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Robert Mugabe packs 61 people into Cabinet

February 20, 2009

Jan Raath in Harare
The country may depend on food aid, the currency may be worthless and its
people impoverished, but Zimbabwe finalised a bloated Government of 61
ministers yesterday, the biggest executive since independence.

At a ceremony at State House President Mugabe swore in 20 deputy ministers
and four ministers of state, on top of the 33 full ministers and four
ministers of state sworn in last week. The total means that the Government
has 15 more members than provided for in the Constitution, itself amended
two weeks ago to take in the agreement for a coalition Government.

Of particular profligacy are the ministers of state, positions created for
disgruntled Zanu (PF) members from the previous administration who had been
left out of the new power-sharing executive. They are in effect Cabinet
ministers with vague or no responsibilities - but with the offices,
salaries, expenses allowances and accommodation that go with the job.
Several have already been issued with new E-class Mercedes Benz limousines.

The final tally came a day after a meeting between Mr Mugabe, Morgan
Tsvangirai, the Prime Minister and leader of the Movement for Democratic
Change, and Arthur Mutambara, head of the breakaway MDC faction, to finalise
the numbers. "It's profligate," said an MDC minister. "But it's the product
of a compromise. It's like a postwar reconstruction Cabinet."

Western diplomats gave the outsize Government a cautious welcome. "It's not
the wisest of starts," said one. "There are basically two parties and some
accommodation had to be made. "But it's not what the Government looks like,
it's what it does. We shall wait and see."
There was little of the embarrassing public wrangling that took place last
week at the swearing-in of the first batch of ministers, when Mr Mugabe
surprised everyone by turning up with a list of extra ministers he had not
bothered to tell his Prime Minister about. In the end 36 people were sworn
in as ministers of various types amid chaotic scenes as President Motlanthe
of South Africa frantically tried to sort the mess out.

The increase reveals Mr Mugabe's inability to check the outrage of members
of his old Cabinet - which he referred to last year as "the worst in
 history" - who had been sidelined by the MDC's inclusion. Three of the five
Zanu (PF) ex-ministers who had to walk disconsolately away from Friday's
swearing-in ceremony were back in power, beaming broadly.

Survivors from the last Government include Didymus Mutasa, now a minister of
state in the President's office, who once welcomed the likelihood of half
the population dying of starvation; Emmerson Mnangagwa, now Defence
Minister, regarded as the Zanu (PF) party's corrupt godfather; Sydney
Sekeramayi, Minister of State for National Security, who has been in power
for three decades; and Joseph Made, author of Zimbabwe's disastrous land
reforms, who returns to the Agriculture Ministry.

Mr Mugabe has managed to manipulate the numbers in the Cabinet to give Zanu
(PF) a majority, reversing the former majority held by the two MDCs. This
may well hamper the MDC's plans for big policy changes. Roy Bennett, in line
to be Deputy Agriculture Minister, was spending his seventh day in custody
on terrorism and sabotage charges.

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Zim to ask SA for R6bn loan

    February 20 2009 at 05:44AM

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is expected on Friday to
ask President Kgalema Motlanthe for at least $600-million (R6-billion) in
the form of a rescue package to fund salaries for Zimbabwe's civil servants
and to meet other essential services expenditure in the next six months.

Tsvangirai, together with his new finance minister, Tendai Biti, and
economic planning minister Elton Mangoma, is scheduled to meet Motlanthe,
finance minister Trevor Manuel and foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
in Cape Town on Friday.

On Thursday, SA foreign affairs director-general Ayanda Ntsaluba said
the two teams would be discussing the reconstruction of Zimbabwe, but he had
no more information because the meeting had been requested by Tsvangirai.

Authoritative sources said Tsvangirai, in his first visit to South
Africa as prime minister, would plead with Motlanthe for the rescue package,
which he wants as a loan to be repaid when "the new government gets
Zimbabwe's revenue system re-established".

If South Africa cannot afford the package on its own, Tsvangirai will
ask Motlanthe to help get other Southern African Development Community
countries to contribute.

In addition to the rescue package, Tsvangirai will also ask South
Africa to open new lines of credit to Zimbabwe's beleaguered private sector.

The sources, who did not want to be quoted before Tsvangirai actually
met Motlanthe, said the new government would face an uphill struggle in
meeting its promises unless South Africa helped.

At his inauguration last week, Tsvangirai promised to start paying
professionals in foreign currency immediately. They are now paid in
worthless Zimbabwean dollars.

The United States and several European countries have already said
they will not help fund the new government until a number of benchmarks
about restoring the rule of law and democracy are met.

The EU and the US are also worried about the continued influence of
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, who has facilitated the
salting away of millions of dollars from the bankrupt treasury for Mugabe
and his family. Any help that has come into the country, including the
R300-million in farming aid from South Africa, has seemingly been abused by
the ruling elite at the expense of the poor.

SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salamao has announced a fact-finding
mission to determine how the inputs were distributed.

Biti has reportedly already asked Gono to resign, but observers
consider it unlikely that Mugabe will agree to let him go.

The disagreement could provoke a major showdown in the new government.

Mugabe reappointed Gono for another five-year term before the unity
government was installed.

The move incensed the MDC because the unity agreement that both
parties signed barred Mugabe from making senior appointments unilaterally
until the new government had been formed.

The figure of R6-billion is based on a mini-budget of R1-billion
monthly to pay civil servants' salaries and to meet other essential
humanitarian costs.

     This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury
on February 20, 2009

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Morgan looks out for his men

JASON MOYO - Feb 20 2009 06:00

Morgan Tsvangirai is completing his first week as Zimbabwe's Prime Minister
tackling securocrats -- said to be planning further arrests of more top
officials as part of a ploy to undermine his fragile coalition with
President Robert Mugabe.

Following the arrest last week of Roy Bennett on discredited arms and
banditry charges, there were fears the next target could be Giles Mutsekwa.
Mutsekwa, who is Tsvangirai's new home affairs minister, was previously
charged with Bennett for possessing firearms with the intention of
threatening Mugabe.

Bennett fled the country before he could be tried, while the charges against
Mutsekwa were dropped. Mutsekwa has been outside the country since before
the formation of the new government and is yet to be sworn in to Cabinet. A
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) colleague told the Mail & Guardian
Mutsekwa was in the United States and would return to Zimbabwe very soon to
take up his post.

A retired army major, Mutsekwa is one of the MDC's most senior figures. He
will co-head the home affairs ministry with Zanu-PF hardliner Kembo Mohadi.
Mutsekwa has previously served as Tsvangirai's defence, security and
intelligence secretary.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to rein in what he has called "residual pockets of
resistance within the security forces", on Tuesday Tsvangirai held meetings
with the ministers in charge of defence and security, Emmerson Mnangagwa and
state security minister Sydney Sekeramayi, said spokesman James Maridadi.
Mnangagwa and Sekeramayi are both close Mugabe allies who wield significant
influence over Zimbabwe's security branches.

According to one official close to Mugabe, Tsvangirai is also reportedly
preparing to meet military top brass.

Tsvangirai is now looking to forge some unlikely alliances with some of
Mugabe's top officials to isolate the hard-liners.

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Rights abusers must be prosecuted

February 19, 2009

By Mary Revesai

THE story is told of how residents of a village somewhere in Mashonaland
took to the hills in terror when their fat-cat neighbour, a deputy minister
in the unyielding Robert Mugabe regime, landed his dubiously acquired
helicopter at his rural mansion for the first time last December.

Memories of the  brutality they were subjected to following last year's
elections still fresh in their minds, the villagers mistook the  helicopter's
landing  for a new raid by security agents and party militias who had
spearheaded the campaign of retributive violence launched by Zanu-PF
following its electoral defeat. It is said that the villagers were only
persuaded to come out of hiding after their neighbour had sent errand boys
to assure them that there was nothing to fear.

People should not live like that when the country is not at war.

The incident reminded me of a similar scene that greeted me when I visited
my rural home for the first time in the aftermath of the brutal fiasco that
last year's   presidential run-off degenerated into following Movement for
Democratic Change candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai's withdrawal. After my
sister, my brother-in-law and I disembarked from the car, we became aware
that my parents' homestead was eerily quiet and deserted without even a sign
of chickens walking in the yard. All the doors were locked from inside. Amid
mounting anxiety we began calling out my nephew's name as well as those of
his wife and small son. It was only when they recognized our voices that my
elderly mother and those huddled with her in a room in the main house,

This was in August last year, two months after the deadly presidential
run-off and the reign of terror spearheaded by Zanu-PFmilitias and state
security agents was still in full swing in the rural areas. People still
scurried for cover upon hearing the sound of an approaching vehicle, hence
the desolation that greeted us. When the door finally flew open my mother
broke down weeping at seeing us after months of worrying over whether we
were safe in far away Harare. Thanks to the breakdown of postal and
telecommunications services, a tense security situation and a shortage of
fuel, we had not been in contact with our rural family.

At first, I could hardly recognize my nephew.

A strapping six-footer, he was now hunched down like an old man after a bout
of torture and brutalization during Operation Makavhotera Papi (or why did
you vote for the opposition). His wife had some teeth missing from being
kicked during a Pungwe, an all-night political indoctrination session
conducted by barely literate and ruthless thugs. Thankfully, my mother was
spared because of her advanced years but she was equally traumatized by
seeing family and neighbours being battered and  having all her chickens,
mealie meal, sugar and other provisions forcibly seized to feed militias at
torture bases in the area. The attacks on villagers were widespread and
merciless and some women were gang-raped - recipe for disaster in the midst
of the AIDS pandemic.

These brutal abuses perpetrated against members of my family and our
neighbours were similar to accounts that had been reported all over Zimbabwe
with villagers in some areas having lost cattle and goats in addition to
being battered and terrorized. Despite the Mugabe regime's attempts to deny
sponsoring this terror campaign, the methods of brutalization, intimidation
and dehumanization were so similar and so well orchestrated throughout the
country that the violence could not have been spontaneous.

It was a well planned onslaught against the people ordered by someone in
authority. This violence continues today even after the setting up of the
so-called unity government in the form of abductions, torture and arbitrary

Human rights organizations and opposition parties say about 200 people have
perished in state sponsored violence since March last year. Hundreds of
thousands more were maimed or displaced. The old regime's lack of respect
for human life has been highlighted further by its dereliction of duty with
respect to the cholera epidemic that has killed almost 4 000 Zimbabweans so

Mugabe's response to the emergency was first to deny the existence of the
epidemic and then to callously claim that cholera-causing germs had been
planted in the country by foreign powers bent on effecting regime change. It
has been suggested that as part of a process of healing and reconciliation
under a government of national unity, bygones should be bygones so that the
country can make a new start on a clean slate.

Personally I have never bought this argument because of the scale and scope
of atrocities, ranging from the Gukurahundi massacres, state sponsored
political violence and the killings that accompanied the seizing of land
from white farmers that the Mugabe regime has perpetrated over the last 29
years. These crimes against humanity, some of which can be classified as
genocide, cannot be swept under the carpet. Some Zimbabweans are multiple
victims after being brutalized during elections and under violent schemes
such as Operation Murambatsvina.

I have been angry for a long time about the brutality people in my home area
have been subjected to. I know there are hundreds of Zimbabweans from other
parts of the country enduring the same anguish. Some lost loved ones. The
planners and perpetrators of these atrocities must be brought to justice.
Those representing the last vestiges of the brutal regime are still thumping
their noses at everyone as if to gloat about these abuses. There is no

The trial of the perpetrators of genocide and other atrocities during Pol
Pot's tyranny in the 1970s in Cambodia has just begun. Their Zimbabwean
counterparts must also face justice regardless of how long it will take to
bring them to book. The cycle of impunity must be broken in every country
where innocent citizens have been brutalized by abusers of state power.

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Zimbabwe journalists added to EU sanctions list

Thursday, 19 February 2009 23:40

Far from being convinced by the establishment of a Government of National
Unity (GNU) in Zimbabwe, the European Union (EU) has added additional
journalists and media managers from the state media to the list of people
affected by sanctions, writes our correspondent.

The has EU accused the seven journalists of whipping up a government terror
campaign in the-run up to the June 2008 presidential run-off election.

They were further accused of seriously undermining freedom of expression and
the media in Zimbabwe.

On the list is  Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief correspondent,
Reuben Barwe; diplomatic correspondent Judith Makwanya; current affairs
producer Musorowegomo Mukosi; ZBC acting chief executive officer CEO
Happison Muchechetere, Zimbabwe Newspapers CEO Justin Mutasa, Pikirai
Deketeke, editor of The Herald,  senior assistant editor Caesar Zvayi and
The Sunday Mail political editor Munyaradzi Huni.

Jongwe Printers, a company owned by Zanu PF, and the political party's
mouthpiece The Voice were also placed on the sanctions list.

Meanwhile, The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has written to
Zimbabwe's new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai urging him to remove
repressive media laws and allow the operations of banned newspapers.

The CPJ also wants detained former journalist Jestina Mukoko and freelance
photojournalist Anderson Shadreck Manyere freed.

Both Mukoko and Manyere have been in prison since their abductions in
December by state security agents for allegedly being involved in banditry.

"The current media environment remains hostile to the independent press and
will ensure partisan press coverage of any future developments made under
the auspices of the new power-sharing alliance," CPJ executive director Joel
Simon said in the letter dated February 13.

"CPJ calls on the new unity government to move swiftly to free the media
from control by the ruling party," he added.

Simon said the government should free the media from state control, repeal
prohibitive media taxes and allow the return of exiled journalists among a
list of measures to ensure a vibrant media in Zimbabwe.

"The government of national unity should take immediate steps to abolish
laws that require licensing of newspapers and journalists, allow the banned
Daily News to recommence operations, end jamming of foreign radio stations,
permit all local and foreign journalists who have been deported, banned, or
forced into exile for security concerns to return safely and without
harassment," the CPJ said.

Simon also urged the establishment of community radio stations. These  are
allowed in terms of the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), but none have been
licensed to date.

The Daily News and its sister publication The Daily News on Sunday published
by the privately owned Associated Newspapers of

Zimbabwe(ANZ) were closed in September 2003 by the Media and Information
Commission (MIC) using the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA).

Two weeklies - The Tribune and Weekly Times -  were also shut down using the
same law while independent television  - Joy TV - was closed down by the
then Information Minister Jonathan Moyo for "violating" the BSA.

The CPJ reminded Tsvangirai, who last week joined President Robert Mugabe in
government under a power-sharing deal brokered by the regional SADC bloc,
that he and his Movement for Democratic Change

(MDC) party had long campaigned for a free press and should live up to their

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Zimbabwe Cholera Epidemic Still Expanding, But Death Rate Easing - WHO

By Patience Rusere
19 February 2009

The latest World Health Organization weekly bulletin on the cholera epidemic
which continues to ravage Zimbabwe concludes that "the epidemic is still not
under control."

Issued Thursday, the epidemiological bulletin providing a more in-depth
analysis than WHO's daily updates, said 7,458 new cases were reported in the
week of February 8-14, an increase of 5.4% from the previous reporting
period. But cholera deaths at 217 declined 0.9% as the overall fatality rate
declined to 2.9 percent from 3.1 percent the week before.

The U.N. agency's daily update with data through Wednesday said a total of
3,731 people have died from cholera since August 2008 from a total of nearly
80,000 cases.

The WHO epidemiological bulletin said the provinces most heavily affected
were Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, Mashonaland West and Masvingo. Cases
in Harare declined.

Districts in Mashonaland Central showed the highest rates of cholera attacks
with Shamva recording 464 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and Mount Darwin
with 416 per 100,000. Guruve, Rushinga and Bindura also had high rates of
cholera infection.

In Mashonaland West province the districts of Makonde (including Chinhoyi
town), Kadoma, Hurungwe (including Karoi and Chimundu), and Zvimba were hard
hit recently.

In Masvingo the districts of Chiredzi and Bikita were singled out as hot
spots. In Manicaland the Chipinge, Buhera and Nyanga districts reported high
rates of cholera attack.

Dr. Christophe Fournier, president of the international humanitarian
organization Medecins Sans Frontières, told reporter Patience Rusere of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that cholera continues to run rampant due to the
total collapse of the state health system.

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CIO chief rallies agency behind new govt: sources

by Cuthbert Nzou Friday 20 February 2009

HARARE - The director general of Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) director-general Happyton Bonyongwe on Thursday said the
spy-agency must transform into a professional outfit and work for the
success of the inclusive government formed last week, sources told

Bonyongwe is one of President Robert Mugabe's service chiefs who vowed
before last year's general elections that they would never salute Movement
for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai if he wins the presidential

The service chiefs, among them, defence forces commander Constantine
Chiwenga, prisons commissioner Paradzai Zimondi and police commissioner
general Augustine Chihuri snubbed the swearing in of Tsvangirai as Prime
Minister in the inclusive government last week.

Sources in the CIO said Bonyongwe told senior operatives from around the
country who met at the headquarters of Mugabe's ZANU PF party in Harare that
the unity government was now a reality and they should embrace it.

The secret service meeting was to appraise senior spies on the "state of
affairs" in the new government and review operations of the CIO.

"Bonyongwe said the CIO should work for the success of the inclusive
government," a senior member of the organisation who attended the
closed-door meeting said. "He emphasised the need to transform the
organisation into a professional force whose work is about enhancing
national security rather than fighting opposition parties."

According to sources, Bonyongwe said he had been assured by Mugabe that the
inclusive government would not embark on a witch hunt to flash out
operatives who were involved in political violence against the opposition
during last year's bloody presidential election run-off between Mugabe and

CIO operatives, police, army, war veterans and ZANU PF militia embarked on a
violent campaign during the run-off that resulted in the death of about 200
MDC supporters, plus 10 000 injured and displacement of over 25 000

The violence prompted Tsvangirai to withdrew from the race, but the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission went ahead with the run-off saying the MDC leader's
pull out had no legal effect.

Mugabe won the one-man race by over 80 percent, but nevertheless he was
forced by regional SADC alliance and the African Union to open talks with
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutamabara, who heads the smaller formation of the
MDC, to form a government of national unity.

"Bonyongwe also told us that our working conditions would be improved
tremendously and challenged everyone to pull in one direction for the
success of the new government," the source added.

The CIO boss, the sources said, told them elections would be held within the
five years and the state spies should support whoever will emerge the
winner. - ZimOnline.

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4 MDC activists granted bail

by Wayne Mafaro Friday 20 February 2009

HARARE - A High Court judge on Thursday granted bail to four Movement for
Democratic Change activists but turned down an application by three others
saying they were "not fit and proper candidates for admission to bail".

The seven activists - who include Gandhi Mudzingwa, a former senior aide to
Prime Minister and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai - are accused of planning
acts of banditry, insurgency and terrorism to topple President Robert Mugabe's

Justice Yunus Omerjee granted Zacharia Nkomo, Chinoto Zulu, Garutsa Mapfumo
and Regis Mujeyi ZW$1 000 bail each and ordered the four to report twice
daily at their local police stations.

Mujeyi was also ordered to surrender his passport while the other three were
barred from applying for travel documents until the courts have finalised
their case.

But the state indicated that it wants to appeal against bail, effectively
suspending the order.

"The state's intention to appeal suspends the judge's order for at least
seven days until the matter is set down," the activists' lawyer Alec
Muchadehama told ZimOnline yesterday.

Justice Omerjee turned down bail applications of three other MDC activists,
Mudzingwa, Kisimusi Dlamini and Andrison Manyere ruling that they were not
proper candidates for bail.

About 30 opposition MDC activists are languishing in jail for more than
three months after they were abducted from their homes or work places in
Harare, Chinhoyi and Banket on terrorism-related charges.

The activists' continued detention coupled with that of MDC treasurer Roy
Bennett, who was arrested as Zimbabwe's new unity government was being sworn
in, is seen as undermining the new administration which analysts say is the
only viable option to rescue Zimbabweans from an unprecedented economic and
humanitarian crisis. - Zimonline

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Report calls for Mugabe to be charged

Posted February 19th, 2009  by Andrew Meldrum, for The Hawaii

BOSTON - The mounting movement for Robert Mugabe to be charged with crimes
against humanity will be boosted this week by a report that finds the
Zimbabwean dictator is responsible for criminal neglect that caused the
country's deadly cholera epidemic.

Mugabe is culpable for dismantling Zimbabwe's health and sanitation services
and thereby provoking the cholera outbreak that has killed more than 2,000
people to date and could kill as many as 5,000 people if left unchecked,
according to a new report by Physicians for Human Rights to be released this

The doctors' damning report, provided exclusively to GlobalPost, adds
momentum to the growing international campaign for the Mugabe regime to be
charged with crimes against humanity.

Mugabe should be charged with crimes for "presiding over the destruction of
a health system and an economy. It is not mismanagement, it is calculated.
It is criminal," said Frank Donaghue, chief executive of the
Massachusetts-based Physicians for Human Rights, which will issue its report
Jan. 13 in Johannesburg and New York.

"Mugabe spends money on the military and intelligence services that keep him
in power instead of on the medical and sanitation services essential to the
health of the population," said Donaghue.

"The Mugabe government created the grounds for the cholera epidemic by
allowing the water supply system to break down, by not repairing broken
sewer pipes and allowing public water to become contaminated, by closing
hospitals and allowing the entire health system to collapse," he added.

"Cholera is not just a disease, it's a crime," said Donaghue, who was part
of the investigative team that visited Zimbabwe at the end of December.

If a United Nations tribunal on Zimbabwe were launched, observers in
southern Africa believe it would bring crucial international pressure that
could speed the end of the Zimbabwean president's 28-year rule. The
International Bar Association, Amnesty International, the anti-torture group
Redress, the South African Council of Churches and the South African
Catholic Bishops Conference have all urged the United Nations Security
Council to investigate Mugabe for crimes against humanity.

The physicians' report includes a statements of support from South African
Nobel-winning archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson, formerly the United
Nations commissioner for human rights and Irish prime minister. While in
Zimbabwe the team of medical experts interviewed more than 90 people,
ranging from doctors and health specialists to ordinary Zimbabweans seeking
health care.

Human Rights Watch has documented numerous actions and policies by the
Mugabe government that it says constitute crimes. "There is no question that
the Mugabe government has committed serious crimes for which Mugabe and
other officials must be held accountable," said Tiseke Kasambala, senior
researcher for Human Rights Watch.

"There is ample evidence of the crimes and there are international
conventions which make it possible to bring them to justice," said
Kasambala, from her office in Johannesburg.

Some experts in international law question whether there is enough evidence
to indict Mugabe and point out that the International Criminal Court has not
established a strong track record of convictions.

"It will not be easy but it is necessary," said Kasambala. Mugabe could be
charged by the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands or by a
special United Nations tribunal, according to Kasambala. Human Rights Watch
has a legal team that is investigating the best way to bring Mugabe to

Zimbabwe has not signed the convention on international crimes but once
there is a new government in Zimbabwe, it could ask the ICC to investigate
and charge Mugabe.

The United Nations Security Council can order an investigation into crimes
in Zimbabwe and form a special tribunal. "A U.N. tribunal would have more
powers and scope to look at violations that constitute crimes against
humanity," said Kasambala.

Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association, agrees
that Mugabe should be investigated for crimes against humanity. "The legal
basis for holding Mugabe accountable is straightforward," said Ellis. He
said the UN Security Council should immediately authorize the ICC to
investigate Mugabe and serious crimes committed in Zimbabwe.

Crimes against humanity are defined as a widespread attack against a
civilian population, usually as part of a government plan. These crimes
include killing, sexual violence, torture, displacement and using the
distribution of food as a political weapon or depriving housing and medical
care to those who oppose the government.

A UN tribunal brought former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor to trial.
Taylor is currently on trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes
before a UN special tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. Taylor is the first
ex-African head of state to appear before an international tribunal.

"Mugabe has a history of crimes that go back to the 1980s in Matabeleland,"
said Kasambala, referring to what is known as the Matabeleland Massacres, in
which a special army brigade under Mugabe's command went on a four-year
campaign in southern Zimbabwe in which an estimated 10,000 people of the
Ndebele ethnic minority were murdered, according to a report by the
Zimbabwean Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.

In addition to direct state violence against opposition groups, the
Physicians for Human Rights report says that Mugabe should also be charged
with policies calculated to cause the deaths of thousands of Zimbabweans.
The dismantling of Zimbabwe's once excellent health and sanitation services,
which brought about the current cholera epidemic, is one example, report the
Physicians for Human Rights. Another example is Mugabe's 2005 campaign in
which the army bulldozed tens of thousands of homes in urban townships,
which are bastions of support for the opposition. More than 700,000 homes
and businesses were destroyed, affecting more than two million people,
according to a UN investigation. Many of those made homeless later died of
disease or malnutrition, say human rights activists in Zimbabwe.

In the current cholera epidemic, more than 40,000 Zimbabweans have been
infected with cholera and it is expected that 60,000 will fall ill with the
disease before the epidemic is brought under control, according to the World
Health Organization, which issues weekly bulletins on the situation. The
disease has spread to all 10 of the country's provinces and to neighboring
countries of Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia. The cholera
bacteria is so rife in Zimbabwe that it has contaminated the main reservoir
for Harare and also the Limpopo River, which forms the border between
Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Ordinarily cholera is fatal to about one percent of those who contract the
disease. But Zimbabwe's death rate is five percent because of the shortage
of clean water, medical facilities and the high levels of malnutrition and
disease already prevalent among the population.

As a result of disease and malnutrition, the average life expectancy of
Zimbabwean women has dropped from 61 to 34 years, which is the lowest in the
world, according to WHO.

The Mugabe government has closed three of Zimbabwe's four major public
hospitals. The hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo until recently were among
the best in Africa. Without money, the hospitals ran out of drugs and
doctors and nurses were not paid. In November the hospitals had no running
water and by December they were closed.

"The cholera that we see in Zimbabwe is a symptom of a much broader problem,
the collapse of the country's health system, the closure of hospitals,
growing levels of malnutrition and the collapse of the economy," said
Donaghue, who has visited Zimbawe several times in the past year.

"Unquestionably Mugabe and his officials must be held accountable for the
destruction of the health care system and the drop in life expectancy," said
Donaghue, who will be in Johannesburg to release the report. He called on
the United Nations to take action to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis. Donaghue
said it is "tragic" that China, Russia and South Africa have prevented the
United Nations Security Council from considering the Zimbabwean crisis.

"We are seeing Zimbabwe's people die in very high numbers," said Donaghue.
"International bodies must act to stop the ongoing massacre."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that South African
archbishop Desmond Tutu has signed the preface to the report. It has also
been updated to show the new figures for the death toll.

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Bennett rejects freedom under amnesty deal

February 19, 2009

By Our Correspondent

MUTARE - Roy Bennett, the detained MDC treasurer, has refused to be part of
a deal to secure his freedom in return for a blanket amnesty for people who
committed human rights abuses since 2000.

Bennett said he would rather face trial than be part of any deal that would
see individuals who committed crimes against humanity walk scot-free.
Sources within the MDC and the police said Bennett declared he would want to
see individuals that perpetrated crimes against humanity made to account for
their actions.

Many supporters of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and security details
stand accused of perpetrating human rights abuses going back to the 2000
parliamentary elections.

Hundreds have been killed and maimed while thousands were displaced as a
result of the violence that has characterized elections in Zimbabwe since

But under a deal that is apparently being worked out by the leadership of
all the three political parties now governing the country under a
power-sharing deal, an amnesty has been proposed.

All those accused of human rights crimes and those in prison for allegedly
recruiting people for military training to remove Mugabe from office, will
receive a blanket amnesty, according to the proposal.

But Bennett, the MDC nominee for deputy minister for agriculture, has
refused to be part of such an arrangement.

Sources said Elton Mangoma, a senior MDC official and a cabinet minister,
had phoned Bennett while he was in police custody to assure him his freedom
was imminent under the envisaged deal.

The sources said Mangoma told Bennett he had spoken to Patrick Chinamasa,
the Justice Minister, who had assured him the former commercial farmer would
be freed under the amnesty.

"But Bennett told Mangoma he was against the deal and said he would rather
face trial than to have people who killed and maimed Zimbabweans go
scot-free," said one source.

"The police put him on speaker phone so they could hear the conversation."

Bennett's lawyer Trust Maanda confirmed his client's position: "Bennett does
not want to benefit from the sympathy of anybody by way of amnesty. He wants
to be freed by the courts after a trial because he knows he did not commit
the offence."

Bennett is facing charges of attempting to commit acts of insurgency,
banditry, terrorism or sabotage. He was remanded to March 4 after a
magistrate rejected an application to remove him from remand.

"Bennett wants to clear his name," said Maanda.

"He is saying he heard from other quarters that individuals who committed
heinous crimes want to use him to get amnesty. If he gets amnesty they will
also get a blanket amnesty for their heinous crimes."

Under the envisaged deal Zanu-PF militants, army and intelligence officers
who committed crimes against humanity will not be arrested and prosecuted.

They would include individuals such as Joseph Mwale, the feared Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) agent, who masterminded the gruesome murder
of two MDC supporters at Murambinda Growth Point in Buhera during the run-up
to the 2000 elections.

Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya were burnt to death after they were
petrol bombed while campaigning for the MDC.

Mwale has evaded justice since then.

Hundreds other MDC supporters were murdered in subsequent elections held in
2002, 2005 and during last year's June 27 presidential re-run.

Several thousands were maimed and displaced either after receiving threats
or after their houses were set ablaze.

More were killed, maimed and left homeless after the government launched a
bloody land reform programme in which Zanu-PF supporters and sympathizers
seized farmland from white farmers.

On the other hand MDC activists and sympathisers who are accused of
recruiting people for military training outside Zimbabwe will also benefit
from the deal.

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Moyo sees red over new cabinet

February 19, 2009

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Former information minister, Jonathan Moyo has launched a scathing
attack on Zanu-PF and the two MDC parties for deploying what he said were
inappropriate ministers to cabinet.

Moyo said Zanu-PF, in particular, had exposed itself to criticism by
appointing "dead wood" to cabinet.

President Robert Mugabe last Friday appointed 18 party loyalists to the new
cabinet, some of whom have served in his government since independence in

But Moyo told journalists at the Quill Club, Harare's press club, on
Thursday that the Zanu-PF cabinet line up revealed it was now a "dead party
just waiting to be buried.

"And I believe the burial would be at the next polls, not now. So it will
remain dead in our midst.

"If the leader of a political party says, 'My cabinet is the worst in
history,' then you take things rationally and expect that when this leader
has the opportunity to form another cabinet, he will get rid of this".

Moyo, a former Zanu PF politburo member, was referring to a statement made
by President Mugabe before the 2008 elections.

Moyo said he had no cause to be malicious against Mugabe, saying he was
merely being honest about the decisions of a man he once "defended to death"
when he was still in his cabinet.

He said he was surprised that Zanu-PF, which won 99 seats in last March's
elections, still failed to appoint one new MP to cabinet while some "dead
wood" were allowed to retain their ministries.

"One way of renewing institutions is by giving them new and energetic
leadership," said Moyo.

"We cannot continue respecting chefs who are tired; who just want to be
respected and would not want to be criticized. If you put young people you
open the floor for Zanu-PF to accept criticism.

"It is not fair to expect us to accept ministers like John Nkomo (now
minister of state). What do you expect them to do?

"Why put them at the deep end of things. I have a problem with the
deployment of these people given the interest of Zanu-PF because I have
thought Zanu-PF's interest is renewal and they have an opportunity to signal
not only to its rank and file but to the nation that it has a future and not
to continue presenting its past. I find that quite mind-boggling."

By agreeing to form a unity government with MDC, Moyo said, Zanu-PF hopes
that the inclusive government will enable it to do "a Lazarus and rise from
the dead in the next election to rule Zimbabwe again alone without the other
two parties".

Moyo also criticized the appointment of the mainstream Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC)'s secretary general, Tendai Biti to the crucial
Ministry of Finance.

He faulted Tsvangirai for apparently not living up to his promises some time
ago he was going to cast his net wider in identifying a suitable minister of

"We have many Zimbabweans in international organizations, IMF, World Bank,
the African Development Bank and a number of leading co-operations in the
world who were suggested they would be among the pool.

Moyo said given the economic meltdown in Zimbabwe, it was good the MDC was
allowed to take the finance ministry, given its policy position on the

"While I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt," said Moyo, "I
nevertheless do not believe Tendai Biti is the best Minister of Finance at
this time and it's been a shocking deployment.

"One can't understand; do people know and appreciate that he is a senior
member of the MDC leadership? Yes. Does he deserve a senior position in
government? Yes. Is that position the Ministry of Finance? No. A loud no,
no! No yesterday, no today, no tomorrow."

He said Biti, a lawyer by profession, was an "inappropriate" Finance
Minister of the ilk of Enos Nkala during the 1980s and lately Samuel

"Each time we have made these wrong deployments of Ministers of Finance, the
results have been disastrous," said Moyo.

Moyo, who represents Tsholotsho North, is now the only independent Member of
Parliament in the House. Technically he is now the only opposition
legislator since the two MDC parties and Zanu-PF have all joined hands in
the government of national unity.

Moyo said, "Now at this critical moment, we get this minister and you say to
yourself, 'Could there be other strategic reasons of deploying him there
such as going after the governor of the Reserve Bank and so forth?'

"It was all about patronage, all about jobs for the boys. Suddenly, the
issues of linking skills with posts have disappeared and we just see people
being given jobs for reasons which are not apparent.

"This behaviour of patronage-driven deployments has weakened the MDC. It has
also blunted the MDC's criticism of Zanu-PF."

Moyo described as provocative the nomination of the MDC national treasurer,
Roy Bennett among the MDC's choices of ministers.

"There has been a rather unnecessary and even potentially provocative
bringing back into the highest echelons of government, people with a
Rhodesian connection," he said.

"It is provocative in the context of the new political dispensation because
these are hard choices.

"In politics, you don't just do things to spite people especially when you
are dealing with a volatile arrangement. You try and calm the nerves.

"If you look at what is happening to Roy Bennett, it invites lots of
questions as to why. Is this a legal issue, is this a political issue. If
this is a political issue, what could be provoking it?

"But 29 years after independence, I would not have expected this. This is a
provocative kind of thing in our environment."

Moyo suggested last Friday's arrest and subsequent incarceration on
terrorism charges of Bennett was a way of blocking his ascendancy into

He said the MDC agreed to join a unity government with Zanu-PF because "it
imagines that the inclusive government will heal its otherwise terminal
wound and empower it to dribble Zanu-PF out of power".

"The MDC-T is a terminally wounded party waiting to die and its death might
very well be pronounced at the next polls but I am unable to say at the
moment when its burial might take place."

Moyo also attacked the Arthur Mutambara led leadership for allegedly
apportioning itself cabinet positions on the altar of having taken part in
the power sharing negotiations.

He described the appointment of David Coltart, a white minister, to the
Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture as ill advised as the
ministry "required cultural competence".

"The MDC-M dreams that the inclusive government will give it an opportunity
for rebirth as a way out of its stillborn status," he said.

Moyo, who talked with an unusually conciliatory tone throughout his address,
said Zimbabwe's emotive land question would not be brought to finality until
government compensated those who had their land taken away from them.

During his term of office as Minister of Information from 2000 to 2005 Moyo
spearheaded a period of fierce confrontation between government and the
independent press, culminating in the closure of the popular Daily News and
other newspapers.

He became a dedicated defender of the Mugabe presidency until dis dismissal
early in 2005. Moyo ran a virulent campaign of crude propaganda in defence
of Mugabe until the two fell out after he attempted to block the appointment
of Joyce Mujuru as second vice-president of Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe.

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Harare diary: 'Motivated workers'
Friday, 20 February 2009

Robert Mugabe (left), Morgan Tsvangirai (right)
Zimbabweans seem to feel more optimism since the unity government took over

Esther (not her real name), 29, a professional living and working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, describes reaction to the unity government taking power.

Harare is much more upbeat - there is a lot of optimism about.

I'm not sure if it is directly because of the politics, or just because since the unity government took over there have been some price reductions.

A man with a Tsvangirai poster on his hat
In some circles Tsvangirai really spells economic recovery

For example meat (beef and pork) came down from US$5/kg to about US$3/kg.

I have also had a constant supply of water at my house for more than a week after going for months with an intermittent supply; and a friend who had had no power for six months because of a stolen transformer had electricity restored just last week.

Plus the city council has started collecting rubbish in our neighbourhood after months of not doing so.

Maybe workers everywhere are motivated to play their part; the defeatist attitude and the hopelessness seem to be gone.

And there was a great deal of excitement on the day Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister - crowds gathered at the stadium to cheer him.

In some circles Tsvangirai really spells economic recovery.

His promise to pay all civil servants in forex [foreign currency], was greeted with euphoria by many.

But others are wondering: "Where is he going to get all that money?"

Our civil service is quite large, so it's a pertinent question.

On Wednesday, we learnt soldiers had been given $100 vouchers, redeemable against cash at their banks. People have been asking for a while now how people paid in our local currency are surviving.

MDC protesters in Mutare
MDC supporters have been protesting about Roy Bennett's arrest

Nothing, but nothing, is sold for Zimbabwe dollars, or if it is the amount is so ridiculous that you are better off paying in foreign currency.

The other complication is that most vendors are refusing to accept the newly issued revalued currency notes. The central bank governor recently knocked off 12 zeros from the Zimbabwe dollar. But they want to trade in the previous currency, where the highest denomination is Z$50bn.

So a single bus trip on most local routes is theoretically payable in one of three ways:

  • US$0.50 or five South African rand
  • The revalued Z$3 - but the bus operator will refuse to accept it
  • Z$3tn - that's 60 notes!
So it makes sense that if even bus fares require foreign currency that people be paid in foreign currency.

It is long overdue.

Birthday adverts

We first heard about Roy Bennett [Mr Tsvangirai's nominee for deputy agriculture minister] "being kidnapped" last Friday.

One bash a year paid for out of my taxes is more than enough

That was very disheartening. The question on most people's lips was, "How on earth can the unity government work if these abductions are still going on?"

It was only later, on the foreign news bulletins, that we learnt it was actually an arrest for treason.

Still the question begs - why?

The charges have since been revised, but the picture in most of our minds is of Mr Bennett eight months after his last jail term, wasted and gaunt, being tearfully embraced by his wife and children.

We would all hope he does not have to go through that again, simply because of the colour of his skin, and his political convictions.

Saturday is 21 February, President Robert Mugabe's birthday.

That means there is a big bash lined up at state expense and the newspapers are full of full-page colour ads congratulating him and wishing him many happy returns.

Will the same be done for the PM's birthday?

I hope not, one bash a year paid for out of my taxes is more than enough!

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Four Zimbabweans drown trying to illegally cross into South Africa

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe's state media reported Friday that four
locals have drowned in the crocodile-infested Limpopo River this week while
attempting to illegally enter neighbouring South Africa in search of jobs.

The official Herald daily said the four drowned between Monday and Tuesday
and were among scores of unemployed Zimbabweans who had attempted to sneak
into South Africa using illegal crossing points.

Zimbabwe's nine-year economic crisis has seen thousands of desperate
Zimbabweans crossing into the more prosperous southern neighbours every day
in search of employment, groceries or medical care.

The majority of Zimbabwe's economic refugees have valid travel documents,
while others pay their way into South Africa using illegal crossing points.

The problem of border jumpers has forced bodies such as the International
Organisation for Migration to establish refugee repatriation centres at
Zimbabwe's borders with South Africa and Botswana, where a similar problem
is rampant.

A police spokesman told The Herald that Zimbabwe's security forces have
since intensified patrols along the country's porous borders.

  JN/nm/APA 2009-02-20

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JOMIC needs support to fulfil mandate

Dr Obediah Mazombwe -- Opinion

Thu, 19 Feb 2009 22:41:00 +0000

SOME questions arose last week regarding the precise role that the Joint
Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) will play in the
implementation of the media component of the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) and what format its activities might take.

This was when JOMIC had a session with journalists during which the
committee carpeted state media editors for "biased and inflammatory

The JOMIC proceeded to set up a Media Sub-Committee and pledged to
immediately engage the Minister of Information Media and Publicity on its
mandate; thereby prompting a sharp reaction from Saturday Herald columnist,
Nathaniel Manheru.

JOMIC's mandate under Article 22 of the GPA is very clear. It is to ensure
full and proper implementation of the Agreement. Its functions are quite

(a)    to ensure the implementation in letter and spirit of this Agreement;
(b)    to assess the implementation of this Agreement from time to time and
consider steps which might need to be taken to ensure the speedy and full
implementation of this Agreement in its entirety;
(c)    to receive reports and complaints in respect of any issue related to
the implementation, enforcement and execution of this Agreement;
(d)    to serve as catalyst in creating and promoting an atmosphere of
mutual trust and understanding between the parties; and
(e)    to promote continuing dialogue between the Parties.

Under Article 19 of the Agreement the parties, in regard to the media,

(a)    that the government shall ensure the immediate processing by the
appropriate authorities of all applications for re-registration and
registration in terms of both the Broadcasting Services Act as well as the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act;

(b)    all Zimbabwean nationals including those currently working for or
running external radio stations be encouraged to make applications for
broadcasting     licences, in Zimbabwe, in terms of the law;
(c)    that in recognition of the open media environment anticipated by this
Agreement, the Parties hereby:
    (i)    call upon the governments that are hosting and/or funding
external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe to cease such hosting and
funding; and
    (ii)    encourage the Zimbabweans running or working for external radio
stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe to return to Zimbabwe; and

(d)    that steps be taken to ensure that the public media provides balanced
and fair coverage to all political parties for their legitimate political

(e)    that the public and private media shall refrain from using abusive
language that may     incite hostility, political intolerance and ethnic
hatred or that unfairly undermines political parties and other
organisations. To this end, the inclusive government shall ensure that
appropriate measures are taken to achieve this objective.

The JOMIC has decided to move with haste and carry out its mandate with
regard to the media. This is quite commendable and in keeping with the
spirit of the agreement which requires this area to be addressed without
undue delay.

The problem is that neither Clauses 22.1 to 24.4 under ARTICLE XXII,
IMPLEMENTATION MECHANISMS, which addresses the specific functions of JOMIC
nor Clauses 19.1(a) to (e) under ARTICLE XIX, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND
COMMUNICATION, which detail what the parties agreed regarding the media,
spell out exactly how JOMIC should go about ensuring that the parties
actually implement clauses 19.1(a) to (e).

This is unlike the Agreement's treatment of other critical areas like
implementation shall be by way of the National Economic Council (NEC); or
CONSTITUTION under ARTICLEVI, where implementation shall be by way of a
Select Committee of Parliament. In these cases there is no room for JOMIC to
set up an "Economic Sub-committee" or a "Constitution Sub-committee", as
they have done with the Media Sub-committee.

In the event the JOMIC has decided on a specific path. It has held a meeting
with the editors from the various media houses, lambasting state media
editors in the process, and set up its own a Media Sub-Committee. This is
what the Herald columnist has taken umbrage with, suggesting that media
regulation be "off limits" to the JOMIC, and the committee's decision to set
up a Media Sub-Committee is "ill-advised".

Actually the JOMIC's broad mandate as indicated by ARTICLES XIX and XXII
does make media regulation legitimate ground for the committee to venture
into. However Nathaniel Manheru's contention that the JOMIC can best achieve
the objectives of Clauses 19(a) to (e) by way of  the-soon-to-be launched
Zimbabwe Media Commission, rather than the proposed Media Sub-committee,
makes a great deal of sense.

The composition of the Media Sub-committee may not have the professional
media experience, or general disposition, to deal with the issues raised
under ARTICLE XIX, particularly clauses 19(d) and 19(e) whichrefer to
notions of "balanced and fair coverage of all political parties", and the
need to avoid "abusive language that might incite hostility, political
intolerance and ethnic hatred or that unfairly undermines political parties
or other organizations".

Issues that have to do with balance, fairness, news "spinning", "framing",
and the "priming" of readers and audiences, are best dealt with by the
experienced media professionals, who, as has already been legislated, will
constitute the Zimbabwe Media Commission.

The columnist's observation that the constituted Media Sub-committee may
clash with the envisaged Media Commission need to be taken into account and
mechanisms put into place to ensure this does not occur.

Even more insightful is the columnists warning that there is, inherent in
JOMIC's approach, the great risk of re-introducing and entrenching the very
polarization we seek to avoid. This is so given the intensely political
frame of mind, the members, freshly emerging fro power-sharing negotiations,
must be in now.

In fact one cannot avoid reading politics in the approach that JOMIC, as
reported, took in addressing some issues at their meeting with the
journalists. The apparent agreement amongst the JOMIC members that the
problem is with the state media editors hides the fact that, historically,
the root of the problem has been a political  culture driven by greed,
intolerance, patronage, and egotism; rather than the journalists.

In this instance state media editors seem to have provided a readily
available scapegoat for a committee eager to demonstrate "consensus", and
anxious to "come clean" as the nation stands on the verge of a new

The fact is the polarization of our environment is a function of our
politics rather than our journalism, irrespective of whether one is talking
about the public or private media. I said as much in my article that was
published in the Zimbabwe Independent back in May/June 2003.

The nature of our politics determines the nature of our journalism, and not
vice versa. It has not been easy for our journalists, particularly the
younger ones, eager to rise within their establishments, to achieve balance
in their reporting and analysis of issues.

Indeed, the observation by Manheru that "as politicians in the inclusive
government jockey and bicker, they (members of JOMIC) will seek the support
of different sections of the media, in the process entrenching the
polarization which already exists" is itself a pointer to what may be a

The composition of JOMIC, dominated and driven as it is by key politicians
of the negotiating parties, when viewed against the multi-faceted nature of
its mandate, is manifestly problematic.

The committee's composition, and its operational structure of rotating
chairmanships, might be setting itself up to become a bargaining and
haggling forum rather that a monitoring body.

The main drivers of this monitoring process were, only yesterday, the
antagonists in bruising power-sharing negotiations. We therefore should not
underestimate the risk of their sliding back into their antagonistic roles,
especially as they eye the more decisive elections following the adoption of
a new constitution. .The temptation to score points with the electorate,
both as individuals and as parties, will be almost irresistible.

This committee should perhaps be the Joint Monitoring "of", rather than
 "and" Implementation Committee. Whilst implementation and monitoring may
run parallel to each other, the two are, social-scientifically speaking,
mutually exclusive processes.

Implementation of the GPA largely rests with heads of the various sector
ministries, so the fact that the main drivers of the monitoring process
actually head some of the ministries charged with implementation definitely
complicates the matter.
In addition, the multi-faceted nature of JOMIC's broad mandate is, to say
the least, daunting.

As heads of various ministries, the committee members are (a) implementers.
Being charged with assessing the implementation of the Agreement from time
to time, they are also (b) monitors and evaluators; and charged with
receiving reports and complaints, they are (c) arbiters.

As if all the above is not enough, the JOMIC members are also charged with
creating and promoting an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding
between the parties, they are (d) catalysts; and finally, being charged with
promoting dialogue between the parties, they are (e) mediators.

There definitely is some merit in placing the former negotiators at the
center of the monitoring process, including the advantage of ensuring
immediate buy-in of the committee's position by the three political parties.

However it is this writer's strongest view that the JOMIC needs heavy
support, in the form of a battery of technocrats and professionals from
across Zimbabwe's civil society, capable of evidence-based analysis. Without
such support, the committee risks becoming a hindrance, rather than a
facilitator, in the achievement of the GPA goals.

Yet the GPA does encapsulate the core founding values of our nation state,
and its successful implementation will constitute a gigantic leap, and
herald a new era, in the development of our fledgling democracy.

We should not let past ills of finger-pointing, scape-goating, egotism,
exclusivism (ndisu chete tinozvigona), and over-politicisation of our
strategies detract us at this crucial stage.


*Dr Obediah Mazombwe is a Harare-based social researcher and media analyst.

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Not yet unity

Feb 19th 2009 | HARARE
From The Economist print edition

Will Morgan Tsvangirai wield real power? Not yet, it seems

THE new unity government of Zimbabwe, launched with fanfare on February
13th, has got off to an inauspicious start. It appears that orders issued by
the new prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change, are already being countermanded by ZANU-PF, formerly the
sole ruling party, still bent on keeping the upper hand. Rumours of a coup,
planned by a cabal of disgruntled senior security men and ZANU-PF bigwigs
opposed to any real power-sharing, are rife. No one knows quite who is in

There are even whispers-wishful thinking, perhaps-that President Robert
Mugabe may be tempted to use his traditional birthday address to the nation
on February 21st, when he turns 85, to announce his resignation after ruling
his once-prosperous country with an increasingly despotic hand since 1980.
Some think he is physically flagging and that his mind has begun to wander.
But others say he is in full possession of his faculties and determined to
stay in office until he dies.

Things started to go wrong on the day a new 31-minister cabinet was sworn in
by Mr Mugabe before an array of African dignitaries, including Kgalema
Motlanthe, South Africa's president, who currently chairs the Southern
African Development Community (SADC). It was that 15-country club that
clinched the power-sharing deal, ten months after Mr Tsvangirai had won the
parliamentary election and the first round of the presidential poll.

First, Mr Mugabe turned up with 22 ministers, whereas the agreement
generously gave him 15 cabinet posts to the MDC's 13, with a small
opposition group led by Arthur Mutambara getting three. After hours of
argument, Mr Mugabe agreed to withdraw six of his names.

Then, while the swearing-in ceremony was under way, security forces detained
one of Mr Tsvangirai's ministerial nominees, Roy Bennett, as he was about to
fly off to spend the weekend with his family in South Africa, where he has
been living in exile for the past three years. After being bundled into a
car said to belong to one of Mr Mugabe's ministers, he was driven to Mutare,
210km (130 miles) from Harare, the capital, where he was jailed and charged
with treason. An embarrassed Mr Motlanthe protested, only to be assured that
the detention of one of the MDC's most prominent politicians, who had been
due to be sworn in as the deputy agriculture minister, had taken place
without his host's knowledge and that orders had been given for his release.

As The Economist went to press, Mr Bennett was still in prison, though the
treason charge had been replaced by ones of insurgency, banditry, sabotage
and terrorism. Some 40 other political detainees, among them Jestina Mukoko,
a leading human-rights campaigner, are also still being held, though Mr
Tsvangirai had made their release a condition for signing the deal that many
in his party had strongly opposed.

It was also opposed by many of ZANU-PF's old guard, loth to share the spoils
of power. Suspicions of a plot to sabotage the new government were
heightened by the conspicuous absence of the leaders of all the security
forces at the swearing-in ceremony. Equally notable was the failure of Mr
Mugabe, their commander-in-chief, to comment on their snub.

Reports began to circulate that a cabal of leaders of the army, the police,
the prisons and intelligence services had been holding daily meetings at a
farm near Harare, where arms were said to be cached. Other ZANU-PF figures
were cited as the brains behind the plot. "War veterans", the groups
responsible for seizing white farms, were also said to be involved.

Theories abound. Is Mr Mugabe behind these alleged plots or does he just
quietly endorse them? Has he lost control of his armed forces? Some say that
elements of them have been acting off their own bat, without the president's
explicit approval, for the past year. "Mugabe may still be on the bridge,
but he's by no means in command," says a Western diplomat, stating a view
held by many of his colleagues. But others think the president still holds
plenty of power. "Even those who dislike him are still in awe of him," says
a local commentator. "Don't count him out yet."

Even if Mr Mugabe's senior security men wanted to launch a coup, it is
uncertain that the rank and file would obey them. Mr Tsvangirai has sought
to secure their loyalty by promising that civil servants, many of whom have
been on strike for months, would be paid in foreign currency instead of
worthless Zimbabwean dollars. But it is unclear where he will find the cash.

At a meeting of Zimbabwe's main foreign donors this week, Mr Tsvangirai
asked for help in footing the bill, estimated at $50m a month, for the first
six months. So far, especially after the unity government's shaky start,
most are reluctant to oblige. Britain and the United States, Zimbabwe's two
biggest donors, are unlikely to resume development aid-as distinct from
humanitarian aid, which they are pumping in at record levels-as long as Mr
Mugabe remains in power as president.

So far Mr Tsvangirai has kept his head down. Despite the many attempts of Mr
Mugabe's old guard to humiliate and undermine him, he has made no public
complaint. That, he believes, would alienate those in ZANU-PF whom he hopes
to win over. Echoing Nelson Mandela, he says the road to freedom will be
long. After this week, few would disagree.

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Mugabe needs to be closely monitored

19 February 2009

I do not know what to do about the Government of National Unity.
I do not know what to say about Robert Mugabe.
I do not think the Movement for Democratic change knows what to do with the
situation slowly unfolding before their eyes.
And yet we had closed our eyes and swallowed the bitter pill with the hope
that, pungent as the medication might have been, the cure would come.
We had pushed fear, mistrust and doubt aside and installed hope into our
hearts believing that evil, having been given so much time to play itself
out, would now die away and release the suffering souls in Zimbabwe.

The MDC in general and Mr Tsvangirai, in particular, weathered a barrage of
criticism for having accepted a faulty arrangement as basis for reviving the
Tsvangirai had won the elections but, in the end, allowed himself to accept
only a small potion of what he should have received in an effort to get the
foot in the door and work to somehow correct the situation from within or
from a more intimate position than was the case before.

There was never any intention, on the part of either Robert Mugabe or his
ZANU-PF party, to work towards the healing of the nation.
The crimes they have committed, even were they to be forgiven or simply not
being taken into consideration, scare those who committed them to the extent
that they know and believe that they can never really be forgiven.
Now they decide to keep running towards the abyss rather than stop and look
for better, assured alternatives.
And they are taking a nation of innocents down with them.

What is the international community to say now?
What has SADC to say now that they forced the people of Zimbabwe to put
their hope in the hands of the same man who, apparently, had assured SADC of
his honest intentions when accepting this deal?
Does SADC not want to keep an eye on the situation since it was them who
played midwife to a deformed idea?
SADC cannot melt into the background in silence; they could help the
situation by coming out in the open and urging or criticizing the man they
worked so hard to protect at the expense of the Zimbabwean people.
Now Mugabe is betraying not only the Zimbabwean people but is betraying
SADC, South Africa and all those who, against common sense but driven by a
true desire to bring sanity and life back to Zimbabwe, believed that Mugabe
and his goons, if assured of security, might just let justice, peace and
well being be restored in Zimbabwe.

But the demons of ZANU-PF feel more comfortable with an unchartered tomorrow
than with yesterday, a time that is full of evidence of their crimes against

I am one of those who believed that the MDC was ill advised to enter into
this arrangement because I said I was afraid of the consequences. Mugabe and
ZANU-PF never took a break but just continued with their evil ways,
displaying malicious attitudes towards the recovery of our nation.
I am one of those who wrote passionately against the GNU and urged for a
transitional government instead.
But somewhere deep inside me, I had a tiny flame of hope. I dared nurse that
tiny flame believing, in all honesty, that ZANU-PF would accept this gesture
from the people of Zimbabwe and use it to somehow show that even though
mistakes were made in the past, we can forge ahead and reclaim our
nationhood that we had lost to ourselves.

Now here we are, betrayed, once again, by the very same people we set out to
forgive and whom the nation was grudgingly preparing to give another chance.
The arrests continue. Farms continue to be invaded and the police do not
appear to know or accept the new dispensation.
Indeed, on the very day that was signal a new beginning as ministers from
parties concerned were sworn in, all with Bibles in hand, Mugabe himself was
childish enough to want to sneak into government more ministers than agreed.
Our missing remains unaccounted for although some are known to be alive but
are being held somewhere.
While the MDC hungrily sets out to revive the nation, ZANU-PF continues to
snap at its heels and pulling down those who are supposed to be spearheading
the charge towards national revival.
Clearly, ZANU-PF has never comfortably lived and survived under law and
order or under circumstances that spell peace and prosperity. ZANU-PF cannot
survive in the absence of chaos, murder, rape and starvation.
Like any other tokoloshe fetish, ZANU-PF can only survive, not in water but
in the blood of those closest to it.
ZANU-PF needs to be cleansed in every sense of the word and it needs to be
cleansed before anyone may shake its hand.
How can a group of people, who qualify to be called a party on a national
scale, be so comfortable with their imposition of the worst forms of life in
people? How can they strive so hard to bring so much misery not only to
their nation but across their borders?
How can ZANU-PF find strength in the death of its homeland yet people and
the country gave it so much support and nursed it when it was wounded and
under attack?
What kind of souls pervade ZANU-PF?

With all good intentions gone badly, SADC has an opportunity to redeem
itself in the eyes of the world and all they need to do is to chastisize
Mugabe while urging him to accept the letter and spirit of the agreement.
SADC must show some spine and tell Mugabe to accept this honestly or dump
We have 90 percent unemployment; out of 12 million people, 5 million are in
exile; cholera is killing thousands among those living in one of the world's
countries with the lowest life expectancy of 35 years while more than five
million out of the seven million in Zimbabwe need food aid.
SADC must not, for goodness' sake, let someone called Mummar Gaddaffi
anywhere near the Zimbabwean issue but SADC must be heard and not take
retrogressive comfort in the discredited 'quiet diplomacy".

Yes, the MDC rushed into this without giving it sufficient thought. Yes, it
was ill advised to trust Mugabe and ZANU-PF but all that is water under the
What do we do now? The MDC is slowly strengthening ZANU-PF while ZANU-PF's
assault on the MDC and its supporters have never been diminished. ZANU-PF
wants to destroy the MDC
Pretend as we may want, there is no common ground between the two groups.
One wants to revive a nation while the other wants to destroy it.
Will support for this GNU make it succeed when ZANU-PF knows it cannot
survive in a normal peaceful atmosphere?
The heart of the matter is that the battle is not over yet and I am glad
that, at least, Mr Tsvangirai also knows that it is not going to be easy.
As a matter of fact, it is very dangerous. And the signs are beginning to
They need support but we should never lose sight of a snake in house. I am
not happy with this.

And, as someone wrote to me, behind every silver lining a huge black
thundercloud lurks. And its name is Bob.
What do you think, write to me at
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my friends, is the way it is today,
Thursday, February 19, 2009.

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CHRA weekly update



The police (both municipal and ZRP) are at it again as they are harassing street vendors and confiscating their goods. Vendors who operate at Fourth Street, Eastgate and Market Square had a tough time last week as they were chased around by the police who accused them of doing business at undesignated points. Some of the vendors who were interviewed by CHRA on condition of anonymity said that the police had been confiscating their goods and they were not even given the chance to pay the required fine so that they could get their goods back. Moreover, the vendors complained that they had nowhere else to do their business as most market stalls had been destroyed by operation Murambatsvina. CHRA also received reports from Kuwadzana where vendors are having their goods confiscated by some policemen who are camped near Kuwadzana 2 High School. Residents have pointed out that the policemen actually share the looted goods amongst themselves. Other affected areas include Kuwadzana Extension, Highfield and Glen Norah. CHRA unreservedly condemn the unfair harassment of vendors and urges Council to consider the construction of more market stalls as a matter of urgency as most residents rely on vending for their livelihood.


Water supply and the sewer system


Glenview and Budiriro are still being affected by acute water shortages. Some of the boreholes that were sunk by UNICEF in the suburbs are no longer functional and residents are finding it difficult to cope as some have resorted back to unprotected sources for water. Residents have warned that if this situation continues, the cholera cases will continue to increase and it will be difficult to contain the situation. Other affected areas include Highlands (Ward 8) where residents had no water supplies for the better of last week. Kambuzuma and parts of Rugare went for two days (from Tuesday to Wednesday) without water while the Paradise area in Highfield and parts of Glen Norah have undergoing a dry spell for more than six months now. Areas like Msasa Park, Queensdale and parts of Hatfield lapsed into dry spells again for the whole of last week.


Electricity supply


Tynwald North and Dzivarasekwa Phase Three experienced excessive power cuts within the last week. Residents received power for not more than twenty hours during the whole week. Kuwadzana Extension also experienced the same problem which has been exacerbated by the fact that police were harassing firewood vendors and confiscating their merchandise; a situation that left most residents with no alternative source of power for household use. However, residents in areas like Highlands, Mabelreign, Marlborough, Avondale, and Emerald Hill, Masasa, Greendale and most parts of Dzivarasekwa have reported that power supplies are beginning to normalize in their areas. Hatfield, Queensdale, Braeside, Craneborne and Msasa Park are still experiencing intermittent power cuts.



Some supermarkets like Town and Country are selling bread for US$0, 60 while others are selling for US$0, 50. Most shops, however, are still selling a loaf of bread for US$1 each.






Cholera cases are still being reported in Harare in spite of the efforts that have been put by different NGOs to combat the pandemic. Mufakose witnessed two deaths to cholera within the last week and more than four people were admitted at the local clinic with symptoms of cholera. Ward 45 also report two cholera deaths. Glenview and Budiriro are still battling with cholera cases although the number of deaths has decreased.


Residents in Highfields have complained that the Aqua tablets that were distributed at clinics by UNICEF are not being fairly re-distributed to residents. There are reports that the nurses are distributing the tablets to their relatives in bulk who in turn sell the tablets to residents. In another development, nurses at Highfield Poly Clinic are refusing to admit maternity patients unless they bring gloves, needles, razor, sanitary wool, candle and 20 litres of clean water for use during delivery. Reports from Mbare have also revealed that some midwives at Mbare Edith Hospital are demanding US$10 from maternity patients if they want to be ‘delivered safely’. 


Refuse collection


Most suburbs are still littered with piles of refuse as the City of Harare has not been collecting refuse. UNICEF was collecting refuse in areas like Glenview, Glen Norah and Budiriro but piles of refuse have begun to emerge in some areas as UNICEF has not repeated the programme for some time now. Residents in Kuwadzana 2 are also not happy with the amount of garbage that is piled at Areno shops; a situation that they fear will jeopardize the health of residents. There are vendors who sell their goods at an open space at the shopping centre and the environment is not healthy due to the uncollected refuse. There have also been increased cases of malaria in the area (especially in Ward 38 and 37) and residents believe that this is being caused by the piles of refuse that have become fertile breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Residents in Kuwadzana Extension are now dumping refuse near Kuwadzana Extension Primary school.


The political atmosphere


On Wednesday the 11th of February 2009, The MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe with his deputies Arthur Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe as part of the implementation of the GPA which has resulted in the formation of an inclusive government. However, residents are deeply concerned by the arrest of the Deputy Minister (Designate) of Agriculture, Roy Bennet (MDC T), who was abducted on the eve of the swearing in of Cabinet Ministers. Residents had hoped that the formation of an inclusive government would put an end to the illegal abductions that had befallen political activists but events like this are detrimental to a progressive political healing process.




Residents look forward to a nationalistic rather than partisan transitional government that will effectively address the economic, political and social maladies that are currently bedeviling the country as a whole. CHRA urges the inclusive government to address the issue of human rights violations so as to ensure the safety of political activists. It is worrying to receive reports of abductions of political activists at a time when the principal political parties have publicly agreed to work together. Such happenings raise questions of sincerity and good faith. CHRA will continue to support residents in their quest for good local (and national) governance, respect for human rights and quality municipal (and other) service delivery.



Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

Contacts: Mobile: 0912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email, and

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Forthcoming Documentary Film: 'Mugabe & The White African'

A feature length documentary looking at the plight of white farmer Mike
Campbell and his family and covering the SADC court case of 2008.  Please
spread news of this film and the web address for film's official website.

Thank you.


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Evil Mugabe hoards lost Doctor Who tapes

Published: Friday, February 20, 2009

LONG-lost Doctor Who episodes thought to be hidden away in Zimbabwe may
never be recovered because despot Robert Mugabe hates the UK.

BBC investigators believe the troubled nation holds some of the early
episodes of the cult series which are still missing.

But tyrant President Mugabe has banned the Beeb from setting foot in his
country. And diplomatic relations are also extremely tense - meaning
researchers are unable to get into the nation's TV vaults.

The BBC destroyed early episodes of the sci-fi series in the late Sixties
and Seventies to make room in its film library for new programmes.

But Zimbabwe is understood to have bought the first season of the show when
it was still a British colony known as Rhodesia. It starred William Hartnell
and ran from 1963 to 1964. The Beeb suspects the historic series, together
with later episodes not held anywhere else in the world, may still be locked

Despite years of searching, the broadcaster is missing 108 of 752 episodes
of the television classic.

Over the decades some previously lost episodes have been uncovered by
archivists in places as far flung as Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Others have been unearthed from early home-made tapes.

Collector Gordon Hendry discovered the second and third episodes of the
first series selling for £8 each at a car boot sale in 1983. Another four
episodes featuring Hartnell, the first actor to play the Time Lord, were
recently retrieved from Nigeria.

That led to corporation chiefs setting up a new task force to scour the rest
of Africa for missing episodes.

But they have been unable to get permission to visit Zimbabwe - where Mugabe
still blames former colonial ruler Britain for its economic chaos.

Last year the leader even called the British Government "thieving

Last night a BBC source said: "We have looked all over the world for missing
Doctor Who episodes but there are still some broadcasters we have not spoken
to. Zimbabwe could prove a problem as there is so much red tape.

"There is a fear that we may never get our hands on the footage and that
would be a real shame for fans."

Archivists are trying to find the missing episodes to release them on DVD.

The most sought-after lost show is episode four of the last William Hartnell
serial The Tenth Planet, which was broadcast in October 1966. It ends with
Hartnell regenerating into the second Doctor, played by Patrick Troughton.

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