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Bennett missing from new Zimbabwe cabinet

    February 19 2009 at 07:52PM

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Thursday swore in 19
deputy ministers to a new unity government with agriculture nominee Roy
Bennett missing while in detention facing a criminal charge.

Bennett, who is in custody on a charge of possessing arms for purposes
of terrorism, was not named as deputy minister nor was his designated post

Mugabe said the unity government was "very much on course" but
shrugged off questions about Bennett's arrest which has been widely reported
in foreign media.

"Across the world? I don't know why? That's a court issue," the
84-year-old head of state said.

A court in the eastern town of Mutare on Wednesday adjourned the case
against Bennett, who was proposed for deputy minister of agriculture by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), until March 4.

He is accused of illegal possession of arms for the purposes of
committing banditry, insurgency and terrorism, which carries a maximum
sentence of life imprisonment.

His arrest last Friday came shortly before the swearing in of other
members of the unity government -- casting doubt on the credibility of the
newly formed power-sharing accord.

His charges have been changed several times since his arrest -- with
his party claiming that the charges against the former farmer were "trumped

Mugabe also swore in three ministers of state from three political
parties that form a unity government tasked with promoting national
reconciliation and healing.

"We want them to constitute an organ that will deal with the healing
process and reconciliation process," he said.

Mugabe swore in an additional two ministers of state from his ruling
ZANU-PF and 19 deputy ministers.

"We belong to the same country," Mugabe said commenting on the
inclusive government.

"We knew each other before and although we have talked to each other
before in different language, critical language, abusive language but we
were talking to each other. You know that kind of fight between us actually
made us know each other much more. But we decided that we must work

While Bennett's name was on the list of those invited for the swearing
in at state house, his name was not on the final list released after the

But new Minister of Information and Communication Technology Nelson
Chamisa told AFP that the omission of Bennett, who was nominated by MDC
leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, was an error.

"Bennett is still our deputy minister of agriculture. If his name was
omitted it was by mistake," he said. - Sapa-AFP

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5 extra ministers join hybrid government

February 19, 2009


Sekai Holland of the MDC one of the ministers appointed to oversee “healing process”.

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s hybrid government has been inflated by the inclusion of five ministers in an apparent bid by both Zanu-PF and the two MDC parties to pacify disgruntled officials who could not be accommodated in the complement of 31 ministers prescribed by the unity agreement
The unity deal provides for 31 Ministers, 15 of them from Zanu-PF and 13 from the mainstream MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Three ministers were allocated to the smaller MDC led by one of the two Deputy Prime Ministers, Arthur Mutambara.

Of the 31, the deal says, each party was allowed to appoint one minister from outside Parliament.

The three ministers so appointed shall become members of the House of Assembly and shall have the right to sit, speak and debate in Parliament, but are not entitled to vote.

But five additional Ministers of State who were not covered by the Global Political Agreement of September 15, 2008, signed between the rival parties were mysteriously sworn in on Thursday. Last Friday an attempt by Zanu-PF to have five additional ministers was foiled after MDC ministers threatened to boycott the ceremony at State House.

It appears the three parties have since reached some compromise  with Zanu-PF being allocated three additional ministries with the two MDC parties getting one each. Zanu-PF appears to have been confronted with the problem of whom to leave out of its reduced allocation of ministries. There was embarrassment when five Zanu-PF nominees, including the party’s chairman, John Nkomo, were requested to stand down moments before being sworn in.

Of the five finally sworn in Thursday, three are ministers of state. They include  Nkomo, Sekai Holland of the mainstream MDC and Senator Gibson Sibanda, the Vice President in the Mutambara led MDC.

Two other ministers, Flora Bhuka, now Minister of State in Vice President Joseph Msika’s office and Sylvester Nguni, who shall serve in Vice President Joyce Mujuru’s office, took the oath of office.

Asked to explain this new development, President Mugabe said some of the ministers were to form an organ that will oversee what he called the healing process.

“You have got to know who they are,” he said. “We have three big ones who will comprise John Nkomo, Gibson Sibanda and Sekai Holland.

“We want them to constitute an organ that will do the healing process and reconciliation process. The other two (Bhuka and Nguni), one will work in Vice President Msika’s office and Mai Mujuru’s office, that’s all.”

Meanwhile, President Mugabe on Thursday swore in 19 deputy ministers to serve in the new unity government. Only 15 deputy ministers were stipulated by the agreement, eight of them nominated by Zanu-PF, six by Tsvangirai’s MDC while one was to come from the other MDC

Moses Mzila Ndlovu is the new Foreign Affairs deputy minister while Eddington Tapela moves to Higher and Tertiary Education as deputy.

Douglas Mombeshora becomes deputy at Health and Child Welfare while Tracy Mutinhiri is the Labour and Social Welfare deputy minister.

Lazarus Dokora is the new Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, while Zanu PF’s Samuel Undenge becomes deputy at Economic Planning and Development.

Other deputy ministers are: Hubert Nyanhongo (Energy and Power Development), Walter Chidhakwa (State Enterprises and Parastatals), Michael Bimha (Industry and Commerce), Reuben Marumahoko (Regional Intergration and International Cooperation), Aguy Georgias (Public Works), Andrew Langa (Public Service), Sessel Zvidzai (Local Government, Urban and Rural Development), Tichaona Mudzingwa (Transport and Infrastructural Development).

Also appointed were Murisi Zvizayi who becomes deputy at Mines and Mining Development while the MDC’s James Timba is now deputy in the Media, Information and Publicity ministry.

MDC Youth Assembly chairman Thamsanqa Mahlangu becomes deputy minister of Youth, Development Indigenisation and Empowerment, with Evelyn Masaiti moving to Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development and Jessie Majome becoming Justice and Legal Affairs deputy minister.

Giles Mutsekwa, one of the two ministers of Home Affairs with Zanu-PF’s Kembo Mohadi, was also sworn in on Thursday. He was absent when the rest of the ministers were sworn in last Friday.

Roy Bennett, the MDC treasurer who is currently in custody on charges of terrorism, was not sworn in as deputy Minister of Agriculture.

The MDC says the charges leveled against Bennett are unfounded.

President Mugabe evaded questions on the Bennett issue.

“That’s a court case, isn’t it,” he said before he was whisked away.

Tsvangirai said Wednesday the jailing of Bennett was part of a plot by certain elements within Zanu-PF who were intent on derailing the unity government as it threatened their own security. When Bennett is sworn in the full complement of deputy ministers will be 20.

The following is the full list of the 19 deputy ministers sworn-in Thursday:

Foreign Affairs - Moses Mzila Ndlovu;
Higher and Tertiary Education - Lutho Addington Tapela;
Health and Child Welfare - Dr Tendai Douglas Mombeshora;
Labour and Social Welfare - Dr Tracy Mutinhiri;
Education, Sports, Arts and Culture - Lazarus Dokora;
Economic Planning and Development - Dr Samuel Undenge;
Energy and Power Development - Hubert Nyanhongo;
State Enterprises and Parastatals - Walter Chidhakwa;
Industry and Commerce - Michael Bimha;
Regional Integration and International Co-operation - Reuben Marumahoko;
Public Works - Aguy Georgias;
Public service - Andrew Langa;
Local Government, Urban and Rural Development - Sessil Zvidzai;
Transport and Infrastructural Development - Dr Tichaona Mudzingwa;
Mines and Mining Development - Murisi Zwizwai;
Media, Information and Publicity - Jameson Timba;
Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment - Thamsanqa Mahlangu;
Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development - Evelyn Masaiti;
Justice and Legal Affairs - Jessie Majome

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Mugabe invites jailed opposition official to palace

Thursday, 19 February 2009
Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on
Thursday invited a top opposition official held by police on security
offences to his palace, where he is expected to be sworn in as deputy
Roy Bennett, a member of the country's main opposition party, was
arrested last Friday and initially charged with treason.
The charges were later dropped, and replaced with those related to
security breaches.
He is his party's nominee for the post of Deputy Minister of
Agriculture in the country's new coalition government which includes the
But he had widely been expected to be dropped because of the charges
he faced, which his party has called 'scandalous and politically-motivated.'
In a radio announcement, Mugabe's secretary said that Bennett together
with other officials expected to be sworn in to various government positions
should go to State House later Thursday.
A magistrates court Wednesday dismissed an application by Bennett's
lawyers to have the charges that he was facing dropped, and remanded him in
police custody.
The arrest has strained relations among the parties in the coalition
government, which was formed to end months of wrangling over last year's
inconclusive poll

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Govt is broke, says Coltart as he asks teachers to end strike
Thursday, 19 February 2009
david_coltart.jpgEducation Minister David Coltart
HARARE – Zimbabwe Education Minister David Coltart has told teachers that the new unity government is “very broke” and unable to meet their pay demands, union leaders told ZimOnline on Thursday.

Coltart met leaders of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) and the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) on Wednesday to plead with the two unions that represent the country’s teachers to call off a strike for more pay that has been going on since last year and has grounded the school system.
The Education Minister was not immediately available for comment on the matter.
The ZIMTA and PTUZ leaders said Coltart had been frank with them telling them government could not afford to give teachers more than the US$100-monthly allowance awarded all civil servants because it had no money.
The union leaders – who appeared amenable to Coltart’s plea to end the strike but insisted they would only take a final decision on the matter after consulting their members – said Coltart had told them he would approach United Nations agencies and international donors to try to raise cash to pay teachers.
“He (Coltart) briefed us about what the Ministry of Finance has offered all civil servants from a floor cleaner to a senior manager which is US$100 vouchers which are redeemable at banks,” said ZIMTA secretary general, Richard Gundani.
“He said on his part as Minister, he will engage United Nations agencies and other international donors to help because he said there is no money in government,” added Gundani.
Majongwe, who had earlier on Wednesday before meeting Coltart told ZimOnline, that PTUZ members would continue with the strike, said the Education Minister pleaded with teachers to return to classrooms while he scrounges for cash for their salaries.
He said: “Coltart was clear that the government is very broke. He pleaded with us to bear with the new government and go back to work.”
Gundani and Majongwe said they were consulting their structures before meeting Coltart next Monday to brief him on the outcome of their consultations with teachers.
But Majongwe hinted that teachers might return to schools in order to give the new government time to raise funds.
“There is a possibility we can give them a benefit of the doubt,” Majongwe said. “We might concede but on condition that the government accepts to admit all teachers that left the profession due to economic hardships and political circumstances without any conditionalities.”
Gundani said it was agreed that any teacher who left the profession with effect from 1 January 2009 should be re-engaged unconditionally.
“We have also agreed that they should be adjustments to the new school calendar by adding a week or two because we have lost some time. We are mostly likely going to see the new term eating into the Easter Holidays in April,” said Gundani.
Very little learning took place at public schools in 2008 as teachers spent the better part of the year striking for more pay or sitting at home because could not afford bus fare to work on their meagre salaries.
There has been virtually no learning at public schools since the new term officaily began on January 27 because teachers are either on strike or unable to come to work.
The collapse of the education sector along with that of the public health system have come to symbolize the decayed state of Zimbabwe’s key infrastructure and institutions after a decade of acute recession.
Once a model African economy Zimbabwe is grappling with an unprecedented humanitarian crisis seen in acute shortages of food and basic commodities, amid an outbreak of cholera that has killed more than 3 500 people since last August.
A new unity government formed last week by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has raised hopes the country could finally emerge from its crisis.
But the success of the Harare administration hinges on its ability to raise financial support from rich Western countries that have however said they will not immediately help until they are convinced Mugabe is committed genuinely share power with Tsvangirai. – ZimOnline

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Zimbabwean detainees granted bail, which was immediately reversed

By Violet Gonda
19 February 2009

Four of the seven political detainees accused of organising a series of
bombings of police stations and railway lines, were granted bail by High
Court Judge Justice Yunus Omerjee, on Thursday. Chinoto Zulu, Zachariah
Nkomo, Mapfumo Garutsa and Regis Mujeyi were granted bail, but that order
was immediately suspended after the Attorney General's Office invoked a
section of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. The State said it was
not happy with the granting of bail and would appeal in the Supreme Court.
This means the 'bailed' accused persons remain in custody, pending this

Nkomo and Zulu are currently in hospital after they were taken to the
Avenues Clinic on Monday by prison officials when their condition
deteriorated in jail.

The bail applications of the remaining three in this group - Chris Dhlamini,
Ghandi Mudzingwa and freelance photojournalist Anderson Shadreck Manyere,
were denied by the High Court. Mudzingwa is currently 'detained' in hospital
together with civic leader Jestina Mukoko, and 72 year old Fidelis Chiramba.

All the other political detainees are still locked up at the notorious and
filthy Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

It was a week ago when the new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said in an
impassioned speech at his inauguration that: "It hurts that as we celebrate
here today there are some who are in prison. I can assure you that they are
not going to remain in those dungeons any day or any week longer."

But a week later they are all still in jail, including the Deputy Minister
of Agriculture, Roy Bennett. Due to this illegal incarceration Bennett could
not be sworn in with the other Deputy Ministers on Thursday.

The Mugabe regime continues to violate the Global Political Agreement,
despite the parties agreeing to "strive to create an environment of
tolerance and respect among Zimbabweans and that all citizens are treated
with dignity and decency irrespective of age, gender, race, ethnicity, place
of origin or political affiliation."

The MDC is coming under increasing pressure to act on its word. Tendai Biti,
the party's Secretary General and the new Finance Minister, told a South
African broadcaster on Tuesday that the MDC would take 'unspecified action'
if Bennett was not released immediately. That was the day that the MDC
official was formally charged in the courts and the following day, he was
remanded in custody to face trial in March.

Bennett's lawyers were in Harare making an urgent bail application in the
High Court on Thursday and lawyer Trust Maanda said the matter would be
heard next week.

But no action, unspecified or otherwise, has been taken by the MDC.

Meanwhile, human rights lawyers complain that the State is continuing to
play games and using delaying tactics over the political detainees.  Their
lawyer Alex Muchadehama blasted the Attorney General's office saying: "It
was apparent to me that the State was not appealing on legal grounds. It was
a vindictive and malicious appeal by the AG's office."

The lawyer said from the very beginning the AG's office has been blocking
bail and opposing requests to allow all the detainees to receive much needed
medical treatment, without giving any good reasons for denying the accused
their rights.

The victims were all abducted from their homes and only found in various
police cells in Harare several weeks later. Many of them disappeared in
October last year, while a smaller group, including Mukoko, were abducted in
December. The individuals have submitted harrowing affidavits detailing how
they were tortured into admitting plots to overthrow the Mugabe regime.
Bennett is also facing terrorism charges.

All these treason and sabotage charges are continuing, despite the formation
of an inclusive government.

Furthermore, the much vaunted Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee
(JOMIC), which was set up earlier this month to keep an eye on the progress
of the Global Political Agreement, is reportedly 'struggling to hold
meetings because of a lack of money.'

JOMIC co-chairperson Elton Mangoma told a news agency that they were
hampered by cash shortages, did not have a permanent office to hold meetings
and had no administrative staff or travel expenses. He said some of the
JOMIC members, who lived in Bulawayo and Mutare, had failed to attend
meetings in Harare because of the travel costs.

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Charges against WOZA activists dropped, but harassment continues

By Alex Bell
19 February 2009

The charges against four activists from the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA), were finally dropped on Thursday after a prosecutor at the
Bulawayo Magistrates Court refused to entertain the fresh charges of
criminal nuisance that were brought against them this week.

The four, who were arrested last Saturday, were finally brought to court on
Thursday after several delaying tactics by police, including changing the
charges laid against the group at the last minute on Wednesday. The group
had been released from custody on Tuesday night after their refusal to pay
'admission of guilt' fines, and were told to present themselves to the
Bulawayo Central Police Station on Wednesday morning to be taken to court.
But on Wednesday they were informed by the investigating officer, Constable
Masawi, that the charges against them were being changed and so the
paperwork would need to be "prepared from the beginning."

The four had already spent four days in deplorable conditions behind bars at
the police station, after being arrested along with another 6 members during
a WOZA march in the city on Valentines Day last Saturday. The detained
activists were all denied access to their lawyers earlier this week but on
Tuesday six of the arrested group were released after paying the 'admission
of guilt' fines. The remaining four were finally released on Tuesday night
in what WOZA called a 'surprising twist' after the group had refused to bow
to intimidation to pay the fines.

All those released have spoken of the horrific conditions they endured, and
explained that the cells were filthy with overflowing toilets and on the
first night, they were severely overcrowded. The women were also subjected
to invasive strip searches every day, while one woman on anti-retroviral
treatment had to fight for access to her tablets every day as police tried
to deny her access to her life-saving medication - on one occasion, she was
actually denied her ARVs.  Two of the women have had to seek medical
treatment for bad rashes developed from the filthy conditions.

The harassment of WOZA members by police has continued this week, and even
while the charges against the four detained activists were being dropped in
court, police interrupted a closed meeting of WOZA members on Thursday.
Officers from the Law and Order unit refused to leave the meeting that had
been called to discuss the state of education in the country, forcing those
present to end the meeting, saying their "freedoms of assembly and speech
would be curtailed by the presence of police officers."

WOZA leader Jenni Williams on Thursday told SW Radio Africa other forms of
harassment have also continued, including so far unexplained police
presences at both Williams and co-leader Magodonga Mahlangu's homes in
recent days. Williams explained that more details about the harassment would
be released on Friday. Meanwhile, Williams said the group's lawyers have
compiled papers to pursue legal action against the police, and the
individual officers, responsible for the arrest and wrongful detention of
their members after Saturday's march.

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Zimbabwe stock exchange opens for business in dollars
Zimbabwe's stock exchange has reopened for business in Harare to trade in US dollars.
Zimbabwe stock exchange: Zimbabwe stock exchange opens for business in dollars
Zimbabwe stock exchange: The use of dollars and South African rand in Zimbabwe has become ever more widespread as the Zimbabwe dollar was rendered worthless Photo: REUTERS

Three months after the Reserve Bank ordered it to close, the Harare exchange was reopened by the new finance minister Tendai Biti, of the Movement for Democratic Change, who rang the bell to start the day's trading.

The move symbolises the hope for economic improvement that the country's power-sharing government represents. But the fact that shares are now priced in US currency is equally significant, demonstrating the desperate state of the country's finances.

In terms of the moribund Zimbabwean dollar, which has been rendered worthless by the crash of the economy, Zimbabwean shares have been the best performing in the world in recent years.

Many of them regularly surged 100 per cent a day as investors used them as a hedge against the country's hyperinflation, which reached an estimated 89.7 sextillion per cent before calculations became impossible.

In real terms, shares' performance was much more restrained, as the collapsing currency wiped out the vast majority of the gains.

Nonetheless buying them proved to have been a shrewd investment.

Business was slow with few buyers and sellers in the market but the first trade, of 3,026 shares in Apex, an engineering and stationery firm, went through at 1 cent. When dealing was suspended in November its shares were worth less than 0.1 US cents at unofficial exchange rates.

The use of dollars and South African rand in Zimbabwe has become ever more widespread as the Zimbabwe dollar was rendered worthless by President Robert Mugabe's mismanagement, and the process was effectively legalised last month.

A usable currency will be essential to rebuilding the economy, and Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister, said that he was "really engaging" the Pretoria government over using the rand. A number of southern African countries already have their currencies pegged to it.

"We are in an emergency situation, a fire-fighting situation," said Mr Tsvangirai, two days after the first cabinet meeting.

"The ministers have just been in office for two days. Some of them are telling me horror stories about the state of their ministries.

"The ministry of public works is supposed to have 60 engineers but they only have two. The ministry of mines has 96 posts but they only have 20 people including those who make tea," he said.

As part of the change to foreign currency, which will effectively see the Zimbabwe dollar abandoned until confidence in a new version of it can be established, Mr Biti has announced that all civil servants will receive a monthly salary of US$100 (£70), after plans to pay them in grocery vouchers were dropped.

Schools and hospitals already charge in foreign currency, as do utilities and bus drivers. Even the state-owned Herald newspaper, the government mouthpiece, last month abandoned attempts to pretend all was well and set its cover price at US$1.

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Mugabe says court should resolve MDC Bennett's case

Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:33pm EST

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on
Thursday the arrest of a senior opposition official who was due to join a
unity government was a matter to be resolved by the courts.

Roy Bennett, named to be deputy agriculture minister in a new government,
was arrested before ministers were sworn in last Friday. He has been charged
with illegally possessing firearms to commit acts of insurgency, banditry
and terrorism.

Bennett was due to be sworn in on Thursday but remains in prison after his
lawyers failed to have terrorism and insurgency charges dropped against him.

Asked to comment on Bennett's arrest and appearance in court, which has been
reported around the world, Mugabe said: "Around the world? I don't know why,
that's a court issue."

New Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Wednesday Bennett's
arrest undermined the government and efforts to stabilise the economy.

He has also demanded the release of other party activists, including human
rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko.

Mugabe, who swore in deputy ministers on Thursday, said the unity government
was on course and that despite past hostilities between his ZANU-PF and the
opposition MDC, the parties were now working together.

Bennett's wife, Heather earlier criticised MDC party for failing get him
freed from jail.

"They are not doing enough at all. Roy has been there five or six days. As
far as I am concerned he is no better off in there under a coalition
government than he was under a ZANU-PF government," she told South Africa's

The MDC may be reluctant to quit the new government formed to lead the
country out of economic crisis despite Bennett's arrest, party official
Tendai Biti, the new finance minister, said on Monday.

Mukoko and opposition activists have been charged with attempting to topple
Mugabe and have been in detention for more than two months.

They deny the charges and say they were tortured while in police custody,
allegations authorities deny. (Additional reporting by Michael Georgy in

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Zimbabwe Faces Emergency - Tsvangirai

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--Zimbabwe's new unity government is having to take
emergency action in every state sector to counter years of collapse, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Thursday.

"We are in an emergency situation," Tsvangirai told top businessmen in the
capital, two days after Zimbabwe's new cabinet held its inaugural meeting.

The new government on Wednesday took its first steps to revive the economy
with foreign currency payouts to encourage civil servants to return to work
in what Tsvangirai said were emergency measures.

"This is firefighting we are doing. We are talking of emergency
interventions in various sectors," said Tsvangirai.

Outlining massive skills flight in government departments, Tsvangirai said
he had already been told horror stories by cabinet members.

"The ministers have just been in office for two days," Tsvangirai said.
"Some of them are telling me horror stories about the state of their

"The ministry of public works is supposed to have 60 engineers but they only
have two. The ministry of mines has 96 posts but they only have 20 people
including those who make tea," he said.

"How do you effectively discharge your mandate with such limited resources?"

Tsvangirai vowed to act on fresh farm invasions and corruption to promote
investment to the country's tanked economy.

"Corruption will not be tolerated and those that practice and promote
corruption will be actively sought out and prosecuted by this government,"
he said.

"We are concerned at the upsurge of illegal occupation of farmland," he
added. "We are dealing with that."

Speaking in the wake of an offer by the British government to resettle
senior citizens struggling in its former colony, Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe's
tattered international reputation needed to be mended.

"We have to rebrand the country," Tsvangirai said.

"We have been seriously damaged. We want to see people coming rather than
being evacuated from Zimbabwe."

Zimbabwe's international standing has been blighted by policies of long-time
ruler President Robert Mugabe's government including a campaign to seize
white- owned farms.

Tsvangirai was sworn-in as prime minister last week in an inclusive
government with his former rival which is now tasked with reviving the
country's moribund economy and defusing political tensions.

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

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Mugabe party said seeking amnesty

Last update: 12:02 p.m. EST Feb. 19, 2009
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Feb 19, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party reportedly is seeking an
amnesty deal, an opposition leader's wife says.
Heather Bennett told CNN members of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party offered to
release imprisoned opposition leaders in exchange for a promise of amnesty
for any crimes between Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 and 2009.
Her husband, Roy Bennett, was arrested on terrorism-related charges shortly
before he was to be sworn in as deputy agriculture minister. He said he
rejected taking part in such a deal.
There has been no official word on the alleged offer.
Bennett, a long-time Mugabe foe, has been charged with illegally possessing
firearms for the purposes of trying to commit acts of insurgency, banditry
and terrorism and to illegally leave the country, his lawyer said.

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Bennett's wife accuses MDC of inaction

February 19, 2009

By Ntando Ncube

JOHANNESBURG - THE wife of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) national
treasury and Deputy Minister of Agriculture -designate in the unity
government, Roy Bennett on Thursday accused the party's leadership as well
as the new inclusive government of failing to get her husband to be remanded
out of custody.

Bennett was detained last Friday on charges of illegally possessing firearms
for purposes of trying to commit acts of insurgency, banditry and terrorism.

"They are not doing enough at all. No. Roy has been there (in detention)
five or six days now. As far as I am concerned he is no better off in there
under a coalition government than he was under a Zanu-PF government,"
Heather Bennett said in a telephone interview with South Africa's eTV.

Heather Bennett lives in Johannesburg.

On Wednesday a magistrate ruled there was enough evidence for Bennett to
face charges, including of illegal arms possession and terrorism and
remanded him in custody until March 4.

The charges against Bennett have changed several times since his arrest on
February 13.

The MDC says the charges are trumped up and wants him released, along with
more than 30 other MDC supporters and activists who have been detained in
recent months. Human rights activist Jestina Mukoko is among the detained
activists who have been charged with attempting to topple President Robert
Mugabe and have been in detention for more than two months, deepening
tensions in the new administration.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is under increasing pressure to show
his decision to take office was not a mistake, said on Wednesday Bennett's
arrest undermined the government and efforts to stabilise the economy.

Tsvangirai has demanded the release of the MDC activists. The MDC however
appears reluctant to take action that could threaten the new government.

"Surely it's a very simple case," Heather Bennett said. "Roy should at least
be released on bail and if there was a case to answer to let him come before
a court. Apart from that surely the inclusive government has to respect the
rule of law and human rights."

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Mugabe marks 85th year with a bang as Zim limps along

Thursday, 19 February 2009
President Robert Mugabe, who turns 85 on Saturday, has led Zimbabwe to
absolute ruin during his 29 years in power, while he and his family have led
lives of comparative luxury.

The former liberation hero, who is Africa's oldest leader, is now
shunned by many for presiding over the collapse of a once prosperous nation
while lavishing his family with cosy lifestyles.
This disparity has been highlighted by Mugabe's plans to celebrate his
birthday with a lavish feast on February 28 in the farming town of Chinhoyi
in his home province of Mashonaland West.
The youth league of the veteran leader's Zanu-PF party held a
fund-raiser earlier this month and scraped together $110 000 with promises
to nearly double the amount.
The appeal, at a time when nearly half of Zimbabweans depend on food
aid, also netted 80 cattle, 70 goats, 12 pigs, dozens of loaves of bread and
five tonnes of corn-meal for the birthday menu.
An intellectual who initially embraced Marxism, Mugabe was widely
praised when he won the election that ended white minority rule in 1980, a
few weeks after Zimbabwe gained independence.
But over the years he has lost the friendship of former allies in the
West and been strongly criticised for his economic mismanagement and alleged
human rights abuses.
"He has metamorphosed from what he was in the 1980s to what he is
now," Edred Masunungure, a University of Zimbabwe analyst, told AFP.
"It appears there are ostentatious dimensions to his lifestyle which
were not present during his first two decades in office and are inconsistent
with the state of our economy."
But for Masunungure, Mugabe is not in the same league of some
notorious African dictators such as former Zaire leader Mobuto Sese Seko,
who pillaged the Democratic Republic of Congo to support his extravagant
Mugabe's house is in the plush Borrowdale suburb of Harare, home to
the country's rich and famous. His youngest son attends a top primary
His second wife Grace, dubbed the "first shopper" instead of first
lady and Mugabe's junior by some 40 years, has made headlines for displaying
a penchant for retail therapy on overseas trips.
Grace Mugabe was more recently in the news for allegedly assaulting a
photographer during a trip to Hong Kong, where Britain's Sunday Times
reported that the couple had bought a $5,8-million property.
"He has changed from the hero idolised by many to an egocentric ruler
who has developed a cult personality rewarding his cronies and those close
to him," said Takavafira Zhou, a political scientist from Masvingo state
"If he had retired in the late 1980s he would be one of Africa's
greatest sons."
Early years
Born on February 21, 1924, at Kutama Mission north-west of the capital
Harare, Mugabe qualified as a teacher at the age of 17.
He took his first political paces when he enrolled at Fort Hare
University in South Africa, where he met many of Southern Africa's future
black nationalist leaders.
Mugabe then resumed teaching, moving to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia)
and Ghana, the home of his first wife Sally, before returning to what was
then Southern Rhodesia in 1960.
As a member of various nationalist parties banned by the
white-minority government, he was detained with other leaders in 1964 and
spent the next 10 years in prison camps or jail.
In his early years Mugabe was credited with improving health and
education for the black majority: services that later collapsed as his rule
descended into hyperinflation and economic ruin.
Mugabe last week swore in his rival Morgan Tsvangirai as prime
minister as part of a unity government that is bidding to pull the country
out of crisis.
The decision, after months of delays and an elections fiasco, marked
the first time that Mugabe has loosened his 29-year stranglehold on power.

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MDC celebratory rally in Gweru set to draw thousands of supporters

By Alex Bell
19 February 2009

MDC supporters are set to gather in great numbers in Gweru this weekend, for
a celebratory rally led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, as the party
prepares to celebrate its 10 year anniversary in September.

The rally, which will be held at the Mkoba stadium, will mark the first of a
series of countrywide celebrations expected to be held every month until a
grand celebration in Bulawayo on September 11 - the day the party was formed
in 1999.

The rallies will also serve as long overdue celebrations for the MDC's
victories in the parliamentary and presidential elections last year -
victories that were swiftly undermined by the outbreak of politically
motivated and violent attacks against MDC supporters. The iron grip with
which ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe have clung to power in the country, through
whatever means possible, has seen the MDC agree to form a power-share
government with its rival party, in what MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa has
called a 'painful compromise'.

The MDC is expecting thousands of supporters to gather for this weekend's
rally to celebrate under the theme: "Together to the end; celebrating the
people's victory." Tsvangirai is set to deliver a key-note address at the
rally and spokesperson Chamisa said it is a time "for the party to take
stock of its achievements and mourn its fallen heroes."

"As we celebrate our 10th anniversary this year, we know our national
obligations and responsibilities. We have no doubt that the people's project
is firmly on course. We shall forever walk together," Chamisa said.

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Zimbabwe: Govt Appoints New Science Minister

SciDev.Net (London)

Munyaradzi Makoni and Christina Scott

17 February 2009

Harare — Zimbabwe's new minister of science and technology development has pledged to address the dire state of the country's research institutions and take steps to slow scientific brain drain.

Heneri Amos Murima Dzinotyiweyi, a 58-year-old former mathematics lecturer and university dean, was nominated for the post by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as part of the new bipartisan government of national unity. He was sworn in last week (February 13).

"There are two major challenges we need to address immediately," Dzinotyiweyi told SciDev.Net in an exclusive interview laying out his plans.

"We have non-functional institutions, having hardly any capacity, barely running. This includes schools, universities, research institutes. Our immediate desire is that these institutions begin working."

One way of remedying this, he suggests, would be to pay scientists in a currency stronger than the Zimbabwean dollar, which suffers from hyper-inflation. "The local currency is completely corrupt, so we are trying to see if scientists can be paid in a hard currency such as the US dollar or the South African rand. That would help immediately," he says.

The other priority is to reverse the brain drain, says Dzinotyiweyi, a member of the Movement for Democratic Change party, which was blocked from power by months of stalemate after winning last year's elections.

"Zimbabwe has lost enormous scientific manpower. We need to use the diaspora, those Zimbabweans who are anxious to contribute back home. We want them to participate meaningfully even if they are out of the country - although of course in the long run, we would like them to return to the country," he says.

Dzinotyiweyi, a founding member of the three-year-old Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences, said he hoped to use the academy's international contacts to establish links with Zimbabwean researchers now living elsewhere.

One of Dzinotyiweyi's first actions was to call for the release of his colleague Roy Bennett, the designated deputy minister of agriculture, who appeared in court today (17 February) on charges of terrorism, banditry and sabotage after being arrested by police shortly before the swearing-in ceremony on 13 February, after he returned from exile in South Africa.

"I need Roy Bennett to work with me so we can revive agricultural research, which has traditionally been a strength in Zimbabwean science, in order to improve the rural economy," Dzinotyiweyi says.

Dzinotyiweyi was dean of the University of Zimbabwe from 1991 to 2000 and in the mid 1990s worked on study of science and technology across the 14-state Southern African Development Community.

He returned to his post as professor of mathematics prior to his resignation to stand in the March 2008 elections. He has continued to assist his university department on a voluntary basis after being elected as a member of parliament, although he - like all the winning opposition candidates - was blocked by the ruling party from taking up his seat until September 2008, when parliament began to resume its functions.

Dzinotyiweyi's constituency is the high-density, impoverished Budiriro suburb of Harare, which suffered the country's first outbreak of cholera following the collapse of water treatment plants in August 2008. He says that he is already working closely with his opposition party colleague Henry Madzorera - a medical doctor who has been appointed minister of health - in tackling the cholera epidemic.

Dzinotyiweyi faces a major challenge, given rampant inflation and economic and infrastructural collapse in the country.

But he remains optimistic. "This arrangement of an all-inclusive government requires all of us to educate each other on the importance of a fair, free and functional society," he says.

He added that he has no intention at present of investigating his controversial predecessor, Olivia Muchena of the ZANU-PF party.

Muchena faced murder charges in relation to the disappearance of her constituency's opposition candidate, but the charges were dropped after the judge left the country. She has been kept in cabinet by President Robert Mugabe as minister of women's affairs, gender and community development.

"Right now my position is to learn the job, what it involves, to learn what is being done so far, what programmes are being done, how they are being handled," says Dzinotyiwei.

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Public Statement: Validity of older and worn U.S. notes

U.S. Embassy Harare

Public Statement: Validity of older and worn U.S. notes

February 19, 2009

The U.S. Embassy has in the last two months received numerous enquiries from members of the Zimbabwean public on the validity of older series of U.S. notes as well as mutilated or worn U.S. notes. The Embassy does not issue new banknotes in exchange for old and/or mutilated currency.

Members of the public are advised that older series of U.S. currency remain legal tender in the United States and elsewhere. U.S. bank notes do not expire.

Similarly, any badly soiled, dirty, defaced, disintegrated, limp, torn, worn, out currency note that is clearly more than one-half of the original note, and does not require special examination to determine its value, is legal tender. However, the decision on whether to accept, or not, any bill is up to the bank, business or individual.

Individuals with questions or concerns about detecting fraudulent currency can contact the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section in Eastgate, Harare.

Issued by Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer


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Tsvangirai's unity government under threat from ZAPU

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Morgan Tsvangirai's unity government has come under threat after the
formation of ZAPU groped in astounding support from Shonas as well as
Ndebeles. Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom descended on Milton Keynes on
Sunday to witness the official setting up of Zimbabwe's oldest party, ZAPU's
structures in the UK. With a huge vibrant attendance, the atmosphere was
charged with songs and chanting as delegates arrived from all over UK -
Wales, Scotland, and England.

One supporter who spoke to the ZimEye voiced out that he relished this
moment so much as he had waited for so long for this to happen, and believed
that this should mark a defining moment for all Zimbabweans irrespective of
colour, creed, religion and tribe. Barnabas Masinyane also mentioned that
Zimbabweans need strong, fair and non opportunistic leadership if Zimbabwe
has to restore its pride and overcome tribal divisions created and designed
by the current government under Robert Mugabe's rule.
Visiting ZAPU senior official Adv Cyril Ndebele, who had come from
Zimbabwe to officiate the launching of ZAPU re-visited the historical facts
of how ZAPU was once the largest party in Zimbabwe before Robert Mugabe's
ZANU PF usurped control of the state propaganda machinery and virtually
destroyed ZAPU's image in the country.
Ndebele called out for all Zimbabweans who 'stand for true Zimbabwean
values to get out of ZANU PF, MDC and all other parties, and join ZAPU in
order to build the Zimbabwe that was envisaged by the party's founding
leadership under Joshua Nkomo, Josiah Chinamano, James Chikerema, and among
many others. He went further to explain that those true Zimbabwean values as
envisaged by the elders have never been implemented as Mugabe strangled and
sought to dispose of the body (ZAPU) into which they were embodied.
Adv Cyril Ndebele maintained his cool conduct as he engaged dialogue
and the people began to also bombard him with questions demanding to know if
Mugabe's rule cannot be challenged by the same force and brutality as the
one it exacts on the people. The crowd attacked the Zimbabwe's new unity
government calling it a 'failure of failures' and one that should be
destroyed and never taken seriously.
However, he explained to the house that force of equal magnitude and
destruction was not a better option as much as we should remember what Nkomo
said about Mugabe during the funeral of Lookout Masuku, one of ZAPU's top
generals who died in 1986 in prison under the watchful eye of the notorious
state security agents, the CIO.
To end the business of the day delegates voted for the ZAPU UK interim
leadership who will work to mobilise Zimbabweans for the upcoming UK
PROVINCE congress to which dates and times are yet to be confirmed. The date
for this event is most likely to be confirmed after the main ZAPU congress
which will be held in Zimbabwe from the 1st April to the 2nd April 2009.
The majority of the people who attended are all former MDC supporters
who have vowed to oppose the unity the Zimbabwe's unity government between
Mugabe and the MDC voicing that it does not bring any solutions to the
Zimbabwean problem. Cyril Ndebele also said that
' the MDC has made a mistake going in where ZAPU has decided to come
out from' (ZimEye, Zimbabwe)

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Daily cholera update and alerts, 19 Feb 2009

 Full_Report (pdf* format - 111.4 Kbytes)

* Please note that daily information collection is a challenge due to communication and staff constraints. On-going data cleaning may result in an increase or decrease in the numbers. Any change will then be explained.

** Daily information on new deaths should not imply that these deaths occurred in cases reported that day. Therefore daily CFRs >100% may occasionally result

A. Highlights of the day:

- 989 cases and 53 deaths added today (in comparison 708 cases and 19 deaths yesterday)

- 49.1% of the districts affected have reported today (29 out of 59 affected districts)

- 90.3 % of districts reported to be affected (56 districts/62)

- Cumulative Institutional Case Fatality Rate 1.9%

- Daily Institutional Case Fatality Rate 2.9%

- Mazowe cases have been revised down to 381 cases after a data entry mistake

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Mnangagwa: An enigma of Zimbabwean politics

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe's newly appointed defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa has a way of reinventing himself - five years after a
political miscalculation almost cost him his career, the politician has
re-emerged as the man most likely to succeed President Robert Mugabe as head
of the ruling ZANU PF.

Once regarded as the heir apparent to Mugabe's throne prior to 2004,
Mnangagwa has deftly manoeuvred the booby-trapped ZANU PF terrain and could
be headed for the top again.

Just five years ago, most observers would have written Mnangagwa off
as a political force in Zimbabwe after a misjudgement by a ZANU PF faction
he leads resulted in his demotion from the third most powerful position in
the party.

The reason: he had led a group of ZANU PF officials in 2004 opposed to
the appointment of Joice Mujuru as Zimbabwe's first female vice president.

He denied involvement in the plot which led to the suspension of
several ZANU PF officials.

Although he survived the debacle, Mnangagwa subsequently lost his
position as ZANU PF's administration secretary and was demoted to the less
powerful role of legal secretary.

The demotion may have been just the right tonic for a political
rebirth for the crafty politician, considered by his ZANU PF colleagues as a
ruthless man which has earned him the nickname "The Crocodile".

His enemies may have underestimated that as legal secretary they were
actually bringing Mnangagwa closer to Mugabe.

He was responsible for formulating ZANU PF's strategy in power-sharing
talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

As legal secretary he oversaw the work of the party's negotiators at
the talks mediated by South Africa and, together with Mugabe, was
responsible for overall strategy.

Mnangagwa was aptly rewarded for his loyalty to Mugabe by being
appointed defence minister in the unity government formed last week - and
with that a real chance of taking over the reigns at ZANU PF once the
veteran Zimbabwean leader retires.

He was Mugabe's chief election agent during the 2008 presidential
election, and it was reported that he headed Mugabe's campaign behind the

Born on 15 September 1946, Mnangagwa has been a member of Mugabe's
cabinet since independence in 1980, save for a brief stint as speaker of
parliament between 2000 and 2005.

He was previously Minister of State for Security from 1982 to 1988,
then Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs until 2000 and
Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities from April 2005 to February

He is a trained lawyer educated in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Mnangagwa is also regarded as the wealthiest individual in Zimbabwe,
with business interests in Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


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Zim youths in SA demo over political detainees

By Lance Guma
19 February 2009

Over 150 youths from the Revolutionary Youth Movement of Zimbabwe
demonstrated outside South Africa's Union Buildings Thursday, demanding the
release of political prisoners held in Zimbabwe. The youths arrived in two
hired buses and immediately broke into song and dance. A petition addressed
to President Kgalema Motlanthe, who is also head of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), called on him to intervene and have the likes
of Deputy Agriculture Minister Roy Bennett and former TV presenter Jestina
Mukoko and 30 others released. The youths want an end to ongoing abductions
and unlawful detention of activists in Zimbabwe.

An official from Motlanthe's office came to receive the petition and he is
said to have conveyed a message from the President that he will look into
their concerns within the next 2 weeks. In the petition the movement
expressed alarm that 'the abduction and unlawful detention of activists in
Zimbabwe continues, despite the implementation of the Global Political
Agreement which was signed by all parties.  Conditions of the GPA have been
continuously violated by Zanu PF, notably senior ministers, as well as state
agents, notably the CIO, army and police.'

The youths have also reminded President Motlanthe that SADC pressurised the
MDC into the coalition government, despite the fact that political prisoners
had not been released. The MDC for months raised the issue of the prisoners
and the youths feel SADC is not taking the matter seriously. Under the deal
SADC and the African Union acted as guarantors of its implementation. So far
the two bodies have been invisible, if not complicit, in helping Mugabe
avoid censure.

One of the youths, John Vincent Chikwari, told Newsreel that Tsvangirai
pledged all prisoners would be released before he was sworn in, and they are
looking to him to deliver on that promise, even though he went ahead and
joined the government.

Chikwari believes the return to the rule of law in Zimbabwe should not be
treated as a 'process' but rather an 'event' and should happen immediately.
'The future of the inclusive government is in jeopardy because Mugabe and
Zanu PF have, through their actions, demonstrated that they are not
operating in good faith or honouring the agreement,' he said

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Farewell South Africa, but not just yet

Thursday, 19 February 2009
MUSINA - The formation of Zimbabwe's unity government, although seen
as a positive step, is not enough to entice Zimbabweans to return to their

John Tinago, a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) who fled to South Africa in November 2008, is adopting a
wait-and-see attitude until there is "firm evidence that life has returned
to normal", he told IRIN.
In the past decade more than three million people are thought to have
escaped Zimbabwe's economic meltdown, which has seen hyperinflation reach
trillions of percent and unemployment rise to 94 percent.
Zimbabweans call it the "Diaspora" - the flight of its citizens to
neighbouring states and even further afield to such countries as Britain and
Australia to escape their country's collapse.
Money earned by those in the diaspora - estimated to be in excess each
year of Zimbabwe's best ever annual tobacco harvest, once the primary
foreign currency earner - has been remitted to relatives at home.
A power-sharing political agreement holds out hope of expatriates
returning home to begin the task of rebuilding a shattered country.
IRIN spoke to Zimbabweans in three neighbouring countries - Botswana,
Mozambique and South Africa - and asked: Is it time to go home?
Many have sought greener pastures in neighbouring states, such as
South Africa and Botswana, while others have sought economic refuge further
afield in Britain and Australia.
Tinago is living in a makeshift refugee site near the South African
border town of Musina with hundreds of his compatriots who are either
seeking or have obtained asylum status.
The former primary school teacher said he fled his home town of
Chegutu in Mashonaland West Province after word spread that the security
forces were trying to arrest him on allegations that he had received
military training in neighbouring Botswana.
More than 20 people have been detained since late 2008 on allegations
that Botswana, a staunch critic of Zimbabwe, was training an armed militia
to overthrow President Robert Mugabe after 29 years in power. The allegation
has been denied by Botswana and rejected by regional leaders.
"I have been staying in this camp as officials from the UN assess my
application for political asylum," Tinago told IRIN.
On 11 February 2009 Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, was installed as prime minister after a
power-sharing agreement with Mugabe was signed on 15 September 2008.
"I am happy that Tsvangirai is now the prime minister and the home
affairs ministry [which controls the police] is now shared between
[Mugabe's] ZANU-PF and the MDC because that means it will not be easy for
the police to arrest political opponents," Tinago said.
"However, I reckon it is just too early for me to go back home now. I
will have to wait for at least six months to see whether the inclusive
government will stick, and turn our fortunes around, before seriously
considering returning."
The early days of the unity government has seen political rivalries
remain intact, with detained MDC activists still incarcerated on allegations
of banditry and a deputy minister designate, Roy Bennett, arrested on
sedition charges soon after returning from self-imposed exile in South
A leopard can't change its spots
"I hear that our tormentors in ZANU-PF have not changed their spots
and still want to harass those that belong to the opposition, and that is
one good reason to wait for a long enough period before one can judge
wisely," Tinago said.
Samukheliso Cele, 24, from Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, told IRIN
she arrived at the refugee settlement in September 2008, after being raped
by members of the ZANU-PF youth militia.
Her application for asylum was successful and she is allowed to work
or study in South Africa. At the settlement she is provided with
accommodation and one meal a day by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the
South African government. A church organization about four kilometres from
her temporary home provides a second daily meal.
"I don't like living in a refugee camp because that makes me feel like
a second-class citizen. However, it is more comfortable here than in my
country, where you don't know who will rape you next, and where people die
of hunger or from cholera every day," Cele told IRIN.
"I am still scared of the people who raped me, and will return when
the culprits have been arrested and it is safe for me to be back at home."
During the day, Cele hawks vegetables and earns extra income by
safeguarding the goods left in her custody by Zimbabweans coming to the town
to shop for basic supplies.
Musina almost felt like home, she said, because of the number of
Zimbabweans either living there or coming to buy goods not available in
their home country.
"For as long as business is booming here, and the future in Zimbabwe
is not clear, I will hang around," she said. "[I will go home] when salaries
mean something once again, and shops restore their glitter."
According to a UNHCR report in November 2008, the refugee agency was
offering legal and technical expertise to the refugee reception office,
which was processing about 350 asylum applications a day, mostly by
Tom Sithole, 19, from Zimbabwe's eastern city of Mutare, illegally
crossed into South Africa recently and is looking for work.
"I left my country when Tsvangirai was being sworn in as prime
minister because I know it will take a long time before things normalise. I
plan to work here up to the end of the year and only then will I return
home," Sithole told IRIN. "Things cannot be good enough before that time."

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Comment from a correspondent

Now that our new Finance Minister has established US$100.00 as the flat rate
payable to Civil Servants (tax free) for Feb 09, I hope he will turn his
attention to the level of charges being applied in US$ by all sorts of
Government owned utilities such as Zesa, Tel One and Zinwa (does it still
exist?) as well as the City of Harare who recently demanded a fee of
US$40.00 for supplying a trading license application form (yes just for the
piece of paper not the fee for the license!!!!). At present nearly all
Zimbabwe's residents are completely unable to afford even the most basic of
required licenses including US$ 30.00 per term Road Tax for a small car and
US$50.00 subscription for the Highland's Library!! We all live in fear of
arrest and detention for not having these bits of paper as we have no means
of paying for them.

Please act quickly Minister, I hate to think how much the FINES for
non-payment will be.


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