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MDC executive to meet Friday over Mugabe violations

By Lance Guma
26 February 2009

The National Executive of the MDC will meet Friday afternoon to discuss
ongoing violations of the unity deal, that brought their party and ZANU PF
into the shaky coalition government. On Tuesday Mugabe unilaterally
announced the appointment of ministerial permanent secretaries without
consulting the MDC. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Deputy Arthur
Mutambara then convened a press conference Wednesday to declare the
appointments null and void.

On Thursday party spokesman Nelson Chamisa issued a statement saying the
supreme decision making body of the MDC would meet to 'review the status and
performance of the inclusive government, in relation to the party's
expectations. The issues include the unilateral appointment of permanent
secretaries, the irregular appointments of the Attorney-General and the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, the issue of provincial governors and the
continued detention of MDC and civic activists on trumped-up charges.'
Mugabe continues to dare the MDC to walk out of the coalition government and
on Thursday said Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General
Johannes Tomana would not be removed from their jobs. 'I do not see any
reason why those people should go and they will not go,' he stubbornly
insisted. This is despite Gono presiding over one of the most corrupt and
politically driven reigns at the central bank, while Tomana has been accused
of willfully blocking the release of political prisoners by abusing the
appeal process.
The big surprise however was Mugabe revealing that the country will have a
new constitution within the next 18 to 24 months, followed by elections. 'We
are an interim arrangement; we are not a permanent inclusive government.
Ahead of us is a whole constitutional process which requires that we address
the issue of the constitution. We will then have an election thereafter,
perhaps in about two years time,' Mugabe said. The ZANU PF leader sounded
rather too self-assured for someone who lost the presidential elections to
Tsvangirai in March last year.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa however told Newsreel Mugabe's comments were
nothing new. He said the life span of the coalition government was clearly
set out as 2 years in the deal and they expected free and fair elections in
that time.

With Mugabe in defiant mood, political prisoners still in detention, WOZA
activists beaten and arrested, continuing farm invasions across the country
and other violations, Tsvangirai's party has done nothing to suggest they
wield any state power or have the stomach to walk out. The guarantors of the
unity deal, SADC and the African Union, have kept a deathly silence over the
violations. Limp statements from South African President Kgalema Motlanthe
criticizing the arrest of Roy Bennet for example were blasted as
half-hearted and not followed up with any pressure on Mugabe.

Human rights academic Pedzisai Ruhanya told Newsreel that Tsvangirai has no
power to do anything and was now simply an appendage of the ZANU PF
government. He said the Prime Minister's lame duck status was evidenced by
his complaints through the media, instead of being able to change things
through his office. He compared the MDC to a wife in an abusive marriage who
keeps saying, 'things will get better.' He said the earlier the MDC realize
they are being used the better, and they should walk out.

Ruhanya said the history of the interaction between the two parties shows
that Mugabe always gets his way. He said the ministries that were
unilaterally grabbed and gazetted by Mugabe last year, are the ones which
were eventually adopted anyway. He argued the same will happen with the
appointment of permanent secretaries, the Attorney General, the Reserve Bank
and other appointments. Defending the MDC Chamisa said the decisions they
had to make were difficult ones and they understood the frustrations faced
by their party supporters. He however said they had several options to
respond to Mugabe's maneuvers.

NB: For the full no holds barred interview between Lance Guma and Pedzisai
Ruhanya, tune into Behind the Headlines on Thursday.

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SA calls for release of detainees

February 26, 2009

By Our Correspondent

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's President Kgalema Motlanthe has called on the
Zimbabwean government to immediately release those opposition and human
rights activists still languishing in jail on controversial charges.

His statement came hardly a day after United Nations (UN) secretary general
Ban ki Moon raised similar concerns about the detainees and the political
situation in Zimbabwe following the formation of an all-inclusive

Motlanthe, who is also the chairman of the Southern African Development
Community, expressed concern over the violation of human rights in Zimbabwe
where the police continue to arrest MDC and civic society activists on
politically motivated charges.

"I remain concerned about reports of arrests and detention of opposition
activists and human rights defenders," said Motlanthe.

It is now technically incorrect to refer to the MDC as the opposition. The
party has more seats in Parliament than Zanu-PF.

"I hope that these people will be freed as soon as possible. Also, in the
face of the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe,
especially the current cholera epidemic, the UN will make all possible
efforts to increase its support to Zimbabwe, including for nationally owned
stabilization and recovery programmes.

"Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Catherine Bragg, is
currently in Zimbabwe. She will recommend how the international community
can step-up its humanitarian efforts in the country.

Motlanthe said he had been assured by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai when
he met him last week that the release of detainees was high on the agenda of
the government of Zimbabwe.

"He assured me that in his discussions with President Mugabe they had agreed
that all the detainees should be granted bail in their own cognisance," he

His comments were made in the wake of a meeting with UN secretary-general,
who met Motlanthe in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Ban called on Mugabe to release opposition and human rights activists who
are still in detention, saying this was necessary for the country's
newly-formed government of national unity to gain international credibility.

"I support the launch of the unity government, but it will be appropriate
for Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe to heal the nation and release the
detained activists," he said. "He should promote national reconciliation, as
the international community will only support this government if there are
efforts from Mugabe to make it work."

There was hope that the formation of an all-inclusive government would help
resolve Zimbabwe's political problems which have been exacerbated by the
government's arrest of civic society and opposition party activists.

Among the detained are deputy Minister of Agriculture-designate Roy Bennett
and human rights activist, Jestina Mukoko, who has been behind bars on
controversial charges since December.

Apart from its political woes, the country is faced with a humanitarian
crisis that has been worsened by a deadly outbreak of cholera that has
killed about 4 000 Zimbabweans and spread to neighbouring countries.

Prospects are not rosy either on the economic front with inflation at more
than 230 million percent as of last year's figures, while joblessness now
stands at more than 90 percent.

South Africa has borne the worst brunt of the crisis with millions of
Zimbabweans crossing the Limpopo over the years to seek refuge.

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Mugabe defends appointment of central bank chief, attorney general

From APA, 26 February

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Thursday refused to fire the
country's attorney general and central bank governor, setting the stage for
a potential showdown with the former opposition MDC which insists the two
men should leave service to restore confidence in a fragile unity
government. The future of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and
Attorney General Johannes Tomana has been the subject of speculation since
the formation on February 13 of the unity government between Mugabe's Zanu
PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai. The MDC, which controls the key finance ministry, has insisted
that Gono and Tomana were improperly appointed in violation of a
power-sharing agreement signed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai in September last
year. Under the agreement, all appointments of senior officials by Mugabe
have to be done in consultation with the prime minister.

Mugabe, however, told the state-run Herald newspaper that the creation of
the unity government would not nullify the statutory appointments he made
before the inauguration of the new regime. He was adamant that the
appointments had been made legally and that the individuals occupying the
various offices were suitable for their respective jobs. "I do not see any
reason why those people should go and they will not go," Mugabe told the
newspaper. Gono is blamed for ruining Zimbabwe's economy through his
policies at the central bank, while Tomana is accused of blocking the
release of opposition activists abducted by the police last year. Zimbabwe's
new Finance Minister Tendai Biti has vowed he would ensure Gono leaves
office, insisting that the continued tenure of the central bank chief would
hamper efforts to entice donor funding. Mugabe also announced the holding of
fresh Zimbabwe elections within the next two years which would be preceded
by the passing of a new constitution.

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Is Zimbabwe attending SADC meetings and summits under false pretences?

26 February 2009

As the siege conditions facing Zimbabwe's few remaining commercial farmers
escalate, the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) and Justice for Agriculture
(JAG) are being inundated with calls for assistance from farmers and their
families across the country.

  To date more than 100 farmers have been targeted for fast-track
eviction and others are being forced off their land.  The CFU estimates that
the value of the crops in the ground under threat is about £70 million.

  Hermanus (Manie) Grove of Innogo Ranch in Kwekwe, who is
protected by the SADC Tribunal ruling of 28 November 2008, was arrested last
week and remanded in custody.  His trial was scheduled to continue on

   The person involved in this latest take-over attempt is the
same man responsible for the serious beating of Grove on a previous

  Andrew Herbst [40th and 41st applicant in the SADC Tribunal
case] was summoned to the magistrate's court in Karoi at the beginning of
last week for a Thursday hearing.

Since Herbst could not find a lawyer available to defend him, his own
lawyer, David Drury, who was involved elsewhere, requested a remand but was
only allowed four hours.

The trial began that afternoon with no legal representation and was
completed very quickly.  Herbst was found guilty of being on his land
illegally and given seven days to remove his belongings.

He was also given a suspended jail sentence of six months and barred from
entering his farm for five years.

Scores of other white farmers have cases pending in magistrates' courts
around the country.

It has been learnt that hours after the recent incarceration of a number of
farmers who had taken their cases to the SADC Tribunal in Windhoek, a
meeting was held at the Rukawo Motel Chegutu on 6 February.

It was convened by newly appointed Zimbabwean Attorney General Johannes
Tomana to discuss ways of fast tracking the prosecution of white farmers who
had not vacated their land.  Tomana is a known supporter of Zanu-PF and a
beneficiary of land in the Banket area.

With him were officials from the Ministry of Lands, the Permanent Secretary
in the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, prosecutors,
magistrates and other officials as well as members of the Zimbabwe Republic

In a memo regarding the meeting it was reported that Chief Magistrate
Herbert Mandeya advised his fellow magistrates that "the SADC Tribunal
ruling must be disregarded."  He told magistrates to refer land cases to the
Supreme Court.

At the end of the meeting, the participants agreed "that the recent SADC
Tribunal ruling shall not have any bearing on our courts on matters to do
with land."

It was also agreed "that lands officers together with law enforcement
agencies must do everything in their power to assist in the eviction of
former commercial farmers who are refusing to vacate gazetted farms..."

  The meeting concluded with the agreement "that cases pending
trial in the court should be finalised by the 21 February 2009."

Since that time the police have issued numerous court summonses to remaining
white commercial farmers across the country.  No trials have to date been
concluded except that of Herbst, who lost.

Farmers face up to two years' imprisonment if found guilty of remaining on
their farms and in their homes "illegally".

In many districts invasions continue on land where farmers are still
battling to produce crops for a country that is currently needing food aid
for well over half the population.  White farmers have lost occupation of
more than 95 percent of their former land holdings so far.

The latest World Food Program estimate of people needing food aid is seven
million out of a population that independent analysts believe could be as
low as eight million.  The newly released unemployment figure is 94 percent.

January's Urban Food Security Assessment released this month by Zimbabwe
Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) reports that urban hunger has
deepened across Zimbabwe during the past three years.  The United Nations
has launched a US$500 million appeal to rescue Zimbabwe from its "grave
humanitarian crisis"

In Article III 3.1 [a] of the Global Political Agreement, brokered by the
South African government, the parties agreed "to give priority to the
restoration of economic stability and growth in Zimbabwe."

  This includes "working together on a full and comprehensive
economic programme . which will urgently address the issue of production,
food security, poverty and unemployment..."

In section 3.1 [b], the parties agree "to create conditions that would
ensure the 2008/2009 agricultural season is productive."

Despite this, the unity government appears unable to reverse the trend and
to bring about a return to respect of the SADC Treaty and the ruling of the
SADC Tribunal.

The SADC Tribunal ruling of 28 November 2008 found the laws under which
farmers in Zimbabwe are being prosecuted "in breach of Article 4[c]" of the
SADC Treaty.

SADC, through the SADC Tribunal, directed the Zimbabwe Government  "to take
all necessary measures, through its agents, to protect the possession,
occupation and ownership of the lands of applicants.....and to take all
appropriate measures to ensure that no action is taken, pursuant to
Amendment 17, directly or indirectly, whether by its agents or by others, to
evict from, or interfere with, the peaceful residence on, and of those farms
by, the applicants.."

Chief Magistrate Mandeya cites "Section III [b] of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe that provides that treaties entered into by Zimbabwe cannot form
part of our law unless they go through Parliament."

However, the SADC Treaty became part of domestic law in 1992 when it was
signed by President Mugabe.  It was only in 1993 that Parliament brought in
Section III [b], which required that future treaties be endorsed by

If we follow the Zimbabwean government's logic and the SADC Treaty is not
part of domestic law, then is Zimbabwe part of SADC?  Or has Zimbabwe been
attending SADC meetings and summits under false pretences?


For further information:

Ben Freeth for SADC Tribunal Rights Watch.

Tel: +263 912 241 477


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Chief Magistrate says SADC ruling on Zimbabwe farms should be ignored

By Violet Gonda
26 February 2009

Last year Zimbabwean commercial farmers were left with no choice but to take
the Zimbabwean government to a SADC tribunal to try to stop the illegal

They won their case and a SADC Tribunal in Namibia granted scores of white
farmers permission to remain on their land. However the Zimbabwean
authorities continue to disrupt and harass the farmers, in total violation
of the ruling by the regional bloc.

This is also in total disregard of the power sharing government. It has
emerged that the Attorney General Johannes Tomana was one of the officials
who recently took part in a one day workshop for magistrates in the Chegutu
area - the heartland of the SADC applicants - at which it was decided that
the SADC ruling would be ignored. This is despite the fact that Zimbabwe is
a signatory of the SADC tribunal.

Officials from the Ministry of Lands, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs,
plus  the police participated in this workshop on the 6th February at the
Rukawo Motel, to find out ways of handling quicker prosecutions of
commercial farmers who have been refusing to vacate gazetted land.

Guest speakers included the notorious and controversial AG, the Chief
Magistrate Herbert Mandeya and David Mangota, the Permanent Secretary in the
Ministry of Justice. The AG criticised what he termed "unnecessary delays"
in the farmers' trials. Tomana himself is a beneficiary of land in the
Banket area.

It was at this workshop that magistrates were told to disregard the SADC
Tribunal ruling, and were told it does not form part of Zimbabwean law.
Mandeya said treaties entered into by the government cannot form part of
Zimbabwe's laws, unless they go through Parliament. He urged the magistrates
to refer these cases to the Supreme Court. It is there that eviction
challenges are usually dropped.

The participants agreed that the SADC Tribunal ruling should not have any
bearing in Zimbabwe's courts and that the lands officers, together with law
enforcement agencies, "must do everything in their power to assist in the
eviction of former commercial farmers who are refusing to vacate gazetted
farms and whose cut-off dates have elapsed."

A statement from the Commercial Farmers Union said Mandeya advised his
fellow Magistrates to be guided by the recent Supreme Court Judgement in the
case between Mike Campbell and the Ministry of Lands, where the Judge ruled
in favour of the latter.  Campbell is the farmer currently facing eviction
by ZANU PF official Nathan Shamuyarira's nephew, Peter Chamada.

Responding to Chief Magistrate Mandeya's assertion that treaties entered
into by Zimbabwe cannot form part of law, Campbell's son-in-law, Ben Freeth,
said the SADC Treaty became part of domestic law in 1992 when it was signed
by Mugabe.  "It was only in 1993 that Parliament brought in Section III [b],
which required that future treaties be endorsed by Parliament.  If we follow
the Zimbabwean government's logic and the SADC Treaty is not part of
domestic law, then is Zimbabwe part of SADC?  Or has Zimbabwe been attending
SADC meetings and summits under false pretences?"  he asked.

Freeth told SW Radio Africa the Mugabe regime selectively chooses when to
abide by SADC agreements and when it comes to the land issue it chooses to
go against the highest human rights court within SADC.

Since the Chegutu 'workshop' numerous court summons have been issued to the
remaining white commercial farmers and most farmers in the Chiredzi, Lowveld
area have been forced into hiding after warrants of arrest were issued
against them.

It's reported there have been at least 100 farms invasions countrywide since
the inclusive government was formed.

On Wednesday Prime Minister Tsvangirai said the disruptions on the farms
were a huge infringement of the power sharing deal. He denounced the
violence on the farms and warned the disruptions "are undermining our
ability to revive our agricultural sector and restore investor confidence."

The disruptions are continuing at a time when Zimbabwe should be producing
food to feed the starving population. The Commercial Farmers Union estimates
the value of the crops in the ground under threat is about £70 million.

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NCA Press Release





  1. Long before the establishment of the “All Inclusive Government”, the NCA proposed a 3 point-plan for the resolution of our political crisis.  The plan had the following aspects:


a)         Establishment of a transitional government.

b)         Writing a new, democratic and people-driven constitution.

c)         Elections under a new constitution.


  1. The NCA position is that the All Inclusive Government is a transitional government whose life span must not exceed 18 months.  It is the NCA’s view that this aspect, which is the assumption of the overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans, must be accepted by the All Inclusive Government itself.  We note that there are many in the All Inclusive Government who want to have this arrangement last for a five-year period.  Zimbabweans must not allow this.  The NCA will, therefore utilize its usual methods of campaigns to ensure that the All Inclusive Government arrangement is regarded by all as a transitional government that must pave way to new elections under a new, democratic and people-driven constitution.


  1. The position that the All Inclusive Government is a transitional government with a limited duration is not just a matter of principle.  Our country requires a legitimate and effective government.  The events surrounding the first two weeks of the inclusive government show serious problems. For example:


a)         Political detainees and women’s rights activists remain in unlawful custody.  At his inauguration, the Prime Minister promised their release within “a day or week”.  Not only did this not happen, but instead more people were arrested, including Roy Bennett.


b)         The size of the government is bigger than what is provided for in the current constitution as amended by Amendment No. 19.  The size is unsustainable for our country.  Most of the international aid being sought by the All Inclusive Government will be used to finance this huge infrastructure.


c)         The parties in the All Inclusive Government continue to quarrel over appointments such as those of Permanent Secretaries, Provincial Governors, and the Governor of the Reserve Bank and the Attorney General.


Does this country deserve a huge, ineffective and quarrelling administration?  For this reason, the NCA wishes to mobilize the people to remain alert to the transitional nature of this arrangement.


  1. The NCA is clear that the constitution-making process contained in Article 6 of the GPA is not people-driven and is meant to impose the Kariba Constitution on the people of Zimbabwe.  The NCA has developed an alternative proposal of a genuine process which has been endorsed by the majority of civil society.  We take this opportunity to present this proposal to the public.  We will engage the all-inclusive government over this proposal with a view to ensuring that as a country we adapt a new democratic and people-driven constitution.


  1. If the All-inclusive government insists on the Kariba process that will be enough evidence that they are not interested in a democratic and people-driven constitution.



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Madhuku says the power share government is a circus

By Violet Gonda
26 February 2009

The outrageous infringements of the power sharing deal by the Mugabe regime
were clearly exposed on Wednesday when human rights defenders were arrested
and beaten, threats to farmers continued and Mugabe announced a list of
permanent secretaries, all from ZANU PF.

The outspoken chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Dr
Lovemore Madhuku,  described the inclusive government as a 'circus' and said
the power sharing deal was an inappropriate way of dealing with the complex
Zimbabwe crises. He said Mugabe does not know how to share power and it is
impossible to achieve the kind of real change that Zimbabweans yearn for, in
this kind of arrangement.

Madhuku said not only is Mugabe treating Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
like a junior partner but the human rights abuses are continuing as if
nothing has changed.

Police on Wednesday violently broke up a WOZA demonstration beating
protesters and arresting several activists. And despite a SADC ruling
barring ZANU PF officials from grabbing protected farms, Nathan Shamuyarira's
nephew gave farmer Mike Campbell until 5pm to vacate his farm.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai held a press conference on Wednesday and said the
rule of law continues to be flouted in Zimbabwe, where farm invasions
continue unabated and in contravention of the Memorandum of Understanding.
He said this was now "undermining our ability to revive our agricultural
sector and restore investor confidence."

Tsvangirai also said despite the Principals agreeing "that all political
detainees who have been formally charged with a crime should be released on
bail and those that have not been charged should be released
unconditionally. This has not yet happened."

Some of the political prisoners are in leg irons and shackled at the Avenues
Clinic, the other group is incarcerated in filthy cells at Chikurubi. Rights
lawyers say at least 10 others are still missing after they were abducted by
state agents from their homes several months ago.

Furthermore, despite the fact that the MDC has not accepted his appointment,
the controversial Attorney General, Johannes Tomana continues to play a
significant role in interfering and abusing the detainees' quest for

Tsvangirai said: "As long as these matters remain unresolved, it will be
impossible for the transitional government to move forward with the reforms
that this country so desperately needs."

However Dr Madhuku was highly critical of the new Prime Minister's
statement. He said; "The fact that he held a press conference to complain
shows that he has no power, because if he had any power he would have been
sitting somewhere and actually exercising that power and we would see things

The NCA Chairman said if Mugabe was interested in real change and Tsvangirai
had power, political detainees would have been released, new faces would be
seen as permanent secretaries and police officers would start behaving
differently and not abuse ordinary citizens.

"But you cannot say you are in power if all you do is to go and have a press
conference and tell us the problems that everyone knows," said the outspoken

As the game of politics continues to be played in Zimbabwe, questions are
being asked about the role of the regional body - the guarantors of this
controversial Zimbabwean deal. Where is SADC in all this and who can
pressure SADC and South Africa, to force compliance?

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Mugabe says government only temporary

February 26, 2009

Harare (AP) - Zimbabwe could hold fresh elections in two years if a new
constitution is approved in a referendum, President Robert Mugabe said in
interview with state media on Thursday.

Mugabe, 85, said that the new unity government with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, formed only two weeks ago, was a temporary solution until the
parties could agree on a new charter and fresh polls.

"We are an interim arrangement. We are not a permanent inclusive
 government," Mugabe said. "Ahead of us is a whole constitutional process
which requires that we address the issue of the constitution.

"There is already a draft that the three parties agreed on. We shall look at
it and when we are all satisfied it shall be put to the people in a
referendum," he said.

He said the timeframe agreed on by parties to have a referendum was within
18 to 24 months.

"If the people say yes, then the draft will be allowed to pass through
Parliament. The timeframe that was agreed on by the parties was that within
18 to 24 months we should have a referendum."

Zimbabwe's descent into political and economic crisis began nine years ago
when Mugabe lost a referendum on a new constitution that would have expanded
the powers of the man who has ruled since independence in 1980.

But the crisis deepened after disputed elections last year, sending Zimbabwe
into a tailspin that saw politics deadlocked while a humanitarian crisis
spiralled out of the control.

Tsvangirai, a long time rival of Mugabe, agreed to form a unity government
under intense regional pressure to end the crisis, which has left most of
the population without food while a cholera epidemic has killed more than 3
800 people.

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ConCourt debates land grab case

26/02/2009 12:17  - (SA)

Johannesburg - An attempt by a Free State farmer to get diplomatic
protection from the South African government after land he owned in Zimbabwe
was seized, evolved into a debate on Thursday on whether the Constitutional
Court can rule on the president's conduct in the matter.

Crawford von Abo received a Pretoria High Court order last year that the
president's conduct was unconstitutional and invalid because former
president Thabo Mbeki and other ministers cited had failed to provide the
diplomatic assistance he had asked for.

The other ministers included foreign affairs and justice.

In terms of Section 167 of the Constitution, only the Supreme Court of
Appeal and a high court can make an order of constitutional invalidity, and,
in terms of Section 172, it is only effective if the Constitutional Court
confirms it.


Justice Kate O'Regan set the tone by expressing a concern that by confirming
the Pretoria High Court order, they could open the way for action against
the president whenever there is unhappiness.

The court began debating which conduct should be included when deciding to
issue such an order, and whether the president could be held responsible for
the actions of Cabinet members, whom he appointed and had supervisory powers

They also focused on how far down in the chain of command responsibility can
bounce back to the president.

The Pretoria High Court ordered that the respondents, "take all necessary
steps" to have the violation of Von Abo's rights by the Zimbabwe government

The court also ordered that a report be provided within 60 days showing what
steps had been taken to remedy the situation.

Asked why it was so important to confirm the order against the president,
given that the respondents said they would comply, Von Abo's counsel Peter
von Abo said: "Because the Constitution tells us that and because there is a
finding by a high court relating to that conduct."

He said the court had also said it did not want orders hanging with no

Stop buck-passing

Pressed on the practical benefit to Von Abo, he said there were no further
practical effects, but it is important to indicate what is required of the
president when faced with such a situation.

Also, there was a "racing certainty" that the government would apply for a
condonation, and appeal the matter.

He cited an earlier judgment this week in which the court rapped the State
Attorney and president on the knuckles for not responding to papers filed on
a challenge to the "Scorpions Bills".

He said Von Abo's situation was not of his own making.

"Ultimately, it will be important to the governance of this country. It will
stop buck-passing - even only if it is by the symbolism flowing from this


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WOZA activists remain in custody

By Alex Bell
26 February 2009

Five activists from the pressure group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) are
still being kept behind bars after they were arrested during a peaceful and
legal demonstration in Harare on Wednesday.

The four women and one man were part a 400 strong group that marched to the
government buildings in the capital for an official meeting with the new
Education Minister, David Coltart. However, the group was violently set upon
by riot police, who, true to form, used brutal force to disperse the
peaceful group. The five activists that were arrested were all assaulted,
while another nine were treated for injuries inflicted at the hands of the
riot police.

According to a WOZA statement released on Thursday, charges against the
arrested group have not yet been detailed, although an investigations docket
has been filed with the Law and Order department. The state now has until
Friday morning to produce a charge sheet, as the 48 hours allowed by law to
keep the group in custody will expire at 10:30am Friday.

Meanwhile, WOZA leaders, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu both appeared
in the Bulawayo Magistrate's Court on Thursday on charges of 'disturbing the
peace'. The pair was arrested last October during another peaceful
demonstration urging that the crippling food shortages in the country be
declared a national emergency. Their case has once again been postponed to
next week and it's expected the High Court will fast track the case,
resulting in the trial being forced through the system. WOZA already has a
case from 2004 still waiting for a ruling in the High Court.

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Mugabe says he has been against dollarization in Zimbabwe

     2009-02-26 18:04:38

HARARE, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has
indicated that he would soon meet with the newly-appointed Minister of
Finance Tendai Biti to discuss the status of the Zimbabwe dollar and the use
of foreign currencies, New Ziana reported on Thursday.

"When it was first mooted, the idea of paying people in U.S.
dollars, I was against it and I still am because we just do not have enough
(foreign currency). It is a problem that confronts us even now," Mugabe told
local media during his traditional birthday interview at Zimbabwe House on

"I do not see us adopting the rand as our main currency. Even in
Sacu, the South African Customs Union, the members have their own currencies
even though they use the rand. Botswana has its pula, Namibia has its
dollar, Lesotho, Swaziland, they all have their own currencies. But they
base them on the rand and that is something that we might consider doing
here. At the moment we are using all international currencies," he said.

The comments by the president come as SADC Finance ministers met
in South Africa on Wednesday to consider regional response to assist
economic recovery in Zimbabwe.

South Africa has since said Zimbabwe could adopt the rand as its
currency, but intensive consultations were to be carried out before
implementing the measure.

"Personally, I think we should revalue the Zimbabwe dollar in a
manner that fixes its relationship with the rand for a while. We will
protect it for a while, for a while as we increase production. But we should
protect it," he said.

"We do not expose it to fluctuations of the market. The problem is
that the people of Zimbabwe have become speculators. There are some people
who, if you say the (Zimbabwe) dollar is four to one with the rand, they
will immediately make it eight to one and 10 to one," he added.

"I want to discuss this with Biti. And how do you make it go?
Through production in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and the people get
goods and services and then we can expose it to the fluctuations of the
market," he said.

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Press Statement by the heads of Christian denominations


"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, (John 10:10)"


POBox CY 578 Causeway, Harare Tel: 263 4 705368





We the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop's Conference (ZCBC), Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) and the Zimbabwe Council Churches (ZCC), warmly welcome the promulgation of the all­inclusive Government of Zimbabwe. As the nation of Zimbabwe enters this new dispensation, we wish to assure our new Government that we will assist where possible for Zimbabwe to be fully restored to its rightful place among the nations of the world.



We wish to remind the new Government that it is taking office at a very special time and under very special circumstances in our history. The special circumstances include a clearly defined and limited lifespan of the Government during which it must present to the nation some specific deliverables which include the following:


· facilitating the development and promulgation of a people-driven national constitution as a

      foundation for democratic governance;

.   opening up space for people's democratic participation, freedom of expression and personal


· enacting legislation and mechanisms for people's free participation in the national elections . ..  that will mark the end of the life of the current all-inclusive Government;

  · re-vamping the national economy in order to create jobs, reduce hunger, poverty, disease and  restoring public and social services, particularly those related to health and education;

·  Addressing all outstanding issues that include the release of persons detained on political

      grounds, fair distribution of land and equitable distribution of relief and aid to those who

      need it.



In addition, political party leaders should work to ensure that the unity they have achieved at their level cascades down to their supporters. The resurgence of politically-motivated acts of violence

that the country is witnessing following the inauguration of the new Government, whatever its cause, is morally wrong, unacceptable and should be condemned and stopped.



The country needs reconciliation and healing. The Church in Zimbabwe has made plans to partner with other stakeholders and work towards national reconciliation and the healing of persons and communities at all levels as an important and essential first step into our new dispensation. This will be a process to address past hurts and permit a climate for reconstruction.


For national reconciliation and healing to take place, however, we need to break the culture of violence that has come to characterize how we resolve conflicts in our communities. We urge Church leaders, political leaders and opinion leaders to go back to communities and address national (not political party) rallies to promote the message of unity, to repeat again and again that timeless message from Scripture: "Behold how good and pleasant it is when brethren live together in unity."



The media should join other sectors in promoting unity in our new dispensation by dropping hate language and biased reporting, encouraging diversity and free flow of opinions and vigilantly and constructively probing issues of national importance.



We believe this is the moment in our history when we must all be forward-looking and doing all we can from our various and diverse vantage points to restore our nation.


May the Almighty God guide and bless Zimbabwe


We remain God's humble servants


Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC)


Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ)

Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC)

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Daily cholera update and alerts, 25 Feb 2009

 Full_Report (pdf* format - 176.5 Kbytes)

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

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

A. Highlights of the day:

- 450 cases and 5 deaths added today (in comparison 229 cases and 29 deaths yesterday)

- 64.4% of the districts affected have reported today (38 out of 59 affected districts)

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

- Cumulative Institutional Case Fatality Rate 1.85%

- Daily Institutional Case Fatality Rate 0.225%

- Seke revised cases downwards by 2 cases, Bulawayo cases down by 3 cases, Chikomba down by 70 cases, Makumbe (Goromonzi) down by 4 cases – from the provincial database.

- Makoni moved one community death to instituitional.

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The ball is in Mugabe's court - Ban ki-Moon

Photo: Jason Gutierrez/IRIN
UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon
JOHANNESBURG, 26 February 2009 (IRIN) - The "sincerity" adopted by President Robert Mugabe in implementing a unity government in Zimbabwe will serve as a gauge for the international community and its provision of support, UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon said on 25 February.

Addressing a media briefing in Pretoria, South Africa, Ban said: "All these efforts would be better mobilised, would get stronger and more support from the international community if we can see the progress in political and national reconciliation."

The sluggish progress by Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party in adhering to the agreement - and at times flagrant violation of it - has instilled a sense of pessimism about whether it will succeed in saving the country from becoming a failed state.

"The international community, led by the UN, stands ready to provide the necessary assistance, humanitarian assistance and promotion of human rights, and all necessary medical and sanitation support to Zimbabwean people," Ban said.


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

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Zim groups in SA demand SADC accountability for unity deal

By Alex Bell
26 February 2009

A coalition of Zimbabwean civil society organisations in South Africa have
demanded that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) hold
Zimbabwe's political parties accountable to the unity deal in the country -
a deal that has already been violated by the continued detention and
wrongful arrests of MDC members and activists.

The Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum, the Institute of Democracy in South Africa
(IDASA) and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa hosted a broad
civil society consultative meeting on the Zimbabwean Crisis in Johannesburg
on Thursday. The main focus of the meeting was the implication the
power-share government between the MDC and ZANU PF will have on ordinary
Zimbabweans, both in the country and in the diaspora.

The groups also discussed what accountability mechanisms need to be put in
place in order to take SADC leaders to task over violations of the
power-share agreement. SADC, despite being guarantors of the deal, have
remained silent in the face of the continued rights infringements in
Zimbabwe - silence that has prompted anger from Zimbabwean civil society.

The civil society groups have now demanded that SADC uphold its
responsibility as guarantors of the unity deal, by holding Zimbabwe's
political players accountable for deal violations. The Zimbabwe Solidarity
Forum has argued that "despite the values of the sharing of power that
underpin the GNU, Mugabe is still very much in charge and continues to block
any form of progress."

The demand for accountability is part of a wider list of demands listed by
the Solidarity Forum, including the immediate release of all political
prisoners in Zimbabwe. The demands also challenge the South African
government to address the problem of xenophobia in the country, that last
year saw an outbreak of violence against foreign nationals. New reports of
xenophobic attacks have started piling up this year, including violence and
harassment of foreigners by the South African police.

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No honeymoon for Tsvangirai

Far from observing power-sharing niceties, Zanu-PF bosses are behaving as if
they are still in sole control of Zimbabwe

Simon Tisdall, Thursday 26 February 2009 19.01 GMT

National leaders newly arrived in office can usually count on a brief
honeymoon period of relative political harmony and goodwill. Morgan
Tsvangirai, sworn in as Zimbabwe's prime minister earlier this month, has
been afforded no such courtesy by Robert Mugabe and his isolated, violently
paranoid inner circle of Zanu-PF henchmen.

With a brutish determination born of fear for their own skins, the men most
responsible for Zimbabwe's ruination are doing all they can to sink
Tsvangirai before he can swim. Mugabe is stubbornly refusing to replace
Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank mastermind whose inept policies helped shatter
the economy. Yet without a root-and-branch shake-up in policymaking, resumed
international financial assistance will not be forthcoming.

Far from observing the power-sharing niceties of a unity government, Zanu-PF
bosses are behaving as if they are still in sole control, Harare observers
say. Senior civil service appointments have been made without reference to
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders. And farm seizures by Mugabe's
cronies are accelerating - there have been up to 50 in recent weeks - even
as the country's dire food shortages and health crisis morph into regional

Despite Tsvangirai's generous insistence on the need for forgiveness and
reconciliation, 27 MDC activists remain in arbitrary detention along with a
prominent party figure and unity government minister, Roy Bennett. Domestic
media remain firmly under Zanu-PF control and independent foreign news
organisations are still banned.

And as ever, lurking in the shadows, watching Tsvangirai's every move and
looking for ways to trip him up, stands the powerful defence forces chief,
General Constantine Chiwenga, and the sinister joint operations command
comprising senior military officers and Mugabe trusties. The JOC is held
responsible for the the reign of terror that followed last year's stolen
presidential election. Under its direction, the attorney general, Johannes
Tomana, has now reportedly dropped all murder investigations relating to
that period.

"It can't be denied that so far Tsvangirai is prime minister in name only.
It's certainly the case that Mugabe is still in control of the country," a
senior western diplomat said. "The MDC is finding that being in government
is even heavier sledding than they imagined. Mugabe is still the bully boy
on the block and he's dumping all the problems on the prime minister. That's
no surprise."

But Tsvangirai did not have much time to make his mark and reverse the flow
of power away from Zanu-PF towards the MDC, the diplomat warned. "The next
two months will give a broad indication, will tell whether this [the unity
government] will work or fail. It's not an indefinite process."

Western strategies to strengthen the MDC's hand in this watershed internal
battle for control are clear - but limited by political and financial
considerations. Government-funded humanitarian aid has been stepped up.
Attempts are underway to target it specifically in areas of chronic need,
such as fighting the cholera epidemic, as a way of demonstrating the MDC can
deliver. But governments are simultaneously wary of reinforcing Mugabe's
caricature of Tsvangirai as a western puppet.

Diplomats say western countries are also encouraging international financial
institutions such as the IMF to work with the new finance minister, the
MDC's Tendai Biti, with a view to raising the $5bn Tsvangirai says is needed
to rescue the economy. South Africa and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), which brokered the unity deal, have a clear obligation to
provide funds to make it work, they argue.

All the same, the prospect of significant international assistance while
Gono remains Reserve Bank chief, and in the absence of greater transparency
and improved legal and financial safeguards, is dim. SADC finance ministers,
meeting in Cape Town this week to discuss a regional aid package, were also
said to be worried that scarce funds could be siphoned off by corrupt
Zanu-PF officials, as in the past.

The difficulty for Britain, the US, and other concerned EU countries is that
by making the resumption of full-scale developmental assistance to Zimbabwe
contingent on macroeconomic reforms, renewed respect for human rights and
adherence to the rule of law, they may be reducing the MDC's chances of
making a definitive difference in what could be a short-lived window of

Tsvangirai needs to demonstrate that he, not Mugabe, is in charge and can
deliver the country from the abyss. But according to one diplomat, the
danger is that he could become prime minister for the humanitarian crisis
while Mugabe and his cronies and flunkies continue to control the state.
"The question is, can the MDC find and hold the levers of real power and
influence? The dynamic is very weak."

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Are Zimbabweans safe with this new government?


When the enemy starts to look more and more like us, it is time to pause.
Walt Kelly's line, "We have met the enemy and he is us", scaringly rings as
true as it is realistic to us Zimbabweans today.
We are, indeed, ourselves' enemy.
Are we, today, really in the same blanket with Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF?
To me, this remains a cause for concern. What are we doing here?

Hardly a month after they accepted to join Robert Mugabe in a government of
national unity, the MDC has started complaining again and, disturbingly,
went as far as threatening to quit the GNU.
This hardly inspires confidence in either the troubled Zimbabwean population
or donors.
How much faith should Zimbabweans put in the MDC now as it has again
resorted to complaining and threats to leave government?
Are they solid enough for us to pin our hopes on them?

I have written countless times warning the MDC not to accept the agreement,
let alone being part of a GNU.
Now the disconcerting behaviour of the principals of this GNU is there for
all to see.
Just as I predicted, the MDC is caught in a ZANU-PF engineered whirlwind of
malicious intent and political backstabbing, detracting it from performing
its responsibilities.

It all started on the day cabinet ministers were being sworn in when farms
continued to be invaded as ministers were taking their oaths. Even Mugabe
himself could not resist his addiction to thievery as he lined up a whole
lot more ministers than allocated him under the agreement.
The MDC group took a stand and threatened to abandon the swearing in
ceremony unless Mugabe removed his extra ministers.
They, however, offered no such ultimatum for the release of innocent MDC
people still in jails and those who continue to be jailed right under their
Mugabe had the audacity to punch the MDC right in the face by grabbing Roy
Bennett, the MDC's deputy minister of Agriculture designate, and throwing
him into jail.
Thus, Mugabe and his people set out, on the very first day, to prove how
powerless the MDC is and they continue to do so, reducing the MDC to a
whining, complaining partner.

Bennett's issue also exposed the fact that the MDC is not in any position to
protect anyone right now. It was sad, for me, to see and hear Prime Minister
Tsvangirai offering his personal self as guarantor for Bennett's release.
What GNU is there to talk about when a prime minister has to offer himself
to the other half of his own government as collateral over a fellow member
of that same government?
Even the Mafia can't do better than this. This is intrigue and is totally
unacceptable and exposes the bad intentions Mugabe harbours.
Unfortunately, we predicted this chicanery but no one paid any attention.

Several weeks ago, Police Commissioner, Augustine Chihuri ordered his police
to drop all cases relating to violence and murders committed before and
during the run up to last June's presidential elections, implying this to be
within the spirit of national reconciliation.
But last week, Mugabe refused to intervene in the release of Bennett and
other (MDC) activists saying it was up to the courts to decide.
Needless to say, Chihuri's impromptu "amnesty" was directed at setting free
only ZANU-PF thugs who are the only ones anywhere who perpetrated violence
and murder of MDC supporters during election time.

On the issues of pardons, amnesty and forgiveness, people cannot rush into
forgiving Mugabe and ZANU-PF just so that the MDC can be part of a
government of national unity born from an imperfect agreement.
The MDC does not have the right or authority to forgive Mugabe and ZANU-PF
of sins committed even before the MDC itself was born.

People need closure and the MDC must be sensitive to this.
There is both fear and trepidation in the nation; there is joy and sadness;
there is uncertainty but, above all, there is hope and expectancy.
People must go through the process leading them to real forgiveness. They
must be able to walk, stop and look back to the past then shake their heads
but not cry but smile and say to themselves, "That horrible chapter is

All things considered, the opportunity is the MDC's to squander.
In the meantime, we are all groping in the dark because we don't even know
what exactly these people agreed to.

Meanwhile, there are fresh disputes over functions of some ministries. As
things move on slowly, if it is movement at all, ZANU-PF is looking at what
it put on the MDC's plate and likes it more than before yet they are the
ones who dished out these ministries.
The issue between Webster Shamu, the Minister of Media, information and
Publicity, and Nelson Chamisa, the minister of Information Communication
Technology, also gives a clear indication as to what ZANU-PF is up to.
ZANU-PF suddenly wants this ministry because business interests of many
ZANU-PF fat cats are going to be directly monitored by a ministry under the
MDC. So ZANU-PF, like it has always done, is moving goal posts.
Just how much of this harassment and debauchery the nation can take is open
to debate.

As if that was not enough, Mugabe went on to choose and install a whole
compliment of Permanent Secretaries from his own party, disregarding the
power sharing deal which called for equitable distribution of such posts.
This particular incident prompted the MDC to issue its very first threat to
quit the GNU, leaving people wondering if this whole GNU exercise is true
and strong enough to withstand ZANU-PF onslaught.
Zimbabweans nervously watch the precarious situation. They are overawed by
this grotesque government which has 61 cabinet ministers, three presidents
and three prime ministers.
Talk of the more the merrier!

This government was never meant to exist. It was molded from an undemocratic
process and cannot be expected to deliver anything meaningful to the long
suffering Zimbabwean people.
It was a mistake from the beginning and it puts much more pressure on the
MDC to show itself to be the only one in whom the people may lodge their
Take the other partner in this nonsensical GNU, for example.
All the leadership of the Mutambara/Ncube axis lost their parliamentary bids
but, today, all those who lost like Mugabe, sit in cabinet, having allocated
themselves seats on the backs of those who actually contested and won.
Democracy? Hell, no!
An incumbent president loses the election but remains in office illegally to
swear in the winner who now has been allocated a lesser post.
The entire political leadership of a political party loses parliamentary
bids but go on to allocate themselves cabinet posts, excluding those within
their own party who won at the polls.
How do we explain this government? What should we expect from them?

The heart of the matter is that the MDC made a big mistake, albeit with the
best of intentions.
They surely did not believe they could work with Mugabe, did they? They can't
be that naïve.
The MDC carries too much of people's hopes and trust and its association
with ZANU-PF only gives people political heartburn as is evidenced by the
continuous bickering instigated by ZANU-PF.

ZANU-PF will never let the MDC serve the people and they will never let them
Years ago, we saw that with Elias Mudzuri in Harare and with all other MDC
mayors who were later removed by ZANU-PF because ZANU-PF did not want people
to see the real difference between ZANU-PF and the MDC.
While we know of the MDC's abilities when it comes to service delivery, the
harassment from Mugabe and ZANU-PF will continue and it will greatly curtail
what the MDC can do for the nation.

When MDC spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, threatened two days ago that his
party would pull out of the GNU if Mugabe didn't do this or that, it was the
first sensible thing to come out of the MDC since they allowed themselves to
be party to this disgraceful political marriage of inconvenience.
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande saying that the MDC must seriously consider that
option instead of continuously playing chaperone to ZANU-PF before the eyes
of both the nation and the world.
The MDC is slowly strengthening ZANU-PF while ZANU-PF is trying to destroy
the MDC.
What do you think?
Send me your comments on
I am Tanonoka Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is
today, Thursday February 26

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