said the 14 February meeting had been scheduled to give
CCM members a chance to discuss and agree on what to "include and exclude"
in Zimbabwe’s grant application.

"We hope to finalise everything on that day but there is no doubt that
we will definitely be giving it another try," Parirenyatwa said.

Health experts and HIV activists said they hoped the proposals the CCM
intended to submit would effectively communicate the plight of Zimbabweans,
especially where access to HIV treatment is concerned.

Chairman of the Zimbabwe Doctorıs for Human Rights, Dr Douglas
Gwatidzo, urged the CCM to "carry the voice of the suffering people".

Gwatidzo said by coming up with a proposal with a "human face" the
Global Fund board would be "moved and touched to reach out to the people of

Said Gwatidzo: "Even though political reasons may be the cause for
Zimbabwe’s denial of funding in past rounds, I want to challenge members of
the CCM to consult widely before this meeting and work on a proposal that
tells the story of how much poor Zimbabweans really need this funding.

Dr Gwatidzo said in the HIV grant he would like the CCM to apply for
funding for HIV that ensure that there are enough test kits, reagents and
monitoring equipment such as CD4 cell count machines.

He said it was important that the HIV grant proposal include
nutritional support and the availability and affordability of Anti
Retroviral Drugs (ARVs).

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UK tightens screws on employers of migrant labour

Zim Standard


THE United Kingdom has introduced tough civil penalties for business
employing illegal migrant workers in a move that could affect hundreds of
Zimbabweans working in that country.

The new measures, described by the Home Office as the "biggest
immigration shake-up for forty years" are aimed at tackling illegal
immigration to the UK which is a popular destination for Zimbabweans,
fleeing economic ruin in their motherland.

Many Zimbabweans have been staying and working in the UK illegally and
have sent the funds they earn back home to support struggling families.

The measures will compel businesses to source their migrant labour
through legal means.

Failure to do so will attract severe penalties.

The measures, which became effective this month will enable employers
to check on the status of the workers and also allow the Border and
Immigration Agency (BIA) to deal with non compliance.

"Under a new system of civil penalties, employers who negligently hire
illegal workers could face a maiximum fine of 10 000 Pounds for each illegal
worker at the business. If employers are found to have knowingly hired
illegal workers they could incur an unlimited fine and be sent to prison,"
the British Embassy said in a statement.

BIA has been conducting operations against illegal workers in UK amid
reports that it removed 22 000 people from UK in 2006. A number of
Zimbabweans have also been affected by the deportations.

In the next 12 months, the agency is expected to introduce tougher
measures which include complusory ID cards for foreign nationals.

An Australian style Points based system to make sure only workers with
the skills to benefit Britain’s economy.

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Anglican violence continues

Zim Standard


VIOLENCE in the Anglican Church’s Harare diocese continued last week
when some members of the Mothers’ Union tried to evict a priest aligned to
the former bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, from a church-owned house in
Glen View.

Church members said the priest in charge at St Andrew’s Church in Glen
View, Matthew Zifoti, was forced out of the house after he allegedly told
them: "I am not your priest."

Sources said most of the parishioners at St Andrew’s support the
recently ordained Bishop Sebastian Bakare as acting vicar-general of the

The women allegedly pulled down a fence and broke down a door and
forced Zifoti out of the house.

High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe recently ruled that Kunonga’s
diocese could not exist at law outside the constitution of the Anglican
Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA).

But the police ordered Zifoti to remain in the house and arrested the

Over 200 parishioners followed their colleagues to the police station
and demanded they too be arrested.

The police later released the whole group and remained with five
senior members of the Mothers’ Union, whom they are charging with public

The five are identified only by their surnames: Musekiwa, Muzondo,
Pasikwavaviri and Gombakomba. They were scheduled to appear in court on
Friday. They were brought to Mbare magistrate’s court after it had already

The case was postponed to tomorrow.

Mike Chingore of Chingore & Associates, representing the five women,
confirmed the charges.

"They have pressed public violence charges against them and they will
appear in court on Monday," he said.

In the evening of the same day, unknown people broke into St Andrew’s
Church warden Farai Jombe’s car and stole a radio, distributor and battery.

Gombe, who was still to report the matter to the police, said he
suspected it was the work of people aligned to the Kunonga faction.

"When I arrived from Mbare court there were three thugs who tried to
prevent us from praying in our church but went away after police
intervention," he said.

"And a few hours later, around 8 PM, three people broke into my car;
the coincidence is too much."

Zifoti and Kunonga could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Last weekend, unknown people tried to block the ordination of Bishop
Bakare as acting vicar-general of the diocese at the Cathedral in Harare.

Bakare, also the acting bishop of Harare, was later ordained at the
City Sports Centre during a colourful ceremony attended by thousands of
Anglican parishioners from throughout the country.

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Zim industry needs US$2b to recover from price blitz

Zim Standard


ZIMBABWE’S battered industries need a staggering US$2 billion to
recapitalise after last year’s price blitz, a business leader said last

Callisto Jokonya, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president
told Standardbusiness the massive injection, coupled with supportive
policies, would provide a lasting solution to the crisis confronting

"We need friendly policies and once they are in place the world will
open up," he said, adding the world supports friendly policies.

Jokonya said businesses could negotiate economic integration "with our
friends in the world" once the environment was conducive for business

Businesses have been choked by price controls, weakening their
viability. Prices have to be approved by the National Incomes and Pricing
Commission (NIPC). The commission has been taking its time to approve price
increases due to a shortage of staff.

Last year, the government ordered all businesses to slash prices of
goods and services by half, in what was seen as a populist move that left
shop shelves empty.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe then came up with a loan facility in
which businesses would access cheap funds for restocking. Under the Basic
Commodities Supply Side Intervention (BACOSSI), businesses accessed loans at
a concessionary rate of 25 percent per annum.

Jokonya said BACOSSI was a short-term measure and the huge capital
injection would be a lasting solution to industries’ woes.

He said business needed supportive policies such as the removal of
price controls and the availability of foreign currency for raw material

In his January 2008 monetary policy announcement, RBZ governor Gideon
Gono said BACOSSI must not be seen as a permanent feature of monetary policy

"Instead, this facility was meant to act as an emergency
shock-absorber to foreclose the possible collapse of companies which could
not be able to restock their production systems or retail outlets," Gono

He said BACOSSI would run through to 30 June. As at 8 January US$13.5
million and Z$18.6 trillion had been disbursed to companies under the

Gono said as a result of BACOSSI, major suppliers of basic commodities
have seen capacity utilization improving from as low as 10 percent to 65

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Council in legal stew with bank

Zim Standard

  By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO — Bulawayo city council is threatening to evict Premier Bank
from its suburban premises for setting up its business in an area not
designated for banking.

The threat is the culmination of a legal wrangle that has been raging
since last year, with the bank appealing to the council for a year in which
to relocate its office from the affluent Suburbs residential area.

But in December the council slapped the bank with an Enforcement and
Prohibition order "for non-compliance with the Regional Town Planning and
Country Act", which prohibits the setting of banks in a residential area.

The council’s acting director of engineering services, Simela Dube
said the bank apparently bought the premises from an unnamed organisation
that was also operating from the area illegally.

In a letter to the city council dated 1 January, the bank said it
needed time to find an alternative site and carry out renovations.

"We would like to assure you that we want to maintain our investment
in Bulawayo and to continue participating in the development of the city,"
the bank said.

"Consequently if our site is currently irregular, we would like to
correct this situation as quickly and as amicably as possible."

But councilors shot down the appeal, saying the bank had not
demonstrated any urgency in looking for alternative accommodation.

Property development in Bulawayo has slowed down due to the country’s
economic crisis.

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Zimbabwe's unhappy millionaires

Zim Standard


VINCENT Chidatsi sells juice cards under a tree in Kwame Nkurumah
Avenue, his "office" for the past five years.

He forks out at least $10 million a day in bus fares to and from

"The money I spend on a day is increasing almost daily but the money I
get is not increasing at that rate," he said.

Sithabile Matimba is a receptionist in the Graniteside industrial
area. She has worked for the same company for 10 years.

Her $100 million a month salary barely covers the basics: she needs
$176 million a month for transport from Mabvuku to

"I have to look for money for rent and food. I have to supplement my
income through the sale of maputi at work," she said.

Chidatsi and Matimba are among Zimbabwe’s unhappy millionaires, who
have watched in disbelief as inflation ravaged the purchasing power of the

While the central bank tried to enhance convenience by introducing
higher denominated notes to ease citizens’ woes of carrying bags of cash,
there is a danger the victory is phyrric.

Only last month, central bank governor Gideon Gono unveiled $10
million, $5 million and $1 million notes, as a stop-gap measure to ease
people’s pain of carrying large bags of cash.

But as is the norm in a hyperinflationary environment, the prices of
goods and services are rising at an astronomical pace.

Since June 2006, Zimbabwe has been in hyperinflationary mode, with
month-on- month inflation consistently at over 50 percent over six months

A one-way trip from Epworth into the city cost $700 000 in December,
but is now $4 million. A loaf of bread now costs $3 million from $700 000 in

Analysts say the high inflation - 26 000 percent in November,
according to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe figures, and 150 000 percent in
January according to the International Monetary Fund forecast – has reduced
the value of the currency.

"In the world the top percentile of rich people are millionaires but
here beggars on the streets are millionaires," said Dr Daniel Ndlela, an
independent economist.

In hypeinflationary conditions, a central bank prints larger notes to
ease the burden of carrying sackfuls of cash.

Zimbabwe has joined the crusade of doling out larger denominated
notes. The $10 million note, introduced last month, is the largest note, not
only in Africa but in the world, which analysts say is embarrassing.

"We are the most ridiculous people," said Ndlela. "There is no
currency in Africa that is measured in millions.".

Hyperinflation has not only rendered useless the nominal value of the
currency, but has whittled down the value of the people’s labour. .

Analysts say the introduction of large denominations, though a good
step in enhancing convenience, will not tame inflation.

"Fundamentally, the introduction of higher denominated notes is a good
step in terms of enhancing convenience," said David Mupamhadzi, group
economist at the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group. "But it cannot be used as a
substitute to tame inflation."

Mupamhadzi proposes a radical policy shift which might be painful, but
is "a necessary cure" for the ailment.

He says there is need to open up the market to curb price distortions
driving inflation.

"Although it is going to be painful, we need the pain for future
benefits," he said.

In a hyperinflationary environment, governments often try to disguise
the true rate of inflation through suppression of publication of money
supply statistics, or inflation indices.

Zimbabwe has been no exception and the November inflation figures were
only released less that two weeks ago, not by the Central Statistical
Office, but by the RBZ when it announced its monetary policy statement.

Governments under hyperinflation can effect price and wage controls to
disguise the true rate of inflation.

In June last year, the government ordered businesses to slash prices
of all goods and services by half in a populist move that emptied the

Businesses are still to restock to pre-June levels, notwithstanding
cheap funds doled out by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to companies for

Matimba is worried that if a solution is not found "as a matter of
urgency bags (of money) would bounce back".

Dr Ndlela said: "If the authorities refuse to change the currency, and
assuming these guys will be there in August, we won’t be able to pronounce
our money."


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Zimbabwe’s future under Zanu PF: only darkness

Zim Standard


A number of politicians in Zanu PF have challenged President Robert
Mugabe’s leadership since 1975. Some did it with subtlety, others openly.

So far, none have succeeded, either in a free and fair election, or by
means beloved of all politicians: subterfuge, intrigue and duplicity.

It would be unfair to state categorically that all have failed because
Mugabe is a past master of all these methods. Neither would it be accurate
to say they failed because he had "right" on his side.

Many would ascribe his survival to a mastery of the art of patronage
and influence-peddling.

Most who have challenged him had legitimate reasons, mostly related
with his style of leadership, which has always tended to be dictatorial.

There has also been his glaring failure to respond positively to
ordinary people’s concerns about the true, material meaning of our
independence. While he harped on the victories, people worried about hunger,
health, jobs, freedom and happiness.

But one thing must be certain by now, even to Mugabe himself. The
discontent with his leadership is now so intense even he must know a climax
is imminent.

Simba Makoni’s challenge, the latest in the last few years, is
poignant in its clarity. He says he shares the people’s agony over,
generally speaking, the emptiness of our independence.

Mugabe has often erred in concentrating on the achievement of
independence, rather than on the aftermath of the struggle. There were
dreams, promises, pledges, undertakings and solemn commitments to give the
people a place in the sun, after the 15-year struggle in which nearly 30 000
people died.

In reality, only a few people now live off the fat of the land. Most
are desperately poor, living on less than a US$1 a day. The communal areas,
where Mugabe’s party has traditionally enjoyed massive support, have been
turned into a wasteland.

Neither the chaotic land reform programme nor the recent distribution
of tractors, combine harvesters nor ploughs to the party faithful has made a
dent on the poverty there.

Like Simba Makoni and those who stand behind him in his challenge,
many of the people in the rural areas know, in their heart of hearts, that
Mugabe has failed to deliver on his and Zanu PF’s promises. It is time for
him to bow out, gracefully, if possible.

He, of all people, must appreciate that to stubbornly cling to power
when he has clearly outlived his people’s welcome would be dangerous, not
only for himself as an individual, but for the country too.

He may count among his successes in the power stakes his victories
over Ndabaningi Sithole, Edgar Tekere, even Joshua Nkomo and Eddison Zvobgo.
But he cannot believe himself to be invincible.

Like all of us, he is fallible. Like all other political parties in
the world, his party is fallible but would survive without him, as the
communist parties of China, Cuba and the former Soviet Union, have survived.

He may not believe, as some of his critics seem to believe he does,
that he is Zanu PF and the party is Robert Mugabe. But the stubbornness with
which he refuses to let go of his seat suggests he is utterly incapable of
conceiving of the party without him or he without the party.

Yet the prime concern of everyone in this great country is its future.
With Mugabe and Zanu PF at the helm, the future is dark, empty. Whether
Makoni can make a difference may be a mute questsion. What is clear is that
under Mugabe there is no future at all.

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US elections: The money, the glitz

Zim Standard

  Sunday Opinion By Bill Saidi

HERE is a quotation from a book, Presidential Elections:

"All political strategies are worked out within a framework of
circumstances which are in part subject to manipulation, but to even a
greater degree are ‘given’.

"Needless to say, this fact of life also applies to the strategies of
aspirants to the Presidency, who must construct extremely complex plans of
action within the context of hundreds of thousands of relevant
circumstances, most of which are beyond their control."

I love the use of the word "manipulation", the stock-in-trade of the
consummate politician. Most of the above can be pared down to this: do what
you can to win, no matter what it takes.

This is all about the US elections in November, which always make me
wind back to a lovely, middle-class residence in a suburb of San Francisco,
where my hostess shared my dislike of the front-runner, Richard Nixon.

As soon it was announced on TV that the president, seeking a second
term, was about to speak, my hostess dashed out of the lounge, one of her
children in tow.

"I can’t stand that man," she said.

So, there I was, alone with Nixon, in this plush lounge, abandoned by
my hostess.. The lawyer-politician was already mired in a scandal of
prodigious political proportions.

I paid scant attention to what Nixon said. I had met him nine years
earlier, on a rain-soaked night at the little airport in Lusaka.

The late Richard Hall, my editor at The Central African Mail, had been
tipped off about Nixon’s stopover from South Africa, where he had been on

In 1960, he had lost to John F. Kennedy, later the victim of an
assassination in Dallas, Texas.

I couldn’t get a word out of Nixon: Apartheid? South Africa?
Sharpeville? He had nothing to say.

So, here I was, in his own country, where he was president, seeking a
second term with the cloud of Watergate hanging over him.

I have always wondered how my career would have developed if I had
succeeded in squeezing water out of the rock that was Nixon’s reticence: "I
am going to make history — just you wait and see. I’m going to make history
as president."
Nobody would forget that, not after what Nixon did to the US

US presidential elections are mostly about money and glitz. It’s the
ultimate display of the essence of everything American — loud, open,
expensive, honest (sometimes) and dishonest (also sometimes) and often

The razzmatazz of the primaries, although a hallmark of what US
democracy is all about, is so steeped in "manipulation", there are critics
who believe, ultimately, it is the candidate with the largest pockets who

Comparing that with any number of African elections is grossly unfair.
For us, the money is not the centre-piece. Often it’s the party with the
levers of power, as in Kenya’s recent elections.

Mostly, however, it is the party — as in Zimbabwe —-with the capacity
to instill pure, naked fear into the voters’ hearts, which reminds me of a
quotation from Cold Comfort Confronted, the book by Guy and Molly
Clutton-Brock: "Your real offence is turning yes-men slaves into independent
human beings."

A distinguished lawyer said this to members of the society which the
couple, along with others, including the Mutasas, had formed.

After the 2000 parliamentary elections, Zanu PF could have — and might
have — said this to the Movement of Democratic Change. It was the first
time, in 20 years of independence, that so many millions had voted against
Zanu PF.

Everything the party has done since then is designed to ensure it
doesn’t happen again. The pure, simple truth is that as long as Robert
Mugabe is alive, no other party can take over the government — at least, not
through a free and fair election.

If the MDC couldn’t succeed in 2000, during which millions had been
turned from yes-men and women into "independent human beings", Simba Makoni
can hardly expect to achieve that goal.

Yet there is always history to be reckoned with. To many
un-restructured, un-reconstituted Zanu PF leaders, the often-quoted examples
of the fall from power of Kenneth Kaunda and Kamuzu Banda would never apply
to Robert Mugabe.

In Goromonzi in 2006, his party did not unanimously endorse his
presidential candidature, whatever spin he and his supporters tried to put
on the events.

Makoni’s declaration, although shrouded in suspicion, is another
indication that Mugabe has lost it — the magic touch which made him a
virtual shoo-in in every election.

Kaunda and Kamuzu (wherever his spirit is) must be commiserating with
Mugabe: not even he can stop the march of time.


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Reflections on the significance of the Makoni factor

Zim Standard

  reflections with Dr
Alex T Magaisa

WHEN Zimbabwean superstar Oliver Mtukudzi sings, most people listen.
One of his recent songs, Vachakunonokera, is a poignant reminder of the
folly of lying idle while waiting for an inheritance.

It is unwise to wait for elders to pass on, so that you can inherit
from them. Trouble is, they may never leave the inheritance to you or,
worse, might even outlive you.

Where they do leave something, you might be one of many beneficiaries.
This could result in a battle for the package. Instead, says Tuku, one must
just work hard.

There are many in Zanu PF who have spent decades waiting to inherit
President Mugabe’s mantle. But some have passed on while in the queue. Many
others are still waiting. Simba Makoni is one of those who have been
waiting. But on Tuesday 5 February 2008, he decided he could wait no more.

Few disagree it is a brave decision. Around this time last year, this
column featured some thoughts on the perils of pursuing change in Zanu PF:
why, despite the failure of the national leadership to take the country
forward, there seemed to be no visible desire to change things from within.
Were they really all cowards or "Mugabe’s wives" as Margaret Dongo once
said? The biggest impediment, it was argued, was the fear of failure and
consequent loss of privileges. Change agents in Zanu PF were discouraged by
the lack of or at the very least, lukewarm support from those around them.

So what, then, has changed?

Makoni stated in his announcement that he had consulted "extensively
and intensively" both within and outside Zanu PF: his bid was inspired by
the warm encouragement he received. That is a positive development in the
politics of Zimbabwe — the mere confirmation of the fact there are in Zanu
PF people who share the desire to change.

But having come out openly, it is to be hoped those friends of Makoni
of sufficient seniority, will follow suit. It is understandable that
negotiating the path out of Zanu PF, can be hazardous. But their unequivocal
backing of Makoni would give confidence to an understandably curious and
sceptical public.

Never far away from the scene, conspiracy theorists have predictably
woven the theory that Makoni’s bid may be one of Zanu PF’s gimmicks.

Not long after the announcement, Zanu PF apologists were already
sharpening their daggers. This reaction was predictable: Makoni was a
Western agent.

In their strange world, any one challenging Mugabe is an agent of the

They have used these against everyone else, including Tsvangirai. But
these are the same people who spent years massaging their relationships with
the West. The same people shun local colleges and universities and instead
send their children to Western institutions.

They shun local banks and deposit ill-gotten gains in the West. Yet
they have the nerve to tell the population there is something distasteful
about the West.

There is even an attempt to find Makoni guilty by association, in the
suggestion that he is related to Tsvangirai by virtue of some marital

Besides the fact that the so-called relationship did not seem to
matter when Makoni was a "loyal" Zanu PF cadre, these same accusers
conveniently overlook that there are at least four members of the Mugabe
clan in Parliament and government. But the idea is to paint Makoni with the
same "mutengesi" (sellout) slur used so effectively against Tsvangirai.
Zimbabweans need to judge for themselves, on the basis of what the man is

They are intelligent enough to reject his plans if they discover that
he is no more than a charlatan. But apologists of those that have landed
them in abject poverty cannot, surely, be trusted with the job of judging on
their behalf.

There has been the argument that Makoni is simply an opportunist,
attempting to reap where others sowed long ago. This is a view coming mainly
from the so-called pro-democracy forces in politics and civil society both
at home and in the Diaspora. Many of these have, for years, called upon Zanu
PF politicians to see sense and join the people to fight against the
mismanagement of the country. Here is someone generally considered senior
and respectable, who has decided to heed that call. Suddenly, he is called
an opportunist. "Where was he all along?", they ask. It is an understandable
question but it also requires some perspective.

Who, really, in politics is not an opportunist? Is not politics about
identifying and exploiting opportunities? Is it not the case that this breed
of humans (politicians) generally thrives on opportunities?

But the biggest irony is that many of those that use the ‘where were
you?’ argument have for years been pilloried by Zanu PF on exactly the same
tired basis — ‘where was he/she during the liberation struggle?’, Zanu PF
always asks when it seeks to denigrate and marginalise someone. Sooner or
later, the world will be told that Makoni was studying at university and
never went to the bush during the struggle. All this and more just days
after decades of being called ‘Comrade’!

People are right, of course, to ask questions. But it seems useful,
rather than to rely on speculation, that serious debate focuses on the
issues that he puts on the table. His affability and the perception that he
has the oomph factor is only a small percentage of the package. To this end
the nation awaits Makoni’s ideas and plans for the country. Change is
certainly important.

Empty rhetoric of the "revolution" does not bring food to the table.
Makoni needs to urgently outline his agenda, so that when people debate,
they do so less on his personality but more on the substance of what he has
to offer.

The Makoni factor and the way it has been widely and positively
portrayed both within and outside the country, is a sure sign of how the
world is ready to embrace new faces, beyond the MDC, in the struggle to
resuscitate Zimbabwe. The infantile attitude and approach of the two MDCs
and the selfishness of its aspiring MPS who seem to be mainly concerned with
matters of their own stomachs has shown however the opposition forces have
begun to take people for granted. Makoni cannot fight this battle alone. Nor
can he do it with only his Zanu PF colleagues.

He needs to form a broad alliance and capture and consolidate the
potential votes currently wasted on the divided MDC, while winning the
hearts of the pro-reform voices from Zanu PF.

Makoni has hinted at the idea of a government of national unity, which
suggests an interest in a broad-based regime, not a traditionally divisive
"winner-wakes all" system.

Makoni faces formidable obstacles, not least the risk of isolation by
fcolleagues that have pledged to support him. But if there is anything
Makoni can bank on, it is Mugabe’s memory. Mugabe does not forget easily,
especially those that have "betrayed him". Therefore, it is likely he will
know and remember all those around Makoni, even if they choose not to come
out. He might maintain strategic silence but when the deed is done, he will
be sure to pounce on them. They cannot, therefore, pretend any longer not to
be backing Makoni. It’s in their interests to help Makoni secure the
Presidency. As Tuku says in another song, chekumirira hapana. Surely, there
is nothing to wait for.

* Dr Magaisa is based at The University of Kent Law School and can be
contacted at or

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Why Zanu PF should be booted out in 2008 poll

Zim Standard

  Sundayview by Job Sibanda

THE 2008 harmonised presidential, parliarmentary, senatorial and local
government elections will be held against a backdrop of a terrible and
worsening situation economically, socially and politically. The elections
come at a time when Zimbabwes inflation is inching inexorably towards the 30
000 % per annum rate.

That this is a record in a country not at war is now common cause.The
elections come at a time when shortages of everything and anything you can
think of are the order of the day. They come at a time when the population
exhibits surprise at finding any type of commodity available in shops than
exhibit such surprise at not finding such commodities. Food, medication, raw
materials for industries, water, and money are commodities that citizens of
other countries take for granted, and rightly so. Not in Zimbabwe!

These shortages are unprecedented, and instead of abating, are getting
worse with each day that passes. The result of this is that all negative
traits associated with a State in decay — dishonesty, despair ,despondency,
disease and corruption — have permeated all facets of life in Zimbabwe

Both the urban population and our rural folk have suffered the brunt
of these negative traits. Corruption, the worst of the lot, has become a way
of life for a significant proportion of our population. Like cancer, it has
spread its unwelcome and unwholesome tentacles to virtually every facet of
our lives. Like the talons of an eagle with a meal in its grasp meal, it
will not let go. Everybody knows somebody somewhere who has engaged in a
corrupt act. For a country like ours, this is sad, if not tragic. It should
not be so.

Zimbabwe is endowed with enormous wealth both in terms of the minerals
underneath its soils and more importantly its human resources who walk and
work on its soils. Anywhere else in the world, with such resources, Zimbabwe
would be a shining star. Zimbabwe almost became a star in the not too
distant past. Sadly, it never got to shine as brightly as it could have, or
rather should have, because before that flickering star attained its full
glow, the embers within it were doused. The opportunity to rise and shine
among other nations was thus lost. It should not have been so.

On the social front,a quarter of our population, in order to escape
these man-made and preventable problems at home, have sought solace and face
in neighbouring countries, Europe, Australia, America and Canada.

They are now economic refugees. They use all sorts of tricks, guile,
deception and chicanery to escape free Zimbabwe. What a shame! Once there,
some engage in crime to keep body and soul together. Others do menial jobs
shunned by the locals.This despite the fact that some of our exports are
highly qualified professionals. Yet others, both men and women, people who
left promising careers and proffesions, engage in the oldest profession
known to man, in foreign lands. It should not have been so.

Many adult people in the diaspora left the motherland with heavy
hearts because they left behind spouses and beloved offspring. Some of these
spouses and children, despite effort, have failed to join those who left.
Others still, perhaps because of distance, and time, have found comfort in
the arms of locals, or other diasporians in similar situations to their own.
Many divorces have ensued. A significant number of a whole generation of
children therefore have been forced to live under the care and guidance of a
single parent. Sociologists are better placed to tell us whether this is a
positive development for the country or not. It is submitted, respectfully,
that that this new phenomenon of a significant number of children growing up
without both parents will spew previously unheard of social problems in the
not too distant future. We wait and see. It should never have been so.

Some spouses and partners of those who left have themselves been
forced into the arms of new partners.The result is that the AIDS scourge
will continue in its destructive path, mauling and felling a substantial
number of our people. It is sad, and real. It was never meant to be so.

Educational costs for our children at primary and secondary
schools,and also tertiary colleges are prohibitive. Education should be a
right of every child,not a privilege of the monied.Many children have been
forced to abandon studies because of such prohibitive costs.All the positive
gains of our early independence in education will dissipate faster than the
time it will take to read this article to the end,if nothing is done about
this.This can not be what it was meant to be.

Many factories have closed.Many others down-sized their
workforce.Thousands of workers lost their livelihoods.A man who loses his
livelihood first,loses his decency next.That is what our workers who lost
their jobs have been reduced to—they have been robbed,through no fault of
their own,of their decency.A man without decency is a dangerous man,both to
himself and to society.Such man is easy to manipulate.On the promise of a
meal,or a free T-shirt,or a few dollars,he will toyi-toyi for hours on
end,to no particular end.The leadership of the country is guilty of
manipulating some of our brothers and sisters on the pretext that they care
for them.Politics,especially the quest for leadership, was never meant to be
so mean and cruel.

People are in despair.Everyone in the street wears a long face.Men and
women are despondent.Stress levels are high,which makes it easier for
disease to set in.Life was meant to be lived and enjoyed in many different
waysIn Zimbabwe today,life expectancy has shrunk to 37 for men and less for
women.No,it was never meant to be this way.

On the political front,we are isolated.We are without any genuine
friends regionally,continentally and internationally.Our neighbours are
tired of our apparently never-ending problems.They just but tolerate us.We
have become the laughing stock and the butt of crude jokes.We are humiliated
for no other reason than that we are Zimbabwean.Suddenly it is a curse to be
Zimbabwean.Again i say,it was never meant to be so.

Our State President can not address the United Nations without our
Minister of Informartion crying sabotage,because the Presidents address was
muffled and nobody heard him.A few short years ago,everybody would have been
eager to listen to the President.The same President causes consternation
among a section of other Heads of State,for merely receiving an invitation
to attend a summit of global heads of States and governments.That same
President can not visit certain capitals of the wold.We know he says he does
not care,but can anyone say with a straight face that it was meant to be so?

ZANU PF,with Robert Mugabe at the helm,are responsible for the mess we
find ourselves in.We have been used and abused by them for far too long.They
have taken us for granted for such a long time that we now need to say to
them at the forthcoming polls:"adios amigos.Thanks for nothing over the last
seven years"But, truly speaking,Bob and Co.are heroes of the liberation
struggle.Heroes should not overstay their welcome.They should know when to
let go or risk humiliation.That time to let go,for Bob and Co,.is now.A
nation should not have to reject its founding fathers through a
plebiscite,but it shall be done.However,it was never meant to be so.

Victory over ZANU PF at the forthcoming polls is not only
achievable,but a certainty.ZANU PF created this cesspool of horse dung we
are in.There is no way they can pull us out.They have no capacity to do
so.That is why you find inertia and paralysis on their part in finding
solutions to the myriad of problems facing this great nation.To be
victorious over ZANU PF needs co-ordinated and concerted effort.They have
been in power 28 years now and have perfected the art of survival.Every
registered voter needs to go out and cast their ballot.ZANU PF thrives in a
situation where there is voter apathy.All patriotic people,everybody and
anybody who loves this country and wants to see it attain its glory of the
past,needs to go out there and vote. The country needs your help.You can
give that help by voting..Its time to get moving.

*Job Sibanda is a lawyer at Job Sibanda and Associates law firm

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Zim Standard Letters

 'I will not run to South Africa like other teachers'

A few days before schools opened, our headmaster must have wondered
what the situation would be like. The last term of 2007 was the most
difficult for our school managers.

All headmasters and teachers want better results from grade one up to
upper six classes.

The drive and quest to achieve this has been and continues to be
compromised by the massive exodus of competent and experienced teachers to
South Africa.

Teachers, like all civil servants in our country, have been ignored by
the present government to unacceptable levels. Last term, we had schools
going the entire term with one Maths or Science teacher for forms one to

In primary schools, five to seven undeclared vacant posts were the
order in most urban schools, especially here in Matabeleland.

Classes were then combined, leaving one teacher with as many as 60
pupils. Can one effectively mark 60 essays in one night?

Cases of one teacher purported to be on sick leave being seen selling
foreign currency, with hordes of rowdy youths, became common.

Others crossed in droves into South Africa where they took anything
from farm jobs, building, general hands to domestic workers.

If you voice your concern you are labeled unpatriotic. You are told
you belong to the MDC. Those in Zanu-PF seem to be content with anything?

When a parent gets $12 million, with a chicken costing $17 million,
what do you expect? From $12 million, how does one feed, clothe the family,
pay rent and school fees? This is simply inhuman.

Teachers are expected to be smart, committed and motivated?

In terms of patriotism, our teachers, nurses, policemen, solders and a
host of civil servants are unmatched. It is the bigwigs who are unpatriotic,
selfish looters. Even under colonialism it never reached this level.

Those of us who still trudge day in and day out are doing so because
of pride and the realization that God knows we are serving humanity.

I can’t sink so low to be seen cleaning toilets in Pretoria to get the
Rand. Never. I would rather die of hunger.

If I do that then those responsible for my plight will feel
invincible. They can make us miserable but one thing they cannot destroy is
our sense of pride and resolve to stay put until this once proud nation
regains its rightful place in Southern Africa.

Shelter, education and health have become a pipe dream 27 years into
independence. God is watching. Our God is awesome but very just. In the
fullness of his own time, he makes all things beautiful.

Teachers are not in this unenviable plight by their own making; it’s a
deliberate malicious strategy to destroy their spirit and sense of humanism
for unproved political allegiance to the MDC.

As we move towards elections, the tormentors would rather see all of
us off to South Africa and re-staff our schools with unliberated minds.

They know that a nation is enlightened by teachers, hence this
unprovoked onslaught. When you get a paltry salary then the community looks
down on you. These guys are masters of political manipulation at any cost.

You can fire us from these jobs and even take us to graves but as long
as God keeps this nation ticking, people will be enlightened in one way or
another. Firing or killing, judgment day will come. We are not surviving on
salaries. God is keeping us alive. I, for one, won’t go down South.

Odrix Sithole



 Who is the best presidential candidate?

WHICH of the presidential nominees
is real? Makoni, Mutambara, Tsvangirai and Mugabe are all vying for the same
post but who is the real contender here?

I think Makoni and Mutambara (surprises and miracles excluded) are
both after destroying the winning chances of the other two candidates.

Makoni is rather late to launch a real campaign. What if he campaigns
for the MDC’s Tsvangirai? That could stun Mugabe and end ten years of
horror. Seriously, Mutambara needs more "grassroots" support. If he is
confident of his capacity, why not then formulate another name for his

Mutambara’s candidature is weak and may not be realistic. If anything,
it is divisive and self-defeating.

Mugabe’s candidature is equally riddled with pitfalls. It is not even
certain that his party wholeheartedly endorsed him. Dumiso Dabengwa may
prove that to us soon.

Mugabe is no longer a clear presidential candidate but we all know
soon what he does. There is only one presidential candidate with a clear
mandate from his party and the people, and that is Tsvangirai.

I think for him victory is certain. Splitting the MDC votes will give
an advantage to Zanu PF.

Owen Mandisodza,



 Fed up with excuses

      I AM so fed up with claims that the forecasted poor harvests in
Zimbabwe are due to fuel shortages, among other reasons.

      I grew up in the rural areas and we never used diesel in our
farming but we still delivered bumper crops to the GMB.

      Blaming the fuel shortage would suggest that everyone in
Zimbabwe owns a commercial farm. In any case, statistics have always shown
that peasant farmers produced more food crops than commercial farmers before
the land reform.

      By the way, how many tractors are operational in the country? I
suggest we stick to basics — the country just needs sufficient seed and
fertiliser. Real farmers know how to deal with draught power as they have
always done before land reform.





 Clarifying TOM role in Zimbabwe

I refer to the recent article ‘Rock
the votè’ gigs head for South Africa I would like to submit a correction for
your readers, regarding the reference to the International Organization for
Migration (TOM) in that article.

      You may be aware that TOM has been working in Zimbabwe since
1985 providing technical support to the Government of Zimbabwe on migration
management issues.

      In regard to the aforementioned article, 1 would like to bring
to your attention that TOM does not currently have figures relating to the
number of Zimbabweans in the diaspora. Currently there are no accurately
verified figures that depict the extent of the Zimbabwean diaspora. It is
within this context that TOM, in partnership with the Government of
Zimbabwe, is embarking on an initiative that will among other things, seek
to build the capacity of the government to manage migration (including the
formulation of a migration management policy), integrating migration in such
national planning endeavours as national censuses, poverty assessment study
surveys, Millennium Development Goals and the Zimbabwe Economic Development

      The project will also attempt to quantify and better understand
the Zimbabwean diaspora. The information and insights gained from the
diaspora initiative would facilitate the formulation of policies and
programmes for national good,

      Marcelo Pisani

      Chief of Mission, International Organisation for Migration

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