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Zim police to use force to quell election violence

Mail and Guardian

Angus Shaw | Harare, Zimbabwe

27 February 2008 05:21

      Police in Zimbabwe are ready to use force to quell any violence
during national elections next month and any unrest after the poll, the
official media reported on Wednesday.

       President Robert Mugabe is accused of holding on to power by
using intimidation and rigging to ensure previous election victories, and
the latest comments by police were likely to add to concerns the March 29
vote would be no different despite promises of reform.

      Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri said police
officers will not hesitate to use "full force" to stop politically motivated
violence, the state Herald newspaper said.

      "Police will never treat perpetrators of political violence with
kid gloves. Please be warned," the paper quoted him as saying.

      "There has been talk from some opposition circles and civil
organisations of street protests or Kenya-style riots if the ballot does not
go in favour of one's political party ... It is time for political parties
to own up if they lose," he said.

      Earlier this month, police banned the carrying of knives,
spears, catapults and other traditional weapons ahead of the March 29
presidential, parliamentary and local council polls.

       Mugabe faces a challenge from a former finance minister, Simba
Makoni, as well as the head of the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, Morgan Tsvangirai.

      In an open letter, United States ambassador James McGee has said
there are "ominous signs" that the elections will not be free or fair. He
cited inadequate preparation, voter confusion and evidence of registration
irregularities. "The violence of the past year will inevitably affect the
campaign and the election," he added.

      In March last year, police violently broke up an opposition
prayer meeting and jailed and assaulted opposition leaders, including
Tsvangirai. Mugabe later told regional presidents at a Southern African
summit that police were allowed to "bash" law breakers.

      Police had declared the prayer meeting and opposition march an
illegal political gathering and banned it under security laws. New
legislation rushed through Parliament at the end of last year has relaxed
the security laws, but so far there have been few signs of a more tolerant
government approach to opposition demonstrations.

      In eight years of political and economic turmoil since the
seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial farms began in 2000, much of
the violence that claimed at least 200 lives has been blamed on ruling-party
militants, armed veterans of the independence war, secret police agents and
troops and police themselves. -- Sapa-AP

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Zimbabwe dollar in dramatic fall

Earth Times

             Posted : Wed, 27 Feb 2008 11:55:03 GMT
            Author : DPA

Harare - Zimbabwe's shaky dollar has taken a huge knock on the
unofficial market for foreign exchange in the last week, it emerged
Wednesday. Officially, the value of the Zimbabwe dollar is fixed at 30,000:
1 US dollar. But traders, businessmen, fuel vendors and even parastatals
like Air Zimbabwe keep an eye on black market rates to set their prices.

Last Tuesday, the Zimbabwe dollar was trading at 10,168,387.69:1 US
dollar on the Old Mutual Implied Rate, financial reports said. Seven days
later the rate stood at 19,573,700.46.

Prices in shops and supermarkets shot up this week as traders struggle
to make money to cover replacement costs.

In one store, sardines, which were trading at 15 million Zimbabwe
dollarsper can on Tuesday sold at 30 million on Wednesday, dog food rose
from 60 million dollars to 240 million per 5 kilogram bag and the cost of a
single toilet roll 5 million to 8 million.

The state National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC), which was
set up to control prices, has "noted with concern" the new wave of price
hikes, state radio reported Wednesday.

Inflation in Zimbabwe stands at more than 100,000 per cent, the
highest in the world.

At independence in 1980, the Zimbabwe dollar traded almost at parity
with the British pound.

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Economic meltdown worsens child abuse in Zimbabwe, says U.N. children's agency

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: February 27, 2008

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Child rape has increased 42 percent in Zimbabwe, the
United Nations children's agency said Wednesday, linking worsening child
abuse and domestic violence to family tensions caused by the nation's
economic meltdown.

The U.N. Children's Fund launched a new "Stand Up and Speak Out" campaign
calling on children, relatives and church and other groups to fight what it
called the "staggering statistics on the unspeakable evils of child abuse."

UNICEF said the number of cases of rape of minors reported to police surged
from 2,192 in 2003 to 3,112 in 2006.

Many other cases likely went unreported in a climate of secrecy and denial,
it said.

Dr. Festo Kavishe, the agency's chief representative in Zimbabwe, said in
the nation's economic crisis social workers reported adults unable to
provide normal care, food and schooling vented their anger on children.

"There is a tendency for people to take out their frustrations on children
when they are unable to provide necessary care. Child rape, that most
abhorrent of crime, is just one type of abuse. Zimbabwe's current economic
challenges have meant an increase in verbal abuse, neglect and physical
violence," Kavishe said.
He said the child victims of "intolerable economic pressures" suffered by
parents unable to provide adequate food, education or medical care faced
futures that could include more violence, poverty, joblessness, early
pregnancy and prostitution in girls and alcohol and substance abuse.

The nation's 1 million children orphaned by HIV/AIDS were particularly
vulnerable to abuse by relatives and those in authority, even in schools and
care institutions, he said.

The worst economic crisis in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 also
created a category of children known as "diaspora orphans," the children of
economic fugitives living and working in neighboring South Africa and in
Europe, the United States and Australia.

A UNICEF cartoon clip to be aired on peak time evening viewing on state
television depicts a mother working abroad whose husband takes in a new
lover who squanders money sent home and neglects the child, locking the
child outside the home without food or shelter.

An estimated 4 million Zimbabweans - one-fourth the population - have left
the country to find work abroad, splitting up families.

Kavishe said cases of domestic violence and assault soared in families where
the remaining breadwinner was unable to put food on the table and fulfill a
traditional role as head of the family.

"That is not uncommon in southern African countries but it is still
inexcusable," he said. "Parents need to understand they should reduce the
pressure of economic tensions by other means, such as regenerating their
means of livelihood and survival. It is surprising how many people are
surviving" through street vending and other "coping" activities, he said.

Zimbabwe has by far the world's highest official inflation of more than
100,500 percent, blamed largely on disruptions in the agriculture based
economy after the often violent, government-ordered seizures of thousands of
white-owned commercial farms since 2000.

The former regional bread basket is suffering acute shortages of food,
gasoline and most basic goods.

UNICEF launched a phone help line for abused children Wednesday and said
churches were helping in the nationwide campaign against child abuse.

A poster and publicity campaign shows infants pleading: "Don't steal my
innocence. It is all I have."

Innocent Chingwaru, a leader of the Faith Based Council of Zimbabwe, a
Christian organization, said deepening poverty collapsed traditional family
"safety nets" and eroded age-old African family support mechanisms.

"It is a depressing scenario. In the unfolding crisis, this is a critical
time that calls for action in all levels of our society," he said.

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ZEC declines to investigate Zanu-PF voter registration fraud

By Tichaona Sibanda
27 February 2008

The provincial elections officer for Manicaland has declined to institute an
investigation into reports that a Zanu-PF legislator has allegedly helped
'illegal aliens' to register as voters.

The MDC on Tuesday approached the head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) in Mutare, Colonel Moffat Masabeya, and informed him of reports that
Zanu-PF MP for Chipinge south Enock Porusingazi, was involved in voter
registration fraud.

It is alleged Porusingazi had on several occasions ferried villagers from
Gudu and Save in Mozambique to the district registrar's offices in Chipinge
where he managed to get them identification cards. According to the MDC the
volatile Zanu-PF legislator would then proceed to 'have his people
registered as voters.'

'We have information it's a syndicate between officials from the registrar's
office and Porusingazi. A number of these illegal aliens were registered
well after the deadline but their registration slips were backdated to
January,' said an MDC official.

But Colonel Masabeya said it was not the duty of the ZEC to investigate such
reports and told the MDC to take their complaint to the police, who he said
deal with fraud cases.

The MDC was not surprised by Masabeya's response, as he is a known serving
officer in the Zimbabwe National Army. Described as a die-hard Zanu-PF man
Colonel Masabeya lost in the 2005 primaries to represent the ruling party in
the Chimanimani constituency, currently held by State Enterprises and
Anti-corruption Minister Samuel Undenge.

Based at Dangamvura's Chikanga 3 Brigade battalion, Colonel Masabeya was one
of the army officers who led an assault team of soldiers on to Charleswood
Estate, which they eventually grabbed at gunpoint from Roy Bennett, the
former MDC MP for Chimanimani.

'If we say the election playing field is not level, these are the things we
will be referring to,' the MDC official said.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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ZIMSEC fails to issue exam certificates

27th Feb 2008 12:17 GMT

By Ian Nhuka

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) which
administers public examinations in the country does not have foreign
currency to have certificates printed out of the country.

In another development that clearly shows how the economic crisis is
affecting the country's once-acclaimed education system, students who sat
for their final public examinations in 2005 and 2006 have
not been given their certificates. This has had a telling impact on the
pupils' education careers as institutions of higher education such as
universities and colleges are refusing to enroll them.

President Robert Mugabe often touts the country's historical leadership in
promoting literacy but the economic crisis, seen in the world's highest
inflation of more than 100 000 percent, foreign currency and fuel shortages
is undoing the gains made in the first
20 years of independence.

Ezekiel Pasipamire, a public relations officer for ZIMSEC admitted that the
authority has delayed issuing Ordinary and Advanced Level certificates to
thousands of students who wrote their examinations over the past three

"We do not have technology to print the certificates so we have foreign
printers who have a contract to do the job for us," he said.

"But the problem is that we do not have the forex to pay them, hence the
delay." Zimbabwe has one of the world's highest literacy rates and Africa's
highest at more than 90 percent.

Pasipamire however claimed that ZIMSEC has now secured
an unspecified amount of foreign currency to have the certificates printed.
Students, keen to enroll with South African universities have failed to do

"I am very disappointed with them (ZIMSEC)," said a prospective student,
Nomathemba Ngwenya who wrote her examinations in November 2006.

"I have failed to register for my Bachelor of Commerce
in finance because they (ZIMSEC) are taking too long
to give us our certificates." Another student, Jairos Mhlanga echoed the
same sentiment.

Richard Dunduza, a spokesman for Higher Learning Centre, a University of
South Africa (UNISA) said as many as 150 students from his college alone who
wrote in November 2006 could not register for any UNISA courses for lack of
Advanced Level certificates.

He however said if certificates take too long to come out, people can apply
to ZIMSEC for certification of their results and UNISA accepts that.

"Students can apply to ZIMSEC but the problem is, the process takes too long
and some of them fail to beat registration deadlines as a result," added
Dunduza. He urged ZIMSEC to ensure clean up its act.
ZIMSEC has, among other problems failed to mark examinations while
examination leaks have become common.

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Tsvangirai says opposition victory will end Zimbabwe crisis

International Herald Tribune

By Nelson Banya ReutersPublished: February 27, 2008

HARARE: Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday
said only an opposition victory in next month's general election would end
the country's crippling economic crisis.

The southern African country is in the grip of a severe economic crisis
blamed on President Robert Mugabe's policies and reflected by the highest
inflation rate in the world, above 100,000 percent, and chronic food and
fuel shortages.

Speaking to reporters after touring three Harare working class townships,
Tsvangirai, who leads the larger faction of the divided Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), said he had witnessed "unprecedented levels of
poverty, unemployment and hunger" but vowed to mend the economy if elected.

"We've come here to give all these people hope that the change that is
coming is one they can trust, one that will make a difference in the face of
massive unemployment, hunger and unprecedented poverty we have all
witnessed. The bankrupt Mugabe regime has no solutions to offer," Tsvangirai

Tsvangirai has refused calls for a coalition with former finance minister
Simba Makoni, an independent who was expelled from the ruling ZANU-PF after
challenger to Mugabe for the presidency in over 20 years. Analysts say a
split vote could hand 84-year-old Mugabe another five-year term.

Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist, was mobbed by supporters as he moved
through market stalls and informal industries providing a source of income
for hundreds of jobless youths in a country where four in five adults are
out of formal work.

As he moved from one stop to another, Tsvangirai was greeted by supporters
of his MDC who chanted party slogans and waved the party's open palms

"He is the people's president, our president, who has come to witness our
suffering," declared one woman as Tsvangirai passed by, stopping
intermittently to chat and shake hands with supporters.

Tsvangirai launched his party's campaign for the March 29 polls last weekend
promising "to restore the dignity of every Zimbabwean."

"For us, March 29 is about change you can trust; it's not just a question of
change of personalities. It is a question of change that will deliver food,
jobs and hope to the people," Tsvangirai said.

Makoni called off a planned foray into Zimbabwe's rural areas on Wednesday.
Officials said there were administrative issues to be dealt with before he
launches his campaign.

Both Tsvangirai and Makoni have made the economy a centrepiece of their

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies mismanaging
the economy, saying it has been sabotaged by western governments as
punishment for his seizure of white farms to resettle landless blacks.

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Zimbabwe gives army, teachers pay boost ahead of elections

Business Day

27 February 2008

Dumisani Muleya

Harare Correspondent

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's beleaguered government has awarded huge pay rises
to the army ahead of critical elections next month in a bid to calm the
restless military.

Sources said police and intelligence agents also received pay hikes.
Thousands of teachers - who have been complaining openly about low salaries
and harsh working conditions - were also given huge pay increments.

The move is widely seen as an attempt to pacify the soldiers and teachers
who have been restive due to poor working conditions and low salaries. It is
also viewed as an effort to secure the crucial support of the military and
win votes of the public servants.

The opposition accuses Mugabe's government of vote-buying and
ballot-rigging. The army is a pillar of strength in Mugabe's embattled
regime, while the teachers are influential among communities and voting
trends. The public service is a strategic support base for Mugabe and he
wants to retain its backing.

Mugabe is facing a stiff challenge from former finance minister Simba Makoni
and main opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mugabe has described Makoni as a "political prostitute" and behaving like a
"puffed-up frog", while saying Tsvangirai is a "puppet" of the west.

Mugabe claimed former Australian prime minister John Howard gave Tsvangirai
$18m and British Prime Minister Gordon would give him $3m through
nongovernmental organisations.

"Tsvangirai just wants money. He has been bought by the west. This is
unacceptable," Mugabe said at the weekend.

He said he was ready to defeat alleged American and British "stooges" at the

However, Makoni and Tsvangirai have said Mugabe was a bankrupt dictator
trying to divert attention from his disastrous failures.

Sources said army personnel were pleasantly surprised to find relatively
large amounts of money in their usually empty bank accounts after the
government deposited huge sums to cushion them against rampant inflation,
which rose to 100000% last week, the world's highest.

The army got windfalls on Friday last week of between Z$1bn (R700) and Z$3bn
(R2100) in salaries depending on the rank this month, while teachers got
Z$500m (R350) on average. Other public servants got less and they are angry,
it was said.

Leader of the pro-government Zimbabwe Teachers' Association Tendai Chikowore
warned teachers would go on a full-scale industrial action if the government
did not urgently undertake a major salary review to put them at par with
soldiers. "Our members are now very impatient.

"We are consulting all provinces this week and I must say we are under
pressure to call for industrial action," he said.

"Our members now suspect that the employer is deliberately choosing to
underpay teachers while other government employees are smiling all the way
to the bank every month."

The militant Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe accuses Mugabe's regime
of being "insensitive and discriminatory" by giving soldiers hefty salaries,
while "impoverished teachers and other civil servants get peanuts every

The union's secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said the government was using
salaries as an electioneering tool to buy the votes of public servants.

"What is happening in the public service is very sad. We have a situation
where Mugabe is giving soldiers a lot of money ahead of everyone else as a
way of buying allegiance in the event that the forthcoming elections are
disputed," he said. "We are aware that Mugabe is planning to rig the
elections in March because he must win at all costs. He, however, believes
that teachers do not deserve increased salaries because they are agents of
regime change. That is ridiculous."

Majongwe was in hospital last week after being brutally assaulted by state

On Tuesday nine members of his organisation were summoned to the Harare
Central police station for trying to stage an anti-government strike.

Public Service Association head Cecilia Alexander-Khowa said members of her
association were furious about discriminatory pay increases. "Our members
are bitter because they are saying the employer is showing favouritism when
dealing with the employees."

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MDC Houses Burned And Officials Arrested in Muzarabani

SW Radio Africa (London)

25 February 2008
Posted to the web 26 February 2008

Tererai Karimakwenda

The MDC have reported that incidents of violence and arrests of their
candidates, polling agents and supporters have intensified around the
country as we get closer to the harmonised elections on March 29th. The
latest reports were received from Muzarabani, where on Monday the houses of
several MDC activists were burnt down. Exact numbers have not yet been
determined. However, it is believed 2 ZANU-PF youths were arrested in the

On Sunday, also in Muzarabani, ward election agent Muchemwa Chihota and MDC
activist Munyaradzi Nyama were arrested. It is not clear what they are being
charged with but it is believed they held a meeting to discuss election

Dozens of MDC officials have been arrested around the country for engaging
in activities related to the March elections. This includes activities such
as conducting private meetings, putting up posters, trying to obtain voter
registration details and singing on a MDC campaign music album, all of which
are all legal activities.

Luke Tamborinyoka, MDC information and publicity secretary, said: "What is
clear here is that ZANU-PF has not changed its spots. ZANU-PF remains
ZANU-PF, regardless of the pretense of holding free and fair elections.

Regarding the recent violence and arrests, Tamborinyoka confirmed that some
officials in Muzarabani had their houses burnt by ZANU-PF supporters. Also
in Ruwa over the weekend, two activists who nominated the local MDC
candidates for the parliamentary race were visited by ZANU-PF youths and

On Friday at Harare Railway Station, a musician named Dread and his girl
friend were arrested whilst boarding the train for Mutare to perform at the
MDC manifesto launch. Tamborimyoka said they were released on Monday on Z$50
million bail.

Tamborimyoka said the MDC is going into elections with "a heavy heart"
knowing the playing field is not leveled. He explained that they want to
expose the abuses of the Mugabe regime and document any rigging that may
take place.

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From Harare: Hospital heartbreak

Wednesday, 27 February 2008, 01:46 GMT
Harare skyline [Pic: Robyn Hunter]

Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is writing a diary on the challenges of getting through each day.

Zimbabwe is suffering from an acute economic crisis. The country has the world's highest rate of annual inflation - and just one in five has an official job.

A woman on a trolley at a hospital in Harare
Some operations cannot be done because of drug shortages

My mother works at a hospital in Harare.

Last Wednesday, she saw a woman who was referred from a major provincial hospital because of a complicated labour.

She had originally come from a smaller rural health centre, but could not be attended to because of the severe drugs shortage hitting our country.

She should have been ferried to Harare as an emergency but the ambulance available had no fuel.

When she finally made it, there where no drugs here either and so she still could not be treated.

My mother said it was heartbreaking because they all knew what was meant to be done for her, but they could not do anything.

She was finally sent to another clinic, but my mum later found out that her uterus ruptured on the way.

So far, my mum doesn't know if the woman did make it through. She has put the word out amongst her colleagues to try to find out.

I don't even know if one can survive such an ordeal.

But I will let you know next week if she did, or not.

Let's hope for good news.

What keeps WOZA Women Strong?

The Zimbabwean

 Wednesday, 27 February 2008 06:32

"Each other, they say."

Meticulous planning and fearless passion.
On the road with WOZALois Davis was captivated by Women of Zimbabwe Arise
from the moment she read of w

Women marching under the slogan 'The power of love can conquer the love of

Here, she writes about what she witnessed first-hand on WOZA's 6th Valentine's
Day action.  Late on Sunday night, in a home on the outskirts of Harare, I
caught up with WOZA delegates who had just attended the Zimbabwe People's
Convention, a forum where more than 3,000 delegates from 50 civic groups
came together to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe. Although permission for the
huge gathering had been secured, a group of WOZA members waiting in Africa
Unity Square had been rounded up by police and held for several hours at
Harare Central Police Station. There, they had been beaten and insulted for
daring to wear WOZA scarves printed with the slogan 'standing up for rights'.
Being part of WOZA is clearly never an easy ride but 300 WOZA delegates from
all over the country had nevertheless managed to make it to Harare to take
part in the historic civic society gathering.  We left Harare at 4am the
next morning. Later that morning I was ushered into the back seat of a car
between stacks of Valentine's cards that read 'We love our country too' and
flyers exhorting people to 'Stand Up for Your Child in 2008' - the theme of
their Valentine's action this year.As we drove, I saw how carefully the rear
view mirror was monitored. Riding in a WOZA car is a serious business - one
cannot afford to be followed; the safety of scores of people is at
stake.When we arrived at the venue about 100 WOZA activists were already
seated and waiting to discuss the details of the big day ahead. As I scanned
the rows of expectant faces, I was struck by the quiet dignity of the people
gathered there and humbled at the thought of the risks they were taking.
Security and safety
The meeting opened with a prayer led by a member from the floor and then,
with security ever in mind, people were asked to look around them and
confirm that they knew the people sitting near them. Two faces were new to
the group and these two were gently asked to leave. New members of WOZA
could be welcomed at other meetings but not at the meetings where crucial
details were to be discussed. If police were notified of the route of the
march in advance, demonstrators could be picked off and arrested before the
action began and it would be impossible to monitor their safety. One by one,
members from different areas stood up and declared how many people they
would be bringing to the demonstration and the meeting was asked to witness
and confirm these numbers. It struck me that the strength of this
organisation owes much to the meticulous work they put in to ensuring the
safety of their members and the inclusiveness of their organising
strategies. After the meeting, there was more work to be done. Phones needed
'juicing' - WOZA dare not use anything other than pay as you go. There is no
privacy protection in Zimbabwe and activists cannot risk being identified
through phone calls being monitored.  Phone-holders are  placed at strategic
police stations so they can report when they see the riot police piling into
their Defenders to come and stop the marchers; phone-holders are among the
marchers to report any arrests so that lawyers can be summoned and witnesses
must be ready to relay accurate details to safety monitors.  Beatings and
Even before the march, the phones were buzzing for many hours. Medical
support was put on standby to attend to the injured, food supplies needed to
Identified. Every eventuality is carefully planned for right down to a
supply of sanitary towels, because WOZA knows from bitter experience that
the stress of beatings and arrests will often bring on menstruation.Readers
will know now that the Bulawayo Valentine's action was a resounding success.
Numbers were strong with as many as 800 on the march and there was
enthusiastic encouragement from bystanders. Watching the march materialise
was quite something to witness. One minute, lunch hour in downtown Bulawayo
was proceeding as usual. Then, a single voice rings out "WOZA Moya!" and a
multitude of others rejoin "WOZA!".  Within seconds, flyers and roses
appear, seemingly from nowhere; the WOZA banner is raised and the lunchtime
strollers have transformed into a solid mass of marchers singing and
chanting. We saw the riot police arrive just as protesters were dispersing -
this time they were too late to silence the voices of WOZA and MOZA, the
recently developed Men of Zimbabwe Arise, who have joined with their sisters
and mothers in protest.

Events in Harare did not run so smoothly however. The march got off to a bad
start; watches had not been properly synchronised and some protesters
started a few minutes too early. Not everyone was in place and the crowd was
not tight enough to avoid being split up. The police were nervy too. Teargas
was thrown within minutes of the flyers and banners becoming visible.

The release of the teargas canister was clearly the sign of a trigger-happy
police officer. Another attempt was made to start the march in the same
place, but by now the police were everywhere and the beatings had begun.

While the police were in confusion, word quickly went round to regroup at
the post office. A small but determined group gathered there and proceeded
to march up George Silundika Street to the offices of The Herald, where they
left roses, placards and Valentine's cards.

I was taken to a venue where some of the women who were beaten were
receiving medical treatment. There, I met a woman with her arm in a sling
and blood soaking her skirt. "This was my first time at a WOZA
demonstration." she told me, "but when the police started on me with those
baton sticks I just became stronger."Risking life and limb
I talked to many other WOZA and MOZA members after the Valentine's marches
and I was struck by their clarity about why they were risking life and limb
to go on the streets and speak out. "The Government will never hear what I
have to say if I just sit and suffer in silence at home," said one. "We don't
want people to oppress us - we are standing up for our children and we want
free elections this time," said another. I asked people what gave them the
courage to risk beatings and worse - "Each other!" came the reply.WOZA has
come a long way since that first Valentine's Day action in 2003. Their
numbers have swelled from dozens to thousands and their voices are being
heard clearly by fellow Zimbabweans. The resolutions that emerged from the
People's Convention owed much to WOZA's ground-breaking field-work. In 2006,
they conducted a huge countrywide consultation with grass roots Zimbabweans,
which resulted in the drawing up of a People's Charter.WOZA's role in the
SADC mediated talks on power sharing has also been significant. In June
2007, WOZA marched to deliver a letter to Mbeki via the South African
Embassy. It was a damning but perceptive critique and, alongside it, they
presented their 10 Steps to a New Zimbabwe, also drawn up through
consultations with their membership. The 10 Steps called for an end to
violence; an all-stakeholder conference including non-governmental
organisations, churches, labour, business, youth and women; a constitutional
referendum supervised by SADC and a newly appointed and independent
electoral commission. As Zimbabwe moves closer to another traumatic
election, WOZA has come under pressure to back one candidate or party over
another, but they refuse to fall in with any politician. Instead, they urge
their supporters to look closely at the candidates in their area and to vote
with their hearts."This was my first time at a WOZA demonstration, but when
the police started on me with those baton sticks I just became stronger."

Output at Rio Tinto Zimbabwe diamond mine down 40 pct


Wed 27 Feb 2008, 8:11 GMT

HARARE, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's Murowa diamond mine recorded a
40-percent decline in production in 2007, hurt by frequent power cuts,
equipment failures and a delayed expansion programme, Rio Tinto Zimbabwe
said on Wednesday.

The mine, which is 78-percent owned by London-based mining firm Rio Tinto
Plc <RIO.L>, produced 145,000 carats in 2007, compared to 240,000 carats in
the previous year, the company said in a statement to shareholders.

While a decline in the grade of diamonds had been expected, the company said
it had not anticipated the extensive impact of electricity outages, which
have been increasingly common in the economically devastated southern
African nation.

State power utility ZESA has been unable to guarantee electricity to
residents and industry.

"Besides the anticipated decrease in grade with depth and the delay in the
implementation of the expansion project, production was adversely affected
by ZESA power outages and contractor mining fleet breakdowns due to lack of
spares," the statement said.

A number of miners, including Rio Tinto Zimbabwe, entered a deal late in
2007 to import power directly from Mozambique to overcome the electricity
crisis. They pay for their supplies in foreign currency.

Rio Tinto has said it intends to spend $200 million to raise Murowa's
production, but it wants assurances the investment will be safe amid plans
by President Robert Mugabe's government to place the control of all mines in
the hands of Zimbabweans.

Mugabe's government introduced a bill to change the ownership of
foreign-owned firms last year.

Rio Tinto Zimbabwe chairman Eric Kahari has warned that Murowa could start
winding down in 2009 without the expansion.

Rio Tinto, Anglo Platinum <AMSJ.J>, the world's largest platinum miner,
Implats <IMPJ.J> and Aquarius Platinum <AQP.AX> <AQP.L> are among the major
foreign mining firms with interests in Zimbabwe.

The mining sector has overtaken agriculture as the largest employer in
Zimbabwe, accounting for about 4 percent of gross domestic product and
contributing over 40 percent of all foreign currency inflows into the
country. (Reporting by Nelson Banya, editing by Paul Simao and Michael

Chinese Eye Zim's Mining Sector

The Herald (Harare)   Published by the government of Zimbabwe

27 February 2008
Posted to the web 27 February 2008


Chinese investors who were part of a recent visiting delegation are eyeing
significant investments within Zimbabwe's gold and platinum sectors, the
Herald Business has gathered.

While no figures could be obtained, this paper understands that the Chinese
are admirers of Zimbabwe's mining industry, and were keen to pour in money.

The 22-member delegation, which consisted of mining, exploration and trade
experts, is said to have held meetings with Mines Minister, Mr Amos Midzi on
their intentions.

Chinese deputy minister of Commerce, Gao Hucheng led the delegation that has
already departed.

While no comment could immediately be obtained from the minister, he was
quoted in weekend South Africa media as saying: "The visit has been very
helpful as we have agreed to what the delegation has asked for from us.

"They want gold and platinum mining exploration and investment opportunities
and we are willing as Government to partner them because they are sincere

No comment could be obtained from the Chinese Embassy in Harare at press
time yesterday.

Meeting the Chinese delegation last week, President Mugabe said cordial
relations that exist between Zimbabwe and China must now be buttressed by
strong economic partnerships.

". . . We now need to embark on developing this relationship of co-operation
with programmes that would enhance and continue what we have built over the
years," he said.

However, the two metals -- gold and platinum -- provide some of the most
attractive options for foreign capital, as the country's platinum reserves
are the world's second largest after South Africa.

Gold production has seriously been crippled over the years, and the resource
lies in abundance along the Great Dyke region -- a mineral belt stretching
right from the north in Mt Darwin to Matabeleland.

There is one major producer of platinum in the country at present -- 
Zimbabwe Platinum Mines -- which owns Ngezi, Makwiro and Selous complexes.
World's largest platinum producer, Anglo Platinum is in the middle of
developing another platinum mine in the Midlands, the Unki Platinum Mine.

Unki is yet to start any production activity since construction work started
more than five years ago, missing its initial target of 2007, as input costs
ballooned due to high inflation. Last week the Chinese concluded a US$42
million deal to fund Zimbabwe's agriculture mechanisation programme, which
has entered its third phase.

The first two phases, which included massive distribution of tractors, disk
harrows and ploughs were completed last year.

Recently, Sinosteel Group, a giant Chinese mining concern, acquired 67
percent of Zimasco Consolidated Enter-prises, the country's largest
ferrochrome producer.

Zimasco, which produces nearly 4 percent of the world ferrochrome, churns
out at least 210 000 tonnes of high carbon ferrochrome yearly.

Sinosteel are due to release a substantial amount of foreign currency for
plant refurbishment at Zimasco.

Despite earning Zimbabwe US$850 million in exports last year -- the biggest
forex earner for that period -- the local mining sector has failed to
capitalise on the metal prices rally on the international market.

Gold has broken record levels trading at more than US$940/oz and platinum at
over US$2 000/oz.

There has been serious lack of capital expenditure in the mining sector
while rampant smuggling has also stolen more than US$400 million from the
industry in 2007. Regular power cuts have also combined forces with other
factors to bring mineral production on the floor. Last year, Zimbabwe
produced about 8 tonnes of gold, down form a peak of 29 tonnes produced in
1916. Around 5 000kg of platinum were produced.

Over the past decade, the gold production graph has routinely trended
downwards. Metallon Gold Zimbabwe's Redwing Mine, the biggest gold producer
here, has already seen production halving due to water-logging caused by
power shortages.

There is, however, vast scope for new foreign capital in the mining
industry. Resources have not been fully tapped, particularly platinum, coal
bed methane gas and even gold.

Makoni Supporters Fear Mugabe Backlash

The Zimbabwean

 Wednesday, 27 February 2008 07:31

Many ruling party members are seemingly too scared to declare support for
presidential challenger.

The ZANU (PF) heavyweights expected to back Simba Makoni's presidential bid
in next month's election in Zimbabwe have failed to come out in support of
him because they fear President Robert Mugabe will turn on them.Former
finance minister Makoni was expelled from ZANU (PF) last month when he
announced his intention to stand against Mugabe in the upcoming presidential
and parliamentary elections in March.Makoni, who predicts that he and his
fellow independent candidates will win the elections in a landslide, has
said his immediate priorities on being elected would be to resolve shortages
of food, power, fuel and water, and abolish the various exchange rates that
fuel black-market currency trading.He has also announced plans to establish
a non-partisan organisation to haul the country out of its current economic
crisis, which has left the country with an inflation rate of 66,000 per
cent, high unemployment and food shortages, and a collapsing
infrastructure.Although 73 candidates have so far joined Makoni's camp and
nominated themselves as independent candidates in next month's elections,
most of them are political lightweights.Analysts say that fear of reprisals
by the ruling party machinery has deterred those ZANU (PF) stalwarts who
were reported to be contemplating standing with their expelled colleague as
independents.The party is known for punishing defectors, and those who are
thrown out have found it hard to recover their former glory, even after
being readmitted. According to the ZANU (PF) constitution, a party member
loses membership if he or she stands as an independent.Mugabe has wasted no
time in delivering a body blow to the Makoni project. Makoni's biggest
backer, retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru, is now under
investigation for various cases of corruption concerning his vast business
empire. According to media reports, Mujuru has already been called in for
questioning on corruption charges which were presented by the Central
Intelligence Organisation to the police for investigation.Some of Mujuru
allies, such as Zimbabwe's attorney general Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, have
already felt Mugabe's wrath. Gula-Ndebele has since been removed from office
and is facing charges of misconduct related to a case involving former
banker and close Mujuru ally James Mushore, who is accused of breaching the
country's foreign exchange laws. Although Gula-Ndebele is alleged to have
abused his office to help Mushore, commentators believe the case against him
is politically motivated. Mugabe suspended the attorney general last month
and appointed a tribunal to investigate allegations of his alleged
misbehaviour.Guruve North MP David Butau, who was in charge of finances for
Mujuru, has now fled to the UK amid allegations of exchange control
violations. The charges waged against these men have been interpreted as
attempts by Mugabe to deal with those he believes are trying to oust him.
Only a few brave people - mostly those who have already been marginalised in
ZANU (PF) - presented their nomination papers on February 15, when the
courts sat to receive candidates for the crucial elections.Makoni has not
revealed any major supporters in ZANU (PF) since he announced his decision
to contest the election. Sources in his camp said although the heavyweights
will not come out in the open, they will continue to campaign for him behind
the scenes. The candidate urged his supporters not be intimidated. "I invite
the many Zimbabweans who share the vision I have ... to join me and stand as
independents in the forthcoming election under our banner. Please enter the
race," he said. Fired former legislator and publisher Kindness Paradza,
whose newspaper The Tribune was shut down by the government, and former
education minister Fay Chung, are among those who have joined Makoni to
fight the election.Margaret Dongo, a former legislator and the first woman
to rebel against Mugabe and form the Zimbabwe Democratic Party, is also
backing Makoni and contesting the election as an independent candidate in
Chikomo.Other politicians standing as independents include the apparent
brains behind the Makoni project Ibbo Mandaza, who is going for the Mazowe
West parliamentary seat. ZANU (PF) founding member Edgar Tekere is vying for
Mutare, while Major General Kudzai Mbudzi is standing for the Masvingo West
seat. The independent candidates will fight it out in the parliamentary
elections with candidates from ZANU (PF), as well as from the main faction
of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, headed by
Morgan Tsvangirai.Makoni has also forged an alliance with Professor Arthur
Mutambara's smaller MDC faction. The opposition leader will back Makoni, and
in return, he is expected to urge his supporters to vote for contestants in
that faction. Makoni's camp is contesting most constituencies, with the
least support expected from Mugabe's home province of Mashonaland West and
the Midlands provinces, from where Mugabe's preferred successor Emmerson
Mnangagwa hails.A source in Makoni's camp told IWPR the day before
nominations that not as many independent candidates as hoped had been
fielded in the above home provinces of Mugabe and his closest ally

Seven ways to win an election

Zimbabwe Today

If you thought elections were all about speeches, manifestos and honest
campaigning...think again

Zanu-PF have a formidable arsenal of dirty tricks, dodgy methods, threats,
schemes, bribes and beatings up their sleeve, and now, as the election draws
inexorably nearer, they're all coming out on show. This week I compiled my
top seven, though doubtless there are many more. Here we go with the Moses
Moyo count-down: How to win an election seven different ways.

1.  Pay your soldiers:  The government needs its bullyboys on its side. So
this week trillions of dollars have been distributed to troops, police and
civil servants. My sources say the government secured some $137 trillion
from the Reserve Bank for this purpose. Thus a private in the army, that's
the lowest rank, who earned $310 million in January, this month received
£1.2 billion. That should prevent any mutinies.

2.  Use the stick in the sticks:  Already violence has become a feature of
the campaign out in rural areas, where 75 per cent of registered voters
live, but where the media cameras rarely penetrate. Examples have been made
of "sellouts" in front of their fellow villagers. It's brutal, and it will
get worse.

3.  Don't forget the carrot. It's time once again for Mugabe's men to appear
with maize and cooking oil a-plenty. Through the patronage of Zanu-PF
aligned chiefs, this food is distributed to those who undertake to vote
Zanu-PF, and only them. Those with a record of voting for the opposition
will go hungry. And this is food aid provided by the USA and Europe.

4. Play the colonial card.  In recent elections Mugabe always blamed
Zimbabwe's ills on the slim shoulders of British PM Tony Blair. He's gone
now, but Bob continues to harp on about Britain and the USA ganging up on
him. One of his slogans is: "Vote for the opposition, and Zimbabwe will be a
colony again." There are cynics who say we should be so lucky.

5.  Get a grip on prices. Mugabe's men at the National Incomes and Pricing
Commission have been told to get their act together, and as a result, the
Commission chairman Goodwills Masimirembwa has begun threatening businesses
to stop them increasing their prices. There is also a plan to open some
so-called People's Shops, which will sell goods at low prices.

6. Text a threat.  The Mugabe pack are not frightened by modern technology.
Alarming text messages have begun popping up on mobile phones everywhere in
Zimbabwe. The messages include the following:  "If your neighbour is an MDC
supporter, throw him out of his house." "We are watching you, vote wisely
and not for the imperialists." And "Value your life, vote for Mugabe."

7. Trade on people's innocence. An old lady from a village attended a
Zanu-PF rally in Hurungwe, 400km west of Harare. A party man made her look
through binoculars. She was amazed by what she saw. The man told her that
this magic machine will watch her when she votes, and report her if she does
not vote for Mugabe. Then she will be beaten. That frightened lady will now
vote for Robert Mugabe.

That's my top seven for the moment. If you can add to it, please do.
Meanwhile, my thanks to those who picked me up on the "two horse race"
comment. Quite right too. I was referring to the two nominally Zanu-PF
candidates for President, Mugabe and Makoni, but that wasn't clear. And it's
good to know this blog has careful readers. Please continue to post
comments, corrections, additions, whatever. The more we all know, the
stronger we will be. And we need strength now, like never before.

Posted on Tuesday, 26 February 2008

SADC Tribunal to hear Zim farmer's case next month

Zim Online

by Simplicious Chirinda Wednesday 27 February 2008

HARARE - A regional Tribunal will next month hear an application by a
Zimbabwean white farmer against seizure of his land, three months after
issuing an interim order allowing the farmer to keep his property pending
final ruling on his appeal.

Zambian Judge Charles Mkandawire, who is registrar of the
Namibia-based Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal, said
it would on March 26 hear farmer William Michael Campbell's challenge
against the legality of President Robert Mugabe's controversial farm
redistribution programme.

"We have finally set the date, the case will be heard on March 26 and
the communication has been sent through to both parties," Mkandawire told
ZimOnline by phone from Windhoek.

"We had problems previously with the Zimbabwean government saying it
wasn't given enough time to prepare for the case but we hope this will give
both parties enough time to study the case and give us feedback in case
there are queries," he said.

The Tribunal last December barred the Harare administration from
evicting Campbell from his Mount Camel farm near the town of Chegutu pending
final determination of the farmer's application that Mugabe's land reforms
violated the SADC treaty.

Campbell first appealed against seizure of his property to Zimbabwe's
Supreme Court last March but took his case to the Tribunal after what his
lawyers said was "unreasonable delay" by the country's highest court in
dealing with the matter.

The Supreme Court last month finally dismissed Campbell's appeal and
Land Reform Minister Didymus Mutasa had said the court's ruling opened the
way for the government to seize his farm. However Harare has not taken the
farm apparently waiting for the Tribunal to make a ruling.

Campbell wants the SADC court to find Harare in breach of its
obligations as a member of the regional bloc after it signed into law
Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No.17 two years ago.

The amendment allows the government to seize white farmland -- without
compensation - for redistribution to landless blacks and bars courts from
hearing appeals from dispossessed white farmers.

The white farmer has also asked the Tribunal to declare Zimbabwe's
land reforms racist and illegal under the SADC Treaty adding that Article 6
of the Treaty bars member states from discriminating against any person on
the grounds of gender, religion, race, ethnic origin and culture.

A ruling declaring land reform illegal would have far reaching
consequences for Mugabe's government, opening the floodgates to hundreds of
claims of damages by dispossessed white farmers.

Such a ruling could also set the Harare government on a collision
course with its SADC allies particularly if - as it has always done with
court rulings against its land reforms - refuses to abide by the Tribunal

Farm seizures are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into severe food
shortages after the government displaced established white commercial
farmers and replaced them with either incompetent or inadequately funded
black farmers. - ZimOnline

Villagers appeal for food aid as hunger bites

Zim Online

by Prince Nyathi Wednesday 27 February 2008

HARARE - Villagers in Seke communal lands on the outskirts of Chitungwiza,
25 kilometers south of Harare, on Tuesday said they were facing mass
starvation unless they received urgent food aid from the government.

Food shortages have been a constant feature in Zimbabwe over the past eight
years with reports from international aid agencies suggesting that most
households have already exhausted their food supplies before harvests next

One of the villagers, Rangarirai Bande, 56, he was battling to feed his
family of eight adding that his situation was desperate.

"We used to grow vegetables and tomatoes for sale in Chitungwiza but the
incessant rains destroyed our crops. I am appealing to well-wishers to
please help us," said Bande.

Village headman, Cloud Mapfumo, confirmed the severe food shortages in Seke
adding that the government should quickly move in to assist affected
villagers or they would starve.

"I fear many people will starve to death this year unless the government
comes to our rescue. We have many children who are ill here because they
cannot afford nutritious food," said Mapfumo.

Zimbabwe, once southern Africa's breadbasket, has battled severe food
shortages over the past eight years after President Robert Mugabe began
seizing white farms for redistribution to landless blacks eight years ago.

Mugabe's chaotic land reforms slashed food production by 60 percent
resulting in a quarter of Zimbabwe's 12 million people requiring food
handouts from international relief agencies.

The food crisis has been worsened by a severe economic crisis that has
manifested itself in the world's highest inflation rate of over 100 000

The Zimbabwe government last year promised "the mother of all agricultural
seasons" but poor planning and a shortage of inputs have ruined any
prospects of a bumper harvest in the southern African country. - ZimOnline

The Zimbabwe we want: a conversation with Roy Bennett - Part 2

Zim Online

by Mutumwa Mawere Wednesday 27 February 2008

JOHANNESBURG - There must be something about Makoni that would make Mugabe
and Tsvangirai agree.

He has been condemned by both parties and what is ironic is that even
Bennett finds the participation of Makoni as treacherous leading to many
observers asking the question about what kind of Zimbabwe people who support
Tsvangirai want to see.

In the afore-mentioned interview, the exchange between Violet and Bennett on
the Makoni factor went as follows:

Violet: In your view who is the diplomatic community trying to impose?

Bennett: They are trying to impose Simba Makoni right now.


While it is accepted that only Zimbabweans are eligible to nominate a
citizen who qualifies for the post of President, it is significant that
Bennett presumably representing his party has come to the same conclusion
that Mugabe came to when Tsvangirai also decided to throw his name in the
ring before that for anyone to even imagine of being a President that person
must necessarily be a puppet of the west.

Yesterday, it was argued that Tsvangirai was a puppet of the West and now
Bennett, a person who purports to be a democrat is now arguing that Simba
Makoni is not a principal rather is a creation of the diplomatic community.

It is significant that Bennett fails to expose the names of the culprits but
it is evident that the USA, EU, Australia, Canada and New Zealand not
forgetting the Nordic countries would be on top of the list.

After eight years of struggle for change in Zimbabwe, one would have
expected a person like Bennett to appreciate the need for more players to
enter the political space so that voters can have more choices rather than
seek to condemn the country into the politics of division and acrimony.

Violet: Can you talk a bit more about that? What is your assessment on the
emergence of Simba Makoni, and what makes you say that the diplomatic
community is supporting him?

Bennett: Well basically all you have to do is to look at the chattering
class, look at the internet that is not available to the average people and
listen to the diplomats and pick up on their communications between each
other that's very, very easy to see. What people don't realize Violet is
that everybody wants a solution to Zimbabwe and they want a quick solution
and they want a solution that they believe will happen and that ZANU PF will
have to be part of that solution. It's not going to happen. The people of
Zimbabwe want change, they want rid and gone of ZANU PF and they will settle
for nothing else.

Again it was the same with the entrance of Arthur Mutambara into the whole
issue of the President of the MDC. How and where in the world does someone
parachute into a Presidential position never having addressed a branch
meeting in the rural areas? And right now as we watch Simba Makoni, we see
Simba Makoni walking with three people from his house into a room and making
press statements.

He tells us he is not alone, we've seen nobody else come up and stand next
to him. There are rumours of that person and this person but at this stage
how can we take him seriously? Have we seen him standing in front of a
gathering of people, have we seen him addressing a branch? He throws a
manifesto and puts out a manifesto without a political party.

Just say by some fluke chance he gets elected into government and you've got
the MDC with so many seats and ZANU PF have so many seats, one obviously
being in the majority of the other, we have got a Westminster system of
government, so how now do you form a government?

He has to go back to that party and ask them to form a government. What does
this manifesto stand for if he is going to either go to one of them to form
a government? Surely it's their manifesto that is going to count.

We have to look a lot deeper into this to understand the dynamics of what is
happening. And will not settle for a stooge to be pushed forward to be given
a soft landing for the very people who have committed atrocities right
across the lengths and breadths of Zimbabwe.


Bennett believes that ZANU-PF is not going to be part of the solution. If
Mugabe had taken the same choice at independence that Bennett is proposing
now that all white settlers should be rid of and nothing short of this was
going to be satisfactory, I do not believe that he would be relevant today
in the affairs of Zimbabwe.

Bennett is of the view that "The people of Zimbabwe want change, they want
rid and gone of ZANU-PF and they will not settle for anything else."

When Bennett talks of the people of Zimbabwe it is not clear who he is
referring to. Does he speak for all the people of Zimbabwe? How did he come
to establish that the people of Zimbabwe have reached this conclusion and
yet accept that elections are important for Zimbabweans to decide on who
should govern them?

When Bennett says that the people of Zimbabwe want ZANU-PF to be eliminated
what precisely does he mean? Does it mean that ZANU-PF as a body corporate
will be de-registered or banned under the Tsvangirai era in as much as ZANU
and other parties were banned during the colonial state?

Does it mean that a victory by MDC will return Zimbabwe to its colonial past
where participation in political activities was criminalised?

If Mugabe could accept that the Rhodesia Front was as Zimbabwean as ZANU at
independence, what are we to make of Bennett's views?

Is it the case that when the MDC is talking of change it means that only
Tsvangirai and his colleagues' views will be the gospel in the new Zimbabwe?

It is important that Tsvangirai clarifies his position on this defining
nation building issue.

Again Bennett like Mugabe believes that it is wrong for Makoni to have
entered the race as an independent when he said: "How and where in the world
does someone parachute into a Presidential position never having addressed a
branch meeting in the rural areas?"

Was it the intention of the founding fathers of Zimbabwe that for any
citizen to be eligible for nomination to the post of President they need to
belong to political clubs?

If this was the case, then surely the constitution should have provided for
this. Bennett finds it wrong for Makoni to have a small circle of friends
and supporters and then uses this to suggest that he should not be taken

I would have thought that a person who purports to be a democrat would find
no offence in Makoni becoming a candidate in an open race. It should be left
to the voters to make their choices but it is evident that there are some
Zimbabweans who believe that the constitution was written for a select few.

On this point, it appears that Mugabe's views are not entirely different
from those of Bennett suggesting that the kind of change that the MDC may be
seeking for may be more dangerous than what is prevailing now.

It is true that Makoni like Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been nominated in a
similar manner and it would be wrong for anyone to suggest that Makoni
should have been disqualified in violation of the constitution necessarily
because he has not addressed a rally.

We should tell Bennett and Mugabe that the constitution is clear and
deliberate on the question of the qualification of the President.

To my knowledge the four candidates whose nominations have been accepted by
the Court are equal before the law and should be treated as such.

It would be contemptuous to then suggest that there should be another litmus
test that MDC and ZANU-PF should impose outside the constitution.

Like Bill Clinton who referred to Obama's foray into Presidential politics
as a fairy tale, Bennett has the audacity to say: "Just say by some fluke
chance he gets elected into government and you've got the MDC with so many
seats and ZANU PF have so many seats, one obviously being in the majority of
the other, we have got a Westminster system of government, so how now do you
form a government?

Bennett is wrong to suggest that Zimbabwe has a Westminster system of
government. The constitution of Zimbabwe has no provision for a monarchy
rather the head of state is elected directly by the people.

It may be the case that the President and the majority of the members of
Parliament come from the same party but the constitution of Zimbabwe
contemplates a situation where a President could be an independent and yet
still have a parliament dominated by people from different parties.

The Zanufication of Zimbabwean politics may have distorted Bennett's
understanding of the constitutional order obtaining in the country.

The President has a different mandate under the Zimbabwean constitution from
that of the legislature and will have to select his cabinet from among the
elected parliamentarians thanks to the Constitutional Amendment No. 18 that
now makes it difficult for a President to select his cabinet from outside

In fact, this amendment may make it difficult for a President to find
suitable cabinet members if parliament is dominated by people who may not
have much to offer to any government.

It does not necessarily mean that being elected as a parliamentarian
necessarily makes one a suitable candidate for the executive branch of the

However, the same system applies in the case of the UK but it is significant
that the President is directly elected rather than coming from the majority

Bennett then makes a number of factual errors on construction issues like
suggesting that if Makoni won the elections he would need to go back to the
party and ask them to form a government.

The constitution of Zimbabwe does not impose such obligations on a
President. All Makoni would need to do is simply to identify
parliamentarians who may wish to be considered for appointment to cabinet.

The cabinet will have to reflect the choice of the President rather than the
choice expressed in an election.

I have no doubt that if Makoni were to emerge as a President, then all the
parliamentarians who like the majority of Zimbabweans have been yearning for
change would be prepared to bury the past and join forces to advance the
interests of Zimbabwe.

What is worrying is that people like Bennett who purport to be change agents
would rather have Mugabe and ZANU-PF remain in power rather than open their
minds to another alternative that may involve ZANU-PF and MDC

While it is acceptable that Bennett like many South Africans have invested
heavily in one individual, Tsvangirai and President Mandela, respectively,
it should not be the case that if Tsvangirai were to lose the election and
Makoni were to win then Zimbabweans reject the outcome when it is common
cause that the real agenda for change is to get someone other than Mugabe in
State House.

I would like to believe that the people who support Makoni's candidature are
as patriotic as the people who have supported Tsvangirai and continue to do

However, it would be wrong for the post-Mugabe era to be reserved for only
the MDC as was the colonial state reserved for settlers with no respect for
the rule of law and property rights.

Zimbabwe needs a new beginning and it is evident that Bennett and his
principals are not ready for the new Zimbabwe electing to remain locked in
the politics of yesterday.

Bennett makes the case that MDC will not settle for a stooge while not
accepting the ZANU-PF position that it equally will not settle for a stooge.
It is evident that the stalemate will continue while the people of Zimbabwe
will continue to be condemned to poverty.

ZANU-PF members are convinced that Tsvangirai is a stooge in as much as
Bennett believes that Makoni is a stooge so the circus will go on.  What a
shame that people like Bennett do not have better judgment.

The views of Bennett confirm the widely held view that the new Zimbabwe
under the MDC may take Zimbabwe back to Rhodesia.

Bennett makes the statement that people who have committed atrocities right
across the lengths and breadths of Zimbabwe should not be given a soft
landing as if to suggest that all the white settlers should be subjected to
the same standard for similar transgressions.

Given the history of Zimbabwe, Bennett of all people should be the last
person to hold such views particularly in view of the fact that like Makoni,
Tsvangirai and many others he was also a member of ZANU-PF.

Mandela has been credited for putting South Africa above his personal
injuries and it is regrettable that people like Bennett would want a new
Zimbabwe that is divisive and less tolerant.

Imagine Mugabe reading about Bennett's interview and what would go through
his mind?

Violet: So what do you think are the implications of Makoni's candidature?

Bennett: Well I think when I give it some deep thought and look into the
whole issue, I can only think of one thing, Violet. I can think that having
no party, standing as an independent President, he is going to have to form
a government. Should, and he is only banking on ZANU PF because he is a ZANU
PF man he's banking that ZANU PF will win the highest number of seats within
parliament. Mugabe will be very, very embarrassed because they have won the
highest number of seats and he will have been defeated as President. So he
will have to stand down or they will have to have a vote of no confidence
and remove him, in which case they will call a congress and then appoint
Simba Makoni as the President and therefore he can take off as President of


Is it the case that Makoni is a ZANU-PF man? If so, what would stop people
calling Bennett a racist only because he was part of the colonial system
that excluded the majority from political and economic participation?

This raises the question about the key constructional issues of the
post-colonial state. If it was founded on principles of forgiveness then
surely that must be evident in the language of the political actors.

Is it ironic in the case of the US that in as much as there may be
disagreement among the various political actors about the reasons for going
into Iraq, there is no suggestion that after a new President is elected his
mission would be to eliminate Republicans from America and also seek to
disqualify any republican from running for office.

Mugabe has been nominated and he is a candidate like Tsvangirai and Makoni
and, therefore, he has no choice but to abide to the will of the people.

Zimbabwe's sovereignty resides in the people and it should be left to the
owners of Zimbabwe to pronounce their opinion on who should govern the

Violet: What I also don't understand and maybe you can give us your thoughts
on this. Many people say that Makoni is just an extension of ZANU PF and
that if the goal is to keep the regime in power, so why not just have Makoni
stand as the ZANU PF candidate instead of him becoming and independent

Bennett: Well for exactly the same reasons as what happened in our split. A
minority decides that they want to be President and it's not being endorsed
by the majority.

So they connive and make plans to defeat the majority in order to achieve
their goals. He was defeated at the presidency of ZANU PF, but now he has
come in, and he said that he has people behind him and he is hoping to pick
up votes across the board because he is an opportunist and right now it's
ripe for the picking in Zimbabwe because as I said to you earlier an
incumbent loses an election and an opposition never wins an election.

An incumbent loses the election by his policies. Every man and his dog today
in Zimbabwe want change.

Why do they want change, they want change because of their life and
difficulties that they face on a day-today basis. There is not a single
person who cannot see the failure of ZANU PF and they have lived under the
violence and distraction for the last 28 years so they want change.

Simba Makoni through his cohorts realized this so they have like
opportunists tried to jump in to take advantage of that change in order to
then go back to ZANU PF when he is the President and install himself as the
President of ZANU PF, and for those that are with him to protect the ill
gotten gains, to protect the human rights abuses and not to face the people
of Zimbabwe. That's the way I see it and that's the way I believe it Violet.

Beaten Zimbabwean Union Members Face Nuisance Charges


By Patience Rusere
26 February 2008

Five officials and members of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe who
were beaten last week by militants of the ruling ZANU-PF party then arrested
by police were booked Tuesday on charges of creating a criminal nuisance,
then released again.

Those five trade unionists, with four others, were alleged to have tossed
flyers at the Harare Province headquarters of the ruling party in central
Harare, provoking their alleged seizure and severe beating by irate members
of the ruling party.

Some of the teachers union members required hospitalization.

PTUZ Secretary General Raymond Majongwe, National Coordinator Oswald
Madziva, and union member Bernard Shoko were among those booked on nuisance
charges following an interrogation.

Majongwe, whose union has been on strike for a month, told reporter Patience
Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it was ironic that he and the
others should face criminal charges when they suffered beatings at the hands
of ZANU-PF militants.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Tackles Logistics For March 29 Ballots


By Sithandekile Mhlanga, Patience Rusere and Ntungamili Nkomo
Washington DC
26 February 2008

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has established a national logistics
committee to provide transportation and other support for next month's
national elections, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on

The committee comprises officials of the Public Service Commission, the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, the Central Mechanical Equipment
Department, the Air Force and other public-sector entities to ensure
critical election-related services.

The commission was start training constituency election officers on Tuesday
while presiding and polling officers would be engaged in March.
Presidential, general and local council elections will be held on the same
day, a departure for Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Deputy Chief Elections Operations Officer
Utoile Silaigwana told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that the commission has almost finished preparations for the
upcoming elections.

But Elections Director Paul Themba Nyathi of the Movement for Democratic
Change formation led by Arthur Mutambara told reporter Patience Rusere that
such logistical planning by the commission came as "too little, too late."

Elsewhere, the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa
took issue with a statement by the electoral commission saying it will only
provide accreditation for coverage of the elections to journalists who can
show they have been licensed by the Media and Information Commission.

The group said the Media and Information Commission's legal mandate ended
last month when President Robert Mugabe signed an amendment to the
much-criticized Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
dissolving that body to make way for the Zimbabwe Media Council, whose
members have yet to be named.

MISA says the electoral commission should accredit all journalists without

The commission has put notices in local papers inviting journalists to
register for the elections - but states that those without licenses from the
MIC are not eligible.

MISA-Zimbabwe Director Rashweat Mukundu told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that
the electoral commission's license requirement will stifle the free flow of
information as many legitimate journalists lack such a license but need to
cover the elections.

MISA-Zimbabwe Alert: MIC imposes illegal ban against journalist

Media Alert
27 February 2008
MIC imposes illegal ban against journalist in violation of AIPPA Amendment

In a shocking development, the state-controlled Media and Information
Commission (MIC) which ceased to exist in January 2008 following the signing
into law of amendments to the repressive Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) has banned senior Zimbabwean journalist
Brian Hungwe from practicing journalism in the country.

Hungwe, a former correspondent with the South African Broadcasting
Corporation (SABC), on 27 February 2008 confirmed to MISA-Zimbabwe that the
MIC had imposed a one-year ban against him backdated to 20 August 2007
following his appeal against its earlier decision banning him from working
as a freelance journalist in Zimbabwe. The MIC's illegal ban will be in
force until 19 August 2008.

The MIC ceased to exist on 11 January 2008 when President Robert Mugabe
signed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act No.
20 of 2007.

MISA-Zimbabwe therefore insists that anything purportedly done by the MIC
after 11 January 2008 is of no legal force and should be declared null and

MISA-Zimbabwe condemns in the strongest terms the MIC's decision as it is
not only illegal but vindictively designed to curtail media freedom and
freedom of expression ahead of the 29 March 2008 elections. The continued
existence of the Tafataona Mahoso led Media and Information Commission is
not only illegal but an affront to media and freedom of expression rights.

Several other journalists are likely to be similarly victimised ahead of the
elections thereby limiting access to diverse views, opinions and ideas
throwing into serious doubt the freeness and fairness of the March polls.

"I was born in Zimbabwe and this is where I will die. Journalism is my
source of livelihood and I cannot understand why this country would want to
ban journalists from reporting in their own countries." said Hungwe.

"I have been patient with the MIC for more than a year now because I did not
want to seen as being confrontational, but this latest development leaves me
with no option but to seek recourse through the courts."


Hungwe's agony dates back to 2006 when he was approached by the BBC who were
interested in engaging him as their correspondent in Harare. The BBC and CNN
are among some of the foreign news organisations banned from reporting in
Zimbabwe. The MIC, however, dragged its feet when it came to accredit him in
that vein culminating in its decision on 20 August 2007 suspending him from
the roll of journalists for a one year period for allegedly contravening
Sections 90 and 79 (5) of AIPPA as read with Section 6 of Statutory
Instrument 169 C of 2002.

He appealed the decision but the MIC in a letter dated 26 February 2008 and
seven months later, informed him that it was not in position to entertain
his appeal "as there is no basis in law for such an appeal now".

The MIC is a creation of the repressive Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which was promulgated in 2002. However the recent
amendments to AIPPA did away with the MIC. In its place will be the Zimbabwe
Media Commission (ZMC) which will be composed of nine members who shall all
be appointed by the President from a list of not fewer than 12 nominees
submitted by the Parliamentary Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. The
ZMC which is empowered with the accreditation of journalists is still to be

Nyasha Nyakunu
Research and Information Officer

Zim youth group threatens to shut down Embassy in South Africa

By Tererai Karimakwenda
27 February, 2008

The Zimbabwean Ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo, has promised to
accept a petition from the Zimbabwe Revolutionary Youth Movement (ZRYM) in
South Africa on Thursday, during a demonstration the group plans to conduct
at the embassy in Pretoria. The youth group wants the Ambassador to forward
the petition to government officials in Zimbabwe. They are demanding that
Zimbabweans in the diaspora be allowed to vote and an end to political
violence. If the authorities do not comply in 7 days, the group has
threatened to ferry their members to the embassy grounds and shut it down.

Khaya Moyo had refused to accept the petition during previous demonstrations
at his offices. But when the youth group threatened to occupy the embassy
grounds and shut it down, the Ambassador agreed to meet with them at the
Police station in Pretoria on Tuesday.

ZRYM President Simon Mudekwa said Khaya Moyo did not attend the meeting
himself. A representative from the embassy met with the ZRYM Secretary
General John Vincent Chikwari and Gauteng police representatives. Chikwari
reported that there was a heated debate. He said in the end the police
officials told the embassy staff that if the Ambassador refused to accept
the petition on Thursday, then the police could not provide any security
when the youth came to occupy the embassy grounds.

Mudekwa said it was agreed by all at the meeting in Pretoria that the
Ambassador would accept the ZRYM petition at the demonstration on Thursday.
The group expects him to forward the petition to government officials in
Zimbabwe. They want their demands to be met by March 8th.

If the Zimbabwe government fails to comply within 7 days, Mudekwa said they
will go ahead with their planned action, which he refused to disclose to the
press. He simply said: "We will carry out our action and shut down the
embassy because it has no use and no Zimbabweans are helped there."

Meanwhile, the demonstration organised by the Zimbabwe Youth Network (ZYN)
and the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) at the Zimbabwe Consulate
went ahead peacefully in Johannesburg on Wednesday. ZYN youth member
Nkathazo said about 500 people took part in the event. A security guard came
out and accepted a petition which also calls for Zimbabweans in the diaspora
to be allowed to vote.

It seems the campaign for a diaspora vote is bringing together many
different Zimbabwean groups in the diaspora. Nkathazo said the key speaker
at the Consulate was Simon Mudekwa.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Mutambara faction to roll-out campaign for Makoni

27th Feb 2008 12:22 GMT

By Ian Nhuka in Bulawayo

THE Arthur Mutambara faction of the divided Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) has started a full-scale campaign for independent presidential
aspirant, Simba Makoni.

Makoni is one of the four candidates for the presidency in landmark polls
set for March 29.  Arthur Mutambara, the president of the faction did not
file his nomination papers as a presidential candidate, stepping aside in
support of Makoni, a former Zanu -PF politburo member and minister. Instead
the rocket scientist filed his papers to contest for a parliamentary seat in

Yesterday, Paul Themba-Nyathi, the faction's director of elections said its
campaign for its candidate and Makoni is at full throttle. He said while
Morgan Tsvangirai who heads the mainstream faction of the MDC has chided
Makoni as "old wine in a new bottle" his formation viewed Makoni as a
promising candidate.

"There is nothing wrong for us to campaign for Dr Makoni," said
Themba-Nyathi. "I have heard some people saying he is still Zanu -PF and
therefore the opposition must not work with him, but who has never been
Zanu -PF? Even Tsvangirai who refused to work with Dr Makoni was in Zanu-PF
when we formed MDC in 1999. --- So what we are saying is that our supporters
must go out in their numbers on March 29 and vote for our legislative and
council candidates, as well as Dr Makoni."

Apart from Tsvangirai's MDC, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
which has maintained strong links with the former trade unionist has said it
does not back Makoni though they welcomed him into opposition ranks.

ZCTU secretary general has even called on Kudzai Mbudzi, a senior member in
Makoni's campaign team to retract a statement he made in Masvingo recently
claiming there is a link between the labour union to Makoni.

Makoni, Tsvangirai and Langton Towungana are challenging President Mugabe in
the election. Makoni, said to be backed by some Zanu-PF heavies represents
one big presidential challenge for Mugabe un recent years and, in some
circles, he is seen as a favourite in the race for State House.

The Mutambara faction has so far avoided mass campaign rallies here,
preferring instead to conduct door-to-door campaigns and small meetings,
attended by an average 200 people in community halls in Bulawayo.

However, Mutambara will address the camp's "star" rally at White City
Stadium in Pelandaba suburb on Sunday. Themba-Nyathi claimed candidates for
his camp are geared up for the elections.

Voting for change in Zimbabwe

New Zimbabwe

By Mutumwa D. Mawere

Last updated: 02/27/2008 20:22:23
ZIMBABWE is at the crossroads and after all is said and done, the country's
hopes are now pinned on only four individuals who have qualified as
candidates for the post of President.

Unlike the United States where the President's term is limited to two four
year terms, the current Zimbabwean constitution provides for a life
President as long as the person submits himself/herself to elections. Like
the US constitution, the Zimbabwean constitution provides for the direct
election of a President.

The last 28 years have convincingly demonstrated why Zimbabweans urgently
need a new constitution to deal with the manner in which an individual can
manipulate a whole country and remain in power while purporting to be a
super democrat.
What is certain in the US during this November election is that President
George Bush's name will not be on the ballot. It is evident that change is
high on the agenda of all the aspiring candidates in the US.

Although there may be no consensus as to the scope and nature of proposed
change in America, there is consensus that President Bush's style, policies
and programmes must change and the new President has to reconnect the
majority of Americans to their government.

It is generally agreed that President Bush has failed to make people believe
in their government and were it not for the constitution, I am confident
that Americans would still have exercised their minds on what kind of
government they want by removing the current administration.

I have chosen to locate the Zimbabwean democratic challenges in the American
style of democracy fully cognisant of the fact that there exists no
consensus if it is the best form of government to use as a model for any
developing nation.

However, it is important to acknowledge the manner in which political
parties have endured in America and how the system has managed to open doors
to people like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to even dream of becoming
President without the incumbent calling them names.

We all know that Obama, Clinton, John McCain, and Mike Huckabee are not
Presidents of their respective parties at the moment and yet the system
allows them to seek the mandate of their parties in an open and transparent
process. If Obama were a Zimbabwean, President Mugabe would have already
found a label for him solely meant to demonstrate that the Zimbabwean
promise has no relevance to him.

I also chose Obama and Clinton for this article because they come from the
same party and are both offering change to the American people. Although
they may have different visions, strategies and tactics, what is remarkable
is that they can both say proudly that they are Democrats. In the case of
Zanu PF, the Simba Makoni issue has demonstrated that if you are Zanu PF,
then you must accept that President Mugabe is the saviour and it is suicidal
to even dream of offering your name to the party and nation as a candidate.

Both Clinton and Obama share one ideology and they do not have to be afraid
of competing with anyone in the party as is the case in Zanu PF where the
so-called faction leaders i.e. Emerson Mnangagwa and Joice Mujuru vanished
into submission leaving Makoni to assume the mantle of change. Even the
Republicans are for change in as much as Zanu PF members are overtly and
covertly agitating for change.

The last 28 years have shown that it is difficult if not impossible to
unseat President Mugabe from his party. I have no doubt that the same
phenomenon must have occupied the minds of the founding fathers of the two
dominant US political institutions when they decided to put in place a
mechanism in which any member of the party could rise from the ranks and
become a nominee for the party without any power-hungry incumbent like
President Mugabe intimidating him/her.

The inability of African institutions to allow citizens to realise their
dreams to become the first citizens of their countries has contributed in
keeping many citizens cynical of political processes. The propensity to use
tired arguments to score political points is high in Zimbabwe and already it
is clear that President Mugabe has had to refine his election message to
target and discredit not only Tsvangirai but Makoni as well.

In the case of Zimbabwe, it has become customary that politicians are
reluctant to run on their record; rather they thrive on throwing mud at
their opponents. What Obama in particular has managed to do is to energise
people who ordinarily would surrender their democratic right to choose their
government to believe that they have the power to do the improbable.

Of Zimbabwe's four Presidential candidates, only two were not on the
political radar screen of Zimbabweans. Makoni and Langton Towungana were not
expected to be candidates in this election. It was generally expected that
President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai would square up for the second round.

President Mugabe has been smart in defining his opponents rather than
running the country. It appears that politics in contemporary Zimbabwe has
been reduced to a game with President Mugabe as the grandmaster while the
country is burning.

Makoni and Tsvangirai are both committed to change. The last 8 years have
failed to bring change. Makoni's candidacy has exposed the futility of
seeking to change Zanu PF from within. Makoni has raised alarm bells to many
in Zimbabwe who genuinely believe that anyone associated with Zanu PF is
incapable of change. When he says he still considers himself a member of
Zanu PF and accepts that he had to be fired not because of any major policy
difference but solely because he was not allowed to run on the party ticket,
it confuses many people who were excited about his candidacy.

What people are looking for is straight talk. What kind of change is being
promised? There has been talk of a National Authority, forgetting that
people are looking for a leader to offer direction. It is generally accepted
that President Mugabe governed the party supported by the party structures
including the politburo and the country, with the support of his chosen

While it is accepted that collective responsibility is the modus operandi of
any organisation, it is important for any change agent to specifically
highlight the missing dots and what he/she did to demonstrate a departure
point. It is not sufficient to say I am Zanu PF while accepting that the
party was rightly or wrongly at the centre of undermining citizens' human
and property rights.

When the government targeted me, I did not wait for the right opportunity to
fight back but chose to pursue legal remedies fully knowing the
implications. When the parliament of Zimbabwe ratified the draconian
Presidential decrees that were used to nationalise my assets, I accepted
that both MDC and Zanu PF parliamentarians were at one in creating a new
constitutional order that allows the state to expropriate private property
without compensation.

My experience has shown me that across the seemingly political divide
between MDC and Zanu PF, there is a lack of a common value systems where
justice is not blurred by political perceptions. I am now acutely aware that
the infringement of my rights is not as important as removing Mugabe from
office but in my own ordeal, it is one more reason why Zimbabweans must fix
the problem by ensuring that one of the four and we all know who, does not
make it. Can you imagine five more years under the great leader?

Over the last four years, I have interacted with Patrick Chinamasa, Arafas
Gwaradzimba, Edwin Manikai, Peter Moyo, and Mirirai Chiremba as agents of
the government of Zimbabwe. Chinamasa, Manikai and Moyo purport to be
lawyers and yet the evidence that has been adduced in the various
litigations I have instituted in South Africa, Zambia, UK and Zimbabwe
confirms that Chinamasa is behaving like a gangster, albeit camouflaged in
state clothes.

I do not expect Makoni to know the manner in which a party he believes in
has been reduced to an animal farm. I have not personally spoken to Makoni
over the past five years and I am not sure what he knows or doesn't know but
I should like to believe that if he knew, he would come to the inescapable
conclusion that President Mugabe and a well known list of his abusers of
rights must be made accountable. I am for targeted actions rather than blame
the party for actions perpetrated by known individuals.

When I support change it is because I have personal experience of how bad
governments operate and how private individuals benefit from a corrupt and
decaying system. I am also fully aware that there are many well meaning
people who privately support change but are afraid of losing what they have.
I am one of the early examples of how a misguided party and government can
behave and my experiences serve to discourage many black entrepreneurs from
challenging the status quo.

I hope that Makoni will be able to sharpen his message to clearly articulate
precisely why he believes that believable change should only be at President
Mugabe's level. Over the last four years, I have had the opportunity of
interacting with many people involved in the change agenda. What has been
striking is that the position that they have taken is that my fight against
the government of Zimbabwe is solely motivated by a desire to get my assets
back. Using this simplistic approach, a conclusion has then been reached
that I have no vested interest in justice and change.

Instead of the opposition exploiting our unique experiences of being
subjected to injustice by a black and not a white regime, the opposition may
not have a compelling case against Mugabe and Zanu PF for change. Surely,
the story of black victims of Mugabe (BVOM) is important in better
articulating why five more years of oppression is not in the interests of
the country. Many consider Mugabe a hero for the manner in which the land
reform has been executed. There are few black examples that may serve to
demonstrate that beneath the veneer of racism is an underlying antipathy
against private property rights and rule of law.

What is ironic is that the propaganda that started with Jonathan Moyo
against prominent blacks has resonated with the opposition. What I am not
sure of is whether the same propaganda has blurred Makoni's own vision about
what aspects of change need to be in place if confidence in government has
to be restored among Zimbabweans.

Obama and Clinton's grasp of issues and how such issues are important to the
American people highlights the importance of African politicians not to take
for granted their voters. It is important for both Makoni and Tsvangirai to
present a common approach to change and within it offer their different
visions about how Zimbabwe would be better off under either of them.

The world and even President Mugabe is already aware that no change is
possible from the status quo. President Mugabe's message is no different
from what people have been subjected to while the economy has been sinking
at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world.

Mutumwa Mawere's weekly column is published on New every
Monday. You can contact him at:

Mugabe deceptive as ever

27th Feb 2008 14:35 GMT

By Grace Chiradza

MANY critics of president Mugabe are not surprised by his sudden turn to bin
and ignore the negotiations with the main opposition the MDC in a bid to
bring a new political dispensation.

President Mugabe was only trying to buy time and wood-wink the opposition
and the negotiation brokers. He is not moved by the fact that he has wasted
the time of the opposition and President Thabo Mbeki.

President Mugabe has now declared the end of March, as the date for the much
anticipated Zimbabwean general elections.

He has set the election date without the blessing of opposition Movement For
Democratic Change MDC. He must have exclusively done so to make sure that
,the new rules to run the election  would not be implemented hence he will
be able to steal the

He has chosen to ignore the free falling economy and spiral inflation to
make sure that he is confirmed the winner of the elections.

President Mugabe  is no longer concerned about the well being of the
Zimbabwean people ,but his political survival.One would wounder whether the
veteran, Southern Africa dictator is still fit  to run the
country as most of his decision have been made  to perpetuated his  personal
supremacy at the expense of a collapsing nation

Civic groups and political parties in Zimbabwe should come together and
question Zanu PF over this unending political turmoil.

Water meter readers arrested in Zimbabwe

Earth Times

            Posted : Wed, 27 Feb 2008 08:10:02 GMT
            Author : DPA

Harare/Johannesburg - Police in Zimbabwe's eastern city of Mutare have
arrested two water meter readers for allegedly inflating meter readings to
discredit the government ahead of next month's polls, reports said
Wednesday. The state-run ZINWA water authority was forced to issue a public
apology on national radio last week after residents of Harare, Mutare and
smaller towns received huge water bills for January.

ZINWA blamed meter readers, saying they were trying to discredit the
authority of President Robert Mugabe's government ahead of national
elections on March 29.

The authority promised "disciplinary action" would be taken against
meter readers and encouraged members of the public to report them.

Monthly water bills shot up from around 40 or 50 million Zimbabwe
dollars (at the official rate) to more than 300 million dollars, residents
reported. One woman reported a bill of 1.5 billion dollars, equivalent to
five months of an average teacher's salary.

The bills were an act of "sabotage," the state-run Herald reported on

But the case has been mired in controversy after some bills showed
that meter readings had actually gone down. There were suspicions that water
charges per kilolitre of usage had been hiked.

Contacted by telephone Wednesday, a ZINWA official said that water
charges for 40 kilolitres and above currently stood at 7.4 million Zimbabwe
dollars per kilolitre. Yet water bills for December show that the price per
kilolitre was much less than that at around 500,000 Zimbabwe dollars.

Weary Zimbabweans are used to rapidly-rising prices: successive visits
to a grocery store morning and evening Tuesday revealed prices had
quadrupled during the day.

Inflation reached a record 100,580.2 per cent in January and there are
shortages of fuel, some foods and essential drugs. Mugabe, 84, blames
sanctions for Zimbabwe's economic mess. But analysts warn the crisis could
prove the longtime president's nemesis in the polls.

For the first time ever, Mugabe faces two strong challengers: the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
former finance minister Simba Makoni.

The Herald said there were no reports of arrests of meter readers in
the capital Harare "so far." It said the two meter readers in Mutare were
arrested last week and had been suspended pending dismissal. The water
authority has vowed "stiffer action" against anyone found inflating water
meter readings.

"The inaccuracies by some of our meter readers are believed to be a
serious act of sabotage aimed at tarnishing the image of the authority and
indeed that of government," ZINWA said in a statement.

Streak joins Indian 'rebel' league

Zim Online

      by Nigel Hangarume Wednesday 27 February 2008

HARARE - Heath Streak has become the first Zimbabwean to sign up to play in
the "rebel" Indian Cricket League (ICL).

The 33-year-old all-rounder, who last played for Zimbabwe in 2005, indicated
he was still keen to return to national duty although it's not clear how his
move to the ICL will affect his career.

Most Test nations have threatened to ban players who participate in the ICL,
a private Twenty20 league seen as a "rebel" competition because it is run
parallel to the official Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)'s

The BCCI responded to the ICL by forming its own Twent20 competition known
as the Indian Premier League which has attracted most of world game's stars
and is recognized by the International Cricket Council.

Streak, who led a white player rebellion against Zimbabwe Cricket in 2004,
said he was not worried if his move would affect his international career.

"I still have not ruled out playing for Zimbabwe in future but if playing in
the ICL means I have ended my international career, I am not really
worried," he told Cricinfo. "It's an opportunity for me to earn some money
doing something I enjoy doing."

Zimbabwe Cricket has not shown interest in having Streak back in the
national fold since he did not renew his contract with English county
Warwickshire last year.

Streak joins the likes of West Indian Brian Lara, New Zealander Chris
Cairns, Marvan Attapattu of Sri Lanka as well as South Africans Nicky Boje
and Andrew Hall who signed up with the ICL last year. - ZimOnline