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Robert Mugabe has whip hand in coalition of convenience

February 1, 2009

Jon Swain and Sophie Shaw, Harare
ROBERT MUGABE, the Zimbabwean president, will have the power to dismiss his
arch-opponent from a government of national unity even though the two men
have agreed to join forces in an effort to rescue the country's ruined

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), who will become prime minister, could be sacked for
incompetence under the terms of a deal that leaves the 84-year-old president
firmly in control.

There were mixed reactions to the deal in Zimbabwe. Some feared Mugabe would
use Tsvangirai, 56, to extend his power. Others felt that the opposition
leader would neutralise the president. One opposition sympathiser said she
was "hop-ing for the best but preparing for the worst".

Many nonetheless applauded the opposition's decision, hoping that a unity
government would unlock overseas aid, which is needed to rebuild the
shattered country.

Western diplomats in Harare pointed out that development aid hinges on
economic and political reform and Mugabe's long history of reneging on
commitments holds out little promise of change.

The United States and Britain, Zimbabwe's biggest aid donors, are unhappy
that the deal leaves Mugabe in charge of security and the military and that
he reappointed Gideon Gono as head of the central bank, where Gono has
presided over hyperinflation and monetary collapse.

Britain provides £40m of emergency aid each year to Zimbabwe. That could be
increased to £200m overnight if it is decided that Tsvangirai's premiership
will bring progressive government.

One difficulty is that Britain and the US stated publicly in December that
any government in which Mugabe served was unacceptable. British ministers
now have a dilemma - do they eat their words and give aid, or do they deny
Tsvangirai the assistance that he and Zimbabwe require? Britain's decision
is likely to influence other European donor nations.

The US is in a less difficult position since President Barack Obama would
not consider himself bound by President George W Bush's officials.

The need for aid is acute. Zimbabwe is fighting a cholera epidemic that has
killed more than 3,100 and made more than 60,000 ill since August. The
collapse of the health and sanitation infrastructure had made it impossible
to bring the disease under control. In addition 80% of the population need
food aid.

The power-sharing arrangement will be fragile, at best. Half the new
government ministers will be from Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, which led Zimbabwe
to its plight. Tsvangirai's authority will be severely restricted: Mugabe
will chair the cabinet; Tsvangirai will chair a council of ministers.

Analysts said it was difficult to imagine such a divided government taking
the steps that the crisis called for.

One particularly unhappy feature for the opposition is its failure to win
control of the police. Under the deal it will share responsibility for the
interior ministry with Zanu-PF, an arrangement many see as unworkable.
Mugabe retains control of the military and intelligence ministries.

Nonetheless, Tsvangirai won his party's reluctant backing for the coalition
at the MDC's national council on Friday after coming under pressure from
southern African leaders.

His predicament was reflected in his statement that "this government will
serve as a transitional authority leading to free and fair elections".
Mugabe has never acknowledged that the unity government is a transitional
entity and considers himself president for a full term of office.

One fear is that Mugabe will use the government to smash the opposition,
which has been severely weakened by intimidation and internal rivalry.

Tsvangirai will also have to manage without his adviser, Tendai Biti, who
opposes the unity government and will not join it. Biti, 42, is in danger of
being jailed on Wednesday, when politically motivated treason charges
against him are likely to be revived.

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MDC-T Says Real Change Coming

Saturday, 31 January 2009 20:41

THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
yesterday pledged to tackle the worsening humanitarian crisis, a day after
agreeing to join the proposed all-inclusive government.

Tsvangirai on Friday won the crucial endorsement of the MDC's national
council to be part of the process that will lead to the formation of the
unity government with President Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara, the
leader of a smaller MDC formation, by February 13. His spokesperson, Joseph
Mugwari said the MDC's immediate task once in government would be to tackle
the crisis in the education and health sectors, as well as ensuring that
starving Zimbabweans get food.

"This government is coming into effect against a background of serious
economic decay," he said, "so our immediate task is tackling the current
humanitarian crisis and restoring the people's freedom."

Schools have been closed since last year after teachers went on strike
demanding better pay and improved working conditions.

The situation in hospitals is equally bleak as there are no drugs and
equipment, while nurses and doctors have been on strike for several months
demanding payment in foreign currency.

The country's economic meltdown has been worsened by a cholera
outbreak, which has killed nearly 3 200 people and infected some 60 000
since last August.

Unemployment has topped 94% while over seven million people - more
than half of the country's population need urgent food aid.

"As soon as possible," Mugwari said, "we will start giving people
relief and they will start to see real change."

But Iden Wetherell, the chair of the Zimbabwe National Editors' Forum
said: "We need to see the immediate release of political prisoners, the
liberation of the public media from state control, and the return of
journalists expelled from the country. That will be the litmus test of the
regime's sincerity."

Despite doubts whether it would be possible for Tsvangirai and Mugabe
to work together, Mugwari said he was optimistic the new alliance would
flourish given the fact that all parties were prepared to make concessions.

The sceptics fear that the two MDCs would be swallowed up as happened
to PF Zapu under the December 1987 Unity Accord.

There were reports that representatives from Bulawayo in the MDC-T
national council were opposed to any pact with Mugabe, fearing the MDC-T
would suffer a similar fate.

"I understand the scepticism and mistrust but people have to remember
that quite a number of times we have managed to push this regime to make
compromises on many key issues," he said. "At the beginning Mugabe was not
prepared to negotiate with us, but look what has happened today."

The MDC is also optimistic the international community will support
the deal.

Mugwari said with the Southern African Development Community (Sadc),
the African Unity (AU), Russia and China supporting the deal, MDC's
challenge would be convincing the rest of the world to see the importance of
the pact.

"It's a challenge but we are not starting from nowhere. It's a matter
of selling the inclusive government to the international community. I hope
it will work out," Mugwari said.

Addressing journalist after meeting the national council's meeting on
Friday, Tsvangirai said the MDC-T had agreed to join the GNU in the interest
of the welfare of Zimbabweans, who are battling to survive the economic

"Therefore, in accordance with the party's constitution, the political
agreement we signed on September 15, 2008, and in the best interests of the
welfare of all Zimbabweans the MDC has resolved to form an inclusive
government with Zanu PF and MDC-M," he said.

Tsvangirai said he wanted Sadc, the regional body that brokered the
power-sharing agreement, to address outstanding issues before February 11.

These include the release of all political abductees and the reversal
of the appointments of the Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, Reserve Bank
Governor, Gideon Gono and provincial governors.

"On the breaches of the GPA and the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding),
Sadc resolved that the Joint Monitoring Implementation Committee (Jomic) is
established to review and reverse these breaches," he said.

Tsvangirai said the success of the pact depended on the goodwill of
the parties involved, the people's support and the continued engagement and
vigilance of Sadc, AU and the international community.

South African president Kgalema Motlanthe last week said his country
was prepared to rebuild Zimbabwe once the GNU was formed.

He was hopeful that investors would soon return to Zimbabwe.

"This stage is really critical in terms of achieving political
stability and the first step towards the economic recovery of that country,"
Motlanthe told Reuters at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in the
Swiss Alpine resort of Davos.

Motlanthe said the first priority was to invest in infrastructure, as
the cholera outbreak was largely the result of burst pipes.


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Teachers' Strike: Govt Resorts to Arm-twisting

Saturday, 31 January 2009 20:33
THE government is intimidating striking teachers by threatening to
invoke statutes that bar civil servants from absenting themselves from work
for more than two weeks.

The move comes as the majority of public schools failed to open for
the first term last week.

 In a circular to all provincial education directors issued after
teachers carried out their threat not to return to work until they were paid
in foreign currency.

Stephen Mahere, the Permanent Secretary for Education, said the
government would freeze salaries of teachers who absented themselves from
work for 14 days.

Action would be taken to discharge them if they did not report for
work for 30 days, Mahere threatened.

"Where teachers absent themselves from duty or turn up but fail to
perform their normal duties due to work stoppage, strike action, go slow or
sit-in, head offices should invoke the relevant provisions of the Public
Service Regulation in line with provisions of the Statutory Instrument
Number of 2000," Mahere wrote in the circular.

The circular, dismissed as an empty threat by teachers' unions, came
amid revelations that on Thursday government snubbed a meeting between
leading donors and the striking teachers, which could have provided an
intervention similar to the one in the health sector.

Sifiso Ndlovu, the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta) acting chief
executive officer, said the threats, while "laughable" showed that
government had no clue on how to solve the crisis in schools.

"They can fire all the teachers," Ndlovu said.  "There is this wishful
thinking that the education sector is still very attractive when the
situation on the ground shows that other than the few veterans who remain in
the sector no one is interested in joining the profession."

He said teachers, who were on a go-slow since early last year before
engaging in a full-blown strike would not give in.

 Ndlovu said the 2009 budget in which the government promised to pay
civil servants' allowances in foreign currency denominated coupons and
salaries in Zimbabwe dollars, had angered teachers.

"We have been receiving calls from members from across the country who
are saying we should not give in," he said. "The coupons that we are being
promised do not make any sense because there is nowhere in the world where
such a system has operated."

Zimta and the Progressive Teachers' Union (PTUZ) said they were
baffled by government's failure to attend the meeting with donors at a
Harare hotel.

Some of the donors represented at the highest level were United
Nations agencies, the European Union, Save Children UK and Save Children

"There was a request from the education-working group for a meeting
with the minister of education, Chigwedere yesterday (Thursday)," said PTUZ
secretary general, Raymond Majongwe.

"All the donors, including Unicef, who were willing to assist the
teachers were present but the minister did not bother to turn up or send
someone to explain why he could not make it. This shows that these people
are not serious and they do not take us seriously."

Ndlovu said ministry officials said they could not attend because of
the budget, which was presented in the afternoon. The donor meeting was held
in the morning.

 'We are very cross that the government treated the donors the way it
did," he said.

Mahere was said to be attending meetings on Friday and was not
immediately available for comment. Chigwedere was not reachable.

Early this year, government also turned down an offer by the Education
Working Group that comprises of major donors involved in the sector who
wanted to lure back thousands of teachers who have deserted schools.

Meanwhile, most parents say they have not bothered sending their
children to boarding schools because it was clear conditions were now worse
than last year.

At Uzumba High School in Mashonaland East, Murehwa there were only 19
out of 500 students on opening day.

An official at the school, who requested anonymity, said they were in
a quandary, as they did not know what they would do with the children, as
there were no teachers.

One parent with two children at a boarding school in Chishawasha said
they were told by the headmaster to take their children back home. Day
schools also remained closed as teachers did not report for work.

Some parents with the means were withdrawing their children from
public schools and sending them to a private institution in Chinhoyi.

Monica Mazaiwana, who is a trader at Chinhoyi flea market, withdrew
her child from Bernard Mzeki School alleging the groceries she bought for
her child last year "were taken by hungry teachers".

Although most parents said they would want their children to attend
private schools, they were being hindered by the high fees, charged in
foreign currency - Additional reporting by Our Chinhoyi Correspondent.


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Zimbabweans set Targets for Inclusive Government

Saturday, 31 January 2009 20:29
ZIMBABWEANS were in celebratory mood yesterday after the Morgan
Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) agreed to join the
all-inclusive government, under terms hammered out at a special regional
summit last week.

But many cautioned the new government had little time on its side to
begin the rehabilitation of an economy battered by over a decade of misrule.

They said there was an urgent need to address a humanitarian crisis,
fast spiralling out of control.

Tsvangirai's security worked overtime trying to control excited
supporters   who mobbed the MDC leader as he emerged from a press conference
at the party's headquarters where he announced the party's decision to be
part of the process that will see a new government being put in place by
February 13.

"This is a real attempt to address the crises in the country and in
that respect the move deserves credit," said Tawanda Mukakiwa, a vendor.

"However, we appeal to the political leadership to demonstrate
commitment to the deal if anything is to materialise."

Gogo Vawonzo from Chivi said: "This deal comes as a relief and we
think a lot of work needs to be done to improve the lives of ordinary
people, who are feeling the pain of an economic, political and humanitarian

Maxwell Moyo from Bulawayo said: "Those bestowed with the honour of
being part of the policy formulating process should ensure that they come up
with policies that will help aid the economic recovery process."

Other people interviewed yesterday said the new government should
focus on job creation and ensuring that exiles, who escaped the economic
collapse, returned to help rebuild the battered economy.

"Some of them are in South Africa and beyond. The new government
should ensure that these people all come back and play a part in the
economic revival," Sikhangele Ndlovu said. "This demands that the new
government puts in place attractive packages that will lure these
professionals back."

Nigel Hauffman, a Bulawayo-based businessman, said he hoped the
country would start benefiting from the new dispensation in the shortest
possible time.

But others were still sceptical saying President Robert Mugabe had a
long history of dishonouring agreements he was party to.

"It's catastrophic," said Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the
National Constitutional Assembly. "In so doing, Tsvangirai undermined the
intention of the MDC to have a complete change.

"How can a government of two different sectors work together and
produce a positive outcome?
Madhuku said the MDC had merely legitimised Mugabe's reign, won
through the flawed June 27 presidential election run-off.


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Locals Named in Kellogg Foundation Fraud Probe

Saturday, 31 January 2009 20:19
TWO Zimbabweans are believed to be among those named in a forensic
audit at the WK Kellogg Foundation offices in Pretoria, South Africa, The
Standard can report.

Both have since been dismissed.

The first was dismissed as a result of certain admissions relating to
the investigation into financial irregularities was previously at the
foundation's offices in Pretoria.

She appeared in the Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria on December 3,
2008 and is out on bail. The matter was remanded to February 27.

The second was dismissed following a disciplinary inquiry chaired by
an independent senior advocate, who found the Zimbabwean guilty on 13
charges of misconduct relating to conflicts of interest, The Standard heard.

The evidence presented at the disciplinary hearing of the second
Zimbabwean emerged from the forensic investigation. The charges related to
"breaches of the foundation's conflict of interest policies and not to the
financial irregularities under investigation".

A spokesperson for the foundation said that as the forensic
investigation was likely to continue for some time they were not yet clear
as to the extent of the losses suffered by the foundation "but that it will
probably exceed R10 million by some considerable margin".

The spokesperson confirmed to The Standard that further disciplinary
hearings are likely.

As a result Kellogg Foundation's Pretoria office would remain closed
until further notice.

The spokesperson said while the foundation remains committed to
fulfilling its mission of helping children in the region, "there will
obviously be a thorough re-examination of the operations, processes and
protocols in the Pretoria office - the delivery mechanism is subject to

Last week The Standard heard that the audit continues to produce
additional evidence of misconduct of financial irregularities in the WKKF
Pretoria office.

"As a result," The Standard heard, "the office remains closed and
operations remain suspended.

"We are shocked and saddened by the evidence of serious misconduct
emerging from the ongoing audit," the foundation said. "Disciplinary
hearings have been held in accordance with South African law and procedure.
As a result, a member of our Pretoria staff was dismissed and subsequently
arrested by South African authorities.

"Additionally, a second disciplinary hearing about incidents of
misconduct involving conflicts of interest has resulted in the dismissal of
a second member of the WKKF staff in Pretoria following the recommendation
of the independent chairman of the hearing."

For the time being, all Africa staff will report to Jim McHale, while
the foundation's Battle Creek staff will continue to administer all grants
and contracts.

"The foundation is profoundly disappointed. But the investigation and
ultimate outcome will not deter us from our mission of helping children."

In a message to communities seeking grants and contractors, the
Kellogg Foundation said the administration of grants and contracts for the
region had been slowed down by the unprecedented nature of the investigation
and the resulting needs of the forensic process.

"Additionally, the desire of the foundation to fully comply with South
African and US law necessitates a very deliberate and thorough process," the
statement said. "As a result, we are receiving inquiries from grantees and
contractors in the region who report that they are experiencing uncertainty
and financial difficulties."

While the foundation was dealing with each inquiry on its merits,
requesting supporting documentation and proof of deliverables where
necessary, in some instances it has had to inform beneficiaries that their
matters will take time to resolve because of forensic requirements or
suspected breaches of internal procedures.

A spokesperson said it was the intention of the foundation to deal
with these unfortunate events "as expeditiously as possible".

"We are aware of the potentially adverse consequences of delays on the
projects we support and of the uncertainty and anxiety that is felt by all
our stakeholders," the spokesperson said.

"Ultimately, we are accountable to our board of trustees and the many
beneficiaries who expect from us the highest standards of governance and
stewardship. We will therefore comply strictly with the policies and
procedures of the foundation as we seek to bring this matter to a close."


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Church Wants Meddling Chief, Cops Locked up

Saturday, 31 January 2009 20:18
A Mt Darwin church has approached the High Court seeking the
imprisonment of a pro-Zanu PF chief and two senior police officers they
accuse of interfering with their religious activities in defiance of two
court orders.

Members of the Johanne Masowe Apostolic sect say Chief Clemence
Nembire, the Officer-in-Charge Mt Darwin Police Station and the
Officer-in-Charge Dotito Police Station, whose names were not given, were
preventing them from holding prayers.

In his founding affidavit, the sect leader, Madzibaba Reuben Tapedza
alleges that on December 26, the chief and the two officers disrupted a
prayer meeting at his homestead.

This came days after the High Court barred Chief Nembire from
interfering with the sect's activities. A similar order was issued on
November 24.

Chief Nembire was in the headlines last year when the sect members
dragged him to the courts for evicting them from their homesteads and
dispossessing them of their land.

The sect alleges that the chief banned its religious activities,
destroyed its shrine and barred members from meeting even in small groups
and issued threats of violence and murder against them.

But in December the chief obtained an order, which restricted the
church's prayers to the Tapedza homestead, while prohibiting them from
worshipping from Guravadzimu Vlei, which some locals regard as sacred.

Chief Nembire accused the sect members of failing to send children to
school or to hospital and of sanctioning marriages involving children under
the age of consent.

In both orders, the High Court barred the chief from evicting the sect
members and dispossessing them of their land.

Both orders stated that citizens were allowed by the Constitution and
the laws of Zimbabwe to worship and had a right to settle somewhere in the

The court also ruled that citizens had a right to live free from
harassment and at a place they could call home and where they could
peacefully till the land and look after themselves and their families.

It also directed police to ensure that Chief Nembire and any persons
acting or claiming to act under his authority not to interfere with the
church's rights to worship or keep occupation and use of their homes and
land, and to arrest any person acting otherwise.

Justice Tedias B Karwi stressed in one order that it was unacceptable
for the sect to live under fear and uncertainty as to whether they would be
able to till the land or not this year.

 The police allegedly told the church and its lawyers that Tapedza
homestead was located on a sacred land - Guravadzimu Vlei. But they allege
it is about two kilometers away.

The three accused are expected to file responding papers in the
matter, which is yet to be set down for hearing.


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Zimpapers Journalist Faces Robbery Charge

Saturday, 31 January 2009 20:12
CHINHOYI - Emilia Zindi, the chief reporter for The Sunday Mail is
facing robbery charges after she allegedly seized a vehicle from a former
Interfresh employee, claiming she inherited it from a former commercial

Zindi, who was allocated Plots 2 and 7 of Hippo Valley Farm in Chegutu
during the chaotic land reform programme, her son Misheck Zindi and some
unknown persons sometime last week allegedly went to Tafadzwa Matore's house
in Chegutu, where they violently took away a Nissan Hardbody vehicle.

The case was reported to Pfupajena Police Station, and is listed as CR

Matore is a former employee of Interfresh Pvt Ltd, a company that has
been running a citrus plantation at the farm taken over by Zindi.

Interfresh was running the farm on behalf of Dear Love, who has since
relocated to South Africa following the compulsory acquisition of his
property by the government.

In May last year Zindi also seized a Fiat tractor and two trailers
from Interfresh.

She claimed she was entitled to the equipment since the former farm
owner had left it on the property.

A report was made to the police and Zindi and her son were arrested on
a charge of robbery. This was later altered in court to assault.

The assault charge against Zindi is yet to be finalised.

Zindi roped in Mashonaland West Provincial Lands Officer Faruka
Chikomba, who told Chegutu police that he had been "instructed by some
authorities in Harare" to take back the property to the farm for evaluation

But it was Zindi who went back on Tuesday and collected the tractor
and the two trailers.

The Officer-in-Charge of Kadoma police has written to the Officer
Commanding Mashonaland West, indicating that they are looking for Zindi and
her son.

Yesterday Zindi defended her actions saying, "there is an inventory
that has to be undertaken and government officials are coming on Monday

Police spokesman Andrew Phiri said he was not aware of the case and
referred questions to Mashonaland West police spokesperson, an Inspector
Maingire, who was not immediately reachable.


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Anglicans' Turf War Rages on

Saturday, 31 January 2009 18:24
BISHOP of the Anglican Church's Harare Diocese, Sebastian Bakare says
rogue police officers have frustrated all efforts by his group to seek a
resolution of the church's power struggles through legal means by siding
with his rival, Nolbert Kunonga.

Bakare said as a result they were now waiting for "divine
 intervention" as Kunonga's well-publicised connections with the ruling Zanu
PF emboldened his faction to act with impunity.

"We have exhausted all channels," he said in a recent interview. "We
will only fight through God as he knows what's best for His church and He is
the one who can correctly distinguish between good and evil."

Bakare's comments were in response to a recent incident where David
Kunyongana, a priest from the Kunonga faction was involved in a nasty
encounter with members of the new bishop's group at St Joseph's Dzivarasekwa
parish over sharing  the church building.

After the altercation it is alleged that Kunyongana called another
priest, who came and drove his vehicle  straight at some youths standing at
the gate of the parish apparently in an effort to disperse them.

This provoked the youths and onlookers who started throwing missiles
at the car and a police intervention led to the arrest of a number of them,
including church wardens.

Members of the Kunonga faction had allegedly called the police.

Police officers are still reportedly preventing Bakare's group from
using church property despite a High Court order granting access to both

The Anglican Church split last year after Kunonga attempted to
unilaterally withdraw the Harare Diocese from the church's Province of South
Africa allegedly in protest at the tolerance of homosexuality by the
mainstream church.

The two groups have been engaged in unending fights since then.

Bakare said efficient justice delivery on the dispute had been
compromised by Kunonga's attempts to use his political influence and alleged
links to Zanu PF to try and gain control of the church.

He said some police officers were "conniving" with Kunonga's faction
to disrupt his group from conducting church services in various parishes
around Harare.

"They are conniving with some rogue members of the police force and
working in unison to violate the High Court judgement," Bakare said, "and we
are not going to fight them, prayer is the only solution."

The police officers, according to Bakare, claim to be acting on
instructions from the President's Office in their bid to intimidate his

But he dismissed them "as some rogue members of society who wanted to
exercise power that they do not have in the name of the president."

According to Bakare the major problem emanated from "the
politicisation of a clearly ecclesiastical issue."

Police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena denied allegations police
officers were interfering in Anglican issues.

"They have got their cases at court and we do not see any reason why
they should involve the police," Bvudzijena said.

"Our position in the dispute is not an issue. "After all, we do not
favour anyone."

 Kunonga was not available for comment.

But Kunyongana said: "Those claims are not true, they do not want to
follow the High Court ruling that we should revert to our previous status


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More Trouble Brews for Zapu Revivalists

Saturday, 31 January 2009 18:20
BULAWAYO - A little known Matabeleland-based party is challenging the
use of the name Zapu by former Zanu PF officials who last month pulled out
of the 1987 Unity Accord.

A number of disgruntled Zanu PF officials led by former Home Affairs
minister and politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa, are leading the revival of
Zapu and are currently preparing for the party's first congress in 22 years.

During a well-attended convention in December, where preparations for
the re-launch of the party were set in motion, the group agreed to retain
the name Zapu without the Patriotic Front (PF) prefix and the symbol of a
charging bull.

But the little known party calling itself Zapu, which broke away from
the defunct Zapu Federal Party led by Paul Siwela ahead of last year's
elections, says it will challenge the use of the name by any other group
because it would cause confusion among the electorate.

Zanu PF is also threatening to launch a court challenge against the
revivalists over the use of the name Zapu.

Sikhumbuzo Dube, the leader of the group calling itself Zapu, said
Dabengwa and his group were trying to cause confusion in opposition

"Some of us have been there and running the business and interests of
Zapu and we are the custodians of the name Zapu," he said.

"It is still early for them as a newly formed breakaway party from
Zanu PF to find another name they can use to identify themselves. The name
is ours and we shall not let go of it."

Dube said the two groups were fronting different agendas, with his
party advocating for a federal system of government.

But Smile Dube, the spokesman for the revived Zapu, said the rival
group was misdirected.

"We are talking of the original Zapu that preceded NDP (the National
Democratic Party)," he said. "People must not be misled or misdirected, we
are looking at the cause of Zimbabweans as Zapu not any other party.

"If they want to join they are wecome, Zapu is a national party."

The revival of Zapu, once led by the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo,
has angered senior Zanu PF officials including President Robert Mugabe who
has labelled the group as "dissidents".

A number of former PF Zapu officials who still hold positions in Zanu
PF and government have been falling over each other to dismiss the revival
of Zapu.

Former PF Zapu chairman Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu, last week said
the party would die a "natural death".

But Smile Dube said Ndlovu was contradicting Vice-President Joseph
Msika, who has always insisted that Zapu would not die.


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No Naming and Shaming for Maguta Looters

Saturday, 31 January 2009 18:10
TOP government officials are frantically trying to block the national
resource mobilization and utilization committee from naming senior
government officials who looted subsidized agricultural inputs distributed
under Operation Maguta.

A fortnight after General Douglas Nyikayaramba, the chairman of the
logistics sub-committee threatened to expose the culprits "by the end of the
week", the zeal seems to have suddenly fizzled out under intense political
pressure, sources revealed last week.

Nyikayaramba said those implicated included several ministers, eight
MPs, top ranking civil servants, senior police and army officers who had
been tasked with leading the military-supervised agricultural programme
across the country.

"We have started legal proceedings against these people and some of
them have already started appearing in court while the names of the senior
government officials will be exposed by the end of the week," he said. That
was two weeks ago.

But sources this week said it was unlikely the committee would "name
and shame" the looters because some of them were earmarked for posts in
Mugabe's new Cabinet in the all-inclusive government.

"Some of them are lined up for cabinet posts," said the source. "It is
also feared that if the implicated MPs are convicted, Zanu PF would lose
their constituencies, resulting in by-elections."

Zanu PF is battling to regain its parliamentary majority from the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after it lost during the March 2008

But Nyikayaramba on Friday tried to play down allegations that he was
under pressure to sweep the matter under the carpet.

He said he was working with the army commander, General Constantine
Chiwenga, who heads the whole programme to expose the culprits.

"We cannot be put under pressure by anybody," Nyikayaramba said. "We
are the army and if the army is corrupted it means the state has ceased to
function. We cannot allow that."

However, the army general appeared to be backtracking on his threats
to name the ministers saying: "I did not say ministers, I said honourable

"I know MPs are potential ministers but I did not say that."

Sources insisted serving ministers were among those who defrauded
government's Maguta programme, robbing the country of a good harvest.

Nyikayaramba said he was advised against naming and shaming the
alleged looters because investigations had "not been completed".

The army boss said officials from his office, the Anti-corruption
Commission and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) were still on the
ground probing the alleged looters.

"Things are under course. I can assure you the spirit is there. I was
legally advised not to name anybody before all the evidence is gathered," he

 Reports say Mashonaland West province leads the number of cases being
dealt with by the police followed by Matabeleland North.

Among those named is Lance Corporal Zunguza of the Zimbabwe National
Army (ZNA) who allegedly defrauded Maguta of eight tonnes of Ammonium
Nitrate, which was stored at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) Marondera.

Lance Corporal C Gurira, Private T Shayawabaya, Private B Tshuma and
Private A Chidume who were arraigned before a Chinhoyi magistrate and was
remanded in custody pending trial.

Also under investigation is Warrant Officer II Kadzima, who allegedly
stole 60 litres of diesel at Shashe Irrigation Scheme in Beitbridge. But
these are small fish, which can be sacrificed on the altar of expediency.

The looting of agricultural inputs comes at a time when seven million
people in the country are said to be in dire need of food aid, according to
the World Food Programme.

Analysts say basing on previous experience where corrupt senior
government officials have escaped the hook it was unlikely the "big fish" in
the Maguta scandal would be netted this time.

They said if ever they are named, "one or two will be locked up for a
few months" just to hoodwink the public into believing that the government
was now serious in tackling endemic corruption.

Others will be released due to "lack of evidence", they said.

"This is why we are being thorough with our investigation. We want to
pluck all loopholes whereby corrupt officials will be freed due to lack of
evidence," Nyikayaramba said.

"You know the army was not involved in previous cases," Nyikayaramba
said. "It's now a different ball game all together and we cannot be

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Councillors in Hiding After Threats by Chiefs, Soldiers

Saturday, 31 January 2009 18:05
TWO Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) councillors from Gutu
district in Masvingo have gone into hiding after they were allegedly
threatened by two chiefs and soldiers for trying to buy maize on behalf of
starving villagers in their wards.

The councillors were given R28 000 by the villagers to buy maize on
their behalf from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

Councillors Raymond Chinhenga and Artwell Mavetera said they had gone
to the GMB's Beitbridge depot to collect the maize when Chiefs Chitsa and
Serima and the soldiers confronted them.

The chiefs and the soldiers only identified by their surnames accused
them of trying to "make MDC seem like a better party than Zanu PF".

"Chief Chitsa  said he would not allow people in his area to support
the MDC and said anyone who opposes this would be dealt with," Chinhenga

He said the guards at the premises advised them to flee as the five,
who had threatened them, were armed. In the process they left the truck
driver alone with the maize and he was allegedly interrogated for the whole

Chinhenga said their tormentors were the same people who were behind
the violence that marred the June 27 presidential election run-off in which
President Robert Mugabe was the lone candidate after MDC-T leader Morgan
Tsvangira withdrew his candidature.

"I think they want me dead as they have constantly been looking for me
and now they have taken away maize which was destined for the hungry," he

"The elderly and orphans were expecting this maize and now they have
taken it."

Edmore Maramwidze Hamandishe said Chief Chitsa was now selling the
maize in Ward 10 for R100 instead of R50 since it was bought at a heavily
subsidised price.

He said maize meant for Ward 4 was taken to Ward 12. "We are very
disappointed because the duty to collect food for the people belongs to
councillors not soldiers," Hamandishe said.

Hamandishe said Gutu police told them they could not handle the case
because it was "too big" for them.
"The police were not of any help to us as they said that they were in
no position to deal with the issue. Right now the councillors have fled to
Harare," he said.

Army spokesman Colonel Simon Tsatsi said he was not aware of the
incident. Masvingo police spokesperson, Inspector Phibion Nyambo, said the
councillors had not reported the matter to the police.


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McGee Blames Govt for Cholera

Saturday, 31 January 2009 14:08
THE cholera outbreak that has claimed more than 3 000 lives
countrywide since August could have been avoided if government had provided
clean drinking water to its people and maintained a functioning health
sector, United States Ambassador, James McGee said last week.

Addressing journalists after a tour of the Budiriro Cholera Treatment
Centre on Thursday, McGee said the epidemic was a "man-made disaster.

"We have 57 000 people who are now infected by cholera and 3 000
deaths," he said, "and again I will say this is a shame because this is a
disaster that did not need to happen to Zimbabwe.

"I do call upon the government of Zimbabwe to do something for its own

Government has been accused of exacerbating the outbreak that began in
Chitungwiza before spreading to other parts of the country by failing to
address the collapse of the health sector.

Collapsing sewer infrastructure and intermittent water cuts in urban
centres have also been cited as the major drivers in the alarming spread of
the highly contagious but easily treatable disease.

More than 50 000 people had been infected by last week and fears still
abound the heavy rains pounding the country will worsen the situation.

Added McGee: "This is something that if we had a proper functioning
health system, if we had a water company that was providing what the people
of Zimbabwe deserve, which is clean drinking water it wouldn't have

"So, of course, this is a man-made crisis."

He said the US government would continue providing support in the
fight against the epidemic but would not channel donations through the
government because of its tendency to abuse donor funds.

"Too many things disappear when they go to the government, we all know
that," he said.

"Recently US$14 million dollars from the Global fund, which was
destined for people living with HIV and Aids disappeared.

"We went to the government after this and they said we needed that
money for other things," said McGee.

"What's more important than taking care of person who has HIV and
Aids, getting them Antiretroviral drugs that they need to continue to live
but the government took this money."

At the centre, McGee saw first hand the devastating effects of the
cholera epidemic on the people of Budiriro and Glen View suburbs and other
surrounding areas.

Budiriro is one of the first suburbs that were severely affected by
the epidemic.

Before visiting the centre, McGee toured a United Nations Children's
Fund (Unicef) warehouse in the Workington Industrial area where he was shown
water treatment tablets, oral rehydration fluids and soap worth millions of
dollars donated by the United States Agency for International Development

The material will be distributed to communities affected by the

From the Unicef warehouse, McGee visited Budiriro Community Centre
that is now being used by Oxfam and other partners as a cholera awareness

There, he presided over the distribution of soap, water treatment
tablets, and oral rehydration fluids, part of the consignment of goods
donated by USAID.


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Churches Rescue Byo

Saturday, 31 January 2009 14:04
BULAWAYO - Churches have come to the rescue of the city council by
providing more than US$120 000 to clear blocked sewer manholes that have
heightened fears of a massive cholera outbreak in high-density suburbs.

The city of more than 1.5 million people has so far managed to contain
the cholera outbreak despite perennial water shortages and mounting sewer
pipe bursts.

About 20 people died of the disease in Bulawayo last year and the toll
is dwarfed by those of some smaller urban centres where the disease killed
close to 50 in a matter of days.

Churches in Bulawayo (CIB) said the intervention that would see
council workers clearing 900 blocked manholes was mooted after a realisation
that a health disaster was looming.

Targeted under the operation are subUrbs such as Makokoba, Matshobana,
Emganwini, Nkulu-mane, Luveve, Magwegwe, Pumula, Mzilikazi and Mabuthweni
among others, where raw sewerage was flowing into some houses.

"We have provided overalls, gloves, gumboots, respirators, safety
shoes, chemicals, detergents, and working tools for the 60 council employees
who are working under this programme," CIB chief executive officer, Josphat
Amuli said.

The churches are also providing 1 200 litres of fuel and 10 cars to be
used in the programme that will be concluded by month end.

Bulawayo, once regarded as one of the best run and cleanest cities in
the country has seen hygiene standards deteriorating rapidly due to erratic
refuse removal and overflowing sewer mains.

Nesisa Mpofu, the council spokesperson said their relationship with
the churches dates back to Operation Murambatsvina where they came to the
rescue of thousands of victims left homeless after their dwellings were

But Amuli expressed fears the clearing of the sewer mains could be
stalled by lack of labour as council workers were on strike.

Council workers went on strike last month demanding salaries in
foreign currency.


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MDR-TB Outbreak Could Take Zimbabwe by Surprise

Saturday, 31 January 2009 13:59
Zimbabwe's public health system does not have the capacity to identify
cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) but conditions in the
country point to significant drug-resistance problems, doctors attending a
recent National TB Capacity Building and Policy Dialogue Platform meeting in
Harare said.

The National TB Co-ordinator, Dr Charles Sandy, said it was likely
that a number of MDR-TB cases had already occurred in Zimbabwe but that they
had not been identified because the only national TB reference laboratory in
Bulawayo was not able to do so.

"We have cases of MDR and XDR (extensively drug-resistant) TB for sure
but we have a challenge because our TB laboratory reference, which is
supposed to diagnose those kinds of tests, is not able to do so," Sandy

The only data available on cases of MDR-TB in Zimbabwe comes from a
survey completed in 1995, which claimed that 1.9% of all TB cases involved
multi-drug resistant strains.

"This is a big problem because we should have much less cases of
MDR-TB than the 1.9% identified in 1995," Sandy said.

Drug resistance occurs when TB treatment and other services do not
work as intended. Poverty, crumbling health systems, a lack of appropriate
laboratory and diagnostic capacities, the migration of large numbers of
people including health workers, and limited TB funding, have all been cited
as hampering TB control efforts.

This is the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe today. With more than
five million people facing food shortages, soaring inflation rates and poor
water and sanitation systems, there is a good chance that MDR-TB is

During the meeting Sipho Mahlangu, a representative from the Zimbabwe
National Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+), said the organisation
had received numerous calls from people who were opting out of HIV and TB
treatment regimes because they were no able to take the medication on an
empty stomach.

Most Zimbabweans face extreme poverty and many are unable to buy food,
which is now being sold at high prices in US dollars or South African rand.
The county's public health system has crumbled and faces a critical shortage
of drugs and staff.

Mahlangu said ZNNP+ staff had realised that many health care centres
were short-staffed to the extent that they had been forced to stop following
up on people taking medication to treat TB.

According to 2007 figures presented by Sandy, Zimbabwe's TB case
detection rate was 42%, significantly lower than the WHO target of 70%. The
treatment success rate was 68%, which also failed to meet the WHO target of
85%. Doctors attending the platform meeting said these statistics were a
sign that MDR-TB could be a serious problem in the country.

Sandy said health centres in Zimbabwe were unable to offer MDR-TB
treatment and "as a result, the chances that it is spreading in our
population are also high".

MDR-TB is classified as any strain of the disease resistant to at
least two first-line anti-TB drugs, such as isoniazid and rifampicin. XDR-TB
is relatively rare, occurring when the disease proves resistant to a number
of both first and second-line anti-TB drugs.

The National TB Capacity Building and Policy Dialogue Platform was
organised by the Zimbabwe AIDS Network (ZAN) and Zimbabwe National Network
of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+) with technical support from SAfAIDS and

* The KC Team is coordinated by Health & Development Networks (HDN).
Website: Email: kcc@hdnet.orgThis e-mail address is
being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Budget Intentions Laudable but. . .

Saturday, 31 January 2009 13:36
GOVERNMENT'S declared intention to live within its means was a tacit
admission that it is broke and can no longer go on printing money at will
following the virtual collapse of the local currency and consequent
dollarisation of the economy, analysts said last week.

On Thursday, acting finance minister Patrick Chinamasa presented a
balanced budget in which expenditures of US$1.9 billion would be matched by
revenue of US$1.9 billion, the first time the country had presented a budget
without deficits in 10 years.

Chinamasa said cooperating partners have promised US$200 million.

But analysts' say while the government had finally seen the light,
there was still no way out of the economic mess.

Witness Chinyama, group economist at Kingdom Financial Holdings
Limited said the government had been forced to implement strict measures
because it was broke.

He said following the dollarisation of the economy, the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe could no longer print money to finance government spending.

"There is no way they can finance whatever they want because the money
is not there," he said, "the resources are simply not there."

Chinyama said for the first time in a decade, the government had come
up with a "real budget."
"We are talking about real money," he said. "The good thing is that it
is forcing monetary authorities to live within their means."

While lauding Chinamasa for presenting a realistic budget, independent
economist John Robertson doubted if the projected revenue would be raised
and whether the expenditure patterns can be controlled.
"We should admire the intention to achieve a balanced budget,"
Robertson said. "It's a genuine attempt to make efforts and get things

He said the resolution of the current political impasse was necessary
if the budget was to be properly implemented.

Since the September 15 signing of the Global Political Agreement
between Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations,
the leaders of the parties have been haggling over the distribution of
cabinet posts and stalling the formation of a new government.

Chinamasa acknowledged the agreement offered "an opportunity for
cohesion and unity of purpose among ourselves for effective implementation
of holistic policies and measures necessary for us to take advantage of the
country's abundant resources for sustainable rapid economic turnaround."

"The government is out of its depth given the size of the problem and
the capacity they have to fix it," Robertson said.

Chinamasa said the thrust of US$1.9 billion budget was on policies
that would create wealth, a departure from populist and consumptive policies
that resulted in the doling out of cheap funds.

Of the total amount, recurrent expenditure will take up to US$1.450
billion while capital expenditure was allocated US$450 million.

The analysts said more resources should have been channelled to
capital expenditure to rebuild the infrastructure, which had been allowed to
collapse through institutional mismanagement.

Sewerage and water systems have collapsed, roads need repair and
schools and hospitals have not been spared from the collapse because of
perennial under funding.

In the past, the government promised to raise capital expenditure to
25% of the total budget.
Chinamasa said the balanced budget was motivated by the need to
contain runaway inflation through tightening of fiscal and monetary

The budget proposes to reduce inflation to double-digit levels as well
as a 2% economic growth rate during the year.

But analysts argued Chinamasa had premised his proposals on
unrealistic assumptions.

Chinamasa said the US$1.7 billion revenue from taxes projected for
this year could only be collected through implementation of "comprehensive
and mutually reinforcing macro-economic reforms, including the removal of
all price distortions and controls. "

He said though noble in their intentions, price controls have had the
unintended consequence of hampering production while not helping the
intended beneficiaries.

The revenue estimates are also premised on strengthening revenue
collection, "embracing into the budget revenue, net those currently evading
tax in the informal sector".

With companies operating at below capacity analysts note that a
revival of industries will boost revenue through taxes such as corporate
profit tax and Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

The US$1.7 billion would be raised through foreign currency
denominated taxes to meet the operational costs of the government including
the remuneration of civil servants in forex.

All the taxes namely corporate profit, Value Added Tax, customs duty,
carbon tax and NOCZIM Redemption Levy on fuel would be levied in foreign

Capital Gains Tax and Stamp Duty on immovable properties will also be
levied in foreign currency.

Chinamasa said he would introduce separate foreign currency tax tables
for employees remunerated in foreign currency with effect from tomorrow.

Analysts said the dollarisation of the economy was an admission the
battered Zimbabwe dollar had failed as a medium of exchange, a reality the
government took too long to admit.

To pacify the restive civil service, Chinamasa announced payment of a
monthly foreign currency allowances to government workers to facilitate
access to a basket of goods and services.

But in a dollarised economy, civil servants, like other would still
struggle to meet obligations at a time everything will be sold in foreign


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VAT Relief for Mobile Users

Saturday, 31 January 2009 13:28
THE acting Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa last week gave mobile
phone users something to cheer about when he slashed Value Added Tax on
airtime, which will translate into reduced tariffs.

Presenting this year's delayed budget, Chinamasa proposed to reduce
VAT on airtime to 15% from 22.5 %.

"I propose to standardise the rate by reducing it to 15% with effect
from 1 February 2009, in line with the prevailing general level of VAT on
other products," he said.

"This should translate into lower mobile phone tariffs."

There has been notable consumer resistance after the country's three
mobile phone operators were given the nod by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to
bill their services in foreign currency.

This saw tarriffs shooting to levels well beyond what other operators
in the region were charging and operators blamed  it on excessive VAT

The operators began charging as much as US$0.33 per minute.

The reduction of VAT followed representations by operators to the
Ministry of Finance ahead of the presentation of the budget.

Mobile operators contested that VAT levels, which at 22.5% were the
highest in the region, drove the high tariffs.

"Our tariff, at USD28 cents for Business Partna for instance, is
largely at par with tariffs in the region," Econet wrote to its subscribers

"Regrettably, the high VAT inflates the final charge for a call, and
this has the effect of making what should really be a competitive tariff
appear less so. This is not the case in other markets."

Zimbabwe has three mobile phone operators, namely Econet, Telecel and

Menwhile, Econet recently sent messages to  subscribers advising them
to re-apply for the reinstatement of contract lines following government's
decision to allow them and other mobile phone operators to bill for their
services in forex.

The company terminated all contract lines and substituted them with
the business partna pre-paid system last year saying its billing system had
outlived its lifetime.


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Magaisa: Tsvangirai and the Stern Challenges of Change

Saturday, 31 January 2009 17:20
HAVING employed it twice before in this column, I readily accept the
charge of over-using Machiavelli's famous quotation drawn from his famous
political treatise, The Prince.

Yet, to my mind, there is no better set of words to capture the
challenge that Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC face at this juncture.
Machiavelli said, "It must be considered that there is nothing more
difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to
handle, than to initiate a new order of things.

For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order,
and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order,
this luke-warmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have
the laws in their favour; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do
not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of

Thus it arises that on every opportunity for attacking the reformer,
his opponents do so with the zeal of partisans, the others only defend him
half-heartedly, so that between them he runs great danger."

I have previously used these words to explore the battle between the
forces of change and the forces of continuity in Zanu PF - arguing that,
even though there may be some in Zanu PF who are desirous of change, they
often hesitate to manifestly advocate for change.

That is because, first, they are beneficiaries of the old order and
also because they have little belief in a new order simply because they have
not experienced it.

In other words, for them, the benefits of the old order outweigh any
benefits that are likely to accrue in the future.

At this point, it is the MDC that faces the stern challenge of change.

The aftermath of the Emergency SADC Summit of 26 January 2009 has been
dominated by apparent uncertainty as to whether or not the MDC has finally
decided to join the Inclusive Government.

At the time of writing indications are that the MDC National Council
will make the key decision before the end of the week.

Tsvangirai is quoted by the ZimOnline news agency as saying, "We have
a national council meeting where we will give a direction as to how we hope
to deal with problems people are facing . . . I hope the party will be
united in ensuring that we respond to the need on the ground and people's

It is not clear whether by this he means that the leadership will give
a direction to members of the national council or he simply means that the
national council itself will give the direction to the leadership. What is
apparent in this statement however, is that there is divided opinion in the
MDC underlined by Tsvangirai's 'hope' that 'the party will be united in
ensuring that we respond to the need on the ground and the people's

A decision to join the Inclusive Government would be a significant
moment on the part of the MDC because it will signify a decisive
transformation from an opposition party into a coalition partner with
responsibility in the affairs of the state.

Such change however, is not without problems and indeed opponents and
this is where the famous words quoted above become relevant.

First, the possibility of change in direction towards the Inclusive
Government could potentially split the party if the disagreements are not
properly negotiated. It is unlikely that any decision will be unanimous.

As we have previously observed, the MDC split in October 2005 on the
back of differences about participation in the Senate election. Tsvangirai
has quite rightly emphasised the hope for unity because the risk of a split
is there and it could be disastrous.

Secondly, there is not so much the fear of losing profits of the old
order (unless one accepts that view of cynics who sometimes argue that some
opposition leaders have personally profited from their current positions).

The real challenge is what Machiavelli calls 'lukewarm defenders' who
even if they perceive a profit in the new order, i.e. ministerial positions,
public sector posts and all the benefits attendant upon government, their
support is lukewarm because of 'fear of their adversaries'.

No doubt this is a big factor - there is fear of Zanu PF and what it
intends to do with the MDC when it joins government.

Fear of Zanu PF is ever-present in the language of the people. Almost
everyone who talks about Zanu PF exhibits palpable fear - Zanu sinjonjo,
Zanu chiwororo, Zanu ndeyeropa (Zanu cannot be trusted) are all statements
that form part of the political vocabulary in Zimbabwe; a vocabulary that
betrays the fear that people have; a vocabulary that Zanu PF itself
encourages because they know the psychological impact it has on its

This is hardly  surprising. The main precedent bears ugly signals -
the last time Zanu PF went into bed with another opponent, Joshua Nkomo's PF
ZAPU, the latter was completely swallowed. Zanu PF itself has not ceased to
employ terror tactics - including the abduction of activists even after the
signing of the lavishly entitled 'Global Political Agreement'.

Third, the new order that might appear in the wake of the Inclusive
Government will be a new experience and many people who are sceptical can
hardly see it yielding any tangible benefit.

As Machiavelli put it, this is partly explained by 'the incredulity of
mankind who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual
experience of it'.

As they say, munhu anoda kutenda aona saTomasi (Like Thomas, a person
will only believe when he has seen for himself) People will remain sceptical
and reluctant to believe until such time that they had the experience.

It is for these reason that the MDC itself may even struggle to
attract preferred skilled personnel to fill up positions in government or
the public sector beyond the ministerial portfolios which politicians jostle
for. Real government work is performed at the permanent secretary level and
below and the MDC will need to have the personnel for these tasks.

If the fear and mistrust of Zanu PF remains, it will be hard to prise
those persons from the private sector.

In my opinion, Zimbabwe has been hamstrung by politics of the 'here
and now', i.e. the focus on the present as opposed to looking at the bigger
picture in the context of the future.

The reality is that our current situation is so flawed that there will
be no perfect solution that would be acceptable to all and sundry.

Besides, it is so narrow in that there appears to be only two choices,
Zanu PF or the MDC. But neither of them might be properly equipped to take
on the challenges that the future presents.

Neither of them necessarily presents finality in the search for
solutions to the country's problems.

They just happen to be the key players on the present landscape but
there is no guarantee that they will succeed, individually or working

There is nothing to say that they will retain those positions forever.

Zimbabweans who are not happy with the current or forthcoming set up
always have an option: to challenge the efficacy of the new Inclusive

The history of political ideation and activism does not end simply
because the MDC has joined Zanu PF in government.

There is always room for new ideas, new projects to challenge those
wielding state power.

The only hope is that should it join, the MDC will try to be to any
opponents what Zanu PF was never able to manage when the MDC was in

If that is possible, then at least the new arrangement would have
achieved one important thing: to free space for political activity and
therefore create a culture in which democracy can potentially thrive.

Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and
can be contacted at  or

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Sunday View: To Have or Not to Have a Political Party

Saturday, 31 January 2009 17:13
SAMORA Machel, without whose unstinting support, the liberation
struggle in Zimbabwe might not have gone as smoothly as it did, is said to
have offered Robert Mugabe some sound advice.

Doris Lessing, last year's Nobel Prize for Literature winner, refers
to this in her fascinating non-fiction epic, African Laughter.

Others have referred to it too, but Lessing, who lived in Southern
Rhodesia until she was deported in 1949, can be said to speak with some
authority - she has always written of Zimbabwe with deep passion.

She quotes Machel as reminding Mugabe that, unlike Mozambique,
Zimbabwe inherited an economic infrastructure, thanks to her former colonial
masters, the British. Machel didn't need to mention the Portuguese who left
Mozambique as if it was their deliberate plot to see it self-destruct after
their departure - which it almost did.

Most Zimbabweans must be conscious of the cancer which ate into our
economy under the tutelage of Mugabe and Zanu PF. In 28 years, they managed
to reduce the country into a basket case, its previously robust
infrastructure crippled into a rickety, anemic, skeletal excuse of its
former self.

Yet before even analysing what aberration possessed the party and its
leadership to pay more attention to politics than to the economy, we have to
look at the political party involved. Since Ghana's independence in 1957,
every political party which has gained independence for its country has
played such a pivotal role in its decline leading, inevitably, to its
collapse, politically and economically.

How Zimbabwe will emerge from the current political morass will be
determined by the tenacity and vision of the political parties involved in
the talks over an inclusive government.

What is a political party? Basically, it's a group of people who act
with uniform sincerity and passion on how they can lead their country to
prosperity and progress, driving all the people, including the opposition,
into an alliance with the party - for everybody's benefit.

That is the ideal: the truth is slightly frightening. In Africa, since
1957, the ruling party has one agenda; to stay in power until kingdom come.
Since that year too, the general idea is to keep the ruling party as the
only party with any chance of winning an election.

There are still countries run by the same party which won
independence. Fortunately, there are a few parties, born after independence,
now also in power, having eclipsed the founding parties in free and fair

This has to be applauded as a signal to the world that Africa is
maturing politically, if not economically. The people now know that the
founding party has no monopoly on wisdom.

They now know that the founding leader is not a genius, that he is as
fallible as the tuckshop owner in the ghetto - he can make monumental
blunders, from which the country might not recover as in Zimbabwe's
fascinating case.

This is not a call for the abolition of political parties in Africa.
Yoweri Museveni of Uganda cooked up a heady brew with his non-political
party system - a country whose politics was not guided by political parties.
It was a weird experiment, which Museveni eventually abandoned.

But what has emerged is that there is far too much emphasis placed on
political parties in Africa, that a political party can be a law unto
itself, can dictate once and for all how the country is to be run.

That the ruling party can be defeated in a free and fair election must
surely point to the immutable fact that the only constant fact in politics
is change. Zanu PF has yet to be forced to accept that this is a fact of
political life.

No political party is created to rule until infinity. This is a vital
lesson for the party to accept, unless it intends to bequeath to this nation
a bloody legacy of violence in politics.

One lesson which they have to take to heart is the recent election of
Barack Obama as president of the United States.

The victory of the Democratic Party did come as a shock to the
Republican Party, but much more significant was Obama's victory.

As I write this, Obama still rules in the White House.

The chances of him remaining there until his term ends in four years'
time cannot be treated lightly. His constituency, which constitutes the
majority of the US population - the young - seems determined to usher into
their country a new kind of politics.

Mugabe and Zanu PF ought to swallow this lesson, or risk choking
themselves into oblivion. e-mail address is being protected from
spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sunday View with Bill Saidi

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Comment: Mugabe's Bash - Sycophancy Scales New Levels

Saturday, 31 January 2009 14:12
THE cholera epidemic ravaging the country has claimed nearly 3 000
lives and infected about 60 000 others since August last year.

In all that time, Zanu PF has done absolutely nothing to contribute to
the fight against the disease or to assist families of those who have died

It therefore beggars belief that the party is fundraising for
celebrations marking President Mugabe's birthday on February 21.

Last week Zanu PF held a fundraising event at the Crowne Plaza,
Harare. Anyone who has doubted whether Zanu PF is alive to the hardships
faced by ordinary Zimbabweans as a result of its policies that have left a
wasteland in its wake will feel vindicated.

Among the list of things the party is asking as contributions are
lobsters, caviar, livestock and only the most expensive types of chocolate -
these in a country that has nearly seven million of its people facing

It is not only outrageous that Zanu PF is extorting "donations" from
companies and individuals, but it is monstrous that after reducing industry's
capacity to a paltry 15% of its production, the same party has no shame to
go to its victims and coerce them to contribute to yet another of its lavish
feasts - so soon after its December 2008 Bindura conference.

The government has been quick to prohibit gatherings, ostensibly to
prevent the spread of cholera, yet when it comes to Zanu PF functions it has
no qualms about approving a costly exhibition with no useful purpose except
to demonstrate their sycophancy.

The "celebrations" will be held this year in Chinhoyi. The choice of
Mashonaland West demonstrates utter lack of awareness about prevailing

This is the province where most of the MDC-T supporters have been
abducted and subsequently tortured. Some still remain in police custody.

This is the province where farm invasions - a campaign that has
brought the country's once productive agricultural sector to a standstill -
continue to this day.

Mashonaland West is an area where mines have suffered most closures.
It is also in this province that the only institution of higher learning -
Chinhoyi University of Technology - has been closed since July last year,
while Zanu PF and the government did absolutely nothing.

But even more worrying is that Mashonaland West has registered some of
the highest cholera fatalities. Chinhoyi has suffered from health problems
related to lack of adequate clean water.

It is raising the bar on insensitivity to marshal resources to
celebrate this occasion when it could not do so to ensure Chinhoyi
University of Technology continues to operate and provide education to young
people - the same group targeted by the 21st February Movement.

Anyone who believes they can violate the right of young people to
education and go on to extort "donations" for an anachronistic cause
deserves to be held accountable for their callous disregard of other people's
rights, including the right to live free from blackmail.

This is neither the time to celebrate nor the occasion to fete Mugabe.
The phalanx of praise singers cannot be oblivious to the results and effects
of Mugabe's reign. Or are they motivated by a desire to catch Mugabe's
attention in the hope of landing a ministerial or other posts, or the
opportunity to loot such donations for personal gain?

It is gross for any right-thinking person to believe there can be a
reason to celebrate when the whole country is now run on donor-assistance
from the international community.

Anybody approached by these Zanu PF extortionists for money for this
tasteless occasion should have the courage to firmly tell them where to go!

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Zim Standard Letters

'Dollarisation' of Varsity fees Totally Unjustified
Saturday, 31 January 2009 12:21
THROUGH your widely read newspaper I hope the voices of the voiceless
get a chance to be heard. As Zimbabweans we all have a right to quality and
affordable education.

Whatever people may want to call them, the fees being asked for by
state universities are demonic. Before a proper decision is taken, I fail to
understand why fees are being pegged at those astronomical levels.

 Inasmuch as I can understand that lecturers need to be paid in
foreign currency, I also need to find out how many students can afford to
pay the kind of fees being asked for.

As a student I am struggling to make ends meet, let alone having three
meals a day, which can cost me less than R100 a month.

I am talking of a basic lifestyle here and some other people just wake
up and peg fees at astronomical levels, which I am quite sure more than 95%
will never come close to affording.

Maybe the university will open for a few dozen students who can afford
it but I have my doubts because the amounts involved are prohibitive.
Lecturers are useless without students, and therefore students are a vital
component in the equation.

 One wonders whether the authorities have considered where people are
to find that kind of money. Workers are being paid in local currency which
has virtually ceased to be "legal tender" as no one is accepting it as means
of payment.

Some of us who were already in the system are disadvantaged since we
cannot be forced to drop out because we cannot raise the kind of money they
want even if they had pegged it at just 10% of what they are asking. Time
will tell.

 This is the time for the university to consider the plight of the
students before they do anything. We simply cannot afford fees that are not
only too much, but totally unjustified, unrealistic, absolute madness.

It has to be appreciated these fees are beyond the reach of many
people. Maybe the so-called huge donor will be paying idle  staff, as there
will be no students to teach.

It boggles the mind how fees can be pegged at such a high figure as if
we have started to print our own US Dollars locally. Education is supposed
to be a right of every child, not a privilege.

Not all of us have the privilege of access to foreign currency because
not all of us have relatives in the Diaspora to finance our studies. We have
the brains and not the money, so please allow us to show what we have by
charging realistic fees. Give us a chance instead of shutting us out.

Justice-NUST Student

Revived Zapu Wants Nothing to do With Zanu PF
Saturday, 31 January 2009 12:17
The consultative Convention held at Macdonald Hall, Bulawayo on
December 13-14 2008 resolved that:

1. Zapu withdraw from the unity accord with Zanu forthwith, and that
the party political structures cease to operate under the title Zanu PF and
resume the title of Zapu.

2. All party structures operate under the authority of the party
constitution of Zapu.

3. The party embark upon a concerted membership drive to bring in old
and new supporters into the party, in preparation for congress. An
aggressive outreach be made by extensive use of telephones, mobile phones,
e-mail and the party website ;

4. The resolution of congress be published and brought to the notice
of all members that the unity accord has ceased to exist and that those
purporting to operate under its mandate, no longer do so, on the authority
of Zapu.

5. The Interim Executive Committee establish sub-committees, to review
the party constitution, party policies and procedures and generally to
inform congress.

6. The Interim Executive Committee establish a Council of Elders at
all levels of the structures of the party, in the interim, to advise and
give guidance, and to recommend to congress that it be a permanent feature
of the party constitution. No person shall be an elder who shall not have
attained the age of 60 years.

7. The party shall work towards the promotion of national unity, peace
and stability and recognize the ethnic, religious, political and cultural
diversity of our nation.

8. The party shall adopt the policy of decentralization and devolution
of party functions and powers at appropriate levels of party structures
where they can best manage and direct their own affairs.

9. Composition of party leadership shall be broadly representative of
the national character and diversity of our nation.

10. All members of the party shall have access to leadership positions
at all levels of the party.

11. The party shall ensure gender balance and adequate representation
of the youth and marginalized groups.

12. Official documents of the party shall be published in the country's
official languages and where deemed necessary, translations should be made
into other local languages as desired.

13. The party prohibits conduct likely to compromise honesty,
impartiality, integrity or likely to lead to corruption or is detrimental to
the good and welfare of the people, on the part anyone holding office or any
position of authority in the party.

14. All positions of leadership in the party are held in trust for the
people and all holding those positions are answerable to the people and
subject to be recalled if their conduct is deemed unsatisfactory for good

15. The abuse or misuse of power or party property by those holding
political power or other party office shall be a recallable offence.

16. All holding office in the party shall act in a transparent manner.
Proper books of accounts shall be maintained and strict financial,
procurement, and mobilization of resources procedures be put in place

17. Recalling the political problems arising from the concentration of
too much power in one office or person, as well as the holding of duality of
positions in party and government by one person, the committees are mandated
to study these matters and make recommendations to congress.

18. Zapu should give due recognition and honour to the gallant Zipra
liberation war veterans.
An inventory of the properties illegally confiscated by the Zanu
government should be made and prosecute a legal way to repossess those

Dr Dumiso Dabengwa
Interim National Executive Chairman - Zapu.

If Zinwa was a boy. . . a boy ....
Saturday, 31 January 2009 12:12
IF the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) was a boy, his
parents would have lost all hope. They would have dumped him in the streets,
where the Zinwa board and management belong.

If Zinwa was a boy, he wouldn't have girlfriends, as he doesn't know
the importance of water for personal hygiene.

If Zinwa was a boy, he wouldn't have friends, as they would blame him
for cholera because he fails to provide clean water - a job that he is
responsible for.

If Zinwa was a boy nobody would come to his house, as his toilet
wouldn't work because the sewerage system is always blocked. If Zinwa was a
boy he would have bad breath, because how do you expect to brush teeth when
there is no running water coming out of the tap?

Milton Park, Harare.


Forex Charges Deny Many Access to Health Services
Saturday, 31 January 2009 12:23
IF Harare residents and Zimbabweans at large had a magic wand or a
choice, they would end all sicknesses but the fact that illness occurs
naturally and involuntarily leaves them at the mercy of the twisted
"politics of survival" manoeuverings of a desperate Robert Mugabe

The Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) finds it
stomach-turning that public health has been effectively privatised (through
the introduction of the new hard currency fees) amid the socio-economic
malaise that has drastically increased poverty among most urban residents.

The average Zimbabwean has been denied access to health as the Zanu PF
"government" takes desperate measures to keep afloat its "Titanic of chronic

Government hospitals, which together with council clinics were given
the nod to charge in hard currency (but still accept the valueless
Zimbabwean dollar with the charges determined on a daily basis), charge
patients a hard-to-come-by US$40 = R400 (equal to quintillions of Zimbabwe
dollars at the parallel market rate) for consultation only and massive US$70
= R700 a night for in-patients.

A Caesarean operation requires a flat fee of US$150=R1 500 while scans
cost around US$80 = R800. The Harare City Council has pegged consultation
fees for adults at US$5 a visit and US$3 for children. Ante-natal care
booking charges for expecting women are pegged at US$50 and family planning
method seekers pay an average of US$2 a service.

Most low income earners who constitute the majority of the Zimbabwean
population still earn far below US$1 a month, lower than the least charge
for any service rendered at government hospitals and council clinics.

The health charges set are therefore exasperatingly out of reach of
the generality of residents and have turned public facilities into private
ones and condemn residents to more suffering.

The health charges are tantamount to fundraising to prop up the failed
"government" and broaden the looting base for Zanu PF senators and
councillors, some of whom were recently arrested for allegedly defrauding
the state of more than US$ 10 000.

The charges are prohibitive, and should be reversed. Meanwhile the
hard currency craze has seen massive profiteering and lack of accountability
in public and private sectors.

CHRA would like to urge the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, the
government and all other public and private service providers to stop
ripping off citizens and uphold principles of justice and due fairness in
discharging their mandate and in their businesses respectively.

CHRA will continue to advocate for transparency, professionalism, and
quality municipal and other service delivery.

Combined Harare Residents' Association

SMS The Standard
Saturday, 31 January 2009 12:23
Uncommon sense
IT boggles the mind how the government bars trading in foreign
currency without a licence and yet expects businesses to pay bills such as
telephone, water and electricity in foreign currency.

Furthermore, licensing fees are astronomically high for small
businesses. Do our leaders have common sense at all? - Abas.

Charge Chombo

IGNATIOUS Chombo must be one of those people in government now who
should, in time, be brought before the law to answer to his contribution in
causing cholera deaths. If he had not meddled with the properly run local
authorities the thousands of people who have perished unnecessarily and the
scores of others who were struck down would not have happened. Now this
cowardly man has the audacity to blame local authorities for failing the
public in service delivery! He must take us for utter nincompoops. But let
me remind him to stop this tomfoolery, for we have long memories and we
shall ensure he has his day in court. Be man enough and own up, or was
Margaret Dongo right after all when she scolded them about being useless
"Mugabe's wives"? - Curious, Gweru.

IT is tough to bet on ordinary Zimbabweans doing something about this
country's problems. Far too many of us are hustling, stealing, joking and
fleeing. - Cowardice.

SOLDIERS should not limit their looting to the few chefs so far
reported by the private media. There must be more to collect from all those
who have stolen money, food and work from the people of this country. -
Robin Hood, Harare.

JAPAN is the world's third biggest steel producer, yet it doesn't
possess any of the raw materials for steel production - iron ore and coal,
which it imports. Zimbabwe has all these raw materials readily available,
yet we haven't figured out how to fully exploit them and develop our
industries.-Potential, Harare.

Bogus analysts
CAN the present regime, which lacks a mandate from the majority of
this country, who clearly spoke their mind and expressed their wishes on who
should rule them, stop issuing illegitimate statements? Threatening service
providers, who are struggling to put food on the table, does not help. The
so-called political analysts who are always repeatedly roped in to buttress
the state's case are dyed-in- the-wool Zanu PF functionaries, who are used
at every turn to attack the MDC. This also doesn't help the process of
trying to put together in place an all-inclusive government. Attacking them
will not make the MDC change the way it views the Zimbabwean reality, its
problems and the solutions thereto. These so-called analysts, who after all
are singing for their supper, should not waste their time lying to the
nation. We know who is wrong and who is not. If they are interested in
hearing what we really think, we can tell them, genuinely and honestly our
view about the negotiations. They should not forget that because Zimbabweans
are highly educated they can see through the façade. So we are not fools. If
they think they can make us hate the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai, then why don't
they put it to a test in the form of a free and fair election and we can
once and for all bury Zanu PF and confine it to the dustbin of history. All
the goods in the shops are now imported and they are sold in US dollars, how
does any sane person expect the shops to restock? - Wake up, Harare.

Resource wise
IMAGINE if all the Jatropha trees had been destroyed by people cutting
them down for firewood or burning them down so that they could catch a few
rabbits and mice. Zimbabwe would not be able to fully benefit from the
economic effects of the Jatropha tree, such as bio-diesel, soap, synthetic
oils and grease and other commercial uses that are still to be discovered.
Let's use our natural resources wisely and let us not be short-sighted and
squander them as we have done to our citrus estates. - Realist, Harare.

Left in a lurch
THE Reserve Bank has done nothing about the plight of university
students and those at tertiary colleges. They do not have pay slips that
will enable them to withdraw money from their banks; I wonder what plans the
RBZ has so that students are able to withdraw amounts that will sustain
them. In general while other sectors have benefited from the largesse of the
RBZ, students, the future of this country have been ignored. Please do
something before it is too late. - Domba, Nyanga North.

THE National Parks Authority should allow people to harvest the water
hyacinth, which is clogging up and polluting our dams. People should be able
to harvest it, dry it and make organic fertiliser. - I M Aheyad, Harare.

Against pollution
URBAN councils and the government ministry responsible should stop the
new trend of building houses over wetlands. These open spaces were left
vacant for sound environmental reasons. They act as natural purification
systems and water catchment areas for the built-up areas. But by allowing
construction to take place in these areas, we risk contaminating the water
supply systems for the urban areas, at a time Zimbabwe does not have enough
resources to import water purification and treatment chemicals. In addition
the pollution of the wetlands can have negative effects in that they could
contribute to the proliferation of diseases, among them the current cholera
epidemic. - Oracle, Harare.

Scrap metal exports
ZIMBABWE should put a total ban on the export of scrap metal. It makes
no sense that a country such as ours should be selling scrap metal only to
import finished products made from our scrap metal at a staggering cost,
when those same products could be made locally at much more competitive
prices. Zimbabwe has the largest metal foundries in Africa outside South
Africa, but most of them are idle or redundant because they lack the raw
materials (scrap metal). The processing plant at Mhangura could be revived
if there is enough scrap available.- MaIdeas, Harare.

I am sick and tired of hearing people passing the buck on the issue of
price increases and charging of goods and services in foreign currency.
Ninety percent of the products in shops now are imported. Nearly 95% of a
transporter's operating costs are in foreign currency for fuel. Industry is
grinding to a halt because of lack of foreign currency to purchase spares.
Foreign currency is only found on the streets - the parallel market and all
the above sectors are caught up in a vicious cycle of having to depend on
the parallel market for their foreign currency requirements. Instead of
pointing fingers in the wrong direction and causing pointless petty
arguments, we should be focusing on foreign currency-generating projects. -
I M Real, Harare.

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Return of exiled Roy Bennett to Zimbabwe a danger?

There has to be a starting point ...

MDC's National Treasurer Roy Bennett who fled Zimbabwe after he was
accused of plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe has returned to the country
to see the formation of an all-inclusive government.

Saturday 31 January 2009, by Alice Chimora

In 2004 Bennet spent eight months in jail for pushing ZANU PF's Patrick
Chinamasa in parliament. He flew into Zimbabwe from South Africa for the
crucial meeting of the MDC National Council, which made the decision to
finally form a unity government with ZANU PF and the second MDC formation.

Speaking on the eve of his departure Bennett told South African media that
he was "very apprehensive". "To tell you the truth I am scared because I don't
know what faces me on the other side," he said.

Bennett who felt he wanted to be part of this important occasion and also
test the sincerity and genuineness of the Mugabe regime, passed through
airport security without any hassles. He went straight to the meeting where
the National Council committed itself to the unity government.

It is believed this decision came after serious pressure from SADC, which
had said it would guarantee and deliver the process, with the government
formed by mid February.


Confronted with the potential danger of his return to Zimbabwe as well as
the Mugabe government sticking to its part of the power-sharing deal,
Bennett, who was a commercial farmer before he was violently driven off his
land in Chimanimani, said: "I find it as difficult as the next person to
even begin to trust these processes, but there has to be a starting point of
moving this forward on the basis that people are suffering and on the basis
that SADC has guaranteed this process."

He added that within SADC the MDC has friends, who believe a power sharing
government can be delivered.

But whether or not Roy Bennett is risking his life for the good of the
people of Zimbabwe - a population suffering from an acute shortage of food
with one out of every four Zimbabweans needing food aid as well as major
health risks, - the ball is in Mugabe's court and for the time being he
calls the shots.

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While her country was dying...

Barry Ronge: Spit n Polish Published:Feb 01,

DisGrace was out shopping. If hypocrisy was a disease, many African leaders
would be dead

I've had a couple of images dancing in my head for the past few weeks. The
first was of Grace Mugabe and her bodyguard getting rough with a
photographer who dared to take a picture of her shopping in Hong Kong. Her
reaction was revealing. She's the wife of a president who has been making
international headlines, so she should know a smart thing or two about the
protocol of handling the paparazzi.

Her explosive response and her determination to confiscate his film can only
suggest, to even the most neutral observer, that she had something to hide,
or that she has an ego that makes Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan look like
shy, blushing maidens.

People in Zimbabwe are dying of cholera and hunger. The country is printing
trillion-dollar currency notes which will buy you food for a day. If she had
a shred of decency, or even just a sense of what is seemly, she would not
have been browsing the swanky boutiques in Hong Kong, unless she was on the
unlikely errand of buying medicine and food for her people.

I mean, have you ever seen a picture of Grace Mugabe in a hospital, in a
homeless shelter or even just visiting the poorest of the poor? I certainly

For me, that high-heeled mugging was her Marie Antoinette "Let them eat
cake!" moment, but sadly, her expensively coiffed (and monstrously swollen)
head will probably stay on her puffed-up shoulders.

So many of Africa's tyrants have achieved that. Idi Amin was so monstrous
that various Islamic leaders considered him an embarrassment. So he hopped
off to Libya, then to Saudi Arabia, where he lived in subsidised luxury and
died in his bed.

Ditto Mobutu Sese Seko, who fomented the Hutu versus Tutsi violence that
still plagues this continent with genocidal wars. He (and his cash) hopped
to Togo, and he died - rich, protected and in his bed - in Morocco.

They are not Africa's only such escape artists. There have been many others
and I would not be surprised to find Bob and Grace Mugabe ending their days
in a luxurious Shanghai penthouse.

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