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Majongwe defends teachers' demands

February 22, 2009

TRANSCRIPT of interview between journalist Violet Gonda SW Radio Africa's
Hot Seat programme and Raymond Majongwe secretary general of the Progressive
Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ).

(Broadcast: 20 February 2009)

Violet Gonda: Raymond Majongwe, the General Secretary of the Progressive
Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe is my guest on the programme Hot Seat. Now
teachers have come under fire for refusing to return to work and for
demanding salary hikes pegged at 2 300 US dollars. Raymond, what is your
basis of demanding 2 300 US dollars a month?

Raymond Majongwe: We are not asking for $2 300 from nowhere. We have done a
thorough scientific analysis of the situation obtaining in Zimbabwe. It's
quite clear that it's only in Zimbabwe that the rand and the US dollar have
been humbled by inflation and it's clear for everybody to see that what 1
000 American dollars can buy in America, you need 3 000 in Zimbabwe. What 1
000 rand can buy in South Africa you need 3 to 4 000 in Zimbabwe. We are
very clear about that. And we did a clear scientific analysis of the
situation obtaining in the country.

We also did a comparative analysis of what civil servants in the region are
earning. I think the lowest paid civil servants in the world are found in
Zimbabwe and the lowest paid teachers in the whole world are found in
Zimbabwe. As of January 2009 teachers were paid Z$31 trillion. Z$31 trillion
at that time was translating to exactly 2 rand. How would anybody expect a
man or a woman with a family with rentals and health to take care of, to be
paid 2 rand and be expected to be a patriotic citizen? I think it would be
naive for any person to simply say we must keep quiet when we are being
oppressed right in our eyes.

GONDA: What does it cost to have one student in a classroom these days?

MAJONGWE: Apparently the situation is now very different. I would be lying
if I would tell you anything because the situation that obtains is that we
now have so many different schools. In the past it would have been very easy
for somebody to say that this is the amount that government or somebody
should spend on education, but we have gotten to a point where we are very
poor people and we have very rich people. These people live in one corner of
the country and the other in the other corner. One going to a private school
with everything that you can imagine and one who is going to a school in
Gokwe where there is not even a building to talk about, and that is exactly
the dilemma that one has - if one is going to try to put a monetary values
to any of these processes. Because as far as we are concerned the government
would stand up and put a figure but we are simply saying these are
conservative figures, we really need to go back to basics and factor in
everything because it is going to be very difficult for anybody to come up
and say anything now because nobody knows anything. There is no school that
is functioning especially in the government set up so it's very difficult
for anybody to come up with a figure and say so much.

GONDA: The government says it has no money and it has offered to give
teachers and other civil servants US$100 a month. Now there are other people
who would say you are being paid from tax money and there is no return. In
other words you are not producing something that is sold at the end of the
month - that is an investment with no return until that student you are
teaching actually graduates. So how realistic is your demand given that
there is no immediate return?

MAJONGWE: (chuckles) We are not making these demands from the blue. I would
tell you because we have a reason why we are saying this. Teachers in 1980,
when Mugabe took over government, could afford to buy a house, could afford
to buy a car, could afford to go on holiday, could send all their siblings'
children to school and I will tell you for instance about me. Eight children
were born to my mother and my father; all of us went to boarding schools, my
father was just a mere headmaster, my mother just a mere teacher. We were
able to go to school, real schools where we went to proper boarding schools.
All of the eight siblings of mine but now one teacher cannot even send their
only one child to pre-school.

This is the situation where we are at and I think we must make it very clear
without any ambiguity that the government ran-down the institution of
education, deliberately disarticulated us, took us off our feet, labelled us
enemies of the State and made us paupers. And we are saying as citizens we
deserve better. We are also taxpayers. It's not like we are supposed to be
paying tax, we are supposed to be getting money that others are paying tax
for. We are also taxpayers. We work, we are employees of the government.
Many a time people forget that.

The intellect that they exude wherever they are going to be moving around it
is a product of our sweat. When Mugabe goes out to the UN and everywhere
saying he leads a country with the highest literacy rate he is basically
referring to what we have done as teachers and people want to suddenly say,
you don't manufacture anything. All these doctors you see, all these people,
the brain drain we are talking about, those are our direct products. It is a
silent production but indeed we have produced people with functional
literacy and we must be rewarded for it.

GONDA: But Raymond, I still go back to the same question, how realistic are
your demands given the current political and economic situation? In fact if
I may add to that, if we are to compare what is happening in the private
school - and you can correct me if I'm wrong - teachers in private schools
are on a pay scale supported by revenues that actually support the schools
such as levies, and so parents with kids in private schools are actually
paying for their children to be taught. Is it not the case that to some
extent right now, the only way for you to actually get such payments is if
Zimbabweans can pay a higher income tax or property tax - but then on the
other hand, given the current situation don't you think your demands cannot
be in isolation of some of these external factors?

MAJONGWE: Yes we have a very scientific reason as to why we are saying what
we are saying. Teachers in Zimbabwe are not paid in isolation. You look at
what is happening in South Africa, there are private schools in South
Africa, there are private schools in Zambia and the teachers there are well
paid. You look at government institutions in Mozambique, in Namibia and
Botswana, South Africa and Lesotho, teachers are being paid an average of
not less than nine thousand rand, in the region. And can you honestly stand
up and say because we are in Zimbabwe, we have an economy that is on its
knees, therefore we cannot ask for so much?

I think that the fact that the government had the audacity to pay us 2rands,
yet we see lavish spending and extravagant spending by government aided by
the irresponsible Reserve Bank governor, we have a legitimate reason to
stand up and say we should not accept anything less than what we are asking
for. We see a lot of lavish expenditure, even now Mugabe is about to
commemorate his birthday and there is a lot of lavish spending there. You
cannot expect us therefore to say we must stomach and pretend that we don't
see all this expenditure. We must stand up and say while are we having all
these challenges, we also need to survive, we have families to look after,
we have children to send to school. We know for a fact that we were being
told that the diamonds being mined at Chiadzwa - and the Reserve Bank
governor was on national television saying the country was being
haemorrhaged out of 1.7billion US dollars a month. And the government took
over those mines. What is happening to the money that is coming from there?
We know that we don't have a manufacturing industry that is working, but who
are the culprits? It is the same government who took over the companies that
they can't even run.

So we are simply saying we are asking what we are worth. We know that as
citizens and as teachers we also pay tax, we also want to be paid meaningful
salaries and pay the tax and be citizens. We can't honestly not stand up and
say we're citizens and ultimately exist in a welfare situation where we
survive on charity, no!

In 1980 to 1988, teachers were able to survive. In 1988 to 1996 teachers
were almost living normal lives, they could send their children to school,
they could afford holidays, they could afford cars, they could afford, but
after 1999, things went from bad to worse. Teachers were labelled enemies of
the State, we were being punished! Salaries stopped coming, they became
meaningless and so we are simply saying we want to be paid.

Even those you are talking about in the private schools, they are actually
being underpaid because a lot of these private schools are making a killing!
A lot of these private schools that are run by politicians and the churches
are exploiting people and that must come to an end because we must start
dictating the pace as the workers. Even though it is correct that teachers,
the world over are not the best paid of workers but we are simply saying
because we know that we are citizens and we observe all these things that
are on the table, we must also be enjoying from the same cake that everybody
else is enjoying.

GONDA: And you are saying that your compatriots in the Diaspora earn so much
and you want that but is the comparison realistic given the gradual slide of
the Zimbabwean education system?

MAJONGWE: It is. Teachers in Zimbabwe are as good as teachers anywhere else
in the world. In fact every other school in South Africa has a Zimbabwean
teacher. Every other school in Namibia, name it in the region, because of
the quality of the teachers that are coming from here. And none the less, we
are simply saying as teachers in Zimbabwe, we must be paid so that we don't
go to those areas. We are patriotic citizens; we want to work in our
country, just like the doctors, just like the nurses, just like the

I think it is incumbent upon this new government to make sure that they
correct this anomaly once and for all where the teachers in Zimbabwe earn
competitive salaries. And that is the only way we then can be able to keep
our education standard at the apex where it has always been. And I think
that if anybody wants to challenge me on this one I will put my head on the
block. Zimbabwean teachers are the best, they are the best trained and we
want to deliver. This is why you are honestly going to find out that, talk
to any person from any university in South Africa, they will tell you that
when they have students from Zimbabwe, they know that that year they will
have quality education because we are talking of people who have been
groomed very well from the background upwards. Now when we got to a stage
where we are now, where even the people who are in our universities, in our
teachers' colleges are just the riff-raff, people who are coming from
anywhere, then we are sacrificing the same education that we want to talk

GONDA: But right now children are also suffering because they're not being
taught and don't you think by refusing to go to work and refusing this
starter pack of US$100, this will actually shut down the education system
and won't this contribute to undermining democracy?

MAJONGWE: The question we ask - are we in a normal environment? I think the
answer is no. Are teachers earning good salaries? We say no. Do teachers
have to lead normal lives? We say yes. How do they lead these normal lives?
They must get food, they must dress properly, and they must be able to stay
in a proper housing. And how else is that going to be done - if they put
their head on the block and say we must be paid reasonable and meaningful
salaries. Then that can happen. We were in a war situation.

Apparently the other challenge that we actually observe, the government and
the (former) Minister Chigwedere and his Permanent Secretary Dr Mahere were
not engaging people, we obviously were not meeting them unlike the situation
where the first day that the Prime Minister took office, we got a call to
meet the Prime Minister. Two days down the line we were able to meet the
Minister and we think that if David Coltart the current Minister of
Education had been with the Ministry a long time ago, the Ministry would not
be where it is today. We are talking of somebody who is accommodative,
somebody who will listen to what you are saying and somebody who will
acknowledge that they have made mistakes. Not the character of Chigwedere
who knows that when they were doing, when they were at their best in terms
of destruction they still told the world that our education was at the top.
When they were destroying and lacerating ZIMSEC into pieces they just said
everything was normal. Now the results are not yet out from way back as June
2008 - they still want to continue and say everything is normal. People who
want to stand up and say schools in Zimbabwe are open when we know they are

Once the process of dialoguing and consultation becomes the key principal we
are likely to go to Canaan. I think that the fact that we have been engaged,
we have been convinced that the government that took over power under Morgan
Tsvangirai took empty coffers. We are now appreciating and on Monday morning
at 9 o'clock we are going to make a press statement to the country. We are
calling all teachers to go back to their work stations and we are simply
saying the term must now start in earnest because we are saying Zimbabwe is
our country. These children you talk about are our children, they are our
sisters, our hearts bleed when we see them being thrown into the abyss of
abject poverty because of selfish politicians of the nature of Chigwedere
and company.

I think time has come for us to go forward to engage one another and have
the process of dialogue. But we must also make it very clear that we are
going back with a heavy heart because we want to salvage something for these
kids and for our country. And we will go back to the trenches once that
situation is not addressed to our satisfaction.

I must also be very clear here some of our teachers shot us in the foot.
They are the ones who went back to teach in these schools and were being
paid 10 US dollars. So the government is now saying if your members went
back to be paid 10 dollars why are you refusing to come back because we are
now paying you 100 US dollars? I think we must also make sure that we don't
exonerate our members from such irresponsible trade union behaviour but
nonetheless they are our members, we'll take them on board and we'll try and
make sure that we address the situation once and for all.

For the record we are saying there are other demands that the Ministry under
David Coltart has promised that they'll look into and we are quite happy
with the way David Coltart has handled our presentations to him so far.

GONDA: This is a sudden u-turn. So now you are going back to work - and is
it because of your meeting with the new Education Minister David Coltart?

MAJONGWE: It's not just because of the meeting, it's because of the meeting
that we have had with the Prime Minister, a meeting we had with the Minister
and we have also been consulting our membership, we have also been
consulting other stakeholders because we also want public opinion on our
side, we want to move with the people. I think we have made our point. I
think the lesson that every revolutionary has been taught - when you score
and declare victories don't push them too far because ultimately you then
lose relevance. We have made our point and we are simply saying to the new
government we are watching and watching closely. We want them to look at the
issues around the way the Ministry is governed, the teachers' conditions of
service, political violence and many other issues around even the inclusion
of the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe as a relevant stakeholder -
because you will know and you will understand that under the Zanu-PF regime,
PTUZ was not invited at all these government education ministry meetings.
It was only ZIMTA who were attending and we honestly believe that it's
actually going to be better for us because we will then be able to
communicate our message and be able to be understood and to be heard.

I think once that is done, that will then give us a road on which to trod
on, considering that we are citizens of this country, we want things to
work, we want normalcy to return, we want donors to come back and we are
simply saying we must give the parents of these children value for money in
terms of what we will be delivering in our schools.

GONDA: So what did Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Coltart say on the issues of your
demands and what reforms did they say they're willing to adopt to ensure the
success of the education system?

MAJONGWE: I might not be able to give you these because it will be very
unfair but I will basically say that the demands that we are making are such
that those teachers who left and went away for a coterie of reasons, they
must come back into the profession, no questions asked. The people who
basically lost property and a lot of other things must also be in line for
compensation. We are also saying as a trade union we want to see certain
things that are going to be positive, the issues around housing as retention
packages. Teachers must come back and they must be at least be assured that
they will be able to get a stand, because the major reason why teachers were
working in Zimbabwe since 1980 is not that we were getting the best of
salaries but there was just this reassurance that things would happen. One
day you could own a house, one day you could own a car and all that hope has
been lost.

This is why we are saying we must go back, restore the confidence, make sure
every other citizen feels part and parcel of the process, then we will move
forward together, but nonetheless, we are very clear and we will be very
wary, we will be watching and looking and monitoring the progress closely.
We are not just going to give these guys an open cheque - like what we did
with many others, of these destructive Ministers who worked this Ministry.

We want to be involved at every other right and left turn that the Ministry
is going to take. We want to know who is being appointed in the Ministry,
where and why, what are their qualifications. We want to see a clear
de-politicisation of the Ministry in terms of the head office, in terms of
the provinces as well as headmasters. We have scenarios where a lot of these
headmasters who are in our schools are mere political appointees. People who
are being appointed to be EOs (Education Officers) with the agenda of doing
nothing besides to politically silence the progressive voices in our
schools - and I think time has come for us to say let us bury the hatchet
and let the best people take over leadership and this country will go back
to where it has always been.

GONDA: How many teachers are actually left in Zimbabwe right now and is it
known how many left this country?

MAJONGWE: This is one other reason why we are simply saying schools must
open again. We now don't know how many teachers we have - so we are simply
saying for progress's sake let every person go to where they should be. We
do a head count and we see how many teachers we need. For the record I'll
tell you that according to the ministry's statistics they are saying we have
80 000 teachers left in the country. At PTUZ we maintain that there are 70
000 teachers and of the 70 000, 40 000 teachers are non-qualified teachers.
These are people who have been brought in as relief teachers, some of them
as spies, and some of them just as gap fillers. And we are simply saying it
is quite sad we are talking of having 115 000 teachers in 2005, 2006 and we
have gone down to 80 000, which I think is a government conservative figure
because we are convinced the country has the capacity to produce 5 to 6 000
teachers a year and it is going to take us 6 to 7 years to ultimately go to
our optimum - that is if these teachers who are in the region are not going
to come back.

But I am confident because we are having a lot of people who are asking and
they are making enquiries and they want to come back. Just like our
organisation called PTUZ-South Africa they are also making enquiries and we
are making an effort to submit their letter and their concerns of teachers
in South Africa to the Minister on Monday at 9 o'clock when we meet him.

But I think the bottom line has to be made, that teachers want to come back
but it will be three, four, five years before we get to our optimum number
that we want and ultimately be able to get the glamour we have always had.
Because we are talking of schools that don't have teachers, that don't have
desks, that don't have window panes, that don't have doors. The doors were
being taken off the walls by the war veterans, they were making coffins out
of them, they were taking window panes and taking them to their houses and
they were burning desks.

It is quite sad and my heart bleeds when I look back to say why did this
destruction happen? Because somebody or the Minister of Education Chigwedere
did not have the guts to stand up to the people who were moving around
destroying our schools wantonly and in a barbaric manner what happened in
the years from 2002.

GONDA: So does this mean that when you say you are going back you're
actually accepting the 100 US dollars that is being offered or you've been
offered more since your meeting with Mr Coltart and Mr Tsvangirai?

MAJONGWE: The reason why we are saying we are going back is we want to get
to the basics first, we want to know how many teachers we have, because if
we are going to get any assistance from anybody they will ask you how many
teachers we have, how many teachers do you have and what are we going to
say? We don't know because even at the Ministry level there are a lot of
ghost teachers that are being paid through the Ministry and I think we must
stop that because we have reason to believe that there are people down the
line who are basically lining their pockets.

GONDA: Are you going to be offered more than the 100 US dollars or are you
going to take what is being offered right now?

MAJONGWE: We are going to take what has been offered now but that doesn't
stop us from demanding more. For the record, the government has been telling
us that they are going to be paying us the US dollar component and another
Zimbabwean dollar component which is meaningless because the newspaper, the
Financial Gazette costs Z$1 000 dollars re-valued but the money that were
put into teachers' accounts is 600 dollars. So these are some of the things
that we are obviously saying we don't accept. But we are just giving them
the benefit of doubt. We have a new Finance Minister, we have a new Prime
Minister, we have a new Minister of Education, we want to give them the
chance and basically help them fill up their coffers before some of the
money starts trickling to the teachers and other civil servants. We have the
right to build Zimbabwe together again.

GONDA: So will teachers become more accountable and accept performance
standards if awarded higher salaries?

MAJONGWE: I think any normal person will concede that reality. A lot of the
teachers have not been working for a long time, we need a few months to
adjust, but let me assure you, we have the best in terms of our teachers and
we will produce and deliver. And we want to assure all the parents and all
the school children that once the term starts at a date that we will
announce on Monday we are going to give our best shot and we want to just
say education will return to normalcy and we are going to provide quality
education to our children.

GONDA: Was your main concern the removal of Zanu-PF or better work
conditions or both and also what is your position now that Mugabe is still
in power?

MAJONGWE: Apparently I must state categorically clear that I'd always
maintained that it was going to be very difficult to remove Mugabe from
power completely and even if he goes, he's going to leave a lot of remnants
in terms of people who will be Mugabe-like. But the bottom line is with one
foot on the pitch it is also good because the progressive democratic forces
of Zimbabwe will now be involved in everything. It is unfortunate that it
might take time but having stomached Mugabe for 28 years why can't we then
be ready to work with him for a few years? One thing that is very clear is
Mugabe is 85 tomorrow and why would we then doubt that the man is no longer
at his best, the man is finished, the man is not as dynamic and as
charismatic as he was and we are simply saying if the MDC is clear about
what they want to achieve they will get it anyway because if the Zimbabweans
were able to wait for 28 years, why can't they wait for 28 months, why can't
they wait for 28 days, for 28 hours, 26 minutes, 26 seconds. We will be able
to get to a point where Mugabe will leave and he will leave very soon.

GONDA: You were being perceived as being treacherous, now is it one of the
reasons why you have decided to go back to work because of the outcry?

MAJONGWE: No apparently not. No we are simply saying we have fought and we
have won. We wanted a new Minister, some of the things that we wanted have
happened. We wanted a new Minister of Education, we wanted a new thinking at
the top of government, we wanted new concessions and all these are being
given so we are simply saying the strike was never going to go to
perpetuity. The strike was going to end at one point. And the good thing is
basically that teachers who earned 2 rand in January and they are getting an
opportunity to earn 1 000 rand this month, so we are simply saying we have
at least moved, we don't agree with what they have been paid but we are
saying let's move on.

We can't continue fighting otherwise we become irrelevant. We also are
taking serious consideration of what our members are saying. Our members are
saying we have fought, we have won, let's put this victory in our bag and we
look for another victory. We'll be going back to the trenches. If this new
government is not going to take serious our consideration, we will go back
to the trenches in March. There's no problem, we still have our arsenal, we
still have our people, we still have our generals and we still have our high
command. We are ready to go back to the trenches as and when the situation
obtains for us to go to the bush.

GONDA: Thank you very much Raymond Majongwe.

MAJONGWE: Thank you.

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Anger Over Alleged Amnesty Call for Poll Violence

Monday, 23 February 2009

Police commissioner reportedly orders criminal cases relating to
politically motivated murders to be dropped.

Fungai Chisvo dabs her eyes with the edge of her white shawl,
struggling to hold back the tears as she describes how her uncle's son was
shot before being set alight inside the building of opposition group the
Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, in rural Masvingo in June 2008.
"He was among eight MDC supporters that had sought refuge in the party
offices after fleeing violence at our home," the 29-year-old told IWPR on
February 16.
"Soldiers and ZANU-PF militia first shot them through the windows of
the office before petrol-bombing the building."
"They were all burnt beyond recognition inside the office. We buried
them en masse without any [viewings of the bodies] as the sight was
horrendous and too grisly to see," she continued, before breaking into
uncontrollable sobs.
Scores of MDC supporters and officials have reported similar accounts
of violence inflicted on them following the March 29 elections, when their
leader Morgan Tsvangirai outpolled President Robert Mugabe but failed to
secure the majority he needed to assume power.
In the parliamentary election held the same day, the two MDC factions
easily won the majority of seats in parliament.
Following these defeats, supporters of ZANU-PF reportedly unleashed a
campaign of terror against the MDC.
So-called war veterans and militias - apparently accompanied by
uniformed soldiers - are said to have gone on the rampage, assaulting,
raping, murdering and looting the property of those perceived to support the
According to the MDC, more than 200 of its supporters were killed in
cold blood by militias supporting the ruling party; several thousand were
seriously injured; and more than 200,000 were displaced.
The opposition leader then pulled out of a presidential run-off on
June 27, 2008, citing this intensifying violence, leaving Mugabe to stand
This is why there was such an outcry this week at reports that police
commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri has ordered all charges relating to
murders committed ahead of last year's presidential run-off to be dropped.
An article reportedly carried by the online news site The Zimbabwe
Times said that a police circular, dated February 10 and addressed to all
provincial commanders, ordered that they close all murder cases relating to
incidents committed before the second round of presidential elections.
According to reports, the news site said that beneficiaries of the
amnesty would be ZANU-PF supporters, among them youths, top war veterans and
government officials accused of inflicting atrocities on people during the
election period last year.
The Zimbabwe Times piece reportedly said that Chihuri had dispatched
Deputy Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to visit all provinces personally
to explain the implications of the alleged directive to senior officers.
The apparent instruction, however, has been reportedly met with
resistance from law officials in government, who say it is impossible to
drop the charges.
"We told [Matanga] that we will not be pushed and that the law has to
take its course, unless President Mugabe [personally] pardons [those accused
of crimes]," a court official reportedly said in the Zimbabwe Times piece.
IWPR made efforts to contact both ZANU-PF and the home affairs
ministry to check the veracity of Chihuri's alleged remarks, but neither
could be reached.
Meanwhile, human rights campaigners are up in arms over the reported
call for a blanket amnesty.
Okay Machisa, national director of ZimRights, said it was a travesty
of justice to let perpetrators of political violence off the hook.
He said that those suspected of abuses should stand trial.
"ZimRights believes that anyone who violates and abuses human rights
should be brought to court and only the courts can provide judgement,"
Machisa told IWPR.
Anyone involved in the perpetration of violence, he said, should be
made accountable for the loss of people's lives, property and peace in
"Anyone who tries to stop the course of justice is equally violating
the same rights. It is quite disturbing and seriously inhumane if the
commissioner of police has made such instructions," Machisa went on.
"Such instructions are grossly painful and can provoke chaos among the
people of Zimbabwe."
Machisa said he believed that the new inclusive government, formed
between ZANU-PF and MDC and inaugurated on February 13, should ensure that
transitional justice is delivered.
But there are concerns that Tsvangirai might be reluctant to pursue
the perpetrators of the violence after joining Mugabe in the unity
government last week.
In his inauguration speech on February 11, Tsvangirai urged ZANU-PF
and MDC supporters to bury the hatchet.
"People of Zimbabwe, I call upon all of us to put aside our
differences, to begin a process of national healing within every community,
to work across party lines and look forward with hope, while learning from a
sad past that has so devastated our nation and our people," he said.
But Reverend Useni Sibanda, national director of the Zimbabwe
Christian Alliance, ZCA, a network of church and civic bodies, said a
blanket amnesty was "no medicine for healing the nation".
"The transitional government needs to first allow a national debate on
how the people of Zimbabwe want the transitional justice issues to be
handled," said Sibanda.
"[A] blanket [amnesty] does not take into consideration key
ingredients that bring healing to a nation. The process of healing a nation
involves truth telling, confession, forgiveness, justice and then
The clergyman said the country needed to know who committed these
offences, under what circumstances and who ordered that these offences be
committed. The victims needed to be involved from the onset, he added.
"The people that [Chihuri] has [reportedly] ordered to be forgiven
should ask for that forgiveness from the victims. It is not just an issue of
murder - pre-and post-election violence involved in most cases rape [or]
destruction of property and this was done by people in the same
neighbourhood," said Sibanda.
Pius Wakatama, an elder of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance and the
organisation's media manager, warned that an amnesty could spark a backlash,
leading to further violence.
"Sweeping issues under the carpet will create a simmering volcano that
will erupt soon. Most of the victims, if they discover that the courts will
not deliver justice to them there, will resort to their own means of gaining
justice," he said.
"There is therefore an urgent need to set up a truth, justice and
healing commission that will be given the mandate and framework to deal with
election violence and also [to] include violence that has occurred since
Jabu Shoko is the pseudonym of an IWPR-trained journalist.

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Gono should account for forex in his custody

February 22, 2009

By Levi Mhaka

IT IS public knowledge that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor,
Gideon Gono unilaterally appropriated foreign currency belonging to
corporate account holders under the pretext of using for national needs and

He did so after directing all banks to hand over the FCAs to the central
bank in early 2008.

From September 2008, he further generated foreign currency by way of
charging license fees of up to US$250 000 for manufacturers as well as
warehousing and trading businesses. The same licensed entities were levied
by being requested to surrender surrendering 15 percent of their foreign
currency gross earnings to the RBZ, while the tax authorities, ZIMRA,
further collected 15 percent in valued added tax of such licensed entities.

Besides such prohibitive licensing fees that have now been scrapped, the new
Finance Minister should proceed to scrap double taxation through which the
RBZ is appropriating the hard-earned forex of businesses by charging a levy
on one's foreign currency earnings.

We expect full results and early disclosure of the ongoing or intended
forensic audit the finance minister is said to be making or intends to make
of the FCAs' that Gono raided last year and all the foreign currency
generated from license fees and levies. This can not be called a witch-hunt
or a hatchet job.

It is public accountability.

There could be enough foreign currency at the RBZ to pay civil servants.
Without independent assessment of the situation, Gono cannot claim

On a related matter, Gono has just picked up public fights with politicians,
specifically the Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara and the Finance
Minister, Tendai Biti. He did so through the State-owned Herald newspaper in
a blistering story written by his personal acolyte and beneficiary of his
patronage, the Herald Business Editor, Victoria Ruzvidzo. Another acolyte at
yet another State-owned Sunday Mail, Munyaradzi Huni, regurgitated the

Without focusing much on the relational chemistry, or lack of it, between
Gono and the new Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, there is
something suspicious about Gono's public behaviour. By resorting to the
scare tactics that he previously employed against politicians he creates the
impression that he has something to hide. Gono had become so drunk with
unchecked power and influence that he made very arrogant statements to try
to create an impression that his policies have worked very well in the past
and were bound to be useful had it not been for the new politicians.

A high powered Zimbabwean delegation consisting of the Prime Minister,
Morgan Tsvangirai, Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, took their begging bowl to South Africa, where they
met South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and Finance Minister, Trevor

Gono's absence from the delegation is a story by itself; especially after
his poorly thought policies are being reversed. In any case the policies
being reversed and those requiring immediate attention were all beyond his
mandate. They were all fiscal related.

Those calling for Biti and Gono to resolve their differences should realize
that Gono is stuck in the pre-coalition government era, in which he was
everything financial, powerful and influential. All ministers grovelled in
front of him and made bee lines to his office.

He had an express route and unfettered access to the President to seek a nod
on anything he wanted to do. Gono undermined and destroyed counterbalancing
factors, offices and institutions by whatever means necessary. The President
relied only on him for economic and financial advice and implementation on
anything monetary and fiscal after Gono had destroyed possible independent
assessment of such advice and implementation.

I should tell another big story that Mutambara has not been known to target
particular individuals. He did so when he said that the monetary and fiscal
measures by then Acting Minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa and Gono,
respectively, would be up for a fundamental review not reversal, as others
are now alleging. Why should there be no policy reviews when there are new
ministries and the RBZ Act is explicit on that.

Gono should be humble enough to go back to the basics of his office and
institution. The CORE function of the RBZ is the responsibility for the
formulation and implementation of monetary policy in its pursuit of price
stability. The RBZ is required in terms of the Reserve Bank Act (Chapter
22:15), to consult the Ministry of Finance during the creation of monetary
policy to achieve the objective of price stability.

When Gono "took office in December 2003, (he) fundamentally changed the
functions of the RBZ. Increasingly, the Reserve Bank usurped the fiscal
operations of the Ministry of Finance. In addition, it assumed some of the
functions of commercial banks in that it engaged in direct lending to the
private sector in a very significant manner. The central bank began to
undertake private sector and public sector functions outside its domain that
included, among others, agricultural activities, manufacturing and retail

As a result, the RBZ.acquired a conglomerate structure and hence failed to
focus on its core business" - UNDP Comprehensive Economic Recovery in
Zimbabwe: A Discussion Document (2008). (Highly recommended for the new
Minister of Finance.)

Gono should now be humble enough to admit that many, if not all of his
policies have not worked when he has been central bank governor, the de
facto Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and all the related economic and
resource ministries. It should register in his mind that there are new
princes and methods in town.

Gone are the days he could publicly and inappropriately boast that President
Robert Mugabe is his friend and can afford to join him on holiday in
Malaysia. On the way to the Office of the President, he now has two
Chitungwiza "road humps" - the Offices of Prime Minister and the Finance
Minister. Even if he manipulates the President, the new day-to-day 'manager'
of government business and finances is the Prime Minister and the Finance
Minister, respectively. The President will now obviously request Gono to
seek the audience and express consent of the Finance Minister on anything he
intends to do. The RBZ Act expects him to do so, yet he is using the media
to fight Biti!

Gono should not be seen to undermine the new political arrangement.

The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister can with pleasure expect Gono to
be in the queue to be either at the two's offices, something that no
minister was able to do before the pre-coalition era.

With this in mind, Gono should adjust and reconcile himself with the new
era. Public power is a drug and its holder should be held accountable,
checked and counter-balanced. Gono was used to unilateral and absolute power
and influence subordinated only to that of the President whom he

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Fears of outbreak of violence grow

February 22, 2009

By Our Correspondent

MASVINGO - A senior member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and
journalists working in Masvingo Province have predicted that the recurrence
of political violence in the province's rural areas is now a strong
possibility unless the government takes urgent steps to effect the
much-talked about national healing process.

A senior police officer told The Zimbabwe Times Sunday that it was now very
likely that the province would witness retributive violence on a scale
greater than the sporadic incidents that have been witnessed in Mashonaland
East and Central where serious clashes have been reported.

"Tension is rising in the rural areas as most people who believe they were
wronged during the run-up to last year's second presidential election now
want to revenge," said the police officer who requested anonymity as he was
not authorised to speak to the press.

He said the new unity government should move quickly to put in place
government programmes promoting peace and reconciliation.

"Whether we like it or not, it is a reality that many people are planning
acts of revenge. But many people whom we have spoken to or who have come to
us with reports or in need of assistance in recovering lost property are
saying they need to be compensated," said the police source.

He said there was an urgent need for aid organisations to provide
counselling services to traumatised rural communities. He cited an incident
in Zaka in June 2008 as a case study.

A war veteran is said to have openly shot a supporter of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in front of people who were also accused along with
him of being MDC members.

The war veteran later locked the group of people in a room and went on to
splash petrol on them before setting the room ablaze.

"Such incidents are regrettable," said the police officer. "Sometimes we the
police are to blame but our hands were tied. It is now up to the politicians
to move quickly to resolve some of these simmering disputes."

The internecine political violence witnessed last year in the period leading
to the June 27 presidential re-run revisited Mashonaland province last week
where political clashes were recorded.

In Harare some residents of Mbare were reported to have gone on a rampage
beating up suspected Zanu-PF supporters whom they accused of having taken
their houses in the crammed Matapi section of the suburb.

A journalist in Masvingo Province said he had recently visited the Zaka and
Bikita areas and witnessed increasing animosity among villagers.

He said, "There are areas where people can not even greet each other because
of what they did to each other during the elections. There is one family
which lost the family house and all livestock. Now they are demanding
compensation from neighbours whom it accuses of responsibility for the

The journalist suggested that President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai should visit various parts of the country together to
preach peace as part of the national healing process.

President Robert Mugabe last week appointed Zanu-PF chairman, John Nkomo, as
well as Gibson Sibanda of the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC faction and Sekai
Holland of the mainstream MDC as State Ministers responsible for national

Addressing an MDC rally in the Midlands capital of Gweru on Sunday,
Tsvangirai dwelt on the need for reconciliation.

"This nation needs national healing. It has endured so much violence. Let's
forgive those who have transgressed against us," Tsvangirai told supporters.

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

In Masvingo the journalist said: "For now it appears as a simple matter. But
people have not forgotten that they lost their lives and property. It will
take only a national initiative in which people are given a chance to
express themselves and probably confess for their crimes that they committed
that will heal this country."

Masvingo Province witnessed some of the most violent political violence last
year. Several political murders were committed in the province. Many civic
groups have spoken about the need for the new government to design a well
thought transitional justice programme as part of the healing process.

Meanwhile two civic groups were in Masvingo on Saturday to host a peace
festival in Mucheke Hall where hundreds of residents turned out to hear
messages of peace and reconciliation through music, dance, drama and poetry.

The two organisations, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and
Artists for Democracy in Zimbabwe Trust (ADZT) have been organising musical
festivals since last year encouraging Zimbabweans to desist from engaging in
political violence.

"We are encouraging Zimbabweans to love one another, preach peace reconcile
and contribute to the development of the country," said Thabani Moyo, MISA
Advocacy officer at the Masvingo show.

Meanwhile, a senior government official has backed Commissioner General
Augustine Chihuri's recent call for charges to be dropped in all cases of
murder committed between April and June 2008.

Addressing civil servants, among them magistrates and senior police and army
officers in Masvingo last week, David Mangota, the permanent secretary in
the Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, said his ministry
had requested President Mugabe to pardon those found guilty of murders
committed during the campaign for the June 27 presidential election run-off.

Mangota also ordered personnel in his ministry to effectively grab the
remaining white-owned commercial farms since they will not be able to do so
once the inclusive government has taken full control of the situation.

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SADC ministers to steer Zimbabwe rescue

February 23, 2009

By Donwald Pressly

Finance ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will
meet within a week to forge a rescue plan for Zimbabwe, after talks in Cape
Town between President Kgalema Motlanthe and Zimbabwean prime minister
Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday.

Motlanthe said that finance ministers including Trevor Manuel and his
Zimbabwean counterpart, Tendai Biti, had been asked to "develop the detail"
of how to deal with the myriad challenges facing the Zimbabwean economy.

Manuel, who attended the talks between Motlanthe and Tsvangirai in Cape
Town, said: "There aren't any numbers on the table."

He told Business Report that the talks were based on "the very important
principle of resolving issues", but this would be done on a multilateral

"We have to work together," he said. "It is a process of identification and
finding the appropriate measures. We should not put too much pressure on
people; Tendai Biti has been finance minister for exactly one week. One
can't expect him to have every answer."

Tsvangirai, who now works with his Zanu-PF rivals in a unity government led
by President Robert Mugabe, said interventions to get the country going
again should focus on education, health and the provision of food.

The prime minister, who acknowledged that the situation in his country was
"dire", told a media briefing at Tuynhuys that no figure had been applied to
the financial injection required by the Zimbabwean economy. Some
commentators have put this figure as high as $5 billion (R50.9 billion).

When asked if Zimbabwe had requested a $600 million bailout from the South
African government, Motlanthe said: "There are no figures to speak of; those
are going to be crunched by technical people."

He added that this was one of the issues the SADC finance ministers would
consider and there were no implications so far in terms of the budget
produced by Manuel earlier in February.

While Tsvangirai noted that the Zimbabwean dollar had "devalued to a point
of non-use" he dismissed speculation that the rand currency would be adopted
for his country. "It is a multi-denomination approach that we are looking

He said this meant that the US dollar, the rand and other currencies would
be used while the government considered whether the Zimbabwe dollar could be

Asked whether Zimbabwe central bank governor Gideon Gono would remain in his
job, Tsvangirai said: "In due course, we will evaluate his performance, his
role. I have heard people try to crucify him; at the appropriate time a
decision will be made."

Tsvangirai ducked the question of whether Zimbabwe's 230&nbsop;000 public
servants would continue to be paid in US dollars.

It was critical, however, to evaluate just how many public servants were
still in the country, as "a huge chunk" had joined the diaspora, he said.

On the policy of indigenisation of business, Tsvangirai noted that all
legislation that hampered the country's recovery was being reviewed.

Last March Mugabe signed into law the Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Bill, which aimed to put 50 percent of business equity into
black hands.

Tsvangirai said a land commission would look at the issue of the
revitalisation of agriculture, forward planning and security of tenure in
the sector. White commercial farms have been invaded by Zanu-PF supporters
since 2000.

Asked whether he would consider British aid, Tsvangirai said: "I don't care
whether the cat is brown or black, as long as it catches mice. We don't care
where the aid comes from."

Mugabe has regularly derided Tsvangirai for being a puppet of the West,
particularly the UK.

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Muchadehama put under deadly surveillance


Published: Monday 23 February 2009

ZIMBABWE - HARARE - Two unidentified men are stalking MDC lawyer Alec
Muchadehama, who is representing political prisoners who have become a
bargaining chip in a high stakes political amnesty game

The targeting of Muchadehama comes at a time his name has been circulating
in the media circles that the MDC wanted him to take over as the new
Attorney General.

This revelation has rattled the incumbent AG, Johannes Tomana, who faces the
axe amid mounting opposition clamour for his dismissal.

Muchadehama has said he would not take up the offer of the AG's job because
he was doing just fine in private practice.

The motive for putting Muchadehama under deadly surveillance is not yet

Two unidentified men have since late last week been stalking the human
rights lawyer since he left Court 13 at the Rotten Row magistrate's court on

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

The two unidentified men had been in court meticulously taking notes during
remand hearing proceedings, where Muchadehama successfully sought an order
for the examination and treatment of the four detainees.

Muchadehama also successfully obtained an order compelling the State to give
a trial date for the accused persons.

Human rights lawyers are outraged at the deadly surveillance of their

"Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is greatly worried about the rising
incidences of harassment and attacks against lawyers," said Irene Petras,
head of the ZLHR.

"This act of stalking was deliberately meant to spook Muchadehama. ZLHR
condemns such clandestine acts by the unidentified men who distracted a
legal practitioner who was executing his duties."

Efforts to obtain comment from National Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi
were futile.

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How 'Botox Bob' Robert Mugabe defies old age

February 23, 2009

Jan Raath: Behind the story
To the naked eye, Mr Mugabe looks the very picture of health, even for a
much younger man let alone someone in their ninth decade. "He is in very
good shape for 85," said a Harare doctor, requesting anonymity. "I would be
very happy to look like that when I'm 85."

In an interview on local television at the weekend, Mr Mugabe attributed his
apparent health to a lifelong regimen of daily exercise. He said that he
jogs each morning and maintains his weight between 75kg and 80kg. "This
ensures my body is full of muscles, and not fat," he said.

He also works out in the gym in his new mansion in Harare's exclusive suburb
of Borrowdale Brooke and has a personal trainer. He has always eaten
carefully, has never smoked and admits to only "an occasional glass of sweet
white wine".

The octogenarian is not without certain health complaints. "He's certainly
not as healthy as he makes out he is," said the doctor.

His speech is not halting, but for several years he has been prone to long,
rambling, disconnected monologues. "It's a sign of senile dementia caused by
neural decay that is normal in people of his age," said the doctor. Mr
Mugabe displays a high-stepping gait, also part of the dementia syndrome,
the doctor said.
In the run-up to last year's bloody presidential election, Mr Mugabe's
trousers rose as he sat, to reveal abnormally bloated ankles. "Oedema,"
suggested the doctor. "It's a sign of heart, kidney or liver dysfunction."

Most curious of all is his unwrinkled face. "You can usually tell how a
person is going to look by observing their parents," he said. "Mugabe's
mother reached 92 and she looked, well, like a prune. He should be looking
like her at his age."

"The secret has to be Botox," he said. "It also explains why his face often
changes so dramatically, from being chubby to gaunt and hollow-cheeked. It's
what happens when you don't have regular treatment."

Such claims have been voiced before. A former US ambassador referred to him
as "Botox Bob".

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New Zim government get fancy cars

Moses Mudzwiti Published:Feb 23, 2009

Zim's new unity government makes its priorities clear

ZIMBABWE'S new unity government has splashed out on new cars and office
furniture for its ministers, The Times has learnt.

The move comes as the country cries out for money from its neighbours.

The government's spending frenzy has been extended to the security forces,
notably the police.

At the weekend, police superintendents in Harare received state-sponsored
power generators. There are about 150 superintendents.

Lower-ranked police officers have been issued with two-wheeled carts.

On Friday, transport ministry officials confirmed that new vehicles were
being delivered to government ministers.

President Robert Mugabe, who turned 85 on Saturday, has added 10 more
ministries to the 31 agreed to in September.

So far, 19 deputy ministers have been appointed.

Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have two deputies each.

Before the MDC-T joined the unity government, Tsvangirai's party campaigned
for a leaner cabinet of only 15 ministers.

In only a week, Mugabe appears to have succeeded in altering the MDC's
perspective on government spending.

Several years ago a similar kitting-out of cabinet ministers cost the
government more than US$ 200- million.

In recent weeks, Zimbabwe's cash-strapped government has raised the cost of
its services astronomically.

For example, car number plates cost US$ 200 (R2000) and getting a Zimbabwean
passport can set you back as much as US$ 600.

This week the government will ask visiting UN officials and other donors to
fund teachers' salaries.

A good number of teachers quit more than two years ago, citing poor pay.

As a result, the government was considering a general amnesty for errant
teachers, meaning they would not have to reapply for their jobs.

Teachers have rejected the government's US$ 100 shopping vouchers, insisting
instead on salaries of US$ 2 300.

New education minister David Coltart has appealed to all teachers to return
to their classes today.

The country's cholera death toll continues to rise unabated.

More than 3700 people are known to have succumbed to the easily treatable

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Mugabe, Tsvangirai now like battered boxers

February 22, 2009

By Jakaya Goremusandu

WHEN two heavy-weight boxers wear each other down, referees normally have a
tough time separating the previously ferocious combatants.

With muscles giving in, blood flowing freely from upper-cut wounds and
fatigue setting in, boxers simply wobble and lock their hands around each
other torso. They turn the match into a boring spectacle as they each pray
for the final bell.

Indeed, everything has an end!

The turn of events in Zimbabwe over the past three weeks has baffled many at
home and even beyond. Long time opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed
to join hands with Robert Mugabe, one of the world's longest serving African
political strongmen, a despot who has driven Zimbabwe on to the edge of a

This tempestuous political marriage of convenience is rooted on an African
initiative - a brokered agreement between the two and underwritten by the
14-member Southern African Development Community - to deal with the
seemingly unending political "boxing match", which has earned Zimbabwe
pariah status over the past 10 years.

An economic meltdown slashed life expectancy from 58 to 34 in less than a
decade, and spawned a hyper-inflation rate of 231 million percent, as of
July last year - up from around 20 percent in the late 1990s. Today, a
breakdown in basic infrastructure and the collapse of essential services led
to a cholera epidemic whose contagion threatens to engulf the entire
southern African sub-region and affect regional investment and tourism as
well as 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Despite years of denial, a weary Mugabe today needs Tsvangirai to stabilise
Zimbabwe. An equally exhausted Tsvangirai needs Mugabe to help soft-land the
national crisis and to pacify his militant supporters, as well as the
security establishment which has been running the grisly show in Mugabe's
name for the last 10 years.

There is a reasonable and widespread belief that Mugabe has been losing
elections to Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party since 2000.
But in each case Tsvangirai was unable to assume political power. Mugabe
hung on, defying common sense and both national and international opinion.
Those who made it possible are potential witnesses because of the armoury of
information in their possession should it become necessary to flesh out
Mugabe's litany of human rights abuses, illegal commands to murder,
corruption and plunder, either in a court of law or out of other need. That
is their trump card, a potent weapon for blackmail.

The tipping point came in March last year when Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in
an election by a clearer margin than officially admitted in the past. The
announcement of the result was delayed for five weeks. Even then, Mugabe's
loss was deemed insufficient to nudge him out of power.

Mugabe, through a sympathetic electoral commission run by a former military
officer who appears to be equally scared of losing a stake in the event of
change, decreed that Tsvangirai fell short of the constitutionally required
figures to take over, necessitating a rerun. Tsvangirai pulled out after
Mugabe shrunk the democratic space, literally edging the opposition out of
the campaign, through violence.

More than 200 MDC supporters died in an orgy designed to cow the electorate
and to hostage the nation, retribution for rejecting Mugabe in the polls.
That exposed the ruse that the West, especially Britain, was the leader
behind the regime change agenda. Reality hit Mugabe in the face; reality hit
Africa in the face. Zimbabweans wanted change.

Africa intervened in embarrassment leading the two leaders to talk. The
result: a transitional government, with a plan to hold a fresh election -
under new rules, under a new Constitution and after transfusing a collapsed
essential public services sector with a new life. Food security, health,
education, water and sanitation, public transport and basic dignity have
all, but disappeared.

Mugabe and his henchmen no longer care, as living in a failed state though
ignominious for the founders of modern day Zimbabwe assures them of
security. Democracy, because of past and present excesses, is an
uncomfortable option for it presses for accountability, audits and - my
God - jail, humiliation or death.

Legitimate questions abound as to how Tsvangirai and Mugabe, the two known
to be avowed enemies, can now work together. Indications are that the ground
realities are pushing them into a dangerous cul-de-sac, forcing them to
negotiate a satisfactory exit. Under these circumstances, with a referee
whose shirt is now soaked in blood as he tries to separate the boxers in
this last round, the two could be a problem as well as a solution.

For context and perspective, let us look at Mugabe: he lost his
parliamentary majority in March forcing him to acknowledge Tsvangirai and
his MDC party as legitimate players after years of disparaging them as
vassals of imperialism and puppets of the West.

Zimbabwe is without a functional economy; Mugabe's pillars of support,
especially the military and a civil service whose leaders are products of
his patronage, are too weak to vaccinate him against continuing instability
due economic hardships. Lastly, his advanced age, is no longer a personal or
long-term national asset. Mugabe turned 85 yesterday on Saturday, February
21, 2009.

Mugabe - once a darling of the West showered with knighthoods and honorary
degrees, apart from the coveted UN prize for fighting hunger - could once
again taste success if he claims a position of peace-maker, repairs his
legacy as a founding father of Zimbabwe and avoids leaving office - alive or
posthumously - in ignominy.

What is clear now is that Mugabe has admitted defeat, admitted failure to
raise Zimbabwe from the dire situation he created. A senior citizen rarely
pronounces his own failures in public, at least not in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai needs Mugabe, is his sunset years, to avoid a power vacuum in a
hard transition to legitimacy. It is fair comment to say Tsvangirai, having
exhausted the activist mantle and turned Mugabe's previously white shirt
black with dirt, was now desperate for a solution.

To maintain the fluid concoction of interests in the MDC and to keep that
liquid firm in one container at a time when both the electoral and judicial
routes to political change and to freedom were effectively shut was proving
to be daunting challenge to Tsvangirai. A clash of visions was inevitable as
poverty and repression ground the nation to smithereens and options

Getting into bed with Mugabe, arguably unwise and to an extent
irresponsible, could assist the people to reconnect with their values and
afford Tsvangirai a chance to avoid the temptation to engage in counterfeit
leadership. When a struggle crosses the 10 year line, fatigue usually sets
in, for the situation will have created a generation of living in a failed
state, a generation that might be tempted to think that their way life is

The correctness or otherwise of Tsvangirai's diagnosis depends on a short,
sharp time-frame. Extending the life of the marriage begins to eat into his
political brand as donors display their reluctance to help the new couple
and Zimbabweans plough through conflicts in values and priorities. Apart
from stabilising the situation for a national expression through a free and
fair election, the coalition arrangement is not going to deliver any other

This is the reality, unfortunate as it is, in a heavily weakened nation with
sky-high expectations. A message must be sent out urgently that this is not
an MDC or a Tsvangirai-led regime - he is merely an administrator of a
deceased estate, sara pavana, as they say in Shona. As Prime Minister, his
duty is to manage and settle accounts, look after the deceased's family
children and prepare for the cleansing ceremony at which the family will
decide the future, usually after a year.

Without Mugabe, hardliners in his regime - long exposed for unfettered
corruption and serious crimes against humanity - feel safer in a failed
state. They are uncertain about the future, hence their calls on Mugabe to
stay on beyond common sense. The arrest of Roy Bennett, fresh farm
invasions, proposals to pardon Zanu-PF murderers and the continued
incarceration of pro-democracy and MDC activists helps to explain this
position. More embarrassing cases are in the offing, simply to spite
Tsvangirai and to show him that he is not yet fully in charge. At worst, he
may even be arrested himself as the fight shifts into power-testing.

After March, it dawned on Tsvangirai that an electoral process that is
normal and natural elsewhere is failing to deliver political power in
Zimbabwe. The current challenges before him today: a bloated Cabinet, lack
of donor sympathy and a rough reaction from traditional Mugabeists emphasise
that he is yet to get onto the home-stretch to power, requiring him to keep
his eyes on the ball and on the goal. Playing shoe-shine soccer with Mugabe
may be entertaining in the short term, but goals are always decisive.

Without a rebel army to fall back on, as is common in African revolutions,
Tsvangirai has to show all that he is an innocent and capable patriot and
no-one's puppet.

For Tsvangirai the current situation is a major test of character, a test of
leadership and a chance to show a difference. Success shall only be
invaluable, much as instructive, through a non-recriminatory programme of
national healing, meaningful economic stabilisation and a positive
engagement with a Western world, which correctly sees Mugabe as an
incorrigible candidate for the International Crimes Court.

However, the arrangement remains fragile. Zimbabwe's service chiefs have in
the past vowed never to salute Tsvangirai, citing his lack of liberation war
credentials. They still feel that way, hence the desire or none of it by
their commander in chief, Robert Mugabe, to order them to attend national
functions involving the MDC.

And to add to the confusion, there is a lot of anxiety within Zanu-PF about
the future. State newspapers reported sporadic cases of what they called
retribution in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East after the inclusion
of the MDC in government. The stories are sketchy and give no details as to
who was involved and why.

Should Tsvangirai and Mugabe keep this tenuous union intact in the next few
months, the nation expects visible marks in attending to the humanitarian
emergency: a return to the rule law, affordable food availability, the
containment of cholera, solid preparations now for the next agriculture
season and the resuscitation of the public service. Money will be a problem.
A quick economic recovery plan, starting with an agreement on the future of
commercial agriculture - our economic mainstay - will enable Zimbabwe to
generate the bulk of the needed resources.

Further, if President Obama has frozen salaries of his staff to save money,
why can't our abnormally large Cabinet work as volunteers, until such time
when business is restored and begins to generate money in the form of
meaningful taxes.

Ministers' expenditure patterns could be reduced to mere process costs, thus
giving the nation an indication of how they care for a new beginning and a
new Zimbabwe. These costs can cover their travel, subsistence and medical

A display of commitment and sacrifice at the top would spur confidence to a
bleeding nation.

Tsvangirai must guard against being driven by his passion for taking over.
If this commitment turns into crusade, forcing a solution when it is not yet
possible, chances are that the political risk could be too ghastly to

Tsvangirai must move with the nation, putting a cap on ministerial salaries
and perks and avoiding perceptions of a gravy train when the entire nation
is on Spartan fare. If he claims no control over those ministers from
Zanu-PF, at least he should work and convince those from the MDC to steer
away from the obscenity of lobster and caviar when the majority are

Tsvangirai needs sincere partners, across the nation with access to him, to
detect and highlight the missing links and to force him to keep checking on
his blind spots. He must realise his limitations and that he is merely a
waiter ready to deliver a dish ordered by a diner. In the maintenance role
he has been thrust into, he must manage outside dark forces and those from
within - those keen to pursue a destructive line - and keep the flicker
burning. There is a lot of trepidation, anxiety and direct observation among
the people.

If a new Constitution is what is easy to deliver, do so now. People need to
feel the change, to see the change and accept that tomorrow is another

The reality requires that Tsvangirai shuns factional loyalties like
unnecessarily bowing to tribal pressures as happened during the selection of
his cabinet nominees and to handle this delicate generational power
changeover, or at best an inter-party transition, with tact and sensitivity.

For Mugabe, the 85th birthday celebrations should have been a time for
serious reflection. What happened at State House on Friday, February 13,
2009, reflects on Zanu-PF as a party in a state of flux. Your claim to a
revolutionary past has been reduced to an ash heap because of your unending
grip on Zanu-PF.

Please, help Zanu-PF to grapple with the leadership succession challenge to
prepare itself for a contest with young Tsvangirai, now that you have
recognised officially and openly that he is a Zimbabwean, leading a
political alternative, the MDC.

There is nothing without an end!

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His Excellency, Mr Moonlighter

Feb 23 2009 06:00

Zimbabwean diplomats are resorting to moonlightingto avoid debt collectors
as the lack of foreign currency caused by the country's economic crisis has
left its representatives abroad unable to pay their bills.

This month a diplomat based in Austria committed suicide, reportedly in a
state of depression after receiving an eviction notice. She was buried in
Harare after friends and relatives chipped in to pay for transporting her
body home.

Stories abound of diplomats who are surviving on foreign currency sent by
the extended families back in Zimbabwe and on hand-outs from friends. Many
are deep in debt after resorting to overdrafts for their everyday needs.

Zimbabwe has 38 diplomatic missions and three consulates across the world.
The biggest missions are in New York and Geneva, because of the United
Nations. Ambassadors are paid between US$11 000 and US$13 000 a month,
depending on political seniority.

Foreign currency applications lodged with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe by
embassies abroad have not been adequately met. In February the New York
mission received US$100 000 when its arrears and other monthly obligations
totalled US$1-million.

Sources say that Zimbabwe's diplomats and foreign affairs staff posted
overseas have not been paid for the last five to seven months. This means
that they have been unable to meet most of their obligations, such as paying
for rented accommodation, heating, medication and school fees. Locally
recruited staff are owed salary arrears of between three and five months,
including bonuses.

In certain countries where it is legal, spouses resorted to seeking
employment to support their families. Sources said some desperate diplomats
had resorted to moonlighting to survive. Another diplomat who refused to be
identified said: "Under these difficulties we still have to defend our
country in international forums and in countries where we have been posted."

In Sweden officers evicted from their homes after failing to pay rent
because their salaries weren't paid are staying at the ambassador's
residence. Sources said in Australia a senior officer was also staying at
the embassy.

In India, Iran and Austria landlords for the chancelleries and residences
have approached their ministries of foreign affairs to lodge complaints
about the failure to pay by Zimbabwean missions. A diplomat who spoke on
condition of anonymity said: "Because of the humanitarian situation at home
we are no longer a priority."

Another European-based Zimbabwean diplomat said few officers had resigned as
a result of these terrible conditions because "people fear having bad names
back home and some still hold out for cushy jobs in international
organisations such as the UN."

There has been pressure in the ministry of foreign affairs to reduce the
number of embassies as a survival strategy, but this was turned down by
President Robert Mugabe, who, sources say, has argued this would be a public
humiliation. Other diplomats said an internal debate had also reached the
conclusion that closing down embassies at this juncture would be expensive
given the huge outstanding arrears to staff, rentals and other services.

In June 2007 salaries for diplomats were cut by more than 10% in an attempt
to reduce costs.

All diplomats interviewed said they pinned their hopes for a change in
fortune on the Global Political Agreement that produced the government of
national unity, which had its first Cabinet meeting in Harare this week.

The forthcoming tobacco selling season was given as another reason for hope,
as improved sales would result in greater disbursements to cover outstanding
diplomatic obligations.

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State media tones down on hate speech


Published: Monday 23 February 2009

ZIMBABWE - HARARE - In what appears to be a stark change in editorial
policy, the Herald, a state controlled daily newspaper has toned down its
hate speech in a move largely expected to promote national healing as the
inclusive government takes charge.

The development came hot on the heels of meetings held between the Minister
of Media, Information and Publicity Cde Webster Shamu with editors from
various media houses in Zimbabwe last week.

During the meeting sources said Cde Shamu made it clear that hate speech
should be a thing of the past and that the editors should promote national

Just at the weekend The Herald night columnist "Nathaniel Manheru" bed
farewell to his erstwhile readers in his 200 installment.

Manheru said he was moving on to other things but hinted that the column
could live another life for as long as the Zimbabwe is under threat.

Critics of Manheru said his writings besides being vulgar at times; it
reflected government's policies while safeguarding "other interests".

Not only is The Herald taking a lead in promoting national healing but also
ensuring that every ministry is given space and reaching out to a nation
that was once polarised.

However many will remember the column for its hard hitting and painstakingly
well read articles.
Another change in editorial policy of the herald, it now refers to cabinet
ministers across the political divide as comrades.

It never dawned on anyone what the inclusive government would bring towards
media reforms which in fact Zimbabwe badly needs.

With Mr Morgan Tsvangirai being referred to as comrade and the rest of
opposition ministers, Zimbabwe is surely moving closer to unified nation.

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Poachers threaten rhino survival

Last update: 4:56 p.m. EST Feb. 22, 2009
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Feb 22, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Wildlife experts
say they've seen a dramatic increase in rhinoceros killed by poachers in
South African game reserves.
While 10 rhinos were killed illegally on the reserves in 2007, at least 100
were poached last year -- 13 on Christmas Day alone, The Sunday Times of
London reported.
"We've always had subsistence poaching. But serious poaching for large game
by professionals selling rhino horn or ivory to Far Eastern syndicates is
far more alarming," said George Hughes, a former head of the KwaZulu-Natal
Parks Board in South Africa.
Former South African army professionals and foreign diplomats may be
involved in the killings, the Times said, noting a Vietnamese diplomat was
videotaped receiving contraband rhino horn outside his embassy in Pretoria.
Rhino poaching in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania have
left only about 3,500 wild black rhinos and an estimated 2,000 wild white
rhinos worldwide, wildlife experts told the Times. The most secure reserves
are believed to be in Namibia and Botswana.

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Shoestring budget for Robert Mugabe's big birthday bash

The Times
February 23, 2009

Jan Raath in Harare
President Mugabe began a week of celebrations at the weekend to mark his
85th birthday, even as organisers struggled to raise funds for the
festivities amid a crippling economic crisis and growing criticism of his

On Saturday the youth league of his Zanu (PF) party is to stage Mr Mugabe's
annual birthday party to which 10,000 children will be bussed, as well as
his relatives and members of his inner elite, to be fed on slaughtered oxen,
mountains of sticky cakes and thousands of fizzy drinks. The youth league
originally planned to raise $300,000 (200,000) for the bash, but reports
say donations are drying up.

Businesses and farmers are spurning menacing youth league officials
demanding cash. With the Government now run under a power-sharing interim
administration, the fear of refusing to contribute is trickling away.

Absalom Sikhosana, the youth league's head, declined to give figures for the
cash raised so far. "We are operating on a shoestring budget," he said
bravely. "Even without a single cent, the celebrations will go on."

Celebrations for Mr Mugabe - the world's oldest national leader - kicked off
over the weekend with a smaller party at a luxury hotel, hosted by his wife,
Grace, and accompanied by gushing tributes from cronies. "Like a mighty
crocodile," said the Defence Ministry, "you have remained resilient, focused
and resolute against all odds. We pray . . . that the almighty God grants
you many more years."
But if his age has not yet caught up with him, national decay and
dysfunction will be all around him at his big celebration. There were a mere
five fawning pages of birthday messages from bankrupt state offices in the
Herald on Saturday, a marked decline from the 16-page supplement last year.
Many of the ministries and state-owned companies that subscribed last year
are now run by the Movement for Democratic Change of Morgan Tsvangirai, the
Prime Minister.

The day before Mr Mugabe's birthday, the World Health Organisation disclosed
that the cholera epidemic had shot to 80,000 cases. "As Mugabe throws
parties for his 85th birthday, one in ten children in his country are
destined to die before their fifth birthday," said Save the Children, which
has one of the biggest humanitarian operations in the country.

Mr Mugabe is at a crossroads. On his own admission, entering into a
coalition Government was a "humiliation". He retains control over the most
powerful arms of government, but his total authority was suddenly and
significantly diminished when he swore in Mr Tsvangirai 13 days ago.

Yet Mr Mugabe shows no indication of wanting to relinquish the considerable
power he retains. Tortured detainees continue to languish in jail in
violation of the power-sharing agreement. At the weekend eviction orders
were issued to two white farmers, despite undertakings to halt land grabs.

"Mugabe is threatened by a slow process of erosion," said one diplomat. "We
may well see a steady shift in the balance of power, and the wilting away of
the loyalty of soldiers, police and civil servants that enforced his rule.
He will find it very hard now to resuscitate the campaigns of repression and
violence that held the entire country in thrall."

Yesterday Mr Tsvangirai urged the West to support the new national unity
Government. Adressing 7,000 supporters, he said: "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."

Mr Tsvangirai has warned that it could take up to $5 billion to get the
Zimbabwean economy back on track.

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Mutambara should try stand up comedy

23 February 2009

By Tambanavo Chamanyawi

Did you see Arthur Mutambara on Friday at the University of Johannesburg?
Making a public address for the first time at the Arts Centre as the Deputy
Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Guseni was at his best.

He out-clowned all other panelists leaving scores of attendants in stitches
as he shouted dramatic utterances one after the other. The visibly
celebrating Arthur was smiling from ear to ear as he gesturised throughout
his speech. He gesturises with everything on him, his hands, head, lips,
ears, eyes and clothes.

Of course he neither said anything new nor important, except that his
presentation was full of sound-bites and soliloquies, but virtually saying
nothing. Arthur can utilize his antics best as a stand-up comedian. Members
of the audience kept on busting into laughter as Arthur flaunted his stuff.

He never even attempted to answer dozens of questions which were thrown at
him, but was brutally frank about his inclusion in government. He admitted
that he was irrelevant in the deal. He conceded that he was powerless in
government. He even fell short of acknowledging that his job description was

"There can't be a deal which excludes Mugabe or Brother Tsvangirai. Forget
about me I have no power," said Mutambara much to the amazement of his

The statement was obviously designed to trivialize his uselessness. He
gauged the mood of the people correctly. Instead of waiting for people to
dismiss him as an opportunist, he disarmed the critics, by attacking himself

He then went on to congratulate himself for fighting Mugabe for 20 years at
long range, adding that he was now fighting him at short range.

His version was challenged. A member of the audience reminded him that after
winning a Zanu PF administered Rhodes scholarship, he disappeared into
obscurity alongside Simukai Utete for 20 years and only emerged three years
ago as the controversial leader of the Welshman break away.

He remained tight-lipped over the accusation. Questions were also raised
about how he was easily seduced to jump into bed with Zanu PF. No answer
came from Arthur.

Munyaradzi Gwisai dismissed the deal as an arrangement of the elite which
excluded people. Mutambara astonishingly admitted that he was part of the
elite who decided for the people what is possible or impossible in politics.

He never criticized even once the continued detention of MDC Treasurer
General Roy Bennett. He never used the platform and opportunity to complain
about the incarceration of MDC activists.

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The state must be de-militarised

Published: Monday 23 February 2009
ZIMBABWE - HARARE - Democracy invariably entails the respect of the people's
fundamental human rights which include, but are not limited to, freedom of
association, freedom of expression and protection from unlawful and
arbitrary arrest and detention.

The all-inclusive government in Zimbabwe is seized with the urgent and
compelling task of restoring the people's confidence in the State and more
particularly; the right of citizens to expect the State to jealously protect
their right to liberty as well as the protection of their private property.

Thus; a situation whereby might continues to be viewed as right inevitably
militates against the acceptance of the new dispensation as a viable method
of extricating Zimbabwe from its socio-economic and political quagmire.

For the all-inclusive government to be seen to be working there has to be a
serious paradigm shift especially amongst those of our colleagues who were
used to operating as loose canons in the running of matters of State.

Put differently, all State power should be vested in the organs of the State
as conceptualised by the terms and conditions of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) that was signed by the principals of the three main
political parties on September 15, 2008 in Harare.

We should not have a situation where some big residue of State power is
still vested in some shadowy and reclusive quasi-military structure that
literally behaves as a power unto itself.

As patriotic and well-meaning citizens of Zimbabwe, we abhor the
militarisation of the State for as long as the all-inclusive government has
got the constitutional mandate to run the country.

In certain situations, perception can easily become reality.

If ordinary citizens perceive that State power still largely vests in some
shadowy military cabal, whether this is true or not, the reality will be
that people will quickly lose confidence in the all-inclusive government and
they will begin to view it, may be with some degree of justification, as
some form of ceremonial and cosmetic political arrangement that is nowhere
near genuine power-sharing as envisaged in the GPA.

In my previous article, I adopted the stance that the all-inclusive
government should be given a chance. I still associate myself with that

My main concern, however, is that recent events in Zimbabwe have tended to
show that real and substantive political power lies elsewhere; not
necessarily within the structures of the all-inclusive government.

And to all right-thinking and peace-loving Zimbabweans, this state of
affairs is a matter of grave concern. The recent arrest and detention of Roy
Bennett, the MDC national treasurer and Deputy Minister designate in the
Ministry of Agriculture has not helped matters in trying to convince rank
and file members of the MDC that we have entered into a genuine
power-sharing deal with ZANU PF.

The argument is put forward that if high profile personalities like Roy
Bennett can easily be picked up by State operatives, arrested and detained
on very spurious trumped up charges; what guarantee is there that lesser
mortals out there will be treated any differently.

As I write this article, Roy Bennett is still in detention at Mutare Remand
Prison and we do not know whether his bail application will succeed at the
High Court.

Assuming that Roy's bail application is successful and that he is freed from
custody; still the perception out there will remain that he was a victim of
some politically motivated plot by some shadowy political force somewhere
out there.

Readers of this column should get me right. I am not by any stretch of the
imagination arguing that politicians who, on reasonable grounds, are
suspected of having committed some criminal offences should not be arrested.

All I am stating is that in the case of Roy Bennett, one does not have to be
a rocket scientist to see that the charges against him are as spurious as
they are baseless, frivolous and thoroughly vexatious.

In making the afore-mentioned submissions, I would be reckless if I fail to
mention the continued illegal detention of other MDC activists such as Chris
Dhlamini, Gandhi Mudzingwa, Concillia Chinanzvavana and many others.

The case of the human rights activist, Jestina Mukoko and her colleagues at
the Zimbabwe Peace Project, is also closely connected to this issue.

The all-inclusive government is more than a week old now but all these poor
and unfortunate souls remain incarcerated. Personally; I feel very, very bad
about this state of affairs inasmuch as it tends to show that the
all-inclusive government's teeth have yet to bite.

In a revolution, an injury to one is an injury to all. How am I expected to
celebrate and be happy when all these of our comrades are still locked up in
some dingy prison cells on thoroughly discredited and politically motivated

Of course, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his team are working flat out to
ensure that all these people regain their liberty. My main bond of
contention here is the fact that our partners in the all-inclusive
government do not seem to be bothered one iota about the case involving
these detainees.

They put forward the sickening argument that the law should be allowed to
take its course and that political leaders should not '' politicise'' these
cases. Needless to emphasise; this type of argument is completely devoid of
both factual and legal support.

These detainees were ''arrested'' Mafia-style. They were Nicodemously
abducted from their homes in the small hours of the day; taken into custody
at some unknown places where most of them were subjected to inhuman and
degrading treatment including torture.

I am confident that our leadership in the MDC is very mindful of our
concerns in this respect and I cannot wait for the day when all these
comrades shall regain their liberty.
Prior to the inauguration of the all-inclusive government a few days ago,
the State was virtually militarised. Even agriculture was now being run by
some military generals. We have all heard of the activities of Operation
Maguta as well as the military personnel who are running this '' project''.

Since we now have a fully-fledged all-inclusive government which even has
two ministries dealing with issues of land and agriculture, here is hoping
that the involvement of the military in the affairs of land will now be a
thing of the past.

I take comfort in the assurances that we continue to get from our political
leadership in the MDC. We remain focused and confident that our team in the
all-inclusive government will no doubt deliver. But we have to urgently
address the issue of the de-militarisation of the State.

Zimbabwe, to the best of my knowledge, is not under a military dictatorship
and as such, matters of the State should be exclusively administered by our
civilian ministers who constitute the all-inclusive government.

We all expect our military structure to play ball and not to resist change.

Some people have drawn all sorts of conclusions regarding the non-attendance
of the service chiefs at the inauguration ceremony of Prime Minister
Tsvangirai on Wednesday February 11, 2009 at State House in Harare. I am not
going to speculate on this one.

I am not willing to spread alarm and despondency. What I know is that all
patriotic Zimbabweans would like to see an end to the human suffering and
misery in our motherland. If the all-inclusive government is the bitter pill
we have to swallow in order to redeem ourselves from a life of poverty and
destitution, so be it.

A new chapter should now be opened in Zimbabwe. The all-inclusive government
should not only have all the authority to run affairs of State; it should be
seen to be having such authority. Otherwise; it will be a very long walk to
freedom. We are getting there but we are not yet there. Not yet Uhuru!

Senator Obert Gutu can be contacted on

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ZIFA's Henrietta Rushwaya splashes the cash

23 February 2009

By Bridget Tapuwa

Reports that the Chief Executive Officer of ZIFA, Henrietta Rushwaya has
just recently lavishly spent massive amounts of ZIFA funds in acquiring
state of the art furniture for her office leave Zimbabweans with many
unanswered questions.

It is reported that 'the furniture she acquired includes, an LCD high
definition television set accompanied by a DSTV satellite dish, a new
state-of-the art personal computer, in addition to the laptop she already
has, a teak wall unit leather swivel seat, a couch and brass coffee tables,
and a small fridge- where she stores an assortment of beverages.' She has
'made subscriptions which entitle her to the unlimited viewing of varied
programmes on the television during working hours'.

Whilst it follows, through common sense, that a high profiled position of
CEO, ZIFA would be expected to stay abreast and posted on all major world
soccer events and any developments in the field, it remains questionable
that ZIFA, an institution which is already cash strapped should spend its
scarce financial resources in this way.

From one angle, Rushwaya's panic buying, which shockingly falls against
Zimbabwe's GNU between ZANU PF and the two MDC factions, exposes Rushwaya's
uncertainty about her future in that ZIFA CEO position. She may be so
frustrated that she would rather ruin ZIFA down to it knees just before she
vacates the office.

Her uncertainty comes because the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture,
which is expected to monitor Zimbabwe's football mother body, ZIFA was
allocated to the MDC-M, with David Coltart as the Minister. Under the GNU,
members to Commissions such as the Sports Commission, a Commission which
should also monitor ZIFA, would be expected to be non partisan, unlike
previously when it has been more of a Zanu pf institution.

Rushwaya was planted in that CEO position by Zanu pf's Joseph Msika, without
following the expected recruitment procedures. She has been recognized in
different Zimbabwean circles as, a woman who lacks any credentials relevant
to football administration, such that her ascendancy in the apex structure
of the Zimbabwean football mother body remains a mystery.

The 'girl's' greater life has been riddled with controversy. It thus follows
suit that ZIFA is being run unprofessionally with nepotism and corruption
being the order of the day. Whilst I am a very strong advocate for female
empowerment, I find it imperative to highlight that Rushwaya's ascendancy as
a woman to a decision making position in Zimbabwe is not the only case which
raises eyebrows.

Under the Zanu pf led government, most of the high profiled women (the women
who hold decision making positions) in government institutions such as
Ambassadors, Permanent Secretaries, Commissioners and other positions in
parastatals were awarded the positions by virtue of their relations with
their male recruitment masters. And this was done under the pretext of the'
female empowerment and gender equality' argument.

In this regard they abused the United Nations' call and advocacy for female
empowerment and gender equality and in the process severely compromised
quality and efficiency in the running of the institutions. The GNU would be
rated well if it revisits all these appointments and award decision making
positions to women on the basis of qualifications and experience.

Zimbabwe is blessed with many well educated and relevantly experienced women
for some of these decision making positions (Permanent Secretaries,
Ambassadors, Executives to Parastatals). Whilst placements on the positions
are being made on the basis of political affiliation and are thus never
advertised, the running of their offices really requires no political

On a different angle, Rushwaya's extravagance may more likely be showing
that she is refusing to take cognizance of the changes in Zimbabwe's
political arena. She may be quite convinced through her ZANU PF masters that
she will not move an inch, as the political winds will not blow her away.

Having in the past 'succeeded' in quashing protests against not only her
dismal, but shameful leadership too in the Zimbabwean football structures,
which is male dominated, Rushwaya is most likely convinced that she is one
of the 'untouchables'. Surprising enough, even those Zimbabwean men who are
well known for bashing their wives at home, and are big soccer fans, they
have all stayed miles away from Rushwaya.

To the ordinary Zimbabwean, there is the impression that all Government
institutions and structures are currently organizing their books to pave way
for the change in the running of the country, which would naturally include
hand over take over, among many other changes.

But surprisingly some incumbents are even 'planting' new policies and
engaging in such big expenditures on office furniture, acts which have a big
bearing in the long term running of the institutions. Such incidents to
Zimbabweans, only but add more confusion and skepticism; thereby casting a
dark shadow on the GNU.

Will Rushwaya survive in that lucrative position under the GNU or will David
Coltart axe her and call for the recruitment of a relevantly qualified and
experienced incumbent? Coltart has a lot of dirt to clean up. Time will
tell..on how good His broom is...

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NZ government could stop tour of Zimbabwe

Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:55pm GMT

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand's government could stop the country's
cricket team touring Zimbabwe later this year, Prime Minister John Key said
on Monday.

New Zealand are scheduled to tour the strife-torn African country for three
one-day internationals in July as part of the International Cricket
Council's (ICC) future tours programme.

The centre-right National-led government, like the Labour-led administration
it ousted last year, has said it does not favour the tour.

"I'm pretty reluctant for the Black Caps to travel," Key told Television New
Zealand on Monday. "There are very real, genuine security risks for our

New Zealand Cricket could face an ICC-imposed fine if it opted against
touring, unless ordered by the government, and Key said it was an option.

"Potentially, yes," Key said when asked if the government would step in to
stop the tour. "There are some options that I am working through at the

Zimbabwe has agreed to skip this year's Twenty20 World Cup in England to end
a deadlock over demands for its suspension from international cricket
because of Robert Mugabe's government.

Last month, the ICC said Zimbabwe needed more time before they could hope to
return to test cricket.

The troubled African nation has not played tests since January 2006 after
the side was left depleted following disputes between senior players and the

(Editing by Miles Evans)

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