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Urgent press release communique dated 26 February 2009


dated 26 February 2009

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1.   Arrest of Peter Etheridge


Stop Press:

This evening, just before dark, Peter Chamada headed out towards Mount
Carmel in 2 vehicles.

Martin Joubert, from Chegutu, followed them to see what their intentions
were.  Peter Chamada's vehicles turned around and chased after him and so
he drove to the Chegutu police station to try to make a report.

Whilst there, 8 policemen went out in Mr. Chasauka's vehicle.  Mr.
Chasauka is the GMB manager for Chegutu.  He has recently invaded the
Downs farm belonging to Wayne Seaman. The house has been broken into and
Mr. Seaman has been prevented from milking his cows or living on his
property.  Mr. Seaman also has a final order with protection from the
SADC Tribunal.

The policemen went to Stockdale farm where they arrested Peter Etheredge
and have put him in cells.  Peter has had invaders on Stockdale farm for
several weeks.  Edna Madzongwe, Chairperson of the Senate and beneficiary
of a number of other farms, has been trying to take over the farm for
some time.  In June 2008, there was whole scale looting on Stockdale with
all the Etheredges household effects having been looted.

Mr. Etheredge has a High Court Order as well as protection from the SADC
Tribunal.  The Sherriff of the court evicted the invaders but they simply
returned immediately afterwards in direct contempt of the High Court
order.  For some weeks the Chegutu police have been promising to arrest
the invaders but they have always complained of lack of man power.

3 days ago, Mr. Etheredge was given a bit of paper signed by Mr. Kunonga
telling him to cease all farming operations.  The invaders have tried to
enforce this.  Today, in a move to provoke a clash,  the invaders came to
loot fire wood from his homestead.  The situation became volatile and
Mr. Etheredge fired some warning shots into the air.  He is now in the
Chegutu police cells while the invaders remain free to do what they like
on his property.

Message Ends.

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Mugabe defiant on appointments

27 February 2009

Foreign Staff


HARARE - President Robert Mugabe vowed to retain a pair of discredited
officials, against the wishes of his coalition partners, while Zimbabwe
yesterday asked its neighbours for a $2b n loan to help its collapsed

In an interview with the state-owned Herald newspaper to mark his 85th
birthday, Mugabe refused to cede to demands by the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) to dismiss central bank governor Gideon Gono and
attorney-general Johannes Tomana.

"I don't see any reason why those people should go and they will not go," he
said . Gono is widely blamed for Zimbabwe's economic meltdown and
hyperinflation of 231-million percent, and Tomana stands accused of blocking
the release of political prisoners.

But there are doubts about how much control Finance Minister Tendai Biti and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will have over the nation's finances, given
the power of Gono, who was reappointed last year by Mugabe for a second
five-year term in office.

Uncertainty has been heightened by an upsurge in reported "invasions" of
white-owned farms. Mike Campbell, one of 78 white farmers who petitioned a
regional court to overturn farm eviction laws, left his farm for security
reasons on Wednesday after he was threatened by a group led by Peter
Chamada, the nephew of Mugabe loyalist Nathan Shamuyarira, as well as others
claiming to be from the lands ministry.

The militants gave Campbell 10 minutes to pack and leave his house, said his
son-in-law Ben Freeth.

"They said they did not care about the law or the police."

Justice for Agriculture, a farmers' support group, has reported at least 40
of the country's remaining white farmers have been forced off their land
since last month.

Tsvangirai on Wednesday cited the campaign against farms as evidence of
continuing lawlessness. He faces increasing pressure from his supporters,
who say it was a mistake to agree to govern alongside Mugabe.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe were expected to meet yesterday to discuss the
detention of senior MDC member Roy Bennett and other political prisoners. On
Wednesday, Tsvangirai said Mugabe had agreed to free political prisoners,
but the attorney-general was "willfully obstructing" releases.

Tsvangirai is also angry at Mugabe's unilateral nomination of his cronies
for senior civil service posts. Under the unity government deal, senior
government appointments are to be made by the president and the prime
minister together.

The US state department said in its annual human rights report released on
Wednesday that Mugabe's government was responsible for killing more than 193
people in a violent crackdown on opponents as it fought to beat back a
determined MDC challenge ahead of elections last year.

Leaders and supporters of opposition parties were killed, beaten, tortured,
abducted and arrested last year, the report said.

At the end of last year, 32 people remained either in police custody without
charge or were listed as missing, it said.

There was no immediate reaction to the US report from Mugabe's office .

The report said Zimbabwe's security forces, paramilitary forces such as Zanu
(PF) youths and war veterans, and other supporters had engaged in
politically motivated killings, and that there had not been any prosecutions
or convictions in any of the nearly 200 cases known to have occurred. With

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Mugabe killed 193 political opponents last year: US

by Cuthbert Nzou Friday 27 February 2009

HARARE - The United States (US) government has accused Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe's government of killing more than 193 people in a violent
crackdown on opponents as it fought to beat back a determined opposition
challenge ahead of elections last year.

The US State Department said in its annual human rights report released
Wednesday that leaders and supporters of political opposition parties were
killed, beaten, tortured, abducted and arrested in 2008.

At the end of 2008, 32 people remained either in police custody without
charge or listed as missing, it added.

There was no immediate reaction to the US report from Mugabe's office or his
ZANU PF party which has since formed a power-sharing government with its
former opponents after losing last March's parliamentary elections to then
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party.

The report said Zimbabwe's security forces, paramilitary forces such as ZANU
PF youths and war veterans, and other supporters had engaged in politically
motivated killings, and that there have not been any prosecutions or
convictions in any of the nearly 200 cases known to have occurred.

Hundreds of opposition and civil society members were also reportedly
abducted and tortured. The report said the majority of the victims were held
for one or two days and then abandoned.

The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, first released in 1977, are
submitted annually to the US Congress in compliance with the federal Foreign
Assistance Act.

According to the report, Mugabe and ZANU PF engaged in "the pervasive and
systematic abuse of human rights" during a year in which it was challenged
by the MDC in parliamentary and presidential elections.

"The ruling party's dominant control and manipulation of the political
process through violence, intimidation, and corruption effectively negated
the right of citizens to change their government," the report concluded.

"Unlawful killings and politically motivated abductions increased.
State-sanctioned use of excessive force increased, and security forces
tortured members of the opposition, student leaders, and civil society
activists with impunity," the report added.

The country's law and order forces, the report said, declined to document
cases of political violence committed by ZANU PF loyalists against the

The State Department said the independence of Zimbabwe's judiciary was
compromised by reports of government bribes and intimidation of judges.

Along with violence, corruption, harassment of minorities and intimidation
of political opponents, the report said state security forces also arrested
and detained labour leaders, journalists, demonstrators and religious
leaders during 2008.

Washington also alleged Mugabe's government had ordered the killing of
diamond panners in the eastern Manicaland province. - ZimOnline

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Top ZANU PF official implicated in farm invasion

by Simplicious Chirinda Friday 27 February 2009

HARARE - A group of people allegedly acting on behalf of a senior ZANU PF
party official invaded a farm belonging to one of the white farmers who took
their case against President Robert Mugabe's land reform programme to a
regional court for arbitration, a close relative of the farmer said

The group arrived at Mike Campbell's Mount Carmel farm in Chegutu and
ordered that the owner leaves the property within 10 minutes, the farm
manager and Campell's son-in-law Ben Freeth told ZimOnline.

"They were led by Peter Chamada, Nathan Shamuyarira's (ZANU PF spokesman)
nephew, as well as others claiming to be from the lands office and from
Shamuyarira's office," said Freeth.

"They gave my father-in-law, Mike Campbell, 10 minutes to pack all his
belongings and get out of his house. They said they did not care about the
law or the police saying they were taking over now."

No comment could be obtained from the police at the time of publication.

Campbell's farm is one of the farms belonging to the group of 78 white
farmers who went to the SADC Tribunal and got full protection after the
regional court ruled that white Zimbabweans could keep their farms because
Mugabe's haphazard land reform programme discriminated against them.

Farm invasions are continuing around Zimbabwe despite the formation of an
all-inclusive government earlier this month with the latest series of
occupations targeting a number of white farmers.

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) last week said at least 40 farms owned by
the few remaining white farmers in Zimbabwe have been invaded by top
government and party officials since the opposition MDC agreed to enter into
an inclusive government with Mugabe's ZANU PF party.

According to the CFU the latest wave of invasions involved members of the
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), officials from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,
Members of Parliament (MPs), Senators and District Administrators.

Early this month police arrested three white farmers - Chris Jarret, Godfrey
Goosen and Saul Rogers - in what appeared a campaign targeting farmers who
successfully challenged the government's controversial land reforms at the
SADC Tribunal.

The invasions, together with arrests and continued detention of political
prisoners and rights activists, cast serious doubts on ZANU PF's sincerity
in the recently formed unity government.

Analysts say the unity government headed by Mugabe with MDC party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai serving as Prime Minister offers Zimbabwe its best chance
in a decade to end its crisis and begin afresh on the road to sustainable
economic and social recovery.

But many say major differences between Mugabe and Tsvangirai over
fundamental issues such as the highly contentious issue of land reform could
yet derail the unity government.

Both men agree on the need for land reform but differ on the way this should
be carried out.

Mugabe's chaotic land reforms that he says were necessary to correct a
colonial land ownership system that reserved the best land for whites and
banished blacks to poor soils, are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into food
shortages after Harare failed to support black villagers resettled on former
white farms with inputs to maintain production.

Tsvangirai has called for an audit to establish who owns which land in
Zimbabwe before an orderly land reform programme can be implemented but
Mugabe has in the past accused the MDC leader of wishing to return land to
former white owners.

Critics say Mugabe's cronies - and not ordinary peasants - benefited the
most from farm seizures with some of them ending up with as many as six
farms each against the government's stated one-man-one-farm policy.

Poor performance in the mainstay agricultural sector has also had far
reaching consequences as hundreds of thousands of workers have lost jobs
while the manufacturing sector, starved of inputs from the sector, is
operating below 20 percent of capacity. - ZimOnline

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Guardian film exposes horrors of man-made epidemic



To Zimbabwe media outlets and Zimbabwean organizations


The Zimbabwe Vigil has been approached by Guardian Films part the Guardian newspaper group. They have asked us to publicise this film (details below).


Mugabe splashes out on birthday bash as cholera spirals out of control

Guardian film exposes horrors of man-made epidemic claiming thousands of lives

Chris McGreal, Africa correspondent, and James Gilchrist in Zimbabwe

The Guardian, Thursday 26 February 2009


Please could you circulate or post this link on your websites:




Vigil co-ordinators


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




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Mugabe dismisses Mutambara

February 26, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has shot down recent suggestions by Deputy
Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara who said last week that the just delivered
monetary policy statement and the national budget would be revised.

Mutambara advised business to disregard the fiscal and monetary policies
recently announced by the then Acting Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa
and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono.

Mutambara contended the controversial blueprints were produced without the
necessary consultations among stakeholders and were thus fundamentally

The statement by the Deputy Prime Minister elicited an angry response from
Gono who declared he was still in charge of the central bank and as such,
his policies stood.

But in a development that has further exposed the huge differences among
government leaders, President Mugabe made a scathing dismissal of the Deputy
Prime Minister's comments.

"That's just an utterance," he said in his first public comments on recent
developments since the formation of the unity government.

In a televised interview this week, that was made to coincide with his 85th
birthday, Mugabe said Mutambara's comments did not at all constitute the
correct government policy.

"Those were emotional utterances. I am sure Mutambara regrets where he said
the monetary policy must be nullified.

"How do you nullify a budget that has gone through Parliament? It's the one
that (Finance Minister Tendai) Biti is using, including the monetary policy.
So you don't nullify it."

Mugabe said Mutambara was still new and was thus still prone to making

"You must also grant that we have new people and they would be making a few
mistakes," he said. "Well if mistakes are outrageous, naturally they put
people off but we try to correct each other.

"I have not been making any statements myself. In fact I have avoided making

"We should as much as possible keep quiet and talk to ourselves in the
chambers that we have provided ourselves with and we have those chambers. We
meet and I don't see why but of course there is always the instinct of 'let
the people hear me and let my voice be heard', but it may be a croaking
voice, you know. Not harmonious and it's not everybody who can sing. Very
few people have nice voices, some will make you deaf."

Mugabe also defended his controversial appointments of Gono and Attorney
General, Johannes Tomana, saying he would never reverse their appointments.

He dismissed agitation by the Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC) for the
two to be relieved of their duties in line with the inter-party political

"These are political views they are expressing," Mugabe said defiantly.

"They have their own preferences but appointments which were done are
appointments that are done statutorily and the statutes, the law governing
those appointments has got to be adhered to.

"Where I have made the appointments, if the appointment has been made out of
consideration that the holder, the incumbent is in fact the most suitable
candidate and there are always the other bodies you know that do the
preliminary work of vetting and make the recommendation finally.

"Now if the appointment has been made in accordance with that procedure
which is provided by the law, I don't see any reason why those people should
go and they will not go."

The MDC is up in arms over Mugabe's continued violation of the unity
agreement which stipulates that both the presidium and the premiership shall
meet to agree on the appointment of the RBZ governor and the Attorney

Both Gono and Tomana are known to be ardent supporters of Mugabe.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe would not adopt the South African rand as its official

He said the introduction of multi currencies to be used in tandem with the
Zimbabwe dollar early this month, was meant to allow the heavily devalued
local currency space to restore its value.

"I don't see us adopting the rand as our currency here," Mugabe said. South
African President has offered Zimbabwe free use of the South African
currency and new Finance Minister quickly coined the word "randization" to
describe the process of adopting the rand for local use.

"What we should do is to revalue our Zimbabwe dollar in a manner which fixes
that relationship for a while, relationship between it and the rand,
relationship between it and the United States dollar and protect it that

"We have to protect it for a while as we increase our production in the
various sectors but protect it. We protect it and avoid exposing it to the
fluctuations of the market."

Mugabe also said he was strongly opposed to the payment of civil servants in
foreign currency which he said was scarce.

Said Mugabe, "When this matter was first mooted of paying people in US
dollars, I was against it and I am still against it because we don't have
enough of it. And this is the issue that confronts us even now."

In his first speech as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told supporters who
turned out in large numbers to congratulate him at Glamis Stadium in Harare
that civil servants would be paid in foreign currency starting this month.

Mugabe touched on another controversial issue and pronounced once more that
only the courts should set free dozens of MDC and human rights activists who
are currently languishing in prison on alleged attempts to overthrow the
Zanu-PF government.

Mugabe has infuriated his partners within the two week old unity government
through his apparent intransigence in responding to calls to release the
political detainees, who include human rights activist, Jestina Mukoko, and
MDC treasurer Roy Bennett.

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Mugabe's annual bash to be scaled down

Zimbabweans in no mood to celebrate as country's economy plunges

Globe and Mail Update

  a.. E-mail
February 26, 2009 at 6:26 PM EST

For years, it was the biggest bash of the Zimbabwe calendar: a
cow-slaughtering, goat-roasting, champagne-guzzling feast to celebrate the
birthday of the big man himself, President Robert Mugabe.

But this year, even on his 85th birthday, the annual extravaganza will be a
lot less lavish than usual. The donors are mutinying, the organizers are
pleading for help, the economy has collapsed, and Mr. Mugabe has seen his
power slipping away to a new government. The autocrat's feast is in trouble.

"I will not be giving them a cent," says Bernard Saurombe, a 43-year-old
teacher, one of the thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans who were compelled to
donate money to the birthday party in previous years.

"The government used to force us to donate our money for the birthday, but
now things have changed. Why should I celebrate the birthday of a man who
has caused us this misery? We are suffering because of this man and there is
no way I can spend a single cent on celebrating his birthday. Besides, my
new salary of $100 (U.S.) does not allow such useless spending."

Tafadzwa Chipunze, a 23-year-old market trader from one of Harare's poorest
suburbs, says he was weary of giving money every year to gangs of youths
from the ruling political party who would threaten to take away his market
license if he refused to donate to the birthday bash.

"Now I feel that I cannot be bullied into donating money," he said. "I've
come to realize that we're now under a new government. There's no need to
pretend that I like Mugabe. They tried to force us again this year, but
people flatly refused. They said they've got nothing to spare because
they're already impoverished by Mugabe's policies."

Mr. Mugabe is still the most powerful man in Zimbabwe, the country he has
dominated since 1980, but he has been obliged to share power with a new
government that includes a prime minister and cabinet ministers from the

His supporters were aiming to raise $300,000 (U.S.) to celebrate his
birthday at a huge party in his hometown of Chinhoyi tomorrow, a week after
he officially turned 85. But donors have been so reluctant that the
festivities have been scaled back.

Organizers are still planning to bring thousands of children to the party in
buses, and dozens of cows will still be slaughtered to feed the birthday
crowd - an almost obscene contrast to the widespread hunger in Zimbabwe,
where seven million people are dependent on food aid from the United Nations
and other foreign agencies.

But the coerced donors of the past - the civil servants, teachers and state
employees who needed to donate money to the birthday bash to show their
loyalty and save their jobs - have less reason to give. Many of them work
for ministries that are now headed by the opposition. Others simply have no
money to donate because of the collapsed economy.

"The fundraising committee is still running around looking for donors who
can bankroll the event," said a report in The Standard, a Zimbabwe

It said there is a "huge shortfall" because the traditional donors have
"little enthusiasm" for the birthday party. "We are operating on a
shoestring budget," said a senior member of Mr. Mugabe's political party,
Absalom Sikhosana, in an interview with The Standard.

Many government departments are still buying huge advertisements in the
state newspaper, The Herald, to show loyalty to Mr. Mugabe. "Like a mighty
crocodile, you have remained resilient, focused and resolute against all the
odds," said a fawning advertisement paid for by the Defence Ministry.

But this year the Herald only had four pages of birthday congratulations for
Mr. Mugabe, compared to 16 pages last year and 24 pages in 2007.

Norbert Bakachesa, a war veteran who got farmland from Mr. Mugabe's land
reform program, said he agreed to donate a cow to the birthday organizers
last year because he was afraid he would lose his farm if he refused. "It
was as if I was paying homage to a king through tribute," he said.

"This year I told them that I had nothing. I told them that I was tired of
being swindled. They tried to threaten me, but I told them that they were
not going to get anything from me. I told them that I had many relatives and
workers who were starving and needed food. They grumbled but they went

While the lavish feast is prepared for tomorrow's party, millions of
Zimbabweans remain at risk of hunger or death from poverty and disease.

A cholera epidemic has sickened more than 83,000 people and killed 3,877 in
Zimbabwe so far, according to the latest figures from the United Nations.
The mortality rate is three times higher than in typical epidemics, a UN
official said at a press conference in Johannesburg yesterday.

Unless there is urgent assistance, Zimbabwe could continue to need food aid
for up to seven million of its 13 million people next year, the UN warned.

"It's obvious that the humanitarian needs in the country remain grave," said
Catherine Bragg, a Canadian aid expert who headed a UN mission to Zimbabwe
this week.

"A growing number of households are reducing their meals. Their coping
mechanisms are being stretched."

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Tsvangirai to go to Mugabe bash

26/02/2009 22:03  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will attend a
lavish birthday celebration for President Robert Mugabe this weekend, his
spokesperson said on Thursday.

"He was invited and he is attending. It's courteous on (the part of) his
party and it's in the spirit of national unity," Tsvangirai's spokesperson
James Maridadi said.

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, turned 85 on
February 21, and his supporters are throwing him a gala public party on
Saturday in the town of Chinhoyi, north of the capital.

Last year Tsvangirai railed against Mugabe's birthday celebration as "a
gathering of the satisfied few" in a nation crippled by food shortages.

The annual event is organised by the February 21st Movement, a youth
movement in Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, and attracts hundreds of people.

However, this year they appear to be struggling to collect on promised
donations to fund the party, in a nation battling against world-record
hyperinflation and one of the worst cholera epidemics on record.

Organisers resorted to running an advertisement in the state-run Herald on
Thursday, urging benefactors to pay up on their pledges.


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Communiqué on the Establishment of a Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism

26th Feb 2009 22:06 GMT

By a Correspondent

Relating to the Implementation of the Interparty Political Agreement

We, representatives of civil society organizations, meeting in Harare on the
25th February 2009:

Acknowledging the signing of the Interparty Political Agreement (IPA) on the
15th September 2008 and the effective commencement of its implementation by
the participating political parties on the 30th January 2009,

Noting the continued humanitarian, social, and economic crises which the
country continues to face and needs to address urgently,

Deeply concerned at the continued assault on the fundamental rights and
freedoms of the people of Zimbabwe , in particular human rights defenders
and legitimate political activists,

In solidarity with our colleagues and others who remain unjustly
incarcerated at various prisons, remand facilities and hospitals around
Zimbabwe ,

Guided by our earlier commitment and collective views as espoused in the
Peoples' Charter developed through national consultative processes,

Mindful of the need for any legitimate government to pursue its mandate
through inclusive, transparent, people-driven and participatory processes in
order to ensure a swift return to democracy, good governance and the Rule of

Further mindful of civil society's critical role and responsibility in
scrutinizing politicians and political processes, and holding them to
account, in order to maintain its watchdog role and moral authority,

Noting that in the event of the political deadlock necessitating dissolution
of the agreement, fresh elections should be conducted under an
internationally and regionally acceptable framework and supervisory

Observing that the ordinary voices and views of the people of Zimbabwe have
not been heard or acknowledged in the IPA and that ownership, monitoring and
enforcement of the IPA is currently the exclusive reserve of political
parties, state authorities and regional and international political organs
who are not accountable to the people of Zimbabwe,

Now hereby resolve to:

1. Immediately establish an independent Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism
which will, through shared and agreed benchmarks, focus on monitoring and
assessing the adherence to and implementation of the Interparty Political
Agreement (IPA) by those bound to its provisions through the work of five
(5) main Thematic Clusters, namely:

a. Economy and Development (incorporating Economic Recovery, Land,
Humanitarian and Food Assistance)

b. Constitutional Reform Process

c. Political Transition and Justice (incorporating Equality, National
Healing, Cohesion and Unity, Traditional Leaders, and National Youth

d. Institutional Transformation (incorporating Rule of Law, State
Institutions, Legislative Agenda, the Media and National Institutions)

e. Respect for Human Rights and Operating Environment (incorporating Rule of
Law, Freedom of Expression and Communication, Free Political Activity,
Freedom of Assembly and Association, and Security of Persons and Prevention
of Violence)

2. Ensure that progress on critical issues which have been overlooked or
remain unaddressed within the ambit of the IPA is also monitored; more
particularly in relation to:-

a. Reform and accountability of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in terms of its
mandate under the law

b. Economic Crimes and Impunity

c. Reform of the Education Sector

d. Reform of the Health Sector

e. Security Sector Reform

f. Judicial Reform

g. Electoral Reform

h. Local Government Reform

3. Produce Monthly Monitoring Reports which will be published, publicized,
widely disseminated, simplified and translated, in order to allow the people
of Zimbabwe to understand and discuss political processes, actions and
decisions taken on their behalf and which have an impact on their lives, in
order that they can demand accountability in an informed manner where they
are of the opinion that their political representatives are failing to
comply with the provisions they agreed to under the IPA.

4. Engage the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) and all
or any other responsible authorities and guarantors of the IPA on the basis
of the findings and recommendations of the Monthly Monitoring Reports.

5. So contribute to a new culture of transparency, scrutiny and
accountability of all public processes taken on behalf of the people of
Zimbabwe by the political parties who purport to govern on their behalf.

Representatives of the civil society further clarify that this process, far
from being an attempt to undermine political processes and agreements, is
one which it has a responsibility to undertake as part of its independent
watchdog role, and one which it will not hesitate to carry out to the best
of its ability in line with the affirmations set out herein.

Thus done at Harare , Zimbabwe , this 25th day of February 2009.


Bulawayo Agenda (BA)

Christian Alliance (CA)

Counseling Services Unit (CSU)

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC)

General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union ( GAPWUZ)

Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)

Media Institute of Southern Africa - Zimbabwe Chapter (MISA-Zimbabwe)

Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ)

National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO)

Progressive Teachers Association of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)

Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU)

Save Zimbabwe Campaign (SZC)


Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ)

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)

Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd)

Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)

Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (ZHRF)

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu)

Zimbabwe Young Women's Network for Peace Building (ZYWNP)

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Civic groups set up committee to monitor unity govt

by Hendricks Chizhanje Friday 27 February 2009

HARARE - Civic society groups have set up a committee to monitor
implementation of the power-sharing agreement between President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU PF party and the two MDC formations of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai ZANU PF leader and his deputy Arthur Mutambara.

The groups said the Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism would focus on how
the political parties implement the agreement in five areas of the economy
and development, constitutional reforms, political transition and justice,
institutional transformation and upholding human rights.

Some of the groups that formed the monitoring committee include Bulawayo
Agenda, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC), ZimRights, Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR), the National Association of Non Governmental
Organisations (NANGO), MISA Zimbabwe and the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe (PTUZ).

The groups said they would also monitor reforms at the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) that critics have blamed for fuelling inflation through the
printing of money to fund Mugabe's populist projects.

A spokesman for the groups Okay Machisa said: "This process, far from being
an attempt to undermine political processes and agreements, is one which
(civil society) has a responsibility to undertake as part of its independent
watchdog role, and one which it will not hesitate to carry out to the best
of its ability."

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara last September agreed to form a unity
government to tackle Zimbabwe's deepening economic and humanitarian crisis.

Fresh elections will be called after about two years during which the unity
government is supposed to have stabilised the economy and produced a new and
democratic constitution for Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline

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Notes following briefing to media by President Motlanthe and United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Pretoria

President Motlanthe

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the fourth estate. This morning we had our discussions with the Secretary General of the UN. We are honoured that he chose our country as his first on his trip to Africa. We compared notes on a range of important issues regarding the flash points on the continent of Africa. We compared notes with regard to the humanitarian and peace efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Zimbabwean political developments, the Sudan, Burundi; and of course closer home we also spoke about the role that South Africa plays globally with regards to important matters such as climate change, the impending G20 Summit that will be held in April in England.

We also had discussions about our responsibility of hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup finals and that the UN has an opportunity to make a contribution particularly with regards to transport issues relating to the emissions efforts. So these are some of the important matters that we discussed and compared notes on. With these brief remarks I would like to invite the Secretary General to make his remarks. Over to you sir.

Mr Ban Ki-Moon

Thank you very much, Mr President.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the media, Sawubona.

It is a great pleasure for me to be here on my first official visit to South Africa as Secretary-General of the United Nations. And I thank President Motlanthe and the Government of South Africa for the warm welcome and the kind hospitality provided to me and to my delegation.

South Africa holds a particular place in the United Nations family because of our own long engagement against apartheid, in support of the struggle of the South African people. That particular place has sustained the test of time as South Africa is today an important partner for the United Nations, because of the major role South Africa plays in international and regional peacemaking, peace keeping and peace building efforts.

It is facilitating the peace process in Burundi and mediating in Zimbabwe. It is contributing more than two thousand troops to United Nations operations from the Congo and Sudan to Nepal and it has paid a heavy price for that commitment.

These are some of the subjects I discussed a few minutes ago with President Motlanthe and other cabinets ministers, including the Foreign Minister, the Environment Minister and the Finance Minister. We have just held a very fruitful and constructive meeting.

On Zimbabwe, I welcomed the inauguration of the new Government of national unity. The partnership between the Zimbabwean parties will need to be nurtured. Although the UN has no direct mandate to help implement the Agreement between the parties, we are ready to ensure that the enormous challenges confronting the Zimbabwean people are effectively addressed.

That said, I remain concerned about reports of arrests and detention of opposition activists and human rights defenders. 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 do all possible efforts to increase its support to Zimbabwe, including for nationally owned stabilisation and recovery programmes. My 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.

On the DRC: I commended the role of South African peacekeepers in saving, daily, the lives of Congolese civilians under extremely difficult circumstances. As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I hope we can count on South Africa's continued and significant support to reform the Congolese security sector.

We also discussed with the President South Africa's key role as an economic powerhouse with by far the largest, strongest and most diversified economy on the continent. We discussed the forthcoming G-20 meeting in April, where South Africa's President will be once again the only African leader in attendance and an effective voice for the millions of voiceless and most vulnerable.

I am here in South Africa to concretely reach out to countries that have a potential leadership role in confronting global challenges. One such challenge is climate change. While South Africa has been an effective advocate on behalf of the G-77, to date, much of Africa has not benefited from the current international climate change regime. It is time to change that. Africa must help shape the Copenhagen deal in a way that benefits the interests of the continent and its citizens.

South Africa has shown commendable leadership and can do more. As to issues specific to this country, I stressed to President Motlanthe my appreciation of the fact that South Africa has made remarkable strides in consolidating democracy since the end of apartheid. It has built solid and reliable democratic institutions. The forthcoming elections present a historic opportunity to showcase South Africa to the region and the world as a country that is capable of effecting peaceful democratic change.

But, perhaps more importantly, I wish the best of luck to the Bafana Bafana when they set out next year to become hopefully the first African football champion of the world, as they have done so in rugby. And while our United Nations teams might be able to compete on other fields, we cannot claim to have Benny McCarthy or Steven Pienaar on our side.

We will contribute instead in our own way to the success of the next World Cup through a joint project of the Global Environment Facility, supported by the United Nations development programme and environment agencies. We will spend 11 million dollars to upgrade the South African public transport system ahead of the 2010 World Cup. The project's environment objective is to reduce greenhouse gases from urban transportation in South African cities for the World Cup and beyond.

Thank you very much and Siyabonga.

Questions and answers

Question: You have expressed concern about the plight those in Zimbabwe who are still detained. I just wonder how both of you feel this might be undermining the Global Political Agreement?

Answer: (Mr Ban Ki-Moon) I discussed this matter with President Mugabe when I met him in Addis Ababa during the African Union (AU) Summit meeting. I urged him and also appealed to him while I would support and welcome the launching of the unity government it would be appropriate and it would be a welcomed gesture for the leader from Zimbabwe to embrace all different opinions and leaders in the country by releasing all the detained people. I hope that he will listen to the expectations of the international community by releasing them all as soon as possible.

President Motlanthe: I was assured by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai when I met him last week that this matter is high on their agenda and they are attending to it. He assured me that in his discussions with President Mugabe they had agreed that all the detainees should be granted bail on their own cognisance.

Question: Was the discussion also of the many Zimbabwean refugees pouring over the border into South Africa; perhaps easing immigration restrictions so that they may stay longer and how will South Africa respond?

Answer: (President Motlanthe) As the South African government we are taking a benign attitude towards the movement of people between the two countries as a way of alleviating the very dire conditions in Zimbabwe. That is why we have invested our efforts in ensuring that we support this inclusive government because its primary task is to stabilise the situation and create conditions for all of these Zimbabwean refugees and Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to return home.

Mr Ban Ki-Moon: I really appreciate the government of South Africa for accommodating those refugees coming from Zimbabwe. I know that it would be a huge challenge economically, politically and socially to accommodate so many refugees at this time. In that regard I really appreciate President Motlanthe's generosity for providing human rights and humanitarian assistance.

I have dispatched the senior advisor on humanitarian affairs Catherine Bragg. She is currently in Zimbabwe. She met President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai and other leaders of Zimbabwe to discuss how the United Nations can better co-ordinate and better mobilise humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwean people. I have discussed this matter also with President Mugabe in Addis Ababa last month. He was open-minded to the UN and the international community's assistance on humanitarian grounds.

I think that is the right thing to do for him as well as for the international community. I will receive a report from Catherine Bragg on her recommendation on how we can mobilise more humanitarian assistance including this refugee issues. At the same time I want to count on the continuing support and assistance by the South African government and people for them.

Question: Sir I think there is some concern about the situation in Zimbabwe in the context that given the global meltdown the focus wouldn't be on Africa now especially with other western powers. There is a concern that the situation as it is; there could be a situation where the whole unity government fails. What do you think should happen because for example there is a need for economic assistance? What do you think the world should do? What should happen?

Answer: (Mr Ban Ki-Moon) I think two tracks should proceed in parallel. On the part of the Zimbabwean government leadership, particularly President Mugabe, they should carry out and implement this September 15 power-sharing agreement sincerely and fully. That is the way to meet the expectation of the international community, to meet and uphold the aspiration of Zimbabwean people.

The economic situation is very dire and the humanitarian situation is very worrisome and there is the cholera epidemic which has cost thousands of lives. According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, there are more than 83 000 people who are sick and more than 3 000 people have been killed.

Those are very serious issues. President Mugabe should promote national reconciliation and at the same time he should promote economic co-operation.

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

But all these efforts would be better mobilised, we would get stronger and more support from the international community if we can see the progress in political and national reconciliation. The release of political prisoners will be important and desirable not only on the humanitarian and human rights ground but also on the national reconciliation process.

(President Motlanthe): In fact the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers of Finance are meeting in Cape Town to develop a response to the request from the Zimbabwean inclusive government for the immediate assistance that would serve as a basis for also approaching the international community for more assistance with regards to particularly the efforts in the agricultural sector of Zimbabwe.

Question: Sir we had some informal brief discussion with the Secretary General this morning on the kind of history of animosity between the two governments of the DRC and Rwanda. Specifically what is your country going to do to try and improve those relations?

Answer: (President Motlanthe) Besides the role that we play in MONUC in the DRC we as SADC as you know we char SADC at the moment facilitated interaction between Presidents Kagame and Kabila and we compared notes with the Secretary General about the intractable issues that underpin this conflict. We are in agreement that in the short term the efforts are aimed at ensuring that there is cessation of hostilities and that the presence of the genocidors, the Interahamwe in the North Kivu area should be addressed, as well as the finalisation of the status of the Congolese citizens of Tutsi origin. That is one of the issues that need to be addressed in order to lay down the foundation for ever-lasting peace between the two countries. Hopefully it will result in the creation of a free trade zone to enable both countries to share in the natural resources.

Question: Have you reached an agreed upon approach towards the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir story with the International Criminal Court?

Answer: (President Motlanthe) The AU position with regards to that matter is very clear that former President Thabo Mbeki has been appointed to lead a process of finding comprehensive solution to the conflict in the Darfur and also to address the issue of impunity at a judicial level and he is already in touch with the ICC prosecutor because the AU has called for a deferment of the prosecution in order to allow time for these efforts to produce the desired results. That is the position that we have adopted.

Mr Ban Ki-Moon: If I may answer from my perspective as the Secretary General of the UN, as everybody knows, the pre-trial chamber of the ICC has announced that they would render the decision on 4 March, so we are awaiting that decision.

As the Secretary General of the UN, I hope that whatever the decision may be, the President of Sudan Mr Al-Bashir should react responsibly to the decision of the ICC and also address the issue of peace and security in the region.

When I met him in Addis Ababa I urged him that he should ensure safety and security of UN personnel and civil population. He should also keep his commitment on the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. That is what he needs to do.

I am aware of the position of the AU for the deferment of the ICC decision but that is something which the UNSC should decide. For that to be possible the Sudanese government and President Al-Bashir should also take necessary judiciary measures which can satisfy the article 16's requirement of (inaudible).

Question: From the agreement between the DRC and Rwanda governments, 5 000 soldiers have crossed the border to DRC to take the Interahamwe from the bush and take them back to Rwanda. Without the identification of the population there it is creating confusion as to who is Interahamwe and who is not. How are you entertaining that situation?

Answer: (Mr Ban Ki-Moon) That is a question which the Congolese government and the people should discuss, that particular issue. As the Secretary General of the UN, we are mandated – MONUC – is mandated to assist and co-operate with (inaudible) in keeping peace and stability.

I am going to meet with President Kabila of the DRC and Paul Kagame of Rwanda later this week. We will discuss how to bring this process of (inaudible) between the two governments with the support of the international community. I would welcome this (inaudible). It is a very encouraging development of the situation but it has also many difficulties and uncertainties. Therefore this process of (inaudible) should be nurtured by the international community so that we can bring stability and peace.

The people, particularly the civilian population has suffered too much. May civilian population were killed and there were many cases reported of sexual violence and crimes. These are all things we must eradicate and as the Secretary General I am very much committed to see the end of this prevalence of sexual crimes perpetuated against many women and girls. We are very much committed also to protecting the lives of the civilian population there. Therefore we need a concerted effort.

In that regard, as President Motlanthe has just mentioned, we really appreciate this facilitation role and leadership role of the South African government and count on such continued support, including the support of peacekeeping soldiers in the DRC.

Issued by:

Department of Foreign Affairs
25 February 2009

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The cost, in rands, of a Zim bail-out


Although South Africa can technically afford to give Zimbabwe the R6-billion
that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has reportedly asked for, it would
have to be part of a broader financial bail-out package if South Africa does
not want to throw good money after bad.

Yet assistance from other countries has not been forthcoming as potential
lenders are not convinced that Zimbabwe is on a real road of change while
Robert Mugabe still holds power.

Stanlib economist Kevin Lings says the national budget does make provision
for a contingency reserve, which this year is budgeted at, coincidentally,
R6-billion. This money is put aside each year in case of a natural disaster
such as floods where government needs to provide urgent assistance to its

Lings says government did indicate last year that this reserve could be used
for other types of disasters when it considered using the reserve as an
emergency bail-out for Eskom. Zimbabwe's case could be argued as a disaster,
which has a significant impact on South Africa's financial and political
stability, but this would leave South Africa short, should natural disasters
hit our shores.

Lings says a figure of R6-billion is not significant, accounting for only
0.25% of GDP and pushing our budgeted deficit from 3.9% to 4.15% of GDP.
However, it could impact on South Africa's cost of funding. This year the
South African government will be going to market to raise R185-billion.
Given the scarcity of capital globally, any additional borrowing could
increase the total costs of South Africa's funding needs. "South Africa can
afford this loan; the question is whether this will be a continual drain,"
says Lings.

Efficient Group economist Dawie Roodt says that for Zimbabwe to recover, the
country would need a significant injection of cash and that South Africa
could not go this route alone. "Others will have to chip in as well, such as
the United States, the United Kingdom and even the International Monetary
Fund [IMF]," says Roodt, who adds that this will only happen if the
political solution is accepted.

The US and Europe have already stated that they would want further evidence
that the rule of law and democracy are in place. With the Zimbabwean
government using a constitutional loophole to keep MDC politician and deputy
agricultural minister designate Roy Bennett in jail after being granted
bail, it is yet to demonstrate a respect for the law.

Although details of what Zimbabwe has requested from South Africa are not
official, reports have suggested that the R6-billion request would be used
to cover the Zimbabwean government's obligations to civil servants and other
essential items for the next six months. If R6-billion would only stave off
the bills for six months, the magnitude of financial assistance will be far
greater. Tsvangirai said before his meeting last Friday with Finance
Minister Trevor Manuel that Zimbabwe would need in the region of $5-billion
to help fund the economy's recovery. Donor organisations estimate that
figure to be closer to$10-billion.

Roodt says that follow-up loans will be needed and it is these loans that
would start to impact on South Africa's credit rating and financial

Lings says that a normal channel for a small country requiring financial
assistance would be the IMF, but Zimbabwe probably sees its African
neighbour as a friendlier creditor. "There would be financial and political
conditions attached to an IMF loan," says Lings, who adds these would
include regular report-backs and visits by IMF teams to ensure compliance.
"At this stage these conditions may be too onerous for Zimbabwe." South
Africa as a soft touch will not go down well with South African citizens,
who would rather see the money spent at home to deal with our own
unemployment and poverty crisis.

It is clear that a more detailed and fully comprehensive package, which
includes other lenders, would have to be in place before it would be
financially sensible for South Africa to sign off on any financial
assistance, yet there may be political pressure for the South African
government to show its support and legitimise the Zimbabwean unity
government by putting our money where its mouth is.

During his budget address earlier this month Manuel said South Africa stood
ready to coordinate financial support for Zimbabwe once Tsvangirai was sworn
in as prime minister. Manuel made it clear that South Africa would use its
influence to co-opt other countries into a rescue package.

According to Reuters, Manuel said: "There are a number of countries that
stand ready to assist; we have to lean on them to help the Zimbabweans deal
with the worst ravages." He also added that he had raised the issue with
some of the G7 countries and hoped to put together a larger financial
package. This week the treasury declined to comment on a financial package,
stating that it would require firm proposals to be put to the national

Apart from political pressure, South Africa has a vested economic interest
in the recovery of Zimbabwe. Most of the products and service would be
sourced from South Africa, such as fertiliser and plant equipment. South
African firms would be involved in the re-building of infrastructure.

But South Africa will have to tread this path very carefully. Already
questions have been raised about the misuse of the R300-million agricultural
aid package South Africa gave to Zimbabwe last year. Zimbabwe should not
make the mistake of thinking that South Africa will hand over money unless
there are guarantees that these funds will be used in a proper manner and
not to buy Mercedes-Benzes for ministers, as has already happened this week.

Going into an election year, government will have to convince South Africans
that taxpayers' money is better spent in Zimbabwe than on our own poverty
alleviation needs. The rise in xenophobic violence would suggest that many
South Africans will have little sympathy for Zimbabwe's woes, although the
hope that millions of Zimbabweans would return to their country, if it
stabilised, could provide the government with an angle to sell the deal.

More ministers than offices
Last week Zimbabwe swore in its biggest government ever. When fully
constituted, the new government will have 71 members.

This week, new ministers received new Mercedes-Benz luxury sedans and Nissan
SUVs. Government officials refuse to reveal how much will be spent on the
ministers. Further spending is also planned on vehicles for 300 members of

The ministers know first-hand how deep in the red Zimbabwe is -- they
arrived at government complexes to take up their posts to find there was not
enough office space for all of them. Those who did get offices had no
furniture, stationery or staff.

A senior Western diplomat in Harare said aid to Zimbabwe's new unity
government is on condition that reserve bank Governor Gideon Gono is sacked
and more substantial political reforms are made.

Sweden's ambassador to Zimbabwe, Sten Rylander, on Tuesday said donors
wanted Gono replaced first as they could not trust him with aid. Rylander
claims Gono "diverted" $400 000 his country had given to Save the Children
for humanitarian work in northern Zimbabwe. He also accuses Gono of having
misappropriated funding from the Global Fund for HIV/Aids.

"We cannot just release funds; we are waiting for sound policy changes, the
rule of law and sound macroeconomic policies," he said.

"We are waiting for policy change; we cannot rush in with aid. The
government has to deal with the leadership in the central bank and that has
to be done urgently."

Under Zimbabwean law, only President Robert Mugabe can fire a central bank

Other diplomats who spoke to the Mail & Guardian are also concerned about
the bloated size of the new government, which at 71 is the biggest Zimbabwe
has ever had. Donors also want to see an independent anti-corruption
commission set up to check graft before any substantial financial aid is

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai appeared at the weekend to be addressing
these concerns, saying on Sunday: "I wish to announce it today and now that
our government will not tolerate any form of corruption. Corrupt and
unscrupulous business people will be sought out and will be prosecuted in
their numbers."

On Western scepticism of the new government, Tsvangirai said they should
"accept that Zimbabweans have a right to choose and they have decided that
the inclusive government is the only way out".

Tsvangirai has estimated the long-term cost of rebuilding Zimbabwe at up to
$5-billion. A coalition of Western donors, set up two years ago to prepare
for a transition, estimates that Zimbabwe needs up to $10-billion to
stabilise its economy. This includes funding for reinvestment in
infrastructure, restoring farm production and supporting its currency.

There is no concrete information from the Zimbabwe government itself on what
aid has been pledged in total and how much of it has already been received.
Gono says the country has secured $500-million in credit lines from
international financiers, who he has declined to name.

Gono has said, however, that the financiers are worried by apparent
conflicting signals on policy from leaders of the coalition government. He
said the credit lines had been extended after Zimbabwe instituted the
currency and economic reforms announced in January.

Patrick Chinamasa, who as acting finance minister last month presented a
$1.9-billion national budget for 2009, said Zimbabwe had received
$200-million in budgetary support from "international cooperating partners",
whom he also did not identify.

Since January, Zimbabwe has allowed the use of foreign currencies across the
economy, authorising US dollar trade on the stock market and in the informal
economy. Controls on the repatriation of earnings by foreign investors have
been lifted as have restrictions on the sale of farm produce and gold.

Although there has been some support for these reforms from donors, there
has not been enough to encourage real aid to start flowing.

Donors are, however, more open to direct support to humanitarian sectors
such as health and education. David Coltart, the education minister, told
the M&G that he needs urgent support of $438-million for the next six
months. But he concedes that "in the current economic climate and in the
context of world recession, that is a completely unattainable figure". He
was confident, however, of raising $80-million to pay teachers.

There is little support from either Zanu-PF or the MDC for adoption of the
rand. Leaders are wary of having to cede economic policy and political
independence to South Africa. A senior Mugabe aide said adopting the rand
would turn Zimbabwe into "a giant supermarket of South Africa, the way many
countries in the rand zone are currently".

Tsvangirai himself has said he supports the existing policy allowing the
circulation of multiple currencies over adoption of the rand. -- Jason Moyo

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Manuel warns on funding to rescue Harare

By Richard Lapper in Johannesburg and Tony Hawkins in,Harare

Published: February 27 2009 02:00 | Last updated: February 27 2009 02:00

Southern Africa's struggling economies are in no position to finance a
rescue package for Zimbabwe on their own, Trevor Manuel, South Africa's
finance minister said yesterday.

Mr Manuel said South Africa would support Zimbabwe's efforts to raise $2bn
(£1.4bn) needed immediately for economic reconstruction.

That would at least "help open channels" for Zimbabwe's new coalition, he
said, as it tries to repair relations with multilateral donors and other
lenders. But South Africa has limited capacity to provide funding from its
own resources, he added.

Mr Manuel was speaking to the Financial Times after a regional meeting where
Zimbabwe tried to raise an initial $1bn to repair its education, health and
some basic infrastructure over the next 10 months.

SADC, the 15-nation regional body, had orchestrated a power-sharing deal
between Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, and Morgan Tsvangirai, its
prime minister.

The South African finance minister said: "A year ago SADC states were all in
fiscal surplus but we are now facing really tough times."

Figures released this week showed that South Africa's economy shrank nearly
2 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year and the country is running a
current account deficit of about 8 cent of gross domestic product.

Zimbabwe is also seeking $1bn in credit lines to allow businesses to start
working again in the wake of a decade in which the economy has been in

Mr Manuel said the amounts being sought were "not unusually large but a lot
of work remains to be done".

He said arrears owed to multilateral lenders, such as the African
Development Bank, and other creditors - estimated at about $3bn by
economists in Harare - could prove an obstacle. Mr Manuel said unless ways
were found to "clear the arrears, there was no way the plan could work".

Zimbabwe hopes to discuss its plans with the ADB and other lenders at a
meeting in Tunis in the next few days. Mr Manuel praised the "singleness of
purpose" displayed by Zimbabean ministers from Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the
two wings of the Movement for Democratic Change at the SADC meetings, in
spite of evidence of tensions within the two-week-old administration.

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Mugabe says property rented for Bona

February 26, 2009

HONGKONG-MUGABE/The Mugabe condominium in Hong Kong.

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe has denied recent press reports that he has acquired a US$5, 7 million mansion in Hong Kong.

The Sunday Times of London reported two weeks ago the Zimbabwean leader had purchased a luxurious three-storey property in a walled and gated complex in an exclusive area of Hong Kong.

The house was reported in the very detailed article to have been purchased on behalf of the Mugabes by a middleman.

But in special and broad interview he granted to state controlled ZBC TV early this week, Mugabe says the property was, in fact, rented for his 20-year-old daughter, Bona, who is currently studying at the University of Hong Kong.

“There is a property in which our girl and a relative, the two students studying in Hong Kong, are staying,” said Mugabe.

“We pay rent. After they have finished, we will have nothing to do with that home at all.”

Mugabe, who turned 85 on February 21, said he had assigned a private company to secure the house on his daughter’s behalf.

“Because we could not get any other property which we could put them in, we had this company which offered that house not on sale but (for) rental and we pay rental because the girl staying there has got to have room for our security people also,” Mugabe said.

“What do I do with a house in Hong Kong really?”

Mugabe said his detractors had even alleged he had also been offered a house in Malaysia by former Prime Minister Mahatiar Mohammed, a friend to Mugabe, which he was to move into after seeking political asylum in Malaysia.

He said he would continue to live in Zimbabwe, the country he has ruled with an iron fist for almost three decades.

“Here l was born and here l fought and I will die,” he quipped.

Mugabe has come under fire for continuously recycling his aged and, of his own admission, ineffective ministers. He once described them as the worst cabinet he has ever had.

“I never said that,” he said this week.

“I said the cabinet I had was the worst cabinet I had had since independence but I didn’t say all ministers were as bad as the cabinet was. No.

“And you will notice that so many who were in the cabinet were dropped. Some were dropped by the constituencies and in some cases I said, ‘Thank you,’ to the constituencies.”

He said he was relieved of the invidious task of choosing a cabinet by the failure on the part of some of his lieutenants to secure parliamentary seats in last Mach’s elections.

He pleaded with his old rivals in the MDC to vigorously campaign against the continued existence of western imposed sanctions declared on members of the Zanu-PF government.

“I think it is proper that there is a vigorous drive by the two MDCs for sanctions to be removed,” Mugabe said.

“They would be better listened to. We are the enemies of the West and our voices will fall on deaf ears.”

Mugabe has in the past dismissed the mainstream MDC of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as puppets of the West. He said he hoped the AU would come out with a resolution demanding the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Mugabe said he hoped other countries in the European Union that have a relationship with his government would start breaching the sanctions as opposed to waiting for an official declaration from the European Union.

“There are other ways also we can pursue diplomatic relations with other countries,” he said, “some of the countries in the European Union which will want to have relations with us.

“And if they can start breaching those sanctions and cooperating with us in our economic field that would lead to the sanctions being undermined and eventually getting lifted.”

He described as “absolutely nonsensical” Britain’s remarks that they will recognize the new government only after it starts respecting the freedom of the press.

He was adamant issues to do with the violation of human rights and lack of press freedom, among other reasons cited, were not the real reasons that have invited the wrath of the British government on his administration. He said the real issue was the land issue.

Mugabe said he was still monitoring the stance of the new Barack Obama administration in Washington towards his government.

He said he hoped the popular American leader would not pursue punitive policies as were pursued by his predecessor, George Bush.

As leader, Bush sanctioned the enactment of the Zimbabwe Democracy Act, which seeks to bar American companies from doing business with Zimbabwean companies.

Mugabe scoffed at recent reports that the British government intended to evacuate its aged nationals from the insecurity of Zimbabwe.

He said his government would be quite happy to assist the British to evacuate them.

“I don’t see any reason why anyone would want old people?” Mugabe said.

“I understand they also want the young ones, the children. What about the parents of those children. What happens to the rest? Why can’t the British say we want all our British people out of Zimbabwe? We will assist them in getting them out. But we haven’t said so.

“If they want them and even the graves of their dead, we can dig them up and send them to them. Who are we to refuse with their nationals, dead or alive?

Mugabe defended his decisions to enter into a unity government with the MDC in spite of fierce resistance from some hardliners within his party.

“Not everyone in my party supported the idea. Not everyone supported the idea in the MDC. I was accused of selling out,” he said, laughing.

“That was the product of the elections. Those who sold out are those who failed to vote for me, those who failed to organize for votes in their constituencies.”

Mugabe also launched a scathing attack on former Home Affairs Minister, Dumiso Dabengwa, for attempting to resurrect the now defunct PF-Zapu which merged with Zanu-PF in 1987.

Said Mugabe, “I don’t know whether Dumiso and others have the right to withdraw from what has been a merger since December 1987 (when) that unity accord was signed.

“He wants leadership which he could not get within Zapu and he thinks its now the opportunity. But why has he taken so long to claim it? Why did he not claim it when (Vice President Joseph) Msika was regarded as the successor to (late PF-Zapu leader) Joshua Nkomo? I don’t know.

He said Dabengwa’s actions only served to confuse issues.

Mugabe accused Dabengwa of breaking away from Zanu-PF in February 2008 to support Dr Simba Makoni’s Mavambo movement which he says Dabengwa led to its downfall.

“Now he is forming his own,” he said. “He thinks he will have support. You cannot in this country succeed on the basis of trying to push the leadership of one tribe. People are refusing.

“You can’t talk of tribe these days. It’s a real shame. It does not matter what guise he is using but we can see through it; that it is the Ndebele tribe (that he wants) to have the dominance.”

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US Dept of State 2008 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe

To read the report, click here

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Letter to Foreign Affairs Minister re: release of political and human rights activists

Dear friends,

Please find attached a letter to Minister Cannon (Foreign Affairs) submitted by my colleagues and I regarding the detention of human rights and political activists in Zimbabwe.

As always, any comments you may have are welcome and I encourage you to pass the letter along to anyone else who might find it of interest.

Best wishes,

Dr. Keith Martin
MP - Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca To read the letter, click here click here

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Is the Zimbabwe crisis agenda a one-sided affair?

afrol News, 26 February - While Zimbabwe's opposition members of the unity
government are running around seeking hand-outs to rescue the country out of
the economic stress, on the other hand, the former ruling party members of
the unity deal and their leader, Robert Mugabe are shamelessly busy making
last minute land grabs and huskying about how much money should be spent on
the President's birthday party booze and braai.

The situation in Zimbabwe is surely calling for more international
attention, but in some instances, for unnecessary reasons. The world is
actually now wondering if there is really a unity government in Zimbabwe, or
something that could be equaled to unity in diversity from all sorts of
meanings for the word 'negative diversity'.

While many would have wanted to blast the West for the delayed and watch and
wait strategy on bailing out Zimbabwe, things seems to suggest that there is
no other better strategy and no one, including SADC and the AU should be
fooled into falling in to the Mugabe trap.

For instance, the expectation would have been to see and hear more about
fights in the implementation policies on helping out fellow Zimbabweans out
of the jaws of poverty by the new Harare administration, but instead, when
one sector is seeking to address the humanitarian pains faced by the
citizens, another is thinking of the next election victory and probably
shifting attention from the real issues confronting the country.

If Zimbabwe was to go for an election in two or so years, who will want to
fund such a cost when along the streets people are being torn apart by
hunger and disease, when the children's future is hanging helplessly in the
collapsed national scale and zeroes accumulate in their unpronounceable
digits in the people's buying power? There surely needs to be someone, some
body, some club, or some authority, somewhere, that should knock some sense
back into the once great Zimbabwe.

The SADC finance ministers were today discussing the Zimbabwe bail-out issue
in South Africa and the question would stay on the wall unchallenged for
years to come, as to how many delegations' member states would actually go
back home to seek broader mandates before a Zimbabwe stash is approved, or
would it be just another brotherly help that would perpetuate insensitive
carrying on with self interests above the needs of the poor citizens?

Zimbabwe surely needs the regional muscle and the world at large, to pull
out of the current deep, but surely not when there is clearly no unity in
government as was the resolution of the regional body together with other
international bodies.

A United Nations inter-agency mission to Zimbabwe today stressed that the
country's humanitarian crisis remains grave, and urged both the government
and the international community to support the strengthening of aid efforts.

The mission however has also stressed that the welfare of the people was
largely the responsibility of the government of Zimbabwe. "We trust that the
all-inclusive government will quickly take the necessary steps to address
the fundamentals of governance that would allow stability and economic
recovery," it stated.

The team, led by UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg,
visited the southern African nation from 21 to 25 February to assess
responses to, among other things, a food emergency in which up to seven
million people need food aid and a cholera epidemic, which has infected some
83,000 people and already claimed more than 3,800 lives.

"Despite tremendous efforts by both the Government and the humanitarian
community in Zimbabwe to contain the cholera epidemic, major challenges
remain," Ms Bragg said in a news release issued at the end of the visit.

While noting the international community's generosity to the people of
Zimbabwe so far, the team highlighted the need for further resources in the
coming months. This includes resources to effectively contain the country's
worst-ever cholera outbreak, including through public health outreach and
repairing water and sewage systems.

Additional resources will also be crucial for food aid and to help improve
food security. "We have to ensure farmers have all the agriculture inputs
they need for the next planting season, which begins in September. If we do
not act now, we could end up next year with a situation similar to what we
have today," Ms Bragg said.

By Lawrence Keketso

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Court frees Shiri shooting suspect
      Friday, February 27, 2009

Herald Reporter

FRANK Muchirahondo, a driver with the United States Agency for International
Development who was being accused of shooting Air Force of Zimbabwe
Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri, has been freed after a Bindura
magistrates' court refused to place him on further remand.

This followed an application by his lawyer Mr Chris Mhike of Atherstone and
Cook for refusal of further remand.

The application was granted on Tues- day.

The State will now have to proceed by way of summons if it wishes to pursue
the case.

In its application, the defence argued that the State had not considered the
best interests of the accused in prosecuting the case.

Mr Mhike successfully argued that the State failed to strike a balance
between the need to achieve justice, on one hand, and to respect the basic
freedoms and rights of the accused person, on the other.

The defence noted that over the past month "not much progress as should have
been made had been achieved by the State, significantly prejudicing the

"The State may still proceed by way of summons once it has completed its
investigations," Mr Mhike submitted.

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PEACE WATCH of 26th February [A Question of Amnesty]


[26th February 2009]

Are Political Detainees Hostages to Demands for a General Amnesty?

There has been talk over the past two weeks that political detainees and civil rights activists will only be released as part of a general amnesty being demanded by ZANU-PF and the security force commanders.  This would certainly explain the delays that that have dogged efforts to get them freed.  The political detainees whose release is the subject of purported amnesty negotiations were picked up while a national unity government was being negotiated.  So far the police have not produced enough evidence to bring them to trial.  This raises the question whether they were picked up deliberately to be used as hostages in a subsequent amnesty deal.  This would entail a lopsided trade of a few seemingly innocent people picked up specially for the purpose against all those involved in perhaps up to 30 years of State organised or condoned violence.

There needs to be public debate on the subject of a general amnesty and civil society could take the lead in facilitating this process and in making sure it includes victims of State violence and their families.  It is hoped that politicians will listen to these voices before making any deals.  A general amnesty would not only affect the present detainees, but all people and the families who have been subjected to political violence – murders, torture, beatings, rape, property destroyed, forced evictions, etc.  In addition to those who are recorded, there are estimated to be many hundreds over the last thirty years who have never been accounted for and there, are the dead who have never been identified and buried.

For some years now the MDC have been talking of establishing a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.  It was on the MDC Election Manifesto that they would bring in such a Commission – not on political party lines but on national lines as an essential step to restore community trust and national healing.

A general amnesty might ease frictions in the corridors of power of an inclusive government in the short run, but this needs to be weighed against the long term dangers of condoning a culture of impunity.  And even in the short term it may cause problems.  Victims of violence or their families may take to “settling scores” outside the legal framework which a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission would set up.  There are already indications that this is happening in some areas.

Media Reports that an Amnesty Deal is being Considered

Please note these reports are taken from various media agencies.  We have included the web links for those interested in reading the complete articles.  They quote unnamed sources so it is impossible to check on their sources.  We are citing extracts because even if they are not 100% accurate they call attention to what should be a matter of public debate. 

·        “You want Bennett, give us immunity security chiefs demand”  7 February 2009 “Zimbabwe's security chiefs fearing prosecution for crimes against humanity are trying to use the arrest and detention of Deputy Agriculture Minister designate Roy Bennett, former television anchor Jestina Mukoko and 30 other political prisoners as bargaining chips to secure their own immunity from prosecution.

·        Commissioner-General of Police wants charges dropped In a circular [claimed to have been seen by the Zimbabwe Times] dated 10th February, and addressed to all provincial commanders, Police Commissioner Chihuri ordered the dropping of  all murder cases committed during the run-up to the controversial 27th June election.  The report said that the beneficiaries of this 'amnesty wish', if granted, will be ZANU PF supporters, among them youths, top war veterans and government officials.  

·        The Mugabe regime has moved swiftly to stop all investigations into murders committed by Zanu (PF) agents, including the police, army and militia, before during and after the March and June 2008 elections.  18 February 2009  This article quotes Chihuri’s circular as saying "Please be advised that all murder cases committed during the run up to the presidential election run-off and have not been finalised be dropped immediately. The decision has been made in the spirit of promoting national healing in view of the inclusive government.”

One Report mentions a Possible Amnesty dating back to 1980

Mugabe party said to be seeking amnesty  Feb. 19,  Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party reportedly is seeking an amnesty deal, an opposition leader's wife says.  Heather Bennett told CNN members of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party offered to release imprisoned opposition leaders in exchange for a promise of amnesty for any crimes between Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 and 2009. 

Legal Procedures for a General Amnesty

1.    By the passing of appropriate legislation through Parliament. 

2.    By the granting of pardons by the President

The President’s power to grant pardons is found in section 31I of the Constitution.  It is not one of his personal prerogatives, to be exercised at his sole discretion.  It must be exercised on the advice of the Cabinet.  This has always been the position [Constitution, section 31H(5)] and it is reiterated in the IPA [Article 20.1.3(g), now incorporated in Schedule 8 to the Constitution  – “The President … (g) grants pardons … on the advice of the Cabinet”].   “On the advice of the Cabinet” means he can only act in accordance with a Cabinet decision.  So if there is a General Amnesty, both MDCs must agree to it.

Note: It is sometimes suggested that a pardon can only be granted to someone who has already been convicted of a crime.  That is not so.  The Constitution clearly states that pardons may be granted “to any person concerned in or convicted of a criminal offence”.  Such a pardon protects a person from being subsequently picked up and charged for the same offence [Criminal Precedence and Evidence Act].

Presidential Powers to Pardon Individuals

The President can also grant pardons for specific individuals by name [as apposed to categories of persons under a General Amnesty].  He could invoke these powers to pardon people like Roy Bennett, Jestina and other named detainees].  This would ensure their release without a criminal record.

Roy Bennett has reportedly said he would rather face trial than be part of any deal that would see individuals who committed crimes against humanity walk scot-free and that he would want to see individuals that perpetrated crimes against humanity made to account for their actions.  Bennett's lawyer, Trust Maanda, confirmed his client's position.

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. … The new inclusive government … should ensure that transitional justice is delivered.”

Reverend Useni Sibanda, National Director of Zimbabwe Christian Alliance, a network of church and civic bodies, said a blanket amnesty was "no medicine for healing the nation"."

Amnesty International’s stance is that  to break the culture of impunity there is need to establish facts about violations of human rights that have occurred, investigate those violations, bring suspected perpetrators to justice, and provide victims and their families with reparation, in the form of restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.

Pius Wakatama, Church Elder, 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".

These suggestion come from Church representatives and victims of State organised violence.

·        “The transitional government needs to first allow a national debate on how the people of Zimbabwe want the transitional justice issues to be handled,"

·        “The victims need to be involved from the onset"  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 [and] destruction of property and this was done by people in the same neighbourhood."

·         “there can never be a shortcut to national healing

·        The healing process has to be fair, just, democratic and inspired by the need to create a sustainable foundation for a democratic Zimbabwe.”

·        The healing process must satisfy the ‘weak’ in voice, in the most remote part of the country, and should be people driven rather than be an elite pact.”

·        “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 2000."

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

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Lonrho hit by LonZim deal revelations

February 27, 2009

Smaller companies
Peter Stiff
Under the leadership of Tiny Rowland, Lonrho, the African conglomerate, was
never far from the headlines and yesterday its investors had a small
reminder of the controversy of its heyday.

Lonrho's shares fell by 1.19p to 3.7p after it emerged that LonZim, a
Zimbabwe-focused investment group that it floated in 2007, had been buying
shares in Lonrho, its largest shareholder, without telling anyone.

LonZim spent almost £3 million buying nearly 60 million shares in Lonrho,
with which it shares most of its directors, over a three-month period,
including participating in a private placing in November, but failed to
disclose the purchases as a related-party transaction. The company also
failed to inform Collins Stewart, its nominated adviser, which is understood
to have now moved to sever all ties with both LonZim and Lonrho, after what
is believed to have been a rocky relationship.

David Lenigas, who chairs both companies, last night denied any wrongdoing
by the AIM-listed groups and said that he was already in discussions with a
number of parties interested in becoming LonZim's new adviser, with a view
to relisting as soon as possible. LonZim suspended its shares at 31p while
it reviews the transaction.

Ramco soared 16¾p to 58¾p after Mesopotamia Petroleum, in which it has a
32.66 per cent stake, signed a joint-venture agreement with the state-owned
Iraq Drilling Company to drill a large number of new oil wells in the
country in the first deal of its type signed with a foreign group since the
fall of Saddam Hussein.

Cadogan Petroleum fell by 2.7p to 5.8p after its successful appeal related
to a challenge to its Pirkovskoe licence in Ukraine was overturned.

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No ruling yet in SA farmer's case

President's conduct at centre

February 27, 2009 Edition 1

The Constitutional Court yesterday heard argument over whether it should
rule on the constitutionality of the President's conduct.

The case revolves around farmer Crawford von Abo's failure to get diplomatic
protection from South Africa when property he owned in Zimbabwe was seized.

As Von Abo's farms and equipment were taken away from him under the guise of
that country's controversial land-restitution programme, he said he tried
unsuccessfully to get the South African government to intervene on a
diplomatic level.

He received a Pretoria High Court order last year that the conduct of the
"respondents" was unconstitutional and invalid when they failed to protect
him when his rights were being violated by the Zimbabwean government.

The respondents were then president, Thabo Mbeki, the ministers of foreign
affairs, justice, and trade and industry.

In terms of sections 167 and 172 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court of
Appeal and a High Court can make an order of constitutional invalidity
against an act of Parliament, a provincial act or conduct of the President.

The order is not valid unless confirmed by the Constitutional Court.

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 was 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 wanted to know from how far down in the chain of command,
responsibility can bounce back to the president.

Asked why it was so important to confirm the order against the president,
given that the respondents said they would comply with the other points in
the order, Von Abo's counsel, Peter Hodes, said it would indicate what was
required of the president when faced with such a situation.

The court also ordered that the state remedy Von Abo's situation, and
provide a report on how it was doing this. Hodes argued that they could file
a late application to challenge these orders.

"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

The state, however, argued that the cabinet exercises collective
responsibility and that the President did not do anything unconstitutional.

Counsel Piet de Jager argued that the president's functions were set out in
Section 84 of the constitution. According to their heads of argument, these
include assenting to, signing and referring bills back to the National
Assembly for reconsideration of their constitutional status, or to the
Constitutional Court, making appointments as head of the national executive,
calling a referendum, pardoning offenders, conferring honours and appointing
commissions of inquiry.

The matter before the court was not included.

They argued that the relief sought by Von Abo was against the government and
that the issue was conduct of the government, not the President.

Judgement was reserved and the judges will announce their finding in due

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