The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe's repair package may cost $5 billion

Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:57pm GMT

By Wendell Roelf

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Repairing Zimbabwe's economy could cost as much as $5
billion (3.5 billion pounds) and foreign direct investment would help, said
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said international and regional financiers had
offered Zimbabwe $500 million in credit lines, but were cautious because of
conflicting signals on policy.

Zimbabwe's government, formed between Tsvangirai's MDC party and President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF, must resolve an economic meltdown that has led to
hyperinflation and a virtually worthless local currency. Prices double every

After meeting South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and Finance Minister
Trevor Manuel to discuss a recovery strategy, Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe
planned to use a number of currencies but was not considering adopting the
rand as legal tender.

"As for the long-term economic recovery it has not been assessed ... but I
think it would run into billions of dollars, maybe as high as $5 billon,"
Tsvangirai said at a news conference in Cape Town.

Tsvangirai, accompanied by Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti, said
Harare had to look at ways to encourage foreign direct investment.

"Obviously as a country that is emerging from such a dire situation, foreign
direct investment is one of the areas of focus ... anything that is
inhibitive for foreign direct investment ... has to be reviewed," Tsvangirai


The Reserve Bank is looking at currency options. It has repeatedly revalued
its dollar and lopped another 12 zeros off the battered currency this month.

"Our currency is devalued almost to a point of non-use, so we are going to
use a multi-currency approach ... But a4 the moment there is no talk about
the randification (of the economy). It is a multi-currency facility we are
looking at," said Tsvangirai.

Motlanthe said earlier this month Zimbabwe, which is grappling with
inflation of 200 million percent, could adopt the rand, but he did not give
details. The rand is widely used on Zimbabwe's black market, alongside the
U.S. dollar.

On Friday, Zimbabwe's central bank governor, Gideon Gono, said financiers
had offered credit lines, but wanted clarification over reports suggesting
the bank's recent monetary policy statement and the national budget
presented by then acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa 7ould be

Media reports quoted Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara as telling
business leaders to disregard both policy documents, and the new finance
minister, whose MDC party has been critical of Gono, told Reuters this week
he would present a new budget.

"As we work to stabilise the national economy, we advise our principals in
the field of 0olitics to carefully weigh their pronouncements, particularly
in technical areas such as banking and finance, that risk destabilising the
economy," Gono told reporters in Harare.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis has been worsened by the suspension of
international aid, mainly over policy differences with Mugabe, in power
since independence from Britain in 1980.

(Additional reporting by Nelson Banya in Harare)

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Financiers offer Zimbabwe $500 million in credit lines

Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:13pm GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - International and regional financiers have offered
Zimbabwe $500 million in credit lines to help repair its economy, but they
remain cautious over conflicting government signals on policy, the central
bank said on Friday.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono told reporters the funds would be used to
rescue the economy following moves to liberalise the economy and the
formation of a unity government, which is expected to ease political

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Tsvangirai in South Africa seeking bail out funds

By Lance Guma
20 February 2009

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met South African President Kgalema
Motlanthe in Cape Town on Friday, for meetings that focused on his request
for a financial aid package. The continued incarceration of political
prisoners such as Roy Bennet, Jestina Mukoko and 30 others, was also
expected to take centre stage in the discussions. On the back of a promise
to pay civil servants in foreign currency Tsvangirai is now under pressure
to raise the required funds. This follows unconfirmed reports that he made
the promise without first securing the money needed to meet the commitment.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi from ZANU PF, also traveled with Tsvangirai.

At a press briefing soon after the meetings Tsvangirai said the country
would need as much as US$5 billion to repair the battered economy. He said
they were looking at attracting direct foreign investment to help
resuscitate the economy. Tsvangirai also said they planned to use a number
of currencies in the meantime, but ruled out adopting the Rand as legal
tender. 'Our currency is devalued almost to a point of non-use, so we are
going to use a multi-currency approach,' he said

The absence of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono from the meetings exposed
deep divisions between him and the new Finance Minister. Biti is alleged to
have likened Gono to an 'Al-Qaeda' like official, deserving to be put before
a firing squad for the mess he has created as central bank governor. Biti
has already made several changes to schemes which were introduced by Gono,
including the voucher payment scheme. On Wednesday Biti directed that 'with
immediate effect, all vouchers issued to civil servants as payment of
allowances will be redeemable into cash at designated banks'. Gono sniped
back saying this had the potential of creating an 'acute foreign currency
crisis' and chaos in banks, since government was broke.

Little wonder Tsvangirai is hoping to get a R10 billion aid package from
South Africa to shore up the economy. He is also approaching South Africa
because President Motlanthe pledged to rally support for Zimbabwe, once a
coalition government was in place.

The full extent of the lack of cash can be seen by the fact that staff at
Zimbabwean diplomatic missions around the world have been reduced to
destitution, after not being paid for months. And on Friday the country's
biggest building society, CABS, announced it was closing 37 branches, due to
what it called an 'unfavourable economic environment.'

The only relief for Tsvangirai has been the fact that the teachers union has
agreed to get their members back to work on Monday, despite not being happy
with the US$100 allowances.

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Two unidentified suspicious looking men stalk human rights lawyer - ZLHR

February 20th, 2009

ZLHR Logo At around 13 00hours today, two unidentified men stalked human rights lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama, who is representing detained human rights activists and some members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The men started to stalk Muchadehama as he was leaving Court 13, Rottenrow magistrate’s court.

The two unidentified men suspected to be state security agents, followed Muchadehama to the main entrance of the court and stood within earshot as Muchadehama briefed Dr Francis Lovemore, one of the doctors who examined the detained political prisoners about proceedings in court, where Magistrate Gloria Takundwa had just ordered the immediate and urgent medical examination of the four detainees including Kisimusi Dhlamini, Regis Mujeyi, Mapfumo Garutsa and Andrisson Manyere, who appeared in court on 20 February 2009.

The two unidentified men had been in court meticulously taking notes during remand hearing proceedings, where Muchadehama successfully sought an order for the examination and treatment of the four detainees. Muchadehama also successfully obtained an order compelling the State to give a trial date for the accused persons.

ZLHR is greatly worried about the rising incidences of harassment and attacks against lawyers. This act of stalking was deliberately meant to spook Muchadehama. ZLHR condemns such clandestine acts by the unidentified men who distracted a legal practitioner who was executing his duties.

ZLHR Press Release

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Roy Bennett visits limited; no bail hearing set - MDC

MDC Press Release - In what is clearly a vindictive move and an attempt to punish Roy Bennett, MDC Treasurer General and Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate, wardens at Mutare Prison say they have been instructed to limit Roy Bennett’s visits to one visit per week. Since yesterday, Roy Bennett lawyers have attempted to lodge an urgent bail application in the High Court but have been sent from pillar to post and told there was no judge to attend to their application.

The treatment of Roy Bennett is clearly vindictive, an attempt to punish him, and pressure him into submission. Roy Bennett has consistently rejected to be horse traded in any underlying political deal or negotiation. His commitment to a just political settlement remains unchanged, and it is inconceivable that it will change. He emphasized that there can never be a shortcut to national healing. The healing process has to be fair, just, democratic and inspired by the need to create a sustainable foundation for a democratic Zimbabwe. The healing process must satisfy the ‘weak’ in voice, in the most remote part of the country, and should be people driven rather than be an elite pact.

MDC Mutare Mayor Brian James saw Roy Bennett in the morning today. The conditions in the prison are so deplorable that one person in Roy Bennett’s cell died yesterday and the body is still to be removed. Prisoners are literally starving to death. MDC Mutare Mayor Brian James will ask Red Cross to intervene in the desperate situation.

We demand that the Inclusive government takes the issue of human rights seriously and creates conditions for the restoration of people’s freedoms and dignity. It can not be business as usual when political activists are in detention for politically motivated charges. We demand that they be released immediately and unharmed.

Via MDC Press Release

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Biti, Gono, Mutambara lock horns

February 20, 2009

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Simmering tensions between Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor,
Gideon Gono and finance minister, Tendai Biti erupted Friday.

Gono accused the new minister of engaging in aimless power games that were
interfering with his own functions as central bank chief.

Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara also stocked fires Thursday when he
told a high profile business forum in Harare that Gono's recent monetary
measures would be reversed.

Mutambara advised business to disregard the fiscal and monetary policies
recently announced by the then acting finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa
and Gono.

"Don't base your planning on Chinamasa's or Gono's statements," Mutambara
told a roundtable of chief executives held in Harare, "There will be
fundamental reviews on these."

In the monetary policy statement, the central bank also liberalized the
country's exchange rate regime, while allowing the free circulation of
multiple currencies in Zimbabwe.

Biti, a critic of Zanu-PF's economic policies, also said changes would be
effected to Chinamasa's budget.

Following the pronunciations by the two MDC officials, Gono said the central
bank was on Friday inundated with calls from stakeholders seeking
clarification on the legal standing of his monetary policy.

"The reported nullification of the recent monetary policy statement has
unfortunately unsettled the market, at a time when we should be working for
the return of the macroeconomic stability," said Gono.

Gono was adamant his statement constituted the legitimate policy position in
the affairs of monetary policy management of the country. He said the
pronunciations by both Mutambara and Biti were "at variance with the
dictates of the law".

"As a nation," said Gono, "let us, therefore, discourage the temptation of
deliberately causing disruptive confusions through breaking of the law, or
inadvertent abuse of our various standings in society."

Gono, one of the closest allies of President Robert Mugabe, was adamant he
had consulted widely to come up with his monetary policy statement.

The central bank chief, who spoke in a combative tone, declared he was by
law still in charge of the central bank.

He urged bankers and business to stick by his statements and avoid what he
said was unnecessary panicking.

"As we work to stabilize the national economy," Gono said, "We advise our
principals in the field of politics to carefully weigh their pronouncements,
particularly in technical areas such as banking and finance that risk
destabilizing the economy.

"Ordinarily, where there is room for policy enhancement, such enhancements
must be done in an orderly and professional manner, with the singular
objective of being constructive in the public interest, as opposed to
deliberately engaging in destructive pronouncements."

Gono continued, "Where past policies need improvement, let us work to
improve on them.

"Where recent policy measures brought relief to industry and consumers, let
us support the positives and consolidate the gains from such developments,
as opposed to the careless throwing of blanket statements that cloud
business certainty.

"Above all, as Zimbabweans, let us speak the language of nation healing,
unity of purpose and hard work.

"Engaging in needless brawls, either as a way of proving the mightier among
ourselves, or as a result of ill-advice from those around us should be
avoided in the national interest.

"Let us rise above selfish, sectoral or political considerations in the
interest of the common goal advancing the interest of our motherland,

Biti on Wednesday reversed a voucher system which had been introduced by
Chinamasa as payment towards civil servants' allowances.

He said the scheme was inflexible and also limited the choices available to
the recipients.

"It has become necessary to review and modify this scheme," Biti said.

"With immediate effect, all vouchers issued to civil servants as payment of
allowances will be redeemable into cash at designated banks.

"With effect from March 2009, payment of allowances to civil servants will
be made directly into their respective foreign currency accounts and
therefore the voucher payment scheme will cease forthwith."

Biti also said banks were now putting in place arrangements to open parallel
foreign currency accounts to the already existing Zimbabwe dollar accounts.

He said the policy direction of licensing business to sell goods and
services in foreign currency were an unnecessary and costly exercise on the
part of the central bank which has been carrying out the licensing.

"Hence with immediate effect, the licensing requirement to transact in
foreign currency is hereby set aside and all producers, retailers and other
traders are now deemed licensed for purposes of transacting in foreign
currency," he said.

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Top government official backs Chihuri

February 20, 2009

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - A senior government official David Mangota has backed
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri over the dropping of all murder
charges committed during the run-up to last year's presidential election run

Mangota, who is the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, also ordered personnel in his ministry to effectively
grab farms from the remaining white commercial farmers since they will not
have the opportunity to do so after the inclusive government has taken full

Addressing civil servants among them magistrates and senior police and army
officers here yesterday, Mangota said his ministry has already asked
president Robert Mugabe to pardon those found guilty of cases committed
during the campaign for the June 27 presidential election run-off.

He said all murder cases committed between March and June last year should
be dropped to ensure that the nation starts operating on a new leaf.

"We are ordering you magistrates and other judiciary personnel to drop all
murder charges committed during the run-up to the presidential election
run-off", said Mangota.

"We are in the process of promoting national healing hence those whose cases
have not been finalised should be set free".

"We have since asked president Mugabe to pardon all political prisoners
especially those with cases committed during the run to the polls."

On the issue of land Mangota ordered personnel in his ministry to grab the
land from the remaining white farmers arguing that they will not have the
chance to do so when the inclusive government takes full control of
government affairs.

"We are saying those of you who have no land should grab it," said Mangota.
"We are giving you until the end of this month to do so."

A wave of fresh farm occupations is reported to have swept across some parts
of Masvingo during the past two weeks.

Some of the farms that have been occupied include Quagga Pen Ranch in
Mwenezi, Iris farm owned by Digby Nesbit in Chiredzi, and Chidza farm owned
by John Bolland.

During the run up to president Mugabe's controversial victory  scores of
Zanu PF supporters among them youths war veterans and senior Zanu PF
officials including former cabinet ministers unleashed a reign of terror in
the countryside beating, torturing and killing people.

Among the former ministers named in connection with political violence is
former Minister of Finance, Samuel Mumbengegwi and his wife, the late
minister without portfolio, Elliot Manyika, and former Minister of  Energy
and Power development retired colonel Mike Nyambuya and former Minister of
Health David Parirenyatwa.

While the MDC has called for the prosecution of all perpetrators of violence
Zanu PF remains adamant that they should go scot-free.

Commissioner General Chihuri last week ordered provincial commanding
officers to drop all murder charges committed between April and June 2008.

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Zimbabwe Cabinet costs 'could feed half country'

20 February 2009 09:37 GMT

Zimbabwe's new unity 46-member Cabinet will cost $2 million a month in
salaries and allowances, a figure enough to feed about half of the starving

The Cabinet, the most expensive in Zimbabwe's history, was sworn in Friday,
charged with a tough job of lifting the troubled country where foreign
investment is non-existent.

The country's joint transitional government has 31 ministers and 15

President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is allocated 15 Cabinet portfolios
while prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) has 13 in line with last years' power sharing deal.

The three remaining Cabinet posts belong to a smaller MDC faction led by
Arthur Mutambara. Of the 15 deputy cabinet posts, eight go to Zanu-PF while
Mr Tsvangirai's MDC and Mr Mutambara's MDC get six and one respectively.

According to the salary schedule of the new cabinet, ministers will be
getting over $1,300 each month with deputies earning a bit less. Permanent
secretaries will be earning just below $1,000 a month.

On top of the salaries, Cabinet ministers and their deputies are entitled to
various fat allowances that in a month add to $2,000 each. They will also
get about two Mercedes Benz S-Class vehicles and two luxury all-terrain

President Mugabe's annual salary has been put at about $21,000 with Mr
Tsvangirai and his two deputies earning slightly below. They are all
entitled to various plump allowances.

President Mugabe, Mr Tsvangirai and the two deputy prime ministers' staff
will be earning salaries slightly below $1,000 among other various perks,
setting back troubled Zimbabwe by over $2 million a month.

According to international aid agencies, the figure is enough to feed about
half the population that urgently requires food aid. With Zimbabwe's economy
in terminal decline and most fingers pointing at Mugabe for the mess,
analysts wondered where the money will come from.

Jethro Mpofu told that the country cannot afford the huge
cost of the new Cabinet since the nation is hard pressed for foreign

"Instead of the country looking for foreign currency to bring back our
industries, health and education to their feet, we would be wasting scarce
currency which we do not have to meet the government expenditure," Mr Mpofu

"The government expenditure is huge for a small country like ours and should
be cut."

Max Mnkandla added: "Where is money going to come from? The country has no
money; it is broke for such expenditure. The cost of the Cabinet can go a
long way in solving the humanitarian crisis."

Zimbabwe's costly MDC-Zanu-PF unity Cabinet had its inaugural meeting on
Tuesday. It is charged with providing a quick fix to the nation's comatose

Teachers, doctors and nurses are on strike over pay since last year. Mr
Tsvangirai has promised to pay them and other key professionals and soldiers
in foreign currency from the end of this month.

Western countries and donor agencies say they will only assist the new
government after "political prisoners are released, there is end to
political violence, "repressive legislation is repealed, a credible
financial team and the production of a credible economic plan is put in
place and when a clear road map to the national elections, with guarantees
that they will be conducted freely and fairly, in full view of the
international community" is put in place.

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Feast planned for Mugabe's 85th in hunger-ravaged Zimbabwe

Africa News
Feb 20, 2009, 11:52 GMT

Johannesburg/Harare - More than 100,000 US dollars is expected to be spent
on Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's 85th birthday party next week -
while more than half his country's population lives in dire poverty.

Africa's oldest leader turns 85 this Saturday, with a lavish party to follow
on February 28.

Earlier this month a fund raising event was organized by Mugabe's Zanu PF's
youth wing and pledges of 110,000 US dollars were made for the birthday

Others promised rice, cattle, goats, pigs, bread, tomatoes, and maize-meal
for the birthday party, despite much of the country's population facing
severe hunger.

The party is due to take place in a farming town of Chinhoyi, the capital
town of his rural home province of Mashonaland West.

Speaking on national radio earlier this week, Absolom Sikhosana, Zanu PF's
youth leader, admitted raising funds for this year celebrations have been
more difficult.

'We are appealing to those who have pledged for the 21st February Movement
(Mugabe's birthday) celebrations to make good their promises,' said
Sikhosana on Tuesday.

'We know things are tough, but it would be nice to honour the pledges you

Another fund-raising dinner dance is scheduled for the eve of Mugabe's
birthday. Patrick Zhuwawo, Mugabe's nephew, told the state media earlier
this month that the youth wing hoped to raise a total of 300,000 US dollars
for the event.

Once a hero to many Zimbabweans and Africans, Mugabe has seen his domestic
popularity wane over the past decade, and his international reputation hit

Last year he lost a presidential election to opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai. However, the electoral commission said Tsvangirai had failed to
garner the required majority.

A second poll won by Mugabe was not recognized after being marred by
killings and violence by his supporters.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai have since formed a coalition government.

'I think Mugabe is misguided - maybe it is age - he must not have this kind
of a party when the people he claims to be ruling are suffering,' said
Lovemore Madhuku, a human rights activist and political commentator.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst ever economic and humanitarian crisis. A raging
cholera epidemic has claimed close to 4 000 lives since August last year,
whilst hyper-inflation has rendered the national currency effectively

The UN says more than five million Zimbabweans need food aid.

'I have not seen a person who has become a shadow of himself like Mugabe,'
said Raymond Majongwe, a political analyst and trade unionist. 'I am sure he
is being ill-advised. His family shops abroad but it forgets that they are
using our money. The tax payers can not afford to fly to go shopping.'

Mugabe, is married to Grace - his second wife about 40 years his junior.
Critics have called her the 'first shopper' of Zimbabwe instead of the First

Recent western media reports claim Mugabe has bought himself a multi-million
dollar house in Hong Kong.

Grace Mugabe last month grabbed the headlines for attacking a photographer
in Hong Kong, where she was on a shopping spree.

Mugabe has been at the helm of Zimbabwe since independence 29 years ago.

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Makes no sense to celebrate in a sea of poverty, Mugabe told

Friday, 20 February 2009 18:08

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's 85th birthday this weekend is
nothing to celebrate for youngsters living in wretched conditions under his
rule, British-based charity Save the Children said Friday.

The charity said 10 percent of children would not live to the age of
five in Mugabe's Zimbabwe, while millions who survive were struggling to
live, let alone get an education.

"As Mugabe throws parties in Zimbabwe for his 85th birthday, one in 10
children in his country are destined to die before their fifth birthday,"
said spokeswoman Sarah Jacobs.

"Most of their mothers won't even live to half the president's age."

Mugabe, who has just sworn in a new unity government with former rival
Morgan Tsvangirai as premier, has led Zimbabwe to absolute ruin during his
29 years in power, while he and his family have led lives of comparative

"There's nothing for children to celebrate in Zimbabwe," said Jacobs.

"As thousands of pounds are spent on birthday food and drink, millions
of children struggle to survive on basic food aid rations, often with no way
of getting clean water."

And she added: "The birthday wish for many children here is to get
their education, but with most schools closed and fewer than one in 10
children now in class, there's little chance of that."

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Cholera infection exceeds 80 000 - WHO

Friday, 20 February 2009
THE number of cases in Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak has exceeded the
80,000 mark, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said today (Friday 20

The death toll since the outbreak began last August reached 3 759 out
of a total of 80 250 cases on February 19, according to the latest update by
the WHO and Zimbabwe's Health Ministry.
That compared with 78 882 cases and 3 712 deaths recorded on Tuesday.
WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said there were still problems with the
health system in Zimbabwe, where the country's ravaged economy and
spiralling inflation has especially hit the wages of health workers.
The WHO is continuing talks with partners to find ways of providing
financial encouragement for local health staff, she told journalists.
Earlier this week, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
called on Zimbabwe's authorities to lift restrictions on humanitarian
workers and criticised the state of the health system.
Widespread cholera outbreak, under-resourced and under-staffed health
system, and inadequate access to safe drinking water and hygiene are
threatening the wellbeing of thousands of Zimbabweans.
So bad is the situation that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has
established a cholera control and command centre, in conjunction with the
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and other health partners, to respond
in a coordinated manner to Zimbabwe's health challenges. WHO said it was
seeking donor support its cholera response plan.
Approximately half of cholera cases have been recorded in Budiriro,
Glen Norah and Glen View,  heavily populated suburbs in the western
outskirts of the capital, Harare. Other major concentrations of reported
cases include Beitbridge, on the South African border, and Mudzi, on the
border with Mozambique.
The outbreak could surpass 100 000 cases, according to an estimate by
the Zimbabwe Health Cluster, which is a group coordinated by WHO and
comprising health providers, non-governmental organizations and the MoHCW.
The estimate is based on six million people, or half of Zimbabwe's 12
million population, potentially being at risk of contracting cholera, with
an estimated 1% of those at risk of actually suffering from cholera.
With the current rainy season there are risks for further spread of
cholera if strong measures are not taken.
To make matters worse, panic has set in. Many Zimbabweans are fleeing
their country, bringing cholera to their neighbors in Botswana, Zambia and
There are also serious regional implications, with cholera cases
crossing into South Africa and Botswana.
In December, South African health authorities said the country had
recorded 460 cholera cases and nine related deaths, mostly in border areas
near Zimbabwe. Botswana said it recorded 234 and eight related deaths.
What has been done? The Zimbabwe health ministry's answer to the
cholera outbreak was to shut off the public water supply in Harare, since it
did not have the foreign currency to buy chemicals to ensure that the water
supply was clean. Aid groups such as World Vision and Oxfam, and UN agencies
such as UNICEF have taken up some of the slack by distributing food and
water purification tablets, but these are stop-gap measures at best. This is
a very sad state of affairs, particularly in light of the lack of food and
sometimes shelter for the people of this impoverished nation.
Most persons infected with the bacteria that cause cholera suffer mild
diarrhea or no symptoms. Less than 10% of persons infected with the El Tor
biotype of Vibrio cholerae O1 have illness requiring treatment at a health
center if they are adequately hydrated. However, if full blown cholera
strikes in geographies where medical personnel are not acquainted with
modern treatment methods, many people might die.
Cholera causes profound diarrhea and fluid loss. It has been
characterized as a violent gastroenteric illness. Cholera patients should be
evaluated and treated quickly. With proper treatment, mostly consisting of
rehydration, even severely ill persons can be saved. Prompt restoration of
lost fluid and salts is the primary goal of treatment. Delay to therapy can
be fatal.
The symptoms of moderate to severe cholera are the hallmark profuse,
watery diarrhea (sometimes referred to as "rice water stool") leading to
dehydration, nausea and vomiting, muscle (particularly the legs) cramps,
restlessness, irritability, signs of severe dehydration (such as dry mouth
and tongue, thirst, "tenting" of loose skin, and altered mental status up to
The major cause of the cholera outbreak is the inadequate supply of
clean drinking water and poor levels of hygiene. Shortages of medicines,
equipment and staff at health facilities throughout the country are
compounding the health challenges.
WHO is advocating for improved access to oral rehydration salts for
treating moderate dehydration, which is a symptom of cholera. This could
help quickly reduce sickness and deaths.

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Freelance photojournalist and others further remanded in custody

20 February 2009
By Violet Gonda

Photojournalist Anderson Shadreck Manyere and six MDC activists accused of
organising a series of bombings of police stations and railway lines, were
further remanded in custody on Friday.

Their lawyer Alex Muchadehama said they had appeared for a routine remand
hearing at the Magistrates' court to be advised for a trial date, but the
State failed to provide one. The defence lawyer said as usual the State is
using delaying tactics, because "it has no evidence against the accused
persons and have been providing just excuses."

There are about 30 civic and political detainees in detention or missing,
some for almost 4 months now. Muchadehama said currently five are detained
in hospital at the Avenues Clinic, 11 are being held at Chikurubi Prison,
three are in protective custody (the State claims they are wanted as State
witnesses). He said the whereabouts of the rest are unknown.  All the
accused persons are linked to alleged plots to destabilise the former ZANU
PF government.

The seven who appeared in court on Friday were the same group who had
appeared in the High Court the previous day, for a bail hearing. Four
individuals had been granted bail by High Court Justice Yunus Omerjee, but
that order was immediately suspended by the Attorney Generals office, who
said they would be making an appeal in the Supreme Court.

The farce continued Friday when State prosecutor Florence Ziyambi said a
trial date would be set when police investigations on allegations of torture
had been completed. But the lawyers say the police report on torture
allegations cannot be credible, as the court is basically asking the
perpetrators to investigate themselves. Muchadehama said: "But the report
was actually an attempt by the police to exonerate themselves because they
are totally denying that they did anything untoward against the accused

He said the police did not ask the doctors of the accused for their findings
and they did not even interview the political detainees on the matter. "They
never did anything to try and go to the roots of the complaints."

The seven have now been remanded to March 6th and it is hoped that then a
trial date will finally be set. But the State prosecutor said it was
difficult to set a trial date before the end of March, as the first term of
the High Court ends in March, and that term is full - an indication of more
delaying tactics.

Of the seven who appeared in court on Friday, three were remanded in
absentia, because they are in hospital. The State has so far disobeyed
numerous court orders for all the political detainees to receive proper
medical treatment in a private hospital. So far only Chinoto Zulu, Zachariah
Nkomo, Jestina Mukoko, Fidelis Chiramba and Ghandi Mudzingwa, are
hospitalised at the Avenues Clinic.

Meanwhile, lawyers representing MDC Treasurer General and Deputy Minister of
Agriculture designate Roy Bennett, filed an urgent bail application in the
High Court on Thursday. His Lawyer Trust Maanda said the matter would be
heard on Tuesday. Bennett was slapped with terrorism charges this week and
remanded in custody until 4th March.

The MDC issued a statement on Friday saying wardens at Mutare Prison were
being vindictive and attempting to punish the MDC official by limiting his
visits to one per week.

The party said Mutare Mayor Brian James visited Bennett on Friday and said:
"The conditions in the prison are so deplorable that one person in Roy
Bennett's cell died yesterday and the body is still to be removed. Prisoners
are literally starving to death."

There has been an outpouring of support for Roy Bennett, with a USA Senator
highly criticising the arrest. Senator Russ Feingold, Chairman of the Senate
Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs said: "I am deeply
concerned by the arrest of Roy Bennett. This appears to have been a
deliberate attempt to keep him from being sworn in with other cabinet
members last week and to undermine the newly formed unity government."

"If so, this calls into question Robert Mugabe and his allies' commitment to
genuinely share power and implement democratic reforms. I will continue to
monitor the situation in Zimbabwe and Mr. Mugabe's actions closely. I urge
the Obama administration to do all it can to ensure that Mr. Bennett is not
tortured and to press for his immediate release."

However Robert Mugabe has played down the arrest and told reporters on
Thursday he doesn't see why the arrest has made news around the world.  He
said: "The issue of Roy Bennett is making headlines worldwide. I wonder why?
This is a court case. Let the courts decide for themselves."

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New Deputy Minister promises media reform

By Tichaona Sibanda
20 February 2009

A day after being sworn into office, Jameson Timba, the Deputy Minister of
Media, Information and Publicity says his immediate task will be to restore
media freedom in the country.

He said this will include working on the immediate return of closed
publications and the freeing of the airwaves. Timba will work alongside ZANU
PF Minister Webster Shamu, who has reportedly ordered the state media to
start reforming by toning down it's inflammatory language against the MDC.

It is understood Timba, the outgoing chairman of the Association of Private
Schools and a media columnist, has laid out a plan that he has already
presented to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that will involve asking
Parliament to repeal the government's tough media legislation. He has also
promised to look into the issue of banned international news organisations
such as the BBC and CNN. He has pointed out that the Global Political
Agreement, signed by all parties to the inclusive government, calls for the
country's tough media laws to be changed and to allow private radio,
television and daily newspapers to operate under a unity government.

Zimbabwe's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), is
currently one of the harshest media laws in the world, under which
journalists can be jailed for two years for working without a licence from
the state Media and Information Commission.

The Criminal Codification Act imposes sentences of up to 20 years in jail on
journalists or other citizens, convicted of publishing false information or
statements that are prejudicial to the state.

A source told us the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists was preparing to make its
representations to the new ministers, on the need to speed up the process
and ensure they start work on the deregulation of the draconian media laws.

Sunsley Chamunorwa, a former editor of the Financial Gazette, said; 'If the
state media can criticise the government and report things as they are and
allow other media players to operate, only then can we say there seems to be
some kind of reform in the country.'

Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF government, which has in the last five years banned
four newspapers, including the country's biggest daily paper, The Daily
News, is regarded as one of the most media repressive regimes in the world.
Broadcasting regulations ensure that no one is able to set up an independent
radio station.

The country has two daily papers, both of them owned by the government.
The government-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings operates four radio and
one television station, all tightly controlled by the Ministry of

The media sub-committee of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee
(JOMIC) told us last week it would meet with the new information minister as
soon as he was appointed, to start working on the reforms. But many
observers are concerned that the appointment of Webster Shamu as Information
Minister, the government has no real intention of reform and it will be
extremely difficult to enforce changes.

JOMIC is a special multi-party taskforce mandated with supervising the
implementation of the inclusive government. In theory this includes working
to 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.

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Restore value of Zim dollar -rural folk plead

Post Reporter

RURAL communities have called on the new inclusive Government to restore the
value of the local currency because they are failing to access the foreign

Many people still have piles of local currency, which have been rendered
useless, as most traders were not accepting it as a legal tender -preferring
to sell their products and services in United States of America dollar,
South African rand, British pound and Botswana pula.
The rural communities' concerns follow the presentation of the first quarter
of the 2009 Monetary Policy, in which the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor,
Dr Gideon Gono, presented that the new measures were meant to liberalise the
Since the announcement, virtually all services and goods providers started
charging in hard currency without accepting the local currency as a legal
tender. This has had a telling effect on the rural communities, who are
struggling to come to terms with raising the required foreign currency,
hence, the latest call to Government to have the local currency - which they
have ready access - to retain its legal tender status.
"Tiri kufa nenzara apa tiine mazakwatira emari yemun,o asi mashops ari
kuiramba. Deno Hurumende itsva yadzorera mari yedu yakare. Hatina nzira
yekuwana nayo mari iyi yekunze. Ini ndichitaura kudai, handisati ndambowana
chinonzi foreign currency chacho.
(We are dying here, but we have wads of local currency, which all shops are
not accepting. Our only call for the new Government is to restore the value
of the local unit. We have no way of accessing the foreign currency and as I
am speaking, I have never seen how this 'foreign currency' looks like),"
said one elderly farmer from Himalaya in Mpudzi Resettlement Scheme in
Mutare rural.
A Zimunya woman, Mrs Jane Madove, urged the business community not to take
advantage of the current economic crisis to rip off consumers.
"We might be in a crisis, but at times our business people are becoming
greedy and exploiting rural communities. We are calling on the new
Government to address the plight of the rural communities.
We do not have any way of getting foreign currency, and while all these
shops in rural areas do not have foreign currency trading licences, they are
charging all their goods in forex. We hope the new Government will give back
value to our dollar," she said.
However, the new Finance Minister, Mr Tendai Biti, was quoted in the Press
as saying adopting the rand currency would not resolve the country's
problems without a package of economic reforms.
"Using the rand without addressing fundamentals that have led to this
economy where we are will not work. It doesn't benefit Zimbabwe or South
Africa," said Mr Biti.
The Finance Minister said he would engage Western donors, who were sceptical
of the power-sharing Government with President Mugabe and have set
conditions for the release of aid.

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Sekeramayi: State security minister, dark horse of Zimbabwe politics

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Sydney Sekeramayi holds the record as the only
minister to have survived the chop in all cabinet reshuffles since Zimbabwe's
independence in 1980.

He is the only member of successive cabinets in Zimbabwe's 28-year history
as an independent state.

Other senior members of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF - until February
13 the only party in power since 1980 - have had an on-and-off relationship
with the cabinet, characterised by eras of domination followed by long
periods in the political wilderness.

Quiet and reserved, Sekeramayi was Zimbabwe's Minister of Defence from 2001
to 13 February 2009 when he was appointed Minister of State Security in a
unity government between Mugabe's ZANU PF and the Movement for Democratic

A Swedish-trained medical doctor, Sekeramayi was born on 30 March 1946 and
served as Zimbabwe's first post-independence Minister of Transport.

During Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war, he served as ZANU PF's
representative in Sweden.

Sekeramayi owes his decision to pursue a medical career to Zambian President
Rupiah Banda who facilitated a scholarship for him to study in
Czechoslovakia in 1964.

Although he initially studied genetics at a university in Czechoslovakia, he
later moved to Sweden to study medicine.

Banda was then the international secretary of the Zambian Students Union.

As state security minister Sekeramayi is in charge of the Central
Intelligence Organisation, the dreaded spy agency accused of masterminding
attacks on opposition supporters ahead of Zimbabwe's violence-marred
presidential election run-off last June.

He is considered to be a neutral figure in the faction-ridden ZANU PF, a
close ally of both Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and retired army
general Solomon Mujuru who is husband to Vice President Joice Mujuru.

Seen as the dark horse of Zimbabwean politics, he is often mentioned as a
possible successor to President Mugabe when he retires.

  JN/nm/APA 2009-02-20

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Remittances saved the country from collapse

Photo: Gnerk/Flickr
Life saver
HARARE, 20 February 2009 (IRIN) - The official sanctioning of foreign currency as legal tender in Zimbabwe to tackle hyperinflation is bringing into sharp relief how remittances have staved off the country's complete collapse in recent years.

Before Robert Mugabe's government officially endorsed foreign currency, long queues would form outside banking halls to exchange foreign bank notes for Zimbabwean dollars, but since the use of foreign currency has been permitted the queues have shifted to commercial banks, where money transfers are processed.

An executive at a commercial bank in the capital, Harare, who declined to be named, told IRIN that the bank had opened two additional counters specifically to deal with money transfers.

"We would not have survived these harsh times had it not been for our son and daughter in England," Zodwa Nyathi, 58, of Cowdray Park, a working-class city suburb, told IRIN as she waited in a queue outside a commercial bank. Both her son and daughter pursued tertiary education and decided to remain in the UK after they had completed their studies.

Money in the pocket

Foreign currency remittances from Zimbabweans living outside of the country - excluding hand-to-hand transfers - were expected to double in 2009 from an estimated US$361 million in 2008, according to projections by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a UN agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty.

Other estimates have put all remittances from expatriates in Britain to Zimbabwe at about US$1 billion annually.

"If this is true, it puts a new dimension on this issue - it shows that the actual Zimbabwe-origin population in the UK is much bigger than estimated, and that they are sending much more money home than we ever imagined," Eddie Cross, a prominent member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told IRIN.

"This would explain where all the foreign currency that keeps this country going, is coming from; it explains why many more people are not actually dying from the present crisis in terms of hunger, malnutrition and neglect."

''This would explain where all the foreign currency that keeps this country going, is coming from; it explains why many more people are not actually dying from the present crisis in terms of hunger, malnutrition and neglect''
About seven million of Zimbabwe's official population of 12 million, or more than half the people, are receiving food aid, although this does not factor in the millions thought to have left the country in recent years.


Cross said the remittances explained the government policy of printing money, which fuelled hyperinflation and enabled the ruling ZANU-PF elite to access hard currency and fund their lifestyle.

Zimbabwe's central bank estimated in 2008 that locals were spending an estimated US$950 million annually on basic commodities in neighbouring states, a trend believed to have precipitated ZANU-PF's decision to dollarize after the local currency collapsed under the weight of hyperinflation, officially estimated in July 2008 at 231 million percent.

Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, US, and hyperinflation specialist, estimated inflation in Zimbabwe at 89.7 sextillion percent in November 2008.

It is thought that more than three million people - at least a quarter of the population - have left for neighbouring states and further afield to Britain, the US and Australia, to escape 94 percent unemployment, hyperinflation and a humanitarian crisis at home.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Mugabe brushes off MDC detentions

From The Cape Argus (SA), 20 february

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says he doesn't see why a terrorism case
against a longtime rival has made news around the world. Mugabe's first
public comments on the charges faced by Roy Bennett show the gulf between
his Zanu PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change, two longtime
opponents now trying to work together in a unity government. "The issue of
Roy Bennett is making headlines worldwide. I wonder why?" Mugabe said
yesterday. "This is a court case. Let the courts decide for themselves." The
Movement for Democratic Change, the former opposition party, says Bennett's
arrest a week ago is part of a plot by Zanu PF hard-liners to wreck
Zimbabwe's unity government. On Wednesday a judge ordered that Bennett be
held for at least two more weeks pending trial on terrorism and weapons
charges linked to long-discredited accusations that his party had plotted
Mugabe's overthrow. While Mugabe refuses, at least in public, to acknowledge
the seriousness of the case, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has raised it with
him in private. The detention of Bennett and other opposition figures and
human rights advocates raises the pressure on Tsvangirai to convince
supporters that joining a government with Mugabe and his Zanu PF party was
not a mistake. Mugabe has called the unity government a "temporary measure"
to stabilize the country so that new elections can be held.

Tsvangirai had nominated Bennett to be deputy agriculture minister. The
other deputies and junior ministers were sworn in yesterday, among them five
Zanu PF politicians Mugabe had at the proposed last minute . Mugabe said the
extra five would serve as advisers to the president and the prime minister.
The main cabinet consists of 32 ministers sworn in last week. Mugabe has 15
ministers, one of whom shares control of the police ministry with one of
Tsvangirai's ministers; Tsvangirai has 14; and Arthur Mutambara, the leader
of a MDC breakaway faction, has three. This week a High Court judge granted
bail under harsh conditions to four political prisoners in Zimbabwe but the
prosecutor immediately succeeded in getting their detention extended. The
arrests also continued. Harare car dealer "Jumbo" Davidson was arrested and
is being held in Harare Central Police Station, accused of driving Roy
Bennett to the airport last Friday. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has
called for "urgent intervention" in the continued detention of MDC
supporters and other civil rights activists and a photo journalist. High
Court Judge Yunus Omerjee granted bail to four MDC members accused of
organising a series of two minor explosions bombings of police stations and
railway lines. But his order was immediately suspended, following the
invocation of the state's appeal to the Supreme Court.

No evidence linking any of the detainees to any acts of violence by the
accused has yet been presented to any court. Judge Omerjee granted bail to
four, Chinoto Zulu, Zach-ariah Nkomo, Mapfumo Garut-sa and Regis Mujeyi,
after their lawyers applied for bail at the High Court. The bail
applications of three more, Kisimusi Dhlam-ini, Gandi Mudzingwa, prime
minister Morgan Tsvangirai's former personal assistant, and freelance photo
journalist Andrison Manyere, were denied. Judge Omerjee said the state had
not shown any progress in investigations nor provided further evidence in
court implicating them.

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South Africa Unrepentant Over UN Security Council Role

20 February 2009

South Africa's two year term on the UN Security Council, which ended on December 31, was colored by controversy. Its votes on Zimbabwe, Burma and Iran drew criticism from the United States and other countries, as well as from human rights groups disappointed over its positions.  

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
At the United Nations last July, there was uncharacteristically undiplomatic language directed at South Africa.

"I think he is out of touch with trends in his own country," U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said, referring to then South African President Thabo Mbeki, after South Africa had helped block a sanctions resolution against Zimbabwe's rulers.

And early in its two year term, South Africa voted against a resolution demanding an end to human rights abuses in Burma, much to the dismay of the human rights community.

Steve Crawshaw
Steve Crawshaw
"South Africa, which in many respects embodied so much hope in so many different ways, and interestingly at home still has a pretty good track record of democratic behavior," Steve Crawshaw of Human Rights Watch said. "And yet when it looks outward it refuses to address these things or wish the Security Council or the international community to do these things."

South Africa says its positions have been misrepresented.

Outgoing Ambassador to the United Nations Dumisani Kumalo
Outgoing Ambassador to the United Nations Dumisani Kumalo
Outgoing Ambassador to the United Nations Dumisani Kumalo maintains that dissenting votes on Zimbabwe and Burma were simply votes against considering these issues in the UN Security Council. 

He says they should not be interpreted as blocking a human rights agenda. "We didn't want human rights to be used as a tool: 'If I don't like you I trot out human rights violations that you may have' but when it is Guantanamo Bay," Kumalo said. "They keep quiet and you know when it is Gaza they keep quiet."

He says the US and others willfully mischaracterized South Africa's policies.

"We didn't do things the way the British and the Americans wanted us to do them and if you don't do it like the big ones, the French and the Americans and the British, the way they want to do them, then you are a cheeky African, well I am happy being a cheeky African," Kumalo assert.

UN Ambassador Sir John Sawyers
Britian's UN Ambassador Sir John Sawyers
Responding to his comments, Britain's UN ambassador, Sir John Sawyers said in a statement that Ambassador Kumalo is an "outstanding public servant" and "personal friend" but also described him as a "bit of a maverick."

Even though South Africa's Security Council's term is now over, Ambassador Kumalo says he hopes his country will continue to play an increasingly important role in global politics.

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Zimbabwe sports minister urges New Zealand to tour

From The Associated press, 19 February

Harare - Zimbabwe's new sports minister, David Coltart, said Thursday the
New Zealand cricket team has an obligation to tour the troubled African
country in July. Movement for Democratic Change member Coltart, a white
elected senator from Bulawayo, said he would vigorously lobby the New
Zealand government to allow the team to tour. "My call to the New Zealanders
is clear and unequivocal," Coltart told The Associated Press. "People have
to give this coalition government a chance, and that applies to all levels,
cricket included. I would like to see the New Zealand team touring Zimbabwe.
If it need be I will go to New Zealand to persuade them to come." New
Zealand Prime Minister John Key said earlier this week he was prepared to
order the players not to tour Zimbabwe on safety and health grounds and had
previously said the team should boycott the tour on moral grounds. "I'd be
deeply sceptical about whether they would be going," Key said. "We don't
support that regime. We don't support what's happening in that country, and
we don't want to give a signal that we do." But Coltart, who became sports
minister as part of the new coalition government which has MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai as prime minister, said the tour was in the best interests of the
people of Zimbabwe and its cricketers and could help promote positive change
in the country.

"I am not turning a blind eye to the inadequacies in our cricket and our
country," Coltart said. "My call must not be interpreted that way. My call
is in the interest of the public, the players and cricket in Zimbabwe. My
call is in terms of sportsmanship." However, Coltart conceded that political
repression in the country made it difficult for touring teams to come. "It
also applies to the broader context of political sanctions. We need to build
measures. For as long as people are in detention it's hard to lift
sanctions," he said. "The same applies to cricket. For as long as there are
concerns in the game here then my words will fall on deaf ears. If the whole
political situation has not changed it will be hard for them to come." He
said he was confident that the new unity government would lead to
improvements in the political situation. "We will look at the wider
political issues seriously. My wish is that by the time they (New Zealand)
are scheduled to come in July these issues would have been addressed,"
Coltart said. After nearly 30 years of one party rule by President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu PF party, Zimbabwe's economy has collapsed, with a widening
cholera epidemic and spiralling prices. Last year, official inflation based
on the tumbling local Zimbabwe dollar was given at 231 million percent but
the state statistics office is no longer able to calculate the inflation
rate because of acute shortages of gasoline, food and most goods.

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Offer of help

Hi - I am a Telecom professional Project Manager formerly with Cable &
Wireless and PA Consulting Group. I have 30 years experience and am
unemployed. I would like to donate my time to come to Zim and work with or
run any projects to restore the infrastructure. I just need subsistence but
I can use my contacts and experience to help make projects happen -
Telecomm/IT/electricity generation and distribution.

How do I do this and who do I speak with? Tried emailing the MDC and the Zim

I am in the USA but a UK Citizen

Cell: 307 220 0071

 [We have email address for anyone who has a genuine reason for contacting
Pat Duffy...Editors]

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FYI - at a meeting yesterday John Robertson, the Economist, stated that the exorbitant bills being sent out by utilities must not be paid- the budget does not balance and apparently it is an attempt to recoup losses incurred over many years, in one month!! You will be cut off but they will have no income and will be forced to take action. Also Biti still has to come out with a new budget so do not be "ripped off" in the meantime - just advise the authority that you are not able to pay owing to the cost.

If you agree - pse pass on.



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Dzivarasekwa residents resolve not to pay Foreign Currency rates!

20 February 2009



Harare residents in Dzivarasekwa and Kuwadzana areas have declared their commitment to take the city Council through the paces of non-cosmetic consultation of residents over rates and the city budget as they, unequivocally resolved not to pay any rates charged in foreign currency. Speaking at a highly charged ‘Meet your councilor’ public meeting organized by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), residents from wards 39,40 and 45 settled for rate boycotts among other resolutions on issues discussed.


The residents in these and other high density areas have been directed, by the City Council and Zinwa (amidst the hand-over-take-over confusion), to pay as much as US$ 34-00 (thirty five United States dollars) for rentals, water and sewer reticulation. The rates are not only prohibitively high but unjustifiably farcical as residents are already burdened with the skyrocketing cost of living, with the bread basket currently above US$ 80-00 (eighty United States dollars) per week. The charges are also not derived from a budget as the city budget is still pending; the charges are allegedly drawn from the elite, quasi-budgetary activities of a clique of technocrats and special interests, non-progressives at the Town House.


The residents out-rightly and rightfully reject to pay the rates and demand that the City Council follow the partipatory Budgeting path as per the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15), Section 219(2) and (3), which clearly provides for the residents’ participation. CHRA will continuously create platforms for the residents to engage with their Councilors and other leaders.


CHRA remains committed to advocating for effective, professional, affordable and accessible service delivery and to principles of democratic local and central governance.



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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The problem of great expectations

Patience Mambo submitted the following piece to Kubatana recently on the subject of expectations in regard to the new Unity Government. She believes that its good to have hope and faith, but within the bounds of reason and realism . . .

The political crisis in Zimbabwe since 1999 has led to a rise in the cost of living, an unlivable economic climate, despair, unrest and socio-psychological turmoil. That the two political rivals should finally agree to work together presented a thin thread of hope millions of Zimbabweans were desperate to clutch at. But are they placing their eggs in one basket? Are they being too hopeful for solutions in a scenario that may or may not work?

In 1980, Zimbabwe gained independence from white colonial rule. Suddenly blacks were free to walk in Salisbury’s First Street, they could stay “kumayard” such as Highlands, and they could ride in first class public transport and so on. Most (many of whom were poor and impoverished) dreamt that independence meant an instant change in their social position. They dreamt that suddenly they were in a land of milk and honey and when they realized that they still had to work for every bread crumb they ate, they got a rude awakening.

The story is the same for black South Africa. Independence from White apartheid rule in 1994 carried a huge wave of expectation. Many black South Africans thought independence would usher in a lightning bolt of social transformation. Suddenely they saw themselves rising from shacks (mikuku) to brick houses; they saw their pockets filled with the much coveted Rand; education for their children in the plushest of schools formerly meant for white South African children; the list is endless. But this was not to be and today, the majority of black South Africans are still to realize those dreams.

11 February 2009 marked a great and historic event in the Zimbabwe’s, and indeed the Southern African Development Community’s calendar. Three major political rivals formed a joint government in perceived to be impossible circumstances. Zimbabwe has had the same president for close to 30 years. The ruling party has been battling with a stubborn and headstrong opposition for the past 10 years. So it becomes not only exciting and intriguing that they should finally come together to form a much awaited and long overdue government.

The majority of the people are looking to this new political dispensation to dilute (if not erase completely) their suffering and magically transform their lives from Egypt and lead them to the New Canaan.

People should be informed that manna will not simply fall down from the sky to pick up and eat at free will. People will still have to work hard to produce and henceforth generate much needed foreign currency. If you are uneducated you will not wake up a general manager, if you are lazy, you still won’t have bread to feed your children. Those willing to give the new leaders a chance, while working hard for themselves stand a better chance. Those who think things will automatically improve have a bitter pill to swallow. It’s good to have hope and faith, I think, within the boundaries of reason and realism!

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A letter from the diaspora


Dear Friends,

There may be an Inclusive Government but nothing much changes in Zimbabwe. I
was reminded of that this week when I saw that Augustine Chihuri, the Police
Commissioner, has issued a directive that all investigations into murders
committed before, during and after the June elections of 2008 should cease.
Just before the 2000 General Election, there was a similar order from the
top. The whole country had suffered a paroxysm of violence carried out by
the militia, the CIO, the police and military. I had first-hand experience
of just how that order was carried out on the ground. I was living and
working in Murehwa, Mash East at the time and a good friend of mine was a
policeman. He had been hastily transferred from Murehwa to Mudzi, the
epicentre of the violence in the province and I remember him telling me that
the police actually had the suspects in the cells when the order came from
Police HQ that the men were to be released. All charges were to be dropped;
there would be no prosecutions. My friend had been a cop for twenty years,
proud to wear the uniform of the ZRP. Now he was deeply ashamed to be part
of this patent travesty of justice. Three months later he left the police
and began the long hard slog to survive and keep his family together. He
could not, he said, any longer live with his conscience and continue to be
part of the forces of so-called law and order. Inspired by the example of
this honourable man, I began to write a series of detective stories designed
to show how impossible it is for an honest policeman to operate in a country
where the police have become nothing more than a political arm of the ruling
party. The Dube books are fiction but they were born out of the reality of
what was happening - and is still happening - in Zimbabwe.

Chihuri's latest directive to drop all investigations into the murders
committed during before and after the June 2009 elections illustrates only
too well that nothing has changed. With sickening hypocrisy, Chihuri's
directive concludes with the following sentence, "The decision has been made
in the spirit of promoting national healing in view of the inclusive
government." ( The Zimbabwean 19-25 February 2009). I fail to see how the
release of men accused of murder, rape, mutilation and torture can possibly
be seen as promoting anything other than the culture of impunity that has
characterised Zimbabwean society for the past nine years. If 'national
healing' is indeed the motive then how does the arrest of Roy Bennett fit
into that 'noble' aim? And what of the continued detention of all the other
activists held on spurious charges of banditry and possessing weapons of
war? Just yesterday, 19.02.09, a High Court judge ordered that one group of
detainees be granted bail only to have the order immediately revoked by the
Attorney General's Office on the grounds that the judge's order was in
contravention of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. The accused are
back in gaol again and Roy Bennett will also be incarcerated until March
when his trial opens.

"The issue of Roy Bennett is making headlines worldwide. I wonder why," says
Robert Mugabe. "This is a court case. Let the courts decide for themselves."
This from the man who has more than once affirmed that court decisions have
no validity if they go against his government's policies, the same
government which has ignored the SADC Tribunal's ruling on white commercial
farmers' right to stay on their farms. Even now those farmers are being
harassed and intimidated to quit their properties; rumours are that they
must all be off their farms in time for Mugabe's 85th birthday. Another
lavish gift for the old man, no doubt, so that he can boast yet again that
his 'land reform' programme is successfully completed. The new Minister of
Agriculture is none other than, Joseph Made, he of the eagle vision who
claimed he could see flourishing maize crops where there were none when he
flew over the country in a helicopter back at the height of the land
invasions. Little or nothing has changed in Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

The MDC will hold a rally in Gweru tomorrow, February 21st and Mugabe's
birthday, to 'celebrate' their progess along the road to democracy.
Thousands are predicted to attend but looking in from the outside I do not
see much cause for celebration. Yes, the MDC are now in government but
Robert Mugabe and/or his generals will see to it that they have no real
power. The fact that hundreds of MDC supporters are dead or rotting in gaol
while their killers and torturers walk free is evidence of that. I am sure
that Morgan Tsvangirai is a man worthy of respect but if he is not very
careful, he will be seen as 'Guilty by association' with Mugabe's murderous
regime. The question has to be asked, how far will Tsvangirai and his party
go before they stand up and say Enough is Enough to Robert Mugabe? How many
more arrests of MDC people will be tolerated? Inclusive Government is a sham
if it cannot protect the rights of all Zimbabwe's citizens.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH. aka Pauline Henson author of
Countdown a political detective story set in Zimbabwe and available on

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