February 12, 2009
Martin Fletcher and Jan Raath in Harare
After a decade of bloodshed, sacrifice and suffering, Zimbabweans erupted in
joy and jubilation - emotions almost extinct after 29 years of President
Mugabe's misrule - as Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as Prime Minister
Hours after the ceremony that broke Mr Mugabe's long monopoly on power a
huge and euphoric throng poured into a stadium in Harare to hail the man to
whom they are looking - perhaps prematurely - for liberation from so much
hunger, violence and repression. They sang, danced and brazenly flaunted the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) hats and T-shirts that they would have
kept well hidden before yesterday. They roared their approval as Mr
Tsvangirai promised the food, jobs and political freedoms that they have
been denied for a generation.
"For too long our people's hopes for a bright and prosperous future have
been betrayed," he declared, in a speech that was a stinging indictment of
Mr Mugabe's disastrous record. "Instead of hope their days have been filled
with starvation, disease and fear. A culture of entitlement and impunity has
brought our nation to the brink of a dark abyss. This must end today."
The huge, exuberant rally offered a stark contrast to the joyless ceremony
at State House hours earlier, where Mr Mugabe had sourly administered the
oath of office to the man whom his thugs have repeatedly beaten, imprisoned
and attempted to assassinate.
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It was an electric but icy encounter. The two men never smiled, barely
looked at each other and exchanged only the briefest of handshakes. Grace
Mugabe, the President's wife - who vowed during last year's disputed
elections that Mr Tsvangirai would "never step [sic] foot in State House" -
pointedly shook the hands of his two deputies after they were sworn in but
not the new Prime Minister's.
Mr Mugabe's body language gave the lie to his rhetoric. "I offer my hand of
friendship and co-operation, warm co-operation and solidarity in the service
of our great country Zimbabwe," he told the small, invited audience. "If
yesterday we were adversaries ... today we stand in unity. It's a victory
Just as the event at the stadium was in effect an MDC victory rally, so the
inauguration was stage-managed by Zanu (PF) to demonstrate that Mr Mugabe
was still in charge. The generals who enforce Mr Mugabe's violent rule
stayed away so that they would not have to salute the new Prime Minister and
state-controlled television and radio failed to broadcast his inaugural
speech. The invocation was delivered by Nolbert Kunonga, the former Bishop
of Harare, who is known as "Mr Mugabe's bishop" and who was defrocked by the
Thokozani Khupe, an MDC stalwart sworn in as one of Mr Tsvangirai's two
deputies, offered a gesture of defiance when she took the oath with the
fingers of her uplifted hand splayed outwards in an MDC salute.
Though subdued at the inauguration, Mr Tsvangirai came alive at the
subsequent rally and made promises that startled Western observers. In an
attempt to win over the disgruntled security forces he pledged that all
soldiers and policemen, as well as teachers and health workers, would be
paid in foreign currency from the end of this month. In return he asked that
all striking public sector workers return to their desks and all schools
reopen on Monday. Western diplomats said that they had no idea where the
bankrupt Treasury would find the funds.
"We are opening a new chapter for our country," Mr Tsvangirai said, as he
appealed for national healing and identified his three priorities as
democratisation, ending the humanitarian crisis and stabilising the economy.
He vowed to create a country free of political violence - "the knobkerrie
[club] in the back of the head must end today". He promised a Zimbabwe where
people could associate and express themselves freely "without fear of
reprisal or repression". He pledged a land "where jobs are available for
those who wish to work, food is available for those who are hungry, and
where we are united by our respect for the rights and dignity of our fellow
citizens". He promised to restore a free media, the rule of law and
Zimbabwe's devastated agricultural sector.
Mr Tsvangirai will face an immense task keeping those promises, given the
enormity of Zimbabwe's problems. Seventy per cent of the population depend
on international food aid, 94 per cent are unemployed, the country is
ravaged by cholera, its currency has been destroyed by hyperinflation and
its industries and farms are moribund. "We will need help from the
international community, and I ask them to engage with us to rebuild our
nation," Mr Tsvangirai said.
The West is very wary of providing finance to rebuild Zimbabwe while Mr
Mugabe remains in office, and for all Mr Tsvangirai's bold rhetoric it was
clear that the President remains a huge obstacle to reform. The fate of 30
political detainees has become a litmus test of Mr Mugabe's true intentions.
Mr Tsvangirai had made their release a condition of him entering the unity
Government but last night they remained behind bars.
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, issued a cautious statement saying
that Mr Tsvangirai's appointment offered "the possibility of a change for
the better". He said that the delivery of international reconstruction aid
would depend on the unity government immediately releasing the detainees and
demonstrating a commitment to economic stabilisation, restoring the rule of
law, respecting human rights, repealing repressive legislation and holding
timely and free elections.
Thursday 12 February 2009
February 11 2009
The Inauguration Speech of the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe,
His Excellency, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
Your Majesty, King Mswati III, the Chairman of the AU Commission, Mr Jean
Ping, President Mugabe, former President Mbeki, Your Excellencies, Honoured
Guests, People of Zimbabwe,
Today is an historic day for our country. As we form this transitional
government, we look back with reflection on the difficult journey that has
brought us to this day, and look forward with determination to the road that
To my fellow African leaders, there can be no turning back on the political
agreement which each party has signed, knowing it is not a perfect agreement
but still a workable one. An agreement that if implemented with good faith,
will deliver a peaceful way forward toward a stable economy, a new
constitution and free and fair elections. Brothers and sisters in SADC and
the AU, we are counting on you to be our partners and to ensure that this
agreement is upheld as we face the challenges of rebuilding our country in
the days ahead.
Though today's ceremony marks a very significant milestone on our democratic
journey, it is only the beginning. On this day 19 years ago Nelson Mandela
walked free from Victor Verster prison, an historic step on South Africa's
long road to freedom.
But former President Mandela's release did not signify the end of his
people's struggle for democracy. His personal liberation showed that the
victory of freedom over oppression was near. But on February 11th 1990, make
no mistake, freedom had still not arrived. Only with the courageous effort
and compromise by all parties was a peaceful transition finally possible.
With the formation of this transitional government, President Mugabe,
Professor Mutambara and I have pledged, in the sight of God, to deliver to
the nation a new political dispensation.
This is our promise to you, to our children and to the future generations of
Zimbabweans. This is the debt that we owe to our liberation heroes and our
democratic heroes who paid the ultimate price so that we could all live
together, free from fear, hunger and poverty.
For too long, Zimbabwe has endured violent political polarization. This must
For too long, our people's hopes for a bright and prosperous future have
been betrayed. Instead of hope, their days have been filled with starvation,
disease and fear. A culture of entitlement and impunity has brought our
nation to the brink of a dark abyss.
This must end today.
Economic collapse has forced millions of our most able to flee the country
seeking menial jobs, for which they are often overqualified but underpaid.
They have had to leave their children behind to be cared for by the elderly,
who do not have the resources to feed them and watch in despair as these
flowers of our nation wilt and die.
This must end today.
People of Zimbabwe, I have a vision for our country that will guide me as
Prime Minister. I will work to create a society where our values are
stronger than the threat of violence, where our children's future and
happiness is more important than present political goals and where a person
is free to express an opinion, loudly, openly and publicly without fear of
reprisal or repression. A country where jobs are available for those who
wish to work, food is available for those that are hungry and where we are
united by our respect for the rights and dignity of our fellow citizens.
This is the Zimbabwe that I am working towards.
To achieve this vision, my priorities are very clear.
Firstly, we must implement our democratisation agenda.
Through parliament, the people's representatives in the MDC and Zanu PF,
will pass legislation to restore the people's freedoms, create the mechanism
through which a people's constitution can be created, reestablish the rule
of law and promote the independent media. Our liberation war was fought to
provide political freedoms to all Zimbabweans and we intend to restore them
as a matter of urgency.
As I stand before you, more than 30 innocent people continue to languish in
jail months are being abducted and illegally detained. While I will not
interfere in the judicial process, I will make it a priority to ensure that
the law is upheld and that the justice system deals with their cases in a
fair, equitable and transparent manner in the shortest possible time frame
People of Zimbabwe, I call upon all of us to put aside our differences, to
begin a process of national healing within every community, to work across
party lines and look forward together with hope, while learning from a sad
past that has so devastated our nation and our people.
Our second priority is tackling the humanitarian crisis with every means
In the immediate days ahead we will focus on the cholera crisis. We will
urgently reduce both the number of outbreaks and the unacceptably high
mortality level by tackling the causes of the epidemic.
We will also ensure that every Zimbabwean has access to emergency food aid
regardless of tribal or political affiliation. In this regard, we will
ensure that the people can access humanitarian food aid on a non-partisan
basis. I call upon the chiefs and local councilors to work together to
ensure that all those that are deserving can access the help they require.
To all of the international relief agencies and donors who have assisted us,
let me say thank you on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe. It will be the
mandate of this government to do all we can to make it easier to help
alleviate the suffering of every Zimbabwean as we tackle the humanitarian
issues gripping our country. In this regard, I will ensure greater impact
and efficiency in the distribution of emergency and development aid by
appointing a senior member of my cabinet to coordinate emergency and
In addition to emergency food distribution, the transitional government will
make food more available and more affordable by removing all duties on
foodstuffs imported into the country. In the short term, we will convene a
food summit of all relevant stakeholders to help us ensure that no
Zimbabwean goes hungry. We will introduce incentives to resuscitate and
rehabilitate the local food manufacturing industry and we will move towards
self-sufficiency in food production beginning with the next agricultural
The third priority is to stabilise the economy.
Out of the 20 fastest growing countries in the world, 15 are in Africa.
Indeed, despite the overall economic gloom in the world today, the
International Monetary Fund predicts a growth rate of 6.3% in sub Saharan
Africa in 2009. As the world slows down, much of Africa is still growing.
This is good news for us as we all know, if we work together, Zimbabwe has
the skills and resources to contribute to this hopeful trend.
To get our economy going again, we must get the country working again. This
starts with an educated and healthy workforce. Our schools, once amongst the
best on the continent, can be restored to that standard of excellence.
Similarly, our hospitals must be places of healing, with the staff and
resources to prevent and treat disease.
The professionals in our civil service are the backbone of our government,
making sure that policy decisions are carried out and delivery of government
services moves efficiently and accountably. Today our public service has
ground to a halt as many of our patriotic government employees can no longer
afford to eat, let alone pay for transport to their place of work.
If we are to successfully address our nation's humanitarian crisis, we must
first address the urgent plight of our civil servants.
As Prime Minister I make this commitment that, as from the end of this
month, our professionals in the civil service, every health worker, teacher,
soldier and policeman will receive their pay in foreign currency until we
are able to stabilise the economy.
These hard currency salaries will enable people to go to work, to feed their
families and to survive until such time that we can begin to sustain
ourselves as a country.
My Fellow Zimbabweans, as we work together to rebuild our country, all of us
must do our part. This will sometimes require sacrifices. In this respect, I
ask every school be re-opened, and that every member of the civil service is
behind his or her desk on Monday providing service to Zimbabweans.
As your Prime Minister, I will ensure that there is a clear distinction
between the party and the state.
As your Prime Minister I will be open and honest with you.
It will take time, commitment and unity of purpose to rebuild our great
country. I appeal to all Zanu PF supporters and MDC supporters, to recognize
the legitimacy and contribution of the other party to our nation's history
and our nation's future and work together to restore our pride in our people
and our country.
We will need help from the international community and I ask them to engage
with us to rebuild our nation and to work towards reestablishing a
relationship that is not based on humanitarian assistance alone.
People of Zimbabwe, we face many challenges but we are brave and
resourceful. By uniting as a nation and a people we can succeed. If you
match our efforts with your own, we will succeed, if you match our desires
with your own, we will succeed, if you match our dreams for Zimbabwe with
your own, we will succeed.
At each point in our proud history we have looked forward not backwards, we
have stood for hope not fear, we have believed in love not hate, and we have
never lost touch with our democratic values or sight of our democratic
People of Zimbabwe, I ask you to support me as your Prime Minister and the
efforts of our new transitional government. I ask you to share my vision for
our great country, to work with me to rebuild our nation and to walk with me
on this promising phase of our journey to a true and lasting democracy.
May God bless you and May God Bless Zimbabwe - ZimOnline
by Nokuthula Sibanda Wednesday 11 February 2009
HARARE - The European Union presidency, the Czech Republic, has welcomed the
swearing in of former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangrai as the country's
prime minister, pledging to assist in the recovery of the country.
"The EU presidency in Harare welcomes the swearing in of Mr Morgan
Tsvangirai as Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and congratulates
him and his deputies," the EU said in a statement.
"This is an important step on the way to democratic rule in the country. The
EU hopes the formation of the new government will lead to an immediate end
to political violence and intimidation, and to a condition that will
contribute to the stabilisation and recovery of Zimbabwe.
"The EU reiterates its commitment to the people of Zimbabwe through its
substantial and long humanitarian aid programme.
"It also stands 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 macroeconomic stabilisation."
Last month, the EU tightened its screws on President Robert Mugabe's
government for the next 12 months.
Since 2002, the EU has tightened its political stance against the Mugabe
administration, which it accuses of human rights abuse, political
intolerance and mismanagement. Mugabe however denies the charge accusing the
West of trying to overthrow him.
Brussels again appealed for the release of 32 human rights and opposition
activists held in jail.
"The EU is deeply concerned that political prisoners detained on
unsubstantiated charges, still remain in Zimbabwe's prisons," the EU said,
adding: "The EU calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to immediately release
all the detainees, to demonstrate respect for human rights and begin to
establish confidence in the rule of law in Zimbabwe."
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).
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. - ZimOnline
By Violet Gonda
11 February 2009
Zimbabwe's new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai vowed on Wednesday to secure
the release of more than 30 prisoners of conscience who have been in jail
Speaking to thousands of supporters at Glamis Stadium after his official
swearing in, the Prime Minister said: "It hurts that as we celebrate here
today there are some who are in prison. I can assure you that they are not
going to remain in those dungeons any day or any week longer."
On Tuesday Tsvangirai declared that political prisoners must be released
before he was sworn in, although he did not say what he would do if this
Analysts say that Tsvangirai's inauguration speech Wednesday was generally
optimistic, inspiring and envisaged a new chapter for Zimbabwe, but it
remains to be seen how the issue of human rights violations and impunity
will be dealt with - in a country that has endured a violent political
Meanwhile, civic leader Jestina Mukoko and scores of MDC activists were
remanded in custody again, on the very day of Tsvangirai's inauguration. One
of their lawyers, Andrew Makoni, said the victims were not even brought to
court, with the prison officials using the same excuse, that they had no
fuel. The court deferred the matter to Friday.
Makoni also said the court ordered the State to allow some of the detainees
to be taken to hospital. Those cited as needing urgent medical attention are
MDC activist Fidelis Chiramba (in his 70s) and Mukoko. Both are said to be
in a serious condition and the court said they should be taken to hospital
immediately. This is the fourth order given by the courts for the activists
to be taken to hospital, but ignored by the authorities.
A second group of detained activists are supposed to appear in court next
Furthermore eight protestors and two lawyers remain in police custody, a day
after they were arrested in Harare during a peaceful demonstration by the
Women of Zimbabwe Arise.
This latest group of activists spending time in filthy police cells are
Roselyn Hanzi and Tawanda Zhuwarara from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights; plus Nelia Hambarume, Clara Bongwe, Auxilia Tarumbwa, Gracy
Mutambachirimo, Linda Moyo, Keure Chikomo, Edina Saidi and Kundai
Mupfukudzwa from WOZA.
They are being charged with allegedly provoking a breach of the peace under
the draconian Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition expressed deep concern that the MDC went ahead with the
inauguration, without a clear ultimatum demanding the freeing of the
activists, despite clear evidence of the Mugabe regime's insincerity.
The groups said: "The Forum is deeply concerned and condemns the failure by
the political parties to ensure the release of Jestina Mukoko, the Director
of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, Frank Muchirahondo and Daniel Mlenga, both
USAID employees, and many other prisoners of conscience from Chikurubi
Prison and other places of detention."
"We strongly believe that they are being held on frivolous, trumped up
political charges, which have no substance at law. Further it is becoming
increasingly evident that political prisoners were used as mere pawns by the
political protagonists for political leverage."
By Lance Guma
11 February 2008
A call by the South African government for targeted sanctions on Zimbabwean
officials and companies to be lifted, is likely to fall on deaf ears. On
Tuesday South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and the Director General
in the Foreign Affairs Department, Ayanda Ntsaluba, both said the 'sanctions'
had to be lifted in order to allow the unity government a chance to succeed.
'People in Zimbabwe will also more likely support the peace process if they
can see a number of positive spin-offs happening,' Ntsaluba said. Analysts
however said this position was highly misleading given the sanctions
targeted only specific individuals and companies shoring up Mugabe's regime.
It has been a deliberate and constant tactic of Mugabe's government to
portray the targeted sanctions as the reason for the economic collapse in
the country. Several African countries, including South Africa, have
knowingly or unknowingly played into this argument. Ntsaluba for example
said the lifting of the 'sanctions' would allow for the inflow of much
needed humanitarian aid into the country. This is despite the fact that the
western countries that put the targeted sanctions in place, still finance
humanitarian aid into Zimbabwe. The US State Department's Robert Wood said
although they would wait to see evidence of genuine power sharing, they will
continue to provide humanitarian assistance.
Britain's Africa Minister, Lord Malloch Brown, last month said his country
would maintain pressure on Mugabe and his inner-circle via the targeted
sanctions. 'There is a misunderstanding of what these sanctions are. They
are aimed at the individuals, and the companies supporting these
individuals, around Mr. Mugabe. They are not aimed at the country of
Zimbabwe or it's people. To keep the squeeze on these people, to make sure
they do really share power and perform properly in this new government we
need to keep this lever for a while,' he said. Britain also said it needed
to see real progress and results from the unity deal, before reviewing these
Hardly a week after the opposition committed itself to joining the unity
government last month Mugabe's regime went on a major offensive to convince
western countries to remove the measures. This triggered accusations they
were only interested in using the MDC as window dressing to earn legitimacy
and gain international acceptance, and that there was absolutely no
intention of really sharing power.
by Wayne Mafaro Thursday 12 February 2009
HARARE -- Newly appointed Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday
promised to pay civil servants in hard cash in a bid to lure teachers,
doctors, nurses and thousands of other government workers back to work and
get Zimbabwe functioning again.
Tsvangirai, who was moments earlier sworn in as Prime Minister by President
Robert Mugabe to open a new chapter of cooperation with the veteran leader,
urged all Zimbabwe's political parties to embrace reconciliation and refocus
their energies to rebuilding the country.
"From this month, all civil servants will receive salaries in foreign
currency. Therefore I am asking every teacher to return to schools and every
school to be opened. Every civil servant must be on your desk this Monday,"
Tsvangirai said, in a speech delivered before more than 15 000 supporters
at a sports arena outside Harare city centre.
Most of Zimbabwe's public schools have remained closed two weeks after they
were supposed to have opened for the first term of the year because teachers
are either on strike for more pay or are unable to report for duty because
they cannot afford bus fare on their paltry salaries.
Likewise, most state hospitals are closed because doctors and nurses are on
strike for more money.
The closure of schools and hospitals has highlighted Zimbabwe's worst ever
economic and humanitarian crisis, also seen in hyperinflation, 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 since
Tsvangirai, who has been personally victimized by state security forces
loyal to Mugabe, called for a new political era of tolerance and
non-violence, saying Zimbabweans had to let bygones be bygones in order to
march forward as a united nation.
He said: "People of Zimbabwe, I call upon all of us to put aside our
differences, to begin a process of national healing within every community,
to work across party lines and look forward together with hope, while
learning from a sad past that has so devastated our nation and our people."
He called for an end to human rights abuses and said a group of human rights
and activists and members of his own MDC party abducted by state agents and
still in captivity should be released.
"All political abductees must be released now. They are not going to stay in
prison any day or week longer," he said. "I will work to create a society
where values are greater than violence. Violations of human rights must end
Tsvangirai promised to work to stabilize Zimbabwe's free falling economy and
said he would soon convene a summit to mobilise food aid to meet the
immediate needs of millions of hungry people.
He called on the international community to extend aid to Zimbabwe to help
feed hungry people now and to assist the country resuscitate its comatose
"We will need help from the international community," Zimbabwe's new Prime
Tsvangirai, who in the past often complained that state workers loyal to
Mugabe's ZANU PF party were denying food to hungry MDC supporters, called
for the de-politicisation of food aid.
He said: "Every hungry Zimbabwean must have access to food aid regardless of
political or tribal affiliation. Food must be for everyone who is hungry. We
call upon chiefs and councilors to work together to ensure that food is
distributed freely to everyone."
Tsvangirai said he would appoint a Cabinet minister to oversee and
coordinate food distribution with relief agencies.
Among other key priorities, Tsvangirai said he would focus on tackling
Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic that the World Health Organisation said this
week was the worst outbreak of the killer disease in Africa in 15 years.
Tsvangirai also promised to free the media and to ensure state institutions
stayed away from party politics.
Analysts say the unity government offers Zimbabwe its best chance in a
decade to end its crisis and begin afresh on the road to sustainable
economic and social recovery.
However, many remain sceptical that the 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 lukewarm to
the unity government, unconvinced that a unity government led by Mugabe will
implement the wide ranging reforms required to revive the southern African
country. - ZimOnline.
by Hendricks Chizhanje Thursday 12 February 2009
HARARE - A Zimbabwean magistrate on Thursday ordered prison officials
to take detained human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko and opposition
activist Fidelis Chiramba to a Harare hospital for medical examination.
Magistrate Gloria Takundwa issued the directive after defence lawyer
Alec Muchadehama asked her to use her powers to ensure the two received
treatment at the Avenues private clinic, one of a few working hospitals in
Takundwa ordered prison officials to immediately release Mukoko and
Chiramba to the hospital while she also asked the state to appoint its own
team of doctors to examine the two.
She said requested defence lawyers and the state to submit reports to
her in order to enable her to make a ruling on whether the two activists
should be kept at the hospital or returned to jail.
The two's health is said to have seriously deteriorated while in jail
where prison officials have kept them despite numerous orders to release
them so they could receive proper treatment.
Mukoko, a former state broadcaster and now director of human rights
organisation Zimbabwe Peace Project, and Chiramba are among a group of
rights activists and opposition MDC members accused of attempting to recruit
people for military training in neighbouring Botswana to overthrow Mugabe.
The accused were all kidnapped from different places last year and
held incommunicado for several weeks during which their lawyers say they
were severely tortured by state agents in a bid to force them to admit to
the charges of banditry.
MDC leader and newly appointed Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Morgan
Tsvangirai yesterday called for the immediate release of all detained
"All political abductees must be released now. They are not going to
stay in prison any day or week longer," Tsvangirai told thousands of
supporters in Harare, moments after his inauguration as Premier. -
by Tendai Maronga Thursday 12 February 2009
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was on Wednesday allocated four
state security agents to keep him guard, in an ironic twist of events for
the man who was on several occasions victimized and even brutally assaulted
by the same security forces before assuming his new role.
As Tsvangirai addressed thousands of supporters at Harare's Glamis Stadium,
hours after being inaugurated at State House, the four bodyguards, who have
formed part of President Robert Mugabe's close security in the past, stood
A source from Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said
the four bodyguards were offered to him soon after the inauguration and will
complement the team that he already had.
The move however did not go down well with some of the bodyguards who had
been part of Tsvangirai's security team over the past 10 years and are now
"We are happy with the security but as you know the move will have its own
victims," said one of the MDC security personnel who could not be named for
security reasons. "Some youngsters who had been guarding Tsvangirai are now
A government of national unity is expected to start work this week after the
inauguration of Tsvangirai as Prime Minister yesterday while ministers will
be sworn in on Friday.
Mugabe will head the unity government while another opposition leader Arthur
Mutambara and Tsvangirai's deputy in the MDC, Thokozani Khupe, will be
deputy prime ministers. - ZimOnline
by Simplicious Chirinda Thursday 12 February 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe's justice system needs a complete overhaul to
restore its credibility, the country's new Deputy Minister of Justice said
Mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party's Jessie Majome,
who was named on Tuesday by the party's leader and now Prime Minister of
Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, as one of his six deputy ministers in a unity
government, told ZimOnline that she will work towards the rebirth of the
"We cannot talk of justice in Zimbabwe at the moment," said Majome on
the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony of Tsvangirai and his two deputy
prime ministers at State House on Wednesday.
"There will be need for a complete overhaul. There is no stationery in
the courts, there is nothing. It's a big task which will call for serious
A lawyer by profession, Majome said she was aware of the enormity of
the task that lay ahead and was ready for the challenge.
"It's an honour and I feel I am up to the challenge. It would not be
easy but the MDC has walked a long road. The MDC knows the intricacies of
how the Zimbabwe justice system has not worked," said Majome.
Last month the MDC said if it wins power it would reform the country's
judiciary that has been blighted by numerous incidents of state interference
Zimbabwe's bench - purged of independent judges by President Robert
Mugabe - is often accused by human rights lawyers of lacking courage to
defend the rights of citizens against a government that has relied on brutal
force to keep dissension in check in the face of a worsening economic and
In a speech marking the beginning of the new legal year, Judge
President Rita Makarau threatened to take unspecified action against some
lawyers she did not name for daring to criticise the judiciary for its
alleged lack of independence.
The failure by the judiciary in past years to clamp down on political
violence and human rights abuses mostly perpetrated by ruling ZANU PF party
militia and state security agents has fed perceptions the bench lacks both
courage and independence.
Lately, failure by the courts to compel police to release Mukoko and
dozens of opposition activists to hospital so they could get treatment after
they were tortured while in custody only helped to entrench the view that
the bench is timid and malleable.
Several of the country's respected judges have been forced out of the
country after handing judgments that were not favourable to the state,
especially in cases of a political nature and the controversial land reform
A government of national unity is expected to start work this week
after the inauguration of Tsvangirai as Prime Minister yesterday while
ministers will be sworn in on Friday.
Mugabe will head the unity government while another opposition leader
Arthur Mutambara and Tsvangirai's deputy in the MDC, Thokozani Khupe will be
deputy prime ministers. - ZimOnline
February 11, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Beleaguered Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono,
shrugging off mounting calls for his ouster, has struck a conciliatory note
by suggesting that he is ready to cooperate with the new Finance Minister,
MDC secretary general Tendai Biti.
Biti, named Finance Minister Tuesday and one of 13 to represent the
mainstream MDC in the cabinet, has been in the forefront of calls for the
dismissal of Gono. He points out that no reconstruction package will be
forthcoming as long as Gono remains at the helm of the central bank.
President Mugabe, on the other hand, has been adamant that Gono cannot be
fired. He credits the central bank boss with busting sanctions. Mugabe
accuses the MDC of campaigning for imposition of visa and financial
sanctions against himself and top officials of his government and party, and
says Gono has done a great job of keeping the country's economy on track
despite the sanctions.
Biti accuses Gono, President Mugabe's right hand-man, of wrecking the
economy by pandering to presidential whims, trashing conventional economic
models, looting from the State coffers, funding Zanu-PF's terror campaign
and cutting corners, for example by printing large quantities of worthless
It is believed the MDC has taken a position that Gono must go and is
currently head-hunting in the financial sector for a new central bank
Authoritative sources said the MDC was considering respected banker, Nigel
Chanakira, the Kingdom Financial Holdings boss, for the central bank job.
Biti has been extra-ordinarily vocal in his call for the removal of Gono, at
one point comparing the damage Gono has wrought on the economy to the
September 11 carnage on the Twin Towers in the US.
On the campaign trail in Masvingo two weeks ahead of the historic March 29
general election, Biti told an MDC rally at Mucheke Stadium: "Gono is the
number one enemy of this country, not inflation.
"He has been stoking the fires of inflation through quasi-fiscal activities.
In other countries if a central bank governor admits to printing money he
will face the firing squad. Gono is the number one economic saboteur,
terrorist and Al Qaeda."
The Zimbabwe Times heard that there tension is high at the central bank
ahead of Friday, when Biti takes the oath of office as Minister of Finance.
The re-appointment of Gono in November to a second five-year term of office
sparked outrage from the MDC and Zimbabwe's business community, with the MDC
stating that this constituted a breach of the September 15 power-sharing
agreement which prescribed that all executive appointments be made in
consultation between the President and the Prime Minister.
Mugabe unilaterally renewed Gono's mandate.
Mugabe first appointed Gono RBZ governor in December 2003 after noting his
success in turning around the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe into a respected
financial institution and leading the ZBC turn-around strategy. The
government channelled government business to the Jewel Bank as it came to be
known. Members of the armed forces were required to open accounts with the
bank so that their salaries could be processed there. Even the payouts of
University of Zimbabwe students were processed through a branch opened for
the purpose on the Mt Pleasant campus.
There was little room left by government for Gono to fail in seeking to turn
around the Zimbabwe operation of the largely corruption-ridden, discredited
and now defunct international Bank of Credit and Commerce.
Gono is also Mugabe's personal banker.
The early days of his tenure at the Reserve Bank were marked by excessive
pomp and a dip in Zimbabwe's supersonic inflation and a subsequent crackdown
on the banking sector that saw almost half a dozen indigenous-owned banks
shut down over one alleged mischief or other.
However, his stop-gap measures slowly ground to an inglorious halt as the
effects of printing money began fuelling hyperinflation, leaving him
grasping at straws. Gono appears to have become wealthier in inverse
proportion to the collapse of the Zimbabwe economy. He owns businesses,
farming estates, real estate. He is now said to be one of Zimbabwe's
wealthiest citizens. Riled by tales of his immense wealth, a group of
starving soldiers paid a surprise visit to a large-scale chicken project
owned by the governor and relieved him of 200 plumb birds.
Mugabe's arbitrary renewal last November of Gono's mandate against a
backdrop of unprecedented economic collapse sparked instant outrage.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said: "In the eyes of the Zimbabwean people and
the MDC, a Reserve Bank governor is yet to be appointed."
Authoritative sources at Zimbabwe Newspapers, who have exclusive access to
the central bank governor told The Zimbabwe Times that Gono had struck a
conciliatory note and had granted an exclusive interview to plead for his
He reportedly says he was ready for the central bank to stop its involvement
in quasi-fiscal activities and revert to its core business of monetary
policy formulation and implementation.
"He said he is ready to work with the incoming Finance Minister, he says he
is ready to fully co-operate with him," said our highly placed source at
Gono, who has a penchant for publicity, has more recently relied on the
State-owned press either to respond to his critics or to market himself. He
has been granted acres of editorial space as calls for his ouster have
intensified. On Saturday The Herald published a lengthy and shameful article
in which Gono was portrayed as a James Bond-type character as he personally
chased after and apprehended criminals printing new bank notes in Mbare and
When the teams arrived at Makoni Shopping Centre," the article narrates, "Dr
Gono who was clearly mean, just walked into the printers, catching the
supposed "big boss" as he was just about to close business for the day.
"At first, the 'big boss' seemed not to notice who this intruder into his
business was and when he sobered up, his facial expressions told the story
of a thief caught in the act.
"There was nowhere to run because the shop was surrounded by armed police."
Gono has generally kept himself shielded from the foreign press, fortifying
himself in the shimmering glass-and-mortar tower that houses the central
bank along Samora Machel Avenue in central Harare, in luxury hotels or in
his 47-bedroom mansion built in Harare by Phillip Chiyangwa's company,
Chiyangwa is President Mugabe's nephew and Gono's alleged partner is some
Gono, who owns The Financial Gazette, has staunchly refused interviews with
journalists from the local independent press although he is comfortable once
in a while talking to international media such as Newsweek, which was
granted a rare interview after accosting him at the Oliver Tambo
International Airport in Johannesburg two weeks ago.
Gono has insisted that he has done nothing wrong and actually praises
himself for keeping the economy "afloat."
"I am aware that there are some both locally and externally who have been
calling for my head for whatever reason, but the seriousness of the matter
at hand requires that any level-headed individual ignore such petty calls,"
he said in a front page story in an issue of The Sunday Mail.
"Many Zimbabweans agree that over the past five years, the Reserve Bank's
various programmes, in many ways helped forestall and foreclose total
collapse amid the tightening grip of the illegal sanctions imposed on the
After being asked whether he viewed his first term in office as a success,
he told Newsweek: "I am modestly credited with the survival strategy of my
country. The issue is if you want to break Zimbabwe and want it to fall just
deal with one man. You deal with Gideon Gono."
He spoke as he slashed 12 zeroes from Zimbabwe's worthless currency and his
so-called "strategy" achieved 6.5 quindecillion novemdecillion percent
inflation. Gono has mainly fuelled inflation by printing money. He asked for
US$500 million to rehabilitate the overworked and creaky printing machines,
Fidelity Printers and Refiners in his monetary policy statement last week
The Zimbabwe dollar has become virtually useless under his watch, ceasing to
be an instrument of trade or store of value.
The government has been forced to authorise use of multiple foreign
currencies in a serious indictment of the regime's oft-repeated
Gono is blamed by economists and the IMF for compounding Zimbabwe's crisis
through quasi-fiscal activities that have seen the central bank playing
Father Christmas and pumping millions of dollars into financing newly
Most of the farmers are Zanu-PF functionaries or cronies of the Mugabe
administration who have failed to produce enough food to feed the
Gono has provided foreign currency to purchase tractors, motor cycles,
combine harvesters, generators and small farm implements that were handed
for free to black resettled farmers just before the March elections.
Analysts said the move was a clear attempt by the Zimbabwean leader to curry
favour with a disgruntled electorate. Many of them voted for the MDC and for
the first time Zanu-PF was defeated at the polls.
Gono has in the past bankrolled the Mugabe administration's brutal campaigns
by providing funding for people who carried out the dastardly Operation
Murambatsvina, or the violence that wrecked the country after Zanu-PF's
historic loss in the March 2008 election, according to Biti.
Gono provided foreign currency for the purchase new AK-47 rifles used in
extra-judicial killings, the 4X4 trucks used in kidnappings during the
The MDC further accuses him of running a budget for the hit squads that
murdered party supporters under the instruction of the Joint Operations
Command, whose meetings he has recently regularly attended.
February 11, 2009
By Our Correspondents
HARARE - An alleged failure by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to achieve
tribal balance in his selection of nominations for the cabinet has sparked
outrage from the Ndebele community.
Tsvangirai on Tuesday announced the MDC's nominations for the new cabinet in
the inclusive government to be established with President Robert Mugabe on
Friday. His line-up includes only one Ndebele official, Abednigo Bhebhe.
Bhebhe is a Member of Parliament representing the breakaway MDC faction led
by Professor Arthur Mutambara.
People of Ndebele origin in Harare who spoke to The Zimbabwe Times soon
after the announcement said they were not amused.
Tsvangirai's 17 ministers and deputy minister announced yesterday are mainly
Karangas, the biggest tribal group in Zimbabwe. While originally Karanga,
Tsvangirai is generally regarded as Manyika. His family lives in Buhera in
In the past Tsvangirai has managed a delicate tribal balancing act in his
presidium. He appointed Ms Thokozani Kuphe from Matabeleland as his deputy.
Her predecessor Gibson Sibanda was also Ndebele.
But Ndebele people spoken to yesterday said openly that his cabinet nominees
as announced yesterday fall far short of the expectations of the Ndebele
people. They accused him of perpetuating President Mugabe's policies of
marginalising people from the Matabeleland region despite their unequivocal
support for Tsvangirai's mainstream MDC party.
In fact, Tsvangirai has received his most overwhelming support going back to
the 2000 legislative polls, not in Mashonaland, but in Matabeleland.
Sentiment is now being expressed that Tsvangirai has denied the people of
Matabeleland their fair slice of the cake by the Ndebele.
"The two Matabeleland provinces are a bastion of support for the Movement
for Democratic Change," said Nkanyiso Bhebhe, a Ndebele businessman in
"We were marginalised by Robert Mugabe's predominantly Shona government, and
now the man we thought would recognise us as a people, has left us out.
Maybe its time we start mobilising for the revival of our (Ndebele)
Ndebeles, who make up 20 percent of Zimbabwe's population, argue that there
has been little development in Matabeleland since independence 29 years
ago - and they are bearing the heaviest brunt of the country's economic
crisis. They claim development has been confined to Shona-speaking
provinces, that key civil-service jobs are reserved for Shonas and that
Ndebeles are regarded as an underclass.
Several thousand Ndebeles died in the early 1980s when Mugabe's Five Brigade
was unleashed on Matabeleland after it voted overwhelmingly for Joshua Nkomo's
An offshoot of Zapu-PF, which is called Zapu Federal party, is now agitating
for the establishment of a federal state in Matabeleland, on the basis of
the same arguments that the region has been marginalized by central
government in Harare.
"Tsvangirai's cabinet reinforces this mindset," said Zenzele Dube, a youth
activist. "I guess he has no idea how divisive this issue is. I can tell you
the Ndebele people will not forgive him for this if he does not address this
Tsvangirai's new spokesman Joseph Mungwari told The Zimbabwe Times that the
Ndebeles were jumping the gun. Tsvangirai's former spokesman, George
Sibotshiwe, was apparently recently sidelined, sources say allegedly
"because of issuing inappropriate statements" to the press.
Asked why there was only one Ndebele official on Tsvangirai's cabinet
line-up, Mungwari said: "That is not fact, there is also Thokozani Khupe. We
should wait and see the final appointments."
Tsvangirai still has to appoint five governors and the deputy ministers of
Foreign Affairs and Women' Affairs.
Mungwari was attending a morning church service with Tsvangirai at the
Mabelreign Methodist Church ahead of the inauguration of the MDC leader at
11am as Zimbabwe's Prime Minister.
"We will forever be second class citizens who will forever be deprived of
any representation in Zimbabwean politics," fumed a Ndebele in Bulawayo who
staunchly declined to be named. "We can read between the lines. Nothing has
changed and nothing shall change unless we rebuild our own Zapu and be in
control of our destiny. It is clear that we are being relegated to
He said the Ndebele people would not protest this marginalisation because
they wanted to honour their founding father, Joshua Nkomo's role in the
struggle for independence by trying to fulfill his wish for unity among the
people of Zimbabwe.
"But this is the greatest betrayal of all times by Tsvangirai," he said.
The stage for Tsvangirai's tribal-balancing woes was set in 2006. On October
12 that year virtually the entire Ndebele leadership of the MDC left the
party to launch their own organisation under the leadership of Tsvangirai's
then secretary general, Prof Welshman Ncube.
Also named the MDC, the party established its headquarters in Bulawayo.
Ndebele officials who joined this rebellion were Tsvangirai's deputy
president Gibson Sibanda, MDC secretary for information and publicity Paul
Themba Nyathi and the party's treasurer Fletcher Dulini-Ncube. Other
prominent members from Bulawayo were David Coltart, a lawyer and Sam Sipepa
Nkomo, former chief executive of Associated Newspapers who had just left the
newspaper world and joined the MDC.
Two prominent Shona MDC officials joined the exodus - Themba Chimanikire and
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga. Despite her double-barrelled Shona name,
Mushonga-Misiharabwi is half-Ndebele on her mother's side.
To allay accusations that the breakaway MDC was essentially an Ndebele-based
tribal party, Ncube offered the presidency of his faction to Prof Arthur
Mutambara, a Shona who had just been asked to leave his job with Standard
Bank in Johannesburg.
This move proved costly, as many of the party's Ndebele supporters were
incensed by the suggestion that only a Shona could lead even a
Bulawayo-based political party to electoral victory.
During the March 29 parliamentary election last year, the electorate in the
Matabeleland North and Bulawayo provinces voted overwhelmingly for
Tsvangirai's mainstream MDC. Welshman Ncube, Sibanda, Nyathi and Fletcher
Dulini Ncube all suffered humiliating defeat. Their leader, Mutambara
suffered similar defeat in Chitungwiza in Mashonaland.
Tsvangirai was left with a clear deficit of Ndebeles in his leadership,
although Sipepa Nkomo later rejoined him. He was soon tipped as the MDC
shadow Minister of Home Affairs. One source within the MDC said Tuesday
that Tsvangirai had instead offered the post of deputy Minister of Foreign
Affairs to Sipepa Nkomo, which he declined.
"It is obvious Tsvangirai is wary of offering Sipepa Nkomo a higher post
because, while he would help to address the tribal issue, he comes with too
much baggage," the source said.
Tsvangirai appointed another Ndebele, Thokozile Khupe, to replace Gibson
Sibanda as his deputy. The nomination of Lovemore Moyo, also a Ndebele, as
the mainstream MDC's candidate for the powerful position of Speaker of the
House Assembly was another step in the tribal balancing act. Moyo was
challenged for the position by the candidate nominated by the breakaway MDC,
Paul Themba Nyati. Curiously Nyathi, also Ndebele, had the support of
Zanu-PF MPs in the House.
This provoked a rebellion among Mutambara's 10 Members of Parliament all of
them Ndebele. They sided with Tsvangirai and Moyo became the new Speaker.
Bhebhe was one of the Mutambara rebels.
A Ndebele who refused to be named said in Harare Tuesday that in his views
Tsvangirai had not taken tribal affiliations into consideration.
"We (the Ndebele) should learn to move beyond tribalism," he said. "Look at
America, whites voted and inaugurated (Barack) Obama, a black man as their
"Tsvangirai's Cabinet is not about tribe, it is about expertise and who is
competent and available. I do not think he appointed people based on tribe,
I am sure he is beyond that. Our people must get real."
February 11, 2009
By Rejoice Ngwenya
THE adage that politics has no lasting friendship has turned full circle in
modern-day Zimbabwe, but whether or not such friendship transcends
allegiance to or is passing acknowledgement of faith in ideological dogma
is debate for another day.
For now, one can claim, without fear of intellectual recrimination from
Harvard Geeks that President Robert Mugabe, in the face of sustainable
political adversity, has been compelled to discard Marxist-Leninist dogma.
This is a result of the contest between on one side, forces of reality,
pragmatism, commonsense and on the other, survival.
This turnaround is not unusual. It has its roots in the novel, Atlas
Shrugged, the globally acclaimed work of Russian intellectual, Ayn Rand, who
fled totalitarian Soviet Russia to America.
In the novel, Rand explains how humbled politicians became, after
supervising economic plunder through populist welfare policies. They had to
yield to reality-based solutions after consulting with an economic actor who
stood against their odious policies.
We can confidently predict what Rand would have said about President Mugabe
if she were alive.
'Mugabe has reversed the nagging principalities of his inner conscience from
being the trajectory of fatalism to being the bedrock of objectivism, not
because he has a choice, but as a spontaneous response to the prospect of
losing control of his political destiny'.
In other words, by the lightning stroke of a proverbial political pen,
President Mugabe has succumbed to the dictates of demand and supply.
In the meantime, Morgan Tsvangirai's inevitable populist social democratic
pronouncements will make President Mugabe's transfiguration less arduous.
On the one hand, Zanu-PF pall-bearers Patrick Chinamasa and Gideon Gono are
only aware that the competition for political attention in the new
Government of National Unity will be fierce, so they are at pains to project
a polished profile on the fiscal and monetary podium.
On the other, Tsvangirai's chief social theory protagonists Tendai Biti and
Tapiwa Mashakada will be out to prove that the free market economy is the
devil incarnate, responsible for the current economic global catastrophe.
The socialist twins will rub their intellectual hands with glee and point to
Barack Obama's repugnant state-sponsored stimulus package as testimony to
the timeless doctrine of positive government patronage, now showing at the
backstage of the biggest capitalist economy in the world.
American and global capitalism, they will sing, has failed humanity. In the
process, MDC will assume an unprecedented high moral ground in defence of
everything that is on the opposite extreme of capitalism, private enterprise
and profit seeking.
They will argue that Zanu-PF and its anointed cronies destroyed the country
through institutionalised greed oiled by the pursuit of individual wealth
and gross exploitation of the worker by a heartless few.
In more ways than one, MDC will want to prove that Zimbabwean workers have
been relegated to the realm of the poorest of the poor by a system that was
quick to subjugate human emotion to the whims of commerce and industry.
I can hear Morgan Tsvangirai's opening statement in his maiden speech as
Prime Minister. 'Today, we stand on the verge of vanquishing the
principalities that have subverted the interests of the Worker for too long,
in pursuit of self-enrichment and obscene wealth in the name of private
I as your Prime Minister, with the power that has been vested in me ., I am
at the forefront in the battle against unjust corporatist profiteering'.
But at least for now Chinamasa, in his capacity as acting minister for
finance and Gideon Gono, the central bank governor, have now approached the
altar of liberal ideology for remission, the only ideology that can turn the
fortunes of Zimbabwe around. It is their only chance for national atonement.
(Rejoice Ngwenya is the director of Coalition for Liberal Market Solutions
in Harare. This article first appeared in Business Day.)
Source: AllAfrica Global Media
Date: 11 Feb 2009
The number of Zimbabweans infected with cholera has risen above 70,000, a
new update released by the World Health Organisation has stated.
A staggering 1,950 new cases were reported on Monday, with 67
cholera-related deaths, whereas only 362 were reported the previous day
along, with nine deaths.
The humanitarian aid agency, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), reports
that 50 to 60 percent of boreholes in rural areas are not functional,
forcing residents to use water from streams and lakes.
"People are more and more turning to surface water as their source of water
supplies in many districts," says WASH. Many of the boreholes need only
minor repairs to get them working again.
The organisation also says there is a possibility that the lack of food is
causing cholera infections to increase. "Hunger appears in many areas, and
may be contributing to infection."
Rural areas have re-occurring cases of cholera as WASH cannot easily reach
citizens in those areas. The group says there is a need to plan for
"long-term preventive measures, especially water and sanitation programmes".
Cholera broke out in Zimbabwe in November last year amid political tension
between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
By Thomas Chiripasi, Blessing Zulu, Ntungamili Nkomo & Jonga
Harare & Washington
11 February 2009
A new chapter in Zimbabwean history was opened on Wednesday as Morgan
Tsvangirai, long in opposition as founder of the Movement for Democratic
Change, became prime minister of the country with the formation of a
long-awaited national unity government due Friday.
Mr. Tsvangirai was sworn in by President Robert Mugabe, long his rival and
now his partner - at least nominally - in a government most Zimbabeans hope
will act with dispatch to reverse the economy's headlong downward spiral and
most of all relieve the suffering of millions who face not only hunger but a
cholera epidemic that is still spreading and claiming lives.
Soon after taking the oath of office at State House along with his deputies,
Arthur Mutambara, head of a rival MDC formation, and Thokozane Khupe, deputy
president of his own dominant MDC grouping, Mr. Tsvangirai addressed
thousands of his supporters at Glamis Arena on the Harare Agricultural Show
"For too long, our people's hopes for a bright and prosperous future have
been betrayed," he said. "Instead of hope, their days have been filled with
starvation, disease and fear. A culture of entitlement and impunity has
brought our nation to the brink of a dark abyss. This must end today," Mr.
"I will work to create a society where our values are stronger than the
threat of violence, where our children's future and happiness is more
important than present political goals and where a person is free to express
an opinion, loudly, openly and publicly without fear of reprisal or
repression. A country where jobs are available for those who wish to work,
food is available for those that are hungry and where we are united by our
respect for the rights and dignity of our fellow citizens. This is the
Zimbabwe that I am working towards," he said.
"Violent polarization" must stop, he said, obliquely referring to the
turbulent period following the March 2008 elections when beatings,
abductions and murders reached a crescendo in the approach to the June
presidential run-off in which Mr. Mugabe was unopposed following Mr.
Tsvangirai's withdrawal in protest over the violence against opposition
The new-minted prime minister promised to work to create a society where
"our values are stronger than the threat of violence."
Mr. Tsvangirai laid out his priorities: implement the MDC democracy agenda
starting with the release of political prisoners from his party and civil
society; tackle the humanitarian crisis, in particular the persistent
cholera epidemic while ensuring universal access to sufficient food; and
stabilize an economy that has crashed leaving the national currency
He promised that all civil servants - teachers, hospital workers, solders
and policemen - will be paid in hard currency beginning next month. Mr.
Tsvangirai gave no indication where his government would come up with
sufficient foreign exchange to fulfill that pledge.
The Zimbabwean people "face many challenges but we are brave and
resourceful," he said. "By uniting as a nation and a people we can succeed.
If you match our efforts with your own, we will succeed, if you match our
desires with your own, we will succeed, if you match our dreams for Zimbabwe
with your own, we will succeed."
Harare correspondent Thomas Chiripasi of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
reported on the day's events from the swearing-in to Mr. Tsvangirai's
For a reaction from the ZANU-PF side of the aisle, reporter Blessing Zulu
turned to its chief parliamentary whip, Joram Gumbo, who said Wednesday
developments were historic.
Amid the public euphoria, some in civil society expressed skepticism,
particularly the National Constitutional Assembly which has long been
critical of the MDC's engagement with ZANU-PF. Chairman Lovemore Madhuku
told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that Mr. Tsvangirai has compromised the
democratic struggle and the new government will change little.
For additional perspective on Mr. Tsvangirai's assumption of office,
reporter Ntungamili Nkomo turned to political analyst George Mkwananzi in
Mr. Tsvangirai's designated co-minister of home affairs, parliamentarian
Giles Mutsekwa, said in an interview at VOA in Washington that he was not
daunted by the task of sharing control of the key ministry, which has
oversight of the national police, with a ZANU-PF counterpart.
Mutsekwa, who represents the Dangamvura Chikanga constituency of Manicaland
province in the House of Assembly, has long been Mr. Tsvangirai's shadow
Mutsekwa told hosts Patience Rusere and Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that Mr. Tsvangirai's rise to prime minister was "bound to come" as
an outcome that the former opposition party, which garnered a majority in
the lower house of parliament in the March 2008 general election, had been
working towards since its founding in 1999.
Ordinary Zimbabweans expressed satisfaction at Mr. Tsvangirai's
From Harare, Wiseman Mutero said he saw the dawn of a new era, while
Blessing Chidoko in Gweru, the capital of Midlands province, said his
earlier skepticism had been dispelled as he now sees the power-sharing
arrangement as the only way forward for the country.
By David Gollust
11 February 2009
The United States says it is withholding judgment on the Zimbabwe unity
government that was sworn into office on Wednesday until it sees evidence of
true power-sharing and good governance. In the meantime, U.S. sanctions
against President Robert Mugabe and key his associates will remain in place.
The State Department has congratulated Morgan Tsvangirai, the former
Zimbabwe opposition leader, on his swearing-in as the country's new prime
But the Obama administration is maintaining a cautious approach, with
officials saying it remains to be seen whether long-time Zimbabwe President
Robert Mugabe, who remains head of state, is willing to share real power
with his political rival.
The United States and European Union countries have in recent years imposed
travel and financial sanctions against Mr. Mugabe, his family members and
close associates because of electoral and human rights abuses by the Mugabe
U.S. humanitarian aid, to help deal with Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak, among
other things, has continued. But at a news briefing Wednesday, State
Department Acting Spokesman Robert Wood said curbs on other aid will remain
until it can be determined whether the power-sharing arrangement actually
"We certainly congratulate Morgan Tsvangirai on assuming the position of
prime minister," he said. "However, we will reserve our judgment on the new
government until we see what types of actions it takes. We will not consider
providing additional development assistance, or even easing sanctions, until
we see effective governance in the country and that is going to be key."
Wood acknowledged that Zimbabwe needs help in rebuilding its shattered
economy, but he said the United States, before changing its approach, needs
to see evidence of good governance and particularly "real, true
power-sharing" on the part of Mr. Mugabe.
Zimbabwe is suffering from food shortages, runaway inflation and soaring
unemployment, which the United States has largely blamed on misrule by the
Mr. Tsvangerai's Movement for Democratic Change won parliamentary elections
nearly a year ago, breaking a decades-long hold on power by Mr. Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party. But power-sharing negotiations that began last September
stalled over the distribution of cabinet posts.
The Bush administration, frustrated by the lack of progress in those talks,
dropped its support for the process and joined in calls that Mr. Mugabe step
When it took office last month, the new U.S. administration launched a
policy review and softened its approach to give African mediation on
Zimbabwe power-sharing more time to work, though U.S. diplomats remain
skeptical about Mr. Mugabe's intentions.
February 12, 2009 - 9:44AM
Australia will maintain sanctions against Zimbabwe despite the formation of
a new government under Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr Tsvangirai has vowed to rebuild Zimbabwe's shattered economy and end
political violence, after being sworn in as prime minister in a unity
government with long-time rival President Robert Mugabe.
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says Australia cautiously welcomes
"But we have grave reservations. Our preference, of course, would be for Mr
Mugabe to walk off the stage," he told ABC Radio.
Australia would continue to provide Zimbabwe with humanitarian assistance,
but no consideration was being given to lifting sanctions.
"They will remain for the present," Mr Smith said.
Posted : Wed, 11 Feb 2009 15:18:02 GMT
Author : DPA
Berlin - Germany warned Wednesday that Zimbabwe's new unity government faces
huge challenges, after the swearing in of opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai as prime minister. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter
Steinmeier welcomed Tsvangirai's appointment, but pointed to the huge
economic and health challenges facing the impoverished country.
"Huge tasks lie ahead for the new unity government, " Steinmeier said,
adding that Zimbabwe "urgently needs a new beginning, and more than anything
the people need an improvement in their humanitarian and economic state."
Tsvangirai's inauguration ends five months of bickering between his Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe's Zanu-PF party over the
implementation of a September power-sharing accord.
The long-time opposition leader will be responsible for the formulation and
implementation of government policy. Mugabe, 84, remains head of state and
"From Robert Mugabe and his party in particular I expect them to keep to
their agreements, so the country's problems can be tackled with
determination," Steinmeier stressed.
The foreign minister called for the new government to "lead Zimbabwe back to
the path of democracy and respect for human rights."
"It is clear," Steinmeier added, "that we will measure the new unity
government by its deeds."
Thousands of Zimbabweans have died of cholera in recent months, mostly for
lack of clean water, and around 7 million cannot adequately feed themselves.
Nine-digit inflation has rendered the national currency effectively
11th Feb 2009 20:59 GMT
By a Correspondent
HARARE magiastrate Gloria Takundwa on 11 February 2009 ruled that detained
Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko should be released into the
custody of a well equipped and functional hospital for medical examination
This followed an application by defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama for Mukoko
to be urgently granted access to medical treatment arguing that there
already existed four different court orders to that effect which had not
been complied with.
Muchadehama went on to produce medical affidavits confirming the fact that
the human rights activist and former news anchor with Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation was in dire need of medical attention.
The state represented by Florence Ziyambi challenged the defence submissions
arguing that they could not solely rely on the opinion of the medical
practitioners that examined Mukoko as there was the possibility of bias on
Ziyambi said the state should be allowed to come up with its own medical
practitioner for an independent opinion on Mukoko's condition.
However, the magistrate guided by the theory of natural law, ordered the
release of the accused into the custody of the Avenues Clinic. Magistrate
Takundwa stated that she expected both parties to furnish the court with
copies of the medical affidavits in question before making a ruling on 13
February 2009 to determine whether or not Mukoko should remain detained at
the Avenues Clinic.
http://www.swradioafrica.com http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/ http://www.swradioafrica.com http://www.telegraph.co.uk http://www.independent.co.uk Two supporters of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party -
with very different outlooks - tell the BBC how they felt as their leader Morgan
Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister. I really didn't feel comfortable watching Tsvangirai being sworn in by
[President] Robert Mugabe. MDC supporters I spoke to this morning had hoped this would be a proper
inauguration for Morgan Tsvangirai, with the chief justice swearing him in. Instead it's Mugabe leading the ceremony, showing he is still in charge. By insisting on this, Mugabe is belittling Tsvangirai. It underlines the fact that the MDC's objective of complete change has not
been met. I am part of a grassroot movement campaigning for a new constitution, written
by the people of Zimbabwe. There needs to be free political activity in this country in order to change
the constitution, and I don't see it happening even with this new government.
The crucial ministries, agriculture and mining, the ones that have the power
to make changes in people's lives, have gone to [Mr Mugabe's] Zanu-PF. With a MDC man as finance minister [Tendai Biti], Zimbabwe's economic
policies might change, but overall things won't depart much from Zanu's way of
thinking. When I voted for the MDC in the elections last year, my belief was that I was
voting for total change. But with Tsvangirai's team joining Zanu-PF we are seeing a compromise
instead. This is not necessarily a new beginning. It's a case of blending the old order with a few elements from the MDC. I don't want to be a prophet of doom, but I really don't think my living
standards will improve in the next year with this new government. It reminded me of the swearing in of Barack Obama [in America]. I'm optimistic Morgan Tsvangirai will lead Zimbabwe into a new future. I was touched by the Tsvangirai speech. I am happy. The thing is, Tsvangirai can't continue watching the football match being
played from the sidelines. He has to take part in the game himself now. Mugabe is our ruler but Tsvangirai is our real leader. A woman next to me was crying. I did not cry because I felt there is now a future for me. I'm divorced and because of the economic situation I can't see my children.
But I think this new government will improve the economy and so enable me to
visit them. Because of the economy lots of marriages have broken down. I think change is coming. I noticed today even that the police's behaviour is changing. Feb 11th 2009 | JOHANNESBURG MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, the leader of Zimbabwe’s
opposition party, has taken a brave step. On Wednesday February 11th, more than
ten months after success for his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the
first round of presidential and parliamentary elections, Mr Tsvangirai became
prime minister. In theory at least, he will share power with the man who swore
him into office: President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since
1980. The deal to share office was brokered by Zimbabwe’s
neighbours. Up until the last moment, there had been doubts as to whether Mr
Tsvangirai would agree to enter the new “unity” government. He had set several
conditions for his participation, including the release of MDC and human-rights
activists who had been abducted, tortured and detained for months by government
security forces on largely trumped-up charges. None has been set free. In the
end, and under some pressure, he appears to have felt that a bad deal was better
for his wretched compatriots than no deal at all. Zimbabwe, once one of the most prosperous countries
in Africa, is in a dire state. Millions now depend on food aid; many are
starving. A spreading cholera epidemic has killed over 3,300 so far, with nearly
70,000 infected. Health, sanitation and education systems are all in a state of
collapse. Hyperinflation is running at unimaginable levels. The central bank has
now agreed to allow foreign currencies to be accepted as legal tender alongside
the local (near worthless) Zimbabwe dollar. But this will only make life more
difficult for those without access to the American dollar or South African
rand. All these troubles now fall on Mr Tsvangirai’s plate.
Even though the MDC won 100 parliamentary seats in the elections last March—one
more than Mr Mugabe’s party—it has been allocated only 13 of the 31 ministries
in the new government. Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF gets 15, with the remaining three
going to another small opposition party led by Arthur Mutambara, which holds
just ten parliamentary seats. Responsibility for the hotly contested
home-affairs ministry, which oversees the police, is to be split between Zanu-PF
and the MDC. Mr Mugabe remains in control of the armed forces. Tendai Biti, a
fiery human-rights lawyer and the reputed brains behind the MDC, has been given
the unenviable post of finance minister. The whole shaky set-up is to be monitored by a joint
12-member committee comprising four senior officials from each of the three
parties. It is supposed to check compliance with what has been agreed and to
seek to resolve any disputes. If it cannot, the disputes are to be referred
first to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a 15-member regional
group which, after months of deadlock, succeeded in ramming the deal through on
January 28th. If it fails, the matter will be referred to the African
Union. Many fear that the MDC leader will simply be used by
Mr Mugabe as a scapegoat for the country’s seemingly insuperable ills, leaving
the wily president, who turns 85 next week, in control of all the levers of real
power. Ominously, the president is apparently free to fire his prime minister at
any time for alleged incompetence, real or imagined. South Africa’s president, Kgalema Montlanthe, has
hailed the deal as a vindication of his country’s much-criticised approach of
“quiet diplomacy” to the ongoing crisis, calling on the rest of the world to
come to the aid of Zimbabweans. But scepticism is understandable. Both the
United States and Britain have indicated that they will wait to see how the
unity government performs before removing sanctions against Mr Mugabe and his
allies in or resuming aid.
Zimbabwe's education is a "national disaster" with some 94 percent of rural schools now shut because teachers can no longer afford to work, the U.N. children's agency says. UNICEF called on the country's new government to take drastic action to get children back in class as opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday under a power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe. Less than a decade ago Zimbabwe had the best education system in sub-Saharan Africa with nearly every child going to school, but attendance has fallen to just 20 percent and is likely to drop further, according to aid workers. "The education situation is a national disaster. It is imperative that the unity government focuses on this," said UNICEF's representative in Zimbabwe, Roeland Monasch. Aid workers warned that depriving millions of children of their education not only jeopardised their own prospects but those of the country, which is in economic meltdown and stuggling with galloping inflation, a major food crisis and massive cholera epidemic. "A generation is at risk of growing up without any education in Zimbabwe, and that will have catastrophic consequences for the country's recovery," Save the Children's Rachel Pounds said. Aid agencies say one of the main reasons for the school closures is that teachers simply cannot afford to turn up. A teacher's monthly salary is only enough to buy a few loaves of bread, according to Save the Children. And raging inflation mean it's decreasing every day. Teachers earn so little that they are forced to spend their time scraping together enough to live on by any other means they can. UNICEF released its figures on school closures following a survey which revealed 66 of 70 schools visited were abandoned. Only one school was fully operational and only a third of pupils there were in class. "Children in rural areas already live on the margins," Monasch said. "Many are orphaned, a huge number depend on food aid, they struggle on numerous fronts. Now these children are being denied the only basic right that can better their prospects. It is unacceptable." In many cases hunger is forcing parents to keep their children out of school to help earn money or scavenge for food. Around half Zimbabwe's 12 million population now needs food aid. UNICEF said school term only resumed this year in some urban areas for the few who could afford to subsidise teachers' salaries and pay exorbitant U.S. dollar fees. Meanwhile, Save the Children has warned that those schools still open could become deadly breeding grounds for cholera because of their lack of clean water and sanitation.
members and lawyers remain in custody for 2nd night
News update 11th February 2009 - 5pm
Peaceful Women Human Rights Defenders and their lawyers remain in custody as
power-sharing deal gets implemented
EIGHT members of WOZA and two lawyers will be spending a second night in
custody, lawyers defending them report. This morning they were all subjected
to interviews about their life history, political affiliation, arrest record
and other personal information.
They were then charged with allegedly contravening section 37(1)(b) of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act - 'any person . in any place or
at any meeting performs any action, utters any words or distributes or
displays any writing, sign or other visible representation that is obscene,
threatening, abusive or insulting, intending thereby to provoke a breach of
The names of those arrested are: Nelia Hambarume, Clara Bongwe, Auxilia
Tarumbwa, Gracy Mutambachirimo, Linda Moyo, Keure Chikomo, Edina Saidi and
Kundai Mupfukudzwa. Lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR),
Roselyn Hanzi and Tawanda Zhuwarara have also been charged.
The group have been able to access food brought in by the WOZA support team
but this is small comfort as they will spend a second night in filthy cells.
Lawyers hope they will be taken to court tomorrow but various court staff
are on strike and the manner in which the police are dealing with the manner
indicates there is no relief forthcoming from the passing of a new national
security bill or the inauguration of a Prime Minster, Morgan Tsvangirai of
the Movement for Democratic Change, a party born out of the pro-democracy
Lawyers still in unlawful detention
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Human Rights Defenders Alert
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) wishes to express its concern
and condemn the ongoing harassment of human rights defenders through
indiscriminate arrests and detention.
Ms Roselyn Hanzi and Mr Tawanda Zhuwarara, project lawyers at ZLHR,
were arrested by unidentified members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
on 10 February 2009 as they were returning to the office (situated next to
the Parliament building) after lunch. Regrettably, they were caught in the
crossfire of further indiscriminate arrests carried out by the ZRP arising
from a demonstration outside Parliament building in Harare by the Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). With the complicity of Parliamentary staff, they were
unlawfully detained in the Parliament Guard Room, until police details
removed them to Harare Central police station.
In contravention of constitutional protective provisions relating to
detained persons, but in the customary fashion of the ZRP, lawyers who
attempted to get access to Hanzi and Zhuwarara at Harare Central were denied
access by the police. Superintendent Chinhengo, the Officer in Charge of
Operations at Harare Central ordered the lawyers out of the police station's
Despite further attempts by ZLHR to have their colleagues released,
the two were detained overnight at Harare Central Police Station without
their lawyers being able to speak to them, or being told the charges against
On 11 February 2009, ZLHR lawyers were finally able to have access to
them. Despite members of the Law and Order section acknowledging that the
two were "caught in the crossfire", Detective Inspector Elliot Muchada,
instructed Detective Assistant Inspector Phiri (female) and DC Musademba to
proceed to charge them, together with 8 women who were also arrested outside
Parliament, with contravening section 37(1)(b) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act. They are likely to spend a second night in
ZLHR unreservedly condemns the now commonplace and illegal phenomenon
of members of the ZRP indiscriminately and without reasonable suspicion
arresting and detaining innocent civilians and then denying lawyers access
to their clients and barring them from taking proper instructions.
The arrest and detention of lawyers together with alleged WOZA members
is a clear indication that basic freedoms in the country remain
circumscribed; that the continued detention and violation of such rights
occurred at the very time that the inclusive government was being
established merely indicates that we have a long way to go before there is
return to the rule of law and respect for the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
ZLHR further remains gravely concerned that Parliament allowed itself
to be used in the facilitation of a criminal offence, whereby unlawful
arrests and detention were perpetuated as the lawyers were detained on its
The continued breach of various provisions of the Interparty Political
Agreement signed on 15 September 2008, in which the three political parties
represented in Parliament undertook to protect the security of persons and
to ensure that fundamental rights and freedoms would be respected, must be
condemned in the strongest of terms.
ZLHR calls upon the police and the appropriate commanding authorities
to see to it that immediate action is taken to release Ms Hanzi and Mr
Zhuwarara together with the WOZA members and that the offending individuals
are made to answer for their unlawful actions.
Action Group on Genocide in Matabeleland and Midlands
Official Acknowledgement first.
Today (11/02.09), the new Government of National Unity (GNU) was sworn in at
State House in Harare. This comes after the two main opposition parties in
Zimbabwe last Friday (30/01/09) formally resolved to enter into a governing
coalition with Robert Mugabe's Zanu Pf party. These developments have been
widely hailed as a sign that the political elite are finally ready to
implement a new progressive order in Zimbabwean politics.
Just like we did back in September 2008 after the signing of the Global
Political Agreement, Mthwakazi Action Group on Genocide in Matabeleland &
Midlands (MAGGEMM) calls on the new government to seize the moment and act
swiftly and decisively on Gukurahundi. We, however, remain cautious if not
pessimistic about the new Government of National Unity because it offers
only a glimmer of hope at this stage. If Zimbabwe is to break with its
unsavoury past, that hope must be translated into real change for the
suffering people of Zimbabwe.
We at MAGGEMM have always argued that Gukurahundi and other human rights
abuses by the state cannot, should not be left to political processes alone.
The effects of Gukurahundi go beyond politics. Gukurahundi envelopes all of
us, its stench ever present and with victims watching from the sidelines
while the future of Zimbabwe is being mapped out without so much as
acknowledgement of their pain.
It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to continue to bring pressure to
bear on the political elite in Zimbabwe so that truth and justice are not
traded in for power and privilege. It is important that the campaign for
truth and justice is intensified so that the new government unveils the
secrecy that surrounds Gukurahundi and other human rights abuses.
MAGGEMM today repeats its call for a Truth Justice and Healing Commission
(TJHC) to be convened as soon as possible. However, before a TJHC is
convened, the new government must straight-away give unequivocal official
recognition or acknowledgement of Gukurahundi. That thirty years after
Gukurahundi, there has never been official acknowledgement by the state is
one of the most painful situations victims and their families have had to
If the new government of national unity is to live up to promises of a new
order in Zimbabwe, and if victims of Gukurahundi are to begin the long
journey towards healing, then official and unequivocal acknowledgement of
their ordeal must be one of its first actions, followed by a TJHC.
with Robert Mugabe
We should respond with caution to Morgan Tsvangirai's appointment as prime
minister of Zimbabwe.
Last Updated: 8:35PM GMT 11 Feb 2009
There was a time when the sight of Robert Mugabe shaking hands on a
power-sharing deal with his principal opponent would have been warmly
applauded around the world.
Yet the swearing-in of Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister of Zimbabwe
merely served as a reminder that he had been denied the political prize that
was rightfully his after winning the presidential elections almost a year
Mugabe's refusal to accede to the democratic will of his impoverished people
has been a singularly depressing spectacle even by the standards of African
despotism. He has been abetted in his almost pathological obduracy by the
failure of the main power in the region, South Africa, to do anything to
uphold the outcome of the ballot.
As a consequence, Mugabe's ruinous economic policies have continued
unabated, debauching the currency and turning a great agricultural nation
into a wasteland. A cholera epidemic that began last autumn after the
collapse of the water infrastructure has claimed thousands of lives.
Political prisoners remain in jail and foreign aid, suspended because of the
rigged election, is desperately needed if Zimbabwe is not to spiral further
into penury and despair.
How should the West react to Tsvangirai's appointment? With extreme caution,
until he shows that he is able to wield real power.
There is a precedent here in the unfortunate Joshua Nkomo, who was also
invited into Mugabe's cabinet, only to be accused of treason and exiled,
before eventually becoming a powerless vice-president in a one-party state.
In his memoirs, Nkomo wrote: "Nothing in my life had prepared me for
persecution at the hands of a government led by black Africans."
Tsvangirai is better prepared since he knows what he is up against; but he
may come to rue the day he did a deal with Mugabe.
Peta: Today is a monumental tragedy, the prostitution of democracy
By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
It was a joyous moment for some, but I saw no reason of joining in any of
the celebratory parties.
After so many years in exile, I see nothing to suggest that I can now
immediately walk back into a free democratic Zimbabwe in which my rights as
a citizen will be respected.
There was nothing historic nor momentous about today's occasion. Mr
Tsvangirai's oath merely threw a lifeline to a heartless, wretched dictator
who lost elections but shamelessly clung to power.
There is something rotten about African politics and the mantra of "African
solutions for African problems".
The age of bloody military coups is over. In its place is a new depressing
trend in which incumbents lose elections but hang on knowing that the
so-called African Union will close ranks and knit together some flawed power
sharing deal which leaves them in control.
It happened in Kenya where the loser distributed the spoils of victory. It
has now been repeated in Zimbabwe. No prizes for guessing where it will
Congratulatory dispatches will swamp us for weeks. Someone will spring up to
recommend Thabo Mbeki for a Nobel Peace Prize.
But what happened in Zimbabwe today is a monumental tragedy. A travesty of
justice. It isn't the delivery of a democratic outcome by the regional
African leaders who mediated. It's the betrayal or prostitution of the basic
tenets of democracy. It amplifies the poverty of African politics.
When will African leaders ever be able to appreciate the democratic fact
that those who lose elections should simply hand over to the victors?
President Robert Mugabe lost the elections on 29 March despite his rigging
in which his cronies withheld results for several weeks. If Africa was
serious about democracy, he should be history by now.
The fact that Mr Tsvangirai agreed to be sworn in with dozens of his
supporters jailed for the most spurious of charges is deeply troubling. The
fact that he dropped his legitimate demand for their unconditional release
before taking any oath is equally nerve wracking.
I have deep reservations about his shift of strategy to fight the
dictatorship from within. The late nationalist Joshua Nkomo who tried the
same knows better. Those who have cohabitated with Mugabe in the hope they
can reform from within have ended up either being absorbed into the same
defective system they sought to reform or being ruthlessly eliminated.
There is nothing to suggest that Mr Mugabe is serious about the power
sharing deal. Which is why he keeps on detaining dozens over trumped up
charges. There is nothing to show that he is serious about the reforms
required to reform Zimbabwe's institutions to restore the rule of law. That
is precisely why he would not give Mr Tsvangirai sole control of the Home
Affairs ministry in charge of the highly politicized Zimbabwean police
force. Not to mention the defence and state security portfolios he has used
to bludgeon opponents.
The mood of the international donors who have to bankroll Zimbabwe's
recovery was amply summed up by the British High Commission in Harare which
declared that a government in which Mugabe still leads has no credibility
and does not inspire confidence.
So just like the many exiles who will remain in their foreign locations for
a while, don't expect any stampede of donors and investors back into
Zimbabwe. In fact, by rushing to bankroll the new government, the donors
will be promoting the very disturbing trend in which election losers hang on
via the backdoor of defective power sharing deals.
By capitulating at the last minute, Mr Tsvangirai has merely created another
scapegoat for Mr Mugabe to blame for the inevitable failures of the new
regime. In addition to neo-colonialists, neo-imperialists, gay gangsters and
others on Mr Mugabe's endless list of enemies, Mr Tsvangirai will himself
become a blame victim of Mr Mugabe when the new Prime Minister inevitably
fails to deliver without the international aid required.
So in my view, it's not a matter of if but when the new government will
unravel, and Mr Tsvangirai will have derailed the train of democracy for
Zimbabwe at an important moment. Meanwhile, we will still be plagued with Mr
Mugabe for some time. I am depressed.
MDC views on Zimbabwe swearing in
The great gamble
feasts as Zimbabwe starves
Wednesday February 11,2009 By Laura Clout
ROBERT Mugabe has issued a wish list for his birthday banquet, including
2,000 bottles of champagne and 8,000 lobsters - while his people starve.
In the run-up to the despotic Zimbabwean leader's 85th birthday, his
henchmen have been soliciting "donations" of cash and livestock for a
champagne and caviar celebration.
The list also includes 100kg of prawns, 4,000 portions of caviar and 8,000
boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. The thugs say he would prefer the
champagne to be Moet & Chandon or 1961 Bollinger.
In a sickening postscript, it stipulates "no mealie meal" - referring to the
grain that was the country's staple food, until economic collapse rendered
even that hard to come by.
Nearly eight in 10 Zimbabweans rely on food aid, 94 per cent are jobless and
tens of thousands are battling cholera in the deadliest outbreak in Africa
in 15 years.
The list, uncovered yesterday, has sparked condemnation from British
charities that are struggling to ease Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis.
The cost of one lobster could feed a family of five for a week.
Sarah Jacobs, Save the Children
Sarah Jacobs, of Save the Children, said: "If these reports are true, such a
birthday banquet could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, money that
would save the lives of millions.
"The cost of one lobster could feed a family of five for a week. A box of
Ferrero Rocher would buy enough rehydration salts to save 10 children with
cholera. The price of a bottle of 1961 Bollinger could help run an emergency
feeding centre for a week.
"With one in 10 children dying before the age of five in Zimbabwe, such
comparison beggars belief."
Two supporters of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party - with very different outlooks - tell the BBC how they felt as their leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister.
I really didn't feel comfortable watching Tsvangirai being sworn in by [President] Robert Mugabe.
MDC supporters I spoke to this morning had hoped this would be a proper inauguration for Morgan Tsvangirai, with the chief justice swearing him in.
Instead it's Mugabe leading the ceremony, showing he is still in charge.
By insisting on this, Mugabe is belittling Tsvangirai.
It underlines the fact that the MDC's objective of complete change has not been met.
I am part of a grassroot movement campaigning for a new constitution, written by the people of Zimbabwe.
There needs to be free political activity in this country in order to change the constitution, and I don't see it happening even with this new government.
The crucial ministries, agriculture and mining, the ones that have the power to make changes in people's lives, have gone to [Mr Mugabe's] Zanu-PF.
With a MDC man as finance minister [Tendai Biti], Zimbabwe's economic policies might change, but overall things won't depart much from Zanu's way of thinking.
When I voted for the MDC in the elections last year, my belief was that I was voting for total change.
But with Tsvangirai's team joining Zanu-PF we are seeing a compromise instead.
This is not necessarily a new beginning.
It's a case of blending the old order with a few elements from the MDC.
I don't want to be a prophet of doom, but I really don't think my living
standards will improve in the next year with this new government.
It reminded me of the swearing in of Barack Obama [in America].
I'm optimistic Morgan Tsvangirai will lead Zimbabwe into a new future.
I was touched by the Tsvangirai speech. I am happy.
The thing is, Tsvangirai can't continue watching the football match being played from the sidelines.
He has to take part in the game himself now.
Mugabe is our ruler but Tsvangirai is our real leader.
A woman next to me was crying.
I did not cry because I felt there is now a future for me.
I'm divorced and because of the economic situation I can't see my children.
But I think this new government will improve the economy and so enable me to visit them.
Because of the economy lots of marriages have broken down.
I think change is coming.
I noticed today even that the police's behaviour is changing.
Feb 11th 2009 | JOHANNESBURG
MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, the leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition party, has taken a brave step. On Wednesday February 11th, more than ten months after success for his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the first round of presidential and parliamentary elections, Mr Tsvangirai became prime minister. In theory at least, he will share power with the man who swore him into office: President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980.
The deal to share office was brokered by Zimbabwe’s neighbours. Up until the last moment, there had been doubts as to whether Mr Tsvangirai would agree to enter the new “unity” government. He had set several conditions for his participation, including the release of MDC and human-rights activists who had been abducted, tortured and detained for months by government security forces on largely trumped-up charges. None has been set free. In the end, and under some pressure, he appears to have felt that a bad deal was better for his wretched compatriots than no deal at all.
Zimbabwe, once one of the most prosperous countries in Africa, is in a dire state. Millions now depend on food aid; many are starving. A spreading cholera epidemic has killed over 3,300 so far, with nearly 70,000 infected. Health, sanitation and education systems are all in a state of collapse. Hyperinflation is running at unimaginable levels. The central bank has now agreed to allow foreign currencies to be accepted as legal tender alongside the local (near worthless) Zimbabwe dollar. But this will only make life more difficult for those without access to the American dollar or South African rand.
All these troubles now fall on Mr Tsvangirai’s plate. Even though the MDC won 100 parliamentary seats in the elections last March—one more than Mr Mugabe’s party—it has been allocated only 13 of the 31 ministries in the new government. Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF gets 15, with the remaining three going to another small opposition party led by Arthur Mutambara, which holds just ten parliamentary seats. Responsibility for the hotly contested home-affairs ministry, which oversees the police, is to be split between Zanu-PF and the MDC. Mr Mugabe remains in control of the armed forces. Tendai Biti, a fiery human-rights lawyer and the reputed brains behind the MDC, has been given the unenviable post of finance minister.
The whole shaky set-up is to be monitored by a joint 12-member committee comprising four senior officials from each of the three parties. It is supposed to check compliance with what has been agreed and to seek to resolve any disputes. If it cannot, the disputes are to be referred first to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a 15-member regional group which, after months of deadlock, succeeded in ramming the deal through on January 28th. If it fails, the matter will be referred to the African Union.
Many fear that the MDC leader will simply be used by Mr Mugabe as a scapegoat for the country’s seemingly insuperable ills, leaving the wily president, who turns 85 next week, in control of all the levers of real power. Ominously, the president is apparently free to fire his prime minister at any time for alleged incompetence, real or imagined.
South Africa’s president, Kgalema Montlanthe, has hailed the deal as a vindication of his country’s much-criticised approach of “quiet diplomacy” to the ongoing crisis, calling on the rest of the world to come to the aid of Zimbabweans. But scepticism is understandable. Both the United States and Britain have indicated that they will wait to see how the unity government performs before removing sanctions against Mr Mugabe and his allies in or resuming aid.