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Found: Robert Mugabe's secret bolthole in the Far East

February 15, 2009

Jon Swain, Bangkok and Michael Sheridan, Hong Kong
ZIMBABWE'S President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace have secretly bought a
£4m bolt-hole in the Far East while his country struggles with
hyper-inflation, mass unemployment and a cholera epidemic.

The Mugabes' house, in an exclusive residential complex in Hong Kong, was
purchased on their behalf by a middleman through a shadowy company whose
registered office is in a run-down tenement block. When a reporter and a
photographer called at the house last week, they were attacked by the
Zimbabwean occupants. The assailants were questioned by the police.

The property came to light during a Sunday Times investigation into the
Mugabes' financial interests in Asia, where a web of associates has helped
them to spend lavishly on luxuries and stash away millions in bank accounts.
In Zimbabwe, meanwhile, inflation has reached 231m%, unemployment stands at
94% and 3,467 people have died in recent months from cholera.

According to sources in Zimbabwe and Asia, Grace Mugabe has splashed out
£55,500 on marble statues in Vietnam and £8,700 on a handbag in Singapore.
She and her husband have enjoyed some of the region's finest hotels.

In Hong Kong, where she has discussed a venture to have Zimbabwean diamonds
cut and polished in China, her aides paid one hotel bill with a bag of cash
containing £10,500.

The Hong Kong house is the first in the Far East to be identified as the
Mugabes'. Last Friday two men and a woman objected violently to the arrival
of this newspaper's journalists.

The throat of Colin Galloway, a 46-year-old reporter, was gripped and
bruised by a man in his thirties who lifted him off his feet. Galloway was
later examined under police supervision at hospital.

Tim O'Rourke, 45, was grabbed by the neck in his second bruising encounter
involving the Mugabes in Hong Kong. Last month Grace Mugabe flew at him with
her fists after repeatedly punching another Sunday Times photographer in the
face in an incident that attracted worldwide publicity.

Hong Kong police said last night that inquiries into a case of alleged
common assault on Friday were continuing.

The disclosures about the Mugabes' Far Eastern interests are certain to
anger Zimbabweans already outraged by extravagant celebrations laid on for
the dictator's 85th birthday this week.

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Power sharing in Zimbabwe threatened by five-man cabal

The country's most influential men are already plotting the downfall of the
new government, reports Alex Duval Smith, Africa Correspondent

Alex Duval Smith
The Observer, Sunday 15 February 2009

A powerful five-man cabal is orchestrating a campaign of political
abductions and disruption aimed at bringing a swift end to prime minister
Morgan Tsvangirai's power-sharing government, according to senior diplomats
in the country.

The chaotic first days of the new administration, in which cabinet posts are
shared between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change, culminated in the arrest on Friday of the MDC deputy
agriculture minister Roy Bennett, which happened as the cabinet was being
sworn in at State House.

Bennett has now been charged with treason, reportedly in relation to an
alleged 2006 plot to overthrow Mugabe. Human rights groups also said
yesterday that scores of demonstrators were arrested in the southern city of
Bulawayo as they held a Valentine's Day protest calling for reform. In the
past few weeks, scores of Tsvangirai supporters and independent rights
activists have been detained.

According to sources in Harare, the new wave of instability is the work of
the Joint Operations Command (JOC), a five-man body comprising the chiefs of
the army, air force, police, prisons and intelligence. Modelled on a secret
command structure in the former Rhodesian regime, the JOC was revived in
1997 when Mugabe launched the "Third Chimurenga" (Struggle) to pacify
liberation war veterans through patronage and political backing for land

Its five members, who vet everything from the daily front-page story in the
Herald newspaper to monetary policy proposed by Reserve Bank governor Gideon
Gono, are the most powerful men in the country. All five boycotted last
Wednesday's and Friday's swearing-in ceremonies for Tsvangirai and the
country's new ministers.

One African diplomat said: "The JOC is the real enemy of democracy. It obeys
no laws and wants to send the signal that the MDC should not think that
being in government offers it any sort of protection."

Tsvangirai condemned Bennett's arrest yesterday, saying, "His arrest ...
raises a lot of concerns. It undermines the spirit of our agreement." But
the new prime minister also hinted at hostile forces operating behind
Mugabe. He said: "We have to budget for some residual resistance from those
who see this deal as a threat to their interest."

He repeated called for all political detainees to be released, an original
condition of his joining the government, predicting that the issue would be
a priority when the new cabinet ministers started work tomorrow. The first
cabinet meeting has been set for Tuesday and, after the rocky beginning to
the new administration, the prime minister claimed that the coalition
cabinet could still make progress together. "Obviously with our history, we
cannot immediately say we are the best of friends," he said. "As you begin
to trust, the walls will start falling down."

Lawyers say Tsvangirai's pledge to secure the imminent release of 30
political prisoners puts him on a collision course with the JOC, which is
using the detainees as a human shield against reform.

Human rights lawyer Dzimbabwe Chimbga said the prisoners, three of whom have
been transferred to hospital, were "hostage to the JOC" which is more
powerful than Mugabe as an individual or any institution of the
power-sharing government. Observers believe the JOC is keeping the human
rights activists in prison - by overruling successive court judgments - in
order to negotiate amnesties for their own crimes.

The political prisoners, many of whom have been tortured, are active members
of Tsvangirai's MDC or are human rights activists. Some have been in custody
since October on trumped-up charges of bombing police stations or plotting
the overthrow of the government by organising the training of insurgents in
neighbouring Botswana. They include Jestina Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe
Peace Project.

After successive court hearings, Mukoko and two others, former Tsvangirai
political assistant Gandhi Mudzingwa, and Fidelis Chiramba, 72, were sent to
hospital last Thursday night.

Bennett, who was picked up on Friday at the Charles Prince airport near
Harare, was one of the most provocative of Tsvangirai's ministerial
nominees. He had only just returned from three years in South Africa after
fleeing arrest on charges of masterminding a plot to kill Mugabe.

Perhaps the most powerful member of the JOC is the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
Commander Constantine Chiwenga who controls the generals beneath him and
ensures the armed forces get first call on food and fuel which are sold at
favourable prices to parallel market operators who profit from shortages.
Chiwenga controls paramilitaries and the "green bombers" who invade farms
and intimidate peasants.

The group suffered one setback last week when parliament, where the MDC has
a majority, approved a law creating a new National Security Council to be
accountable both to the MDC and the Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF). The creation of the body was a condition of
the South African-brokered unity deal signed last September.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Tsvangirai may not be able to fulfil a pledge
to pay public employees in dollars. The assertion flumoxed diplomats who
questioned how the prime minister would raise the $50m monthly salaries
bill, given the reticence of the international community to resume spending
in the country. It now seems possible that Tsvangirai made the promise
without having secured the money - either from Europe, the US, South Africa
or his regional supporter, Botswana.

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Zimbabwe PM: Mugabe supporters undermining unity government

Sun, 15 Feb 2009 9:51a.m.

Zimbabwe's new prime minister said Saturday he must work with long-time
President Robert Mugabe to try to reverse his country's economic collapse,
despite signs that factions in the Mugabe camp want to bring down the new
coalition government.

Morgan Tsvangirai told The Associated Press the arrest of his aide Roy
Bennett, who was to be sworn in as the deputy minister of agriculture, was
an attempt to destroy the unity agreement.

Bennett was detained by police Friday while Tsvangirai and Mugabe were
presiding over the inauguration of senior Cabinet ministers. Bennett, a
well-known white lawmaker fluent in the local Shona language, had his coffee
farm in eastern Zimbabwe seized years ago by ruling party supporters.

A pro-Mugabe newspaper resurrected a long-discredited claim Saturday,
reporting that Bennett was arrested because of an alleged plot from 2006 to
overthrow Mugabe. Tsvangirai's party said police told them Bennett would be
charged with treason, which carries the death penalty.

Late Saturday, the party said lawyers had been able to see Bennett, and that
he had released a statement through them: "Whatever these challenges, if we
remain unwaveringly dedicated, we will achieve peace, freedom and democracy
in our life time - believe me."

A deep gulf of mistrust resides between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party, bitter rivals pressured
to work together by neighbouring countries after disputed elections led to a
political impasse.

Bennett's arrest was a test for Tsvangirai, who had hesitated to join the
government for fear he would stuck with little power to affect change amid
desperate calls for help by ordinary Zimbabweans.

Tsvangirai won the most votes in presidential elections last March, then
dropped out of a June runoff because of state-sponsored violence against his
supporters. Mugabe claimed victory even though international observers
denounced the runoff as a sham.

Zimbabwe's political leaders had been at an impasse ever since and the
country's economic collapse spiralled into a humanitarian disaster,
prompting the two sides to join together.

Bennett's arrest "undermines the spirit of our (unity) agreement,"
Tsvangirai said Saturday. "It is very important to maintain the momentum of
our agreement."

Tsvangirai said he had received assurances from the South African and
Zimbabwean governments that Bennett was safe in custody - reports of torture
in detention are common in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai counselled patience and said he was discussing the case with

"We have to budget for some residual resistance from those who see this deal
as a threat to their interest," said the former opposition leader, who in
the past has been arrested by Mugabe's government, beaten by police and also
charged with treason.

Some Tsvangirai allies say he never should have agreed to serve as prime
minister alongside Mugabe, who has led the country for nearly three decades
and is accused of engineering its economic collapse and trampling on
democracy. For his part, Mugabe is under pressure from aides who don't want
to share power.

WOZA, an independent human rights group, said Saturday that scores of its
members were arrested in the southern city of Bulawayo as they held a
Valentine's Day march calling for peaceful change. Even before Bennett's
arrest, scores of Tsvangirai supporters and independent rights activists had
been detained in recent weeks.

Tsvangirai called for detainees to be freed before he took the prime
minister's oath Wednesday and visited several on his first full day in
office Thursday. He said the detainees would be a priority when the new
Cabinet ministers start work Monday.

Tsvangirai said he believed the coalition Cabinet could make progress
together, and called his relationship with Mugabe a "working arrangement."

"But obviously, with our history, we cannot immediately say we are the best
of friends," he said. "As you begin to trust, the walls will start falling

Tsvangirai expressed frustration that resistance to the unity government was
distracting it from the monumental task of rebuilding the country.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate, a hunger crisis that has
left most of the population dependent on foreign handouts, and a cholera
epidemic that has infected 60,000 people and killed more than 3500 of them
since August.

"We should be talking about feeding the people," Tsvangirai said. "Our
motivation is to get the civil servants back to work and the schools and the
hospitals back to serving the people. There's no way we will neglect our
obligation, even though there are signs of resistance."


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Hundreds march for Bennett in Mutare

 14th Feb 2009 21:40 GMT

By a Correspondent

MUTARE - Hundreds of people last night marched through the city's central
business area destroying property in the process.

They were demanding the immediate release of Roy Bennett, the opposition MDC
official, arrested by police and charged with treason.

Close to 50 people were arrested. The enraged mob first attempted to rip off
the fence at Mutare Central Police Station but they fled after gun shots
were fired into the air.

They then went on a rampage smashing shop windows along Herbert Chitepo
Street, the hub of all commercial activity in the city.

The most affected were Tops Stores, a clothing outlet and CABS Building

The city was calm this morning although there is a heavy police presence.
Very few people are on the streets despite it being a Valentine's Day.

Normally, the city's streets will be buzzing with people clad in red, black
and white colours. Food outlets would also be busy under normal

The police station is barricaded by armed police. Entry is restricted.

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Grasping Grace puts diamond business on her shopping list

February 14, 2009

The Mugabes are building interests in the Far East to featherbed any future
Jon Swain in Bangkok and Michael Sheridan in Hong Kong
WHEN President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace landed in Hong Kong last month on
the final lap of a lengthy Asian holiday, she had more on her mind than her
usual extravagant shopping for baubles and handbags.

The first lady was focused on two investments designed to keep the Mugabes
rich should they one day be forced into exile from Zimbabwe, where thousands
are starving and ravaged by cholera and opponents are jailed, beaten and

One investment was a £4m Hong Kong property in a walled and gated complex
where residents enjoy quiet gardens, a clubhouse and a swimming pool. The
other was a multi-million-pound diamond venture she is considering launching
in China. This involves locating a centre for cutting and polishing diamonds
at Qingdao, on China's east coast, in conjunction with Zimbabwe's central
bank, which is notorious for funding her extravagant travels abroad.

The associate with whom she was discussing the diamonds also had a hand in
the purchase of the property.

Last week the Mugabes' bolt-hole in Hong Kong was exposed by a Sunday Times
investigation that highlighted a web of financial intrigue stretching across
some of the most exotic and luxurious spots in the Far East, from Malaysia
and Singapore to Thailand and Vietnam. It also focused attention on the
aggressive methods the Mugabes have used to protect their interests, whether
political or financial.

When two journalists went to photograph the house on Friday they were
attacked by three African occupants intent on defending the secret of its
ownership. Both journalists required medical attention.

It is the first time a Mugabe property in the Far East has been publicly
identified despite rumours that the dictator, 84, and his wife, 40 years
younger, own several in the region.

This newspaper has established that early last year a man called Hsieh
Ping-Sung - whom Grace Mugabe knows as "Jack" - began helping her to buy an
opulent residence from a UK-based vendor. Hsieh is the holder of a South
African passport which shows that he was born in Durban in 1959.
Authoritative sources in Zimbabwe say he has an office in Harare, the
capital, and often stays at Meikles, its grandest hotel.

Towards the end of January 2008, Hsieh flew from Hong Kong to Harare, having
made thousands of dollars' worth of purchases, including footwear and
T-shirts, on behalf of Grace Mugabe. The items may have been intended for
distribution to her husband's supporters during campaigning for an election
the president stole from Morgan Tsvangirai, his rival.

Six months later, on June 28, Cross Global, a company Hsieh had bought off
the shelf, acquired House Number Three, JC Castle, 18 Shan Tong Road, Tai
Po, for HK$40m (now £3.6m). Sources in Zimbabwe say the Mugabes have the
controlling interest in the property. JC Castle is in an isolated estate on
a hill surrounded by verdant countryside in the northern reaches of the
former British colony.

Its villas and flats cater mostly for affluent Chinese fleeing the smog of
Hong Kong's densely populated central districts. By Hong Kong's compact
standards, the properties are generously proportioned and command high

The complex is developed and managed by one of Hong Kong's richest and most
colourful tycoons, Albert Yeung, whose Emperor group promotes the estate on
its website.

Yeung has interests in the casino and entertainment industries and has long
been linked by the Hong Kong press to the triad underworld gangs that infest
those industries. While he has been investigated by the antitriad division
of the Hong Kong police and has appeared in court, he has never been
convicted and denies any wrongdoing.

Attempts to reach Hsieh were unsuccessful: an Indian man who answered the
door at the company's registered address, a flat in a tenement block, said
he was away.

Western governments say that Mugabe runs one of Africa's most corrupt
regimes and that the president, his cronies and the first lady - known as
Dis Grace, First Shopper and Grasping Grace by critics who decry her lavish
shopping sprees - have siphoned millions of pounds from Zimbabwe and
concealed it in bank accounts and property investments, many in the Far

Banned from the European Union and America, the Mugabes have come to regard
Asia as a haven where they can go on holiday, indulge themselves unnoticed
and guard their investments.

Like other members of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF elite, they have educated
their children at Asian universities. Grace's son Russell, by her first
marriage, to a Zimbabwean air force officer, has been a student in Bangkok.
Bona, her daughter by Mugabe, is studying in Hong Kong.

The Mugabes are said to have spent years establishing an eastern financial
empire. The president boasted that his policy of building friendship with
China and the Asian "tigers" was bringing new economic partnerships and
opportunities to his impoverished nation.

"We have turned east, where the sun rises, and given our back to the west,
where the sun sets," he has been fond of saying. His opponents rubbish this
"look east" policy as, in effect, "crooks east", largely for Mugabe's

The Mugabes have meticulously cultivated a network of partners and
hangers-on across the region to nurture their interests and perform favours.

One of the most important roles of such fixers has been to pamper Grace
Mugabe and satisfy her voracious appetite for luxury goods ranging from
handbags to gems.

On one trip to Paris in 2003, after finding a loophole in a European Union
travel ban, she was estimated to have spent £75,000 on luxury items in a
day. She was reportedly once seen with 15 trolley-loads of such treasures in
the first-class lounge of Singapore airport. Her champagne lifestyle has
been funded throughout by Gideon Gono, head of the central bank, who is said
to have given her £64,000 for her most recent holiday.

An £8,700 handbag bought in Singapore is one of her latest acquisitions. On
a trip to Vietnam she purchased £55,500 worth of marble statues from Nguyen
Hung, a sculptor, for the extravagant mansion she was building in Harare.

Her visit in autumn 2006 is still remembered with a chuckle in Danang. Hung's
brother Nam said yesterday: "The VIP lady bought many marble statues here,
lots of vases and animal statues. She stayed just one day but she had seen
our website and had been communicating with us for a long time by e-mail.
Some of the statues took six months toa year to complete."

Grace Mugabe's acquisitiveness seems to know no bounds. In Zimbabwe, where
she already has several farms, she has just seized another, this one from a
High Court judge who had taken it from its original white owner. She
apparently wanted the property for Russell, her son.

There is no definitive accounting of the Mugabe family's wealth.
Authoritative sources in Zimbabwe say they have hidden millions away at a
bank in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital. Gono, who manages their
finances, and Constantine Chiwenga, chief of the defence forces, allegedly
have accounts at the same bank. The sources believe that a team of
accountants suspected of links to Mugabe and his henchmen manage 10 to 12
accounts in a separate bank in the city.

Mugabe has long made a virtue of developing a strong relationship with
Malaysia, a country that he and Grace love to visit and where they are
believed to have property as well as bank accounts. It was Enock Kamushinda,
an Indian-educated Zimbabwean banker, who was the driving force to establish
such links with southeast Asia.

Kamushinda was financial adviser to Mugabe's first wife, Sally, whose death
from kidney failure in 1992 freed the president to marry Grace, his mistress
and secretary. Although Kamushinda left Zimbabwe after investigations into
alleged financial irregularities and now lives in exile, he remains close to
the Mugabes. Sources said he still times his trips to Malaysia, where he
established the only overseas branch of a Zimbabwean bank, to coincide with
the president's.

In 2002 Kamushinda was placed on a blacklist by the United States and other
countries as one of a number of businessmen who supported Mugabe's regime.
His name was later removed.

While Malaysia - in particular the Berjaya Langkawi beach and spa resort on
the island of Langkawi - is the Mugabes' favoured holiday destination, they
also like to visit Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok.

Wherever they go they readily turn their backs on the grinding poverty of
their country and spare no expense at their luxury accommodation - the
Meritus Mandarin in Singapore, the Shangri-La in Hong Kong and the
InterContinental in Bangkok. On some occasions two floors of a hotel have
been shut off for their entourage.

All the hotels are luxurious but some aspects of the Mugabes' financial
dealings are decidedly shabby. They involve the back streets of Hong Kong,
dodgy paperwork and hotel bills settled with bags of cash.

In addition to Hsieh in Hong Kong, the money trail throws up an odd cast of
Asian characters in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore, acting as courtiers
for the Mugabes.

One is Mahmood Awang Kechik, a Malay urologist and specialist in erectile
dysfunction who is Mugabe's personal physician. Kechik has treated him for
prostate problems for years but the relationship developed into a business
one. Just over a year ago, Kechik abandoned his medical practice and went
into business.

In Thailand is Nalinee Joy Taveesin, a prosperous and well connected
businesswoman who prides herself on her charity work and who is president of
the Thai-Australian Association.

In November, the US Treasury Department tightened sanctions against Mugabe
and the cronies who had ruthlessly campaigned to keep him in power through
the violent intimidation of opponents who had defeated him and his party at
the polls.

As a result Kechik and Taveesin both found themselves blacklisted. Any
assets within US jurisdiction were frozen and Americans were prohibited from
conducting transactions with them.

The US Treasury Department was particularly hard on Taveesin, accusing her
of facilitating financial, real-estate and gem-related transactions on
behalf of Grace Mugabe and Gono while participating in good works.

"Ironically, Nalinee Taveesin has participated in a number of initiatives on
corruption and growth challenges in Africa and southeast Asia while secretly
supporting the kleptocratic practices of one of Africa's most corrupt
regimes," it said.

Taveesin confirmed last week that she had been a friend of the Mugabes for
years, but said: "I have no business involvement with the Mugabes."

The US Treasury Department claimed that Kechik had been conducting secret
transactions with a number of Zimbabweans under sanctions, including Gono
and Chiwenga, the defence chief, to generate wealth for them and for the
regime. It also said he had used his medical practice to disguise the
ultimate destination of medical equipment shipped to Mugabe. Associates of
Kechik said last week that they had no idea where he had gone.

In Singapore the Mugabes' facilitator is a businessman, Jeffrey Ng, owner of
Microware Systems. Sources in Zimbabwe said that Ng had helped to buy the
$12,500 handbag for Grace Mugabe. He also maintained contact with Bona,
studying in Hong Kong, and with Gabriel, a nephew of Mugabe who has
undergone medical treatment in Singapore.

The importance of Ng's role was demonstrated in January when Mugabe gave him
dinner at the Mandarin hotel, where he was staying. Ng is believed to be
arranging to ship more than $500,000 of computers and other electronic
equipment to Zimbabwe.

Last week The Sunday Times approached Ng to ask about his relationship with
the tyrant. After confirming that he was "Jeffrey", he said: "You are
talking to the wrong man in the wrong place. This is Singapore." Then he
broke off the conversation and walked away.

This weekend the Mugabes were in Harare, where the president entered a
power-sharing agreement with Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
shortly before locking up two of its most prominent members.

However, he and his wife will need to start worrying about the security of
their Far Eastern investments. These will come under closer scrutiny by the
financial authorities in Hong Kong, where new money-laundering laws have
created a special category of "politically exposed persons" for
surveillance. Experts say regulators appear obliged to monitor their

The Hong Kong legislation defines such persons as government, judicial,
military and political party officials, plus their families and associates,
from countries "where corruption is widespread" and says the risk factors
include "unexplained wealth", the use of accounts at a government bank and
any request for secrecy.

By any yardstick, the Mugabes fit that category.

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Zimbabwe justice system needs complete overhaul: Majome

Saturday, 14 February 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe's justice system needs a complete overhaul to
restore its credibility, the country's new Deputy Minister of Justice has

Mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party's Jessie Majome,
said she would work towards a rebirth of the Zimbabwe's once respected
justice system.
"We cannot talk of justice in Zimbabwe at the moment," said Majome on
the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony of Tsvangirai and his two deputy
prime ministers at State House on Wednesday.
"There will be need for a complete overhaul. There is no stationery in
the courts, there is nothing. It's a big task which will call for serious
A lawyer by profession, Majome said she was aware of the enormity of
the task that lay ahead and was ready for the challenge.
"It's an honour and I feel I am up to the challenge. It would not be
easy but the MDC has walked a long road. The MDC knows the intricacies of
how the Zimbabwe justice system has not worked," said Majome.
Last month the MDC said if it wins power it would reform the country's
judiciary that has been blighted by numerous incidents of state interference
and inducements.
Zimbabwe's bench - purged of independent judges by President Robert
Mugabe - is often accused by human rights lawyers of lacking courage to
defend the rights of citizens against a government that has relied on brutal
force to keep dissension in check in the face of a worsening economic and
humanitarian crisis.
In a speech marking the beginning of the new legal year, Judge
President Rita Makarau threatened to take unspecified action against some
lawyers she did not name for daring to criticise the judiciary for its
alleged lack of independence.
The failure by the judiciary in past years to clamp down on political
violence and human rights abuses mostly perpetrated by ruling ZANU PF party
militia and state security agents has fed perceptions the bench lacks both
courage and independence.
Lately, failure by the courts to compel police to release Mukoko and
dozens of opposition activists to hospital so they could get treatment after
they were tortured while in custody only helped to entrench the view that
the bench is timid and malleable.
Several of the country's respected judges have been forced out of the
country after handing judgments that were not favourable to the state,
especially in cases of a political nature and the controversial land reform
A government of national unity is expected to start work this week
after the inauguration of Tsvangirai as Prime Minister yesterday while
ministers will be sworn in on Friday.
Mugabe will head the unity government while another opposition leader
Arthur Mutambara and Tsvangirai's deputy in the MDC, Thokozani Khupe will be
deputy prime ministers. - ZimOnline
UN rights chief urges new Zimbabwean government to restore rule of law
GENEVA - The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said
Thursday she hoped the establishment of Zimbabwe's new Government of
National Unity would result in an immediate effort to restore the rule of
law, and expressed continuing concern over the disappearance of opposition
officials, the reported use of torture to extract false confessions and
infringements of the independence of the judiciary.
"The long drawn-out process to reach a political settlement was marked
by the perpetration of serious human rights violations and caused untold
damage to the rule of law in Zimbabwe," Pillay said. "All eyes will be on
this new government to see if it can undo that damage."
"The pattern of enforced disappearances and unlawful arrests in recent
months -- for which the government has acknowledged some responsibility -- 
spread fear among opposition officials and their supporters as well as human
rights activists and the independent media," Pillay said, adding that "in
cases where the accused were later produced in court, the police often
failed to respect or enforce court orders."
The High Commissioner noted that in the cases of the well-known human
rights activist Jestina Mukoko and journalist Shadreck Anderson Manyere, as
well as those of members of the opposition, undue pressure had been put on
the judiciary to keep them in custody. "This is a serious infringement on
the independence of the judiciary," she said, "and it is particularly
disturbing in cases where the courts had already ordered medical
examinations and treatment for people who reported they had been tortured."
Pillay also expressed concern over the politicization of the police
and their failure to undertake credible investigations and arrests of
individuals alleged to have committed serious human rights violations during
the election violence in June and July. These include hundreds of cases of
alleged summary executions, torture and sexual violence, including rape, the
great majority of which are believed to have been carried out by supporters
of Zanu-PF.  "The Government of Zimbabwe has the primary responsibility to
see that justice is done for these victims," Pillay said
She called upon the new government to meet its obligations under
international law, including the prohibition of torture and respect for the
independence of the judiciary.  "It is vital that international attention is
focused on preventing future violations in the country by ensuring that
human rights defenders and independent media are able to carry out their
work without being harmed, arrested or harassed," Pillay said. "I call for
the immediate release of all those people currently still being held in
unlawful custody."
The High Commissioner revealed she had made repeated requests to the
Government for a visit to Zimbabwe, and said she had received positive
signals during recent meetings with top Government officials attending last
week's African Union summit in Addis Ababa. However, she is still waiting
official confirmation that such a visit can go ahead. - UN Press release

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Unity government is Mugabe's one last chance for honourable exit

Saturday, 14 February 2009

That the unity government established in the country in the past week
offers Zimbabweans their first real opportunity to emerge from a past filled
with hunger violence and fear is not in doubt.
Future generations will curse us should we be so reckless to allow
this last chance to solve our differences through peaceful means to slip
through our fingers.
By the same measure, the power-sharing agreement and resultant unity
government offer one man - President Robert Mugabe - his last chance for a
peaceful and somewhat honourable exit.
To use his own words, Mugabe last week pledged his "personal
commitment" and that of his Zanu (PF) party, to the letter and spirit of the
global political agreement with the opposition and to the success of the new
inclusive government.
It would be nice to take the man for his word, if only we did not know
All the same, we would be the first to give Mugabe the benefit of the
doubt, hoping that for a man turning 85 in a week's time, he surely realises
that it is in his best interests that this unity government with Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the others works.
For this is what Mugabe's 29-year reign has bequeathed on us: at least
20 000 unexplained deaths of innocent civillians in the Matabeleland and
Midlands provinces after his Gukuruhundi campaign there; more than 3 000
people dead over the past seven months due to cholera; hunger, record
unemployment and the world's fastest shrinking economy. In short, Mugabe
makes a perfect candidate for The Hague.
Yet for all the pain and suffering he has caused, Zimbabweans could
still forgive Mugabe. If only he could quietly let go of power and allow
Zimbabweans to carry on with the business of rebuilding their once
prosperous country.
The unity government - if he does not impede its progress - offers
Mugabe this opportunity. It allows him to have a say in the drafting of a
new and truly democratic constitution for Zimbabwe and therefore to claim
the final document as part of his legacy.
It allows him to have a say in the new (and hopefully prosperous)
economic direction of the country and finally, as head of the unity
government, he will have the opportunity to hand over power - after a free
and fair election in about 18 months - to a democratically elected
The man scarcely deserves all this!
But what has motivated the democratic struggle over the past decade
has not been a myopic desire to get even with Mugabe. It was a desire to
rebuild our country, to create a future for our children that is full of
love, justice, peace and prosperity.
That remains the goal of a vast majority of Zimbabweans

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Crisis of expectation for Prime Minister Tsvangirai

Saturday, 14 February 2009

*Persuading Mugabe to cede some of his powers was the easier part
*Many expect him to end hunger and all their woes

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai began work this week with an
immediate crisis of expectation on his hands, as multitudes  of Zimbabweans
who have backed his MDC party for a decade expect him in his new role to end
hunger and their myriad miseries.
A cross section of Zimbabweans here at home told The Zimbabwean this
week that they believed that Tsvangirai can deliver and start the process of
re-building a shattered economy characterised by 10 sextillion inflation.
It stands in stark contrast to the more skeptical assessment of many
in the diplomatic community, in the international community and those in the
diaspora who are convinced that persuading President Mugabe to cede some of
his executive powers may have been the easier
part for Tsvangirai. Delivering on jobs and food was the MDC leader's
greatest test, they said.
Local Zimbabweans want the unity government to work, but Mugabe, who
blamed his country's ills on former colonial powers soon after administering
the oath of office on Tsvangirai and his two deputies, Arthur Mutambara and
Thokozani Khupe in his post-swearing-in speech on Wednesday, suggests a man
locked in the past, who still blames sanctions, and is unwilling to face up
to the future.
"The situation was made worse when our detractors unashamedly sought
to derail our negotiations by using overt and covert means," Mugabe said at
State House.
"However, with the support of SADC, we were able to remain focused and
to overcome all obstacles," he said.
As one diplomat said, the challenge will be to "turn what could be a
trap for Morgan into an ambush for Mugabe" - a sentiment revealing deep
concerns about just how committed the man
who has run Zimbabwe for nearly three decades is to power-sharing.
In Budiriro, the epicentre of the devastating cholera outbreak that
has claimed over 3000 people since last August, a man in his 20s, who said
had never worked since completing high school seven years ago, said they had
no other choice but to have faith in this new beginning.
Echoing the views of many Zimbabweans, the unemployed young man said
he was pinning his
hopes on the new unity government delivering food, and a stable
economic environment that would improve his chances of getting a job and
restoring his dignity.
"He is all we have," said an clerk with a Harare firm, who identified
herself only as Chenesai " I have prayed daily for this man to bring change
to our lives. To me he is like the Biblical Moses. I think God is on our
While most people said they expected Tsvangirai to be able to contain
Mugabe, they urged African leaders and the wider international community to
keep a watchful eye on the unity government in the coming months.
A young men from Students Solidarity Trust said implored potential
donors to "believe in a deal
which we have to believe in" if there is to be any hope of
rehabilitating this once prosperous nation.
The youth bemoaned the collapse of the education sector and said this
should be top priority of the new government. "The dollarisation of
education is just unacceptable," he said.
With the security situation still uncertain, it was impossible for
journalist to venture into rural areas to gauge the reaction of communities
there that have in past years strongly backed Mugabe and his ZANU PF party.
Analysts say the unity government offers Zimbabwe its first real
chance to end political strive and focus on tackling an unprecedented
economic and humanitarian crisis marked by hyperinflation, acute food
shortages and deepening poverty.
But Western governments, whose financial support is critical to any
plan to revive Zimbabwe's economy, insist the unity government must
implement genuine political and economic forms to earn support.
Acting US State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Wednesday: "The
United States is reserving judgment on the new government. We need to see
evidence of good governance and
particularly real, true power sharing on the part of Robert Mugabe
before we are going to make any kind of commitment," he said.
Along with good governance, the President Barack Obama administration
wants to see "a government that truly reflects the will of the Zimbabwean
people," Wood said.
Tsvangirai has on countless occasions in the past week insisted that
the unity government offers the best platform to open up political space and
lay the ground for a nee democratic Zimbabwe that upholds human rights and
the rule of law.
But many people including some of his most ardent supporters fear this
is too risky a gamble whose successful outcome depends on the goodwill of
international donors to bankroll the unity government and on Mugabe finally embracing change.

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Country's lost professionals adopt 'wait and see' attitude

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Zimbabwean professionals working in South Africa say that they are not
yet ready to go back home, despite the national unity government formed
between Robert Mugabe and the two factions of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). During interviews in Johannesburg this week, most exiles said
that they would instead adopt a 'wait and see' attitude, adding that they
would only return to Zimbabwe if standards matched what they were currently
"We have gone through a lot for us to be where we are at the moment
and for me just to run back home because of an agreement does not make
sense," said Siphephile Ndlovu, who teaches at a local private school. "Let
them fix the mess first, then maybe I will consider returning."
Zimbabwe has lost thousands of qualified personnel, including
teachers, doctors and engineers, in recent years. Their return is seen as
key to the revival of the country's battered economy.
Babongile Ndlovu, a book-keeper at a local supermarket, said it would
take a long time before salaries and other benefits they enjoyed in South
Africa would be made available in Zimbabwe, so he was not even considering
returning home.
"As far as I am concerned, the salaries they can pay is limited and
cannot meet my needs. Life is till expensive despite people being paid in
foreign currency," he said.
Even non-professionals said it was better to stay put here until they
felt it was safer.
"What if six months down the line, the deal collapses. I have to begin
the agony of making my way back, No I will stay here," said Alfred Ngwenya,
a street vendor.
Hillary Kundishora, a scholar of strategic management, said in a
report that Zimbabwe could not miss the opportunities of harnessing the
skills of people in the diaspora if it was to meet its development agenda.
A post-crisis era should encourage the returnees to return back to
their motherland and invest in their country through various initiatives,
such as creating high interest foreign currency bonds specifically for the
diaspora, and tax exemptions for those bringing industrial equipment and
machinery - a scheme that paid dividends in China and Pakistan.
He said encouraging entrepreneurship should be a priority because
people in the diaspora had the advantage of huge savings in comparison with
locals. Their other advantages were a competitive edge and exposure to
advanced technologies.
"Above all, we should secure an economy which values private property
rights (land ownership titles should become a market commodity) through a
court protection underpinned by an independent judiciary, [people in the
diaspora] must be presented as compatriots, and a free contestation of
opinions must prevail as a market of ideas," he said.

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Harare's iron man

Published:Feb 14, 2009

Surrounded by enemies in the worst job in the world
A stubborn and principled lawyer made the compromise of his life on Friday
when he took the position of minister of finance in the unity government
headed by Zimbabwe's dictatorial president, Robert Mugabe, write Rowan Philp
and Njabulo Ncube

They called him "Bismarck" at university. Tendai Biti earned the nickname
because, to fellow students, he seemed to be as fearless and stubborn as his
idol, Germany's 19th century "Iron Chancellor" Otto von Bismarck.

They got the idea when the young Marxist law student led student
demonstrations against corruption in Robert Mugabe's government in 1987.

And it stuck when Biti, who had no talent as a soccer player, found a way to
be part of a team anyway - by founding a club.

At the height of the mediation chaos for a transitional government in
Zimbabwe last year, a frustrated Biti - then secretary-general of the MDC -
blurted out: "Where is Africa's Bismarck?"

The remark reflected his disgust at the pettiness of Thabo Mbeki and Mugabe
in stalling the negotiations and the clear need to rescue and unite a
devastated country, as the German leader had done.

But now, as the new minister of finance charged with turning around the most
devastated economy in history, Biti is faced with a task that would surely
have horrified the German icon.

The 42-year-old labour lawyer will take charge of an economy with more than
90% unemployment, a farcical currency and an inflation rate of 10 sextillion
percent (10 plus 36 zeros), estimated as of Thursday.

Desperately needed foreign aid and investment will likely flow like molasses
for the same reason that Biti was the most reluctant new minister to sign
up: the unity government is not a reflection of the March 29 elections last
year, and still has a tyrant as president.

And if all that is not difficult enough, Biti will have to work with Reserve
Bank governor Gideon Gono, who he recently described as "the number one
economic saboteur, terrorist... the number one enemy of this country."

This week, Biti told the Sunday Times: "The job is the worst in the world.
But I will have to look the job in the eye and have no doubt that I will be
equal to the task and prevail."

Regarding Gono, he would only say: "We will wait and we shall see." But he
added: "We will make sure that the role of the (Reserve Bank) becomes

In some ways, Biti is an unlikely choice for minister of finance. The only
obvious finance-themed book on his shelves in his office in Harare is a thin
volume on quotable quotes by former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan
Greenspan. Otherwise, it is laden with books such as Nelson Mandela's Long
Walk to Freedom and a biography on US president Barack Obama.

The office is piled high with newspaper cuttings. His most relevant resource
for his new job is perhaps a copy of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart.

Biti is a lawyer, not an economist. He is more an academic than an
administrator. Most worryingly for critics, he remains a fan of
old-fashioned Marxist economic theory.

In an essay on the global economic crisis last year, Biti wrote: "History
has had its revenge and the unbridled hegemony of the market has been
exposed. Bonapartism, Keynesianism, market regulations and welfarism will
from now onwards be critical and essential instruments in the management of
any economy."

But a number of key unity government officials polled this week, including
David Coltart of the rival Arthur Mutambara faction, said he was "just the
man for the job". One reason for this, they said, was that Biti is a
workaholic. Returning from a diplomatic mission to the US two months ago, he
went directly from the airport to the supreme court, where he argued an
unremarkable case for a paying client.

This week, he was finally forced to take a "leave of absence" from his law
firm, Honey and Blanckenberg, where he has somehow been working full time as
a partner and trial attorney throughout the past decade.

And he can take his work home. Biti's new wife, Charity, lives in
Johannesburg, while his teenage son, school rugby star Tawanda, lives in

Friends suggested his extraordinary workload may have contributed to his
divorce from his first wife, urban planning expert Bathsheba Biti. But apart
from his untiring work ethic, Biti is considered perfect for one of Zimbabwe's
most demanding jobs because, says Coltart, "he's seriously smart, and
seriously driven".

Biti grew up in Harare's working-class suburb of Dzivarasekwa, the eldest
son of a taxi owner.

It was a deep-seated hatred of greed, whether in the form of corruption or
capitalist excess, which propelled Biti into politics at university.

"He became very radical very quickly. He authored a petition against
government corruption in his first year at university and spearheaded the
first real anti-government student demonstrations," said Innocent Chagonda,
a fellow university student and one of Biti's closest friends.

"Arrogance also made him angry. I still remember how he immediately
demonstrated outside the US embassy after the bombing of, I think, Libya by
the Americans."

But it was not only his indignation which made him stand out - his
intelligence did, too. "He was always in the top five of the class, in any
course - a combination of a hard worker and a highly intelligent person,"
said Chagonda.

So impressive was Biti that a senior law lecturer wangled him a job at the
Blanckenberg firm before he had even completed his degree at the University
of Zimbabwe.

Here, he founded the Red Stars football club, even recruiting his
constitutional law lecturer to the team, and produced squad shirts
emblazoned with anti-colonial rhetoric and the words Aluta continua (the
struggle continues).

While other student activist leaders continued in politics, Biti spent most
of the '90s making a name in human rights and labour law. He became his firm's
youngest-ever partner at the age of 26.

In one prominent case, he forced a change in the law by proving that the
expulsion of a pregnant student from a teacher's college was

He became a focus of Mugabe's wrath in 1995, when he proved in court that
Zanu-PF had rigged a parliamentary election against an MP who had dared to
leave the party. The results were nullified and his client, Margaret Dongo,
won the rerun.

Convinced that the law could bring change, Biti co-founded the National
Constitutional Assembly and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Beatrice Mtetwa, Zimbabwe's leading human rights lawyer, said: "He has
always been very committed to human rights. I believe his strength of
character alone is sufficient to qualify him for his new job."

Although eloquent in court, Biti is "no diplomat", according to friend and
MDC official Nqobizitha Mlilo, who added: "He's a radical who always speaks
his mind, and who speaks of transforming the state, not reforming it."

Biti became Morgan Tsvangirai's number two - and Mugabe's number one
target - when his former lecturer, the widely revered Professor Welshman
Ncube, led a split from the MDC in 2005.

During his detention in March 2007, Biti was stripped naked, humiliated and
beaten. One interrogation session lasted 23 hours.

And, in June last year, yet another detention was accompanied by a charge of
treason, leaving Biti with a possible death sentence hanging over his head
until a magistrate withdrew the charge last week.

He had earned the old nickname again: pursued and harassed for years, like
the giant World War II battleship Bismarck.

One supporter this week expressed concern about the cumulative effect of a
decade of harassment on Biti's physical and mental health. Both this
supporter and a critic - neither of whom wished to be named - agreed that
Biti's behaviour had "changed" after the 2007 detention, becoming less
tolerant of compromise and quicker to anger in the long negotiations with

The critic, a prominent politician who has known Biti since his university
years, said: "One minute you think he is such a sweet person, the next
minute he is very crude. He is a very temperamental man. So I can't see how
he will have the patience to run the Ministry of Finance, which, unlike law
work, needs level heads.

"He wants to have his way, he can't compromise. You can ask the negotiators
and the facilitation team in the Southern African Development Community
talks - Tendai was the most difficult person."

But he made the compromise of his life on Friday when he joined a government
headed by Mugabe.

Coltart described Biti as "the brains trust of the MDC". And he looks the

Although he's often seen in Che Guevara-style berets and Arsenal football
club headgear, Biti is famed for his bowler hats - a source of both mockery
and affection.

Chagonda recalled how Biti had once refused to remove his bowler hat in a
restaurant when asked to do so by a waiter.

But Biti will now be forced to hold that hat out to the West, begging for
contributions to an emergency recovery package and promising discipline and
democratic practices in return.

With little faith in the free market, he will use intense government
intervention as his tool for change, including the regulation,
infrastructure investment and stimulus packages he devised for the MDC's
Restart economic recovery policy.

For Biti, it is a case of the government broke it, now the government must
fix it.

His success in achieving this will depend on which of Bismarck's two most
famous maxims he can live by in his partnership with the enemy: either
"politics is the art of the possible", or "the great questions of the time
will be solved not by majority decisions, but by iron and blood".

'We must save the Zimbabwe dollar'
Zimbabwe's new finance minister, Tendai Biti, has vowed to "save the
Zimbabwe dollar" - and avoid resorting to the rand - as part of his plan to
rescue the country's economy.

And he is to embark on a radical scheme to get Zimbabweans saving money and
working on public projects, while luring aid money from Western governments.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Biti said: "We have to make sure that
we start by saving the Zimbabwe dollar. 'Randising' the economy is not the
solution. Our money can only be saved by floating the Zimbabwe dollar so
that it finds its natural value.

" We want to establish the real interest rates and encourage savings for the
country and make sure that these contribute between 1% and 2% of the country's

Biti said he would attempt to sideline Zimbabwe's disastrous Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono and take direct control of inflation management and
fiscal policy.

He also outlined dramatic stimulus plans for industry: "Industry has to
graduate in the first six months from the near 0% capacity to at least 60%
capacity. We also have to work towards restoring viability to the
agricultural sector by making adequate preparations for the 2009-2010
season: 90% of the country's GDP is influenced by agriculture."

Biti is expected to throw out the budget produced by Zanu-PF last month and
unveil his own within weeks. - Njabulo Ncube and Rowan Philp

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The secret bolthole of a miserable despot

February 15, 2009

Think of Imelda Marcos and her magnificent collection of shoes. Then think
of Grace Mugabe, who while Zimbabwe sinks under the weight of poverty, mass
unemployment, hyperinflation and disease, is a one-woman spending machine.

Mrs Mugabe, known as "Dis Grace", First Shopper and Grasping Grace,
certainly lives up to her nicknames. On a trip to Paris in 2003 she spent
£75,000 in a day. Gideon Gono, head of Zimbabwe's central bank, is said to
have given her more than £60,000 for her last holiday. She thinks nothing of
splashing out nearly £9,000 for a handbag, or £55,000 for marble statues for
one of her palaces in Harare.

Dig into Mrs Mugabe's affairs and you risk more than a handbagging. Last
month a Sunday Times photographer, Richard Jones, taking pictures of
Zimbabwe's first lady shopping in Hong Kong, was attacked by her bodyguard
and then by the lady herself, using fists adorned with diamond rings the
size of knuckledusters.

Last week Sunday Times journalists found a £4m house that she has bought in
Hong Kong as a bolthole for her and her husband, the president of Zimbabwe.
True to form, the two journalists were attacked by members of Mrs Mugabe's
entourage and needed medical attention. You would think she had something to
hide. She does. Apart from her extravagance as the people of Zimbabwe sink
further under her husband's incompetent and corrupt regime, the property
purchase appears to fall foul of Hong Kong's new money-laundering laws.

The Sunday Times has discovered, on top of the Hong Kong purchase, a network
of financial deals stretching across some of Asia's most exotic and
luxurious places, in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Mrs Mugabe
is planning a money-making venture in China, a multi-million-pound diamond
venture at Qingdao, on the country's east coast.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe continues to fester. Roy Bennett, the opposition party's
nominee for deputy agriculture minister, was arrested and charged with
treason on the first day of the new coalition government, about as
inauspicious a start for power-sharing as you could get. Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, will have to work hard to
avoid being marginalised by President Mugabe and his thugs.

Mr Tsvangirai says the president is "part of the problem but he's also part
of the solution". That may be realpolitik, Zimbabwe-style, but it is also
deeply unsatisfactory. The truth is that Zimbabwe cannot begin to mend
itself until the Mugabes are removed. And if their foreign bank accounts
were emptied first, how much sweeter that would be.

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Disgruntled military chiefs,arrests,torture in a coalition government

 By Lovemore Mazivisa
I wonder what democracy we are building if some civil servants can be
allowed to be disgruntled because of an elected leader. Showing opposition
and disgruntlement while peace-loving activists are kept in jails that look
like pit latrines. These guys' anger in the inclusive government is just an
expensive luxury. At least they have been given another chance to look where
they slipped not where they fell.

The continued detention and torture of dozens of opposition supporters is
not a good sign of a power sharing. Roy Bennet is now languishing in a
Mutare jail after being assured safety on arrival. What politics are we
teaching our children if the charges for quarrelling are treason that
carries a death sentence? Are we running short of words to describe criminal
acts according to what was committed? The poor Mayor of Mutare is also
caught in this crossfire.

 We love peace in our country but what peace can be attained with our old
guard refusing to learn so that they can teach us. We do not want to oppose
Mugabe and Zanu pf but we know it is because of him that we have Gideon
Gono,Tomana,we talk of unruly service chiefs because it is Mugabe who made
them that way.

 We should as citizens support anything that is done to promote democracy,
economy boost and restoration of our national pride but we still have to be
critical in case there are going to be some shortcomings. That is why
Zimbabweans across the board watched with no opposition the low-key
inauguration of our new Prime-minster that looked like a typical rural
school closing day or PTA meeting.

 While we welcome the change of rhetoric in our speeches, the whole process
seems like drama, considering where we were last week and what we are doing
today. What we promised each other last week and what we are instructing
each other today. It need not look like we are already on different pages,
we need to be together for now until we all get accustomed to the journey.

 We know that there is first time for everything .Some things vitiate though
even if you are seeing them for the first time. In a school, a prefect could
be honoured with crowning other students, giving those reports and
certificates, but an inauguration is supposed to be spiritually
commissioned, by the priest or judge not another presiding officer. The
roles of Chief Justice and Priest were deeply undermined hence making the
whole process questionable. This is a chapter we have written in our
political history books and we can never delete, it will stand precedent

 For Zimbabwe to move forward, we do not need to pretend there was no
yesterday that was awkward. The past needs to acknowledged and addressed.
Forgiveness does not change the past but sure enlarges the future. People
were arrested, tortured, raped and murdered, homes were destroyed, people
lost their money through institutional maladministration and the leaders
want to continue to the next chapter as if nothing happened..

 The cabinet of Mugabe still looks richer but older, why is he afraid of the
new? Does he not get tired of the same workers? "Till death they never part".
He has included only those he has done all with, blamed with and hated with.

 It is of course a very brave dream to guarantee peace and democracy in
Zimbabwe. If Zanu pf is serious with change, why does the whole peace
process disgruntle the service chiefs? Why is Zanu pf trying to sneak in
more ministers than agreed? What are we going to do with ambassadors and
Governors? Are the continued arrests and detention going to stop? Will the
police release Roy Bennet and Brian James unconditionally? Are the service
chiefs going to start saluting the Prime minster? Is the land question going
to be redone? Why do we have two information related ministries in such a
broke government? What about Gideon Gono and Tomana, are they going to be
replaced? What about the deadly CIO,are we carrying on with this spy
orgnisation?When is the date of fresh elections going to be set? We love
peace and stability in our country, real peace not peace on paper and war on
the street.

 The MDC is the one that had demands, none of which were met. Even though
they were winners of the past election, they have come into this inclusive
government as junior partners but they should not be treated as wives.

 Leaders from both divides have to remember that it is not only the
leadership that was at each other, the population should not be ignored,
they have been polarised. The people need practical assurance that all is
going to be all right not just dictatorial talk of" no more slogans and
opposition regalia".

 Zanu pf went into partnership with Zapu in 1987 but the slogan never
stopped. The new deputy PM (Mutambara) declared a ban on all political
slogans with immediate effect, why does he trust Mugabe more than Mugabe
trust him. Why does he want to be seen as the most reasonable of all Mugabe's

 The inclusive government is not a permanent solution but it is a substitute
solution. We are in this government in preparation for an election, why do
we have to stop opposition politics. How is the opposition going to emerge
without a campaign and structures? We will never promote a one party state
again, we have seen the implications.

 We just hope now we are for one time going to see politics with a principle
in Zimbabwe, no knowledge without character in our schools. We also hope we
will have commerce with a morality in our financial institutions. No more
wealth without work.

 By Lovemore Mazivisa

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