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Police in Zimbabwe charge MDC minister with terrorism

February 15, 2009

Jenny Booth
Roy Bennett, Zimbabwe's deputy agriculture minister and one of the
opposition politicians in the country's new unity government, has been
charged with planning terrorism and insurgency.

The development throws into stark relief the lack of mutual trust inside the
new goverment, which was supposed to lead Zimbabwe out of a political and
economic crisis after long negotiations between President Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party and its bitter opponents, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.

Mr Bennett, a former white farmer who is also the MDC's Treasurer General,
is expected to appear in court tomorrow to face the charges, according to
his lawyer, Trust Maanda.

He was arrested before new ministers were sworn in on Friday. Initially the
MDC said that he had been charged with treason, which carries the death

"They have now preferred charges of insurgency or attempting to commit acts
of insurgency, terrorism and banditry," Mr Maanda said.

Police were claiming that his client had been involved in funding for arms
and explosives to be used to sabotage essential services, he went on. Mr
Bennett has denied the charges and believes they are politically motivated.

While the MDC has condemned Mr Bennett's arrest, it has not indicated if it
would take any strong action that could endanger the unity government formed
after months of deadlock over implementation of a September power-sharing

Mr Bennett is being held at a police station in the eastern city of Mutare,
the MDC said. He is in good spirits.

He had been living in exile in South Africa after fleeing Zimbabwe two years
ago because police wanted to question him in connection with the discovery
of an arms cache.

Police officials have not been available for comment on Bennett's case.

Foreign investors and Western donors want concrete signs of stability in
Zimbabwe. They have made it clear that funds will not flow to the nation
until a democratic government is created and economic reforms are made.

They have expressed concern that both Mr Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the
MDC leader, have named party stalwarts to the cabinet rather than
technocrats seen as having the expertise Zimbabwe needs to escape its

Zimbabweans face unemployment above 90 per cent and prices that double every
day. Half the 12 million population need food aid, and a cholera epidemic
has killed more than 3,500 people.

Some Zanu-PF members in the new cabinet have held ministerial posts since
independence from Britain in 1980, when Mr Mugabe came to power.

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MDC's Bennett charged with 'banditry, sabotage'

From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 15 February

Mail & Guardian reporter and Agencies

Harare - The treason charges against Zimbabwe ministerial nominee Roy
Bennett have been dropped and replaced with attempt to commit terrorism,
banditry and sabotage, his lawyer said on Sunday. "The police must have
realised that they had no leg to stand on. Their case would not hold water,"
said Trust Maanda. "Bennett is currently being interviewed by the police. He
is now appearing in court on Monday facing fresh charges," added Maanda.
Bennett is a member of the MDC, which struck a power-sharing deal with
veteran President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party.Designated to become deputy
agriculture minister, Bennett was arrested on Friday at an airport outside
Harare shortly before Mugabe swore in new ministers for the unity
government. The power-sharing government will see the country's bitter
enemies try and work together to pull Zimbabwe out of a deep crisis marked
by hunger, the world's highest inflation rate and a deadly cholera epidemic.
Bennett is a coffee farmer from Chimanimani, a lush region near Mozambique.
He had returned last month from three years of self-imposed exile in South
Africa, where he fled to escape charges of plotting to kill Mugabe. South
African President Kgalema Motlanthe criticised Benett's arrest on Saturday.
Speaking in Welkom, Motlanthe said: "Today I received a call, a desperate
call from Zimbabwe because one of the leaders who was supposed to be sworn
in as one of the ministers had been detained. We had to put in a word to say
'You don't do that, you can't detain someone who is supposed to be your
partner in building a new government'."

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The arrest of Roy Bennett

February 15, 2009

free-roy-bennett-11MDC supporters in Mutare march to express solidarity with Bennett.

An Eye-Witness Account

MUTARE – Roy Bennett, the MDC treasurer and Deputy Minister of Agriculture-designate, who is due to appear in court on Monday, is no longer charged with treason.

He has now been charged under Section 61 of the notorious Public Order and Security Act (POSA) with conspiring to acquire arms with a view to disrupting essential services.

Following his arrest at Charles Prince Airport in Harare of Bennett, he was first taken to Goromonzi Police Station where he was charged with treason. He was then driven to Mutare Central.

The arrest of Roy Bennett was ordered by Assistant Commissioner Mabunda and Assistant Commissioner Nhau of Harare Police General Headquarters. Throughout the journey the accompanying personnel communicated regularly with Mabunda and Nhau to appraise them on the situation.

They were travelling at high speed and a witness described the driver as appearing to be nervous. It is not clear whether they were aware that they were being followed throughout the journey. The vehicle stopped to refuel in Marondera enabling the spotter vehicles to catch up and follow for the remainder of the journey to Mutare. Along the way they communicated with a chain of activists at the ready to relay reports on, including to The Zimbabwe Times.

When the vehicle arrived at Mutare Central a peaceful crowd of MDC supporters immediately gathered to express solidarity with Bennett. As the size of the crowd grew to more than 200 people, word spread that the police were preparing to transfer Bennett to a secret location. The registration plates had been removed from the silver Toyota Hilux truck that brought Bennett to Mutare.

The vehicle started to move so the crowd reacted by blocking the exit to prevent Bennett from being taken out of the police station.  The crowd was singing and dancing peacefully. The police then tried to move the crowd back and away from the exit. The crowd resisted vocally insisting that they did not want Bennett taken away and they were therefore not moving.

They were forced to retreat when police dogs were brought in the police threatened strong-arm action, pushing the crowd back with truncheons. The vehicle moved out of the police station with only one person inside. The crowd were permitted to inspect and confirm that Bennett was not inside.

The crowd decided to hold an all-night vigil outside the police station. The police were initially passive but when the atmosphere became charged the riot police were brought in. The police used dogs and truncheons to disperse the crowd. But the crowd slowly returned. The police then indiscriminately fired teargas canisters, rubber bullets and rounds of live ammunition into the air.

Two people were badly beaten by the police and several witnesses spoke of police brutality. One victim was taken to hospital. Some shop windows were broken in the ensuing melee but nothing appeared to have been looted.

MDC activists roamed the area throughout the night.

At 7.30 on Saturday morning food was taken to the police station but the police details manning the entrance refused access not only to those bringing food for Bennett but relatives bringing in food for others in detention.

One Inspector Florence Marume was most unpleasant and ordered that no feeding of prisoners would occur that day. The police station was then blocked off while heavily armed police details roamed the streets and forced both pedestrian and vehicle traffic away from the area.

Eventually Bennett’s lawyers were allowed access to him and food was taken in. The lawyers had been denied access since Friday. They advised Inspector Marume that she would be held personally responsible for denying Bennett and other detainees food and legal counsel.

In the afternoon Bennett was visited by the MDC provincial executive. He was in good spirits and was unharmed.

On Saturday night eight activists were apprehended by riot police. The roads surrounding the Mutare Central Police Station remain barricaded and manned by police details.

On Sunday morning Bennett was allowed both food and access to two lawyers. He was also visited my members of the MDC provincial executive. The officer in charge was Superintendent Makoni from Bindura. He was courteous and allowed Bennett private time with his lawyer. He was unharmed.

He has not been charged with treason but with a lesser charge and is due to appear in court tomorrow, Monday. He has a strong support base monitoring the situation and maintaining a presence around the police station reporting on any unfolding events.


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Journos attacked at Mugabes' Hong Kong house

    February 15 2009 at 08:09PM

Hong Kong - Two journalists were attacked as they investigated a report
about Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe owning a luxury property in Hong

Photographer Tim O'Rourke said two men and a woman at the exclusive house
attacked the journalists and seized a camera.

Britain's Sunday Times reported Mugabe and his wife Grace had secretly
bought the R58 million property in the city's Tai Po district, saying it was
first in Asia to be identified as the Mugabes'.

O'Rourke was attacked by Grace Mugabe and her bodyguards in January when he
and another photographer folowed up a report that Mugabe's daughter Bona was
studying at the University of Hong Kong.

He said the latest attack happened on Friday as he and Colin Galloway went
to the property to deliver a letter on behalf of the Sunday Times.

They were questioned by a black man and woman and when O'Rourke began to
take photographs of the house he was attacked.

"She started shouting 'He has got a camera. He is taking photos.'

"She and another man both grabbed me. They were trying to rip the camera out
of my hand," O'Rourke said.

Another man appeared and O'Rourke was able to pass the camera to Galloway,
who was then set upon and held in a headlock, before the attackers were able
to seize the camera.

O'Rourke then called the police and made a formal complaint of assault. The
two journalists were examined for injuries under police supervision at a
city hospital.

The attackers were questioned and the camera was returned.

A police spokesman said they were investigating the allegation of assault
but no arrests had been made so far.

The Sunday Times said the Mugabes had stashed away millions of dollars in
Asian bank accounts. Anyone close to Mugabe faces travel bans in the
European Union and America, but they are still able to travel throughout
much of the region.

The paper cited unnamed sources that said Grace Mugabe has splashed out more
than R650 000 on marble statues in Vietnam and R100 000 on a handbag in
Singapore, as well as staying at some of the region's top hotels.

The report said the Mugabes' favourite destination was Langkawi, in
Malaysia, but they have travelled across the region.

Robert Mugabe's regime has been internationally condemned for its
politically motivated violence targeting opposition and civil activists.

Nearly half the population of Zimbabwe is dependent on food aid while a
cholera epidemic has claimed more than 2&bbsp;700 lives. - Sapa-AFP

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Zimbabwe to reform - finance minister

Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:02pm IST

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's new finance minister said on Sunday he would
reform the central bank and that help from regional power South Africa was
crucial for recovery.

Tendai Biti from the MDC, appointed finance minister last week under a
power-sharing government with President Robert Mugabe, said he would present
a new budget to parliament and urged Western donors to help rebuild the

"The Reserve Bank has totally discredited itself," he told Reuters in an

"We must accept that the Reserve Bank is at the core of this economic decay.
I make no apologies for those statements."

Analysts say the central bank has helped ruined the economy by printing
money and providing trillions of Zimbabwe dollars to state companies and
government departments outside the budget, which has fuelled inflation, the
world's highest.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC wants to curtail the Reserve Bank's
operations and wants it to focus on taming inflation and exchange rate
management the bank operates independently from the government.

That could set Biti against central bank chief Gideon Gono, a Mugabe ally,
at a time when strong cooperation between government officials is needed to
rescue the battered economy.

Biti said he would meet Gono soon. He did not give details.

The new unity cabinet already faces a credibility test just a few days after
new ministers were sworn in.

A senior MDC official, Roy Bennett, has been charged with planning terrorism
and insurgency and is expected to appear in court on Monday, his lawyer
Trust Maanda said.

Foreign investors and Western donors want concrete signs of stability in
Zimbabwe. They have made it clear that funds will not flow to the nation
until a democratic government is created and economic reforms are made.


Biti said Zimbabwe was looking to South Africa, the continent's biggest
economy, for help.

"South Africa is going to be key in the support it will give to Zimbabwe
either as budgetary support or lines of credit," Biti said.

South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told Reuters last week that
South Africa stood ready to coordinate financial support for its
impoverished neighbour Zimbabwe, whose economy has continuously contracted
in the last decade.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe has said that Zimbabwe could adopt
its rand currency.

Zimbabwe's economy is in free fall and its dollar virtually worthless,
leading the government to allow the use of the U.S. dollar, the rand and
other currencies. Hyperinflation and shortages have forced many Zimbabweans
to buy basic goods in South Africa, the continent's biggest economy.

Biti said adopting the rand currency would not resolve the country's
problems without a package of economic reforms.

"Using the rand on its own without addressing fundamentals that have led to
this economy where we are will not work. It doesn't benefit Zimbabwe or
South Africa," said Biti.

The finance minister said he would engage Western donors who are sceptical
of the power-sharing government with Mugabe and have set conditions for the
release of aid.

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Zimbabwe finance minister on mission to "save" Zimbabwe dollar

Africa News
Feb 15, 2009, 7:13 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's new finance minister, Tendai Biti, has
vowed to save the virtually worthless Zimbabwe dollar and to sideline
controversial central banker, Gideon Gono, South Africa's Sunday Times
newspaper reported.

Biti, who was sworn in as one of the former opposition's ministers Friday by
President Robert Mugabe, told the Times: 'Our money can only be saved by
floating the Zimbabwe dollar so that it finds its natural value,' he said.

''Randizing' the economy is not the solution,' he said in response to
speculation that the government, which unites Mugabe's Zanu-PF with Morgan
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) might ditch its currency
in favour of the South African rand.

Most transactions in Zimbabwe already take place in US dollars, rands or the
Botswanan pula, as hyperinflation of at least 231 million per cent, renders
the trillion-dollar-denominated local currency virtually useless.

The concept of 'randization' was floated by South African President Kgalema
Motlanthe in an interview last week, when he said: 'It may be practical for
them (Zimbabwe) to enter into an arrangement with our Reserve Bank here and
adopt the rand as their currency.'

The idea had provoked alarm among many South Africans, who feared their
government might be required to stump up the rands to cover the new
government's spending, including Prime Minister Tsvangirai's promise to pay
civil servants in hard currency.

Restoring some purchasing power to the Zimbabwe dollar is just one of the
daunting tasks facing Biti, the MDC's outspoken secretary general.
Zimbabwe's unemployment rate is estimated at 94 per cent and production in
most sectors has ground to a halt for lack of cash.

'The job is the worst in the world,' he admitted, while assuring he would

The 42-year-old lawyer also appeared to be gearing up to do battle with
Mugabe's controversial central banker, Gideon Gono, whose penchant for
printing money to cover budget shortfalls is seen as driving the currency
into the doldrums.

'We will make sure that the role of the (Reserve Bank) becomes minimal,'
Biti said.

Zimbabwe's unity government got off to a rocky start Friday, when the MDC's
choice for deputy agriculture minister, well-known former (white) farmer Roy
Bennett, was arrested as his cabinet colleagues were being sworn in.

Bennett was arrested at an airport outside Harare in connection with an
alleged plot to assassinate Mugabe in 2006. His lawyer said Friday that
police were accusing him of treason, a crime that carries the death penalty.
Formal charges were expected to be laid on Monday.

Bennett, who fled the country to South Africa in 2006, denies the charges,
which the MDC see as an attempt by hardliners within Mugabe's party to
scupper the new government.

His arrest and the continued detention of dozens of other MDC members and
human rights activist, 'does not give confidence to the inclusive
government,' the MDC said Saturday.

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Tsvangirai to meet Mugabe over Bennett

February 14, 2009

HARARE (AP) - Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Saturday blamed
the abduction of one of his top aides on minor Zanu-PF elements and defiant
small pockets of resistance who want to destroy the country's coalition

Morgan Tsvangirai told The Associated Press he would meet with President
Robert Mugabe later on Saturday to discuss the arrest of Roy Bennett, who
was due to be inaugurated as deputy minister of agriculture in the coming

Bennett was detained by police on Friday while Tsvangirai and Mugabe were
presiding over the inauguration of senior Cabinet ministers.

Analysts say Bennett's arrest illustrates the deep gulf of mistrust Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change must bridge.

A State-controlled newspaper reported on Saturday that Bennett was arrested
because of an alleged plot from 2006 to overthrow Mugabe. MDC says the
arrest is only meant to resurrect a long-discredited claim.

The arrest was a test for Tsvangirai, who had hesitated to join the
government for fear he would be in the position of having to answer
increasingly desperate calls by Zimbabweans for help, with little power to
affect change.

Bennett's "safety was guaranteed by the South African and Zimbabwean
governments", Tsvangirai said on Saturday.

"His arrest . raises a lot of concerns.

"It undermines the spirit of our agreement. It is very important to maintain
the momentum of our agreement."

But Tsvangirai called for patience: "I must say we have to budget for some
residual resistance from those who see this deal as a threat to their

Tsvangirai did not specify, but there long has been speculation Mugabe was
under pressure from aides in the military and government who don't want to
give up power and prestige to their rivals.

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 agreement was
distracting the new government from the monumental tasks of rebuilding the

It 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 killed more than 3 500 people 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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Food, not politics!

Sun, 15 Feb 2009 09:07
Zimbabwe's rural poor have little interest in the latest political
developments in their country, all they want is an end to hunger and
diseases which have devastated the country for years.

"I do not want to talk about politics," said Florence Munyaradzi, a peasant
farmer from the southeastern village of Gutu.

"Things used to be fine. Now we depend on donor organisations for food,
farming inputs and everything," the 37-year-old mother said blankly.

Like the majority of Zimbabwean rural poor, her husband is unemployed and
the family depends on rations of the staple corn meal, cooking oil, beans
and salt to survive.

Years of hardship have made the gaunt mother reluctant to talk about
politics, to the point she is not aware that Morgan Tsvangirai is now the
new prime minister - and his promises to change the lives of the people.

Her children face a bleak future as they spend most of their time herding
cattle or performing household chores instead of going to school.

Schools in the district remain closed as teachers demand salaries in foreign
currency to cushion them against runaway inflation which has rendered the
local currency worthless.

According to aid organisations, the rural poor had been the hardest hit by
the political and economical situation.

"We call upon the government to channel resources towards fighting malaria
and avoid the development of another outbreak, while we are still struggling
to contain cholera and feed the people," said Oxfam district administrator,
Makepeace Mzenda.

Harare blames the shortfall on drought, but critics put much of the blame on
its agricultural policy begun eight years ago.

Often violent land reforms saw the seizures of at least 4000 properties
formerly run by white farmers for redistribution to landless blacks, the
majority of whom lacked the skills and means to farm.

In Mazuru, a semi-arid area 290 kilometres southeast of the capital Harare,
villagers depend on farming crops that require little rain like groundnuts
and sorghum - which are exchanged for maize at harvest time.

However, this year's farming season was the bleakest as people could not
afford to buy or access inputs for crops.

"We have two dams here ... I hope one day we will be able to have a big
irrigation scheme which will provide employment for us," said Thomas

"We are tired of living off handouts," the barefoot unemployed youth told

In his inauguration speech on Wednesday, Tsvangirai promised additional
emergency food distribution and an end to distribution according to
political lines.

"The transitional government will make food more available and more
affordable by removing all duties on foodstuffs imported into the country,"
said Tsvangirai.

"In the short term, we will convene a food summit of all relevant stake
holders to help us ensure that no Zimbabwean goes hungry," he added.

Buying food has become a luxury only a few can afford - with inflation last
estimated in July at 231-million percent.


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Deport Mugabe's daughter!

Sun, 15 Feb 2009 08:53
The daughter of President Robert Mugabe, who is studying at Hong Kong's top
university, should be deported, a Zimbabwean students' union said on Sunday.

The Zimbabwe National Students Union petitioned Chinese diplomats in Africa
after learning that 20-year-old Bona Mugabe is an undergraduate student at
the University of Hong Kong.

Students in the impoverished African nation, which is in the grip of a
spiralling economic crisis and political turmoil, say Mugabe's daughter
should be made to study back home.

Bona Mugabe has been allowed to study in Hong Kong despite sanctions and
travel bans against her father and members of his regime by many Western

In a letter sent to the Chinese embassy in Harare and published in Hong
Kong's Sunday Morning Post newspaper, students' union spokeswoman Blessing
Vavu said Mugabe's daughter should be deported.

The president's daughter should return in order to "suffer with other
patriotic students studying in the state universities," Vavu argued.

She wrote: "It is disheartening to note that the first family insolently
sent daughter Bona Mugabe under an assumed name to the University of Hong
Kong, China to further her studies while students in Zimbabwe suffer.

"The state of our education system is so deplorable that the president has
seen it fit to trust the Chinese for the education of his daughter whilst
ordinary students are failing to get decent education."

Bona Mugabe's presence in Hong Kong, where she enrolled in university under
an alias last autumn, emerged after her 43-year-old mother Grace allegedly
assaulted a freelance photographer who took pictures of her shopping in the
city in January.

According to London's Sunday Times, the Mugabes secretly bought a
US$5.7-million luxury home in Hong Kong's Tai Po district.

The University of Hong Kong declined to comment specifically on the campaign
by the students' union but a spokeswoman said Bona Mugabe was free to study

"We believe that many of our students will share our belief of right of
education for everybody and our view that people should not be responsible
for what other members of their family have done," she said.

A Hong Kong government spokeswoman said: "We note the campaign and do not
comment on individual cases." Immigration officers decided each case on
individual merits, she added.


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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 14th February 2009

‘Free Roy Bennett’ (and other political prisoners) was the theme of the Vigil.  Roy was one of the people who inspired the launch of the Vigil back in 2002 and visited us when he was last released from prison.  We clothed him and Heather in our Vigil t-shirts. ‘If they can arrest Bennett, they can arrest any of us if we return’ said Patson Muzuwa of the Vigil management team.  To take action for Roy Bennett please check the Sokwanele website:


Anyone who has been following this weekly diary will have seen that we have never believed that the Zanu-PF thugs would allow power-sharing. We are reliably told that they will stop at nothing to destroy the MDC.


The deal foisted on us by SADC is clearly not working and we demand that they take steps to make the Mugabe regime comply with the agreement. As a first step we call upon our neighbours to open their borders to Zimbabwean refugees. The Vigil is reviving our petition calling on the EU to fund refugee camps in Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia where our desperate people can get food, shelter, medical attention and education no longer available in Zimbabwe.


A few other points:

·   We were joined by a Vicar from the Guildford diocese. It’s the second time he’s come and he says he wants to get more closely involved.

·   Last week we reported attendance at 215 but we missed those on a second register that was started because of the large numbers. The actual attendance was 247.

·   Magnificent drumming from Jerry Mtotela and Moses Kandiyawo inspired fabulous singing led by Dumi Tutani and Jenatry Muranganwa, ending with the cry ‘Free Roy Free’.


For latest Vigil pictures check:


FOR THE RECORD: 265 signed the register.



·   Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday, 16th February 2009 at 7.30 pm. The forum will discuss the Government of National Unity. Venue: Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.

·   Mugabe’s Birthday Bash at the Vigil – 21st February, 2 – 6 pm

·   Newcastle Vigil launch. Saturday, 21st February from 2 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Grey's Monument, Newcastle City Centre. Guest speaker Jim Cousins MP for Newcastle For more information contact Prince  White 07500207668, Joseph  Madziva 07905850073, Alvin Moyo  07818225718, Tedmore  Mauwa 07949618874, Fadzayi  Mudekwa 07727221873.
Stoke-on-Trent ROHR members' meeting. Saturday, 21st February from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Shelton Children's Centre, Room 3, Crowther Street, Shelton, Stoke-On-Trent ST4 2ER. Contact Pauline Mutema 07850462301, Joana Zhira 07845896347, Amon Chauke 07877089105, Thadious Chigodo 07830299282.

·   ROHR Wakefield general meeting. Saturday, 21st February. Venue still to be decided. For more information, contact: Donnah Mugoni 07748828913, Patience 07908075149 and Beauty Sikhosana 07940181761.

·   Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 28th February, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137, Tafadzwa Musemwa 07954 344 123 and Roggers Fatiya 07769 632 687.

·   ROHR Birmingham Chapter general meeting. Saturday 28th February from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: 28 Handsworth New Road B18 4PT. The meeting will be attended by  a well known lawyer.Contact: Emnah Zibgowa 07846005120, Des Parayiwa 07815565335, Rebecca Mlambo 07817585742 or Tsitsi Mavhura 07932477842
Chelmsford launch meeting.  Saturday 28th February from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Springfield Parish Centre, St Augustine’s Way, Springfield, Chelmsford, CM1. Contact: Billy R Machekano 07908332724/07765459538, Robert Mafigo 07944815190, Tendai Gwanzura 07961702832 or Faith Benesi 07958650670.
Woking launch meeting. Saturday 7th March from 1.30 – 5.30 pm Venue: Station Pub, 12 Chertsey Road, Woking GU21 5AB. Contact Thandi Mabodoko 07886619780, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113 or Siduduzile Sibanyoni 07588745353.

·   ROHR UK Chair’s meeting. Saturday 14th March from 12 noon. Venue to be advised.  Contact Ephraim Tapa 07940793090 or Paradzai Mapfumo  07915926323 or 07932216070

·   Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).


Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationaally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.


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Chihuri orders murder charges dropped

February 15, 2009

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO- Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri has ordered the
police to drop all cases relating to murders committed during the run-up to
last year's June 27 presidential election.

Zanu-PF supporters, among them youths, top war veteran and government
officials, unleashed a reign of terror in the countryside harassing,
torturing and even killing Movement for Democratic Change supporters to
ensure that President Robert Mugabe retained power. The names of some
government minister of the time, notably that of David Parirenyatwa then
Minister of Health were linked to acts of violence. He was accused of acts
of violence in Murehwa District in Mashonaland East. War veteran leader
Joseph Chinotimba's name was linked to at least one murder in Buhera
District in Manicaland.

Parirenyatwa in one of the five ministers dropped at the last minute after
Zanu-PF attempted to sneak them into the Cabinet last Friday.

In a circular to all provincial commanders dated February 10 Chihuri ordered
that they drop all murder cases committed during the run-up to the
controversial June 27 election which MDC leader pulled out of, citing
violence against his supporters.

Part of the circular seen by The Zimbabwe Times reads: "Please be advised
that all murder cases committed during the run up to the presidential
election run-off and have not been finalised (sic) be dropped immediately."

"The decision has been made in the spirit of promoting national healing in
view of the inclusive government."

Chihuri has since dispatched deputy commissioner general Godwin Matanga to
visit all provinces and explain to senior officers the implication of the

Matanga yesterday confirmed that he was visiting provinces but denied that
he was on an assignment to push for the dropping of murder cases.

"I am visiting provinces so that senior officers are aware of the
developments taking place within the force as the new government takes
control", said Matanga.

However sources within the police force said Matanga caused a stir when he
visited Masvingo after he sought a meeting with court officials and
instructing them to drop all cases of murder committed between March and
June last year.

A court official who requested anonymity said that Matanga had
unsuccessfully tried to convince officials to drop the murder charges.

"We told him that we will not be pushed and that the law has to take its
course unless President Mugabe pardons them".

The country's main opposition MDC claims that over 300 of its supporters
were killed during the run-up to the one man presidential election run off.

The opposition has since called for the prosecution of all perpetrators of
violence during the run-up to the election while Zanu-PF says the
perpetrators should go free.

Speculation is rife within the police force that Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and the MDC might call for the prosecution of all perpetrators of
violence, resulting in the arrest and prosecution of senior Zanu-PF

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Gibson Sibanda tipped for Governor

Local News
February 15, 2009 | By Philip Mangena
Gibson Sibanda the Vice-President of the faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara will be
appointed Matebeland South Governor,multiple sources within the faction have

Sibanda, who appeared on the faction's cabinet initial list was not sworn in
with other ministers last week after he objected to being appointed Minister
of State in the Deputy Prime Minister's Office,a post Mutambara had
requested to be created.

Sibanda a long time ally of Morgan Tsvangirai,fell out with the MDC
president following a disagreement over participation in the senate
elections of 2005.

Mr. Sibanda joined a group of anti-senate officials led by MDC Secretary
General Welshman Ncube, MDC Deputy Secretary General Gift Chimanikire, party
treasurer Fletcher Dulini Ncube, and spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi they went
on to win only seven seats in the 60 chamber house.

Last year Sibanda lost his Nkulumane re-election bid to MDC National Youth
Chairperson Thamsanqa Mahlangu and was not elected MDC President despite
being the next in the hierarchy but the party appointed former student
leader Arthur Mutambara to lead the party.

In a related development Bulawayo Agenda director Mr Gordon Moyo has been
sworn in as Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office.

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WHO says water sources infected

February 15, 2009

By Ntando Ncube

JOHANNESBURG -The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said Zimbabwe's water
sources are carrying the cholera bacteria as the country battles an outbreak
that has now infected 73 585 people and left 3,525 dead.

The latest figures of the outbreak, which has spread since August 2008,
especially in impoverished rural areas, were dated February 12, the UN
health agency said.

At the beginning of the week, the WHO and the health ministry had recorded
69,553 cases including 3,400 deaths.

"Cholera is still not under control," said WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib.

However, she revealed that an onsite survey by the central cholera control
team in several districts found that waterways and wells were infected with
the deadly bacteria.

Chaib said: "We have confirmed that shallow wells, rivers and streams were
the most likely source of infection."

That made it essential to distribute water purification tablets, clean water
supplies, and soap directly to families and households to stop them getting
infected when they washed, cooked or drank water, she added.

The WHO also reiterated fears that floods in the rainy season would hamper
movement of both health workers and of people seeking treatment.

"There's also the lack of transport, the scarcity of food and the fact that
health workers are paid very little if they are at all," Chaib told

However, the WHO spokeswoman said it was unclear to what degree the outbreak
in Zimbabwe was fuelling those in neighbouring countries.

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Australia pledges $5m cholera aid to Zimbabwe


February 16, 2009 12:31am

AUSTRALIA will provide an extra $5 million immediately to help Zimbabwe
fight a cholera outbreak that has left nearly 3,500 people dead.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith made the pledge during a phone call on Friday
to congratulate Morgan Tsvangirai on becoming Zimbabwe's new prime minister.

Mr Tsvangirai took the prime ministerial oath on Wednesday as part of a
power-sharing agreement with longtime president Robert Mugabe.

Mr Smith said the UN had reported 73,000 cases of cholera and almost 3,500
deaths in Zimbabwe.

"I told Prime Minister Tsvangirai that the government and the people of
Australia stood with him as he confronted the enormous challenges faced by
the people of Zimbabwe,'' Mr Smith said.

"The cholera epidemic is the worst in modern day Zimbabwe and the worst in
Africa for several years.''

The funding will go to the United Nations Childrens Fund (Unicef), with $3
million to be used for its emergency water and sanitation program and $2
million to boost its medicines support program.

Mr Smith said the federal government was considering other ways to aid

"The government is carefully and urgently examining what assistance it can
give, particularly in the health, education, food security and agriculture
areas,'' he said.
"Australia will also consult with other major aid donors to determine how
best we can assist the people of Zimbabwe.''

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Street Fighting

I am sorry for the long delay in sending out another of my weeklies, but we
have been rather busy to say the least!! Events here have been dramatic and
are moving so fast that it is difficult to keep track if you are not at the
centre of things. A struggle is under way - not with guns, at least not yet!
But in every other way this is street fighting - building by building,
street by street, close combat between two forces.

On the one side is the secret cabal that has run Zimbabwe since the
quasi-military coup in 2002, when the military chiefs stated that they would
not salute Mr. Tsvangirai if he were elected President. On the other side is
a peculiar coalition of forces, led by Mr. Tsvangirai but including elements
of Zanu PF, civil society and even the armed forces themselves.

The Cabal was noticeably absent when the Prime Minister was sworn in - as
were a number of other key players, this was not a coincidence. The
Commander of the Air Force has not been seen since the assassination attempt
on him in Shamva, the others were all busy making mischief. The most serious
issue remains what role is the State President playing in this drama, if

But however it is described we are seeing a situation where a small group is
fighting back and trying to bring about a breakdown of the transitional
government which has just been sworn in and on Monday will start to take
charge. The three key elements in this shadowy force are - the Reserve Bank
(under Gono), the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney Generals Office and
the Military and Police. Gono is the paymaster and is funding this fight
back using the very considerable resources at his command, the Ministry of
Justice - or elements in the Ministry, is providing the 'legal'
justification and the armed forces, including senior elements in the Police,
are executing the strategy and providing the muscle.

The legal ruse is the allegation - now totally discredited, that elements of
the MDC are involved in 'treason' in that they planned the violent over
throw of the State. In fact the real situation is that it is the armed
forces chiefs themselves who are trying to do so and in so doing are
committing treason against the State. For, no matter how you construct the
transitional government, Zimbabwe now has a democratically elected
government that is constitutional and legitimate. Any attempt therefore, to
over throw the State by force, is an act of treason.

This fight is most clearly illustrated by the detention of Roy Bennett at
Charles Prince Airport yesterday. Roy was hauled off the plane, bundled into
a car and then driven at high speed to Mutare. The vehicles in which he was
transported were followed by volunteers so that he could not just disappear
in the same way that 42 others have in recent weeks.

When the news reached the Prime Minister he was already in consultation with
regional leaders on another crisis regarding the appointment of Zanu PF
Ministers and the matter was discussed. Senior Zanu PF Ministers agreed to
order that Roy be released. The President of South Africa left the country
thinking that this had been done and a major diplomatic and political crisis
(among many) averted. It was not so, whether or not such an order was given,
the Police and the CIO did not release Roy, instead they announced he was to
be charged with treason!

If the Ministers of State Security and Home Affairs did give the order for
his release, then the government agencies that are accountable to them did
not obey the order. If they did not give the order, they lied to the South
African President and the Prime Minister and are part of, what is, in
effect, a military coup. The treatment of the 42 other abductees is further
evidence of this defiance of the new order. They were clearly abducted
illegally, held illegally in various State institutions, finally brought to
Court and charged with various crimes involving absurd allegations, and
denied bail. A number are still missing and are unaccounted for.

In one of his first actions, the Prime Minister visited them in the High
Security Prison outside Harare and instructed that 4 be taken immediately to
hospital for treatment. Two of the four, including Jestina Mukoko are very
ill with life threatening symptoms, they were then taken to hospital and in
the evening, they were taken by force from the hospital back to prison in
clear defiance of the Prime Ministers instructions.

Many other battles are being fought - the coup plotters have people in key
places all over government and they are clearly working together. The
question is can they win this struggle. I do not think so. They are up
against the majority of the people, a democratically elected government
negotiated with the support of the entire region and they must now fight to
defend their positions from within government where they no longer have
legal and political control. The key player to watch in this struggle is
Gono. If he goes, then the flow of resources (except for illegal resources
such as gold and diamond sales) will dry up and they will not be able to
sustain their fight. If he stays, the new government will be seriously
weakened, as they cannot then secure the backing and support of important
financial players who simply will not work with the Bank whilst he is still
in charge.

While this is going on the looting of State assets and resources continue.
Right now they are trying to do a deal with a local firm to sell Tel One - a
major cell phone operator that is State owned, for US$200 million, which
they want to use to support US dollar denominated vouchers to pay the Civil
Service with, so that they can at least buy food. The Prime Minister has
instead instructed that the Civil Service be paid in hard currency -
Chinamasa defied the Prime Minister last week and insisted they go ahead
with the deal even though after Friday he was no longer Minister of Finance.

As for me? The Prime Minister announced on Monday that I was his choice for
Minister of State Enterprise and then on Friday the post was switched to a
friend and colleague, Sam Nkomo. A victim of the present constitutional
dispensation where Ministers must be Members of Parliament and carry over
into their government posts, their political constituency. In the American
system, the positions of Secretaries of State are selected from outside the
political system and the President can - as is the case with the Obama
government, select from his whole society, the people to run his government.
Under the Westminster system no such clear distinction exists between the
executive and Parliament.

The American system has the advantage that Ministers (the Secretaries) are
selected not only for their political influence and experience but also for
their technical background and experience. They essentially are managers of
the Ministries they run. Under our system the process is much more political
and the PM has to balance contending interests politically. In my case, I
was a victim of the process. I am sorry - I would have loved to have had the
chance to help make this deal work and to get whatever piece of government I
was responsible for, functioning again. But it is not to be and its back to
making my own living and working in Parliament to supervise government and
look after the public interest.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 15th February 2009

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Zimbabwe analysis: Tsvangirai took a huge risk, now we must shoulder our share

The new Zimbabwe was born last Wednesday with a whimper rather than with
whoops of delight, and then turned to dark farce as the week progressed.

By Graham Boynton
Last Updated: 8:48PM GMT 14 Feb 2009

The Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in by the old despot, Robert
Mugabe, in a joyless ceremony in a tent. Mugabe's wife, the ghastly
couture-clad Grace, refused to shake hands with Tsvangirai.

Then on Friday, before he was to be sworn in as deputy agriculture minister,
the MDC's Roy Bennett was arrested and has now been charged with treason.
And at the latest count at least 14 of Tsvangirai's party activists remained
in police detention - amid accusations of torture - in spite of the fact
that their release was supposed to be a precondition for the country's new
era of coalition government.

Sceptical observers - and anyone who has followed the rape of Zimbabwe over
the past decade can be forgiven for being sceptical - take these signals as
evidence that neither Mugabe nor his hardline Zanu-PF inner circle are going
to honour the content or the spirit of the coalition agreement.

Even if the 85-year-old ruler is wilting slightly after almost 30 years of
running this once prosperous country into the ground, the Zanu-PF hawks who
surround him are desperate to hang onto power. For although this
power-sharing deal, forced on him by fellow African leaders, may have saved
Mugabe from a trial in the Hague, his generals may not escape prosecution
for crimes against humanity.

Tsvangirai and close advisers have taken a great risk. One member of the new
unity cabinet, who spoke on condition of anonymity, has said that the
success or failure of the coalition government would be clear within two

David Coltart, the Bulawayo MDC senator who is part of the smaller breakaway
MDC faction led by the new deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara, is more
circumspect. He says that while he recognises huge problems "that even the
finest government in the world would find enormously difficult to deal with"
there has been a significant step forward. He says it represents a
substantial reduction in Zanu-PF's power base and will hopefully begin to
isolate the hardliners.

It is now widely believed that Mugabe and the hardliners did not really
think Tsvangirai would sign the coalition agreement, and that the point of
their rolling campaign of arrests, torture and murders of MDC officials and
supporters was to dissuade him from doing so.

However, with the support of African Union countries such as Botswana,
Zambia and Tanzania, he has outflanked Zanu-PF, and with half Mugabe's
ministers having lost their posts to the MDC the first signs of cracks in
the ruling elite are now expected to emerge.

Now it is time for the international community to share Tsvangirai's risk.
It is too easy for Gordon Brown and David Miliband to utter cautionary
remarks, as they both did last week, and play the roles of cool Western
politicians, but what the people of Zimbabwe need right now is for
Tsvangirai's bold move to be seen to be having an impact on this broken

To that end, in his first speech he implored the civil servants, the
teachers and the hospital workers to return to work and promised to pay them
foreign currency rather than the now valueless Zimbabwe dollar. The
assumption here is that he has received promises of financial support from
African Union allies, but to maintain the momentum the support of the EU
countries and Obama's born-again America is required.

Unfortunately, our recent history of helping Zimbabwe has been uniformly
dreadful. For the past eight years - since the first farm invasions - the
international community has vacillated, fidgeted and fulminated and achieved
nothing. Thus Mugabe, his shopping wife and his larcenous inner circle have
roamed the world seemingly free to spend their Treasury's money and to have
their children educated at our most expensive schools and universities.

Now we can make up for these years of inactivity, during which this lovely
country has plunged from prosperity to bankruptcy, disease and famine, by
getting behind its rehabilitation.

In Africa everything is possible. One only has to look back to apartheid
South Africa in the 1980s, when the idea of Nelson Mandela being freed,
never mind actually leading the country, seemed as fanciful as a modern-day
banker handing back his bonus out of guilt.

Post-Mandela South Africa is a world apart from the country run by the
granite apartheidists and it is to that miraculous transition beleaguered
Zimbabweans look in hope. Indeed, at his first rally as Prime Minister last
week Morgan Tsvangirai reminded his supporters that it was 19 years ago to
the day that Mandela was freed from prison and warned them that this did not
signify the end of his people's struggle for democracy.

So, too, with Zimbabwe. This ungainly attempt to form a coalition government
with the architects of the country's downfall is fraught with difficulties
but it is a first step. This is Tsvangirai's interim government before the
next election, and if he holds it together in the face of Zanu-PF's
determination to wreck it then Zimbabwe has a glimmer of hope. That is why
the West must now support him unequivocally.

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An opening to ease Mugabe from power

February 16, 2009

Article from:  The Australian
ZIMBABWE, arguably the world's most destitute country, last week gained a
new prime minister.

Unfortunately, it still has the same President. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was sworn in as Prime
Minister under a power-sharing deal brokered by former South African
president Thabo Mbeki, ending almost a year of stalemate after his party
defeated the ruling ZANU-PF party in parliamentary elections and Mr
Tsvangirai led Robert Mugabe in the presidential election last March.

Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is
still considered by some in the opposition, and by outside observers, to
have the upper hand in the arrangements, accepted by Mr Tsvangirai last
month. The MDC has 13 posts in the 31-member cabinet, ZANU-PF has 15, and
the other three jobs have been assigned to an MDC splinter group - giving
Mugabe's opponents a bare majority of ministers. One of the hardest jobs,
running the Finance Ministry amid the wreckage, has gone to a lawyer, Tendai
Biti, who doubts the pact will last.

The President will still control the military, a mainstay of power, and can
sack the Prime Minister. Mr Tsvangirai takes the attitude that this shaky
deal is the only way available towards the solution he favours - new and
more honestly run elections that he believes would give his side an
overwhelming victory. He was also under pressure to accept it by other
governments in southern Africa whose leaders are embarrassed by the
once-thriving Zimbabwe's economic collapse but do not like to see one of
their number forced from office.

Sub-Saharan Africa has endured the world's most depressing regional
political history since European colonisation inevitably ended. Many of its
indigenous-ruled nations have fallen victim to civil and cross-border wars -
in which millions of citizens have died - and to murderous and repressive
dictatorships, staggering corruption, economic mismanagement, wastage of
resources, appalling poverty and starvation, environmental disasters and,
not least, merciless tribalism. The record has numbed the nations of other
continents to the point where the worst is almost expected.

Black Africa has not exactly got its act together yet, a half-century or
soafter decolonisation began. The Mugabe regime fits into the pattern fairly
closely. It's to be hoped that the efforts to aid and reach out to black
Africa begun by former US president George W.Bush, in one of his
little-appreciated initiatives, will be taken further by his successor,
Barack Obama, whose father came from Kenya. While some Western European
nations have been ready to shame and boycott intolerable governments, and
provide humanitarian aid, they surely could have done more to promote better
leadership in many former possessions.

Mugabe, in power since 1980, turns 85 on Saturday but needs no presents -
not that many Zimbabweans could afford to give him one, as only about 5per
cent of the labour force has a job and the currency is virtually worthless.
It would appear from a weekend report that Mugabe has been benefiting from
what remains of the country's hard-currency holdings. He and his
big-spending wife, Grace, are thinking about China as a bolthole in the
event that he loses all power in his home country. This is unsurprising,
given China's investments in resources, energy and transport in Zimbabwe.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry last week called the swearing-in of Mr
Tsvangirai "substantial progress ... in Zimbabwe's political reconciliation

Britain's The Sunday Times has exposed a multi-million-dollar property said
to be owned by the Mugabes in a gated community in Hong Kong, and a planned
diamond-cutting venture in Qingdao on the mainland. Grace Mugabe has been
travelling through Asia recently and the newspaper says Zimbabwean central
bank governor Gideon Gono is "notorious for funding her extravagant travels
abroad". It also notes her reputation for splurging on luxury goods and art.
The Mugabes are said to vacation often in the resorts and hotels of such
countries as Malaysia, confident that their military cronies will remain

With schools and hospitals closed, infrastructure in ruins and a cholera
epidemic that has killed thousands, the world watches to see whether the
newcomers in office can persuade enough politicians in the ZANU-PF camp, if
not the President, to help their more than 13 million people, including the
surviving white population, instead of only themselves. Interested
governments including Australia's will have to monitor events closely to
encourage co-operation within this unlikely coalition, and to enable the MDC
ministers to ease the Mugabes and their henchmen from power completely and

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'Look east' becomes a refuge for African despots

By KEN KAMOCHEPosted Saturday, February 14 2009 at 17:57

The story that Robert Mugabe's daughter is studying at Hong Kong University
might never have attracted any media attention had the strongman's wife not
got into a bit of a scuffle with a British photographer.

The fellow says he was savagely beaten up by Grace Mugabe while her aides
held him down.

Strangely, although he said his face was streaming with blood because she
was wearing diamond-encrusted rings, he only reported the matter to the
police two days later, during which time the woman had quietly left Hong

She obviously travels on a diplomatic passport, so the Hong Kong police were
probably glad they didn't have to do anything after all although, of course,
they would issue the standard reply: investigations are under way.


It would have been interesting to see how they would have reacted, given the
freedom Mugabe and his family enjoy in the east. Unlike many other Africans
who only play economic lip-service to the "look east" policy, Mugabe and his
henchmen find they have little choice.

For rogue politicians warned not to attempt to land in Europe and North
America, the east offers a welcome refuge. If you have money to spend, and
don't kick up too much of a fuss, Asia will welcome you. It's called Asian

Western reporters staking out Mugabe's family claimed they were trying to
draw a sharp contrast between the lifestyles of the first family and those
of millions facing police brutality, starvation and cholera in a country
that has gone to the dogs.

While the government claims cholera has been contained, independent reports
suggest they couldn't be farther from the truth.

When reporters started asking what these two were doing in Hong Kong, that
was when it transpired that the young lady was studying under an assumed

Using an alias was in itself a precautionary measure either for her own
safety or because of the potential political fall-out.

The revelations caused a bit of a stir but nothing like the hue and cry you
would have expected if it had happened, say in Europe, or Australia for that
matter, where the children of Mugabe's associates were recently expelled
because of the crimes of their fathers.

Hong Kong University issued a statement saying they believed in equality of
opportunity, and that children shouldn't be denied an education because of
the politics of their parents.

It's a fair statement on one level. But, does it mean the iniquities of the
world's dictators will not be visited upon the children hiding away in Asia
to the third and fourth generation as we read in the book of Exodus?


It has been an interesting debate. There are those who argue that the
university is right to see, hear and speak no evil, and simply take the fees
from any qualified applicant who comes along.

Others suggest that Bona Mugabe isn't just an innocent victim of political
correctness, not because she has played no role in creating a privileged
lifestyle for herself while the majority suffers under her despotic father's
rule, but because she is known to have actively campaigned for him.

There are photographs of her on the internet on the campaign trail in a Vote
Mugabe T-shirt, waving a clenched fist in the air.

So, it is one thing to plead you're an innocent beneficiary who didn't ask
to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth. It is quite another to
campaign actively for your father knowing very well what his politics is
doing to the country.

Getting involved in politics comes with responsibility. This is why I was
amused to read one commentator's view that young people should be allowed to
visit and study in "democracies" so they'll learn and not repeat the
mistakes of their fathers.

For starters, Hong Kong isn't a democracy. Though you can vote in regional
and functional constituencies for a Legco which is all bark and no bite, the
top honcho is selected by a small circle committee of the rich and powerful.

More importantly, this view seems to imply that you can wean dictators of
their bad habits simply by sending them to the west to clean their minds,
civilise them, so they return singing democracy, human rights and free
market forces.

It is, of course, doubtful whether the west is all that well-equipped to
teach this mantra to the rest of the world.

Secondly, many of the worst dictators that have surfaced in Africa and Asia
spent years studying or training in military colleges in the west at some
point in their career.


The trial of Chen Shui-bian and family is becoming something of a media
circus. So far, the wife, son, daughter-in-law and brother-in-law have all
pleaded guilty to money-laundering.

Mister Chen himself maintains his innocence, and claims that his wife was
making illegal fund transfers without his knowledge.

Could it be he was too busy running the country to take any interest in what
those closest to him were doing?

Was he aware and simply turned a blind eye or did the family take advantage
of their privileged first family status to engage in corrupt practices
knowing the president would protect them?

The coming months are keenly anticipated as the trials get under way. There
will be drama aplenty.

Professor Ken Kamoche is an academic and writer

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Bill Watch Special of 14 February [Swearing in of Inclusive Government]


[14th February 2009]

Prime Minister and Deputies sworn in

The Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, and the two Deputy Prime Ministers, Thokozani Khupe and Arthur Mutambara, were sworn in at State House on 11th February, meeting the deadline set by the SADC Summit of 26th-27th January.  [Communiqué – para 7(ii) the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers shall be sworn in by 11th February 2009]

Swearing-in of new Ministers

[for list of Ministers by name and portfolio see below]

Ministers were sworn in yesterday, 13th February, the date the SADC Summit set for the finalisation of setting up an inclusive government by the swearing-in of Ministers and Deputy Ministers[Communiqué – para 7(iii) the Ministers and Deputy Ministers shall be sworn in on 13th February 2009, which will conclude the process of the formation of the inclusive Government]

Note the SADC Summit deadline for the swearing-in of the Deputy Ministers has not been met

Agreed Number of Ministers under IPA - 31

Under the Interparty Political Agreement [IPA] signed September 15 by the political parties and by the President of South Africa and Chair of SADC, the number of Ministries allocated to each party was specified: ZANU-PF 15; MDC-T 13; and MDC-M 3 - Total 31[The principle underlying this was supposed to be that the number of Ministers each party gets was in proportion to votes won in the Parliamentary elections last March.] 

Ten extra Ministers listed to be sworn in

The day before the swearing in, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet said the full list of ministerial appointees had been announced by President Mugabe.  He said 39 people would be appointed Ministers, but gave no information about which portfolios they would be given.  There were 21 names announced for ZANU-PF [6 more than their IPA quota], 14 for MDC-T [1 more than their IPA quota] and 4 for MDC-M  [1 more than their IPA quota].  The next day 2 more names were added to the ZANU-PF list – Muchena and Kasukuwere – making a total of 23 for ZANU-PF [8 more that their IPA quota].   This brought the number of Ministers expecting to be sworn in up from 31 to 41.  The extra numbers listed were explained as follows:

·   the parties had agreed that both MDC-T and ZANU-PF would have a Minister of Home Affairs, so 1 was added to  ZANU-PF’s allocation 

·   ZANU-PF claimed 7 extra as Ministers of State [Note: Ministers of State are full Ministers and in previous governments have sat in Cabinet]

·   Both MDC-T and MDC-M were each allocated 1 extra Minister [to be a Minister of State]

MDC-T raised objections to the number of extra Ministers ZANU-PF were claiming.  There was a delay of over five hours while parties disagreed about the extra ministries with President Motlanthe called in to mediate.  [Comment: as the negotiations for the inclusive government have been going on for almost 7 months, it was disappointing that there are still disagreements over such a bedrock of the IPA as the numbers of Ministers for each party.]

Compromise for the Day - 36 Ministers

35 Ministers were sworn in.  Giles Mutsekwa, on the MDC list was out of the country and it was reported that he would be sworn in at a later date.  This makes a total of 36 Ministers.

ZANU-PF kept 1 for its co-Minister for Home Affairs and got 2 Ministers of State in the President’s Office [an extra 3 over the IPA allocation].  5 on the list – all senior ministers in the last government – who had arrived with their guests expecting to be sworn in, were not sworn in [John Nkomo, David Parirenyatwa, Flora Buka, Paul Mangwana and Sylvester Nguni].

MDC-T got one Minister of State in the Prime Ministers Office [an extra 1 over their IPA allocation].  Mr Gibson Sibanda on the MDC-M list was not sworn in.

SADC Statement to Press Incorrect

SADC Secretary General Salomao was reported as explaining that the problems were “technical problems”.  He went on to say that “according to the agreement the Cabinet should have two Ministers of State in the President’s office and one for the Prime Minister’s Office”.  Comment: there is absolutely no provision for Ministers of State or any other additional Minister(s) in the IPA.

The compromise violates the Constitution of Zimbabwe

The number of Ministers laid down in the Constitution of Zimbabwe since Constitution Amendment 19 is 31.  The slipping in of extra Ministries is a breach of our Constitution.  [Comment: This is not sending out the right signals that the inclusive government intends to respect the principles of constitutionalism and the rule of law.]

A Continuing Saga

Welshman Ncube, Secretary General of MDC-M and their chief negotiator, was quoted after the swearing in ceremony as saying “the matter had not been conclusively resolved but had merely been set aside for this weekend.”

This ties in with a report that Motlanthe suggested Mugabe and Tsvangirai hold talks this weekend to decide whether they could both increase the number of their ministers to accommodate the extra five Zanu (PF) aspirant Ministers .This would result in a almost 50 Ministers. [Comment: If this is a correct report, President Motlanthe is not taking into account the constitutional issues or the extra burden this would place on the fiscus.  It would also be perceived as bowing to last minute manipulation of the agreement by ZANU-PF.]

The ceremony was not only marred by disagreements, but also by the news of the arrest of the MDC-T Treasurer-General and Deputy Minister designate, Roy Bennett and by the continuing refusal to release other political detainees – one of the MDC-T conditions for embarking on an inclusive government.  It is to be hoped that these issues will also be dealt with at the same time as continuing discussions about the ministerial posts.

Allocation of Ministerial Portfolios

This is the position Saturday morning but may of course be altered if the  numbers of Ministries are cut down to meet constitutional requirements

ZANU-PF                                                                   Ministry

1.   Kembo Mohadi [MP Mat South]                                 Home Affairs

Minister in last government]

2.   Emmerson Mnangagwa [MP Midlands]                      Defence

Minister in last government

3.   Patrick Chinamasa [Appointed Senator]                     Justice and Legal Affairs

Minister in last government

4.   Herbert Murerwa [Elected Senator Mash East]          Lands and Rural Resettlement

Minister in a previous government

5.   Simbarashe Mumbengegwi [Elected Senator Midlands] Foreign Affairs

Minister in last government

6.   Nicholas Goche [MP Mash Central]                            Transport and Infrastructural Development

Minister in last government

7.   Ignatius Chombo [MP Mash Central]                          Local Government, Urban and Rural Development

Minister in last government

8.   Obert Mpofu [MP Mat North]                                     Mines and Mining Development

Minister in last government

9.   Joseph Made [Appointed Senator]                              Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development

Minister in last government

10. Francis Nhema [MP Midlands]                                    Environment and Natural  Resources Management

Minister in last government

11. Stan Mudenge [MP Masvingo]                                    Higher and Tertiary Education

Minister in last government

12. Sithembiso Nyoni [F] [MP Mat North]                       Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development

Minister in last government 

13. Webster Shamu [MP Mash West]                                Media, Information and Publicity

Minister of State in Presidents Office

14. Olivia Muchena [MP Mash East]                                Women's Affairs, Gender and Community Development

Minister in last government

15. Saviour Kasukuwere [Mash Central]                           Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment

Deputy Minister in last government

16. Walter Mzembi [MP Masvingo prov]                         Tourism and Hospitality Industry

Deputy Minister in last government

Ministers of State in the President’s Office

17. Didymus Mutasa [MP Manicaland]                             Minister of State for Presidential Affairs

Minister in last government

18. Sydney Sekeramayi [Elected Senator Mash East]      Minister of State for National Security in the President’s Office

Minister in last government

Listed for swearing in as Ministers, but not sworn in

John Nkomo [Appointed Senator] and Former Speaker and Minister in a previous government

David Parirenyatwa [MP Mash East] and Minister in last government

Flora Buka [F] [MP Midlands] and Minister of State in Presidents Office

Paul Mangwana [MP Midlands] and Minister in last government

Sylvester Nguni [MP Mash West] and Minister in last government

MDC-T                                                                             Ministry

MPs in previous Parliaments

1.   Giles Mutsekwa [MP Manicaland]                       Home Affairs

2.   Tendai Biti[MP Harare]                                              Finance

3.   Paurina Gwanyanya [MP Harare]                                Labour

4.   Nelson Chamisa [MP Harare]                                      Information Communication Technology

5.   Fidelis Mhashu [MP Harare]                                        Housing and Social Amenities

6.   Joel Gabuza Gabbuza [MP Mat North]                      State Enterprises and Parastatals

First time MP’s

7.   Elton Mangoma [MP Manicaland]                              Economic Planning and Investment Promotion

8.   Elias Mudzuri [MP Masvingo Prov]                            Energy and Power Development

9.   Eric Matinenga [MP Manicaland]                                Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs

10. Eliphas Mukonoweshuro [MP Masvingo Prov]          Public Service

11. Henry Madzorera  [MP Harare]                                   Health and Child Welfare

12. Theresa Makone [MP Harare]                                      Public Works  

13. Heneri Dzinotyiwei [MP Harare]                                 Science and Technology

14. Samuel Sipepa Nkomo [MP Bulawayo]                     Water Resources and Development

Minister of State in the Prime Ministers Office

15. Gordon Moyo [no parliamentary seat]

Gordon Moyo would have to get one of the 4 appointed Senate seats MDC-T has been allocated


MPs in previous Parliaments

1.   Welshman Ncube [no parliamentary seat]                  Industry and Commerce

2.   Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga [no parliamentary seat]Regional Integration and International Co-operation

3.   David Coltart [Elected Senator Bulawayo]                Education, Sport, Art and Culture

Senator Coltart is the only nominee with a seat in Parliament,

Tthe other two have to get one of the 2 appointed Senate seats MDC-M has been allocated

Listed for swearing in as Ministers, but not sworn in

Gibson Sibanda [no parliamentary seat]


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