Chris McGreal in Harare
The Guardian, Thursday 12 February 2009
Morgan Tsvangirai could not let the significance of the date go unmentioned
to the thousands of supporters who had waited 10 years for something like
The day of his inauguration as Zimbabwe's new prime minister was, he noted,
February 11 - the date Nelson Mandela walked free from prison 19 years ago.
But, he cautioned, there followed another four years of political struggle
before South Africa's racist regime was buried by free elections.
The crowd got the message. Tsvangirai's swearing in yesterday by the man he
has been trying to force from power for the past decade, President Robert
Mugabe, was a beginning not an end.
Just in case Tsvangirai had any doubts, the inauguration itself provided a
reminder that life in political cohabitation with Mugabe will be no fun.
A few hours earlier, the secret police had gone looking for one of
Tsvangirai's newly appointed ministers, Roy Bennett - a white former MP who
once served eight months in jail for wrestling the minister of justice on to
the floor of parliament. The police didn't find Bennett but it was a warning
that Zimbabwe's age of terror is not yet over.
As Tsvangirai waited to be called forward to accept the oath of office, the
old government's propaganda outlets kept spewing forth the views that
Zimbabweans have come to regard as emanating from some parallel universe.
The state radio reminded its listeners that the eradication of the country's
economy and 10 sextillion per cent inflation rate was nothing to do with
Zanu-PF's plunder and incompetence but all the fault of Gordon Brown. Mugabe
was called comrade. Tsvangirai was just plain mister. Not one of us.
After the swearing in, a young woman read an excruciating poem she had
written called Rise and Shine Zimbabwe, which included such original lines
as "United we stand, divided we fall". It quickly became clear that united
meant behind Mugabe. And then, as Tsvangirai prepared to deliver the agreed
five-minute address to the nation as its new PM, the master of ceremonies
announced lunch was served and Zimbabwe TV cut away.
Tsvangirai's moment came at a later rally, where he delivered an elongated
version of the speech he didn't make on television. It's not hard to see why
the old regime didn't want people to hear it.
"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," he said. "This must end today."
There was general agreement from the crowd that it would be a good idea if
it did end today, although not a lot of confidence that it would.
The loudest cheer came when he promised to pay civil servants, teachers,
health workers and soldiers in US dollars or South African rand until the
economy works again. The crowd went wild. For all that, there was little of
the electricity that shot through Zimbabwe in the days after the election
last March when Mugabe was defeated and his regime wobbled, uncertain how to
hold on. It found a way: violence and terror.
After the rally, some of Tsvangirai's supporters wondered aloud if Mugabe
was really done for or if he might not outsmart their new prime minister.
"We will not believe Mugabe is gone until he's in a coffin," said Ernest
Manyere. "He has tried to kill our side. Now maybe he is trying to trick our
side. Tsvangirai must be very careful."
But there are good reasons to think that Mugabe's power will diminish.
That he agreed to have Tsvangirai as PM at all is evidence of his
desperation. But with no solutions to the economy, Mugabe no longer so much
governs as obstructs. Every attempt to reverse the decline has only worsened
So far as Mugabe is concerned, these are Tsvangirai's problems now. The new
prime minister will need all the help he can get, but he is only too aware
that he's not going to get it from the man who swore him in yesterday.
February 11, 2009
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has promised Zimbabwe's 150
000-strong civil service salaries pegged in foreign currency beginning end
"We must make the country start working again," Tsvangirai told an estimated
30 000 crowd that thronged Harare's Glamis Arena Wednesday to witness his
inaugural speech as Prime Minister.
"This starts with an educated and healthy workforce.
"Our schools, once among 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."
Tsvangirai said professionals in the civil service were the backbone of
government as they were charged with implementing policy decisions and
carrying out and delivery of government service moves efficiently.
"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 go to their place of work," he said.
"If we are to successfully address our nation's humanitarian crisis, we must
first address the urgent plight of our civil service.
"As Prime Minister, I make this commitment that as from the end of this
month, our professionals in the civil service, every health worker, every
teacher, every soldier, every policeman will receive their pay in foreign
"These hard currency salaries will enable people to go to work and to feed
their families to survive until such time we can begin to sustain ourselves
as a country."
The new Premier urged all striking teachers to return to work by Monday
"In this respect, I ask every school teacher, every school in this country
to be reopened and that every member of the civil service is behind his and
her desk, on Monday, this Monday, no later than Monday," he said to
Tsvangirai did not specify the range of salaries to be paid to civil service
who have been demanding a minimum salary of US$604.
Zimbabwean teachers, who have been on strike since beginning of last year,
are demanding a minimum salary of US$2 200.
Zimbabwe's civil service is in a state of near paralysis following massive
resignations of experienced staff who have either left the country or have
engaged in self-help projects in Zimbabwe's chaotic informal sector.
Over 90 percent of Zimbabwe's adult population are out of formal employment
while most Zimbabweans have virtually abandoned their own currency for other
currencies due to hyper-inflation.
Despite licensing shops to sell in hard currency and allowing public
institutions such as hospitals to charge for their services in hard
currency, President Robert Mugabe's government refused to pay workers in
As Prime Minister, Tsvangirai is expected to reverse Zimbabwe's economic
catastrophe that has seen inflation rise to record levels.
February 11, 2009
Finance Minister Tendai Biti
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Finance Minister-designate and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
secretary-general, Tendai Biti, on Wednesday described his new job as the
worst in the world.
"The job is the worst in the world but I will have to look the job in the
eye and I have no doubt that I will be equal to the task and will prevail,"
said Biti in an interview with The Zimbabwe Times, probably the first
remarks following his appointment to the post on Tuesday.
"We have to get the country out of the mess that Mugabe has got it into."
Biti had been reported to be reluctant to take up the post in the first
place after protesting against his party joining a coalition government with
President Mugabe's Zanu-PF.
Not much though is known about Biti in terms of finance but he has authored
various financial and economic papers and presented them at various forums
around the world.
He is also famed for having written the concrete MDC economic planning
document code named RESTART. The document prescribes various remedies for
the country's economic woes.
Biti said he will work towards the restoration of the viability of the
country's industrial, mining and agricultural sectors.
"The industry has to graduate in the first six months from the near zero
percent capacity to at least 60 percent capacity," said Biti.
"We will also need to change the mining policy and come up with an
attractive market structure which will offer local miners international
prices for their production."
Zimbabwe is largely an agriculture based economy with the sector
contributing close to 90 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product
"We also have to work towards restoring viability to the agricultural sector
by making adequate preparations for the 2009-2010 agricultural season, 90
percent of the country's GDP is influenced by agriculture," said Biti.
He said the cuntry needs to engage itself in what he called a transformation
regime of doing things.
"We have to adopt participatory democracy in the economy," he said.
"On the micro-economics side, we have to make sure that we start by saving
the Zimbabwe dollar. Randising the economy is not the solution which will
save the Zimbabwean dollar.
"Our money can only be saved by floating the Zimbabwe dollar so that it
finds its natural value and compete on the international money market with
He said he would ensure that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) reverted to
its fiscal duties and not dabble in quasi-fiscal activities which is the
role of the Ministry of Finance.
"We will make sure that the role of the RBZ becomes minimal creating space
for it to concentrate on fiscal matters,'' he said.
"We want to establish the real interest rates and encourage savings for the
country and make sure that these contribute between one to two percent of
the country's GDP."
He said he would move to restore fiscal discpline in government by taming
the tide of printing money which became Gono's trade mark.
"We have to spend what we have,'' said Biti. "We need financial injection
from the west and these benchmarks have to be followed because this aid will
be dependent on our capacity to deliver on these and other benchmarks such
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Most Zimbabweans were shocked to the core to read the list of MPs who
were allegedly involved in the scandal involving Zanu (PF)'s agricultural
The mere fact that MDC MPs were put on a list to receive these inputs,
which have been denied to ordinary MDC supporters, needs investigation.
Was the party aware that these people were receiving these inputs? Did
the individuals themselves declare that they had been given these inputs?
What else have they been given that we may not be aware of? These answers
must be given.
Without pre-judging the case, MDC leaders need to show that they are
different from Zanu (PF) - right from the start. Their activities must be
subject to scrutiny
We expect them to behave better than the rotten lot that have brought
our country to its knees.
We urge the party leadership to take speedy and decisive action to
investigate these allegations thoroughly. And the results of their
investigations must be made available to the people of Zimbabwe. Without
The people expect the MDC to be different from Zanu (PF). We demand
that they be different. Any hint of corruption within the ranks must be
dealt with severely, or Zimbabweans will speedily lose faith in the MDC as
they have lost faith in Zanu (PF).
May we suggest that the MDC set up a register of gifts and inducements
offered and received from any quarter and demand that its MPs declare all
such dealings transparently. This system works well in other countries.
Anyone who fails to adhere to this system should then be booted out
with no further ado. We do not want such people involved in resurrecting our
country - they will simply become part of the problem rather than part of
Zimbabweans want, and deserve, honest and upright citizens to lead
them from now onwards. We have experienced corruption at its worst and we
are not prepared to exchange one lot of greedy, selfish politicians for
This is Morgan Tsvangirai's first acid test as Prime Minister. People
will be watching him closely. He has our good will and that of the entire
nation. He should not squander it. There are plenty of good people willing
to step into the shoes of those who show themselves too greedy to serve
Zimbabwe in positions of leadership.
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Obert Gutu is the MDC Senator for Chisipite.
HARARE - The media is an extremely powerful tool of information
dissemination. It is a potent weapon for shaping people's values, opinions
In reckless and irresponsible hands, the media can be used to sow
seeds of hatred, intolerance and all sorts of other bad and nefarious
things. Thus, in reckless hands, the media is like a mentally deranged
person wielding a fully loaded automatic rifle!
Over the past decade or so, the State-controlled media in Zimbabwe
has been literally used as a weapon of mass destruction. The outgoing Zanu
(PF) regime has maintained a vice-like grip on all the levers of the
State-controlled media; both print and electronic. The regime has used the
mass media that it controls to propagate hate, intolerance, xenophobia,
homophobia and racism.
All opposition parties and/or organisations that are perceived to be a
threat to the perpetuation of Zanu (PF) kleptocracy have not been spared
from this crude, paranoid and delusional hate campaign. Instead of promoting
tolerance and political pluralism, the State-controlled media has viciously
churned out hate propaganda against the MDC; the biggest political party in
Zimbabwe in terms of support base.
The first line of attack has been the sickening and very daft
allegation that the MDC is a front for Western imperialism driven by the
interests of the minority white population. Leading figures and luminaries
such as Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa and many others are
portrayed as sell-outs who are fighting to return Zimbabwe to the control of
its former colonial masters.
As a party of excellence, the MDC has managed to outsmart and indeed,
outmaneuver, the cheap propaganda war waged against it by Zanu (PF)
mandarins for the past decade.
We all remember the gory days of the thoroughly discredited former
Zanu (PF) spin doctor, Jonathan Moyo. For here is a man who took the hate
campaign to new and unprecedented levels of dementia and intolerance. Armed
with a thoroughly notorious piece of legislation called the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Jonathan Moyo; with due
respect to him; took the propaganda war against the MDC to another level of
After every five minutes or so on all the four State-controlled radio
stations and the sole television station, musical jingles would be played to
remind the people of the '' success'' of the land reform program as well as
to denigrate and humiliate the MDC and their so-called white British ''
During Jonathan Moyo's reign of terror, numerous newspapers, including
The Daily News, Zimbabwe's largest circulating daily newspaper were forced
to close down. One of Zimbabwe's most talented journalists, Geoffrey
Nyarota, was hunted out of the country; joining the Diaspora in the United
Kindness Paradza and Funny Mushava's joint venture, The Tribune, also
fell victim to Moyo' ruthless onslaught against media freedom and media
Instead of promoting the growth of the media industry, Jonathan Moyo
appeared to be pushing a sinister agenda of squeezing out all voices that he
thought were not playing to his personal whims and fantasies.
The media is a lethal weapon that should be used for nation-building
and national cohesion. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which almost one
million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred in a very short 100 days,
is another horrific example of what can happen if the media is recklessly
used to spread ethnic hatred and intolerance. BY OBERT GUTU
He is a trained Lawyer, member of the MDC National Legal Committee as
well as the MDC National Information Committee.
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
HARARE - The media sub-committee of the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (JOMIC) wants to meet with the new information
minister next week, to start work on the deregulation of draconian media
The new minister will be appointed from Zanu (PF), which has
controlled the media with an iron fist since independence almost 29 years
ago. Many observers are concerned that with the regime still in control of
such an important ministry, it will be extremely difficult to enforce
But the global political agreement, signed by all parties to the
inclusive government, called for the country's tough media laws to be
changed and to allow private radio, television and daily newspapers to
operate under a unity government.
JOMIC is a special multi-party taskforce charged with supervising the
implementation of the inclusive government. This includes working to ensure
the immediate processing by the appropriate authorities of all applications
for re-registration and registration, in terms of both the Broadcasting
Services Act as well as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Frank Chamunorwa, a senior member of the MDC (Mutambara), who sits on
the JOMIC media sub-committee, said time was of the essence to ensure that
the inclusive government took appropriate measures to achieve these
objectives as quickly as possible. Other members of the sub-committee are
Tabitha Khumalo, an MDC (Tsvangirai) MP in Bulawayo, and Oppah Muchinguri, a
former Zanu (PF) MP in Manicaland.
"We are just waiting for the minister to be sworn in on Friday and we
are hopeful by early next week we will be knocking on his door to introduce
ourselves," Chamunorwa said.
Although Zimbabwe became independent in 1980 its constitutional claims
of being a democracy have been dented by the regime's failure to facilitate
the licensing of private media players, including radio and television
In 2000, Capital Radio won the right in the Supreme Court to open the
country's first independent radio station. But this was shut down at
gunpoint after just six days.
In response to this legal challenge to its broadcasting monopoly, the
regime enacted the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), which brought about the
establishment of the regulatory board, the Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe (BAZ), which has not licensed a single private station.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation remains the sole broadcaster in
the country, despite calls from all sectors of the media to free the
The country still lags behind most of its neighbours. South Africa,
Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Botswana opened up their airwaves long ago
and have witnessed huge strides in the broadcasting industry.
Chamunorwa said: "We want this whole thing expedited so that
interested parties can be encouraged to make applications for broadcasting
licences in terms of the law. Three months from now, we would be in better
position to know when new independent players can start operating in the
According to Chamunorwa, the committee has demanded that public media,
as well as the independent weekly papers, refrain from using abusive
language that may incite hostility, political intolerance and ethnic hatred
or that unfairly undermines political parties and other organisations.
During a meeting with representatives of media houses on Friday, JOMIC
chairperson for February Professor Welshman Ncube said the media had an
important role to play in reducing the political tension that has gripped
the country over the past 10 years.
Ncube urged the media, both public and private, to assist in promoting
national healing as the country moves to form an inclusive government on
The chairperson for JOMIC rotates on a monthly basis. - SW Radio
11 February 2009
(MISA/IFEX) - Zimbabwe's public and private media has been urged to shun
hate language and work towards promoting national healing as Zimbabwe takes
baby steps towards the implementation of an inclusive Government.
Speaking at a meeting with representatives of media houses on 6 February
2009, the Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee
(JOMIC) for the month of February, Professor Welshman Ncube, said the media
has an important role to play in reducing the political tension that gripped
Zimbabwe over the past 10 years.
JOMIC, which is co-chaired by Zanu-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union -
Patriotic Front), MDC-T (Movement for Democratic Change - Tsvangirai) and
MDC-M (Movement for Democratic Change-Mutambara), on a rotational basis,
came into being following the signing of the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) in Harare on 15 September 2008 to monitor the implementation of the
Agreement by the three respective political parties.
Representatives from Zimpapers, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings and ZimInd
(PVT) Ltd, publishers of the "Zimbabwe Independent" and "Standard"
newspapers attended the meeting.
Professor Ncube, of the MDC-M, said the parties agreed that the media has
not lived up to expectations in adapting to the latest developments that
should usher in a new political dispensation. "The formation of the
inclusive Government is a very difficult job for the parties after the
difficult years we have gone through. The parties are trying to reduce
political tension, so there is need for the media to work together and build
mutual trust to bring national healing across the country," said Ncube.
Under Article 19 of the GPA, the media should, among other responsibilities,
provide balanced and fair coverage to all parties and refrain from using
language that may incite hostility, political intolerance and ethnic hatred.
Committee member Nicholas Goche, of the Zanu PF, said the three main
political parties were trying to create a new environment of tolerance and
respect for divergent views. "We can argue in a more civilised manner, but
with respect for each other's different views," he said.
Elton Mangoma, of the MDC-T, said although Zimbabwe was going through a
difficult but important transitional period, it was imperative for the
nation to share responsibilities and carry the nation forward. "The media
have an important role in building the confidence of the nation . . . and
improving the world's perception of the country," he said.
Mangoma said JOMIC would also meet with the political parties' leadership so
that they tone down their language when addressing party gatherings. Members
of the committee were reportedly also in agreement that the new Government
would ensure that all radio stations broadcasting outside the country should
cease their illegal operations and register properly under the law.
MISA-Zimbabwe Chairperson Loughty Dube, however, said the government should
first come up with very clear legal parameters on how they plan to free the
airwaves to allow the entry of private players into the broadcasting sector.
"There should first be clear parameters and timeframes for the issuing of
the licenses as opposed to just expecting the radio stations to cease
operations without putting into place clear legal frameworks for that
eventuality," said Dube.
Dube also urged JOMIC to revisit the issue of the legality of the
prohibitive registration and accreditation fees imposed against media houses
and journalists, both local and foreign, wishing to operate in Zimbabwe as
gazetted by the government in December 2008. Foreign media organisations
wishing to establish a representative office in Zimbabwe will pay an
application fee of US$10,000 and a further US$20,000 and US$2,000 as
permission to operate and complementary permit administration fees
Local journalists working for foreign media organisations will pay US$1,000
and US$3,000 as individual application and accreditation fees. Dube noted
that the fees were gazetted in the absence of the Zimbabwe Media Commission
(ZMC) which is still to be constituted following the amendments to the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the
Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and the Public Order and Security Act
(POSA), which were signed into law by President Robert Mugabe on 11 January
The ZMC, which is supposed to be the successor statutory media regulatory
body to the Media and Information Commission (MIC), is the one that should
be tasked with the functions of media regulation, registration of mass media
and accrediting of journalists. Members of the ZMC will consist of nine
members appointed by the President from a list of persons nominated by the
Parliamentary Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
A Media Monitoring sub-committee of JOMIC has since been established and
comprises Oppah Muchinguri (Zanu-PF), Thabita Khumalo (MDC-T) and Frank
Chamunorwa (MDC-M). In a separate development, seven journalists and senior
managers with the state media have been added to the European Union's (EU)
targeted sanctions lists for whipping up a government orchestrated terror
campaign before and during the June 2008 presidential runoff.
They are also accused of being involved in activities that seriously
undermined freedom of expression and the media in Zimbabwe. On the list is
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief correspondent, Reuben Barwe;
diplomatic correspondent Judith Makwanya; current affairs producer
Musorowegomo Mukosi; ZBC acting chief executive officer (CEO) Happison
Muchechetere, Zimbabwe Newspapers (CEO) Justin Mutasa, editor Pikirai
Deketeke of "The Herald", senior assistant editor Caesar Zvayi and "The
Sunday Mail" political editor Munyaradzi Huni.
Jongwe Printers, a company owned by Zanu PF and the political party's
mouthpiece, "The Voice", were also placed on the sanctions list.
For further information on the fees imposed on foreign media, see:
12 February 2009
PRESIDENT Kgalema Motlanthe has suggested that Zimbabwe could adopt the rand
to end its hyperinflation woes. While ending hyperinflation is a necessary
first step for economic recovery in Zimbabwe, the rand is not the answer.
No country has ever grown while suffering from hyperinflation; indeed, every
experience of hyperinflation has been accompanied by the kind of economic
collapse Zimbabwe is currently witnessing. In looking for a cure, Zimbabwe
can look to a surprisingly large number of countries that historically
experienced hyperinflation - eight from 1920-1946 and 16 since 1984. As a
recent Brenthurst paper shows, in all countries the cause was the same:
hyperinflation was preceded by a long period of very high inflation ,
followed by an event in which an already high budget deficit suddenly
increased sharply. An institutional ability to use the central bank to print
money to fund the large deficit caused prices to spiral to ever-higher
levels. In hyperinflation, government tax revenue inevitably collapses as
economic activity contracts. Moreover, taxes are paid only monthly,
quarterly or annually, by which time hyperinflation has made their value
virtually worthless. As a result the deficit rises further, requiring the
central bank to print more money, which in turn drives hyperinflation ever
higher in a cycle of sky-high prices and economic collapse.
What makes Zimbabwe's experience of hyperinflation unusual is the
extraordinarily high level that hyperinflation has reached. At 231-million
percent in July last year, Zimbabwe's hyperinflation has been surpassed by
only the Weimar Republic (Germany) in 1923 (where prices doubled every two
days) and Hungary in the aftermath of the Second World War (prices doubled
every 15 hours).
Zimbabwe's experience of hyperinflation is also unusual in that it has now
lasted for almost two years. Most other hyperinflations lasted only a few
months or maybe a year because the economic collapse that accompanied
hyperinflation brought about a swift change of government or at least a
U-turn on the policies that caused hyperinflation in the first place. The
price Zimbabwe has paid is that its economic collapse has been especially
To end hyperinflation, the budget deficit must be slashed - international
experience suggests by at least 10% of gross domestic product (GDP), but in
Zimbabwe the fact that the true deficit may be approaching an astonishing
80% of GDP suggests that the cut may have to be much greater than this.
Second, the misuse of the central bank to fund the deficit by printing money
must be ended by removing the bank from government control. None of this is
easy, as reducing the deficit in a situation where tax revenue has collapsed
means slashing government spending (for which read employment in the civil
service) at a time of very high unemployment and collapsed delivery of
A third condition for ending hyperinflation is the establishment of what
economists call a "nominal anchor" - replacing a valueless local currency
with a yardstick against which future prices can be measured and their rate
of increase brought under control. Often this anchor has been a fixed
exchange rate or at least a "crawling peg" in which the exchange rate
depreciates at a slowing rate.
Adopting the rand as Zimbabwe's currency would provide such a peg. At the
same time it would prevent the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank from printing money to
fund the budget deficit as it cannot print rands. This in turn will force
the government to slash the deficit and hyperinflation will indeed end. But
such a solution is not workable in practice.
The Zimbabwean government has already taken the extraordinary step of
allowing local prices to be set in a range of currencies (including the
rand, dollar and pula). But the Zimbabwe dollar remains legal tender and the
reserve bank can continue to print these dollars for government to pay its
public servants, not least the army. If the rand becomes the official
currency, where will the Zimbabwean government get the rands to pay its
employees? In time, taxes will be paid in rands, but these will not meet the
current huge deficit of revenue versus spending. Such a hole can be filled
only if foreign aid is available. In the absence of aid, SA would be called
upon to supply the needed rands or face possible unrest and the complete
collapse of remaining public services in its northern neighbour.
Adopting the rand can therefore happen only once the other ingredients to
end hyperinflation are in place. First there must be political consensus on
slashing the deficit as well as ending the central bank's ability to fund
future deficits. Only then will a nominal anchor be effective. Most probably
this should mean fixing the Zimbabwe dollar exchange rate to the rand. Under
such conditions, adopting the rand itself will probably be no longer
a.. Dr Keeton is in the department of economics and economic history at
Thursday, 12 February 2009, 3:44 pm
Press Release: Save Zimbabwe
12 February, 2009
For Immediate Release
Zimbabwe's Second Step in Right Direction
Zimbabweans living in New Zealand say the swearing in of Morgan Tsvangirai
as Prime Minister is a significant step following 10 years of destruction.
Save Zimbabwe Campaign New Zealand (SZCNZ) says it is a second step in the
right direction after last September's agreement between ruling and
In his inaugural speech, Tsvangirai noted the many sad realities of a
country where schools are closed, health centres are death centres, the
civil service is grounded, farms are barely producing and industries operate
below 25 percent. However, Tsvangirai vowed to stabilise the country and end
SZCNZ national coordinator Mandla Akhe Dube wished the new government
success in translating words into action.
"This transitional Government of National Unity faces many challenges. Only
time will remove doubts by those who choose to see Zimbabwe's cup as half
empty instead of half full."
The campaign called upon the international community to help build capacity
in the new government.
New Zealand could lead by offering to help retrain Zimbabwe's police force,
a body synonymous with brutality and blatant disregard of human rights.
"We also urge the community of nations to help feed the five million hungry
Zimbabweans between now and the 2009/10 farming season which starts in
Mr Dube called upon Zimbabweans at home and abroad to help their shattered
country re-build. "We all have a role to play."
Published Date: 12 February 2009
By Fred Bridgland
ZIMBABWE'S opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was sworn in as prime
minister yesterday by old foe President Robert Mugabe and vowed to salvage
his country's ruined economy.
The inauguration of Mr Tsvangirai drew a line under a five-month stand-off
between his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF
party, which has ruled Zimbabwe for 29 years since independence, over
implementation of a September power-sharing accord.
The ceremony in Harare was held in a white tent in the grounds of State
House, the president's official residence.
Mr Mugabe, who turns 85 this month, pledged in a speech after the ceremony
that he would work constructively with Mr Tsvangirai, 56. "I offer my hand
of friendship and co-operation," he said. "If yesterday we were adversaries,
today we stand in unity . We must build on this unity by turning our swords
Such words come easier than improving the lives of Zimbabweans, most of whom
are reliant on international food aid.
Apart from having to fathom how to work with Mr Mugabe and his murderous and
corrupt comrades, Mr Tsvangirai has to tackle myriad problems.
Under the power-sharing deal, Mr Tsvangirai was able to appoint the minister
of finance. He has put in the post Mr Tendai Biti, the MDC's energetic
Mr Biti, a top human rights lawyer who opposed the deal with Mr Mugabe, is
widely regarded as incorruptible. But he will have to work with a man
equally widely described as Mr Mugabe's "looter-in-chief" - Gideon Gono,
governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, reappointed a few weeks ago to a
further five-year term.
When Mr Gono took office in 2003, inflation was running at a desperate 619
per cent. By last July it was put officially by the Mugabe government at a
dizzying 231 million per cent before it officials abandoned further attempts
to calculate the rate.
Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Biti have made stabilisation of the economy their top
priority. They will need massive amounts of funding to kick-start it, but
the West - which promised reconstruction funds if Mr Mugabe stepped down -
is adopting a wait-and-see approach to the new government. Western diplomats
in Harare fear money intended as development aid will be purloined by the
Mugabe wing of the unity government for personal enrichment. Only last month
Mr Mugabe's wife, Grace, who watched yesterday's ceremony, was pictured on a
spending spree in Hong Kong.
Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Biti will plead with the West to "take a chance" to get
the education and health systems - for which the MDC wing is responsible -
working again. The country's hospitals and clinics have collapsed and the
country is in the grip of a cholera epidemic that has taken 3,500 lives.
The United Nations says the unemployment rate has reached 94 per cent, and
the UN's Children's Fund says the same proportion of state schools is
Opinion is deeply divided on whether the MDC can achieve anything in
coalition with Mr Mugabe and Zanu PF. But veteran Zimbabwe journalist Iden
Wetherell, speaking last night from Harare, said: "The body language said it
all today. Mr Tsvangirai looked very confident; it was very much his day."
Mr Wetherell, group editor of Zimbabwe's independent Standard newspapers
group, added: "I do think there are people in Zanu PF who are willing to
roll up their sleeves and make this work. But, of course, there are elements
who will try to stymie the process."
Why it may be mission impossible for man with worst job in world politics
YESTERDAY, Morgan Tsvangirai looked his new partner in the eye and took a
set of vows. A congregation cheered its approval. And so began the marriage
between the Movement for Democratic Change and Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF.
It is an alliance of sworn enemies, a union that would give even the most
optimistic guidance counsellor grave cause for concern. One abusive partner,
with his fist still clenched in his pocket, and a victim who knows only too
well the pain it can inflict.
For Tsvangirai, there will be no honeymoon - the hard work of government
starts today. He will already be feeling the pressure of expectation from a
population starved of hope for so long. He's not short on motivation, and
now at least he has some power and a chance to change things from the
A deep fracture has opened within Mugabe's party. The majority appear
determined to make the new deal work, but they're facing up to a small but
powerful group of hawks, desperate to protect their power base. The
challenge for Tsvangirai is to bring the moderates onside, and render the
hardliners irrelevant. It won't be easy.
A flick through my passport tells me I've made almost 20 trips to Zimbabwe
over the past three years. I've seen it lurch from crisis to crisis, spoken
to people who have suffered the most appalling abuses and witnessed hunger
and disease take their toll. I've also watched Mugabe demonstrate time and
again why he can't, and shouldn't, be trusted.
The reality of this deal is that Mugabe, as president, will keep the tools
he needs to hold on to power (the police and the army, most notably), and
hand his new prime minister the country's problems to sort out.
And what problems they are. Zimbabwe has a currency that is worthless, an
unemployment rate of 94 per cent, a generation of schoolchildren deprived of
an education and a cholera epidemic that may well hit 100,000 people before
it subsides. Without United Nations food hand-outs, more than half the
population would face starvation.
Sure, there will be some improvement. The MDC is working on plans to deliver
food to the starving, medicine to the hospitals and pupils back to the empty
classrooms. But this is emergency first aid. Zimbabwe needs long-term
To stand any chance of pulling his country back from the abyss, Tsvangirai
needs money. The cash exists, but it's held by western governments who swore
they'd never release it until Mugabe steps down.
He is, apparently, planning a party to mark his 85th birthday next week,
with vintage champagne by the lorry-load, thousands of lobsters, tonnes of
cheese and, it is claimed, 8,000 boxes of Ferrero Rocher. Spoiling himself
as his people starve. It is textbook Mugabe. A spectacular vindication of
the foreign donors' concerns.
Against this backdrop, Tsvangirai takes up what must be the worst job in
world politics. The task is enormous and the clock is ticking.
. Martin Geissler is ITV News's Africa correspondent.
Thursday, 12 February 2009
For the first time since I'd been in Zimbabwe, I passed two women busy
sweeping litter from a street corner as I made my way to work. It seemed a
minor miracle, given that most basic civic services had broken down. There
had been no refuse collection for months; and the water and sewerage system
in many areas of the country had stopped functioning altogether.
On this day, it seemed highly symbolic: a clean sweep. It was a day which
many Zimbabweans were praying would bring them change, after months of
political deadlock, an ever-worsening economy and a humanitarian crisis as
the country battled a cholera epidemic and food shortages. It was the day
Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as the Prime Minister in a new unity
While there are sceptics who say the new arrangement is a sell-out and
unlikely to achieve much, many Zimbabweans beg to differ. Many told me
things couldn't get any worse; and that yesterday's events gave them cause
Some attending Mr Tsvangirai's swearing-in told me they'd sold household
goods to get enough petrol to come to Harare to listen to him address the
crowd as the country's Prime Minister.
He promised to end political violence; to work for a society where people
were no longer living in fear of reprisals for their views. His government
would stem the cholera epidemic, and ensure that those who needed food got
All music to the ears of the crowd. Those in the stadium cheered, danced and
waved flags. Even a reporter from a newspaper loyal to Robert Mugabe seemed
happy. "We used to be dead," he said. "Now we are alive. This is the start
Caroline Gluck is a humanitarian press officer with Oxfam
Thursday, 12 February 2009
Harare-The leader of the MDC rebel faction, Arthur Mutambara faces a
massive party revolt as party members react to his recent speeches and
actions which have been largely viewed to be 'nonsensical' and 'irrational'.
Mutambara, pictured above, known for using 'great swelling words the ear
cannot endure', might find his political career reaching a dead-end as many
of his supporters desert the MDC for the late Joshua Nkomo's recently
revived veteran party, ZAPU.
Two of Mutambara's top party henchmen who on condition of anonymity
spoke to the ZimEye have detailed how 'ludicrous, disgraceful, and
irrelevant' they find their leader to be. Many in Bulawayo have already
deserted the MDC for ZAPU along with scores of others in the United Kingdom.
At least two meetings have already been held since January in Birmingham,
Britain's second largest city as well Leeds where large numbers turned up in
support of ZAPU. One of the people attending the ZAPU meetings, identifying
himself as Clement emphatically told the ZimEye:
'ZAPU is still alive!'
Until recently, many Ndebele's found themselves aligning by default to
Mutambara's faction instead of Tsvangirai's as the latter was accused
reportedly of running the party on tribal grounds and favouring Shona's
Many Zimbabweans both Shona and Ndebele also expressed concern at
Mutambara's September 15 speech which they said was 'childish, emotional,
and more of a colloquial than a formal speech to be delivered by the leader
of a national party.'
Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, Mutambara recently told donors to
'shut up' in expressing their views on Zimbabwe.
"All the sceptics must now shut up and support what Zimbabweans want.
Listen to us as Zimbabweans," he said
The leader of the MDC splinter group, who almost always poses in front
of cameras with a rude cynical wink, faces a massive exit of supporters in
particular Ndebele's who have vowed to leave the party and to instead join
12 February 2009
Excerpts from an editorial in the Guardian yesterday:
The inauguration of Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister of Zimbabwe will
mark the start of a struggle in which one side's top card will be access to
aid (from the West) while the other's will be its continued control of the
security forces. The Movement for Democratic Change, after years of standing
up to Mugabe's brutal bullying and after months of broken promises on
power-sharing, can have few illusions. They are in government because Mugabe
and his coterie have no other way of getting their hands on the aid that can
halt Zimbabwe's free fall into economic and social chaos. Mugabe's people
will undoubtedly maneuver at every level to control new resources coming in
and to claim credit for any economic gains, while maintaining physical
control, and exerting whatever degree of intimidation they think they can
get away with through the army and the police.
The MDC's counterstrategy will be to keep a firm grasp on the aid purse
strings, to demonstrate that it is its side which is bringing back jobs and
reviving trade and agriculture, and to make it clear to ordinary Zimbabweans
that they, unlike Mugabe, enjoy the trust of the outside world. In this way
it could satisfy its own supporters and attract the loyalties of many
members and followers of Zanu-PF, including some high-level defectors, so
that by the time new elections are organized under a new constitution the
MDC will be well placed to sweep the board. Both the MDC and Zanu-PF know
what the other side is planning and plotting. This is not remotely a unity
government, or even a power-sharing government in the true sense of the
word. It will be, if it survives, a government in which power is constantly
disputed. While the MDC has put one of its smartest men in as finance
minister, Mugabe's man remains at the central bank. Conflict awaits round
every corner. Yet it still might work, if the players are astute and with
some skillful pressure from outside.
The Guardian, Thursday 12 February 2009
Who governs Zimbabwe now?
While Mugabe is president and chairs cabinet meetings, Tsvangirai has
day-to-day control of the government. As prime minister he leads a council
of ministers. The two men are supposed to work in unison, reaching consensus
on policy, but this will be difficult given their suspicion of one another.
Tsvangirai believes he has the greater power being responsible for the daily
administration of government and because his party controls the finance
ministry, which funds all the other ministries' budgets. But the set-up will
test Tsvangirai's political skills; some of his ministers will be former
foes responsible for a campaign of violence against his own party.
So how does Mugabe benefit?
For a start it allows him to get away with murder. Had he been forced from
power, he and his cohorts might have been held to account for the political
killings and torture inflicted on their opponents. More immediately Mugabe
hopes that by drawing Tsvangirai and his party into government he can
neutralise them as a political force after losing the last, generally fair,
election to them nearly a year ago.
So is this the end of Mugabe?
Tsvangirai says it is the beginning of the end. Mugabe has been forced in to
considerable concessions by even agreeing to share power with a man he was
refusing to talk to just a few months ago. Tsvangirai believes he can move
the country swiftly towards a new constitution, and fresh elections within
two years that will force Mugabe out for good. The president will try to
stall that development, but there are many in Zanu-PF who realise that if
their party is to have a future it will be without him as leader. Crippling
the coalition administration will do nothing to rebuild their party's
fortunes. Tsvangirai will try to exploit that.
|Wednesday, 11 February 2009|
‘The botched June 27 2008 election was not recognized by any sensible person or government’
Some time during this week the so-called inclusive government will be formed when the Prime minister designate, Morgan Tsvangirai, and the cabinet will be sworn into office. Technically, Mr. Robert Mugabe should also be sworn in since the swearing in he went through after the botched June 27 2008 election was not recognized by any sensible person or government.
The task of cleaning up the mess created by Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) will commence in earnest after the new leaders have been sworn in. the task before the MDC is phenomenal, to say the least. The purpose of this contribution is to highlight some of the dirt that Morgan and his party, with the help of Mutambara’s inherited formation, will have to undertake in the next few weeks if Zimbabwe is to be rescued.
Both the health and the education sectors are in a sorry state as a result of Mugabe’s failed policies and selfish abuse of national resources. The majority of teachers are not teaching and most pupils and students spend their days wondering around aimlessly. Teaching materials are hardly available locally, and some have to be imported from South Africa and Botswana.
Some schools are in such a state of bad repair that they are actually hazardous to both the staff and the students. This includes government schools in urban areas. Further, thousands of our trained teachers have since left the country for greener pastures, and the majority of them are unlikely to pack their bags and return home without being offered some inducements.
Hospitals and clinics are largely closed down, and those that are operating lack drugs, equipment and personnel. Cleaning up this area will require huge amounts of financial, technical and other kinds of resources.
The agricultural sector has also been vandalized by the Mugabe regime and we all know that the result has been abject poverty for all of us. Our food self-sufficiency has all but vanished and we are now dependent on imports from our neighbours. Over the years, the notorious Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been dishing out agricultural inputs to Zanu (PF) supporters without ensuring that the recipients of such “gifts” produce anything on their farms.
It will be very difficult for the MDC to refuse farmers these free gifts in the future. The political cost of doing so will be very high. Yet the sector seriously demands to be cleaned up. Landholders that are not utilizing the land for agricultural production must lose that land, which must be allocated to persons that mean business about farming. Persons that hold more than one farm must be identified and made to relinquish additional farms.
In the business sector (commerce and industry), there will be urgent need to ensure that meaningful regulation of business operations is re-introduced as soon as possible. The prevailing situation where so called forex supermarkets and licensed dealers are making super-profits has to be stopped by the new government. There is no valid reason why South Africa manufactured goods should cost more in Zimbabwe than they do in Zambia, Malawi and Botswana.
Further, in order to revive our manufacturing industry, some of the current imports will need to be disallowed, or charged heavy customs duty at importation. This is also an area where there is a lot of corruption. The new government will need to take a close look at the goings on in the motor industry, for example, and try and determine why the workers in this sector are so poorly paid.
They should, in fact be paid in foreign currency since all vehicles are now bought and sold in that manner. The MDC will certainly need a huge broom and a lot of scrubbing materials.
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
BULAWAYO - Police officers have been barred from resigning as tension
rises in Zimbabwe due to the deepening economic crisis. According to a
circular sent to police stations by the police commander,
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, the law enforcement agents are not
allowed to quit their jobs.
The move came after the Zimbabwe Republic Police recorded high staff
turnover because of pathetic salaries. In January, police officers received
a Z$29 trillion salary, an amount that could buy only US$5.
In the circular, Chihuri said the police could no longer submit
resignations due to an acute shortage of stationery. He said there were no
resignation forms to allow the police to process their retirement documents.
Chihuri said police officers who abscond from duty without submitting
resignation letters would be treated as deserters and face arrest and
Police sources said that they would not bow to Chihuri's threat and
would quit jobs en masse.
"We are resigning from work because we are not getting anything. You
can see our worn out uniforms and the low salaries make our situation even
worse," said a policeman who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.
He revealed officers were not allowed to go on leave amid fears by the
President Robert Mugabe's administration of massive protests against the
unbearable costs of living.
Zimbabweans are fast losing patience with Mugabe who has stayed in
29 years. Last month, hundreds of armed police officers were deployed
in Harare and
Bulawayo as the government anticipated civil unrest by hungry
Zimbabweans. Soldiers refused to accept January salaries that were pegged in
Zimbabwean dollars, which analysts describe as worthless. A group of angry
soldiers once went on rampage in Harare last year beating illegal foreign
currency dealers and vendors whom they blamed of holding on to large amounts
of cash. The soldiers had failed to withdraw their salaries at the height of
cash shortages. - Zimeye
Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR)
Date: 11 Feb 2009
With astronomic inflation requiring more and more new banknotes, the
country's mint is finding it hard to cope.
By Chipo Sithole in Harare (ZCR No. 180, 11-Feb-09)
Targeted sanctions have hit the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, RBZ, hard, with
central bank governor Gideon Gono last week saying the country's mint,
Fidelity Printers and Refiners, needs 500 million US dollars of fresh
investment to overhaul its overworked, creaky and archaic money-printing
The machines, both in the capital and in the second city of Bulawayo, are
collapsing under the weight of an unprecedented demand for cash in a country
with the highest inflation rate in the world.
A relatively new coin-minting machine in Bulawayo installed in the late
1990s has stopped production, not only because hyperinflation means coins
are no longer instruments of trade, but because the central bank does not
have the cash to import spares.
A German firm, Gieseck and Devrient, G&D, had been sending heavily-guarded
planeloads of banknote paper to Zimbabwe so that more money could be
printed. But since the flights were suspended on orders from the German
government in mid-2008, cash shortages have dramatically worsened, with the
final admission last week that the government could no longer cope.
With inflation topping 6.5 quindecillion novemdecillion per cent, Fidelity
Printers' systems cannot cope anymore with the extraordinary demand for
The central bank recently lopped off ten zeroes from the battered Zimbabwe
dollar, ZWD, and introduced a new family of banknotes, the highest value
being 500 ZWD, worth ten US dollars.
Gono, whose tenure is the subject of a dispute between ZANU-PF and the
Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, said the printing capacity at the mint
needed to be expanded immediately to meet demand. He said he would require
an injection of 500 million US dollars in investment for the money-printing
"The growing demand for currency can only be met through increases in the
denominations of the notes", for which there is no capacity, Gono said in a
monetary policy review statement on February 2.
But even if investment the investment was found, Zimbabweans would have to
wait almost 24 months while the creaky money-printing systems were revamped,
G&D had been flying planeloads of banknote paper every week into Harare, but
a ban on supplies was imposed during the orgy of violence that followed the
devastating loss by Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party in the March 29
general elections last year.
German leader Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken a tough stance on Zimbabwe,
speaking out to insist that the world cannot stand by while "human rights
are trampled underfoot".
Gono said because of mounting demand for cash amid serious supply
constraints caused by Germany's suspension of banknote paper supplies, he
was forced to print more higher denomination notes.
G&D used to deliver 432,000 sheets of banknotes every week to Fidelity
Printers, where they were stamped with the denomination. Each sheet
contained 40 notes.
The end of these crucial supplies has forced the mint to make do with an
aged, archaic and collapsing money-printing system set up by the Germans in
the late 1970s. As for the paper the money is now printed on, it resembles
bond paper with no security features, not even watermarks.
Gono has tried to shift the blame for his handling of the economy on
sanctions, pointedly the suspension of banknote paper, which he gave as
evidence of antagonism against the Harare administration by European Union
The controversial central bank chief has steadfastly dismissed mounting
calls for his ouster. The MDC has said one of its first tasks in the new
inclusive government is to make sure Gono is fired.
The MDC accuses Gono of wrecking the economy and says there is no sane
investor who will pump desperately needed foreign currency into Zimbabwe if
Gono remains head of the central bank, which in the past has been accused of
embezzling donor funds.
Chipo Sithole is the pseudonym of an IWPR-trained journalist.
Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR)
Date: 11 Feb 2009
Analysts cast doubt on the government's rosy predictions of recovery.
By Jabu Shoko in Harare (ZCR No. 180, 11-Feb-09)
President Robert Mugabe, buoyed by Morgan Tsvangirai's intention to join him
in the government of national unity, GNU, this week, has proposed a
reconstruction budget for the next 12 months to rejuvenate Zimbabwe's
economic fortunes - but analysts doubt whether this can be achieved.
Mugabe's acting fnance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, unveiled on January 29 a
1.9 billion US dollar budget in which the government virtually dropped the
populist polices it has used for the past eight years to curry favour with
the electorate, and instead vowed to rebuild Zimbabwe during the new
With the populist policies out of the way, Chinamasa predicted an economic
growth rate of two per cent for 2009 in addition to revenue flows from a new
tax and customs regime.
However Eric Bloch, a respected Bulawayo-based analyst, said he feared the
government's projections could turn out to be fiction. He cited the
precarious state of all sectors of the economy, on their knees due to the
myriad problems that have bedevilled the country for nearly a decade.
"This unusual display of realism, albeit muted in some respects, was
emphasised by the identification of many key areas that need to be urgently
addressed by government," he said.
"However, as surprisingly transparent and factual as was most of the acting
minister's evaluation of the current dismal state of the Zimbabwean economy
and of the necessary transformation objectives, the declared budgetary
measures and targets, and the stated intended actions to achieve them,
whether or not genuinely intended, are unfortunately very likely to prove
The government's reconstruction budget commits funds to food security, water
management, guaranteed fuel and electricity supply, improved delivery of
health and education services, and the rehabilitation of transport
infrastructure, among other development projects.
In a departure from past policies, Chinamasa said there would no longer be
free or cheap loans for farmers and small businesses.
Chinamasa also revealed that the government intended containing the present
rampant inflation - officially estimated at 231 per cent but thought to be
over eight trillion - through tightening of fiscal and monetary policies.
He said the government sought to link expenditure to actual revenue, which
is a marked departure from the past, where the country's central bank
printed money willy-nilly.
"The 2009 budget thrust should therefore shift from policies that promote
and fuel consumption to those which create wealth through supporting our
productive sectors, particularly agriculture, mining, tourism and
manufacturing, whose capacity utilisation is below 30 percent," said
Mugabe's right hand-man said the central bank would no longer dabble in
printing money, an activity which critics blame for fuelling inflation.
"Excessive money supply growth emanating from unbudgeted expenditures made
through the reserve bank as well as a low supply of goods and services
remain the major sources of inflation," Chinamasa said.
Bloch remarked that the budget statement unusually acknowledged many of the
grievous economic circumstances prevailing in Zimbabwe, but he said, "One
must fear that the government's inability to contain expenditure is endemic
and will continue in the year ahead."
This fear, Bloch added, was reinforced by there being no declaration of
intent to reduce what he described as the "gargantuan" public service in
general and the defence forces in particular.
The inclusive government will have 31 cabinet ministers and 15 deputy
ministers. These and other senior government appointments were agreed to by
the three political parties under the Global Political Agreement, GPA,
sponsored by the Southern African Development Community and brokered on
September 15, 2008 by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.
There are concerns the bloated government will be a major drain on public
Mugabe's critics, especially the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
MDC, have all along blamed Mugabe's populist policies for the present sorry
state of the economy, where around half the 9.5 million population is
surviving on handouts from international donor agencies.
Instead of stimulating economic growth in production, the government held to
the free distribution of fertiliser, tractors, maize and other farming
inputs - a policy that fast-tracked the economic collapse of the country,
noted Useni Sibanda, the coordinator of the Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe.
"As Christian Alliance, we welcome this budget statement with guarded
optimism but there is a serious danger that come election time, say after 18
months to two years of the GNU, we might see the political parties dishing
out sweeteners," said Sibanda.
Chinamasa said the budget sought to liberalise many facets of Zimbabwe's
battered economy, which has been under a command economy for nearly ten
But Fambai Ngirande, spokesman for the National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations, said the liberalisation of the economy at
this time did not augur well for the poor.
"In having a broad-based liberalisation programme without an allied social
support framework, the budget in many ways is insensitive to the plight of
more than three-quarters of the Zimbabwean population currently unable to
meet their basic needs or actively participate in a free market," said
Chinamasa also unveiled a raft of revenue-generation measures underpinned by
enhanced collection of traditional taxes and duties which took effect from
But Bloch said the government was unlikely to be able to match expenditures
and revenues because the expectation of two per cent economic growth in 2009
was overly optimistic.
"It is too late for agriculture to contribute to this year's projected
economic growth; the mining sector's productivity is presently reduced; the
manufacturing sector's productivity has declined from 75 per cent of
capacity in 2002 to a niggardly ten per cent at present; and all other
economic sectors are in similar decline," he noted.
Jabu Shoko is the pseudonym of an IWPR-trained journalist.
February 12th 2009
Former U.S. Ambassador to Gambia, George W. Haley, concluded a series of lectures in Mutare and Harare in Zimbabwe, in which he talked about the history of the African American experience in the U.S. summing it as a journey from Kunta Kinte to President Barack Obama.
“From the stand-point of African- Americans, we have come a long way in getting to the President of the United States. I generally think in terms of a theme, like from Kunta Kinte to now, to Obama, that’s a long trip in the history of America,” said the former Ambassador in his address to nearly 50 members of the media at the Quill Press Club in Harare on Friday February 6th.
“ There is no doubt in my mind that it (Obama’s presidency) should benefit not only us, but the motherland too…There is great interest in Africa now and it becomes our mission, our responsibility, our challenge to take advantage of these experiences in the United States and certainly yours here,” said Haley.
During his discussions, Haley echoed his experiences during the peak of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and challenged Zimbabweans to make positive contributions to achieve peaceful and positive social change.
“I cannot do everything, but I can do something and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do,” said Haley, citing from a poem during his youth.
He added that a peaceful approach, advocated by the Martin Luther King Jr., “certainly had that impact on our being able to elect President Obama. We weren’t able to do it from the standpoint of blacks. So, it took our being able to convince ourselves and others that here is the best person in the country to serve us and certainly to serve many parts of the world.”
Speaking on the general expectation among many Africans that Obama’s ascendancy will help emancipate African Americans, Haley said “He represents all of the United States. There are economic problems that do not only involve blacks; but all of the United States.”
Echoing the non-violent strategies adopted by the civil rights movement in the U.S., Haley cited education, communication and the role of the black Church as key elements to the African American struggle.
“Education was so important to make American minds really come about and do something,” said Haley. Haley reflected on his experience as a law student at the University of Arkansas, which was one of the first to admit black students “even though they were admitted under totally segregated circumstances.”
“The black church was of extreme importance when we talk about where we are, where we have come, even from the beginning the black church has been there and still remains the basic institution of learning. Martin Luther King was a minister, so was Jesse Jackson. The church has been the real local force.”
Haley (aged 83) was in Zimbabwe courtesy of a U.S. Speaker and Specialist Grant awarded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs to conduct a series of lectures and programs on the civil rights movement in the United States. During his visit, Haley, whose arrival to Zimbabwe was delayed by over two days after the Zimbabwean Embassy in Washington denied him a visa, held formal and informal meetings with members of Zimbabwe’s civil society, religious leaders and gave a public lecture at Africa University in Mutare.
This report was produced and distributed by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section. Queries and comments should be directed to Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. +263 4 758800-1, Fax: +263 4 758802. Previous media statements and reports from the U.S. Embassy can be accessed at http://harare.usembassy.gov
Thursday 12 February 2009
ZIMBABWE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL BILL, 2009
Following upon the agreement between the Presidents of ZANU-PF and the two
formations of the MDC, signed on the 15th September, 2008, the Zimbabwe
National Security Council Bill seeks to establish the National Security
Council on statutory basis, and to allocate certain seats on the Council
between the parties.
The Zimbabwe National Security Council, is composed of the President Robert
Mugabe as chairperson, the two Vice-Presidents Joseph Msika and Joyce
Mujuru, the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the two Deputy Prime Ministers
Thokozani Khupe and Arthur Mtambara, Ministers responsible for finance, the
Defence Forces and the Police Force, and one Minister nominated by each by
each of the three political parties who are signatories to the Interparty
Political Agreement. In addition to these Cabinet members the Council
includes ex-officio members such as the Commander of the Defence Forces, the
Commanders of the Army and Air Force, Commissioner-General of Police and the
Commissioner of Prisons.
The of the functions of the Zimbabwe National Security Council include
reviewing national policies on security, defence, law and order and
recommending or directing appropriate action.
The frequency with which the Council will meet and the procedure to be
followed at its meetings are set out in this clause.
The Council shall appoint committees to assist it in exercising its
Vacancies on the Council or any committee of the Council will not invalidate
The Bill will be coterminous with the Interparty Political Agreement.
To provide for the establishment of the Zimbabwe National Security Council
provide for its functions and meetings; and to provide for matters connected
therewith or incidental thereto.
?ENACTED by the President and the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
Establishment and membership of Council
(1) There is hereby established a council to be known as the National
consisting of the President as chairperson and
(a) the following members of the Cabinet
(i) the two Vice-Presidents; and
(ii) the Prime Minister; and
(iii) the two Deputy Prime Ministers; and
(iv) the Ministers responsible for finance, the Defence Forces and
the Police Force; and
(v) one Minister nominated by each by each of the three political
parties who are signatories to the Interparty Political Agreement;
(b) the following other members
(i) the Minister of State in the President's Office responsible for
National Security; and
(ii) the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet; and
(iii) the Secretary to the Prime Minister; and
(iv) the Commander of the Defence Forces; and
(v) the Commanders of the Army and Air Force; and
(vi) the Commissioner-General of Police; and
(vii) the Commissioner of Prisons; and
(viii) the Director-General of the Department of State for National
(2) If a person nominated to the Council in terms of section 3(1)(a)(v)
ceases to be a Minister, the political party that nominated him or her
shall, without delay, nominate another Minister to be a member of the
4 Functions of Council
The Council shall be responsible for
(a) reviewing national policies on security, defence, law and order
and recommending or directing appropriate action; and
(b) reviewing national, regional and international security,
political and defence developments and recommending or directing appropriate
(c) considering and approving proposals relating to the nation's
strategic security and defence requirements; and
(d) receiving and considering national security reports and giving
general or specific directives to the security services;
(e) ensuring that the operations of the security services comply with
the Constitution and any other law; and
(f) exercising any other function that the Cabinet may delegate to
(g) generally keeping the nation in a state of preparedness to meet
any threat or security.
5 Meetings, procedure and committees of Council
(1) The Council shall meet at such times and places as the President, in
consultation with the Prime Minister, may direct
Provided that the Council shall meet at least once in every calendar month.
(2) All decisions of the Council shall be made by consensus.
(3) For the better exercise of its functions, the Council may establish one
or more committees and may vest in those committees such of its functions as
it thinks fit:
Provided that the vesting of a function in a committee shall not divest the
Council of that function.
(4) Where it has established a committee, the Council, subject to this
(a) shall appoint at least one member of the Council to be a member of
the committee and shall designate that member or one of those members, as
the case may be, to be chairperson of the committee:
(b) may appoint persons who are not members of the Council to be members
of the committee.
(5) The Council shall regulate its own procedure and the procedure of any
committee at meetings in any manner it deems fit.
6 Validity of decisions and acts of Council and committees
No order or direction given, or decision made or act done by or under the
authority of the Council or any of its committees shall be invalid solely
because there were one or more vacancies on the Council or committee when
the order or direction given, or decision made or act done.
7 Inconsistency with other enactments
In the event of inconsistency between this Act and the Civil Protection Act
[Chapter 10:06] or any other enactment then, unless the enactment concerned
expressly excludes or modifies the provision of this Act sought to be
(a) this Act shall prevail over the enactment concerned to the extent of
the inconsistency; and
(b) the enactment concerned shall be construed with such modifications,
qualifications, adaptations and exceptions as may be necessary to bring it
into conformity with this Act.
8 Expiry of this Act
The Act shall cease to have effect on the date on which the Interparty
Political Agreement terminates. - ZimOnline
11 February 2009
The Combined Harare Residents Association
(CHRA) has learnt with disappointment that the presentation of the long overdue
The residents who are already burdened with exorbitant US$ fees for their children in schools (from primary to tertiary education), pricey and dollarised cost of living, are expecting affordable rates. The council has a challenge of toning down the foreign currency craze that has gripped the country and seen very much exorbitant price tags on goods and services across the country, without taking into account the abject rural and urban poverty bedeviling the Zimbabweans who are by and large still paid in the worthless Zimbabwean dollar. The informal market operators have also been affected by ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ which literally robbed them of their lifeline.
Residents have also raised the issue of accountability in terms of rates payments. The exchange rates for those that can afford to pay their rates in the ZW$ are not fixed neither are they official. There are fears that the exchange rates may be so high that most residents will find rate payments to be unaffordable. It should also be noted that most Council employees are disgruntled by the fact that they are being remunerated in the ZW$ and there is a possibility that the cashiers can fraudulently exchange the foreign currency received from ratepayers with their personal ZW$; a situation that will not help in the improvement of municipal service delivery. All these loopholes should be looked into before the budget is effected.
CHRA would like to urge the Harare Council
to explore ways and partnerships of expanding their revenue base and to rebuild
the city and re-invest in the residents’ confidence and pride. The residents of
Exploration House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4- 705114
12 February 2009
LONDON - UK's foreign secretary joined observers voicing caution yesterday
after the swearing in of the Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC's) Morgan
Tsvangirai in Harare, saying he faced a "formidable challenge".
Tsvangirai's appointment as prime minister offered a chance for change in
Zimbabwe, but he faced a challenge to push through reform, Foreign Secretary
David Miliband said.
Paul Moorcraft, director of the Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis in
London, said: "The assumption is money is going to flow in. It is not. There
are a whole lot of benchmarks which are tied to EU (European Union) funds.
"I can understand the MDC; Zimbabwe is in such terrible state but in a sense
the MDC has undermined a major American push to . get rid of Mugabe".
Middle East and Africa analyst Mike Davies said: "Probably the major test
for the MDC is going to be on the economy, and its own legitimacy to some
extent is going to be tested. The MDC is repeating what happened to Joshua
Nkomo and his party.. It is going to be swallowed up."
Economist John Robertson said it remained to be seen if western states would
accept that Mugabe was still in power. Reuters, Sapa-AFP, Bloomberg
12 February 2009
SO MORGAN Tsvangirai has been thoroughly screwed over, a victim of SA's and
the Southern African Development Community's (SADC's) divide-and-rule
politics. Here is a man who won the elections in March last year under
tyrannical circumstances, yet the Thabo Mbeki government and its allies
refused to accept the outcome.
What they did instead was make life hell for Tsvangirai. They tolerated
assassination attempts, the murder of hundreds, unspeakable acts of torture
and rape, passport withdrawals, all with the intention of rendering
Tsvangirai powerless. In the end, he was forced to surrender or be excluded.
Compelled to accept the less-powerful ministries of health, education, and
finance, the Movement for Democratic Change looks on meekly as Mugabe
retains control of the murderous army, police force and security
establishment, while the seizure of farms, the muzzling of the media and the
reluctance to release political prisoners continue apace. Ignored in the
deal are Zimbabwe's citizens, who are appalled at how the African Union (AU)
and SADC continue to give credence to the despot.
It has been reported that at a meeting of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches,
the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops
Conference and the Christian Alliance, "delegates were not amused by South
African President (Kgalema) Motlanthe's calls for the immediate removal of
sanctions - a move . which casts doubt on South Africans' sincerity in
wanting to see genuine power-sharing. Who gave them the mandate to call for
the removal of sanctions when they are on record that they are not in a
position to prescribe anything for Zimbabweans?"
DESPITE the grave misgivings of Zimbabwe's own citizens, the European Union
and the US about the deal, last week a former adviser to Mbeki, Tony Heard,
waxed lyrical about this "new deal" in these pages , in an article that was
more about him and his failed former boss than it was about democracy,
justice and accountability. Diametrically opposed to the Washington Post's
editorial of February 5, which stridently condemns the government of
national unity as SA's "campaign to preserve Robert Mugabe's hold over a
dying Zimbabwe", Heard's diatribe was nothing but a shameful endorsement of
a process and a tyrant that have been thoroughly discredited by the
The collapse of Zimbabwe's once-proud school system and the Zimbabwe dollar
exemplify how one man can destroy an entire edifice in a flash, not to speak
of that queen of avarice, Grace Mugabe, who continues to run riot, grabbing
farms for her offspring, knowing her days are numbered.
What Mugabe and his kind demonstrate once again - so true to the old
script - is how often, when liberation movements get into power, they
appropriate the right even to determine what the nature of opposition should
be. Denouncing the opposition as counter-revolutionary, they thwart their
every effort to become an effective alternative to government. Slowly but
surely all the institutions of democracy become weakened, starting with
parliament, the judiciary, the independent institutions of parliament, the
military and, finally, the media. In this maelstrom of democratic decline,
the rule of law becomes the first casualty.
In the vampire state, elected officials use public office as the ladder to
instant wealth. At 85, Mugabe is still ascending the ladder of greed,
primitively accumulating wealth as he so primitively accumulated power, with
SADC firmly holding the ladder lest he gets toppled. That SADC can call this
a satisfactory conclusion to the Zimbabwe crisis, and call for the lifting
of sanctions, proves that racial solidarity in the AU is a conspiracy of
African leaders against the people who voted them into power.
They make former colonial powers seem rather benevolent in comparison.
Kadalie is a human rights activist based in Cape Town.
Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR)
Date: 11 Feb 2009
Cabinet bill expected to be around one million US dollars a month, at time
when half country needs food aid to survive.
By Chipo Sithole in Harare (ZCR No. 180, 11-Feb-09)
The 46-member cabinet of the new inclusive government will be sworn in
February 13 as the largest and most costly in the history of
The former opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, set to be sworn as the
country's prime minister on February 11 together with his two deputies, had
pushed for a cabinet of 15, but acceded to the demands of President Robert
Mugabe and his followers for a much bigger administration to accommodate the
three main political parties.
There will be 31 cabinet ministers and 15 deputy ministers, not far short of
a sixth of the total number of legislators, and all of them with fantastic
In terms of the power-sharing deal, Mugabe's ZANU-PF will be allocated 15
cabinet seats and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, is to
get 13. The remaining three positions will go to the breakaway MDC faction
led by Professor Arthur Mutambara.
Of the 15 deputy ministerial positions, eight are to go to ZANU-PF, six to
the main MDC and one to the Mutambara MDC.
There will also be 31 permanent secretaries and their staff, all of them
adding hundreds of thousands of US dollars more, in salaries and perks, to
Cabinet posts attract a monthly salary of a little over 1,000 US dollars,
with deputy ministers earning a bit less, but they are still entitled to
allowances that far outweigh their modest salaries. The new prime minister
and two new deputy prime ministers will be paid more than other ministers.
So salaries alone will cost the Zimbabwean taxpayer about 400,000 US
dollars. Add allowances, and the cabinet bill balloons to almost a million a
month. This at a time when half the population needs food aid to survive.
The Zimbabwean exchequer only claws back a little in tax: just around 25 per
cent of the ministers' income is treated as taxable.
Cabinet ministers and their deputies get a minimum of five security
personnel and a couple of shiny new Mercedes Benz S-Class cars. Tsvangirai
will be allocated dozens of security staff and a fleet of vehicles.
Some see the high cost of the inclusive government as a price worth paying
for reconciliation after the disputed elections, but many say it's another
example of the political class enriching itself on the backs of ordinary
Gladys Hlatshwayo, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition advocacy officer, said the
issue was not so much about the size of cabinet - which she said was bound
to be huge given that there are three parties to the agreement - but
government expenditure, including ministers' inflated salaries and
"They should prioritise cutting the huge [government] expenditure,"
The inclusive government is inheriting a 4.7 billion US dollar external debt
owed to bilateral, multilateral and commercial creditors.
Zimbabwean business analyst Alex Magaisa, a law professor at Kent Law School
at the University of Kent in Britain, said there was a need to reduce the
size of government, which is probably unlikely in the short term given the
"enormous size of the cabinet".
He said it was unfortunate that economic sense gave way to political
expediency, predicting that the new government will live beyond its means.
"It is large; it fancies luxury but will not produce enough to sustain its
voracious appetite. That is why some of this appetite has had to be funded
by printing money," he said, adding it was absolutely crucial that the
inclusive government cut down on spending.
"There is no point trying to be what you are not," he said. "Accept the
reality that we are poor and impecunious at this stage and we cannot afford
to spend more than we are producing."
Chipo Sithole is the pseudonym of an IWPR-trained reporter in Zimbabwe.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Zimbabwe has fallen apart. President Robert Mugabe, once the doyen of the
African Liberation Movement, is now reviled as a dictator who has declared
Unlike the France of Louis XIV, who declared France and himself synonymous,
Zimbabwe under Mr. Mugabe has not produced notable contributions to
humanity. Rather, it has become emblematic of the economic and social misery
produced by a dictator outliving his welcome and his legitimacy as leader of
a sovereign people. President Mugabe is now a dictator without a state that
believes in his leadership, condemned by African leaders as much as by the
While the opposition in Zimbabwe calls for the ouster of Mr. Mugabe, who
effectively stole the 2008 presidential election, some Permanent Members of
the United Nations Security Council and some African leaders continue to
defend and protect him. U.N. inertia was given new life when the People's
Republic of China and the Russian Federation threatened to veto a resolution
condemning the election violence that had clearly been prompted by Mr.
Mugabe's refusal to concede the election he lost in June 2008. The position
of China and Russia at the time was not altogether surprising.
Hardly liberal democracies rooted in constitutional rule and the rule of
law, China and Russia put a halt to any action the Security Council could
have contemplated to protect international peace and security and to give
life to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). The R2P principle is that
sovereign states, and the international community as a whole, have a
responsibility to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes.
Meanwhile, President Thabo Mbeki in South Africa, acting ostensibly as
mediator between Mr. Mugabe and the Parliamentary Opposition, seemed more a
mouthpiece for Mr. Mugabe than a representative of the African and
international communities seeking resolution to the worsening conditions in
Zimbabwe brought about by Mr. Mugabe's refusal to respect the will of the
Deploring Mr. Mbeki's apparent defense of Mr. Mugabe, Cape Town Anglican
Archbishop Desmond Tutu called on the international community to act
urgently to protect the civilian population affected by Mr. Mugabe's abuse
With the outbreak of cholera and the insistence of Mr. Mugabe that there is
no cholera in Zimbabwe, it is clear that conditions there make Zimbabwe a
threat to international peace and security.
More than 10,000 people have died from the waterborne cholera, and tens of
thousands more are at risk. From all reports, there is no food and the
country is now on the verge of famine. Hospitals have collapsed, which
indicates the disastrous state of the health-care system.
The educational system has collapsed, and schools are closing. The country
is in chaos. Zimbabweans are fleeing to South Africa seeking jobs and
refuge. The dictator continues to insist the country is his - a 21st-century
form of feudalism in which Mr. Mugabe enjoys power as the quintessential
The United Nations, representing the international community, could ignore
the rapidly deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe, or invoke - finally - R2P.
Resorting to rhetoric about respect for the sovereignty of Zimbabwe is
insufficient and offers little material assistance to the struggling
sovereign people being oppressed by a dictator who has determined he is the
absolutist ruler for life.
The following steps are needed immediately. Zimbabwe needs to be isolated
through economic and diplomatic sanctions. The regime must be isolated. Mr.
Mugabe's assets abroad, and those of his family members, must be frozen.
A major humanitarian effort is necessary to prevent mass starvation and
begin providing the vital public health aid needed to stem the spread of
cholera that Mr. Mugabe now asserts no longer plagues the country. The
discredited Thabo Mbeki must be replaced as mediator.
The General Assembly of the United Nations needs to invoke "Uniting for
Peace" to authorize deploying a peace-building mission. Mr. Mugabe needs to
be held accountable for crimes against humanity through the International
If this vital opportunity is lost, the United Nations and the Permanent Five
Members of the Security Council will, once again, be held responsible for
turning a blind eye to yet another man-made catastrophe that is a manifest
threat to international peace and security.
Dave Benjamin is assistant professor of international political economy and
diplomacy at the International College of the University of Bridgeport in
Connecticut. He writes on international human rights and humanitarian law.
February 12, 2009
Martin Fletcher in Harare
In 1997 an eight-man assassination squad burst into Morgan Tsvangirai's
tenth-floor office in Harare and tried to force him through the window. He
was saved by his secretary's screams, but was left lying in a pool of blood.
In 2002 grainy film emerged of Mr Tsvangirai purportedly plotting with a
former Israeli intelligence agent to assassinate President Mugabe. He was
charged with treason and for two years a death sentence hung over his head
until a judge decided that he had been framed.
In 2007 he was arrested, beaten and tortured for attending a banned
opposition meeting. His skull was cracked and pictures of his bruised and
bloodied face shocked the world.
Over the past decade Mr Tsvangirai has survived at least three assassination
attempts, numerous death threats and repeated assaults, beatings and
imprisonments. Hundreds of his fellow activists have been abducted, tortured
and killed. He is denounced regularly as a Western stooge and his wife and
the youngest of his six children live in Johannesburg for their safety. But
yesterday he became Zimbabwe's Prime Minister and from now on he must work
in tandem with the man ultimately responsible for all that violence.
a.. Tsvangirai given a hero's welcome
a.. Zimbabwe is caught in a Catch-22
a.. Mugabe's champagne plans as Zimbabwe starves
Mr Tsvangirai, 56, has proved beyond doubt his courage, tenacity and
personal integrity. He is Zimbabwe's most popular and charismatic
politician. The question now, however, is whether this gregarious, easygoing
politician has the savvy, cunning and ruthlessness required to take on the
wily Old Crocodile, of whose credentials as Zimbabwe's liberation leader,
and education, he remains in awe.
Mr Tsvangirai was an early supporter of Mr Mugabe's - "I would have laid
down my life for him," he has often said. Even today, after all Mr Mugabe
has done to destroy Zimbabwe and Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), he remains "conflicted", say sources who know him well.
"It's like forcing your father from the family business," said one. "I think
he's reluctant to destroy Mugabe."
Mr Tsvangirai was the eldest of nine children born to a poor bricklayer. He
excelled at school but had to leave at 16 to support his siblings. While
peers became freedom fighters, and as Mr Mugabe amassed degrees while
imprisoned by the Rhodesian authorities, Mr Tsvangirai began work as a
sweeper in a textile factory, moved to a nickel mine as a plant operator,
and became an increasingly active trade unionist.
He rose through the ranks until in 1988 he became secretary-general of the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, a position that brought him into conflict
with the regime. In 1999 he helped to found the MDC to resist Zimbabwe's
slide towards dictatorship, and in 2000 the grassroots party handed Mr
Mugabe his first electoral defeat when voters rejected constitutional
changes to expand the President's powers.
Since then Mr Mugabe has fought off the MDC's growing challenge through
relentless violence, repression and vote-rigging. Last year the MDC won
Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections, and had the party not split in 2005 Mr
Tsvangirai would undoubtedly have won such a resounding first-round victory
in the presidential contest that not even Zanu (PF) could have rigged the
result. In the event it was able to claim that Mr Tsvangirai had won just
less than the 50 per cent required to avoid a run-off, and then unleashed
such terror against MDC supporters that Mr Tsvangirai withdrew days before
Disease-carrying refugees should be a concern to neighbours
By CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, FreelanceFebruary 11, 2009
The situation in Zimbabwe has reached the point where the international
community would be entirely justified in using force to put Robert Mugabe
under arrest and place him on trial. Why do I say this now?
Mugabe's crimes were frightful enough before, to be sure, but it wasn't
absolutely clear that they exceeded the threshold at which intervention can
be justified or, rather, mandated. Essentially, there are four such
criteria. One is genocide, which, according to the signatories of the
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,
necessitates action either to prevent or to punish the perpetrators. Another
is aggression against the sovereignty of neighbouring states, including
occupation of their territory. A third is hospitality for, or encouragement
of, international terrorist groups, and a fourth is violations of the Treaty
on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons - or of UN resolutions on
weapons of mass destruction.
Mugabe did kill a lot of people in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland province in the
1980s on punitive expeditions inflicted by special units against an ethnic
group not his own. And he has punished recalcitrant voting districts by the
indiscriminate denial of food supplies. But this doesn't quite rise to the
level of "genocide." His soldiers might at one time have taken part in the
opportunist looting of the resources of Congo, but this doesn't exactly
qualify as invasion or occupation. Zimbabwe is not a harbour or haven for
wanted international terrorists, and it isn't a player in the international
WMD black market, either.
The situation has altered recently, however, and an examination of what has
altered might help us to clarify when a state crosses the boundary from
"failed" to "rogue." So great is the misery of the Zimbabwean people that
acute diseases like cholera are now rife. And such is their degree of
desperation that they have started crossing the frontier en masse, chiefly
in the direction of South Africa, taking their maladies with them.
This means that Mugabe has made himself an international problem,
destabilizing his neighbours and thus giving them a direct legitimate
interest in the restabilizing of Zimbabwe. If the voices of people like
Desmond Tutu and Graca Machel (Nelson Mandela's wife), who are beginning to
insist that regional action be taken to remove Mugabe, are ever heard
properly, it will probably be because Mugabe went too far in driving
infected people into the countries next door. This is germ warfare of a
The dialectic between rogue and failed is not always easy to measure. Iraq
became a failed state as a consequence of becoming a rogue one and thereby
brought ruinous sanctions, isolation and corruption on itself. Afghanistan
became a rogue state as a consequence of being a failed one - often through
no fault of its own - in which international political gangsters could find
a base. It was internal rogue behavior that almost destroyed Rwanda as a
country, that sent vast numbers of refugees across its borders, and that
helped trigger the heartbreaking civil war in Congo that might well by now
have taken millions of lives.
I once spent some time with Sebastiao Salgado, the UNESCO special envoy for
the eradication of polio. By 2001, when we visited Calcutta and other parts
of Bengal, this horrible and preventable illness was well on its way to
joining smallpox as a thing of the past. But if only a few pockets resist
inoculation, the malady, which is almost insanely infectious, comes roaring
back across wide swaths of neighbouring territory. And in certain militant
Muslim areas, where it is believed that the inoculation is a plot to make
people sterile, the doctors and nurses of the campaign have been shot as
imperialist intruders. As a result, polio is spreading again.
Once again, it seems to me that this could qualify the Federally
Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan as having, to that extent, become an
international responsibility rather than just the concern of Pakistan alone.
The fact that the Taliban and Al-Qa'ida spread from the same source might
not be entirely coincidental, which is why I offer the thought that human
rights and epidemiology may be natural partners - and that Zimbabwe could
make an excellent laboratory in which to test the proposition that the two
kinds of health are related.
Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and Slate Magazine,
where this column originally appeared.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette
Washington, D.C. – The collapse of the health system has left the people of Zimbabwe in danger of grave health dangers such as the cholera epidemic that has claimed more than 3,400 lives and the threat of a malaria epidemic.
To help mitigate a malaria outbreak, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting emergency indoor residual spraying to fill gaps in the country’s traditionally strong malaria control program.
Timing is critical; in most years spraying should be completed by December. But Zimbabwe’s national malaria program lacks the financial resources to achieve three quarters of its scheduled spraying, which would target 20 high-risk districts and protect more than 400,000 households.
To respond to the critical gap and avoid another catastrophic epidemic caused by the near collapse of Zimbabwe’s health sector, USAID provided $200,000 in emergency funding, matched with £200,000 from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) . This accelerated program will apply the insecticide in February and March before the usual peak in cases in April and May. USAID and DFID coordinated the program with the World Health Organization and implementing partners John Snow International, Crown Agents, and PLAN International, which organized the operation’s logistics, personnel, equipment, and management needs.
Indoor residual spraying applies a WHO-approved insecticide to the indoor walls, ceilings, and eaves of houses to kill or shorten the lifetime of mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite. Decades of experience have shown that timely and properly conducted spraying can have an immediate and dramatic impact on malaria transmission. Combined with the increased deployment of long-lasting insecticide-treated bednets, diagnostics, and drugs, indoor residual spraying will play a major role in reducing the risk of a malaria epidemic in Zimbabwe—and yet another burden in an already severe humanitarian crisis.
For more information about USAID's malaria programs visit: http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/id/malaria/index.html and http://pmi.gov/.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.
# # #
Issued by the USAID Press Office, February 11, 2008, Tel. 202-712-4320, Public Information: 202-712-4810
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
They used to disappear at night. Black-windowed cars with silver
wheels that turn, shadows holding guns and hard voices, dull thuds and
wide-open eyes. Now there is no longer even the shame of shrouding
activities in darkness. Now nine gunmen will come onto the street and drag a
man across a granite road; stuff him into a car like old trash and speed
Now a child holds his white flag; a tattered banner of plastic
trailing in the wind from the long, thin stick in his grubby hand. His eyes
drip warm, oily tears; his mouth lies slack and he stands in his pink
slippers amongst a pile of blue and white and brown plastics and bottles and
papers. No one sees his sign; there is no one to see. Who wants to see in a
world that clings to blindness?
Cholera comes, over 2000 are dead. Who dies of cholera in this day and
age? It's outdated, like typewriters and coal-driven trains. The official
symptoms: dehydration, nosebleeds, dried skin, tiredness, abdominal cramps,
nausea, leg cramps and vomiting. Ugly words, neat lists - I'm not sure what
it means. We shrink to caricatures of our former selves, all humanity lost.
What does it mean when a mother must drag her dying child to the only
hospital in her village, little feet leaving toe-shaped trails in the sand,
only to find that there is no nurse, no doctor - they are all on strike?
There is no clean water in the entire country, they say. So what does it
mean when she must touch her lips to the cracked orifice, a gaping hole, and
try to dredge up a trickle of her own saliva, a single drop that might keep
a small heart rattling inside of a skinny chest? What does it mean when an
old man sits outside his home, dusty fedora clutched in hand as he feels his
stomach twist and shudder, seize up like a frightened animal inside of him?
Who will come and carry his coiled body in the morning, the body that is
nothing but the cold skin of a snake? There are little bodies and big bodies
in the sand; puddles of congealing vomit on the pavement, and fingers furled
like drying leaves with no one left to mourn and no one left to pick up the