Hardliners in Robert Mugabe's government are trying to provoke Morgan Tsvangirai into withdrawing at the last minute from Zimbabwe's unity government.
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 8:48PM GMT 10 Feb 2009
Morgan Tsvangirai: Political sources close to Zanu-PF and in favour of the unity deal say Mr Mugabe's hardliners are "baiting" Mr Tsvangirai Photo: REUTERS
Mr Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, is due to be sworn in on Wednesday as prime minister of the power-sharing government, almost a year after he beat Mr Mugabe into second place in a presidential election.
But he has said he will not go into government unless 32 opposition and human rights activists seized in December and accused of trying to topple Mr Mugabe are released.
Diehard members of Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, who are opposed to the deal, are believed to be behind their plight, hoping that Mr Tsvangirai will pull out of the government and be blamed by Zimbabwe's neighbours for the collapse of the agreement.
On Monday a group of the detainees were due in court to apply for bail, but the prison service said it had no fuel to transport them to the courthouse.
On Friday eight were taken to hospital by the prison service, but before they could see doctors and be admitted, warders were ordered to return them to their cells at Harare's maximum security jail.
One of them, Fidelis Chiramba, 72, is seriously ill with heart problems after being captured nearly four months ago.
"Mr Tsvangirai is debating this intensely," said a senior MDC source, adding that the party leader was "greatly troubled" by the situation.
"Will it be better for the detainees' health and safety, which means bail at this stage, by going into a unity government and fighting for their freedom from inside, or outside of it?
I don't think that decision will be made until the last minute."
Political sources close to Zanu-PF and in favour of the unity deal say Mr Mugabe's hardliners are "baiting" Mr Tsvangirai.
If he withdraws "they believe Zanu-PF can rule and no one can accuse them of reneging on power sharing", said one source.
Hardliners are also trying to force out as many of the few hundred remaining white farmers out as they can as quickly as possible, either by violently evicting them or taking them to court accused of trespassing.
One, Charles Lock, the first farmer to be acquitted of all charges of illegally remaining on his farm last year, has been summoned to appear in court tomorrow. Legal sources predict that his acquittal will be overturned, he will be convicted and jailed, and the military officers who want his farm will move in and harvest his crops.
Scores of other farmers have also been summoned to court on similar charges of trespassing on their own properties, even though they have High Court orders allowing them to remain.
The global political agreement signed last September called for a halt to all land invasions.
Chris Mcgreal in Harare
11/02/2009 1:37:42 AM
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's regime has reneged on an agreement to release dozens of opposition activists, who have been abducted and tortured to extract false confessions of terrorism, before today's swearing in of a power-sharing government in Zimbabwe.
Doctors' affidavits, seen by and reported in The Guardian, claim a pattern of torture of many of the 30 political and human rights activists held by the state for months. Nine of the prisoners seen by doctors were subjected to simulated drowning, being hung by their wrists in handcuffs and beaten, and given high-voltage electric shocks.
Human rights lawyers say the detainees have been tortured to force them to falsely confess to bomb attacks on police stations or plots to overthrow Mr Mugabe in an attempt by his regime to justify further state violence against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, had demanded the release of the detainees, who include his own security chief and a former close aide, as a condition for being sworn in today as prime minister in a power-sharing government with Mr Mugabe.
A deal was reached between the MDC and Nicholas Goche, a senior negotiator in Mr Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF, for 16 detainees to be released.
Some were to be taken to hospital last Friday and then quietly freed by a judge in order for the regime to save face. Eight were to appear in court on Monday on the understanding they would be freed. But none of the detainees was produced after the prisons commissioner, Major-General Paradzai Zimondi, refused to hand them over.
General Zimondi is a hardline member of the Joint Operations Command, which acts as Mr Mugabe's security cabinet. The command is believed to have organised the campaign of terror, beatings and killings of MDC supporters during last year's elections.
The general has threatened violence against the opposition, and recently he burst into a court and broke up a hearing on the release of some of the detainees.
The MDC is interpreting General Zimondi's intervention as evidence that the command intends to subvert the power-sharing administration by continuing the violence and intimidation of Mr Tsvangirai's supporters.
Suspicion over Mr Mugabe's intent has been further reinforced by what the MDC says are false allegations of corruption laid against seven of its MPs last week in an attempt to overturn the party's newly won majority in Parliament.
The tortured detainees include Kisimusi "Chris" Dhlamini, a former officer in the Central Intelligence Organisation, who became the MDC's head of security.
According to an affidavit from a doctor who examined Mr Dhlamini in Harare's maximum security prison, he was repeatedly assaulted, including being subjected to simulated drowning, hung by his wrists in handcuffs, beaten and burned. The affidavit said there were injuries consistent with high-voltage electric shocks.
Gandi Mudzingwa, Mr Tsvangirai's former personal assistant, was said to have been severely beaten with sticks, kicked, subjected to simulated drowning and had his feet smashed with bricks.
Doctors' affidavits on other prisoners said they were subjected to similar tortures, particularly having their heads forced under water.
Eight women are being held, including Jestina Mukoko, the director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, who was abducted and has been held in prison since last year, accused of training insurgents to overthrow Mr Mugabe.
Guardian News & Media
10 February 2009
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) unreservedly condemns the continued denial of access to adequate medical treatment of persons detained at Chikurubi Maximum Prison following their alleged abduction and subsequent torture.
In particular ZADHR is concerned about the medical condition of Mr Fidelis Chiramba, District Chairperson of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zvimba South. Mr Chiramba, who has been incarcerated for 100 days now, has been examined by medical practitioners who have confirmed that he needs to be urgently hospitalised.
Mr Chiramba continues to be denied access to adequate medical treatment despite an order being granted by Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe on 31 December 2008 that he be taken to a hospital of his choice for treatment. This was not done. A second order was granted in the Magistrate’s Court on 30 January 2008 by Ms Gloria Takundwa for Mr Chiramba to be taken to a private clinic for treatment the same day.
On 6 February Mr Chiramba was taken to Avenues Clinic for treatment. He exhibited evidence of congestive cardiac failure secondary to severe hypertension. He still exhibits evidence of soft tissue injuries secondary to his assault. His medical condition warrants admission and stabilisation in a functional and properly equipped hospital.
In addition Mr Kisimusi Dhlamini and Mr Gandhi Mudzingwa were also attended to on 6 February 2009 and found to have serious medical conditions that needed hospitalisation. Mr Dhlamini also still exhibits evidence of falanga according to a specialised investigation carried out.
ZADHR is very concerned regarding the grave medical condition that Mr Chiramba, Mr Mudzingwa and Mr Dhlamini are in, and calls for their immediate release to a properly equipped and functional hospital and for them to be allowed to access the immediate medical assessment and treatment t hey requires.
Nehanda Radio: Serving Zimbabwe since June 2006
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
United Nations piece by Tom DeWeese
Africa has more natural resources than the United States.
Yet its people wallow in poverty and a horrible existence, not because the land doesn’t provide for them, but because of bad governments.
Case in point is Zimbabwe which, by all accounts, should be the richest of all African nations. It was once called the breadbasket of Africa because of its rich soil and prosperous farmers.
Today, under the brutal, unending dictatorship of insane ruler Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe sits in ruins.
As The Washington Times reported, “People are starving and compete in the countryside with baboons, jackals and goats for roots and wild fruits; health care has imploded and cholera is on the march as water and sewer systems collapse.”
Why the collapse of this once wonderful country?
Robert Mugabe. He hates whites, wants them out of the country, and so has literally stolen their land - mostly the once-rich farms.
Then he gave the farms to his cronies or to just poor people living on the street. Most of these people had never even seen a farm, let alone worked one. The result was certainly predictable-instant starvation. Mugabe maintains power through a gang of thugs which roam the streets and savagely beat and murder anyone who dares stand in opposition.
In spite of that, Mugabe has a strong, organized opposition that has bravely struck back, forcing elections and even winning them to throw out Mugabe.
Twice. But he refuses to go.
He just ignores the election results. In desperation, the opposition then tried to force at least a coalition government, allowing both Mugabe and opposition leaders to run the government. That lasted a couple of minutes. Mugabe made clear his position on the collation government when he said, “This thing called democracy is a problem. It’s a difficult proposition because always the opposition will want much more than what it deserves.”
The world has rightfully vilified the corrupt and brutal regimes in North Korea and Iran. The UN has condemned the genocide in Darfur and rung its collective hands over the fighting in the Gaza Strip. The UN has even sent agents to the United States to investigate our legal system and look for human rights violations.
But what of the tragedy in Zimbabwe?
What of the brutal rule of Mugabe?
Is he considered an international outlaw?
Has the UN sent out a call for troops?
Is there an international movement to have him removed from office?
Has the UN Security Council met to demand action?
Is there an international outrage aimed at Mugabe, as there was against the white Apartheid government of South Africa?
Protest songs by Bono?
Mugabe did speak at the UN’s Sustainable Development Conference in South Africa a few years ago.
The 15-nation South African Development Community continues to deal with Mugabe. The South African government continues to “mediate” with him as he ignores the will of his own people and stays in office.
Mugabe simply told the Associated Press, “Zimbabwe is mine.” Apparently that’s OK with the UN and the international community.
Meanwhile, rather than divert attention to Zimbabwe and its petty problems, the UN knows it’s much more interesting to get back to the investigations against human rights violations in the United States. There’s so much more wealth to plunder here.
Posted by Tom DeWeese on 2/10/09 at 01:10 PM
[ Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. - Winston Churchill ]
February 11, 2009
The MDC can reform nothing without Western aid. But there will be no aid while Mugabe remains
Today is a momentous day for Zimbabwe, a country all but destroyed by 29 years of increasingly grotesque misrule by Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, will be sworn in as Prime Minister, paving the way for a “unity” Government in which MDC ministers will serve alongside the very people who have spent the past decade abducting, beating, torturing and killing their fellow activists. Mr Mugabe remains President.
The word “unity” is utterly inappropriate. The war will continue, in another form. It will now be “hand-to-hand combat”, one MDC insider says, and only one party will survive. The problem is, according to Western officials, it is likely to be Zanu (PF). If so, there is no hope for this beautiful, once bountiful country.
Sceptics argue, correctly, that Mr Tsvangirai was forced to join this Government by overwhelming pressure from southern Africa, which lacked the stomach to remove one of the continent's last surviving liberation leaders, despite his clear defeat in elections last year.
They say that Mr Tsvangirai has walked into a trap; that Mr Mugabe has no intention of sharing power; that the wily octogenarian will easily outwit him and that the Old Crocodile will corrupt and co-opt MDC politicians with money, Mercedes and mansions. They expect the MDC to be swallowed up by Zanu (PF) as surely as Joshua Nkomo's Zapu party was when it was forced into a merger in 1987 after the Matabeleland massacres.
Mr Tsvangirai will have achieved nothing, they say, except to give the faltering tyrant a lifeline and his regime a veneer of legitimacy that Mr Mugabe will use to erode international sanctions. “It's sad. What have the last ten years of struggle been for?” one asked.
There are plenty of reasons for such scepticism. Mr Mugabe regards Zimbabwe as his personal property and has never been known to compromise in his life. “Zimbabwe is mine,” he declared in December.
The so-called Global Political Agreement (GPA) is vague, toothless and riddled with ambiguities that offer Zanu (PF) ample opportunity to thwart MDC initiatives.
There is no clear division of power between Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mugabe. Zanu (PF) retains a large measure of control over the security services, Zimbabwe's final functioning institutions, and the two parties are locked in a bizarre compromise whereby they will jointly run the hotly disputed Home Affairs Ministry, which controls the police. Other contentious issues such as the future of Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank governor responsible for Zimbabwe's 5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (five hextillion) per cent inflation, are left unresolved.
Nor has the regime shown the slightest intention of mending its corrupt and violent ways since the GPA was signed last September. Its leaders have continued to imprison MDC activists, harass white farmers, restrict Mr Tsvangirai's movements and enrich themselves at the people's expense. It is far from certain that the country's generals will deign to salute their new Prime Minister after today's ceremony.
Curiously some of the MDC's most ardent proponents of unity government agree with much of this. They know that the GPA is deeply flawed, and is far more than Mr Mugabe deserves after using violence to subvert the election, and far less than they deserve. But they argue that they have no option and can no longer stand on the sidelines while Zimbabwe implodes, and that if they are smart, determined and ruthless enough they can destroy the regime. “We can fight and deliver at the same time, which we've never been able to do before,” a senior official said.
They argue that the international community can start funnelling aid to some of the 13 ministries - including finance, health, energy and water - that it will control; that control of so many ministries will severely curtail Mr Mugabe's powers of patronage, exacerbating rifts within Zanu (PF); and that the MDC can open the books to expose Zanu(PF)'s past misdeeds.
MDC insiders also believe that they can use their parliamentary majority to great effect. They will seek to repeal repressive legislation, including that which crippled Zimbabwe's independent media. They can hold officials accountable, including the editors of newspapers which incite hatred and division.
The MDC also controls every city council in Zimbabwe, and believes that with Western assistance these can quickly begin restoring water supplies, mending roads and providing other basic services that have largely collapsed. Finally the MDC has in Mr Tsvangirai by far the most popular politician in Zimbabwe, who should now be able to travel freely, attending meetings, addressing rallies and winning airtime as he has never been able to before.
MDC officials talk of a virtuous cycle whereby its support rises as it delivers real improvements, securocrats and civil servants see which way the tide is flowing and cast in their lot with the MDC, and the population becomes increasingly emboldened as Zanu (PF) crumbles. “A dictator needs fear to stay in power,” an official close to Mr Tsvangirai said. “What will happen if we can remove that element of fear?”
There is just one problem with the MDC's scenario. It depends crucially on Western aid beginning to flow. Britain, the US and the EU say that this will not happen unless the new Government demonstrates a genuine commitment to reform - a development they find almost inconceivable as long as Mr Mugabe remains President.
It is, in short, a classic Catch-22. If the MDC fails to deliver, Zanu (PF) will be quick to shift the blame from its own lamentable performance.
by Simplicious Chirinda
Wednesday 11 February 2009
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Zimbabwean police on Tuesday arrested two rights lawyers as they attempted to get access to eight members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) arrested earlier after a demonstration in central Harare.
The two, Roselyn Hanzi and Tawanda Zhuwarara, from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) were arrested at the Harare Central Police Station where they had gone to enquire about the detained WOZA members.
“Two Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Roselyn Hanzi and Tawanda Zhuwarara were arrested this afternoon while they were responding to the arrests of WOZA members,“ ZLHR director Irene Petras told reporters.
“They are detained at the Harare Central Police Station and their lawyers are also being denied access to them.“
In a clear sign that basic freedoms in Zimbabwe remain circumscribed despite the coming together of the country’s political rivals, the two’s arrest came just as MDC leader and Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai was announcing his Cabinet line-up for a unity government with President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party.
The formation of the unity government that begins with the swearing in of Tsvangirai as Prime Minister today has raised hopes that the political situation could be eased and the country can focus on halting the slide into total meltdown.
Once a model African economy Zimbabwe is in the grip of an unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis marked by the world’s highest inflation of 231 million percent as of last July, acute shortages of food and deepening poverty amid a cholera epidemic that has infected more than 69 000 people and killed more than 3 000 others.
About 600 members of WOZA took part in the demonstration around the streets of Harare and in front of parliament, urging government to ensure that the crippling humanitarian crisis in the country is dealt with.
The group who marched singing songs, handing out red roses, Valentine’s cards and flyers, also briefly stopped outside the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) offices and thanked the humanitarian organisation for its efforts in alleviating the cholera crisis in the country.
WOZA executive director Jenni Williams and her group have in the past been arrested for holding anti-government protests.
Under Zimbabwe’s tough Public Order and Security Act (POSA), it is illegal to demonstrate on the streets without first seeking permission from the police.
WOZA has frequently ignored the security law to hold public marches and demonstrations against various government policies, which has however seen scores of its members and leaders arrested and assaulted or tortured by the police.
Tuesday, 10th February 2009. 4:53pm
By: Kumbirai Mafunda.
Zimbabwean prison officials on Monday failed to bring detained human rights and political activists to court owing to a critical shortage of fuel to transport the detainees.
Florence Ziyambi, the director of public prosecutions in the Attorney General’s Office told Harare Magistrate Gloria Takundwa, Monday that all human rights activists and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members who were scheduled to appear on a routine remand hearing in court had failed to do so because of the severe shortage of fuel to transport the remand prisoners from Chikurubi Maximum Prison to the Harare Magistrates Court.
“The prisons (Zimbabwe Prison Services) did not bring the accused persons to court citing fuel shortages,” Ziyambi, the State lead prosecutor in the case in which the activists are accused of attempting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s administration.
However, Takundwa proceeded with court proceedings in the absence of the alleged bandits who were represented by their lawyers.
Defence lawyers led by Alec Muchadehama protested against the refusal by prison authorities to let their clients be fully attended to by medical doctors at the Avenues Clinic.
Last Friday prison officials abruptly cut short medical examinations that were undertaken on Fidelis Chiramba who is exhibiting evidence of congestive cardiac failure secondary to hypertension and Gandhi Mudzingwa and Kisimusi Dhlamini at the Avenues Clinic.
After noting the defence lawyers’ complaints Takundwa ordered the Chief Prisons Officer to state the reasons why prison officials are interrupting the medical examinations and treatment of the accused persons and to adhere to High Court Judge Justice Karwi’s order allowing for the accused persons to be granted medical examination and treatment.
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by Own Correspondent Wednesday 11 February 2009
United Nations and aid officials on Tuesday said there was a real possibility that Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic that has to killed more than 3 000 people to date could spread further into the southern African country’s neighbours.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said the spread of cholera into Zimbabwe's remote rural areas had made it increasingly hard to control and contain the epidemic.
"We have a battle on many fronts," IFRC's head of operations for Africa John Roche told reporters, adding that aid workers were distributing water purification sachets door-to-door to confront "effectively many outbreaks" of cholera across the economically stricken country.
"Zambia and Mozambique cases are also on the increase,” he said.
South Africa is also at risk from the spreading epidemic in Zimbabwe, where there are now "a multitude of small epidemics that are hard to reach," said World Health Organisation (WHO) official Dominique Legros.
"It is a possibility that the outbreak will further spread to South Africa," Legros said, although he acknowledged that surveillance systems were in place at the border and Zimbabwe's neighbours have stronger and more functional health systems that should be able to prevent and treat cholera much more effectively.
The WHO that is leading efforts to combat cholera in Zimbabwe said on Monday that the epidemic had killed 3 397 people out of 69 317 cases recorded since the start of the epidemic last August.
The international health watchdog, which described Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic as the deadliest outbreak of the disease in Africa in 15 years, had previously said its experts expected that up to 60 000 people could be infected with cholera in the worst-case scenario - which is turning out to have been a gross underestimation of the extent of the epidemic.
Zimbabwe’s 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 going abroad where salaries and working conditions are better.
The collapse of the public health - that services the majority of Zimbabweans - has helped worsen the cholera outbreak 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.
Zimbabweans hope a power-sharing government between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition will help ease the political situation and allow the country to focus on tackling the cholera epidemic, among a host of troubles afflicting the country after nearly a decade of recession.
HAVANA, Cuba, Feb 9 (acn)
World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Zimbabwe Custodia Mandlhate praised the work of a medical brigade from Cuba in that country and its contribution to the health care system of the African nation, in a meeting with the Cuban Ambassador Cosmne Torres in Harare.
Cuban News Agency
WHO’s top official highlighted Cuba’s medical help to other Third World countries and stressed that it is an example of international cooperation, says a press release by the Cuban embassy to that country.
Mandlhate welcomed Cuban Ambassador’s proposal of having Cuban doctors more involved, with the WHO in the struggle against the cholera epidemic that has hit Zimbabwe.
Likewise, Harare’s mayor Muchadei Masunda expressed admiration for the laudable work of the Cuban medical personnel in Zimbabwe, said the diplomatic source.
In a telephone conversation with the Cuban ambassador, the mayor extolled the work of the Cuban doctors.
Masunda noted that it was praiseworthy the spirit of selflessness our internationalist workers show in their work in his country as well as in other African nations, where they do their best and show their high professional levels.
The Zimbabwean official showed his interest on knowing more on the social, economic and political developments that are taking place in Cuba. He recognized the island’s achievements in the sports field and stated his admiration for former boxer Teofilo Stevenson, whom he would like to meet personally.
Source: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Date: 10 Feb 2009
Nearly all of rural schools closed
HARARE, 10 February 2009
As the world focuses on the inauguration of Zimbabwe's Prime Minister and the commencement of a government of national unity, UNICEF today released data revealing that 94 per cent of schools in rural Zimbabwe remain closed and called for a prioritisation of the education sector by the new government.
"The education situation is a national disaster. It is imperative that the unity government focuses on this. Children in rural areas already live on the margins, many are orphaned, a huge number depend on food aid, they struggle on numerous fronts." said Roeland Monasch, UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe. "Now these children are being denied the only basic right that can better their prospects. It is unacceptable."
The figures emerging from routine assessment visits across Zimbabwe revealed that 66 of 70 schools were abandoned. In the only fully operational school found during visits, a third of pupils were reporting for classes. Many of the abandoned schools have been vandalized.
The education crisis which started last year saw a marked depletion of teachers in schools, plummeting school attendance rate from over 80 per cent to 20 per cent and postponement of national schools' exams. This year schools were opened two weeks late, exam results have not been released and learning only resumed in some urban areas for the few who could afford to subsidize teachers' salaries and pay exorbitant tuition fees in US dollars.
"It is the responsibility of government to ensure that every child receives an education. The burden of salaries, learning material and school maintenance should not fall on parents," said Mr. Monasch.
"This is just not sustainable, most parents cannot carry this burden and many children will fall between the cracks, and rural schools bear testimony to this".
Now on the brink of collapse, Zimbabwe's education system was once the best in Africa.
However, past successes have been reversed by a raft of problems hinging on the lack of financing, which has led to a marked declined in the pay envelope of teachers and school improvement grants.
While UNICEF already provides support to the Ministry of Education Sport and Culture - an investment of US$ 17 million over the last two years - for classroom construction, school fees assistance to over 100 000 children, textbooks, learning materials, boreholes, toilets in rural schools, the children's agency recognises teachers remain vital for learning and support to bring back the teachers in the classroom is requisite.
"Strong, swift and decisive national leadership is critical at this juncture but so is international support to the sector" said Mr Monasch. This is an opportunity for all stakeholders to show their commitment to Zimbabwe and its children."
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For information and interviews, please contact:
Tsitsi Singizi UNICEF Zimbabwe Tel: +263 91 2 943 915 firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF, Tel: 212 326 7452 email@example.com
February 10, 2009
By Our Correspondent
Zanu-PF politburo member and former Mashonaland West governor Ray Kaukonde quietly slipped out of Zimbabwe last December apparently after he learnt of a plot to assassinate him, his relatives claim.
Kaukonde has been conspicuous by his absence at several Zanu-PF meetings as well as from business circles where he has interests in SeedCo Zimbabwe and the AMC Motoring group among several other interests.
And in interviews with The Zimbabwe Times in Marondera over the weekend the former governor’s brother and a woman who says she is a sister to Kaukonde’s wife both spoke of a plot to eliminate Kaukonde just before the Zanu-PF congress in December.
“He was informed by some CIO operatives that he was on a hit list so he skipped the country just before congress,” Kaukonde’s sister-in-law said. “Maybe it was just a coincidence but the fact that the tyre on his official Mercedes Benz burst and the driver was killed seems to have supported the information Ray had been given.
“He is now based in one of the neighbouring countries and will not be back any time soon.”
The woman requested anonymity. Kaukonde’s own wife could not be reached for comment.
Kaukonde’s brother the former governor had attracted the ire of senior party officials for his outspokenness.
At one of the last public gatherings he addressed before slipping out of the country Kaukonde chided what he described as Zanu-PF zealots for being used to beat up school teachers when the same teachers were responsible teaching their children.
Ray Kaukonde has over the years been aligned to the Solomon Mujuru faction of Zanu-PF and in the run-up to the March 29 election last year both kaukonde and Mujuru to the Mavambo Project of Dr Simba Makoni.
Officials at SeedCo, a company where Kaukonde is the board chairman, buttressed claims made by Kaukonde’s relatives as did some senior Zanu-PF officials in Marondera who attended the recent celebration to mark Joel Biggie Matiza’s election to the Zanu-PF central committee.
February 10, 2009
By Our Correspondent
Senior managers at the Zimbabwe Newspapers Group recently went on a car buying spree.
They sold company cars to themselves for as little as Z$ 1, 5 billion, The Zimbabwe Times can reveal. For this amount’ smokers among the company’s employees could not have purchased a single cigarette on the street outside Herald House on the day or days of these profitable transactions.
Chief executive Justin Mutasa, Finance Manager Abel Matore, Harare branch general manager Walter Chipwaya as well as the editors of The Herald and The Sunday Mail Pikirayi Deketeteke and William Chikoto, respectively, purchased vehicles ranging from a luxury Mercedes Benz SUV to Nissan 4 x 4 trucks.
This is just the latest of what sources at the publishing company say is a plethora of questionable deals that Mutasa, who does little to keep his Zanu-PF affiliation secret, has allegedly overseen during his reign.
Documents in possession of The Zimbabwe Times reveal that Mutasa proposed the sale of the vehicles to senior members of staff “because they have become worn out and expensive to maintain”.
“This is fraud of the highest order,” an official at the company alleged as he showed this correspondent papers confirming the sale and transfer of ownership of the vehicles in question.
“Reporters are struggling to get transport to go on assignments but Mutasa has seen it fit to sell the vehicles to himself and his management, most of whom ironically hail from the Manicaland Province as himself.
“How do you justify selling a Mercedes Benz of whatever model for under 2 billion Zimbabwean dollars?”
A single trip by bus to the city centre from most of Harare’s low income suburbs is pegged at Z$ 3 trillion.
Mutasa as well as the other senior Zimpapers officials refused to comment on the issue, vowing instead to “deal with your source”.
February 10, 2009
Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai announces MDC cabinet appointments. with Deputy Prime Minister-designate Thokozile Khupe standing behind him.
By Raymond Maingire
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has rewarded one of his most industrious officials, Tendai Biti with the crucial Ministry of Finance.
He has also extended an olive branch to the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC by nominating Nkayi West MP, Abednico Bhebhe to become his party’s choice for the Ministry of Water Resources Development and Management.
MDC spokesperson and Kuwadzana legislator, Nelson Chamisa, becomes Minister of Information, Communication and Technology while Elton Mangoma becomes Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion.
MDC secretary for education, Fidelis Mhashu will head the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities.
The controversial Ministry of Home Affairs will go to Giles Mutsekwa who will co-chair the ministry with a yet to be unveiled nominee from Zanu-PF.
Buhera legislator, Eric Matinenga will become Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs.
Pauline Mpariwa will take the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare while Gutu South legislator and MDC secretary for international affairs Elphas Mukonoweshuro will take up the Ministry of Public Service.
University of Zimbabwe political science and Budiriro MP, Heneri Dzinotyiwei landed the Science and Technology Development ministry while former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri will become Energy and Power Development minister.
Bulawayo South legislator, Eddie Cross will take up the Ministry of State Enterprises and Parastatals with Kwekwe senator, Henry Madorera taking up the Health and Child Welfare ministry.
Theresa Makone, wife to Tsvangirai confidante Ian Makone and Harare North legislator shall take up the Ministry of Public Works.
Tsvangirai also announced Deputy Ministers to deputies Zanu-PF ministers in the ministries of Defence, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs and Justice.
Dr Tichaona Mudzingwa, MDC secretary for defence and home affairs, will deputize a Zanu-PF minister at the Ministry of Defence, while Roy Bennett will take up Agriculture and Jessie Majome will be seconded to the Justice Ministry.
Former Gweru mayor, Sessel Zvidzai will be seconded to the Ministry of Local Government.
The MDC leader is yet to nominate a minister in the Ministries of Foreign and that dealing with Women’s Affairs and a list of governors who will replace five Zanu PF governors in some of the provinces in which President Robert Mugabe had allocated to party loyalists.
Unveiling his list of cabinet nominees, Tsvangirai, who is set to be sworn in as Prime Minister on Wednesday, said his party will announce provincial governors once the matter has been settled with Zanu PF.
The ministers are set to be sworn in on February 13 to complete the last part of the formation of the inclusive government, which was signed on September 15, 2008.
February 10, 2009
By Raymond Maingire
Movement for Democratic leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has strongly denied claims his party has capitulated to Zanu-PF by being party to a unity government led by President Robert Mugabe.
“We are not joining Mugabe,” Tsvangirai told journalists Tuesday when he announced his party’s choice of ministers in the new cabinet, “This is part of a negotiated transitional arrangement.
“I want you to understand, no one is joining anyone. Mr Mugabe has got executive authority and I have executive authority.
“So no one is joining anyone. Please, please let’s clear that.”
Tsvangirai, who is set to be sworn in as Prime Minister on Wednesday, said by staying out of the all inclusive government, his party would have been party to the on-going chaos that was brought about by Zanu PF.
“You have to appreciate that MDC cannot be authors of chaos by allowing this country to go over the precipice,” he said.
“If you are not careful in this bus, which is hanging over the precipice like that, if you allow it to tip, it will tip with you and the outcome is predictable.
“We want to manage this process. We are aware of the shortcomings but we are also aware of the potential of responding to the needs and concerns of Zimbabweans and that is what we are going to do.”
The MDC came under heavy criticism from some Zimbabweans who felt it had sold out by joining the inclusive government.
Some MDC critics felt the party had all but “rescued” Mugabe by agreeing to the formation of a unity government when it had become apparent it (government) may collapse any time through continued riots by soldiers and the rapid collapse of the economy.
“We have made this decision and we have made it without being forced; out of our own volition and we would want out colleagues and supporters inside the country and outside the country to approach it from that perspective,” said Tsvangirai.
“I do not expect unanimity on any decision. There will always be people who will raise concerns, so what should we do to solve the problem.
“When we talk of a resolution as MDC to go in the process as part of our resolution, we are still within that mandate of our congress - negotiations, transitional government and free elections.”
Tsvangirai said by joining the all inclusive government, his party had not pardoned violators of human rights who had brutalized his party over the past decade.
“Over the last 10 years, there are people who have lost their lives,” he said. “I, as leader of the MDC, do recognize that.
“The best we can do as Zimbabweans is to make sure that what they fought for, democracy, freedom, peace and prosperity, is achieved in our life time.
“That’s how we have set our selves and that’s how we are going to approach this government.”
The MDC leader, who will also be charged with supervising cabinet, warned Zanu-PF MPs who have managed to retain their positions through blind loyalty to President Mugabe.
“I hope that as Prime Minister, being responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies, I will actually have to define the mandate of all these ministries.
“Once all the ministries have been allocated by Zanu-PF and our colleagues in the other formation, I will have to induct each one of them about what is the mandate of each ministry.”
Johannesburg, South Africa
Feb 11 2009
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai takes the prime minister's oath on Wednesday as part of a power-sharing agreement with longtime President
Robert Mugabe that Zimbabweans hope will bring help as they suffer through economic and humanitarian crises.
But quick solutions are unlikely given the enormity of Zimbabwe's problems and the legacy of a long, bloody rivalry between Tsvangirai and Mugabe.
Neighbouring leaders who pushed for the coalition say once they join in the unity government, the two men will overcome mutual mistrust and work together for the good of their country amid an economic meltdown and cholera epidemic that has killed 3 400 people. History will judge whether that hope is naive or prescient.
Tsvangirai told reporters on Tuesday he did not see himself as joining Mugabe, who remains president under the agreement originally reached in September.
"This is part of a transition arrangement that has been negotiated," Tsvangirai said. "No one is joining anyone."
Mugabe, who turns 85 on February 21 and has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has so far treated the 56-year-old Tsvangirai as a junior partner at best, often not bothering to hide his contempt.
But Tsvangirai won the most votes in the first round of the presidential election held almost a year ago, and withdrew from a June run-off only because of attacks on his supporters.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change also broke Zanu-PF's lock on Parliament for the first time since independence in those March 2008 elections.
The two men have clashed repeatedly since the decade-old MDC emerged as the most serious threat to the ruling regime since independence.
Tsvangirai has been beaten and jailed by Mugabe's security forces.
In 2007, police attacked him after he held an opposition meeting the government had banned.
Images shown on news broadcasts around the world
of his bruised and bloodied face came to symbolise the challenges his movement faced.
He is to be sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday sometime after 9am GMT and the rest of the Cabinet is scheduled to be sworn in on Friday.
The coalition agreement calls for the government to make its priority reviving an economy the opposition accuses Mugabe of destroying through corruption and mismanagement. The world's highest inflation rate has left millions of Zimbabweans dependent on
international food aid to survive.
Even if the factions can put aside their own differences, they can't do much without foreign help. The world's main donor, the United States, has made clear the money won't flow if Mugabe tries to sideline Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai announced on Tuesday that one of his most senior aides, Tendai Biti, would head the finance ministry. The move comes only days after a judge shut down a treason trial for Biti, who had faced a possible death sentence.
Tsvangirai's party also holds the health ministry, another key post given the country's cholera epidemic. The rapid and unusually deadly spread of the usually easy to contain disease has been blamed on the collapse of Zimbabwe's health and sanitation infrastructures because of lack of funds for maintenance.
The unity government's agenda also includes preparing for new elections, with no date set, but expected in a year or two.
Before a vote can be held, restrictions on the media and gatherings will have to be lifted and other steps taken to ensure the elections are free and fair after several ballots marred by violence, intimidation and manipulation blamed on Mugabe's party.
Even as he prepared to be inaugurated on Tuesday, Tsvangirai called for political detainees to be released before he is sworn in as prime minister, but did not say what he would do if they were not. Human
rights groups say tortured detainees are on the verge of dying in jail.
Some Tsvangirai allies say he never should have agreed to serve as prime minister in a government that left Mugabe president. Mugabe, meanwhile, was under pressure from aides in the military and government who don't want to give up power and prestige to the opposition.
Problems emerged almost as soon as the factions agreed to their partnership in September. Mugabe unilaterally claimed all the most powerful Cabinet posts for Zanu-PF, including the ministry in charge of
the police accused of attacking dissidents.
Regional leaders then decreed the police ministry would be alternated between Zanu-PF and MDC politicians, only one of several compromises that raise questions about how the unity government can
At first, Tsvangirai said he would not join the government until a more equitable Cabinet allotment was worked out, and until attacks on his supporters stopped. Regional leaders met five times to pressure
Mugabe and Tsvangirai to move forward. Tsvangirai gave in on January 30, agreeing to join the government now and resolve outstanding issues
"Let us make no mistake, by joining an inclusive government, we are not saying that this is a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis," Tsvangirai said then.
"Instead our participation signifies that we have chosen to continue the struggle for a democratic Zimbabwe in a new arena." - Sapa-AP
by Own Correspondents Wednesday 11 February 2009
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
MORGAN TSVANGIRAI . . . Prime Minister of Zimbabwe
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday, opening a new chapter of cooperation with President Robert Mugabe Zimbabweans hope will see their country finally emerge from a decade of economic and political crisis.
"I will well and truly serve Zimbabwe in the office of prime minister," Tsvangirai said as he took his oath of office from Mugabe, the man whose policies he blames for ruining once prosperous Zimbabwe and who he has tried since 1999 to oust from power.
Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara, who leads a smaller opposition party agreed to form a unity government under a power sharing deal brokered last year by former South African President Thabo Mbeki on behalf of the regional Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
Mutambara and Tsvangirai’s deputy in his MDC party, Thokozani Khupe, also took oath of office today.
Mbeki attended the ceremony along with Mozambican President Armando Geubuza and Swazi King Mswati III.
For months Zimbabwe’s power-sharing agreement signed last September had appeared on the verge of collapse as Mugabe and Tsvangirai stalled on implementing the deal while haggling over control of key ministerial posts in the unity government.
A regional summit last month ordered the Zimbabwean political rivals to implement the deal by immediately forming a unity government and resolving whatever outstanding issues later.
The formation of the unity government that will be completed with the swearing in of ministers on Friday has raised hopes that the political situation could be eased and allow the country to focus on halting the slide into total meltdown.
Once a model African economy Zimbabwe is in the grip of an unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis marked by the world’s highest inflation of 231 million percent as of last July, acute shortages of food and deepening poverty amid a cholera epidemic that has infected more than 69 000 people and killed more than 3 000 others.
However many people remain immensely sceptical that the unity government can stand the strain given deep-seated mistrust between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
In addition, Western countries - whose financial support is vital to any programme to resuscitate Zimbabwe’s collapsed economy - remain unconvinced that a unity government led by Mugabe will implement wide ranging economic and political reforms required to revive the southern African country.
Without substantial international support, there are only slim changes Zimbabwe’s unity government could be able to turn around the fortunes of the country.
11/02/2009 11:18 HARARE, Feb 11 (AFP)
The European Union welcomed the swearing-in of Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister on Wednesday, and urged the new administration to put the country on the road to recovery.
"This is an important step towards democratic rule in the country. The EU hopes that the formation of the new government will lead to an immediate end to political violence and intimidation... and the stabilisation and recovery of Zimbabwe," the EU said in a statement.
In a separate statement, EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel said the new power-sharing government "has a heavy responsibility to ensure positive change for its citizens."
"All parties within this power-sharing government must now work, without delay, to immediately improve the social and economic conditions for the people of Zimbabwe," he said.
Zimbabwe's journey towards recovery "will be long and difficult," he added.
EU foreign ministers last month tightened sanctions on Zimbabwe which ban Mugabe, his family and allies from entering Europe.
The 27-nation bloc has indicated that the sanctions will remain until the government shows progress in improving respect for human rights.
"We are ready to support the economic and social recovery of Zimbabwe once the new government shows tangible signs of respect for human rights, the rule of law, and macro-economic stabilisation," the EU statement said.
"The EU is deeply concerned that political prisoners, detained on unsubstantiated charges, still remain detained in Zimbabwe's prisons," it added.
The EU also reiterated its support for humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe, where more than half the population needs food aid and a cholera epidemic has hit nearly 70,000 people since August.
The EU Commission is the biggest donor to the most vulnerable in Zimbabwe and has provided 572 million euros (740 million dollars) in humanitarian and development aid since
February 11 2009 at 12:52PM
Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday, joining President Robert Mugabe in a unity government after a decade of struggling to push him from power.
"I will well and truly serve Zimbabwe in the office of prime minister," Tsvangirai said as he took his oath of office from Mugabe under a white tent in the lawn of the presidential mansion.
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who mediated in the power-sharing talks, attended the ceremony along with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and Swazi King Mswati III.
After the swearing-in, Tsvangirai planned to address his supporters in a stadium, with a speech that will celebrate but also need to reassure.
Tsvangirai's decision to bring his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) into the unity government has raised doubts overseas and sparked fierce debate within his own party.
The former trade union leader is all too aware of the concerns that he, like earlier Mugabe rivals, could be swallowed into the long-ruling ZANU-PF party without changing the course of a nation that is by any measure disintegrating.
"The sceptics must understand why we have done this and what is the best course of action to address the questions and challenges of transition in this political environment," Tsvangirai said on the eve of his swearing-in.
"We have made this decision and we made it without being forced. We want our colleagues in the country and outside the country to approach it from that perspective. It is our decision. Let history be the judge of this decision," he said.
His swearing-in will cap nearly a year of turmoil that began last March, when Tsvangirai won a first-round presidential vote that was greeted with nationwide political violence, mostly against his supporters.
Hoping to end the unrest that left at least 180 dead, Tsvangirai pulled out of the run-off and left Mugabe to claim a one-sided victory denounced as a sham overseas.
South Africa brokered the unity deal, which was signed on September 15 but stalled amid protracted talks on how to divide cabinet posts and share control of the security forces.
Those concerns were finally addressed when the parties agreed to name co-ministers to home affairs, which oversees the police, and to create a new National Security Council that will allow all parties control of the security forces.
But analysts question how such an arrangement can work with the 84-year-old Mugabe, who has ruled since independence in 1980 and who just recently declared that "Zimbabwe is mine."
"Tsvangirai's swearing-in symbolises a new era for the people of Zimbabwe," said Daniel Makina, a political analyst at the University of South Africa.
"Whether the inclusive government will be a success or not is another matter."
The challenges facing Zimbabwe would daunt even the most experienced of administrators.
More than half the population needs emergency food aid. Unemployment is at 94 percent. Only 20 percent of children go to school because teachers haven't been paid and exams not graded.
Public hospitals are closed, with doctors and nurses unpaid, exacerbating a health crisis in a nation where 1.3 million people have HIV and cholera has hit nearly 70,000 people since August, killing about 3,400.
"We only hope that his appointment will stem the tide of economic and humanitarian decline. But the lingering question is how effective are his powers going to be," Makina said of Tsvangirai. - Sapa-AFP
February 11, 2009
Months of talks have brought Morgan Tsvangirai and his followers into a new Government, but his country's most desperate need remains unchanged - for Mugabe to go
Morgan Tsvangirai will be sworn in today as Zimbabwe's new Prime Minister. But neither he nor his party, nor the millions who voted for them in last year's elections, should be in any doubt about who wields real power in the country they have tried and so far failed to change. That man is still Robert Mugabe.
It is now ten months since Mr Mugabe forced Mr Tsvangirai to withdraw from a second-round presidential vote with a campaign of murder and intimidation. Not once in that time has he relaxed his control over Zimbabwe's police or security services, or the process leading to the formation this week of a so-called unity Government.
This is not a government of unity, but of coercion and co-option. By joining it, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which Mr Tsvangirai has led for ten years at great personal risk, is in danger of legitimising the very tyranny it sought to end. MDC officials are to be installed in 13 ministries, but none will give Mr Tsvangirai the power to enforce as well as write new laws, let alone rebuild a country brought to its knees by violence, disease and artificial famine.
Mr Tsvangirai has named his chief negotiator as the new finance minister while allowing the architect of Zimbabwe's economic collapse, the governor of the national Reserve Bank, to remain in post. He will have an appointee in the vital home affairs portfolio, controlling the police - but so will Mr Mugabe. And Mr Tsvangirai himself will have a new office, in the same building as Mr Mugabe's. The man who should have been the democratically elected President of Zimbabwe since last April is instead the junior partner in a shameful arrangement guaranteed only to perpetuate the corruption of an elite that is preparing to feast on lobster for Mr Mugabe's forthcoming birthday while more than half his subjects depend on food aid to survive.
It has taken a decade of cruel mismanagement to turn this country of extraordinary natural wealth into a humanitarian disaster. More than 3,400 people have died of cholera since August, excluding those uncounted because they live in rural areas beyond the reach of aid agencies or government. Only 6 per cent of Zimbabweans have jobs. Most of those who do not subsist on ground maize imported from South Africa. Hyperinflation has sidelined the local currency in favour of barter and scarce US dollars.
Mr Tsvangirai's first international appeal will be for a rapid increase in the amount of foreign aid reaching Zimbabwe. For charities and individuals there is a case for seeking new ways of channelling aid to ministries and city councils - such as Bulawayo's - that are MDC controlled. The need is acute and there is a risk of the MDC being blamed by the desperate and the disenchanted if living conditions fail to improve on Mr Tsvangirai's watch. But the graver risk is of fresh aid merely shoring up the Mugabe kleptocracy.
Donor governments must, therefore, be clear about their ground rules. The condition for releasing the large-scale, co-ordinated Western state aid that Zimbabwe so urgently needs must be the removal of its illegitimate and murderous leader and his henchmen, and their replacement with a genuinely new government that reflects the clearly expressed desires of its people.
An opposition politician who has endorsed the lopsided power-sharing deal told an audience in Davos recently that it was “not for Britain or America to judge our agreement” but only “to support what we try to do”. South Africa has justified its “quiet diplomacy” towards Zimbabwe in similar terms, and the results have been disastrous. African solutions to Africa's problems are the right ones only if they work. What Zimbabwe needs is a solution the whole world can agree on, and that is the removal of Mugabe.
Dominic Mahlangu, Nkululeko Ncana and Moses Mudzwiti
Published: Feb 11, 2009
SOMEBODY’S GOT TO DO IT:
Tendai Biti, secretary-general of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, becomes finance minister this week in terms of a power-sharing agreement with Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF Picture: DENIS FARRELL/AP
Zim opposition activist Tendai Biti will start the hardest job in the world on Friday
MORGAN Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, will be sworn in as Zimbabwe’s prime minister today.
He will share power with Robert Mugabe, who remains president.
On Friday, Tsvangirai’s right-hand man, Tendai Biti, will be sworn in as Zimbabwe’s finance minister, one of the toughest jobs in the world.
Biti, a 44-year-old lawyer, veteran activist and secretary-general of the MDC, will inherit a currency that has depreciated faster than any in recorded history and an inflation rate in excess of five sextillion percent.
Until barely a week ago, Biti was facing treason charges for announcing the results of last year’s March election (which the MDC won) before the government-appointed election body had done so.
The charges were dropped on Friday in what many saw as a sign that Mugabe was ready to remove all stumbling blocks to the formation of a unity government.
The finance ministry is vital to the arduous task of resurrecting Zimbabwe’s economy. The economy’s collapse has devastated health and sanitation infrastructure, leading to a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 3300 people.
Biti, a former student and civic activist, is a founding member of the MDC and the party’s most vocal critic of Mugabe.
Described as both a radical and a formidable, modern politician, Biti has been the MDC’s chief negotiator in power-sharing talks ahead of the unity government.
The 56-year-old Tsvangirai will be sworn in today, along with Arthur Mutambara, who leads the smaller MDC faction. Mutambara will become deputy president in terms of the power-sharing agreement facilitated by former SA president Thabo Mbeki in his capacity as the Southern African Development Community’s facilitator for the Zimbabwe talks.
Tsvangirai’s deputy in the MDC, Thokozani Khupe, will be sworn in as the second deputy prime minister.
At least half the current cabinet will be removed to make way for the main MDC and Mutambara’s faction.
The new government will comprise 15 cabinet ministers from Mugabe’s party, 13 from Tsvangirai’s MDC and three from Mutambara’s camp.
In parliament, where the MDC has the majority, efforts were being made yesterday to dismantle the National Security Council presently made up of Mugabe loyalists. A vote later in the day unanimously approved proposed changes to the council, whose members have been reduced from 31 to 22.
The new prime minister and his two deputies will now sit on the council, which is charged with formulating policy related to security. Military chiefs who remained part of the council previously said they would never salute Tsvangirai.
Meanwhile, Mugabe’ spokesman, George Charamba, said everything was on schedule for today’s event.
Mbeki, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and former local and provincial affairs minister Sydney Mufamadi are expected to attend.
President Kgalema Motlanthe will not be there, but will witness the official formation of the coalition government in Zimbabwe on Friday, his spokesman, Thabo Masebe, said last night.
Addressing parliament yesterday, Motlanthe described the breakthrough as “vindication” of the SA government’s approach to the nine-year Zimbabwe crisis.
The government, especially during Mbeki’s tenure, was condemned for its “quiet diplomacy”.
The president said the focus should now be on helping Zimbabwe out of its humanitarian and economic crises.
“We therefore call on the international community to come to the aid of Zimbabwe and its people. To this end, SADC and the African Union have called on the international community to end sanctions against Zimbabwe and to assist the people,” he said.
While Motlanthe and Mbeki hail today’s ceremony as a step towards Zimbabwe’s reconstruction, political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi is not optimistic. “The settlement between Tsvangirai and Mugabe is imperfect,” he said. “SADC settled for a deal just for the sake of it.
“Tsvangirai will find the room too small to manoeuvre. As head of government, [he] will find himself liable for the failures of government. He is head of an empty shell.”
The Bulawayo Chronicle
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
THE country has the potential to meet its foreign currency needs if political and economic stability is achieved, a leading economic commentator, Dr Eric Bloch, said yesterday.
Responding to questions during a conference to review the monetary policy statement he said political and economic stability were vital in restoring investor confidence.
“There is need for stability in the realm of politics and economy in order to cover foreign currency needs. Investor security and consistency in policy implementation are also crucial for the balance of payment support in covering the country's forex needs,” he said.
Dr Bloch said Zimbabweans living abroad could also help the country meet its foreign currency requirements through repatriations.
He said unlike in the past when there were policy inconsistencies, the Reserve Bank now needed to stick to its recently announced monetary policy statement while to boost investment, investors needed to be guaranteed security of their businesses.
Dr Bloch said confidence in the gold mining sector had waned because of failure by the central bank to pay miners the foreign currency component for their metal deliveries.
However, in a bid to restore confidence in the sector, the RBZ governor, Dr Gideon Gono, removed the central bank's monopoly as the sole buyer and exporter of gold, allowing gold producers to look for their own markets.
Dr Bloch lauded the move to increase foreign currency retention by exporters to 92,5 percent saying this would raise exports and production, thus generating more foreign currency for the country.
He said the introduction of the multi-currency system under which major currencies are now accepted for transaction was not inflationary as was being suggested by other people.
“I do not agree with the perception that multi currency system pushes inflation upwards. We need to restore confidence in business and stimulate growth as a means to allay inflation. There is need to improve the supply of goods in order to meet demand, with the issue of controls replaced by free competition.”
Dr Bloch also said there was need for the Reserve Bank to revisit the issue of foreign currency licence fees adding that where applicable, licence fees must be staggered according to the size of the business.
"Forex licence fees must be paid in relation to the size of the business. For example, we should not have situations where a dressmaker pays a fee equivalent to that paid by TM Supermarket,” he said.
The conference was organised by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and attended by business people from the city.
February 10, 2009
Incoming Finance Minister, Tendai Biti
By a Special Correspondent
Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe’s incoming Finance minister will probably become the most popular figure in the inclusive government that his party, the MDC is partnering with the deeply unpopular regime of President Mugabe if he manages to rescue the economy.
But, it is a tall order. He could easily become the most unpopular.
Appointed by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday to take up the “hot seat” amid unprecedented economic ruin, worsened by the country’s bloodiest and most divisive general election campaign mid-last year, he is widely liked and respected across the political divide.
Friends and critics alike agree that he is “extremely clever” and has a reputation for integrity. He is one of the best lawyers in town. Specialising in Commercial Law he also has expertise in Human Rights, Labour and Constitutional Law. Colleagues say he has an obsession for detail.
The puzzle is why he accepted the almost impossible job of Finance Minister at a time when the economy is collapsing and shows every sign of getting worse, while a skeptical international community adopts a wait-and-see attitude and also knowing very well his oft-repeated “sincerity deficit” on Zanu-PF’s part.
The Zimbabwe Times understands Biti has officially accepted the job to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who announced his Cabinet nominees on Tuesday at the Meikles Hotel. Tsvangirai is being sworn-in as Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Wednesday.
“The finance ministry’s mandate is to create a stable environment for all Zimbabweans… and to establish Zimbabwe as a strong investment centre,” Tsvangirai said as he appointed Biti to the hot seat.
Biti faces an unenviable task. He will have to deal with Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono. General sentiment within the MDC is that the pompous but not-too-efficient governor be sidelined at the earliest opportunity. They cite his appalling handling of the economy over the past five years. Mugabe appointed Gono in November 2005 and reappointed him to a new term in December 2006. Only presidential intervention can secure Gono’s job under the inclusive government.
Gono is widely blamed for wrecking Zimbabwe’s economy by printing worthless money and for his so-called “quasi-fiscal policies” which have involved the central bank in dabbling in fiscal matters.
Some Zimbabweans the political divide spoken to after Tsvangirai’s announcement Tuesday have lauded the appointment of Biti as Zimbabwe’s new Finance minister.
“He is the right man for the job,” said Agnes Gwatiringa, among dozens of MDC supporters who were at the news briefing at the Meikles Hotel.
A civil society leader said he believed that Biti, a successful lawyer and businessman who is known to advocate government spending cuts and a smaller civil service, will do much to instill fiscal responsibility and promote a business-oriented policy.
However, many also believe that Biti faces an enormously daunting challenge and that his success or failure will depend largely on the support of the Mugabe administration and all the people in the three pillars of government.
By appointing Biti as the Finance Minister, Tsvangirai has given firm direction which path he wants the country to take.
Biti has reached high office at a relatively young age, given the generational standards of Zanu-PF, which comprises mainly of a cabal of geriatrics.
At 85 Mugabe is twice Biti’s age at 42.
He was born on August 6, 1966 and raised in the dusty working class suburb of Dzivarasekwa in Harare. He attended high school at Goromonzi and proceeded to the University of Zimbabwe Law School where he graduated with flying colours.
At the UZ he was a prominent student leader and led the famous 1987 and1988 anti-government and anti-corruption protests that formed the basis and nucleus of the present day student movement.
He was elected secretary-general of the mainstream MDC at the party’s congress held in March 2006. Biti was the secretary for Economic Affairs, prior to the 2006 MDC congress. He is credited with drafting RESTART, the MDC economic blueprint that silenced even government critics.
For two weeks, the police barred and disrupted the national and provincial launches of the MDC’s RESTART blueprint, seen by many as the only practical solution to Zimbabwe’s economic malaise.
The MDC website lavishes Biti for leading “the MDC’s International Relations and Land Portfolios with distinction.
“He led the MDC diplomatic offensive, which led to regional and international understanding of the Zimbabwe crisis as that of governance,” said write-up on his profile.
“He also led the development of the comprehensive MDC policy on land, which remains the mainstay of the party’s programmes when it takes over government.”
Biti has distinguished himself over the last nine years in Parliament as a polished lawyer and articulator of various pertinent issues from economics to legal and justice matters affecting the nation.
From the moment he entered the legal profession, Biti has impressed his colleagues with the courage and energy with which he expressed publicly his concerns on issues of human rights in Zimbabwe.
In addition, he has co-founded some of the leading human rights organizations that have dominated civil society such as the National Constitutional Assembly and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
He was first elected Member of Parliament for Harare East in 2000 and was re-elected in 2005, and again in the legislative polls last year. In his political life he has constantly had fierce run-ins with the authorities.
Last week, a Harare Magistrate threw out treason charges arising from his prompt announcement on March 30, 2008 of election results that were subsequently withheld for five weeks by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Biti has been calling for the Government to curb its spending, to reduce the size of the bloated civil service, and to promote a more business-friendly economic environment.
His appointment as Finance Minister indicated a new determination by Tsvangirai to get his Government to bite the economic bullet and also, obviously, as a thank-you for leading talks that led to the formation of the inclusive government.
But, rather than reduce the size of cabinet, as a sign of new financial restraint, the inclusive government actually increased the size of cabinet.
When all 31 cabinet level positions are added up, including 10 provincial governors and 15 deputy ministers, the cabinet has swelled to a staggering 56 members. The message is that the inclusive government will continue to operate a system of political patronage that is expensive, inefficient and increasingly corrupt. The bloated cabinet will compromise the fervour of the MDC for change and work to the advantage of Zanu-PF.
Despite the significant pressure from donors to reduce expenditure and show commitment to reform, authorities say it is one price the country has to pay for reconciliation and a government of national unity.
Some Harare economists predict much higher expenditure.
The enlarged cabinet, where Mugabe has 15 ministries and the main MDC 13, shows Mugabe’s political weakness, not his strength, said an analyst.
“Mugabe demanded 15 cabinet posts, refused but eventually capitulated and surrendered the governorships under pressure from SADC because he must still placate bitter rivalries within his party by balancing cabinet appointments to fulfil regional and ethnic demands,” said political commentator Ronald Shumba.
“Mugabe, turning 85 in a fortnight, must keep all players in his faction-ridden party happy until after the presidential elections in which he intends to be re-elected to another seventh term in two years. Mugabe will be seeking a fresh mandate at the 2009 December Zanu-PF congress, according to authoritative sources.
“The inclusive government is mandated with turning around the economy, leading a constitution-making process and then holding free and fair elections after that.”
But in the meantime, Biti will have to rein in spending by a substantially bigger cabinet and he will have to promote free enterprise in a Government used to socialist rhetoric and frequent meddling.
In addition, he will have to respond to strident demands for greater black participation in the economy amid firm indications that Mugabe plans to plod ahead with his indigenisation policies having set his eyes on the lucrative banking, manufacturing and mining sectors.
The demands of Biti’s new job are daunting, but he has the rare combination of education, business acumen and political savvy that may bring him personal success and prosperity to Zimbabwe’s economy.
He was named Minister of Finance to replace the inept Zanu-PF Finance minister Samuel Mumbengegwi, whose powers had been effectively been usurped by Gono.
Biti quickly announced his aims are to cut Government spending, lower interest rates and create employment and provide food to the people.
While his appointment has been hailed by all sides, from Zimbabwe’s skeptical civil society to the average black Zimbabwean, they caution that he cannot perform miracles.
Zimbabwe is under a great deal of pressure by the World Bank, the IMF and western donors to clear its almost US$ 4, 7 billion external debt before it can access new funding.
“The real problem is lack of financial discipline,” says a banking economist. “It is absolutely imperative that the Ministry of Finance instils in government ministries and departments a culture of financial discipline.”
There is need for Biti to ensure that he will task accounting officers to ensure that ministries keep their spending on target throughout the fiscal year, said the banking analyst.
Only once government spending is controlled, he says, can Biti work with local banks to reduce interest rates which are inhibiting new investment. Zimbabwe’s sky-high interest rates prohibit the private sector from expanding and frighten off much new investment.
“The high interest rates will starve the proverbial cow to death and, in practical terms, it means the economy will be sick,” says the analyst. “I think Biti is equal to the task.”
The analyst warned that the lending rates could not be reduced by “waving a magic wand”.
Tsvangirai’s decision to appoint Biti as Minister of Finance is controversial.
In giving a very senior post to someone of such obvious popularity and relative youth, Tsvangirai has invited unfavourable comparisons.
Recent reports suggested that Biti was the most serious challenger to Tsvangirai’s leadership although the MDC predictably dismisses the reports with contempt.
Among fellow party politicians Biti is regarded with a mixture of respect and mistrust, bordering on suspicion in some cases.
“He’s very good, very committed to the party and the country,” says spokesman Nelson Chamisa.
But when asked whether he is presidential material, senior party figures refuse to comment.
The danger for Biti in accepting Tsvangirai’s offer is that some of undoubted hostility felt towards the Zanu-PF government, particularly in Zimbabwe’s towns and cities, will be directed towards him if he fails to deliver.
“There’s already a dangerous myth that this country can be saved by Biti,” says a Zanu-PF Politburo member. “He’s nothing to write home about. His fundamental weakness is that he is emotional.”
And why did Biti accept the job?
“Simple,” says a business colleague and ardent Biti admirer.
“To get to the top. He is a politician through and through.”
February 10, 2009
By Sibangani Sibanda
LAST week, my wife and I managed to withdraw from the bank what was, until last week, two quadrillion Zimbabwe dollars, written thus: Z$ 2 000 000 000 000 000.00.
After Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono’s deletion of another twelve zeroes from our currency (bringing the total deleted thus far to twenty-five - which may be just as well because our withdrawal from last week would have been Z$ 20 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000.00! Just filling in the withdrawal slip would have been a major challenge.), we actually withdrew Z$ 2 000.00!
Although the 2 000 dollars was in denominations of Z$ 100 000 000 000 000.00 (one hundred trillion dollars), which are, in Mr. Gono’s reality, actually Z$ 100.00 notes.
Anyway, after many weeks of, first only being allowed to withdraw amounts so small it made little sense to go to the bank, then going through a period when the banks had no money at all, we felt a sense of excitement at being able to take some of our “money” out of the bank. Knowing how quickly our currency loses value, we immediately set about the task of converting our dollars into either hard currency or goods as quickly as possible.
Here, we met another reality that seems to have escaped Mr. Gono who continues, in the name of some abstract called “sovereignty”, to insist that the Zimbabwe dollar is still the official currency, and that it is still legal tender. Nobody, not even the illegal traders will accept the Zimbabwe dollar!
In fact, even in those few places where the Zimbabwe dollar may be acceptable - in commuter buses for instance - the larger denominations of Zimbabwe dollars, starting at ten trillion, are not accepted. They would rather give you a free ride than accept Mr. Gono’s quite ridiculous notes, even though they were introduced, in Mr. Gono’s own words, “for the public’s convenience”! A week later, our convenient notes, still crisp as they were freshly out of the printing press, sit on our dressing table, untouched, unwanted and totally inconvenient. They are, literally, not worth the paper they are printed on and are no good even for use in “conveniences”.
Of course, as has become Mr. Gono’s tradition at the gatherings where he announces what are called monetary policy statements, a new family of notes was introduced with the zeroes already removed. These new notes, we were told, would run concurrently with the old notes that still have the twelve zeroes, until June 2009. The “old” notes have only been in circulation for about two weeks so they are old only when compared with the new notes. Just to add to the confusion, the new notes look radically different from the old ones. For example, a ten trillion dollar note, which is now worth ten dollars, is green in colour. Its new equivalent is red!
The new notes, even though they are supposedly worth the same as the old ones that have been rejected, are being accepted! But, they can only be found on the street, not in the bank, or at least not at the bankers I bank with. They continue to receive, they tell me, their daily allocations from the Reserve Bank in the currency with the twelve zeroes! Or is it that, because they know that the new currency is being accepted, they keep that for themselves and give us money that they know we cannot use. Bank employees will be able to convert their money into hard currency. We will watch our money disintegrating right in front of our eyes, and then we will throw it away or give it to the children to play with!
Our children play with brand new notes - just as in monopoly!
Well, as Mr. Gono himself said, he does not have to follow what the rest of the world is doing. After all, they are in recession; we have no economy so we cannot have a recession. However, it seems that Mr. Gono still expects the same countries that are in recession to come to our aid, even though, in his view, they are now following us in pursuing quasi fiscal policies, whose success, in our case, seems to me to be in the negative.
South African President Motlanthe recently suggested that Zimbabwe should consider negotiating with the South African Reserve Bank with a view to adopting the South African Rand as the official currency. I scoffed at the idea at first, but, as I look at what has happened to our currency, I cannot help but think that he may have a point.
It seems to me that what a tiny minority of white settlers rejected in 1923 - becoming a part of South Africa - may now become reality through the policies of a party, one of whose many slogans has been, “Zimbabwe will never be a colony again”.
Perhaps this was Mbeki’s plan all along!
No sooner had I finished writing this article than I read a freshly uploaded story on this website.
“I have not exercised my mind on this issue,” the article quotes Gono as saying dismissively.
He was referring to the adoption of the South African Rand as suggested by Motlanthe. Some irate reader immediately posed the pertinent question whether Gono actually had a mind to
Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:12am GMT
Zimbabwe's central bank governor Gideon Gono has welcomed the idea of adopting South Africa's rand currency as an anchor for the virtually worthless Zimbabwean dollar, state media reported on Wednesday.
"Suffice to say that an anchor currency for the Zimbabwe dollar ... would act as a serious stimulus factor towards the much-needed stability of the Zimbabwean dollar and the economy in general and, (is) therefore most welcome," Gono told the state-owned Herald newspaper.
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe on Sunday said Zimbabwe could adopt the rand, but did not give details.
South African central bank spokeswoman Samantha Henkeman said the Reserve Bank had not been formally approached about the proposal and so declined to comment.
Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho all use the rand alongside their own currencies but South Africa's Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni has in the past ruled out a formal arrangement with Zimbabwe.
Gono's comments came as Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai prepared to take office as prime minister on Wednesday in a deal with old rival President Robert Mugabe aimed at saving the ruined country.
The new government is faced with taming hyperinflation which means prices double every day. The central bank has repeatedly revalued its dollar and lopped another 12 zeros off the battered currency earlier this month.
The rand is already used widely on Zimbabwe's black market.
Gono said there were several factors to be considered before the countries could be linked.
"These are not matters that can be done overnight, so I don't want anyone to underestimate these technical processes and harmonisation," Gono added.
"Furthermore, the country is going through a momentous period of change not only in the area of the economy, but the political landscape as well."
The rand was little changed on the news, trading 0.91 percent firmer against the U.S. dollar at 9.85 by 8:38 a.m. British time.
(Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
February 10, 2009
By Our Correspondent
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Professor Arthur Mutambara says Nkayi West legislator, Abednico Bhebhe risks expulsion from the party if he accepts a ministerial post on a Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC ticket.
Tsvangirai on Tuesday took the political world by surprise when he included Bhebhe among his list of nominees to take up cabinet posts this Friday.
Announcing party nominees, Tsvangirai deployed Bhebhe to the Ministry of Water Resources and Management.
The MDC leader defended his action saying Bhebhe had been included to advance the spirit of inclusiveness.
“Minister Bhebhe has been appointed in the inclusive government,” said Tsvangirai.
“We are trying to promote inclusiveness. I do not know about (perceived) crossing the floor but all I know is that he is part of the inclusive government.”
But Edwin Mushoriwa, spokesperson for the Mutambara led MDC told The Zimbabwe Times Tuesday Bhebhe risked having his seat declared vacant and a by-election called to replace him.
“We were taken aback when we heard that Honourable Bhebhe had been nominated among Tsvangirai’s list of nominees for cabinet,” said Mushoriwa.
“We do not know the motive behind all this. It defies the spirit of the whole Global Political Agreement signed among the parties.
“There is no way Tsvangirai can appoint a minister from our own membership when there are several of his own members who were aspiring to become ministers. It is like (President Robert) Mugabe appointing one of Tsvangirai’s MPs within the Zanu PF list of nominees.
“We are actually waiting to see if he (Bhebhe) will go on to accept the post. But if he accepts, he should do the most honourable thing and resign from our member at which point we will declare the seat vacant and call for a by election.”
Mushoriwa said Tsvangirai should have consulted his party if he so wished to deploy a member from his party to become minister on his own party’s ticket.
Under the Global Political Agreement signed between Zanu PF and the two MDC factions, Zanu PF, which won 99 seats in last March’s general elections, would take up 15 ministerial portfolios while the Tsvangirai-led MDC was to appoint 13 ministers from among its initial list of 100 MPs.
The Mutambara led MDC, which has 10 MPs in parliament, was allocated three ministerial posts.
Mushoriwa questioned why Tsvangirai’s MDC accepted 13 ministerial portfolios if it wished to nominate a member from his party.
“Tsvangirai should simply have refused to accept 13 ministries for his party to allow our party to have an allocation of four ministries,” said Mushoriwa.
“As far as we are concerned, Honourable Bhebhe is still our member. He would have crossed the floor if he accepts the ministry.”
Reached for comment, Bhebhe flatly refused to discuss the subject saying he could only issue comment on the matter after the swearing in on Friday.
“I am not taking any interviews until Friday,” he said.
“This is not yet an official announcement. Please phone me on Friday.”
Bhebhe is believed to have voted for Lovemore Moyo, of the Tsvangirai-led MDC to the post of Speaker of Parliament.
This was in total defiance of an order by the leadership of the Mutambara faction that had nominated former legislator Paul Themba Nyathi to the influential post. Nyathi had been endorsed by Zanu PF.
The MDC split into two factions in October 2005 after sharp differences emerged on whether to participate in the Senatorial elections which had been introduced by government.
Until the March 29, 2008 elections, the two factions were involved in a fierce battle for legitimacy until it turned out Tsvangirai’s MDC had been vindicated when it won 100 parliamentary seats countrywide while the smaller MDC won 10 seats only in Matebeleland.
February 10, 2009
IN A Herald article headlined ‘Zim Safe, secure for NGOs (09 Feb 2009)’ Mr.Witness Taruvinga alleges that a WFP logistics officer acted irresponsibly by dumping Genetically Modified sub standard maize meal at farms just outside Bulawayo.
I would have liked the Herald editor to publish this correction and clarification but unfortunately the Herald does not seem to have a policy to correct significant errors in their opinion and analysis column.
The clarification is urgent because Zimbabwe has a long held fear and suspicion that Genetically Modified food destroys nature and our bio diversity. However, in 2003 the country agreed to accept a special consignment of maize grain from USAID to avert acute food shortages. The agreement with WFP/USAID/Zimbabwe was that the grain will only be distributed to beneficiaries throughout the country AFTER milling. A small consignment was discovered jointly by the Bio Safety Board, WFP and Ministry of health officials to be unfit for human consumption. A decision was then jointly made by all stake holders including the army, police, GMB, National Foods (NF) and us in the NGOs to safely dispose the consignment.
We decided to send the consignment back to South Africa but a local farmer agreed to take it for stock feed. We agreed as it was a cheaper option and convenient for the farmer. The police and the army took the responsibility to ensure security of the consignment at the farm. It is still unclear how local people gained access to the farm in the dead of night and retrieved some of the bags whilst the poor farmer slept.
I sincerely hope that Mr W. Taruvinga and others who have made allegations to the effect that the Matabeleland WFP Officer at the time, Mr Arnold Mutaviri deliberately sought to poison the newly resettled people apologize.
They must avoid making a politically tense environment worse. This is not the time to stir up anger one with another. The fear is that some overzealous patriots may get offended and do something about it. This is a time to come together and solve the crisis at hand in our great country.
Mr Mutaviri is a man who has worked hard to help people regardless of their political opinion, race, region or sex. He is my friend and former colleague.
Dr. Bekitemba Ndlovu
Humanitarian Aid Worker, International NGO, Zimbabwe.
723 Circular Drive,
Alan Dershowitz - Lawyer and author
Posted February 10, 2009
03:11 PM (EST)
There are efforts now underway to try to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on charges of alleged war crimes. Neither Israel nor the United States has signed on to this court, primarily out of fear that its power would be used against democracies that try their best to avoid war crimes, rather than against dictatorships and terrorist nations that routinely engage in them.
This has certainly been the experience with many United Nations organizations, even including the International Court of Justice, which is largely a sham when it comes to Israel and other democracies under attack.
There has been high hope among some human rights experts that the ICC would be different for two reasons: First and foremost it is not a United Nations court.
It was established by the Rome Statute, a treaty adopted in 1998 after years of negotiations, and is largely independent of the United Nations, though not completely so. Cases can be referred to it by the UN Security Council under Article 13(b) of the treaty. The second reason the ICC has encouraged optimism is that the person appointed as the court's Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocompo, has a sterling reputation for objective law enforcement and basic fairness.
The ICC has rightly opened up investigations of genocide in Darfur, Sudan,. (It is now under pressure to suspend any prosecution of President Omar al-Bashir). It has not opened investigations with regard to Russia's alleged war crimes in Chechnya and Georgia, where thousands of innocent civilians were killed.
Nor has it opened investigations with regard to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, the Congo and other places where civilians are routinely targeted as part of military and terrorist campaigns.
Nor - to its credit - has it opened an investigation of Great Britain and the United States, whose armed forces have inadvertently caused the deaths of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Were it now to open an investigation of Israel, ICC would be violating the cardinal principle that must govern all international prosecutions: namely, that the worst must be prosecuted first. It would also be violating its own rules which mandate that the International Criminal Court will not become a substitute for domestic courts. If there are processes within the State of Israel to consider allegations against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), then those processes must be allowed to move forward unless Israel is "unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the investigation or prosecution," according to the Rome Statute.
There is no country in the world - literally none - that has a judicial system that is more open to charges against its own government. Not the United States, not Great Britain, and certainly not Russia, Zimbabwe or Pakistan!
Moreover, Israel has a completely open and very critical free press, which is constantly exposing Israeli imperfections and editorializing against them. Third, the IDF has legal teams that must approve of every military action taken by the armed forces. There are obviously close questions, about which reasonable experts can disagree, but there is no country in the world that goes to greater lengths in its efforts to conform its military actions to international law. Listen to retired British Colonel Richard Kemp - a military expert who, based on his experience, concluded that there has been "no time in the history of warfare when an Army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties...than [the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza]."
Despite deliberate efforts by Hamas to maximize Palestinian civilian casualties by firing rockets from behind human shields, Israel has succeeded in its efforts to minimize civilian casualties. Hamas has a policy of exaggerating civilian casualties, both by inflating the total number of people killed and by reducing the number of its combatants included in that total. A recent study conducted by the Italian Newspaper Corriere della Sera disputed Hamas figures and put the total number of Palestinians killed, including Hamas terrorists, at less than 600. And this week, the UN withdrew claims made during the war that Israel had shelled a school run in Gaza by the UN Relief and Works Agency.
The same Rome Statute that established the ICC also describes many of Hamas's actions during the war, such as attacking Israeli civilians and using Palestinian civilians as human shields, as war crimes. Any fair investigation by the ICC would have to conclude that Israel's efforts to prevent civilian casualties, while seeking to protect its civilians from Hamas war crimes, rank it at the very top of nations in compliance with the rule of law. It would also conclude that efforts to brand Israel's actions as war crimes are crassly political, based on ideology and not law. If anything, Hamas belongs in the dock, not Israel.
One of the most sordid legacies of the Bush administration has been the pressure the Bush White House put on the Justice Department to prosecute its political enemies and give passes to its political allies.
The Justice Department, under former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, submitted to that pressure and engaged in a policy of selective investigations and prosecutions.
The prosecutor of the ICC must resist pressures - from the United Nations, from radical ideologues and from other biased sources - to apply a double standard to Israel by singling the Jewish state out from among law-abiding democracies for a war crimes investigation.
No international court can retain its credibility if it inverts the principle of "the worst first" and instead goes after one of the best as one its first.
Wednesday, February 11th 2009, 4:00 AM
What do you get for the dictator who has everything?
What do you get for a man whose homicidal policies have starved his people by the millions?
Apparently, you get him food. Fancy food. Lots of it.
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe is turning 85, and the political party he controls has put out a wish list of requested donations for a bash, according to The Times of London, which got the list from what the paper calls a reliable source.
It includes: 2,000 bottles of Champagne, 8,000 lobsters, 4,000 portions of caviar, 8,000 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates and 3,000 ducks.
The request adds: "No mealie meal." That's the ground corn most Zimbabweans eat - or did, before the economy collapsed.
Sick to your stomach yet?
by Martyn Warwick
Talk about re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
In an act of staggering irrelevance and pointlessness, Zimbabwe's acting Minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa, (and "acting" is the operative word here) says he's going to cut the rate of value added tax (VAT) on mobile phone airtime from 22.5 per cent to "just 15 per cent" in an effort to stimulate the market.
This in a country racked with what should have been a completely preventable cholera epidemic, where unemployment is running at 95 per cent and where the rate of inflation is recognised by the government itself to be 231 million per cent but is generally acknowledged by economists within and without that benighted nation to be at least to be twenty times that. You do the arithmetic, I haven't got the heart.
Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa, has two fixed telephone telcos and three mobile phone operators. The Mugabe regime claims that the carriers operate in a competitive environment that is driving down prices, but the reality is that tariffs are sky-high and most Zimbabweans still have no access to even the most basic of telephony services. Penetration was once at 12 per cent but is thought to have fallen dramatically in recent years.
The incumbent operator inherited an aged and legacy system that is both difficult and expensive to upgrade. To make matters worse its revenues have been routinely siphoned-off by the government and next to nothing has been reinvested in infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the mobile operators are funded through a combination of debt and equity and - of course - have to repay that debt in foreign currency, even though foreign currency is incredibly expensive and almost impossible to get. Meanwhile, pent up-demand for telephony services continues to grow.
It is difficult to think of any other place on the planet where opportunity has been squandered in the way it has been in Zimbabwe. And to say that the country's telcos are operating in a difficult environment is one of the world's greatest understatements.
The Zimbabwe dollar is completely worthless but the government, unable to meet its needs in any other way, continues to print more and more banknotes. The result is hyper-inflation. The non-stop printing of ever higher denominations of paper money has utterly destroyed the Zimbabwe dollar and rendered it completely worthless in the hard currency market. Thus imports are now prohibitively expensive and almost all trade external to the country has ceased.
As Eldred Masunungure, professor of political science at the University of Zimbabwe, says, the net result of this monumental mismanagement is "absolute desperation, despair and poverty."
Things are now so bad that even the Zimbabwe Herald newspaper, for years an unquestioning mouthpiece for the Mugabe regime, recently wrote, "The latest inflation figures show that Zimbabwe is suffering the highest inflation rate in the world. The economy has contracted by more than 50 per cent over the past 10 years on pathetic performance by all sectors and this has been coupled with corruption in both the public and private sectors."
Gideon Gono, Mugabe crony, Zanu-PF big cheese and sometime head of Zimbabwe's central bank and, as such, the man who fuelled runaway inflation by deciding that it would be a good idea to issue banknotes with a face value of 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollars, isn't too worried though. He has a 47-bedroomed mansion to stash his spare cash in.
Elsewhere, President Robert Mugabe himself (who turns 85 later this month) is now such a megalomaniac that he says only God himself can remove him from power.
This man is reputed to have acquired a personal fortune of at least US$ 3 billion since he took over in Zimbabwe back in 1980.
This wealth, much of which is said to be squirreled-away in Switzerland, Lichtenstein and other tax havens, most certainly is not comprised of Zimbabwean dollars.
Announcing his grand plan to boost telecoms, Patrick Chinamasa said, “I propose to standardise the rate by reducing it to 15%, in line with the prevailing general level of VAT on other products. This should translate into lower mobile phone tariffs.” In your dreams.
By the way, in their latest exhibition of applied financial genius, the Zimbabwean authorities have decided to knock 14 zeros off banknotes. Thus a 100 trillion note has become one dollar - and it's still utterly worthless.
Wednesday, 11 Feb 2009 07:57
Robert Mugabe to reward hardliners from Zanu-PF party with key positions in supposed unity government Printer friendly version Zimbabwe's longtime ruler Robert Mugabe will reward hardliners from his Zanu-PF party who engineered his violent re-election comeback with ministerial portfolios when he announces his line-up for a power-sharing Cabinet.
A power-sharing Cabinet between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Morgan Tsvangirai will be sworn in on Friday.
Zanu-PF sources said Mugabe's line-up for cabinet has close confidantes and key strategists who stood by him after he lost the first round of balloting to Mr Tsvangirai in March.
Mugabe's violent comeback forced Tsvangirai to pull out of a June 27th runoff because of widespread intimidation and violence against MDC supporters.
"Mugabe's Cabinet list contains names of the Zanu-PF old guard who were influential and key to his political comeback and survival after he lost the March presidential elections," a Zanu-PF official told inthenews.co.uk.
Observers said a move by Mugabe to include such Zanu-PF hardliners in Cabinet will knock the confidence of western donors' that were waiting for uplifting Cabinet appointments to the unity government.
Western donors have already expressed optimism to the success of the unity government which is being formed between politicians who have been rivals for a decade.
The MDC will have 13 ministers and six deputy ministers while Mr Mugabe's party will have 15 ministers and eight deputies in line with a September 15th 2008 power-sharing agreement.
Another Zanu-PF official told inthenews.co.uk: "Mr Mugabe needs the hardliners to push forward Zanu-PF policies and to stand firm against the MDC in this unity government."
Mr Mugabe has already set the tone by appointing Zanu-PF hawks to a joint monitoring implementation committee (JOMIC) that will oversee the progress of the unity government.
The appointed Zanu-PF hawks in the JOMIC - Emmerson Mnangagwa, Patrick Chinamasa, Nicholas Goche and Oppah Muchinguri -, who will be rewarded with cabinet posts, were key in Mugabe's political comeback.
Mnangagwa was the chairman of the feared joint operations command (COC) that orchestrated Mugabe's violent campaign in June.
Over 150 opposition supporters were left dead while tens of hundreds of others were displaced during the violent campaign that attracted international censure.
Chinamasa and Goche are Mugabe's trusted lieutenants and were Zanu-PF's negotiators during the power sharing talks with the MDC.
Zimbabwe Cricket's CEO talks about why, contrary to popular belief, he isn't the man who pulls the strings in the country's cricket administration
Interview by Martin Williamson
February 9, 2009
Ozias Bvute has been a controversial figure over the years of his association with the Zimbabwe board. He was appointed in 2001 to the then Zimbabwe Cricket Union as the head of its Integration Implementation Committee. He took on the role of the board's head of marketing, and rose to the rank of managing director in 2004. Long thought of as the man who wields the real power within the board - a charge he strenuously denies here - Bvute, in one of the very few interviews he has given, speaks about being refused entry into Australia to attend an ICC meeting, reacts to allegations about Zimbabwe Cricket being politicised, and looks back at the board's conflicts with players over the decade.
Are you, as has been implied, the real power behind the throne inside Zimbabwe Cricket?
It baffles me how I can be regarded as such. As CEO, I am an employee of the board. As the head of the ZC executive, I am responsible to the board for the day-to-day management of the organisation.
I formulate no policy myself and only sit on the board in an ex officio capacity, in keeping with the dictates of corporate governance. To ascribe to me powers that I cannot have in a professional organisation such as ZC is not only erroneous but an insult to the men and women who sit on the board and their constituencies.
It should be remembered that the process of enacting the current ZC constitution involved a wide spectrum of consultations and the draft passed through the then ICC CEO and president, who gave their input to bring the document into line with international best practice.
How would you respond to accusations that the board is, in fact, not democratic and has been purged of all opposition?
It baffles the mind that the word "purge" is used when no one was excluded from putting their names into the hat during the electoral process by approaching their clubs for nomination into provincial structures and thereafter the national board.
It's a fact that given the population demographics of the country, the majority of players and club officials are black, and so nominations coming from these clubs are predominantly black.
It's very flattering and intoxicating to be told that you wield power over the fortunes of men. Occasionally I wish that was so, but sadly it is not.
It has often been said that the board is a political body, taking orders from and implementing the policies of the government, and that your arrival accelerated that process.
Allow me to point out that my entry into cricket did not politicise the ZC board. For me to politicise the board would have meant bringing in political figures to run cricket in furtherance of their political ends.
You can look at any board that I have been a part of and on none of them has there been a person holding political office. To the contrary, the boards have comprised lawyers, educators, farmers and businessmen.
For you to best understand where cricket in Zimbabwe currently stands, I would like to give you some historical background. Please understand that any reference to black and white is not meant to be racial but is simply factual.
The greatest concentration of whites in Rhodesia was in 1975, when there were about 250,000 whites. As the war intensified, that number began to dwindle until settlement in 1979 and independence in 1980. It was reduced further by a massive emigration fuelled by white uncertainty over their future under a black dispensation.
Faced with the harsh reality of its sport threatened with extinction through dwindling numbers of its populace, the board of the then Zimbabwe Cricket Union decided, in 2001, to integrate cricket so that it could draw players from the majority [black] population of 13 million and infuse them with those from the remaining white population. This would create a national team whose membership reflected the racial diversity of Zimbabwe. In 2001, despite the racial composition of the country only three blacks, out of 13 million, were in the national team and two on the board.
The board set up a task force to deal with the integration. The process was methodical. The Integration Task Force drew up a voluminous and thorough document that was the roadmap to integration. It was the work of countless meetings that were not grounded in emotion but reality. Notwithstanding the history of the country and the deprivation caused by its racist government and institutions, the task force was emphatic that there was to be no malice and no vengeance in this move to change Zimbabwe cricket for the good, indeed the survival, of the game and for the nation.
The integration document caused a lot of anxiety among the white players and their parents, and yet it was not supposed to do so. Allegations of quotas were totally unfounded as the task force never dictated numbers but worked on an evolutionary process that aimed at a gradual increase in the numbers of black players making it to the national teams as the board proceeded with its development programme that generated throughout.
"I can understand that, given the current state of our supposed playing standard, we are more prone to scrutiny than others, but it would not surprise me if a check of all the boards of the ICC Full Member countries showed ZC's to be the most apolitical"
Why were there disputes between factions then?
Misunderstandings did arise in the implementation of the programme, and a year later some of the white players rebelled against the administration. But this was not the first-ever such act by the players. It was just the first since integration began.
Then in 2004, Zimbabwe had its first-ever loss to Bangladesh at Harare Sports Club and the captain and selectors felt that the person responsible was Stuart Matsikenyeri. But the administrators of the then Mashonaland Cricket Association, who were predominantly black, said they would not allow the team to take to the field against Bangladesh without Matsikenyeri and were even prepared to dig up the pitch. Thankfully, sense prevailed.
A few days after the series ended, Heath Streak resigned as captain and the board accepted that resignation. The other white players then walked out en masse, saying that the selection process was not fair.
But this was not the first rebellion. In England years before, a then predominantly white side walked out en masse saying their salaries were less than that of a bus driver in the United Kingdom. The then board had to bring in Lord Weeden to chair talks with the players.
A few years later, this time in the West Indies, there was another stalemate, with the players saying they no longer wanted Dave Houghton as coach. These are just two incidents in a litany of unbridled player power gone awry.
Such was their power there were even camps within the players, referred to as "Royal Families", which included the likes of Andy and Grant Flower and Alistair Campbell.
I fail to understand how another player uprising under my watch is now seen as evidence of my being political.
At every moment, ZC maintained an open-door policy. After the 2004 incident, we set up a Dispute Resolution Committee chaired by a prominent legal practitioner, Addington Chinake, which made progress such that most of the players returned to play.
But that wasn't the end of it, was it?
Player power was to return when we played New Zealand in Bulawayo and lost a Test match in two days. We then sat down and said that as part of the remedial measures we were going to change contracts to make them performance-based. That set up another fight between the then players association and the board.
During that series, the board held its annual general meeting in Bulawayo and unanimously dismissed the coach, Phil Simmons, the manager and the selectors. That set up a new fight with the administrators [of the associations], who felt their grip on power was loosening, using players to fight their cause. They also alleged that we were changing the contract structure because we had misused ZC money.
It was the old trick of throwing as much mud as possible in the hope that some of it would stick.
Among these allegations were those of breaching the country's foreign currency regulations, which brought in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe [RBZ]. Indeed there were violations, but these stretched to as far back as 1982 and so the courts convicted the body corporate.
Their other trick was to try to make the board ungovernable, and so those discontented administrators, who were board members, boycotted duly convened meetings.
The country's supreme sports regulatory authority, the Sports and Recreation Commission [SRC], was then forced to step in. You may want to find out who was keen for the SRC to be involved. It was certainly not me!
Having come in, the SRC used simple logic to break the impasse. On the basis that they had shown their goodwill to run the game, the Commission appointed onto an interim committee those members of the old board who had continued to come to meetings during the standoff. It added to that number other stakeholders.
If the SRC involvement in cricket was political because the organisation was set up by an Act of Parliament, was it political when the SRC was invited?
In which case, those who invited it should accept blame for "politicising" the game, or did the involvement become political only because of the decision the SRC reached?
In which case the accusation of politicisation should be dismissed as sour grapes.
As one of the terms of reference for the interim committee, a new constitution was drawn up which paved the way for a new democratically elected board inclusive of all the country's 10 provincial associations.
But it is claimed that elected board contained political figures.
Frankly speaking, ZC, like any other organisation, is made up of people who have various political views. I do not enquire of these views as it is not my business. In the same way as it is not your business to enquire about Giles Clarke's political affiliations. And it is not important. Democracy is founded on choice and whatever that choice is, it remains the prerogative of that individual.
In my own case, the truth of the matter is that, like every Zimbabwean, I will comment on issues, whether good or bad, that concern me. But I am not a politician and do not wish to be one. It goes beyond fiction for me to have a conversation with a journalist or player and afterwards tell them which political party I support.
Martin, you may as a British citizen be a Conservative or member of New Labour and I as an individual respect that. But for me to go out and, without cross-checking with you, start saying that just by the way you write you belong to this or that party is surely stretching matters.
For the record, undoubtedly Zanu-PF has been the dominant player on the Zimbabwe political stage before and after independence. Thus, it is not surprising that, at one time, the suggestion was made that the then prime minister be patron of the then Zimbabwe Cricket Union, and a largely white board unanimously accepted the nomination, sent him the invitation and vigorously campaigned for his acceptance. The letter is on file.
If you are, as you say, apolitical, why were you and Peter Chingoka recently banned from entering Australia by the government there?
It's unfair to judge without trial. It is unfair to judge on the basis of innuendo. Your readers may know that until last year Nelson Mandela remained on the United States list of terrorists. A Nobel Peace Prize winner and a worldwide symbol of freedom a terrorist! And his democratically elected South African ruling party, the African National Congress, was classified as a terrorist organisation!
The lesson to draw from that is that one does not change one's principles simply on the basis of some people's reaction to them. If the principles are right, in time the holder will be vindicated.
If on the basis that I have fought for cricket to be a multi-racial sport I should be banned from entering certain countries, then I sleep with a clear conscience. Clearly it is better to be banned when I believe in the justice of my principle than to change that principle in return for entry.
What is your vision of the future for Zimbabwe cricket?
I am committed that in the not-so-distant future Zimbabwe takes its hard-earned place on the ICC ODI and Test rankings and that you and I will sit together then and have a drink and wonder about the years of disbelief, distortion and discouragement.
Sport is a cycle. Those on top will not always be there. Thus, Zimbabwe will not always be at the bottom. Our assumption of the dizzy heights may not happen in our lifetime but I am happy that we have laid the foundation for Zimbabwe teams to be selected from all over the country, regardless of race, colour or creed.
To help take the local game where we want it to go, we need the support, knowledge and assistance of the international cricket community. To promote cricket in Zimbabwe, Cricinfo can help by giving its readers a balanced analysis of what Zimbabwe Cricket is trying to achieve.
I am not asking for blinkered praise for our cricket, but there are many people who, on a daily basis, work with me in difficult circumstances to build the game in this country. It is only fair that their achievements be recognised.
Just this last season, I have watched with great pleasure the spinning abilities of Prosper Utseya and Ray Price, noted with pride Tatenda Taibu's selection for the Indian Premier League, noticed the dedication and improvement that Elton [Chigumbura] is showing in both his batting and bowling, the prowess of Hamilton [Masakadza] with the willow and the abundant all-round promise in Sean Williams.
But even as I enjoyed all that, I have continued to work with my management and staff to ensure that, next season and the others to come, the game will remain accessible to anyone who wants to play it.
This is because, long after the fanfare over Zimbabwe politics is ended, cricket will still be played here.
At the ICC meeting recently, the report into the state of the game said that it could be up to two years before Zimbabwe was ready to resume playing Test cricket. Is that reasonable?
We still have some work to do with regards to returning to Test cricket, I think the time frame that all our stakeholders are agreeable on is anything between six months and two years. We will, however, endeavour to ensure that it will be under two years. So the ICC comment is fair and we do not dispute it.
Finally, how heartened have you been by recent results?
I am obviously pleased that the boys are starting to show maturity. We have always believed in them and continue to believe in them. We think that if they continue to play competitive cricket more regularly, their standard will be at a level where we will all be happy.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
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“I can understand that, given the current state of our supposed playing standard, we are more prone to scrutiny than others, but it would not surprise me if a check of all the boards of the ICC Full Member countries showed ZC's to be the most apolitical”
"Zimbabwe Cricket, like any other organisation, is made up of people who have various political views. I do not enquire of these views as it is not my business"
"I can understand that, given the current state of our supposed playing standard, we are more prone to scrutiny than others, but it would not surprise me if a check of all the boards of the ICC Full Member countries showed ZC's to be the most apolitical"
"If on the basis that I have fought for cricket to be a multi-racial sport I should be banned from entering certain countries, then I sleep with a clear conscience"
made to the article “Zim cricket run out by their shady bosses” posted on your
website on Monday the 8th of
would want to know that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) runs the game at national level in
the country. It is responsible for the day-to-day management and administration
of the country’s competitive cricket.
does not include running any club, including Alexandra Sports Club, as clubs are
the responsibility of their provincial associations, which bodies are affiliated
Clubs run their
own affairs under their club committees. They are member-driven. The members pay
subscriptions for the club’s upkeep and it is from that revenue that the clubs
maintain their facilities, for example cutting grass.
the present economic situation in Zimbabwe, many of these clubs have failed to
continue with their previous upkeep.
Had he toured
any of the country’s sports facilities, your reporter would have seen that this
is not peculiar to the cricket sections of the sports clubs. Tennis, squash and
basketball courts, rugby and hockey fields and swimming pools have all fallen
Our reference to
the state of other sports facilities is not meant to condone the state of the
cricket fields. It is merely to point out that any article that singles out the
state of cricket pitches and attributes this to the ZC administration – never
mind that is not their accountability – without seeing the state of neighbouring
facilities which would mean proceeding with a blanket treatment that will see
causality where it lies, is unfair, vindictive and malicious.
It is not
In future, the
reporter would do well to also get comment from ZC on matters that he wishes to
throw at ZC’s doorstep. We believe that giving the other side is a
non-negotiable principle of the trade…or has the Fourth Estate evolved beyond
will also want to know that, notwithstanding the fact that clubs are not our
responsibility but cognisant of the hardships many of them are facing with
maintenance, ZC continues to help where it can.
We had drawn up
a Memorandum of Understanding with the old Alexandra Sports Club committee. We
are now talking to the new committee to see how we can help with the maintenance
of the cricket side of the club.
We will not
react to the recycled financial allegations because the ICC Audit Committee and
ZC agreed that the outcome of the KPMG audit would be accepted by both parties
and all the stakeholders as a true reflection of the accounts of ZC as at the
31st of December 2006, and that that result would be accepted by all
and sundry to bury the past events which had led to acrimony between ZC and some
of its stakeholders.
address: Harare Sports Club, Josiah Tongogara Avenue, post: P.O. Box 2739, Harare,
tel: +263 (4) 253160-3, 704616-8, fax: +263 (4) 253164, mobile: +263(91 2) 226710
Please note: This email and
its content are subject to the disclaimer as displayed at the following link;
Zimbabwe Cricket email
The Associated Press
Published: February 11, 2009
A Harare court has rescinded a warrant for the arrest of test cricketer Tatenda Taibu that was issued last Friday when the former Zimbabwe captain failed to appear at his trial on assault charges.
Taibu is alleged to have assaulted Zimbabwe Cricket general finance manager Esther Lupepe last October following an alteration over outstanding payments he said were owed to him.
The Harare court public prosecutor on Wednesday accepted an explanation that Taibu's failure to appear in court was due to a communication breakdown with his lawyer Jonathan Samkange. The hearing will reconvene next Monday.
During Zimbabwe's recent tour of Kenya, Taibu informed Samkange that he would be taking up a club contract offer in Bangladesh soon after the series that would make him unavailable for the scheduled Feb. 6 court appearance.
The Bangladesh club deal broke down, meaning Taibu had to return home with the rest of the Zimbabwe team last Thursday. Assuming a court postponement had already been effected, he did not inform his lawyer about his presence in the country.