By Moses Muchemwa
Published: February 9, 2009
President Robert Mugabe has fired 10 provincial governors to pave way for the sharing of the provinces with the MDC.
According to top government officials Mugabe sent out letters to dismiss the governors on Thursday advising them that they have been relieved of their duties.
Zanu-PF and the formations of the MDC are set to form a new government beginning with the swearing-in of MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister on Wednesday.
A total of 31 ministers from both parties will be sworn-in on Friday.
The government sources said the governors were caught unawares and were “greatly disappointed by the unexpected move.”
Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema is said to be depressed by the termination of his term of office.
Mathema who used to commute between Bulawayo and Tsholotsho is reportedly ‘buried’ in his rural Tsholotsho home following the dismissal.
Equally disappointed are Matabeleland South governor Angeline Masuku and her counterpart Sithokozile Mathuthu of Matabeleland North who also used to commute over 150km to their offices.
Mathuthu is well known for her lavish expenditure after she spent over three months staying in a top Bulawayo hotel, courtesy of tax payers’ money.
Sources said the MDC and Zanu-PF agreed to share the provinces equally with the Tsvangirai led getting five, Zanu-PF four and another splinter group of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara receiving one.
The MDC got the big share of the provinces because it won elections in the relevant provinces last year, according to sources close to the formation of a new government.
Zanu-PF and the MDC signed the Global Political Agreement on 15 September 2008 but the implementation was delayed due to serious bickering over the sharing of key ministries, provincial governors and top civil servants.
Ray Mwareya - Feb 09 2009 06:00
Potholes along Harare's roads have achieved dam-like proportions. While residents cry for the city engineers to repair these death-traps, scruffy touts pray that the holes will get wider and deeper.
Few drivers have escaped the attentions of the "slow jams" - local lingo for the creative unemployed youths who have taken to manning the CBD's crumbling roads. It's not that the slow-jams boys are legally mandated to look after them, but in the absence of a functioning roads department, these township toutshave quickly learnt the basics of engineering. In other words, they extort money for what one weary motorist called "pot-hole filling".
"At least R10 today, baba," smiledone youth to the driver of a shiny Toyota SUV slowing down to navigate a pothole at yet another "tollbooth" set up by school dropouts with shovels in hand and torn overalls tied at their waists.
Since working out that the city council is too broke to summons a single truck to fill the growing number of potholes, the slow jams have taken on the job. Some seem to have a genuine sense of civic conviction - quite rare in Zimbabwe these days - though such adventures are not without rich pickings.
In the mornings they block the road when they see a smart car coming. The driver is then pressured to leave behind Z$ 5-billion (US20c) as a "thanks and passage fee." Harare's drivers may appreciate the excellent civic work the pothole boys do, but they take strong exception to the charges, especially when, as one harassed motorist said: "I'm expected to pay again on my way home in the evening." Commuters also complain that the slow jams fill up the potholes at snail's pace.
"If you fill up slowly you make more money, shaaz [pal]," confesses Tonde, a slow-jams boy, as he frantically waves down an approaching Gauteng registered Nissan Navara. "We really love the GP cars - especially over Christmas and new year." GP cars just make good business sense - for foreign registered cars the fee switches to South African rands.
Having collected his fee from the Navara, Tonde continues the interview. "I wake up every morning at4:30 and commute from Mufakose to man the holes," he says, lighting up a Madison Toasted.
"What can I do?
I am unemployed and the potholes are unattended by whoever still calls himself the city council here."
On a good day the boys claim to make enough to buy a week's worth of scarce beef and several six packs of imported Heineken lagers .
Thanks to the boys a number of hideous potholes are getting a new look in a city where council operations have ceased to exist. As trees and fish ponds threaten to emerge from the potholes, Tonde and company pray that the council stays shut.
Ray Mwareya is a local journalist
REFORMS: David Coltart set to be named Education Minister by Arthur Mutambara this week
CHAOS: Pupils turned away from schools due to a teachers' strike
By Lebo Nkatazo
Posted to the web: 09/02/2009 02:47:13
ARTHUR Mutambara has chosen Senator David Coltart (Khumalo) as the man to overhaul Zimbabwe’s education system, two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) sources said on Sunday.
As Education Minister, Coltart, 52, will play a central role in reforming Zimbabwe’s declining education system, with the urgent task of getting teachers to abandon work boycotts and ensuring schools which are still closed open.
Coltart, a respected lawyer and former MP for Bulawayo South, joined Mutambara’s MDC faction following a split from founding MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai in 2005.
Mutambara’s MDC will nominate three ministers and one deputy minister to the 31-member Cabinet which will be sworn-in on Friday, two days after Morgan Tsvangirai and Mutambara are sworn-in as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively.
Coltart would be a high profile pick for Mutambara, who will also name Bulilima West MP Moses Mzila Ndlovu and the party’s secretary general Welshman Ncube to the cabinet.
Ncube could be handed the Industry and Commerce portfolio, with Mzila Ndlovu landing the Regional Integration and International Trade ministry, according to two officials who spoke to New Zimbabwe.com.
Tsvangirai will name 13 ministers and 6 deputy ministers before Friday’s swearing-in ceremony, and Mugabe is expected to name 15 ministers and 8 deputies in line with a power sharing agreement signed on September 15 last year.
Writing in South Africa’s Business Day newspaper, Dumisani Muleya, the news editor of the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper said “the quality of ministers and the policies they will generate will determine whether the government will be able to pluck Zimbabwe out of the deep hole it is in."
Mugabe, who will remain President, is set to include a number of his Zanu PF old guard officials in his list, raising doubts about the political will and operational capacity of the new cabinet to introduce much-needed political and economic reforms.
Zanu PF sources say Mugabe’s list of 15 ministers includes his close confidants and party strategists Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sydney Sekeramayi, Didymus Mutasa, Patrick Chinamasa, Nicholas Goche, Ignatius Chombo, Joseph Made, Olivia Muchena, John Nkomo, Kembo Mohadi, Obert Mpofu, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Paul Mangwana, Sithembiso Nyoni and Webster Shamu.
Coltart (second from left) with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (second from right), MDC-Mutambara vice president Gibson Sibanda (far right) and MDC-Tsvangirai official Sekai Holland on a visit to Germany last year
If confirmed, Coltart will take charge of an education system which charities and teachers’ unions warn needs radical transformation.
In a new report, the Save the Children charity says many teachers have little choice but to spend their time scraping together enough to survive rather than heading back to the classroom - two weeks after the new school term opened. Many are on strike, demanding their wages be paid in United States dollars.
At the end of 2008, only 20 percent of children were still attending school, down from 85 percent a year earlier, and that figure is likely to drop further, Save the Children warns.
The aid agency estimates that some 30,000 teachers dropped out of the education system by the end of 2008, a third of which are now living in South Africa.
Among the 70,000 left - many of whom have little training - morale is rock-bottom and desperate conditions are driving them to inflict corporal punishment and exploitation on their pupils, according to the charity.
"A generation is at risk of growing up without any education in Zimbabwe, and that will have catastrophic consequences for the country's recovery," said Rachel Pounds, the agency's Zimbabwe director.
The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) plans to assess how many schools are functioning in the coming days.
"If schools don't open, the fear is you'll see a lot more people crossing the border (into South Africa)," said Shantha Bloemen, UNICEF's spokesperson in Johannesburg.
From The Times
February 9, 2009
Martin Fletcher in Harare
Morgan Tsvangirai will use his inauguration as Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister this week to appeal to the West to fund the rebuilding of his shattered country even though Robert Mugabe remains the President.
The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change will address tens of thousands of Zimbabweans in a Harare sports stadium after a private swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday. He will outline an ambitious 100-day programme of reconstruction and democratisation and urge the West to back it with desperately needed finance.
His appeal will put Britain, the US and the European Union on the spot because they are deeply sceptical about the “unity government”. They doubt that Mr Mugabe has any intention of surrendering real power to the MDC and regard the new arrangement as a ploy to give his regime a veneer of legitimacy.
“He’s walked into a trap,” one senior Western official said of Mr Tsvangirai. An MDC source countered: “If the West doesn’t back Tsvangirai and the new Government, then it’s dead in the water - and so is Zimbabwe. “Without Western aid we can’t deliver and if we can’t deliver we can’t overcome Zanu (PF)’s policies of corruption and repression.”
MDC officials said that the party would attempt to use its parliamentary majority to repeal repressive legislation and hold officials to account, its control of every city council to restore basic services and Mr Tsvangirai’s huge personal popularity to rally the people and eclipse Mr Mugabe. They expect Zanu (PF) to oppose Mr Tsvangirai’s programme at every turn and are braced for two years of “hand-to-hand combat” with a regime that has spent the past eight years beating, torturing and killing MDC activists.
In a letter to Zimbabwe’s Standard newspaper the British Embassy in Harare said that long-term funding would depend on the new Government demonstrating a genuine commitment to the rule of law, economic stabilisation, the democratic process and human rights.
It stated: “It is unlikely that any Government involving Mugabe will inspire donor confidence and attract the support it so badly needs.” Zanu (PF) has agreed that Mr Tsvangirai can have an office in the same building as Mr Mugabe and that the MDC can table legislation in parliament tomorrow to place the security and intelligence services under a new National Security Council chaired by Mr Mugabe with Mr Tsvangirai as his deputy. The two parties are thought to be close to agreeing an equitable division of Zimbabwe’s ten provincial governorships.
The regime has done little else to suggest that it will change its ways, however. It has yet to accept the MDC’s demand that more than 30 opposition activists held for three months on spurious terrorism charges be released from prison before the new Government is set up.
The police last week arrested five white farmers who were part of a group that won a landmark lawsuit in November when the Southern African Development Community tribunal ruled that the seizure of their farms had been illegal. The regime ignored that ruling and is apparently now gunning for the 78 farmers who brought the case.
Zimbabwean newspapers report that Mr Mugabe is preparing to name Zanu (PF) hardliners as ministers and that his henchmen are raising $ 300,000 (£200,000) to celebrate his 85th birthday on February 21 despite the fact that seven million of his compatriots are starving.
Mr Mugabe recently reappointed Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank Governor responsible for Zimbabwe’s catastrophic hyper-inflation, without consulting the MDC and last Tuesday Mr Gono preempted the new Government by presenting his monetary policy statement.
The parties have not even agreed whether Zimbabwe’s generals will have to salute Mr Tsvangirai at the inauguration.
MDC officials said that the new Prime Minister would not call for the lifting of Western sanctions against 178 individuals and organisations linked to the excesses of the Mugabe regime.
Posted to the web: 09/02/2009 00:26:51
THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is set to commence disciplinary hearings against seven MPs accused of abusing a government scheme to support new farmers through the allocation of farm inputs.
Zimbabwean authorities last week named the seven alongside two Zanu PF legislators as involved in the corruption.
"We would want the legislators to come forward and explain themselves so that we act decisively on anyone found guilty of misappropriating government inputs," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said Sunday.
"We have no sacred cows in terms of corruption in our party and no matter how senior you are in the party, we will deal with you accordingly.”
The threat of sanction against the MPs could see them lose out on cabinet appointments in a power sharing government later this week. Evelyn Masaiti, one of the seven accused legislators, was hotly tipped to be named in Morgan Tsvangirai’s cabinet nominees.
The other implicated MPs are Ramsome Makamure (Gutu East), Edmore Mudavanhu (Zaka North), Hega Shoko (Bikita West), Edmore Marima (Bikita East), Tichaona Maradza (Masvingo West) and Hamandishe Maramwidze (Gutu North).
Chivi South MP Ivene Dzingirayi and Seke-Chikomba Senator Gladys Mabhiza were the two Zanu PF officials publicly outed last week by the chairman of the logistics sub-committee of the National Resource Mobilisation and Utilisation Committee, Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba.
Nyikayaramba said all the nine MPs received 20 tonnes of Compound D fertilizer, enough to cover 80ha, and at least 1 tonne of maize seed while one had an extra tonne of seed and diesel while two others received in addition 10 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate.
Masaiti received 10 tonnes of ammonium nitrate on top of the other inputs, but planted just 6ha and could not account for the rest of the inputs, Nyikaramba said.
Mabhiza is said to have two tonnes of seed and 1 500 litres of diesel, but did not plant anything and could not account for the inputs while Dzingirayi - MP Chivi South - was given his allocation which he misused.
Mudavanhu planted about 5ha and could not account for the remainder while Makamure planted 12 hectares and could also not account for the remainder.
Shoko who beat musician Elias Musakwa in the Bikita West elections last March is said to have planted 10ha and cannot account for the other inputs while Marima planted 5ha and allegedly used the other inputs to campaign in his constituency.
Nyikayaramba said Maradza planted 20 hectares while the other seed, enough to plant 20 hectares, was given to people in his constituency to fulfil his campaign promises.
Maramwidze got Compound D fertilizer, one tonne of maize seed and 10 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate, but could not account for all the inputs while Masaiti got 10 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate but planted just 6ha and could not account for the remaining inputs.
Police say they have completed investigations into the corruption and will soon press charges against the legislators.
The National Food Security Programme was put in place to support farmers, many of them newly-resettled under a controversial land reform programme executed by President Robert Mugabe’s government since 2000.
The Mutumwa Mawere Column - (www.mmawere.com)
Posted to the web: 08/02/2009 23:09:37
ON WEDNESDAY, February 11, 2009, Zimbabwe will turn a new leaf just like it did on November 11, 1965, a day that remains etched in the country’s story as the beginning of the end of white minority rule.
Will they or will they not?
Will it or will it not work?
How secure is Zimbabwe’s future in the hands of three men?
Whose government is it anyway?
What is the Zimbabwean promise?
Will they or will they not deliver on the Zimbabwean promise?
How will it work?
As the new day approaches, conversations on Zimbabwe continue to be shaped by the past and our collective inability to locate the Zimbabwe story where it should be correctly located i.e. in the hands of the people who have the ultimate responsibility to make it work.
The inclusive government provides yet another opportunity for citizens to begin serious discussions about democracy, government and the challenges of nation building, with special attention on Zimbabwe’s contemporary history.
Regrettably, in 1980 euphoria took precedence and citizens squandered the opportunity offered by independence to engage in conversations about what kind of Zimbabwe they wanted to create and whose responsibility it was going to be to make it happen.
Many expected much from state actors who in the pursuit of power promised too much and never took time to think about what the Zimbabwean promise was all about. Free education was offered and taken advantage of, and yet the resources to sustain such a promise dwindled by the day.
The last 29 years have shown that the state has been an unreliable partner or instrument of the people. Instead of serving the people efficiently and effectively, the state has become a monster with a track record of dismal performance.
The focus has rightly been on the head of the fish in the firm belief that removing the head will terminate the life of the presumed toxic asset. Zimbabweans and the rest of the world have come to accept that Robert Mugabe is the toxic asset and any solution that leaves him in the melting pot will not advance the Zimbabwean promise.
What should have been the touchstone of Zimbabwe’s post-colonial society?
To the extent that post-colonial Zimbabwe was born out of an unjust political, social and economic system, it was the expectation that the new society will be informed by an acknowledgment that freedom, responsibility and citizen participation were fundamental and non-negotiable foundational principles.
However, as Zimbabwe travels the last mile of Mugabe’s exclusive rule, it must be accepted that citizens abdicated in their responsibilities to ensure that their freedom was never to be the business of someone else. Many trusted state actors to guarantee their freedom refusing to be the change they wanted to see. The mere fact that the focus is on Mugabe confirms what is wrong with the country. People have been crowded out of the solution market and the state actors with no better solutions have taken the mantle with no defined end game.
A danger exists now as it did in 1980 that citizens yet again will choose to surrender their sovereignty to elected (or dubiously elected) individuals who will represent them in the inclusive transitional government. The last 29 years have exposed the fact that citizens failed to create their own institutional arrangements to hold their representatives in the state accountable and responsible.
Zimbabwe faces challenges and there remains no consensus on what is required to address such challenges. SADC/AU, President Mugabe and Zanu PF are at one in holding the view that sanctions ought to be removed as a starting point and this alone will facilitate the turnaround. How accurate is the assessment that Zimbabwe is solely a victim of the targeted sanctions regime?
If the priority is to remove sanctions that have been imposed by sovereign government who are entitled to their own opinion about what kind of Zimbabwe they want and should like to support, it is unlikely that Zimbabwe will move forward in the short-term without addressing the concerns of the sanctions imposers.
The Zimbabwean promise can only be guaranteed and delivered by Zimbabweans working together. How feasible is it that Zimbabweans will be inspired by the transitional administration to take responsibility for the country’s future?
Over the last 29 years, citizens have rightly lost confidence in their representatives in the state who saw their primary function as that of thinking for the people and providing for the people. It must now be obvious that the future of Zimbabwe lies in the hands of the doers and dreamers who do not necessary have to be state actors.
To what extent was the Zimbabwean crisis caused by bad decisions and the inaction of citizens?
Zimbabwe has been joined by even the developed states that are also engulfed by an unprecedented economic crisis, a response to which has had the effect of placing state actors as the drivers of change and development. Only time will tell if state actors can substitute private actors in driving the economic engine but history does not have good examples of countries that have delivered on their promise without citizens enjoying freedom, justice and liberty.
What is clear in the case of Zimbabwe is that the state has now thrown the towel and has accepted that the power of the market in allocating resources cannot be underestimated. For President Mugabe to accept the dollarisation regime now in place knowing his views on the West and neo-liberal economic theories exposes the fact that there is after all no alternative plan in place.
Zimbabweans have no choice but to make hard choices and deliberate urgently on issues that bring cohesion and invest in the information required to make decisions that advance the promise. This responsibility should lie less in the hands of state actors but citizens whose future should never again be the business of a few minds in the state.
There are many ideas that people have in their minds about what Zimbabwe needs to move forward but such ideas must and should not be retailed but wholesaled through organisation. Zimbabweans, whether in or out of the country, must be organised so that they can have an effective mechanism to talk to their government. This must be done urgently and such organisations must represent real interests that determine the success or failure of the country.
Zimbabwe is a creature of citizens and is an artificial person without the benefit of a human voice. Citizens are the only people who can give this artificial person a voice. If Zimbabwe were to speak, would it be satisfied with the actions of citizens in advancing its interests?
Zimbabwe is at the crossroads and it can only move forward by finding opportunity, common ground and leverage in its hitherto divided society. It would be wrong for citizens to choose to be spectators of history at this defining moment. It is important that citizens reclaim their future by demanding from their representatives a new dispensation of transparency and accountability.
Already, it is obvious that all is not well in the state. Gideon Gono continues to make the case that he was as much a victim of sanctions as he was a victim of the actions of a confused administration. An understanding of the role of the RBZ and the state in undermining the rule of law, property rights and human rights through a commission of inquiry set up by the inclusive government has to be a good starting point to allow citizens to know how far their government had been imprisoned a by few wise (?) men and women.
Mutumwa Mawere's weekly column is published on New Zimbabwe.com every Monday.
You can contact him at: email@example.com
Updated: Sun Feb. 08 2009 18:43:11
The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER - Ron Yaworksy sees the arduous task of controlling Zimbabwe's six-month-old cholera epidemic - which has left about 3,200 people dead and more than 64,000 sick - in manageable terms.
"It's akin to saving lives 20 litres at a time," says Yaworksy, who recently returned home to the Vancouver area after a month-long Red Cross mission to the African country.
Each purification sachet Yaworksy distributed in a rural region of eastern Zimbabwe produces 20 litres of clean water free from the deadly bacterium that continues to spread faster than it can be contained.
Along with the sachets, Yaworksy and his team distributed hygene basics, like soap and went door to door educating people living near the Mozambique border about the dangers of cholera and how to prevent it.
They are seemingly simple solutions to a problem made more complex by growing poverty, the collapse of the country's health and sanitation infrastructure, the prevalence of HIV and AIDS and political uncertainty that has continued for more than a year.
"In situations like this, I wouldn't characterize it as so easy, it's an education process, it's awareness," says Yaworksy, who used his vacation time from his job as a sanitation engineer to make the trip.
"You have to go door by door teaching people, making them aware and helping them with the resources. There's many challenges."
Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak, which began last August, has surpassed the World Health Organization's estimate of 60,000 infections, a figure the agency considered a "worst-case scenario."
It's all happening amid a political crisis that has deadlocked the government since last year's presidential elections, as President Robert Mugabe and the country's main opposition continue to work out the details of a unity government, which could become a reality within weeks.
The political strife has left the country unable to deal with the crisis and Yaworksy says it has drawn attention away from the need to devote resources to the cholera epidemic.
"It is unfortunate that the whole political debate, the story of the politics, is no doubt impacting people's perception and the humanitarian response that's actually required," says Yaworksy.
The first cholera cases started in the slums of the country's capital city Harare but quickly spread into the Zimbabwe's rural areas, where sanitation infrastructure can be non-existent and access to health care scarce.
The country is also facing a hunger crisis, with the United Nations estimating as much as 80 per cent of the population - about seven million Zimbabweans - need food aid.
Yaworksy compares it to fighting brush fires - bring one outbreak under control and even more cases sprout up elsewhere.
"You would have an outbreak in an area of villages along a river, so you would do a campaign there, we'd get it under control, get the cases way down and then you'd get an outbreak perhaps 100 or 150 kilometres to the north," he says.
"It's not something that's just going to go away in one or two weeks, it will probably take months to get totally under control and that needs resources."
The Red Cross, through the work of international chapters, as well as Zimbabwe's own Red Cross, continue work in the country and appeal for donations.
"There's still a lot of Red Cross teams working very hard there," says Yaworksy.
"There's still resources that are needed and everybody is providing what they can."
February 8, 2009
ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo
By Our Correspondent
THE President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has said the formation of a unity government in Zimbabwe will take the country back to the era of the one-party state.
ZCTU president, Lovemore Matombo, said on Friday that there was no way the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties and Zanu-PF could be in opposition and be in government at the same time because they would have to find common ground somewhere along the way.
He cited the unanimous passing of the Amendment Number 19 Bill in Parliament last Thursday, saying it was only the start of the drift back towards the one party state when Zanu-PF and Zapu merged into one back in 1989. This resulted in Zanu-PF ruling the country since 1980 with an overwhelming parliamentary majority until in March last year when the mainstream MDC party turned the tables.
“The unity agreement is merely an act of consolidation of power taking us back to the era of the one party state,” said Matombo in an address to an all stakeholders’ national civil society constitutional conference held in Harare on Friday.
Matombo told the meeting that his organisation was against the idea of a unity government and would have preferred a transitional authority leading to the calling of free and fair elections.
He said they had an all day meeting with the mainstream MDC whose leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is a former secretary general of ZCTU, after which they decided to agree to disagree on whether his party should join the unity government.
“We disagree with this unity government but unfortunately some in the MDC are looking for employment. This is despite the fact that this unity government does not care about the March 29 election results. It actually recognises the loser, turning him into the winner while turning the winner into the loser,” said Matombo in his address to the highly charged meeting.
He accused the MDC of abandoning the principles which guided the formation of the party at a National People’s Convention at the Women’s Bureau in Harare in 1999. He said by agreeing to the dollarization of the economy the MDC had abandoned the struggle for the workers.
“Zimbabwe has made its own piece of history where doctors or university lecturers are just like Grade Seven graduates because of the inflation and the decision to dollarize everything will only serve to hit the poor hard and make the rich richer. So we want to tell this unity government that we are going to call for a national strike next month so that we can be paid in foreign currency,” said Matombo.
He urged the civil society groups to take up the initiative of crafting the country’s constitution saying relegating the duty to politicians will not result in the drawing of a perfect constitution representative of all Zimbabweans.
He said, “The constitution process is very algebraic in nature, if you don’t get the formula right then you won’t get the answer right. Zimbabwe is under authoritarian rule and the only sure way of providing a remedy is through the enactment of a new people driven constitution.”
He said his organisation will continue to put pressure on the new government particularly the MDC until the concerns of the workers are addressed.
“We still remain fighting and we will continue putting pressure particularly on the MDC which we have been working with. We want to see restoration of people power not the opening up of the economy like what is happening now. These are the same things that led us to the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) which was the genesis of the problems that we are facing right now,” said Matombo.
The civic society meeting was attended by over 200 delegates drawn from several interest groups representing the disabled, traders, lawyers, journalists, church groups, human rights groups and women’s groups among others.
2009 02 08
CAPE TOWN (AFP)
Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai appear to be "getting along" as the dawn of their new unity government nears, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe told media Sunday.
"They seem to be getting along fairly well," Motlanthe said of the two Zimbabwe leaders, who are preparing to formally share power under a regional-brokered deal after years of feuding.
"We are optimistic that they can at least manage a transition period until they are ready to hold fresh elections," Motlanthe said.
Tsvangirai is set to be sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday under a power-sharing deal South Africa mediated between the opposition leader and Mugabe in September.
The pact aims to end almost a year of intense political turmoil following disputed March 2008 elections, in which Tsvangirai's party seized a parliamentary majority in the first round.
"Whether they like it or not, or whether they like each other or not, they are bound to work together if anything is to be passed by that assembly and if the country iself is to pull itself out of poverty and disintegration of its infrastructure," said Motlanthe.
Political analysts have said they doubt a union government will work, citing a deeply-rooted lack of confidence between the two men.
Mugabe has frequently referred to his adversary as a Western "lackey" or "puppet," while Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe, in power since 1980, of human rights violations.
February 8, 2009
By Our Correspondent
Striking teachers have vowed to defy the government’s directive to report for work Monday.
Education of Ministry permanent secretary, Stephen Mahere, announced on Thursday he would replace the striking teachers by engaging student teachers on teaching practice, retired teachers and other temporary teachers.
Takavafira Zhou, the president of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), however, dismissed the government’s threats as laughable, saying teachers would not go back to work until their grievances were met.
“The government is daydreaming if it thinks teachers would be intimidated and rush back to work tomorrow (Monday),” said Zhou.
“We are not going back until our grievances are met. They can fire us all or throw us into jail. We cannot continue to work for peanuts. Enough is enough.”
Schools failed to open for the start of the 2009 academic year on January 27 after teachers refused to report for duty in protest at the government’s refusal to pay their salary in foreign currencies.
Very little learning took place at public schools in 2008 as teachers spent the better part of the year striking for more pay or sitting at home because they could not afford the bus fare to work on their meagre salaries.
The teachers are demanding that the government pay them at least US$ 2,300 a month.
The PTUZ said more than 35 000 teachers left the profession last year in search of greener pastures in neighbouring countries, especially in South Africa and Botswana.
The union says the country requires 150 000 qualified teachers for effective teaching to take place but has plus or minus 75 000 teachers with nearly half of them untrained.
Zimbabweans hope a government of national unity between President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai and an MDC breakaway party headed by Arthur Mutambara, could pull the country out of its crises.
The Herald - 2009 02 09
THE Government has released the list of basic commodities that can be imported duty-free for the six months ending June 30.
This would, however, be reviewed depending on the expansion of the country’s industrial capacity to satisfy the local market.
Acting Minister of Finance Senator Patrick Chinamasa published the list in a Statutory Instrument contained in last Friday’s Extraordinary Government Gazette.
Presenting the 2009 National Budget late last month, Sen Chinamasa said while it was critical that the country begins to restore domestic production levels taking advantage of the liberalised currency and pricing environment, there was need to support importation of basic goods as a transitional arrangement.
"I, therefore, propose that we continue to facilitate, over the short term, the uninterrupted availability of basic goods in our markets by individuals and corporates.
"This will be reviewed taking into account the developments and improvement in domestic industrial capacity utilisation," he said.
List of Duty-Free Basic Commodities
* - Bath soap
* - Beauty or make-up preparations and preparations for the care of the skin (other than medicaments), including sunscreen or sun tan preparations; manicure or pedicure preparations
* - Broken rice
* - Coconut cooking oil
* - Cotton seed cooking oil
* - Flour of dried leguminous vegetables
* - Flour of potatoes
* - Flour of sago or of roots or tubers
* - Groundnut cooking oil
* - Husked (brown) rice
* - Laundry bar soap
* - Liquid margarine
* - Maize (corn) flour
* - Maize cooking oil
* - Margarine
* - Olive cooking oil
* - Palm cooking oil
* - Palm kernel / babassu cooking oil
* - Petroleum jelly in other packings, which is 5 litres and above
* - Petroleum jelly in packings not exceeding 5 litres
* - Rice in husk (paddy or rough)
* - Rye flour
* - Salt in immediate packings of less than 5kg
* - Salt in other packing, which is 5kg and above
* - Semi-milled/wholly milled rice whether or not polished or glazed
* - Sesame cooking oil
* - Soyabean cooking oil
* - Sunflower / safflower seed cooking oil
* - Toothpaste
* - Vegetable cooking oil
* - Washing powder
* - Wheat/muesli flour
February 8, 2009
By Tendai Dumbutshena
ROBERT Gabriel Mugabe has plenty to be thankful for.
Next year he will clock 30 years in power - a feat in Southern Africa only achieved by Angola’s President Eduardo dos Santos who got into power in 1979.
But the Angolan leader cannot derive much satisfaction from his record since it was through naked force of arms that he attained it. Though imperfect and blood-stained, Mugabe has the satisfaction of having subjected himself to elections every five years since independence in 1980. Not even self-proclaimed Life President Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi achieved 30 years in power. Winds of change which ended one-party rule in Africa in the early 1990s blew the Ngwazi away.
It is indecent to predict when people will die. Suffice to say if the Angolan leader kicks the bucket before Mugabe the record for longevity in power in Southern Africa will be there for the Zimbabwean leader to take. Yet only a few months ago, following his rejection by his people at the March 29, 2008 polls, the end seemed imminent.
Mugabe was on the ropes perilously close to losing power.
His verbal outburst against a British journalist in Egypt who questioned his legitimacy and right to attend an AU summit was evidence of a man unhinged by realization that the end was near. With the brutality of his regime laid bare for all the world to see and denied legitimacy by his African peers, Mugabe’s prospects appeared bleak. At that moment of near death his nemesis for the past nine years, the MDC, inexplicably came to the rescue. The old warhorse was given a new lease of life to reign supreme for another five years.
With the MDC hell bent on self-destruction and internal opposition within Zanu-PF now non-existent, do not bet against Mugabe being in power for the next ten years. Being of strong genetic stock and clean living habits the octogenarian is likely to outlive his younger comrades in Zanu-PF touted for many years as heir-apparents. These not so young princes are visibly ageing fast. Timid and opportunistic they just play along hoping that one day Mugabe will kick power their way.
Already there are desperate hopes that Mugabe will announce his retirement at the Zanu-PF congress in December this year. Between now and then these pretenders will do everything to curry favour with Mugabe to put themselves in pole position to succeed him. It will all be in vain because Mugabe is going nowhere. He is Zimbabwe’s undeclared Life President. In December he will tell them that he has to see the unity government to its final stages. He may even say the land revolution is still incomplete. He will say the economic recovery programme needs his personal attention. In other words he is not going anywhere.
As a Catholic Mugabe must thank God for his good fortune. He must also thank his ancestral spirits for their benevolence. A huge party at his home in Zvimba is necessary to thank his ancestors for their divine intervention. His spirits thoroughly confused the MDC. The person he must, however, thank most is an ordinary mortal like himself - Thabo Mbeki. There is nothing Mugabe can do that can adequately reward Mbeki for saving his presidency. This is even more so considering that Mbeki lost his political power at home at a time when he was fully absorbed with saving a distressed comrade.
From the year 2000 when Mbeki assumed the role of mediator in Zimbabwe he only sought one outcome - Mugabe’s continued rule, He achieved this on 11 September 2008 when the MDC - winners of the universally recognized March 29 combined elections - conceded power to Mugabe. Mbeki was so busy pushing Mugabe’s agenda he could not see dark clouds gathering above him in his own ANC party which ultimately consumed him. Had he sought to protect his power with half the focus and tenacity with which he fought for Mugabe calamity would not have befallen him. He drowned while trying to save a drowning comrade.
For that Mugabe owes him big.
Here are a few suggestions on how Mugabe can show his eternal gratitude to Mbeki. The starting point should be to grant full Zimbabwean citizenship to Mbeki and his wife Zanele. Diplomatic passports for the two would be in order. The Mbeki’s should have limitless free travel on Air Zimbabwe wherever the national carrier can take them. Spending money should also be provided with no need for them to account for expenditure.
These days no self-respecting Zimbabwean has no farm. The Mbeki’s should be no exception. But they will be no ordinary citizens so certain exemptions and privileges must apply to separate them from the herd of A2 farmers. They should have title deeds for their farm which will be managed by the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority(ARDA). All farming costs will be borne by the state but gross untaxed income will accrue to the Mbeki’s in hard currencies of their choice.
After independence in 1980 the new Zanu-PF government showed its gratitude to various leaders of frontline states by naming major roads and avenues after them. This is simply not good enough for Mbeki. The least Mugabe can do is to name a city after him. Bulawayo is the obvious choice. It is Zimbabwe’s second largest city in a part of the country with close historical links with South Africa. Its colonial name was not changed unlike other towns and cities. Name it after Mugabe’s saviour and erect his statue in the city centre.
Sections of the South African media have called Mbeki a philosopher king.
Zimbabwe must recognise his stature as an eminent intellectual and scholar. Once the University of Zimbabwe is restored to a decent institute of higher learning a Mbeki School of Diplomacy must be established. It will be a veritable centre for African scholarship. Intellectuals from all over the African continent and Diaspora will present papers and theses on varied topics such as ; ‘Quiet Diplomacy’, ‘Revolutionary Solidarity’, ‘ African Solutions For African Problems’, and ‘Imperialism and its Running Dogs in Africa.’ Perhaps out of all Mugabe can do for him this would be the gesture Mbeki appreciates most - official recognition of his genius and towering intellect.
A national holiday is also a universally acceptable way to acknowledge and reward greatness. Declare 15 September ‘Thabo Mbeki Day’ to mark the occasion when the MDC officially abandoned the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe. On that day Mbeki’s sacred mission to save Mugabe’s power bore fruit. It should be a holiday when Mbeki is honoured in poetry song, dance and readings of his speeches on Zimbabwe. School children must be taught about Mbeki’s immense contribution to the defence of Zimbabwe’s sovereignty. As a personal and touching gesture Mugabe should name Kutama Mission where his march to greatness really began after Mbeki.
Even if more were to be done by Mugabe to show his gratitude to Mbeki it would not be enough. Mugabe is now at the threshold of greatness in terms of longevity in power. It is now conceivable that he can clock 40 years. Old age makes it impossible for him to overtake Gabon’s Omar Bongo (42 years not out) and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi (40 years not out). But 40 years and a Southern African record will do.
Viva MDC. Aluta Continua.
Published On Sunday, February 08, 2009 11:46 PM
By Brighton Mudzingwa
To a mixed bag of ululations and disappointments, Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, agreed to enter into a government of national unity (GNU) with fellow opposition leader Arthur Mutambara and the controversial incumbent, Robert Mugabe. Whatever the skepticism and whatever the argument, this deal is a necessary evil.
This is not to say that those opposed to the deal are misinformed. In fact, there is a very legitimate case to be made against this deal. The power sharing deal was initially signed on September 15, 2008, between Mugabe, Tsvangirai, and Mutambara after the disputed presidential election in March of that year. However, Tsvangirai’s party has refused to implement the agreement since September, demanding the cessation of human-rights abuses and citing the unilateral and inequitable distribution of key cabinet positions by Mugabe as a sign of insincerity. According to Tsvangirai, his party would not have been treated as an equal partner under the original stipulations of the agreement. The terms of the deal are somewhat improved with the opposition obtaining control over the Finance portfolio and co-managing the critical Home Affairs Ministry, among others.
In spite of these apparent improvements to the deal, opponents argue that it provides Mugabe with a political lifeline and could potentially sink Tsvangirai and the opposition into political oblivion. Here, history is not on Mugabe’s side. For example, following catastrophic political disturbances in 1987, Mugabe’s party, ZANU, signed a Unity Accord with the then opposition leader Joshua Nkomo’s party, ZAPU. Although this accord led to the end of political violence, many perpetrators went largely unpunished while Nkomo and his party took largely ceremonial roles in the new government setup. For these reasons, the opposition to the current deal is concerned Tsvangirai may have been suckered into a deal with Mugabe not really intending to give him real power. If this were the case, how then would Tsvangirai back away and still remain credible?
There are legitimate concerns that perhaps it would have been more advantageous for Tsvangirai to continue insisting on the parity that this agreement does not achieve.
In our criticisms, however, it is important to take note that Tsvangirai’s decision is consistent with the very principle of democracy for which we clamor. After Tsvangirai had earlier yielded to the current deal that was brokered by the Southern African Development Community, it was up to the 60-member MDC national executive council to vote either in favor of or against participation. After an intense and charged internal debate that threatened to tear the party apart, the national executive council voted for participation. This decision represents an immense ideological shift by the MDC, a party that has always insisted on free and fair elections as the highway to political office. Like it or not, the party’s decision has to be respected. Simply, that is democracy.
At times, idealism has to take the backseat and allow pragmatism to lead the way. This seems to have informed Tsvangirai’s decision. The MDC and various pro-democracy forces have attempted democratic change for over a decade. Yet these efforts have been brutally thwarted by the Zimbabwean government through the introduction of draconian laws, alleged human-rights abuses, and the skewing of democratic space against the opposition, among other measures. Surely, the world should one day demand accountability for these actions. Pragmatically, that time is not now. Mugabe has no intention of exiting the political picture and forcing him out is simply impractical.
Naturally, this left the opposition with very few alternatives. The only plausible option was for the MDC to simply take the fight for democratic change to a new scene, to a new platform: an imperfect unity government. By agreeing to this compromise deal, Tsvangirai understood this. Mugabe is as much a part of the solution as he is the problem.
Indeed, no ruler should be allowed to mismanage a country and expect the world to fold its arms. While the initiatives to address the Zimbabwe situation are very welcome, one cannot overlook the fact that this deal rewards political violence and repression at the expense of electoral popularity and acceptance. By endorsing power-sharing agreements (first in Kenya and now in Zimbabwe), African leaders have, in principle, set a dangerous precedent: dispute election results, hang onto power, then negotiate into a compromise arrangement.
This arrangement may be a painful pill to swallow, but history has shown again and again that, in convoluted situations, compromise is sometimes bittersweet. Even Nelson Mandela had to make painful concessions. If the opposition effectively capitalizes its parliamentary majority and its dominance in various urban and rural councils while remaining vigilant and principled in its delivery of duty, it will certainly survive this arrangement and usher a new democratic disposition for Zimbabwe. After all, this is a transitional government whose mandate is to ensure socioeconomic stability and facilitate the country’s return to democracy through free and fair elections-a means to an end.
This government will be expected to expedite the crafting and adoption of a people-driven constitution that restores both Zimbabweans’ freedoms and civil liberties while ensuring the restoration of the rule of law, among other things. Will this inclusive government succeed, or will it falter and betray the long-suffering Zimbabweans?
Any guess is a good one- the jury is still out. In the meantime, this deal should be given a chance. Zimbabweans have begun to dream again.
Brighton Mudzingwa ’09 is an economics and African studies concentrator in Adams House. He is co-founder of the Harvard College Africa Business and Investment Club.
Southern Times Writer/New Ziana.
All is now set for the establishment of an inclusive Government in Zimbabwe after the country's Parliament on Thursday passed Constitutional Amendment Number 19 Bill, which paves the way for MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC president Arthur Mutambara to be sworn in as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively.
The Bill was expected to be signed into law and gazetted by President Robert Mugabe on Friday. This is part of the September 15 agreement entered into between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations.
Tsvangirai, Mutambara, MDC-T Deputy President Thokozani Kupe, who will take up the other post of Deputy Prime Minister, plus members of the new Cabinet are now expected to be sworn in this coming week.
The new historic Government is expected to tackle social and economic problems that have been bedevilling Zimbabwe for some time.
On Thursday, lawmakers from Zanu-PF and the MDC, in both the lower House of Assembly and the upper house, the Senate, unanimously endorsed the Bill in a rare show of unity across party lines.
In the Senate 72 lawmakers who were in the House voted for its passage with no votes cast against it.
The Lower House had earlier endorsed the deal with all the 184 members who were present in the 210-member House supporting it.
Under the SADC-brokered power-sharing deal, Mugabe will retain the presidency, while Tsvangirai will be Prime Minister.
The parties will, among other things, also share cabinet posts.
Presenting the Bill in the Senate, Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the passage of the deal would be historic as it ushered in a new era in the way Zimbabwe was governed.
A lot of hurdles had been faced and compromises made for the Bill to be acceptable to all parties, he said.
"It has been a long, frustrating, erratic, bumpy and quarrelsome journey characterised by animosities, disagreements, mutual dislikes, name calling, mutual demonisations, vilifications of each other's policies and leaderships," Chinamasa told the Senate.
"But notwithstanding the negatives, what is important and significant is that we have managed to reach this far and for that we remain fore ever grateful to our people and for their resilience, understanding and support."
Chinamasa gave a brief account of how the negotiations between Zanu-PF and the MDC began as way back as 2002 but had met various setbacks until finally an agreement was signed last year.
Following the passage of the Bill, "it was now time for the inclusive Government train to leave the station," he said, to applause from Senators.
A representative of the Tsvangirai formation of the MDC, Sekai Holland, chief's representative Chief Fortune Charumbira as well as David Coltart of the smaller MDC faction told Senate it was vital for all parties to the deal to support it, as it was one instrument which would take the country forward.
Admitting that the Bill was imperfect, they all agreed that it was the only viable solution to addressing the seemingly insurmountable challenges Zimbabwe was facing.
"The Bill is flawed and has many potential pitfalls but that is inevitable because what we are debating is a product of compromise," said Coltart.
"This process will not work unless we listen to each other."
The Bill has both permanent and temporary amendments of the Zimbabwe Constitution.
The temporary amendments would only be in effect for as long as the inclusive Government is in place.
Formation of the inclusive Government has taken over five months after the initial signing of the agreements as a result of hard line stances taken by both Zanu-PF and the MDC over issues that the latter wanted addressed before joining the envisaged government.
The Tsvangirai led MDC finally agreed to participate in the Government last Friday. - Southern Times Writer/New Ziana.
By Don-Martin Ropafadzo
08 February, 2009 11:43:00
By Don-Martin Ropafadzo
Zimbabweans have been swindled. And, to make matters worse, the swindlers themselves are complaining that they didn't get a good deal. The MDC is whining and complaining about its chosen partner as if they did not know what ZANU-PF's intentions were from the very beginning.
I fail to understand how these party people reach their decisions and if they discuss anything at all.
Real grassroots people consultations, like we used to see in Morgan Tsvangirai's old ZCTU days, have been discarded.
It appears as if the MDC's national executive, its highest decision making body, seems to now be rubber stamping decisions ZANU-PF style.
In September of last year, the MDC carelessly signed an agreement without having covered or addressed all the contentious issues that were paramount to the setting up of and the implementation of a Government of National Unity (GNU). The agreement was supposed to direct and safeguard the operations of the GNU. That agreement was never implemented because those outstanding issues the MDC ignored when they signed were the very same ones that caused problems; and they continue to do so after yet another SADC Summit. At the Pretoria Summit, Tsvangirai was, once again, quick to accept the SADC directive without the full information that came with it and, apparently, without much consultation, causing mumblings from within his negotiating team.
There were rumblings of discontent and rumours started circulating to the effect that the main MDC was itself split in two over the SADC directive. Then we cheered when we heard that there would be a meeting of its national executive, but we became immediately discomfited when we were told that the meeting would be taking place that very Friday, hardly three days after the SADC meeting, meaning that there was not going to be deeper or widespread consultations and the people's views over such a serious and extremely important issue would not be given a chance to be heard.
MDC national treasurer, Roy Bennett, whom we all believed was in great danger if the ZANU-PF goons ever got close to him, surprisingly flew into Harare from exile in South Africa like someone returning from a safari.
Yet, we, however, know that in spite of this agreement, there are people who would never see tomorrow if they so much as set foot in Zimbabwe today.
Bennett, like many senior MDC officials, is free in Zimbabwe today but many MDC supporters and junior officials are either in jail or underground, along with human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and many MDC people who are being held for, among other things, supporting a party whose National Treasurer Bennett is.
In simpler words, ZANU-PF is giving freedom and protection to MDC leaders but continues to arrest and incarcerate MDC supporters or those perceived to be such.
Is it not ZANU-PF's slogan that mwana we nyoka inyoka chete?
(A baby snake is a snake).
The MDC is being duped and those at the top of the MDC hierarchy are smiling as they are treated as royalty because ZANU-PF wants sanctions lifted. ZANU-PF wants MDC leaders minus their supporters. Am I missing something here?
The SADC Summit, the MDC's reaction to the directive imposed on it and the aftermath of the whole exercise prove beyond any doubt that the MDC thinks as it walks instead of taking just a little time to chew an issue over, searching for the right decision and giving people a chance to also offer some input.
It continues to allow itself to be rushed and they make fatal mistakes.
For a few days after the summit, the MDC was busy denying and deflecting rumours of deep divisions within their camp. And then suddenly, everyone was talking unity and reiterating their combined desire to join the government of national unity, based on the September 15, 2008 agreement. In a statement after the meeting of his national executive last Friday, Tsvangirai himself said that, sadly, Zanu-PF was not the type of constructive and positive partner that he envisaged when he signed the GPA.
"Let us make no mistake, by joining an inclusive government, we are not saying that this is a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis, instead our participation signifies that we have chosen to continue the struggle for a democratic Zimbabwe in a new arena..." said Tsvangirai.
This means that the MDC has always known that joining hands with ZANU-PF offered no solutions but they are saying that they are choosing "to continue the struggle in another arena". Apparently, an arena infested with ZANU-PF and one in which we, the people, are not invited.
"We in the MDC are convinced that there is no intention on the part of ZANU-PF to put all these issues to rest," said Nelson Chamisa, Secretary for Publicity and Information, hardly a week after jumping into bed with ZANU-PF.
Chamisa went on to concede that there is no wish, on the part of ZANU-PF, to consummate an inclusive government in line with SADC resolutions.
"In short, there is no wish to tackle the outstanding issues as directed by the SADC Heads of State," he said.
But they are the ones knocking and hammering on the door to be let into their own house.
After being fooled by Mugabe and ZANU-PF and after being duped into signing a fraudulent document and after Mugabe refused to implement the agreement, am I to believe that there was ever a time that the MDC actually believed they could trust and work with Mugabe and ZANU-PF?
Are these people in MDC leadership like the rest of us?
Do they see what we see and hear what we hear?
Just how can they be so naive?
Now the MDC is back to its routine of always complaining as if SADC cares; as if the so-called African Union, now under the 'leadership' of one Muammar Gaddafi, cares. Does the MDC expect any one of these tyrants to hear their unceasing complaints against Mugabe and act on them?
There is absolutely no way ZANU-PF and the MDC can jointly run a ministry together, let alone a country. There are some who say the MDC did the right thing so as to expose that it is ZANU-PF that is not willing to compromise and show willingness to cooperate. That, of course, is nonsense. ZANU-PF made its intentions public during the March elections and the MDC knows it.
ZANU-PF refused to cooperate and it is the MDC that is always cooperating with ZANU-PF and not the other way round.
The people knew all about ZANU-PF and that is why they voted for the MDC.The MDC should have simply refused to join this GNU thing. The MDC has clearly sold the people out.
It's called treachery.
Is this what the people have been waiting for all these years?
Is this the best the MDC can offer its staunch supporters many of whom have died for it?
Apart from their well-known ability to complain, what does the MDC offer the people now?
What does the MDC intend to do with Mugabe and his war crimes?
The MDC cannot forgive Mugabe on behalf of the people, can they?
Are they then going to protect Mugabe, Chiwenga, Mnangagwa, Shiri, Chihuri and all the known murderers from not only the Zimbabwean people but from the international community who are screaming genocide every day?
Is the MDC going to tell the world that it has such a big heart that it can have hundreds of its supporters killed by one man who has killed thousands of other citizens that it can still forgive that man?
If, for example, because of joining this government, Roy Bennett demands and gets his farm back, is he going to take it knowing that 10's of others were killed for simply owning farms and not for opposing Mugabe the way Bennett did?
The MDC must revise its sellout decision. I thank Botswana's Ian Khama for his principled stand and support. I hope he keeps supporting the people of Zimbabwe if, as it appears, they feel betrayed by the MDC.
I thank Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Zambia's Rupia Banda for trying to show African despots that the people of any nation come before the leaders.
SOURCE: Mmegi Online
by Simplicious Chirinda
Monday 09 February 2009
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Zimbabwe Health Minister David Parirenyatwa said on Sunday that a unity government would recall senior doctors from private practice to government hospitals to try to revive the public health sector.
President Robert Mugabe, opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara will form a unity government this week to try to tackle Zimbabwe’s unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis.
"When the health sector restarts we are going to recall all senior doctors and all those in private practice to come and serve in our public health institutions for three to six months," said Parirenyatwa, who was speaking yesterday at the funeral of one of Zimbabwe’s first black surgeons, Abraham Harid.
The public health sector, once among the best on the continent, has collapsed due to years of under-funding and mismanagement while thousands of doctors, nurses and other skilled professions have left the industry for abroad where salaries and working conditions are better.
Those that have remained behind have spent considerable time out of hospital wards, in the streets protesting for more pay or sitting at home because they could not afford bus fare on the meagre salaries.
The collapse of the public health - that services the majority of Zimbabweans - has helped worsen a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 3 000 people since August, with many of the victims unable to get treatment either because there were no drugs in state hospitals or because there were no nurses and doctors.
In a bid to retain workers the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has allowed international donors to pay allowances to health workers in foreign currency to try to lure them back to hospitals.
Health workers started receiving allowances in hard cash from last week.
09 February, 2009 12:55:00
Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe Harare - Zimbabwe's new unity government looks hamstrung even before the new leaders take office this week, analysts said on Monday, raising doubts over whether they can end a crushing humanitarian crisis.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is set to be sworn in on Wednesday as prime minister, with long-time ruler Robert Mugabe remaining as president.
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said that so far the two rivals "seem to be getting along fairly well".
"We are optimistic that they can at least manage a transition period until they are ready to hold fresh elections," he told South African media.
But analysts said the union was a shotgun wedding that Tsvangirai only agreed to after coming under enormous pressure from regional leaders frustrated at the long months of stalemate.
"The levels of mistrust between the two main principals will remain irreversibly high, leading to threats of pulling out as well as manoeuvres to get fresh elections as soon as is politically possible," said Takura Zhangazha, director of the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa.
While African leaders are throwing their weight behind the unity government, Western powers are reticent, with Washington and London saying they want to see improvements in the running of Zimbabwe before they will lift a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe.
"It will never achieve total international support in its current form and therefore will be unable to address the political and humanitarian crisis effectively," Zhangazha said.
The deal was sealed on Thursday after nearly seven years of talks and a series of disputed elections.
Tensions came to a head last March, when Tsvangirai won a first-round presidential vote and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) captured a majority in parliament.
That unleashed a new wave of the political violence that has shaken Zimbabwe since Mugabe's first defeat at the polls in a referendum in 2000. Most of the victims have been opposition supporters, leading Tsvangirai to pull out of the presidential run-off.
Mugabe declared a one-sided victory denounced by Western powers, sparking months of frenzied lobbying by South Africa to win the power-sharing deal now finally set to take effect.
MDC lame ducks?
The Harare-based independent political analyst Martin Tarusenga said that Mugabe has tried to dictate the terms of negotiations throughout the years of talks, and that the unity government would not last without international support.
"Judging by statements made from the West so far, the international community is not seeing it as an inclusive government," he told AFP.
"Tsvangirai and his MDC are now looking like lame ducks so the international community will not support the inclusive government," Tarusenga said.
"There is just no trust. Tsvangirai is buckling from SADC pressure and the pressure from weaker MDC negotiators, those people in the MDC who believe they have fought a good fight."
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has pushed for the deal as the best way to end Zimbabwe's stunning economic collapse, with hyperinflation soaring to astronomical heights.
Only six percent of the workforce actually has a job, more than half the population needs emergency food aid, and a cholera epidemic is raging unchecked, claiming more than 3 300 lives.
Political analyst Bornwell Chakaodza said he feared that if the unity government failed, Zimbabwe's crisis could still get even worse.
'A violent uprising'
"Failure of the inclusive government will be an indication that there can no longer be a negotiated and peaceful settlement to the Zimbabwean political conflict," Chakaodza wrote in his weekly column in the Financial Gazette on Friday.
"The alternative would be a violent uprising whose consequences we dare not imagine," he said.
Zhangazha said he feared that rivals within the government would spend more time feuding within the government than working to solve the nation's problems.
The main issue "will really be about the politics, and about outmanoeuvring each other, even at the expense of the masses", he said. - AFP
Published: Feb 09, 2009
Prisoners sometimes get one meal a day. There is not enough food so they mostly depend on visitors for food
Prison warders at Zimbabwe’s Chikurubi Maximum Security prison are up in arms because they have been turned into part time grave diggers.
Since October the giant prison, which houses more than 2,000 inmates, has been burying dead inmates in the prison grounds.
"Our bosses just tell us this week it is our turn to dig graves," complained a warder at the prison.
Others said they were more concerned about the high number of deaths at the prison.
Bodies wrapped in blankets are placed in a disused storeroom on the floor.
"We don’t have a mortuary so the bodies decompose badly before they are buried," said another warder.
The fortress-like prison once held a group of South African mercenaries arrested en route to West Africa, where they allegedly planned to take part in a coup.
Presently, human rights activist Jestina Mukoko is being held at there. The director for the Zimbabwe Peace Project, who faces charges of recruiting a policeman to oust President Robert Mugabe, is being held in solitary confinement.
Prison authorities took the decision to bury dead inmates in the prison yards because of the long periods it sometimes takes to communicate with relatives of the deceased.
Owing to food shortages and lack of adequate medical care fatalities at Chikurubi have risen sharply in the last few months. On average a prisoner dies everyday at the prison.
There were now about 200 inmates buried at the prison. Privately prison officials are worries and they are prepared to exhume bodies if relatives make such a request.
"We can just keep bodies on the floor," said an exasperated official who only spoke on condition he was not named.
Prison records indicate that the majority of deaths were caused by severe malnourishment - a condition doctors have described as pellagra.
"Prisoners sometimes get one meal a day. There is not enough food so they mostly depend on visitors for food," said a warder who lives on the prison premises.
Until a few weeks ago the prison had no water, but the Red Cross moved in and saved the situation by bringing water tanks.
Chikurubi has been spared from the cholera outbreak which has killed more the 3,700 people in Zimbabwe since August.
"It’s traumatic seeing prisoners with severe scabies. They have sores on their arms and backs."
He said grave digging duties were driving his colleagues out of their jobs.
"They are leaving they can not take it anymore."
Prison deaths are not limited to Chikurubi. Harare Central prison was hit by the cholera outbreak which killed more than 20 inmates in December.
In better days the Harare Central Prison had a compliment of about 240 warders, but a mass staff exodus has left seen numbers dwindle to less than 100.
By Marian Turner
2009 02 06
Pic: A Zimbabwean child suffering from cholera is treated at the Budiriro Polyclinic in Harare. (AFP: Desmond Kwande)
At least 1,000 people a day are currently arriving at the border town of Musina on the Limpopo River, attempting to flee the political violence in Zimbabwe and cross into South Africa. Many of them are suffering cholera and over 5 per cent of those infected are dying of the disease.
The river, the second-largest in Africa, has become infected with water-borne cholera bacteria, and the disease has spread into South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana. This cholera outbreak is an unfortunately apt example of how political instability can undermine hard-earned progress in public health.
Zimbabwe has been in a state of political and social turmoil since disputed presidential elections were held in March 2008. There was local and international condemnation of the lack of transparency in the voting process and the violence that accompanied the elections. A power-sharing agreement between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was declared in September. Although brokered with the aid of regional leaders, this agreement has been greeted with scepticism by the international community and the political situation in the country remains volatile.
The cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe began in August 2008 and remains ongoing. The outbreak is attributable to this period of heightened political and social instability and the associated economic crisis. Cholera was first reported in urban areas, where months of sporadic violence had led to infrastructure collapse, resulting in a lack of clean water and basic sanitation. By November, most hospital wards in the capital Harare were no longer functioning. The disease has since spread to all of Zimbabwe's 10 provinces and humanitarian agencies are running 172 cholera treatment centres. The current wet season is set to exacerbate this situation. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) is presently monitoring and reporting on the situation. Their estimate of the disease toll at 6 February 2009 was over 3,300 deaths, with approximately 70,000 cases of the infection.
The Zimbabwean Government declared a state of national emergency in December, in a grudging admission of the seriousness of the cholera epidemic. The health minister called for international help, stating that the country required drugs, medical equipment and financial assistance to draw striking doctors and nurses back to work.
The situation in Zimbabwe is an example of an infectious disease outbreak that should not have to happen. Such widespread and lengthy outbreaks of preventable and treatable diseases simply should not occur in any country in the 21st Century. Although cholera is endemic in much of sub-Saharan Africa, adequate sanitation prevents most infections. Furthermore, if treated with oral re-hydration salts and drugs, only approximately 1 per cent of cholera-infected people die. However, these basic prevention and treatment routines can collapse with frightening ease and rapidity. The World Health Organisation estimates that the mortality rate during the current outbreak to 5.7 per cent, rising to 50 per cent in remote areas, as a result of the combination of poor nutrition and sanitation, lack of access to treated water and high rates of HIV infection in Zimbabwe.
Cholera is one of a number of infectious diseases that were once widespread and devastating but are now able to be much better controlled, under stable circumstances. Significant progress is being made in combating infectious disease, with vaccine and drug development, vaccine delivery programs and health education initiatives. This progress has been expedited by the increasing contributions of corporate philanthropists. These funding initiatives have the power to facilitate fast and tangible changes to the health, expected life span and education level of people in many developing countries, with positive ramifications for the economies of these countries.
Yet just as control of some infectious diseases has improved, other problems have emerged. Increasingly, aid efforts are being focussed on vaccine and treatment delivery, health education programs and management of emerging and re-emerging chronic infections such as HIV and tuberculosis. However, these programs cannot operate effectively when people are struggling to survive outbreaks of acute infections like cholera, and aid funding and human resources are preoccupied with emergency responses to these outbreaks.
Outbreaks of infectious disease like cholera will continue to occur. Natural disasters also cause collapses of infrastructure that lead to such events. This is always unfortunate and worthy of emergency aid responses. However, while infectious disease outbreaks as a result of political instability and war are equally regrettable, the futility of their cause is particularly distressing. A civil population afflicted by preventable and treatable infectious diseases does not further anyone's cause, even that of an extraordinarily damaging regime such as Robert Mugabe's. Not only do these epidemics cost lives and dollars, they also undermine ongoing efforts by governments and aid organisations to implement vital programs that aim to improve public health.
Civilian suffering as the result of political instability is rightly condemned by the international community. However, the role of infectious disease in this suffering is inadequately recognised. Further progress in the prevention and treatment of emerging diseases cannot be achieved without a stronger emphasis on the necessity of avoiding preventable outbreaks of existing diseases like cholera. The link between politics and infectious disease epidemics needs to be more definitively publicised if vital public health programs are to succeed.
Marian Turner is a researcher in the Immunology Division of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
From a Reader:- Laugh or Cry?
- Check out this “journalistic gem” below for denial and real ‘applied intellectually capacity’.
[ See Footnote: ]
WESTERN METHODS OF FARMING KILL AFRICAN AGRICULTURE
The Southern Times ( aka - The Herald in Namibia )
Opinion & Analysis
Sunday, February 08, 2009
By Olley Maruma
With a global food crisis hanging over our heads, telling world leaders how urgent it is to introduce radical land reform in the world's agriculture, particularly in the developing world which needs to feed most of the world's 850 million hungry people, has become a cliché.
With experts predicting that world demand for food will double in the next 25 -50 years, the world needs a major paradigm shift in the way it treats agriculture, especially in Africa and the rest of the developing world. This is why what has been happening in Zimbabwe in the last ten years is of such vital importance to so many people.
The biggest problem with Zimbabwe's economy at the moment is that there are no reliable statistics to give anyone an accurate impression of what is going on in some its key sectors.
The consequences of this national deficiency are most glaringly obvious in the agricultural sector which has become a political football for people with conflicting political agendas.
Statistics on agriculture are scanty and subject to manipulation by those who want to advance their political objectives.
These days we are often told ad nauseam that Zimbabwe used to be southern Africa's breadbasket and is now a basket case, a claim that, like all propaganda spin, is not strictly true.
Yes Zimbabwe had large surpluses of maize and other grains in the 1980s and 1990s, but the country has always been a net importer of rice, wheat and other agricultural products.
On one side of the propaganda war is the anti-Mugabe Zimbabwean white lobby, which has largely been master minded by the country's former white farmers through the Commercial Farmers Union and the Justice for Agriculture lobby group. Being well connected and powerful, this group has been very adept at getting its message strategic media exposure in all the crucial places in the world where global power is exercised.
Since most of its strategists are foreign and white, to give its face a veneer of credibility, it has enlisted in this crusade, black members of Zimbabwe's opposition and other compliant blacks to provide what are supposed to be the bones and meat of their arguments.
In this quest, one of its important strategies has been to create the conventional wisdom that without major white involvement in Zimbabwe's agricultural sector, it will never recover or prosper again.
We are told that Zimbabwe's agricultural sector has shrunk by 50 percent in the nine years since its government embarked on its land reform programme, which of course is given more derogatory names by its detractors.
According to Deon Theron of the CFU 50-70 percent of the reduction in output for most agricultural products in those nine years has taken place in the former white large commercial sector.
Hit most by this massive loss in output have been the production of food grains, small grains, traditional exports and oil seed crops. In the beef sector, Zimbabwe has failed to meet its export quotas to the EU for several years.
As agriculture has declined jobs have been lost and industries once supported by the agricultural sector have closed down or scaled down their operations.
What is interesting about Zimbabwe's 2009 agricultural season is that the same people who have been arguing that Zimbabwe's agriculture cannot prosper without the involvement of its former white farmers began making predictions as far back as October 2008 that come April or May this year, the country would have no harvest to talk about.
Considering that dry land farming depends on good rainfall, something that is in the hands of God, it was either an act of desperation or extreme courage to make such predictions.
The initial salvos of the propaganda campaign were fired by the so called independent media in articles claiming that Zimbabwe's 2009 agricultural season should be written off because it was going to be a complete disaster.
Despite assurances from the government and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that they were lining up enough essential inputs and materials to cultivate 500 000 hectares of land, Trevor Gifford, an official of the CFU was reported in The Standard,
The Harare Tribune and Voice of America saying that there was only enough seed to plant about 40 000 hectares of maize compared to the 1 million hectares needed for national needs.
On January 10 2009, the Zimbabwe Standard carried an article by Renson Gasela, the MDC's Deputy Secretary for Publicity and Information and Secretary for Lands and Agriculture in which the opposition politician wrote: "There has been a lot of talk about the Champion Farmer programme where we have seen lots of distribution of so called in-puts to supposedly many farmers across the country.
"We have been told that 500 000 hectares were put under the programme and that this would produce 2 000 000 tonnes of maize."
Gasela then predicted that less than 500 000 tonnes of maize would be produced this season, leaving a shortfall of 1.5 million tonnes for domestic requirements.
The question is who is lying, Renson Gasela of the opposition or the Government of Zimbabwe?
And if so, why would the Government lie and lay itself open to much condemnation if these predictions turn out to be true.
Apart from the conflicting statistics of what is happening on the ground, this is one of Zimbabwe's biggest problems. Gasela is an opposition politician hoping to be put in a position where he might one day have to spearhead the recovery of Zimbabwe's agricultural sector.
Yet he refers to Government assistance to small scale farmers in the form of seed packs, fertilizer, and farming implements as "so-called inputs" and the recipients as "supposedly many farmers."
What proof does one need that these are not the words of a man who sees himself a leader in waiting?
Going on limb Gasela predicted: "Zimbabweans will continue to starve until at least April 2010. Nothing can be done to change this.
"The sooner this is realised the better because plans need to be put in place now," to import food and plan for better production in the future. If this is all the assurance Zimbabweans can get from the "agricultural expert" of the opposition which seeks power to rule, what hope do its starving masses have?
The problem with the predominantly white lobby that has been trying to reverse Zimbabwe's land reform programme is that knowing very well that at the Lancaster House Conference the leadership of the Patriotic Front demanded from the British what was tantamount to a land revolution in Zimbabwe after independence, they have simply buried their heads in the sand and tried to pretend that the problem would simply vanish one day. It hasn't. Perhaps, wisely or foolishly, they thought that Zimbabwe's war veterans would be wiped out by Aids and the matter would simply cease to be a hot political potato, one cannot say.
When the governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank decided to help in the mechanisation of the country's agricultural sector, the same people were opposed to the progamme, arguing that what he was doing was not sound monetary policy!
If one looks at the performance of the agricultural sector from 1980-90, one will notice that the biggest increases in maize and cotton production came from the communal farmers on poor soils in the former tribal trust lands. So how can propagandists of the lobby against Zimbabwe's land reform progamme try to argue that Zimbabwe has not produced enough maize for domestic consumption in the last few years, not because of droughts but ZanuPF's land reform programme?
This sort of naked lying and deceit will not help these people's cause.
There is no doubt that Zimbabwe's agricultural sector needs massive investment in order to for it to achieve its full potential. Much of that investment is needed to mitigate the effects of successive droughts and floods from climate change.
The future of Zimbabwe's agricultural sector is inextricably bound up with the country's political fortunes. Because of that a great deal of store is already being put on a new inclusive government bringing agriculture back on stream. This is how one blogger put it: "The new government will be offered advice from all quarters- consultants from around the world will arrive by the plane load and the donor community and foreign think tanks of all persuasions will forward their preferred plans and programmes."
This is one the problems in the relationship between the North and the South: the assumption that people in the North know what is good for those poor destitutes in Africa. This has been one of the impediments to African development for a long time. A while ago I gave the example of the failed Lake Turkana fish project in Kenya which collapsed after the Norwegians had ploughed in millions of dollars.
As it is African agriculture has largely been destroyed by a wholesale adoption of Western methods of farming which have not always been suitable for the places where they are adopted.
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Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as Mad-Cow Disease (MCD), is a fatal, chronic, neurodegenerative disease affecting the central nervous system disease. It causes a spongy degeneration in the brain and spinal cord and also causes red eyes. Mental capacity always diminishes. Disorder of the mind is typical.