The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Tsvangirai calls for reconciliation

February 22, 2009

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai called for
national reconciliation and forgiveness on Sunday after years of political
conflict in the country.

Tsvangirai, who entered into a unity government with President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party this month, also said the time had come to address poverty and

"This nation needs national healing. It has endured so much violence. Let's
forgive those who have transgressed against us . ," Tsvangirai told
supporters of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at a rally in Gweru,
220 km (140 miles) southwest of Harare.

"If there's no national healing, there won't be progress."

Zimbabwe's new government urgently needs to find a solution to the country's
economic meltdown that has led to the world's highest inflation and a
worthless currency.

Tsvangirai said last week it would cost as much as $5 billion to repair the
shattered economy.

He said on Sunday that Mugabe, himself and Arthur Mutambara - leader of a
breakaway MDC faction - were committed to the unity government.

"We realized that the time had come to sort out this mess. There is absolute
poverty and hunger in this country. This is what prompted us to work with
ZANU-PF and I am sure that is what also prompted ZANU-PF to agree to this
inclusive government," he said.

The MDC has said the detention of some of its members, including that of
senior party official Roy Bennett, can undermine the power-sharing

Bennett was arrested on February 13 before he could be sworn in as deputy
agriculture minister and has been charged with terrorism. The High Court
will rule on his application for bail on Tuesday.

Tsvangirai said the issue of ongoing detentions will be addressed.

"We can't be a government that wants to give people freedom, and at the same
time be the one that detains people. We are very conscious of that fact and
we will deal with that matter."

Mugabe lost a first presidential poll to Tsvangirai a year ago before
winning a subsequent run-off which the opposition boycotted over political

Analysts say the partners have no choice but to make the unity government
work despite their policy and personality differences.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Unity govt "only way out" of crisis: Zimbabwe PM

GWERU, Zimbabwe (AFP) - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Sunday said a
national unity government was "the only way out" of Zimbabwe's crises and
urged the international community to support it.

Adressing more than 7,000 supporters in Gweru town, about 220 kilometres
(140 miles) south of the capital Harare, Tsvangirai appealed to the
international community to help the crisis-blighted nation and accept its
citizens' right to chose their own government.

"The international community should help us but accept that Zimbabweans have
a right to choose and they have decided that the inclusive government is the
only way out," he said at celebrations for the 10th anniversary of his
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

"Please support us," he said, adding that President Robert Mugabe and Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who heads an MDC splinter faction, were
committed to making the transitional power-sharing government work.

He told his supporters, including ministers and parliamentarians that the
MDC would not be "swallowed" up by Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

"MDC will never be swallowed. Instead, it will swallow," Tsvangirai boasted
amid cheers by his supporters.

Tsvangirai, Mugabe's long-time rival, took office as prime minister on
February 11. Cabinet ministers were sworn in two days later to complete the
process of forming a unity government that has to haul the nation out of
crippling political and economic crises.

Schools in Zimbabwe are shut, its economy lies shattered after 29 years of
Mugabe rule and its healthcare system is struggling to cope with a cholera
epidemic that has claimed more than 3,750 lives.

In July, the country's inflation rate hit an unprecedented 231 million
percent and most essential civil servants, including teachers, nurses and
doctors have been on strike since last year over poor pay.

"This nation needs national healing. It is now time to say let's forgive
those who have trespassed against us. If there is no national healing, there
is no progress. We should heal the nation, let's us reconcile as a nation,"
the MDC leader said.

He said the new government should restore people's freedom, free political
detainees, stabilise the economy and resolve a devastating humanitarian

"Things were bad, there is nothing there (in government coffers). We will
borrow because the situation is dire," the prime minister said.

Tsvangirai said on Friday that it could take up to five billion dollars to
get the Zimbabwe economy back on track.

On political detainees, he said: "I want to assure you that this government
will lose face if it continues detaining them. We are very concerned about

He called for the release of one of his party's choices for a ministerial
post, Roy Bennett, and about 30 other political and rights activists held in
jail since last year.

Bennett, a white farmer, has been detained since his arrest on February 13.

A Zimbabwe court said it would this week rule on terror charges against him.

Bennett, the MDC's treasurer and its pick to become deputy agriculture
minister, has appeared in court on charges of illegal possession of arms for
purposes of committing banditry, insurgency and terrorism.

A top UN assessment team is currently in Zimbabwe to discuss with Mugabe,
Tsvangirai, UN officials, and government and non-governmental organisations,
the humanitarian crisis in the southern African country.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai pleads with the West to fund power-sharing government

Africa News
Feb 22, 2009, 14:56 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday made an
impassioned appeal to the international community to fund the country's new
coalition government, calling the situation in the hunger- and
disease-wracked country 'dire.'

Speaking at his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party's 10th
anniversary celebrations in Gweru, about 300 kilometres south-west of
Harare, Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe had to 'borrow and beg' for aid to turn
around the battered economy.

'Please be in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe,' Tsvangirai said,
appealing to international donors.

On a visit to South Africa on Friday, Tsvangirai had estimated the long-term
cost of rebuilding Zimbabwe after a decade of severe misrule at up to 5
billion dollars.

Tsvangirai's appeal followed the arrival of a top-level United Nations
humanitarian delegation on Saturday. The UN team is in Zimbabwe for five
days to assess the country's cholera and food crises with a view to
mobilizing funding.

Close to 4,000 people have died since last August in the cholera epidemic
that was sparked by the breakdown of sewage and water supply systems, and
around 7 million of an estimated 11 million Zimbabweans require food aid.

Tsvangirai agreed to take his party into government with President Robert
Mugabe, Zimbabwe's longtime leader, earlier this month to try to help steer
a turnaround.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

I will have “difficulties” saluting Tsvangirai: Constantine Chiwenga
Sunday, 22 February 2009
• ZDF chief doesn’t believe MDC leader should have role in govt
• Meanwhile officers warn juniors could mutiny over
    HARARE – Zimbabwe defence chief General Constantine Chiwenga has told military colleagues that he will have “difficulties” saluting new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, impeccable sources told The Zimbabwean on Sunday.
    MDC leader Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara who heads the smaller formation of the MDC, have formed a government of national unity that analysts say is critical to rescuing Zimbabwe from crisis but which continues to face deep resistance from many within the old establishment.
    Our sources said Chiwenga – who is the top military commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) that comprise all of the country’s armed forces – said he remained opposed to Tsvangirai assuming any role in government.
    But Chiwenga, who together with the other service chiefs boycotted the inauguration of Tsvangirai as premier, said that his views were personal and that he would not stand in the way of officers who may want to salute or show respect to the Prime Minister.

    Suspicious of Tsvangirai
    “Chiwenga made it clear that he was suspicious of Tsvangirai and the MDC,” said a senior officer in the army who attended a meeting where Chiwenga made his remarks.
    The meeting held last Tuesday at the army’s KG IV headquarters was part of Chiwenga’s routine monthly meetings with fellow generals and other senior officers. The officer, who spoke on condition he was not named said: “He (Chiwenga) said he would not stop other officers from saluting Tsvangirai.
    “In fact he made assurances that he is not going to victimise any officer who chose to salute or respect Tsvangirai. But he went on to say that personally, he is going to have difficulties saluting Tsvangirai.”
    Chiwenga’s reluctance to accept Tsvangirai in government is not surprising. In the run-up to last
    June’s controversial presidential run-off election Chiwenga and other top generals and security chiefs said that they would never salute Tsvangirai if he ever came to power – a declaration that at the time was viewed by many as a threat to stage a coup against the MDC leader if he won.

    Violent campaign
    Following the utterances by their senior commanders, agents from the spy-Central Intelligence
    Organisation, 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 families.
    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 he was forced by the regional SADC alliance and the African Union to open talks with Tsvangirai and Mutambara to form a government of national unity.
    Mugabe has remained in charge of security in the unity government although his Zanu (PF) and the MDC share control of the Home Affairs Ministry that oversees the police
    It was not immediately clear whether Chiwenga’s views were shared by other top security commanders as other reports over the past week suggested that CIO director general Happyton Bonyongwe had urged his subordinates to support the unity government and work for its success.

    Meet the Prime Minister
    Other unconfirmed reports suggested that Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and co-Home Affairs Ministers Kembo Mohadi, National Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and the service chiefs will meet the Prime Minister this week as part of efforts to ensure better working relationships among all government departments.
    Asked about Chiwenga’s reported comments, Tsvangirai’s spokesman, James Maridadi, disclosed that Mnangagwa and Mohadi had already met the Prime Minister last week and pledged their loyalty to the new government.
    “The Prime Minister expects the ministers to make subordinates aware of their constitutional obligations. After all, the ministers pledged to uphold the rule of law during the meeting,” said Maridadi.
    Chiwenga was not immediately available for comment on the matter while Mnangagwa refused to discuss the issue, switching off his mobile phone when our reporters called him on the matter.

    Hamper new administration
    Analysts do not expect military chiefs and others who may be opposed to the unity government to immediately cause it to fall but they say resistance from these still very powerful opponents could seriously hamper the work of the new administration and has potential to cause it to fail in the end.
    Meanwhile sources said senior army officers who attended the Tuesday meeting with Chiwenga chronicled to him the poor living and working conditions of middle-ranking officers and ordinary soldiers that they said had reduced soldiers to “dangerous destitutes”.
    One source said the soldiers were not happy with a US$100-monthly allowance that the unity government is dishing out to every government employee including soldiers saying they wanted
    to be paid more cash which should vary with one’s rank.
    “The meeting went well into the night,” said the source. “Senior officers openly told Chiwenga that soldiers were very near to a mutiny because of the conditions they are being subjected to.
    Chiwenga was told to warn the government to meet soldiers’ demands because the situation in the barracks is deteriorating.”

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    >Why is President Mugabe suddenly recruiting soldiers in Matebeleland?

    Published: February 22, 2009


    ZimEye(Analysis) President Mugabe has announced that his government will between 23 February and 20 March embark on a massive recruitment exercise in the Matabeleland region. Why is Mugabe all of a sudden recruiting fighters when the government is struggling to pay civil servants’ salaries? Why is the geographical location of the recruitment Matebeleland, and not Mashonaland, or Manicaland? What is the MDC saying about this shocking development? Are they aware? Yes of course, this is now public information. What are they saying? Answer: Nothing.

    Below is the article announcing the historic massive recruitment exercise which has been published in the Chronicle.

    THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) will between 23 February and 20 March embark on a massive recruitment exercise in the Matabeleland region.
    Headquarters One Brigade will cover Matabeleland North, while the recruitment team from Bulawayo District (Imbizo Barracks) will take the exercise to Matabeleland South.
    According to a statement from the army’s public relations departments at Headquarters One Brigade and Bulawayo District, prospective candidates should be aged between 18 and 22, while holders of the National Youth Service certificates should be of ages of between 18 and 24.
    The youths should weigh between 57kgs and 60kgs, with a height of between 1,68m and 1,7m.
    They should have at least two O’Levels.
    Applicants should bring with them originals and two certified copies of the National Identity Card, educational certificates and a long birth certificate.
    The applicants should provide an application letter written in their own handwriting, blanket or sleeping bag, a plate, cup and toiletries.
    The potential recruits should be prepared to complete a 10km road run in 45 minutes.
    In Matabeleland South Province, the exercise will start at Masendu Shopping Centre where it would be carried out on 23 and 24 February.
    It would then move to Plumtree 1:3 Infantry Battalion on 24 and 25 February.
    Between 25 and 26 February, the recruitment team would be at Mangwe Marula shopping centre and at Tshelanyemba Secondary School in Kezi on 26 and 27 February.
    Maphisa Rural District Council will play host to the exercise from 27 and 28 February, while Natisa Service Centre in Kezi and Sipero Shopping Centre in Donkwe-Donkwe, also in Kezi would be covered from 28 to 1 March.
    The team will move on to Fort Rixon between 1 and 2 March and then Filabusi and Nkankezi Business Centres on 2 and 3 March.
    Between 3 and 4 March, the recruitment would be at Mbalabala’s Zimbabwe School of Infantry and then proceed to Lutumba Business Centre in Beitbridge on 9 and 10 March.
    Recruitment will continue at Beitbridge One Independent Company on 10 and 11 March, while on 11 and 12 March, the team would be at Zezani Mission.
    From 12 to 13 and 13 to 14 March, the recruitment team would cover Nhwali Business Centre and Guyu in Gwanda district.
    On 14 and 15 March, the exercise would be at Gwanda Showgrounds and the recruitment team rounds off Matabeleland South on 15 and 16 March at Imbizo Barracks.
    In Matabeleland North, the recruitment will start at Tsholotsho District and will cover Tshabanda Secondary School on 23 February, Dinyane Secondary School on 24 February, Nemane Secondary school the following day and conclude at Siphepha Business Centre on 26 February.
    In Umguza District, the exercise would be at Nyamandlovu Police Station on 27 February and proceed to Insiza BC the following day.
    The team would cover Bubi district at Inyathi Police Station on 1 March and Inkosikazi BC the following day.
    On 3 March, recruitment would be at Nkayi district, where it would be at Nkayi Police Station on 3 March, Dakamela BC on 4 March and Gwelutshena on the following day.
    Lupane district would be visited from 6 to 9 March with Phunyuko Secondary School (St Pauls Mission) being covered on 6 March, while Lupaka Secondary School would be visited on 7 March.
    On 8 March, the team would visit Lupane Centre and round-off the exercise on 9 March at Zenzele Secondary School.
    In Binga District, the team will cover Siyabuwa BC on 11 March, Binga BC on 12 March, Siachilaba BC on 13 March and end at Lusulu Secondary School on 14 March.
    The recruitment team would proceed on 15 March to Hwange District, covering Cross Dete BC on the same day, and proceeding to Lukosi Secondary School the following day.
    On 17 March, the team would visit Indlovu Secondary School, while on the following day, it would be at Jambezi Police Station.
    The exercise for Matabeleland North would be concluded in Bulawayo at HQ 1Brigade (Brady Barracks) between 19 and 20 March.


    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    Zimbabwean Minister Sekai Holland speaks from Harare

    This is a transcript from Correspondents Report. The program is broadcast
    around Australia on Sundays at 08:00 on ABC Radio National.

    Correspondents Report - Sunday, 22 February , 2009
    Reporter: Andrew Geoghegan
    ELIZABETH JACKSON: Our Africa correspondent Andrew Geoghegan has just
    returned from Zimbabwe where he witnessed the swearing in of the country's
    new government of national unity.

    He caught up with Senator Sekai Holland who's become the Minister for
    Reconciliation and National Healing.

    Sekai Holland is a founding member of the Movement for Democratic
    Change and has spent much of her time in Australia raising awareness of her
    country's plight.

    She was severely beaten by the Mugabe regime two years ago, but is now
    hopeful that Zimbabwe can begin a healing process.

    SEKAI HOLLAND: By going into the inclusive government, and MDC has
    gone in whole heartedly, we must make things work. The new struggle, the new
    process, is to set up the very structures of conflict resolution of making
    Zimbabweans understand that there is no going back, there is no other route
    except to get Zimbabweans working together.

    That is what the challenge right now is and MDC is determined that
    we're going to stay inside the agreement and actually wage our opening up of
    democratic space from within that united front.

    ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: But Sekai Holland, you've been telling me about the
    MDC youth who are fed up with what's going on and they're disappointed that
    the MDC has gone into government with Zanu-PF.

    SEKAI HOLLAND: Yes, but the challenge for the youths is to find a
    viable, peaceful alternative to what we have done, because if we don't go
    inside there is no other viable, peaceful method of moving Zimbabwe forward.

    And MDC was founded on the principal of non-violence.

    ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Do you think though the MDC is in danger of falling
    into a trap set by Robert Mugabe, that the party will eventually be
    swallowed by Zanu-PF, that MDC members may be corrupted by Robert Mugabe?

    SEKAI HOLLAND: You know, when we went through the debates within the
    party, international executives and international council, it's really sad
    that we Africans don't right things, because there is an understanding that
    it's betrayal if you talk about it.

    But those two last meetings were the most beautiful, most profound,
    most challenging meetings I've attended in my life. The issue of being
    swallowed up took most of the time; 10 provinces out of 12 dismissed that we
    could be swallowed up because MDC is a people's project. We're not in 1983,
    we're now in 2009 and that is Zanu-PF culture and thinking has really died a
    natural death.

    What's going to happen, this is what the country's arrived at, some
    people who come into the decision making structures that have been set up
    may become seduced and fall in the trap of a corruption culture.

    But it's individuals who fall by the wayside, but not MDC, MDC's a
    people's project. It will always be there.

    ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Yet it strikes me that your cause for a democratic
    and free Zimbabwe still has a very long way to go.
    SEKAI HOLLAND: Very long way because we've lost a lot. I mean...

    ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Does it also mean you have to get rid of Robert

    SEKAI HOLLAND: We've got in an agreement where he is the President of
    the country, but I think that also, for me, it's very interesting that the
    whole debate keeps going back to one person who is mortal.

    And immortality, when you get a certain age you do have to retire,
    whether you want it or not because you become dysfunctional and I think, for
    me, that gives me a lot of comfort, that that's the natural course that
    things will take.

    But the more important thing is that already by going into the deal we
    go with our policies, we go with our programmes, we go with our people who,
    for 10 years, have been working to infuse this into the new Zimbabwe.

    What we're dealing with is not an individual, Robert Mugabe, it is the
    Zanu-PF culture - of violence, of corruption, of really never accepting an
    agreement, of impunity - those are the cultural traits that MDC is having to
    work against every day and which Zimbabwean society, in voting on March 29,
    totally rejected.

    So I have no problem with Mugabe being there in a life. What I have a
    problem with is whether we understand the depth of what we have to change
    and really prepare for ourselves for that really difficult task.

    ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: And it is early days, but nothing has changed yet.
    You made it aware to me that even you do not know the cholera epidemic, for
    instance, because you're saying the Government is keeping Zimbabwe in the
    dark about that.

    SEKAI HOLLAND: Excuse me, the culture of keeping people in the dark is
    what we have lived with for 30 years! I mean... from day to day...
    ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: So even...

    SEKAI HOLLAND: No, no I'm saying from day to day you have to find out
    what's happening in the country from your own contacts, and you have to then
    adjust with what you have been told at the official level. That has been the
    reality for 30 years, so nothing has changed there except that as the
    epidemics spreads...

    ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: But with the MDC part of the Government, shouldn't
    the party be insisting that there be openness in this country?
    SEKAI HOLLAND: We are in charge of health, we are in change of some
    ministries which are actually going to allow us to do that and I think those
    will be actually much more upfront with information and data because we
    believe that information is power and if people are informed they know
    exactly how to protect themselves.

    ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Okay, so the fight goes on but still a long way to

    SEKAI HOLLAND: Well, it's a very long way to go because where we
    started in 1980 and where Mugabe has left us 30 years down the road is a
    long distance from the goals.

    But we've been able to fight non-violently and get back on course and
    together as a country we are moving forward, and we can feel the movement
    forward because it's not the same Zimbabwe last week as it is today.

    ELIZABETH JACKSON: Zimbabwean Senator Sekai Holland speaking to Andrew
    Geoghegan in Harare.

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    Defiant Mugabe's birthday banquet

    Zimbabwe's president demands cattle and money from his starving people to
    pay for a surreal party

    Alex Duval Smith, Africa Correspondent
    The Observer, Sunday 22 February 2009

    Robert Mugabe marked his 85th birthday yesterday with a sumptuous banquet in
    Harare at the start of a week of parties which observers say is a further
    sign of the Zimbabwean president's defiance in the face of growing criticism
    of his regime.

    His latest show of excess came as prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai said
    "maybe US$5bn (£ 3.5bn)" would be needed to rehabilitate the collapsed
    health, social and education systems.

    Surreal celebrations got under way on Friday as schoolboy pipers,
    accompanied by drum majorettes, marched through the decrepit capital and
    members of a ruling party youth organisation sold $10 raffle tickets.

    Teetotal Mugabe's private party yesterday was hosted by his wife, Grace, 44,
    and attended by friends and a number of African diplomats. But state
    television did not, as is customary, broadcast his speech.

    A $100-a-ticket gala dinner at Harare's Rainbow Towers Hotel on Wednesday is
    advertised as a musical extravaganza including Nigerian hip-hop star 2Face,
    Congolese rhumba band Werrason and a host of local acts. The parties will
    culminate on Saturday with a public feast and concert at Chinhoyi, about 50
    miles west of Harare, which is to be televised. Dozens of animals will be
    slaughtered for the event and guests include hundreds of children also born
    on 21 February.

    Zimbabwe University political science professor John Makumbe said the
    birthday display was the latest of many signals that the ruling Zimbabwe
    African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) does not intend to respect
    the power-sharing agreement that saw Tsvangirai sworn in on 11 February.

    "The money for the parties and the cattle and chickens donated are extracted
    from people virtually against their will," he said. "Thousands have died
    from cholera and many students are not attending school or university
    because teachers are not paid. It's unbelievable that he can blow
    quadrillions of Zimbabwe dollars on parties."

    The celebrations have been organised since 1986 by a Zanu-PF youth group
    called the 21 February Movement. Initially modelled on scouting and aimed at
    promoting children's rights, it has increasingly become a young sycophants'

    Zanu-PF youth leader Absolom Sikhosana defended the Chinhoyi event: "It is
    not a feast per se, but an event where youths have a chance to meet their
    hero. This inspires them to emulate his exemplary qualities of
    nation-building, patriotism and principled leadership."

    In a sign of the times, the 21 February Movement set out to raise only
    $500,000 (£350,000) for Mugabe's birthday week against a reported $1.2m last
    year. Last week Sikhosana made a heartfelt plea on national radio for
    benefactors to make good on their promises: "We know things are tough, but
    it would be nice to honour the pledges you made."

    According to some reports, pledges for only £70,000 have come in, much in
    the form of food donations. State media has reported that each district in
    Zimbabwe is expected to donate 50 cattle and to raise US$1,500 (£1,000).

    Mugabe had already run roughshod over the power-sharing agreement by
    appointing 61 ministers instead of the agreed 31, Makumbe said. "Each will
    need their Mercedes, their 4x4, their driver, bodyguard and housing. At the
    same time, Tsvangirai is trying to raise money for basic reconstruction."

    Amid scepticism from the international community, Tsvangirai and South
    African President Kgalema Motlanthe did their best to indicate progress on
    Friday. At a joint press conference in Cape Town, Motlanthe even claimed
    that the cholera crisis, which the UN says has killed 3,800 people and is
    worsening, had been "contained".

    Tsvangirai played down the plight of his deputy agriculture minister, Roy
    Bennett, and 30 other activists who are in jail for alleged plotting against
    the regime. He said: "We are working slowly to deal with that matter and to
    make sure it does not become the focus of the attention. The real attention
    has to be on the plight of Zimbabweans."

    The two men announced that Southern African finance ministers are this week
    expected to announce a $1.5bn loan to Zimbabwe, to be underwritten by the
    African Development Bank. The institution is part-funded by Europe and the
    US, but decision-making rests with African governments.

    International donors remain concerned that aid will be diverted to the
    ruling party, just as £20m from South Africa last December mostly ended up
    in the hands of party supporters.

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    An ordinary Zimbabwean is laid to rest, wrapped in plastic

    He died of cholera
    As Robert Mugabe's cronies prepare a lavish 85th birthday party, the people
    wait in vain for a 'unity' government to rescue them. Daniel Howden reports

    Sunday, 22 February 2009

    Richard Mutoti was not celebrating Robert Mugabe's 85th birthday yesterday.
    Neither were his friends and family. Instead, they were lowering his body
    into the ground at Granville Cemetery outside Harare. The 59-year-old was
    wrapped in a plastic bag to prevent the mourners from contracting the
    cholera that had emaciated his body and killed him.

    Mr Mutoti was put to rest amid earth mounds, evidence of the appalling
    legacy of Mr Mugabe's misrule, which Zimbabweans will be coerced into
    celebrating this week. The cholera victim, from Harare's impoverished
    Budiriro 4 district, had been discharged from a cholera isolation camp on
    Friday and sent to die at home. He was lucky to have lived so long; Rectar
    Musapingo, in the grave next to him, died on 22 January, eight months short
    of his 40th birthday.

    Twisted blue and white flowers, fashioned from shreds of plastic, lie about
    between black metal name-plates offering a roll-call of the dead, few of
    whom had survived for even one-third of their President's lifetime. Some of
    the mourners may have seen yesterday's Herald newspaper on their way to the
    funeral, proclaiming that "Comrade Mugabe has been in the trenches slaving
    so that you and me could live a life of dignity". The only dignity left to
    the Mutoti family was a white cloth, used to conceal the cholera bag in
    which their loved one was interred.

    The state mouthpiece had over five pages of gushing praise for the
    President, a former schoolteacher born at a Jesuit mission station in Kutama
    in 1921. "Like a mighty crocodile, you have remained resilient, focused and
    resolute against all odds," said an advertisement from the Defence Ministry,
    in an unintentional echo of the title of author Peter Godwin's scathing
    indictment of Mugabe, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun. It gushed on: "If
    everyone gives just a fraction of what comrade Mugabe has given this
    country, we will be up there with the most advanced countries in the world."

    There was no mention in the Herald's editorial that during his stewardship,
    Zimbabwe's life expectancy has been slashed from over 60 to the lowest in
    the world, at 34 for women and 37 for men. Like so many of the
    incomprehensible statistics that haunt this southern African nation, these
    figures are woefully out of date. They were based on data collected four
    years ago - before the cholera epidemic, before the ranks of the hungry
    swelled from three million to more than five million.

    The number of cholera deaths similarly trails events. According to the World
    Health Organisation the death toll from the five-month epidemic stands at
    3,759, with 70,000 reported infections. Experts say these figures, which
    have already surpassed the UN's worst-case scenario, are a fortnight out of

    The inflation rate is astronomical, the currency worthless - the government
    long abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar for the US dollar or the South African
    rand. And the difficulty Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has been experiencing in
    raising money for a lavish party, planned for 28 February, seems set to
    disprove the African proverb that "you can never finish eating an elephant".
    The scale of this economic meltdown has left the party's February 21st youth
    organisation - set up for the annual drive to pay for the birthday party -
    short of their $250,000 fundraising target. It will have to stage extra
    events this week to secure the money.

    Zimbabwe's new Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, was due back in Harare
    last night after a fundraising mission of his own. He has visited Cape Town
    in search of the first instalments of what he claimed would be the $5bn
    needed to rescue Zimbabwe's economy. He was not expected to be invited to a
    private celebration hosted by Mr Mugabe's notoriously extravagant wife,
    Grace, at their lavish mansion in Harare's affluent suburb of Borrowdale
    last night.

    Among the likely guests were the same inner circle that witnessed Mr Mugabe
    crush, co-opt and overwhelm his last serious power-sharing partner, Joshua
    Nkomo, in the 1980s. He was known as "Father Zimbabwe" to his followers,
    many of whom were massacred during the Gukuranhundi killings. His
    demoralised Zapu party was absorbed into Mr Mugabe's, creating Zanu-PF in

    After 10 days of the new unity government, shades of that history lie over
    the current experiment. None of the conditions laid out by Mr Tsvangirai's
    Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at the swearing in have been met.
    Political prisoners remain in custody; the central bank governor, Gideon
    Gono, who has bankrolled the kleptocratic regime at the cost of ruinous
    inflation, is still in his job.

    The business-as-usual situation is leading an increasing number of
    Zimbabweans to accuse the MDC of being co-opted. Jenni Williams, leader of
    the protest movement Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), says the unity
    government is a sham. "This is a government for politicians, not the
     people," she told The Independent on Sunday. WOZA has for long periods in
    recent years been the only group prepared to mobilise people in public
    demonstrations, and Ms Williams says nothing has changed: "This is
    co-option, not power sharing; it's a unity government in name alone." She
    also suggested that MDC MPs were unlikely to be any more immune to
    corruption than their Zanu-PF counterparts. "They all come from the same
    political culture of corruption," she said.

    Ms Williams warned that aid budgets secured by Mr Tsvangirai and his
    colleagues could spark a feeding frenzy among the country's "me-first"
    politicians. "MPs get to know about tenders, especially now with increased
    aid flows," she said. "MPs will be first to be able to benefit from these

    Ms Williams, who calls herself a "Matabele-Irish", thanks to her mixed
    grandparents, has been arrested 33 times. But she says that police
    harassment has been worse since the new administration took office. WOZA
    members arrested for peaceful demonstrations in Bulawayo last week were
    "humiliated" by being forced to remove their underwear in front of other
    people and undergo anal cavity searches.

    Ms Williams was later called in for talks with senior police officers, only
    to discover they expected her members to stop their activities under the
    unity government. "They think the change should be on our side, not theirs,"
    she said. "I said to them that change is coming to Zimbabwe, there will be a
    truth and reconciliation commission and you'll have to own up to what you've
    done." She said an assistant commissioner of police laughed and said: "Good

    The 46-year-old is currently on remand for what police have called "exciting
    people". "Is it a crime to excite people?" she asked. "People are dying of
    cholera, people are starving to death."

    Every day in Zimbabwe

    34 people die as a result of the country's cholera epidemic.

    6,328,767 is the percentage increase in the real rate of inflation.

    40 political prisoners still wait for release under the "unity" government.

    600 people flee to neighbouring South Africa.

    565 Zimbabweans are infected with the virus that leads to Aids.

    20 grammes of maize is the UN daily ration after recent cutbacks.

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    Daily cholera update and alerts, 21 Feb 2009

     Full_Report (pdf* format - 96.8 Kbytes)

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

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

    A. Highlights of the day:

    - 631 cases and 41 deaths added today (in comparison 288 cases and 6 deaths yesterday)

    - 50.8% of the districts affected have reported today (30 out of 59 affected districts)

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

    - Gwanda district revised deaths categories (One institutional deaths moved to community deaths)

    - Cumulative Institutional Case Fatality Rate 1.8%

    - Daily Institutional Case Fatality Rate 2.0%

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    Urban food security assessment - Jan 2009 national report

     Full_Report (pdf* format - 196.7 Kbytes)


    Food security assessments in urban areas have been too few and far apart, viz; 2003 and 2006. Yet the deterioration of the Zimbabwean economy suggests a rapidly deteriorating food security situation in the urban areas of Zimbabwe. In October 2006, the ZimVAC urban food security assessment estimated 24 percent of the households in the high density and peri-urban settlements of Zimbabwe to be food insecure. The top three best provinces were Mashonaland East (14%), Midlands (17%) and Matabeleland South (20%) and the worst provinces were Bulawayo (35%) Manicaland (33%) and Mashonaland West (28%).

    Since then poverty levels have increased, annual inflation officially estimated at 231million percent for August 2008; the highest in the world, unemployment estimated to be above 80 percent, the Zimbabwean dollar continuing to lose value against major currencies, continuing shortages of basic food stuffs and other household goods, and continued deterioration of water and sanitation infrastructure.

    This continued unabated deterioration of water and sanitation infrastructure has increased the risk of major disease outbreaks, especially in urban areas. It was therefore not surprising that, in August 2008, an unprecedented cholera out break occurred in Chitungwiza and it quickly spread to many parts of the country a few months later. The Ministry Health and Child Welfare and the World Health Organisation cholera surveillance report for December 2008 revealed that the disease had been reported in all the country's ten provinces by that period. It had attacked more than 37,000 people and killed close to 2,000 people. Chief amongst the factors that fuelled the pandemic were the poor water and sanitation prevailing in most urban areas as well as the seriously compromised public health delivery system.

    Given the foregoing, establishing the food security situation in urban areas and how the urban poor are coping with the attendant food security challenges is not only urgent but indispensable information for the formulation of appropriate interventions to address the food insecurity problem.

    It is in this light that ZimVac formulated and implemented the 2009 urban food security assessment with the following objectives;

    - To determine the prevalence of food insecurity and its severity amongst households in the high density and peri-urban areas of Zimbabwe.

    - To identify and describe food insecure households in the high density and peri urban areas of Zimbabwe.

    - To describe the ways and means households in high density and peri urban settlements are employing to earn a living and how they are coping with the food insecurity they are experiencing

    - To identify and describe the socio-economic factors that determines the food security situation of food insecure households.

    - To provide recommendations on immediate, medium and long term interventions to address the food insecurity in urban areas of Zimbabwe.

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    All sanctions on ZANU-PF members should be removed --ZANU-PF

    Sunday, 22 February 2009 17:13

    Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has
    appealed to those countries that have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to lift
    them without further delay to allow the country to embark on its
    developmental path.

    Mumbengegwi stressed that all political parties in Zimbabwe are in
    agreement that sanctions should be lifted, a position that has also been
    emphasized by SADC and the African Union.

    He said Zimbabwe's main political parties are committed to working
    together in the inclusive government, emphasizing that all communication by
    diplomatic missions should be done through his ministry, as stipulated by
    international laws and protocols.

    The minister also expressed the government's appreciation to those
    countries that assisted the nation in combating cholera through the
    provision of food and other forms of assistance.

    SADC states, China, Venezuela and some European countries as well as
    some non-governmental organizations, have donated consignments of water
    treatment chemicals and pharmaceuticals to help in the fight against

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    Ageing Mugabe turns on the charm

        February 22 2009 at 10:22AM

    By Peta Thornycroft

    On the eve of Robert Mugabe's 85th birthday he is still full of energy
    and cunning, a man whom profilers struggle to capture accurately, probably
    because he is much more shallow than most imagine. He is spiteful and, at
    85, still feels he has to dye his hair.

    There is another side to him - which he is using a lot these days as
    Morgan Tsvangirai, the new prime minister, moves around government
    buildings, holding 8am meetings on time, (which shocked slothful Zanu-PF
    ministers last week, who turned up 90 minutes late). He can turn on the

    He has to smile at his enemies last week because he hopes Tsvangirai,
    whom he has insulted continuously for 10 years, will save him from the
    terrible mess he has made of Zimbabwe.

    He is not particularly well read and often fails to anticipate world
    trends, as he did when he woke up one morning and found that his comfort
    zone, the Berlin Wall, had crumbled and his chum, Romanian dictator Nicolae
    Ceacesceau, had been shot.

    He was comfortable with obedient, rigid societies. He learned his
    "conspiracy" vocabulary from people like Ceacesceau and slowly but surely
    created a one-party police state after he violently rid himself of Joshua
    Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union party.

    Edgar Tekere, Zanu-PF's former secretary-general, told a Dutch
    documentary maker in 2001 that watching Mugabe struggling with his
    university assignments in detention had put him off trying for a degree.
    Mugabe was an unimaginative plodder. His main talent is plotting. It's all
    he does most of each week.

    The plots aren't clever. His Central Intelligence Organisation isn't
    efficient at executing them. Most of them fail, although people get hurt as
    they unfold.

    The ones that succeed against opponents only do so because he has
    bought off the judiciary, one by one with the exception of a couple in the
    higher courts.

    The kidnapping of scores of Movement for Democratic Change activists
    ahead of the unity accord after the September power-sharing agreement was
    one such plot, to try to force Tsvangirai to pull out.

    That agreement came because of Mugabe's post-election plot after he
    discovered he had lost heavily to Tsvangirai. He turned to the generals to
    save him and they manipulated a five-week delay while they deployed hit
    squads to rural areas. Those killed and beat enough people to ensure they
    would not vote for Tsvangirai again in the runoff. Mugabe uses treason
    charges with dreary and predictable regularity. They never succeed, even in
    the corrupt courts.

    It happened last week again, when Roy Bennett, a leading member of the
    MDC, was charged with treason - just like he was three years ago in a case
    that failed because of lack of evidence.

    Mugabe needs to be surrounded by incompetent leaders who would never
    succeed in the private sector. Even though he acknowledges that they have
    failed, he needs their reverence and praise.

    Mugabe's appointments to his half of the power-sharing cabinet last
    week demon-strate just how much he needs the comfort zone of the old guard.
    His appointments, all old faithfuls, are a duplicate of Zimbabwe's last
    "worst-ever" cabinet.

    He is plotting now, in the first week of the unity government, to
    ensure that either he or his successor beats Tsvangirai in the next
    elections, which are less than two years away.

    Many are worried there are two centres of power: the new government
    and the other, which meets Mugabe privately.

    Although Mugabe needs Tsvangirai to rescue him, many fear Mugabe will
    do nothing beyond smiles and hand shakes.

    He has demonstrated that he lusts after wealth. He has succeeded in
    accumulating assets locally and in Asia - and not because he made clever

    He certainly didn't make enough out of his paltry salary to account
    for the Mugabe portfolio.

    His birthday party will be a predictable day of praise songs and
    masses of food. This year he has chosen a part of the country where he will
    find pure devotion, near his home district, about 80km north of Harare,
    where he remains "father" to obedient, poorly educated rural people.

    Mugabe's constant theme is defending the "revolution". The gains he
    made after independence were massively funded by the West and a brigade of
    dedicated technocrats who have all since abandoned him.

    Once they began leaving, the rot set in. Long before he destroyed
    commercial agriculture, many schools had begun to fail. The University of
    Zimbabwe was already losing its best staff and students. Government
    agricultural research stations began disintegrating shortly after
    independence. He stamped on the co-operative movement and ensured that trade
    unions remained weak.

    As the economy began to contract from over-regulation, and with
    unbudgeted payments to thousands more veterans than ever fought the
    liberation war, he had dwindling resources used to keep himself in power.

    That was why he seized the white-owned farms. He had promised a group
    of white farmers near his rural home in July 1981, behind closed doors, that
    in public they would have a "rough ride", but that they should never feel

    He told them he wanted them to stay.

    Of course he did. The wealth they earned funded most public revenue
    and earned foreign currency to pay for service delivery which, in turn,
    helped communal farmers become the major maize producers.

    The war inside the country in the early days of independence was in
    the rural areas of Matabeleland. People nearer Harare either didn't believe
    what was going on, didn't know about it or didn't care. Many thought Mugabe
    couldn't possibly have known about it.

    Yet prominent Catholics made sure he knew.

    Human rights lawyers began to emerge. One, David Coltart, was sworn in
    as the education minister last week. He was messed around in the courts in
    the 1980s trying to defend people Mugabe saw as enemies, much as the human
    rights lawyers have been messed around since the MDC became the opposition.

    This birthday party Mugabe really needs to show off - two weeks after
    Tsvangirai has learned from inside the chamber of horrors of the public
    service the extent of the disaster Mugabe has left him to fix. - Independent
    Foreign Service

    This article was originally published on page 10 of Sunday Argus on
    February 22, 2009

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    'Best birthday present Mugabe could give us is to retire'

    ANGUS SHAW | HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Feb 22 2009 09:25

    Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe marked his 85th birthday on Saturday, but
    his beleaguered people had little reason to celebrate.

    Zimbabwe's once thriving economy has collapsed and official inflation is at
    231-million percent. About one quarter of its population has fled, and most
    of those who remain are dependent on food handouts. Poverty and HIV/Aids
    have slashed life expectancy to 37 years for men and 34 years for women.

    Mugabe was expected to spend the day quietly. Lavish celebrations are
    scheduled for next Saturday for the ruling party faithful.

    The government mouthpiece Herald newspaper carried a five-page birthday
    supplement, most of it taken up with colour advertisements with gushing
    birthday messages from bankrupt government ministries.

    The message from the Military and Defence Ministry wished him many more
    birthdays and hoped his wisdom and courage would be protected from "all your

    "We should never forget that for 50 of the 85 years, Comrade Mugabe has been
    in the trenches slaving so that you and me could live a life of dignity,"
    said an editorial.

    "If everyone gives just a fraction of what Comrade Mugabe has given this
    country, we will be up there with the most advanced countries in the world,"
    the Herald said.

    "Comrade Mugabe laid a firm foundation for holistic democracy, unequalled
    reconciliation, education, health, land reform and total independence that a
    decade of ruinous sanctions has dented, but failed to erase," it said.

    Mugabe has repeatedly blamed Western economic sanctions for Zimbabwe's woes,
    which are largely due to his land reform policies started in 2000.

    Mugabe was recently forced to relax his grip on power and enter a coalition
    government with longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai. The government's first
    week in office saw the appointment of 67 ministers, their deputies and
    provincial governors. It is one of the largest Cabinets in the world, and
    each member receives luxury cars and other perks.

    Germany, with one of the biggest Western economies, has 17 Cabinet

    Mugabe's policies after he took the country to independence from Britain in
    1980 helped build up education and health systems that were the pride of
    Africa. But all the early gains have been reversed.

    "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,"
    the charity Save The Children said in a birthday message.

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

    "The birthday wish for many children here is to get their education, but
    with most schools closed and fewer than one and ten children now in class,
    there's little chance of that," the charity said.

    Brian Chibwe, a Harare street vendor, said the extravagant birthday
    celebrations planned for next Saturday in the provincial town of Chinhoyi,
    60km north-west of Harare, were unfair as the nation faced its worst hunger

    "The best birthday present he could give us is to retire," Chibwe said. -

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    Mugabe's daughter in eye of student storm

    CHIPO SITHOLE | HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Feb 22 2009 06:00

    Calls in Harare for the deportation of President Robert Mugabe's daughter
    from Hong Kong, where she is studying for a university degree, have turned

    Sixty university students have been jailed after clashes with Zimbabwean
    riot police during rolling demonstrations that started last week. They
    demanded the expulsion from Hong Kong of 20-year-old Bona Mugabe. The
    students were also protesting against mounting economic hardship and what
    they called the "dollarisation of education".

    Police fired tear gas during the protests, which started earlier this month,
    to prevent students from leaving their campus, but hundreds have breached
    the blockade and marched through downtown Harare.

    "Why is Bona not attending Lupane University or Midlands State
    [University]?" asked Clever Bere, president of the Zimbabwe National
    Students' Union (Zinasu). "Zinasu is urging the University of Hong Kong to
    deport Bona Mugabe, who is pursuing her studies there. She must come back
    home and face the same conditions that fellow Zimbabweans are facing in
    these difficult times. We are incensed by the high level of police
    brutality," the student spokesperson said.

    Campus protests began in early February when rioting students reportedly
    stoned cars in a rampage triggered by a hike in tuition to US$1 200 for
    state university students doing arts, humanities and social sciences, US$1
    400 for those in science and technology faculties and US$1 800 for those
    studying medicine and veterinary science.

    Previously tuition was paid for in Zimbabwe dollars.

    Student leaders said their classmates were further angered by subsequent
    demands for an extra US$400 in exam fees, supposed to be paid by 12pm on
    February 11.

    The news of Mugabe's daughter's enrolment at the University of Hong Kong
    broke at the same time as the rise in student fees was announced. Students
    immediately mounted an online media campaign to pressure the Hong Kong
    administration to deport the president's daughter to Zimbabwe. Bona Mugabe,
    whose father and close associates are banned from entering the United States
    and the European Union, began studying in Hong Kong under an assumed name
    last autumn.

    Mugabe and his associates turned to Asian universities for their children's
    education following Australia's decision in 2007 to deport eight youngsters
    whose fathers were accused of propping up the Mugabe government.

    The London website ZimDaily, run by expat journalists from banned Zimbabwean
    newspapers, has been coordinating the campaign to have the president's
    daughter deported.

    But Beijing is a different kettle of fish. The Chinese government enjoys
    warm diplomatic ties with the Mugabe administration and is likely to reject
    calls to send his daughter home, although some rights activists have
    questioned whether she should be allowed to stay.

    Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor director Law Yuk-kai said: "A child who has
    not done anything wrong should not be asked to take the burden of the wrongs
    of their parents. [But] if the money she is spending was siphoned off
    ordinary people, there is a problem. Just like other members of the
    international community, Hong Kong should do its part in imposing
    sanctions." The Hong Kong government said it had no comment.

    Chipo Sithole is a pseudonym of an IWPR-trained reporter in Zimbabwe

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    Will Mrs Mugabe end up in court?

        February 22 2009 at 11:20AM

    Hong Kong - A police report into an alleged assault by the wife of
    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on a Hong Kong photographer has been sent
    to the Department of Justice to decide whether she should be prosecuted,
    police said on Sunday.

    Hong Kong police are understood to believe they have sufficient
    evidence to prosecute after two vital witnesses were traced following the
    incident involving Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe on January 15,
    according to a source familiar with the case.

    However, police officers involved in assessing the case have also
    raised the question of whether Ms Mugabe might claim diplomatic immunity if
    any proceedings are brought, the source told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

    Richard Jones, chief photographer with Hong Kong's Sinopix photo
    agency, claims he was repeatedly punched by 43-year-old Ms Mugabe after he
    took pictures of her shopping during a visit to the city where her daughter
    Bona is a university student.

    Welshman Jones, 42, said he suffered bruises and cuts on his face and
    forehead inflicted in part by a diamond-encrusted ring she was wearing as
    she allegedly attacked him with a bodyguard and tried to wrestle his camera
    from him.

    Jones reported the alleged assault to police on January 17, by which
    time Mrs Mugabe and her entourage had checked out of their five-star hotel
    and returned to Zimbabwe. It is not known if Mrs Mugabe has been contacted
    by Hong Kong police since her return.

    It was initially thought the incident might have been captured by a
    security camera on the side of a shopping centre but the source said police
    found the event took place just out of the camera's range.

    However, since the investigation was launched, two witnesses - an
    Austrian tourist and a Hong Kong resident - have been traced and have given
    detailed statements to police about the alleged assault, the source said.

    The Austrian tourist is said to have watched "open-mouthed" as the
    incident unfolded and is understood to have given a statement that confirms
    Jones's version of events.

    A spokesperson for Hong Kong police declined to comment on details of
    the investigation into the alleged assault or to say if any attempt had been
    made to contact Mrs Mugabe or whether she would face extradition proceedings
    over the incident.

    The spokesman would not respond to questions about whether Mrs Mugabe
    would be arrested or questioned if she returned to Hong Kong. He said in a
    statement: "No arrest has been made so far. The case has been referred to
    the Department of Justice for advice."

    Jones was working for the Sunday Times newspaper in the UK when the
    incident in Tsim Sha Tsui took place. The same newspaper last week carried a
    report claiming Robert and Grace Mugabe had bought a 5 million US dollar
    home in the city and that Grace had held talks over a diamond cutting and
    polishing venture while in Hong Kong.

    Two other Hong Kong-based photographers working for the newspaper -
    American Tim O'Rourke and Briton Colin Galloway - were allegedly assaulted
    nine days ago outside the Hong Kong property by two men and a woman
    understood to be employed as bodyguards.

    The police spokesperson said investigations into the Tai Po case were
    continuing. "The case is classified as alleged common assault. No arrest has
    so far been made and legal advice will be sought in due course." - Sapa-dpa

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 21st February 2009



      Mugabe and Grace arrive                  A Methuselah of champagne                        Big crowd


    Well we had a brilliant party even if Mugabe didn’t.  A big crowd turned out for our mock 85th birthday celebrations for Mugabe – though his main bash has been delayed until 28th February. The word is that his goons have had difficulty extorting the money required. 


    The Vigil worked on the basis of a report in the London Times saying that Mugabe’s party organisers had ordered 8,000 lobsters and 4,000 portions of caviar to be washed down by 2,000 bottles of champagne and 500 bottles of whisky. We had Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu wearing our Mugabe mask and waving a Methuselah of champagne (6 litres for the information of those who don’t move in lavish Zanu-PF circles). He stood in the doorway of the Embassy with his consort Grumpy Grace (brilliantly played by Emily Gurupira), dripping with diamonds and perched on designer shoes as she scowled at the TV cameramen covering the Vigil. Afterwards she headed off to Harrods to do some shopping armed with a fat cheque from the UN.  Supporters held up posters saying ‘Mugabe spends US$200,000 dollars while his people starve’ and ‘Zimbabwean life expectancy: men 37, women 34, Mugabe 85+’. 


    Thanks to Mai Mutandira who led prayers and to the usual stalwarts: Arnold Kuwewa, Chipo Chaya, Sue and Francesca Toft for their efficient management of the Vigil.  Thanks also to those who led the music: Moses Kandiwayo and Jerry Mtotela (drums) and Patson Muzuwa, Jenatry Muranganwa and Dumi Tutani (singing and dancing).  Others who helped with the media event were Agnes Zengeya, Lovemore Mukyani, Batson Chapata, Kimpton Samkange, Reginald Gwasira, Eunita Masolo, Yvonne Masendu, Esther Magenya, Pattie Williams (for the Mugabe presents of cholera, starvation and corruption) and Dennes Sibanda (security).  Apologies if we have left people out but we are grateful for everyone’s help at a demonstration which drew lots of attention.


    Today saw the launch of another Zimbabwe Vigil in the UK – this time in Newcastle.  We wish them success and will give every support.


    The Vigil welcomed news that the UK government has offered a lifeline to elderly British nationals in Zimbabwe.  Many of these people have seen their Zimbabwean pensions disappear through inflation. One thing we can reassure them about is that they will be in good hands as many carers employed to look after elderly people in the UK are Zimbabweans also driven out of their country by Mugabe.


    A couple more points:

    ·   A vigil management member was asked about the way forward for Zimbabwe and suggested support for ROHR.  The dumbfounded person had difficulty hearing in the midst of the exuberant gathering and said ‘War? – not war!’

    ·   Everyone who signed the register were angry that they have not been included in the bloated new government. ‘This is discrimination. If they don’t give us cars and allowances we will stop coming to the Vigil. Then where would they be?’ 


    For latest Vigil pictures check:


    FOR THE RECORD: around 360 signed the register but many more attended and even though we kept two registers going not everyone was able to sign.



    ·   Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday, 23rd February at 7.30 pm. Abel Chikomo, Director of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, fesh from Zimbabwe will report on recent developments including the continued abuse of detainees' human rights. NB different venue: Development House, 56-64 Leonard St, London EC2A 4LP. Nearest tube station Old Street. From Exit 4 head down City Road and take the first left into Leonard Street.

    ·   Worldwide Day of Prayer for Zimbabwe. Ash Wednesday (25th February) at Southwark Cathedral, SE1 9DA. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have designated Ash Wednesday as a Worldwide Day of Prayer for the people of Zimbabwe. At the services during the day special prayers will be offered each hour on the half hour. The Bishop of Southwark will preside and preach at the 5.30pm Choral Eucharist in special recognition of the links between the Diocese of Southwark and four of the dioceses in Zimbabwe. For more information check: Contact: Steve Harris, Diocesan Communications Officer, Tel: 020 7939 9437, 07949 679401. Email:

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

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

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

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


    Vigil co-ordinators

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




    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    Where is our land of milk and honey?

    February 21, 2009

    By Kennedy Gezi

    AS Zimbabwe marks the beginning of a new chapter in its turbulent history,
    it is worth recalling that the country currently suffers from the world's
    worst hyper-inflation.

    Serious economists have given up trying to give a value to Zimbabwe's

    The last official inflation rate I recall was above 200 million percent.  I
    read a report recently, placing the inflation at a mind-boggling 10
    sextillion percent.  That is a 10 and 36 zeros!

    With the economy shattered, no aspect of Zimbabwe's existence has been left
    untouched.  The education system, once boasted of as one of the best in
    Africa, has virtually ground to a halt with most children not having
    attended school since last year. The health system, also once boasted of as
    one of the best in Africa, is terribly battered. I read a report recently
    that suggested the health system be placed into a receivership, under the
    care of some international body, while the country rebuilds itself.

    There has been recent talk of Zimbabwe adopting the South African rand as it's
    official currency, replacing the now virtually defunct Zimbabwean dollar.
    "Randization", new Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, calls it. As I write the
    country has become an official melting-pot of foreign currencies, after the
    Zimbabwean officials authorized the use of foreign monies for business
    transactions across the country.

    Yet we talk tirelessly of sovereignty.

    The new chapter we now enter is not one that we have all welcomed, or turned
    to easily.  It was simply the best solution left, from what was virtually a
    horrible selection of options, on how the country could move forward.
    However, it is still a new chapter we turned to in the hope of restoring our
    country to its former glory and pride.

    That said, one would hope that the powers that be, who now guide the future
    trajectory of Zimbabwe would hold at heart, the same desire that I believe
    most of us hold, to see our country become the land of milk-and-honey that
    we once assumed it would become in our life-time.

    Looking at the newly inaugurated cabinet however, I personally am left with
    not much confidence that our new trajectory is taking us anywhere but deeper
    into trouble.

    Two days prior to the meeting in South Africa, which finalized the marriage
    of the MDC to Zanu-PF in the newly formed government of national unity
    (GNU), I submitted an article to this news site, which was however rejected
    for editorial reasons. My language was said to be too unrestrained.

    In that article, I argued that the GNU symbolized the death of the MDC.  By
    this, I did not mean to refer to the death of the MDC as a political party,
    but I meant to refer to the death of the MDC as a movement, and a hope for
    political maturity, for justice, and for hope and freedom for the Zimbabwean
    people. The first few days since the consummation of the GNU have not
    convinced me otherwise.

    It was with despair that I learned of the capitulation by Morgan Tsvangirai,
    to what I love to call the SADC gang.  After Tsvangirai initially signed the
    Memorandum of Understanding for the GNU, many had declared to me that
    Tsvangirai was an unwise man.

    Those who often leveled this attack on the MDC leader had blamed his
    shortcomings on his lack of a good academic background. Others even believe
    that Mugabe was ready to give up power to the opposition, but after spending
    some time in discussions with Tsvangirai, he simply could not bring himself
    to handover the reigns of power to someone of demonstrably lower intellect
    to his own.  I had always rejected this charge, in defense of Tsvangirai,
    until his final concession to SADC in joining the GNU.

    We the ordinary people are still not quite sure of what transpired in South
    Africa, but if one is to put together all the various reports that have come
    out since the ending of the last crisis talks on Zimbabwe by SADC on January
    27, it is emerging that essentially Mugabe stuck to his guns, the rest of
    the SADC leadership sided with him, and in-spite of prior advice given to
    Tsvangirai by his national executive committee not to do so, Tsvangirai
    apparently gave in to the SADC demands, for the MDC to enter into a GNU with
    Mugabe's regime.

    Supposedly, Tsvangirai was promised that the MDC's grievances would be
    addressed AFTER the MDC joined the GNU.  Amazingly, Tsvangirai fell for it,
    hook, line and sinker!!  From the scanty reports we have read so far, the
    MDC secretary general Tendai Biti was enraged.

    He was not the only one.

    Since the 2000 referendum, when Zimbabweans decided to finally stand up to
    Robert Mugabe's regime, thousands have been harassed, tortured, maimed and
    killed while millions have had to flee the country.  The only redemption
    that all these people deserved was a complete and fundamental redress of
    Zimbabwe's political climate and system. The MDC not only offered hope for
    that, but promised this to the people, and also won the support of the
    people on that mandate.

    Nearly 10 years later, not only has redemption not been attained for the
    masses, but life has become even more unbearable for everyone except those
    close to Mugabe. However, there has been a glimmer of hope lately, as the
    Mugabe regime was visibly crippled and was only barely limping along.  One
    would assume that this was not a state the regime would have been able to
    sustain for long, and that eventually, the regime would have "crashed and
    burned" as the MDC's own policy coordinator general, Eddie Cross, once
    advocated.  But alas, what happened instead?

    It seems the MDC (or perhaps just Morgan Tsvangirai and a few others in the
    MDC) decided to throw Mugabe a life-line. There is now even talk of an
    imminent deal of blanket amnesty for all the Zanu-PF criminals who have
    abducted, maimed, tortured and killed with impunity, since 2000!!  And from
    the look of things, Tsvangirai may be falling for this as well. Of course,
    the major beneficiaries would be the members of JOC.

    Needless to say, the recent moves by Tsvangirai will certainly bring him the
    same comfort and luxuries that the Mugabe regime has enjoyed since time
    immemorial. We need not hold our collective breath that things will improve
    for the ordinary folk though. For one, it does not look like Zanu-PF is
    making any serious moves to comply with international demands for
    transparency, restoration of the rule of law, freedom of the press, and
    sound economic principles, to facilitate the inflow of aid for the country.

    Gideon Gono sits securely in his five-year governorship term, and
    increasingly sounds more like the Prime Minister himself, as he challenges
    any new moves by the MDC side of the GNU.

    So the milk and honey may now be flowing outside the top echelons of
    Zanu-PF, but it is within the confines of the GNU. For the ordinary folk the
    suffering continues to prevail. The cases of cholera have hit the 80 000
    mark. AIDS cases are no longer talked about, and it is not because we have
    eradicated AIDS in Zimbabwe.

    President Mugabe has just celebrated yet another lavish birthday, while the
    masses held their collective breath for more relief from the outside. On the
    eve of the birthday bash Tsvangirai started to globe-trot with begging plate
    in hand. The 60-plus ministers, deputy ministers, are either now dangling
    new car keys, or anxiously waiting for delivery of same. Meanwhile,
    schoolchildren roam the streets because the GNU can only offer US$100
    stipends as salaries for their teachers.

    Tsvangirai has asked us to judge him and the GNU in three to six years.
    Those of us who do manage to live beyond Zimbabwe's life expectancy of 34
    for women and 36 for men, will certainly judge him and the GNU in 2015.

    But right off the bet Mr. Prime Minister,  I can say, "It is not looking

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    We are not out of the woods yet

    February 21, 2009
    Jupiter Punungwe

    LADIES and gentlemen, I have a question to ask.

    What exactly are we trying to achieve in Zimbabwe?

    Are we trying to turn our country's shattered economy around or are we
    trying to keep the senior members of political parties happy?

    I definitely need someone to explain to me, how creating posts in the
    government for members of political parties who feel that they deserve
    'senior' posts, is linked to economic recovery. Am I alone in believing that
    creation of half a dozen minister of state without portfolio posts is merely
    patronage and back-scratching among politicians?

    We have to keep in mind that patronage and back-scratching is what got us
    into our current trouble in the first place. Giving incompetent cronies and
    friends with lots of time to kill senior posts and access to state coffers,
    is a recipe for corruption and disaster. To me it looks like the GNU is
    walking towards the same cliff we have tumbled over before.

    Zimbabwean politicians are clearly shirking from making decisions that a
    potentially unpopular with their supporters. Such decisions would entail
    unhitching some of the carriages on the extremely large gravy train they
    have assembled.

    Instead of tightening belts, they expect foreign governments, particularly
    the South African government, to bite the bullet and ask their tax payers to
    pay through the nose for Zimbabwe's self inflicted tribulations.

    Absolutely nothing has been done to make sure the mistakes which brought
    Zimbabwe to its knees will not be repeated. There is no mechanism at all to
    ensure that government will not interfere with production and private
    property. Laws effectively allowing the state to nationalize land are still
    in place. Laws threatening private enterprises with nationalization of half
    their equity are still in place. Loopholes through which state officials
    enriched themselves have not been closed. Price control mechanisms are still
    in place.

    Steps to give investors confidence to return to Zimbabwe have not been
    taken. The lack of accountability which makes the Zimbabwe government a
    bottomless pit into which money can disappear without trace has not been
    addressed. For me, the mere presence of the MDC in the GNU is not a good
    guarantee. The GNU seems to believe that merely showing Morgan Tsvangirai's
    face is going to give donors confidence that their money is going to be used
    wisely. That would be a very presumptuous approach to take,

    The government of Zimbabwe should not expect foreign governments to bite the
    bullet on its behalf. They should not arrogantly ask foreign governments to
    risk their political popularity, so that the Zimbabwe government can
    maintain not only their political popularity, but their extravagance as

    South Africa has a budget of R830 billion with an estimated surplus of R5
    billion. What Zimbabwe is asking for (R50 billion according to some sources)
    will wipe out the South African budget surplus, clearly inviting inflation
    to afflict their own economy.

    Even if the burden is spread to other SADC countries we should bear in mind
    that all the other SADC countries combined have a GDP less than a tenth that
    of South Africa. Even with her economy depressed Zimbabwe has a GDP higher
    than many of the SADC countries from which they are now trying to beg.

    For example the entire budget of Malawi is a paltry $1.3 billion American
    dollars, a quarter of what  Tsvangirai is passing the hat around for. Talk
    about the arrogance of those living in the mountains asking those who live
    in the plains for some rocks! When SADC talk about an economic role for
    Zimbabwe, I am sure they are not talking about Zimbabwe being an exporter of

    It is also important to note that the compilation of economic data for
    Zimbabwe using methods commonly used for stable economies yields meaningless
    results. For example the CIA World Fact book estimates Zimbabwe's budget at
    US$179 000,  just enough to buy two or three luxury cars, yet we all know
    that Zimbabwe bought hundreds of luxury cars not to mention free tractors,
    Mugabe's foreign trips and holiday money. This figure is obviously a
    meaningless result of applying a standard formula.

    The greatest problem with this lack of reliable economic data, is that
    politicians are easily able to conceal the extent to which they have looted
    Zimbabwe's state coffers. The other problem is that standard economic models
    cannot be used to plan Zimbabwe's economy.

    The first thing the Zimbabwe government should do is make an effort to live
    within their means. The most visible step they need to take is getting rid
    of the hordes of do-nothing ministers of state. Then they need to thoroughly
    investigate and act upon officials who created and abused loopholes in the
    monetary and fiscal framework. Lastly they need to pare down government
    expenses to bring them in line with the country's levels of production.

    If it means allocating ministers Mazda 3's from Willowvale Motor Industries
    instead of imported Mercedes Benz vehicles then that is the way it should be
    done. If that means reducing the size of the police force and army then that
    should be done.

    Zimbabwe has enough infrastructure and industrial capacity to support its
    civil service. All that is needed is to remove obstacles placed in the way
    of productivity. Failure of which, we must reduce our spending so that it is
    in line with what we are producing. We should never expect neighbours to
    fund our bloated civil service simply for the sake of politicians
    maintaining and shoring up their popularity.

    A cousin who lives with me was delighted last night.

    "Look how Tsvangirai is already looking for money for us," he said

    He is a teacher by profession. I told him we don't need to led by good
    beggars but by good planners, good visionaries.

    Clearly, despite that a government of national unity is now in place, we are
    not out of the woods yet. The solution to our economic problems does not
    only lie in getting more money but in effectively planning and utilizing
    that money.

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    Not the way to start

    Sunday, 22 February 2009

    An agonising uncertainty has gripped Zimbabwe, with the nation
    desperate for some respite from its countless miseries but unsure whether
    the unity government will deliver on its promise.

    It is early days yet to pronounce on the power-sharing government but
    the new administration of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
    Tsvangirai could not have started on more farcical note. First, the unity
    government began by breaking its word to limit the size of Cabinet to 31
    ministers, which would still have been too large a government for a country
    that is so broke it has to panhandle for everything from food for its
    starving people to medicines for its sick children.
    At the last count, the total number of ministers, their deputies and
    provincial governors was adding up to more than 70 people - the same old
    case of jobs for the boys. This profligacy is not the way to convince the
    International Monetary Fund and others to give us the support that we need
    to fix our broken country.
    Then there is the violence and chaos on farms that appeared to gather
    momentum last week as the government began work - we are told - to rebuild
    the country and end food shortages among other ills afflicting our once
    proud nation.
    At least 140 white commercial farmers are facing either prosecution or
    eviction by Zanu (PF) officials and their hoodlum associates masquerading as
    war veterans.
    Farm invasions are illegal in terms of Zimbabwean law. The targeting
    of white farmers for eviction by the state or anybody else is a violation of
    last year's ruling by the SADC Tribunal which declared Mugabe's farm
    redistribution programme discriminatory and illegal under the SADC Treaty to
    which Zimbabwe is a signatory.
    That Zanu (PF) thugs can still break the law in broad daylight without
    fear of arrest; that they can disrupt farming in a country where seven
    million people or more than half of the population face hunger is a heavy
    indictment against this government.
    But that is not all! We do not see what else the ongoing charade
    involving Roy Bennett, Jestina Mukoko and others held in jail on spurious
    charges is going to achieve except to convince foreign investors, tourists
    and anybody who matters that this new administration should not be taken
    Bennett is supposed to be a senior member of this government, its
    deputy minister of agriculture. He was arrested by police as Mugabe was
    swearing in the new Cabinet. For days police held Bennett without charging
    him, apparently because they were not sure what his alleged crime was - a
    man  they say they had been looking for since 2006!
    One would have thought that the unity government or is it Mugabe
    needed no reminding that locking up opponents is not the way to convince a
    sceptical international community that things are going to be done
    differently under the new administration - or, may be, that is not true
    after all.
    Whatever the case, without the support of the international community
    this government is doomed.

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    Why MDC may end up covered in slime

    Posted Saturday, February 21 2009 at 13:58

    Now that a Government of National Unity has been formed in Zimbabwe,
    commentators are harking back to the Unity agreement of 1987.

    This was between Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union/ Patriotic
    Front and Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African Peoples Union. Unity Day has been
    celebrated every year to commemorate it.

    But survivors - and revivers - of Zapu are now warning Mugabe's new partners
    of the dangers of a Unity agreement.

    Their own experience was that Zapu was swallowed up in the belly of the
    Zanu/PF python and many people are saying that the same thing will happen to
    Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.

    But while it is certainly true that the MDC cannot yet protect its own
    supporters against the Central Intelligence Organisation, the police and the
    army, there are important differences between the two Unity agreements.

    Put simply, the 1987 event was a fusion of two parties into one. The 2009
    event is a coalition of two parties.

    Some of the same dramatic transformations have happened on both occasions.

    After 1987, for instance, Dumiso Dabengwa - Zapu's intelligence chief - went
    from being imprisoned on a charge of treason to appointment as Minister of
    Home Affairs.

    After the agreement of 2009, Tendai Biti has gone from facing a charge of
    treason in court to become Minister of Finance. So far, so similar.

    But the recent agreement is nothing like so much of a triumph for Mugabe as
    1987 when, after years of military and police pressure on his supporters, in
    which some 20,000 people died, Nkomo had no alternative but concede
    dominance to Mugabe.

    A supposedly new party emerged from the Unity agreement but it was still
    called Zanu/PF and it still used the same symbols of the clenched fist and
    the cockerel.

    Nkomo was allowed ceremonial status and ex-Zapu men were allowed to dominate
    local government in western Zimbabwe, but Mugabe controlled the central

    An amnesty was declared for all those who had committed political violence.

    The emergence of the single party was supposed to portend the creation of a
    one-party state and Zanu/PF totted up the percentages of its combined voter

    "We worship the majority as Christians worship Christ," said Eddison Zvogbo.

    This time round, it is very different. This is a coalition government: There
    is an agreed statement of principles, in which Zanu/PF tries to bind the MDC
    to its doctrines of sovereignty and the MDC seeks to restrain Zanu/PF by
    commitments to human rights.

    Nevertheless, the two parties remain quite distinct. And both have made it
    clear that they look forward to competing against each other in an election
    as soon as possible.

    In September 2008, when the agreement was first signed, Mugabe called upon
    his party to revive itself so that it could achieve a smashing electoral
    victory and he would never again have to suffer the "humiliation" of working
    with Tsvangirai. During the long delay between the agreement and its
    implementation, Tsvangirai called for internationally supervised elections
    as an alternative to coalition.

    Those who worship the majority are torn between the parliamentary majority
    won by the MDC in March 2008 or the claimed presidential majority won by
    Mugabe in the uncontested election in June.

    There is no amnesty this time round, which is why police are still able to
    arrest a nominated MDC deputy minister - Roy Bennett - and why many in
    Zanu/PF fear prosecution for crimes against humanity.

    When there is another election the old Zapu will contest it. If the 1987
    agreement was designed to usher in a one-party state, this agreement seems
    designed to usher in intense competitive multiparty "democracy."

    The MDC will not be swallowed up and digested by the python. But it may
    emerge covered with slime.

    It is part of the largest and most expensive cabinet in Zimbabwe's history.
    Now in charge of the economic ministries, it may be blamed for failure to
    bring about recovery.

    So, everything will be done with an eye to electoral advantage. And the most
    important thing of all is to seek to create conditions in which a fair
    election can be held.

    Terence Ranger, a veteran historian of and commentator on Zimbabwe, is an
    emeritus fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford. Email:

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    BILL WATCH SPECIAL of 20th February 2009 [Deputy Ministers and more Ministers sworn in]


    [20th February 2009]

    More Ministers sworn in Thursday 19th February

    6 Ministers were sworn in yesterday at State House: 

    ·   5 Ministers as extra Ministers of State [3 for ZANU-PF, 1 for MDC-T and 1 for MDC-M] 

    ·   Giles Mutsekwa of MDC-T as co-Minister of Home Affairs [he was out of the country when called to be sworn in on 13th February]. 

    This makes a total of 41 Ministers [35 sworn in on 13th February, and 6 sworn in yesterday.]  This despite the fact that the Interparty Political Agreement [IPA] and the Constitution [Schedule 8] specify only 31 Ministers. 

    Note: there seems to be a wrong impression that Ministers of State do not count as Ministers.  Neither the IPA nor the Constitution make provision for Ministers of State as a separate category. There is no legal basis whatsoever to consider them as anything other than Ministers.

    Deputy Ministers sworn in

    Despite the fact that the IPA and the Constitution [Schedule 8] specify that there shall be 15 Deputy Ministers [ZANU-PF 8, MDC-T 6, MDC-M 1], 20 Deputy Ministers were on the list to be sworn in yesterday. 

    19 were actually sworn in [ZANU-PF 10, MDC-T 8, MDC-M 1].  Roy Bennett, the MDC-T nominee for Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, was on the list but not present, because he is in prison in Mutare, having been remanded on criminal charges following his arrest in Harare on 13th February.

    ZANU-PF Deputy Ministers have been assigned to Ministries headed by MDC-T or MDC-M Ministers.  MDC-T and MDC-M Deputy Ministers have been assigned to Ministries headed by ZANU-PF Ministers.  [See list below.]

    The following ZANU-PF Ministries do not have Deputy Ministers – Defence; Lands and Rural Resettlement; Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development; Environment and Natural Resources; Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development; Tourism and Hospitality Industry. 

    The following MDC-T Ministries do not have deputies – Finance; Information Communication Technology; Housing and Social Amenities; Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs; Science and Technology; Water Resources and Development.  All the MDC-Ministries have Deputy Ministers.

    There is no Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, as Home Affairs has two co-Ministers.

    Constitution breached Ministerial Quotas Exceeded

    The inter-party wranglings of the last week or so have resulted in a compromise significantly departing from the provisions of Article 20 of the IPA:

    ·   41 Ministers have been appointed instead of the 31 specified in the IPA  

    ·   20 Deputy Ministers have been appointed instead of the 15 specified.

    The constitutionality/legality of too many appointments is obviously questionable.  The parties seem to have acted on the basis that Article 6, being part of an agreement, can simply be changed by further agreement between the parties.  But Article 6 is no longer just part of an agreement.  When Constitution Amendment No. 19 became law on 13th February, Article 20 was incorporated into the Constitution in Schedule 8.  And the notion that a constitutional provision  can be flouted simply by agreement between political parties goes against all established tenets of constitutional democracy.  This lays the actions of the inflated government open to challenge in the High Court or Supreme Court.  

    An Executive Excess

    The Executive now numbers 67.  In addition to the Ministers [41] and Deputy Ministers [20] there are the President, two Vice-Presidents, the Prime Minister and two Deputy Prime Ministers [6].  This is a large burden for a small country [estimated population now about 8 million with probably over 95% of its people below the poverty datum line] to bear. 

    Cabinet Members

    Cabinet members total 43.  There are 42 voting members [ZANU-PF 21; MDC-T 17; MDC-M 4] and one non-voting member.  The Cabinet comprises:

    ·   the President and 2 Vice-Presidents

    ·   the Prime Minister

    ·   2 Deputy Prime Ministers – both Deputy Prime Ministers took the Cabinet member’s oath on 11th February, so they must have been appointed to the Cabinet [Note: the IPA and Constitution do not specify that they are Cabinet members]

    ·   36 Ministers  – the 35 Ministers sworn in on 13th February all took the Cabinet member’s oath, as did Giles Mutsekwa, sworn in yesterday as co-Minister of Home Affairs

    ·   the Attorney-General [ex officio and the only non-voting member of Cabinet – Constitution section 76]

    [Note: the 5 Ministers of State appointed yesterday were not sworn in as members of Cabinet.  The Ministers of State sworn in on 13th February [Mutasa and Sekeremayi] did take the Cabinet oath and are members of Cabinet.  Deputy Ministers are not members of Cabinet.] 

    Size of Cabinet also Unconstitutional?

    The Cabinet consists of four ex officio members [the President as Chairman, both Vice-Presidents, and the Prime Minister as Deputy Chairman] and Ministers appointed by the President.  As both the IPA and the Constitution say there shall be 31 Ministers, it is implicit that there must not be more than 31 Ministers in Cabinet.  As 36 have been appointed this makes 5 appointees unconstitutional, although which 5 may be difficult to ascertain.  [Note: some legal opinions suggest that, as Deputy Prime Ministers are not specified as ex officio members of Cabinet, their appointments should come out of the total of 31 Ministers, leaving only 29 Cabinet seats for other Ministers, making 7 of the present 36 Cabinet Ministers unconstitutional.]

    Ministers and Deputy Ministers Sworn in on 19th February


    ZANU-PF                                                                         Ministry    

    Extra Ministers of State [3]

    1.             John Nkomo [Appointed Senator]                              Minister of State in President's Office [healing organ]

    [Speaker of last Parliament,

    Minister in previous governments]

    2.             Flora Bhuka [MP Midlands]                                       Minister of State in Vice-President Msika's office

    [Minister in previous governments]

    3.             Sylvester Nguni [MP Mash West]                              Minister of State in Vice-President Mujuru's office

    [Minister in previous government]

    [Note: two former Ministers who were among those called to be sworn in as Ministers on 13th February but turned away, have not been accommodated.  They are David Parirenyatwa, former Minister of Health and Child Welfare, and  Paul Mangwana. former Minister of State for Indigenisation and Empowerment.]

    MDC-T                                                                             Ministry

    Extra Minister of State [1]

    Sekai Holland [Elected Senator Harare]                           Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office [healing organ]

    New parliamentarian

    MDC-M                                                                            Ministry

    Extra Minister of State [1]

    Gibson Sibanda [no parliamentary seat]                           Minister of State in Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara's Office [healing organ]

    Previous parliamentarian

    Deputy Ministers  [19]

    ZANU-PF [10]                                                                  Ministry

    MPs in previous Parliaments

    1.             Douglas Mombeshora [MP Mash West]                     Health and Child Welfare

    2.             Tracy Mutinhiri [MP Mash East]                                Labour and Social Welfare

    3.             Lazarus Dokora [MP Mash Central]                           Education, Sports, Art and Culture

    Deputy Minister in previous government

    4.             Samuel Udenge [MP Manicaland]                              Economic Planning and Development

    Minister in previous government

    5.             Hubert Nyanhongo [MP Harare]                                Energy and Power Development

    6.             Reuben Marumahoko [Elected Senator Mash Central]    Regional Integration and International Co-operation

    Andrew Langa [MP Mat South]                                 Public Service

    7.             Aguy Georgias  [no seat in parliament]                      Public Works

    Deputy Minister in previous government

    First time MPs

    8.             Walter Chidhakwa [MP Mash West]                          State Enterprises and Parastatals 

    9.             Mike Bimha [MP Mash East]                                     Industry and Commerce

    MDC-T [8]

    MPs in previous Parliaments

    1.             Moses Mzila Ndlovu [MP Mat South]                       Foreign Affairs

    2.             Evelyn Masaiti [MP Harare]                                       Women's Affairs, Gender and Community Development

    3.             Murisi Zwizwai [MP Harare]                                      Mines and Mining Development

    First time MP’s

    4.             Jameson Timba  [MP Harare]                                      Media, Information and Publicity

    5.             Jessie Majome [MP Harare]                                        Justice and Legal Affairs

    6.             Thamsanqa Mahlangu [MP Bulawayo]                       Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment

    7.             Dr Tichaona Mudzingwa [no seat in Parliament]       Transport and Infrastructural Development

    8.             Cecil Zvidzai [no seat in Parliament]                          Local Government, Urban and Rural Development

    MDC-M [1]                                                                       Ministry

    Lutho Addington Tapela [Elected Senator Mat South]   Higher and Tertiary Education

    New parliamentarian

    Roy Bennett of MDC-T [no parliamentary seat], Deputy Minister designate of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, was not sworn in.

    Corrections to List of Ministers in Bill Watch Special of 14th February

    Ignatius Chombo, Minister Local Government, Urban and Rural Development is MP Mash West not Mash Central];  Elias Mudzuri, Minister of Energy and Power Development is MP Harare not Masvingo Province; Henry Madzorera, Minister of Health and Child Welfare is Elected Senator Midlands not MP Harare.

    Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

    Back to the Top
    Back to Index