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Zimbabwe to Amend Constitution for Unity Government


      By VOA News
      01 February 2009

Zimbabwean lawmakers are expected to pass constitutional amendments that
clear the way for a unity government between President Robert Mugabe and the

State media Sunday quote Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa as saying a bill
containing the amendments will be introduced in parliament Wednesday. He
said lawmakers are working on a timetable that calls for the bill to be
passed by Thursday, so that the new government can be put in place within
two weeks.

The bill creates the post of prime minister for opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change agreed to join the
new government last week, after months of negotiations.

Observers hope the new government can end the state of crisis in Zimbabwe.
The country is suffering from food shortages, 94 percent unemployment, and a
cholera epidemic that has killed more than 3,000 people.

Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Mugabe reached a power-sharing agreement last
September, but progress was delayed because of a dispute over cabinet

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Zimbabwe to pass unity govt law on Wednesday

Sun Feb 1, 2009 11:39am GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will this week push constitutional changes
through parliament to pave the way for a power-sharing government between
President Robert Mugabe and the opposition, state media reported Sunday.

Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed a pact to form a unity
government last September to try to end a post-election crisis, but a
dispute over control of ministries delayed implementation of the deal.

On Friday, Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) agreed to join
the government.

The state-controlled Sunday Mail quoted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
as saying a constitutional bill creating the post of prime minister for
Tsvangirai would be introduced in parliament on Wednesday.

"The bill, which seeks to give legal effect to the setting up of the
proposed government, will be tabled before the house of assembly on
Wednesday," the Sunday Mail said.

He said once passed, it would, on the following day, be transferred to the
senate where it is expected to be approved.

Chinamasa said government was working to a timetable set down by regional
Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders at a summit on
Zimbabwe last week, which called for the formation of the unity government
by February 13.

The new government has raised hopes of rebuilding Zimbabwe's shattered
economy, where food and fuel is in short supply, unemployment is estimated
at more than 90 percent and inflation was last calculated -- in mid-2008 -- 
at 231 million.

Africa's deadliest cholera outbreak in 15 years has killed over 3,100 people
and infected another 60,000.

South Africa and the African Union (AU), ahead of a summit of the
continent's leaders in Ethiopia, called for the United States and Europe to
immediately lift sanctions on Zimbabwe.

"He (AU Chairman Jean Ping) calls on the AU member states that are in a
position to do so and the international community as a whole, to provide the
much-needed assistance to Zimbabwe to alleviate the suffering of its people
and help the socio-economic recovery of the country," the AU said in a

"In this respect, the Chairperson of the Commission underlines the need for
the swift lifting of the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe."

Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the first round of a presidential poll last
March, but not by enough votes to avoid a run-off election, won by Mugabe
after Tsvangirai pulled out citing violence against his supporters.

Under the deal, Mugabe will remain president, Tsvangirai becomes prime
minister, while Arthur Mutambara, head of a splinter MDC faction, will be
one of two deputy prime ministers.

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Tsvangirai Spokesman: No Pressure On MDC To Join Unity Government


      By Akwei Thompson
      Wsahington, DC
      01 February 2009

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced on Friday his
party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has agreed to join a unity
government with President Robert Mugabe, despite lingering concerns as to
how cabinets seats will shared.

A power-sharing deal agreed to more than four months ago has never been
implemented. Friday's announcement will pave the way for Tsvangirai to
become prime minister on February 11th, should the time table laid down by
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) goes as planned.

Asked whether the MDC had succumbed to outside pressure to commit to the
unity government, Joseph Mungwari, spokesperson for Morgan Tsvangirai,
reminded VOA's Akwei Thompson, the MDC's decision to agree to enter the
unity government was made before these last round of talks, on condition
that certain outstanding issues were addressed.

"On the 15th of September, 2008, he signed the global political agreement
which was in actual fact was the decision to join the inclusive government,"
Mungwari said.

Tsvangirai's spokeman explained that the events of the past four months
happen to be a "continuation of the global political agreement into becoming
a government. "There were other issues that we thought needed to be
addressed." Outstanding issues that were acknowledged by the former
President of South Africa and chief mediator of the talks.

Mungwari said the MDC had seen some progress being made in addressing some
of those concerns. And more importantly, he said it was time both parties
took responsibility and leadership in tackling Zimbabwe's problems and
restoring the hopes and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe.

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How team of rivals could still save Zimbabwe

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed last Friday to form a
power-sharing government with longtime President Robert Mugabe.
By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
and a correspondent
from the February 2, 2009 edition

OHANNESBURG, South africa; AND HARARE, zimbabwe - If old habits are hard to
break, how will Zimbabwe's two warring parties - one led by opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the other by longtime President Robert Mugabe -
work together in a coalition government, as Mr. Tsvangirai agreed to do last

The good news is that after nearly a year of political stalemate and
economic collapse, these enemies may have no choice. Mr. Mugabe's long rule
has left the country bankrupt, hungry, disease-ridden, and in desperate need
of foreign aid. Tsvangirai may not have troops, but he has things Mugabe
desperately needs: access to foreign donors and expertise that can make
Zimbabwe function again.

It may not be a match made in heaven, but Tsvangirai - the presumed junior
partner in a coalition government - can still make a difference in setting
priorities - ending the cholera epidemic, fixing basic systems of water and
sanitation, and rebuilding the economy - that would give him political
leverage in the long term.

"They will work together because of circumstance and not because they want
to," says Simon Badza, a University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer.
"There is too much pressure on the two parties, locally from the starving
masses and fromthe region who want a resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis."

Where does a new government begin to rebuild a country as neglected and
self-destroyed as Zimbabwe? Tsvangirai's best chance at political survival
may be in making a few decisions that immediately affect the lives of
Zimbabweans. Once regional leaders, especially South African President
Kgalema Motlanthe, realize Tsvangirai can deliver on his promises, they
might begin to take him at least as seriously as they do Zimbabwe's
combative and elderly head of state, Mugabe.

"The leverage that Tsvangirai has is his access to international resources,"
says Adam Habib, deputy vice chancellor of the University of Johannesburg.
While few foreign donors would give aid to a regime as repressive as
Mugabe's, many are lining up to give funds to a government led by
Tsvangirai, with a parliament controlled by his party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

"If he uses that access to capital in a way that begins to address the
national crises, you start to shift the ground underneath Mugabe. Regional
leaders look at Tsvangirai again and say, 'This guy is working.' And you
begin to isolate Mugabe from his base," Mr. Habib continues.

One priority that could be dealt with quickly is the spreading epidemic of
cholera. Years of neglect, and a cash crunch that made water purification
chemicals too expensive, have made Zimbabwe's public water supply too
dangerous to drink. Tsvangirai could hire engineers from South Africa,
Europe, and beyond to sort out the problem in very little time.

Showing competence will reassure foreign donors that Zimbabwe is safe for
aid and investment again. Tsvangirai's demonstrating access to foreign
sources of money could attract members of Zimbabwe's political elite, who
long regarded Mugabe's ZANU-PF as the only show in town.

Increased foreign aid may help to bring many of the public services such as
schools and hospitals back into operation. All this aid money will be
conditional, of course, on promises Mugabe's regime will allow free
political expression, or at least avoid the brazen repression of political
dissent. If Mugabe needs capital more than a bashing of heads, then
Zimbabwe's political climate is likely to open up.

The country's schools and health centers have been shut for the greater part
of last year as teachers and health personnel respectively went on strike
demanding better pay and working conditions. Towns and cities have no
running water. Nearly a year's worth of refuse clutters potholed roads,
neglected by unpaid civil servants.

Ozias Tungwarara, a Johannesburg-based expert for the Open Society
Institute, says the key factor for Zimbabwe's recovery is free expression.
"Tsvangirai has to ensure that there is popular participation in political
and economic decisionmaking," he says. "The system where government is
unaccountable to anyone is what got us to where we are."

Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku calls MDC's decision to join a
coalition government with Mugabe "catastrophic." Repressive and corrupt
habits by Mugabe's government will not die right away, and MDC may soon find
its credibility tarnished, he says. "A few months down the line, MDC will
see that they have been taken for a ride."

He says by joining the power-sharing government, Tsvangirai has legitimized
Mugabe, who's accused of gross human rights violations and ruining the
country's economy during his 28-year tenure.

The two leaders' warring personalities will bring the country back to
stalemate, Mr. Madhuku adds. The power-sharing government will be one "with
two different people who can't work together to produce a position outcome."

Yet, Mugabe may need Tsvangirai to shore up his sagging legitimacy. The
Mugabe who obliterated a rival liberation movement, ZAPU, before swallowing
it into ZANU-PF in a 1987 Unity accord, is a much weaker man today.

Regarded as a pariah by much of Europe, and kept at arm's length by a
growing number of African leaders, Mugabe now wants international
recognition and access to funds from institutions such as the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank, says one Harare-based commentator.

"He will quickly see to normalize relations with the West so that they will
be morally compelled to support the inclusive government," the commentator
says, speaking on condition of anonymity. "This is a critical moment for
Mugabe to save his disintegrating party. ZANU-PF needs this unity more than
the MDC."

 A correspondent who could not be named for security reasons contributed to
this story from Harare, Zimbabwe.

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Mugabe attends AU summit buoyed by Zimbabwe unity gov't pact

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is in Ethiopia for
the African Union summit, buoyed by last week's pact with the opposition
setting the stage for the formation of a unity government.

The veteran Zimbabwean leader left Harare on Saturday and would join other
African heads of state and government for the AU summit which opens in Addis
Ababa on Sunday.

This would be the first time in recent years that Mugabe attends the AU
summit with his country's political crisis not topping the agenda.

This follows last Friday's decision by the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) to join a unity government to be headed by Mugabe.

The MDC had previously refused to enter into a coalition government with
Mugabe as head of state, insisting on greater control of key ministries.

It finally agreed apparently following pressure from an emergency summit of
the Southern African Development Community held last Monday in South Africa.

  JN/daj/APA 2009-02-01

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African nations call on West to lift sanctions against Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe's colleagues across Africa have demanded that sanctions
against the 84-year-old and his cronies be lifted, even before Zimbabwe's
power-sharing deal is shown to work.

Sebastien Berger Southern Africa Correspondent
Last Updated: 6:59PM GMT 01 Feb 2009

The propagandists of Zanu-PF have been staggeringly successful over the
sanctions issue, persuading millions of Africans, and many of the
continent's heads of state, that Western measures targeted at the regime are
in fact against the country as a whole, and contribute to the destruction of
its economy.

It is a misrepresentation that for years has served Mr Mugabe well in the
corridors of power from Cairo to Pretoria, and remains in place despite last
week's agreement by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to go into
a unity government.

South Africa's ANC government has long been accused of being too soft on Mr
Mugabe, and Frank Chikane, director-general in the president's office in
Pretoria, said that the MDC's decision now "requires them to call for the
end of sanctions".

"We expect Europe and the US and other countries to stop the sanctions," he

As leaders of the African Union gathered in Addis Ababa for a summit, the
53-nation body's executive council adopted a resolution calling for "the
lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe to help ease the humanitarian
situation in the country".

Jean Ping, the head of the organisation, said: "Imagine that you don't help
Zimbabwe, who will be blamed? Everybody is expecting that today, because
Tsvangirai is going to lead the economy and everything, that the economy
should recover. So if you don't do that who will be blamed by the

But in reality the European Union's measures amount only to asset freezes
and travel bans on named individuals and companies, a list of which was
expanded last week. They are designed not to have any impact on ordinary

In Harare a source close to the MDC signalled that it would not be calling
for the sanctions to be lifted.

"Sanctions are a part of American, British and European foreign policy and
it is not our position to dictate to them what they do," he said.

London and Washington, which both said in December that they had lost faith
in the power-sharing process, have given the news of the coalition only a
lukewarm reception, giving warning that it must prove it is working before
reconstruction aid begins to flow.

As a result concerns have been raised that even once in government the MDC
will not have the means to effect change in people's lives, but the source
suggested that money would come in directly to ministries and local
authorities, rather than through the central government where it could
disappear into Zanu-PF's network of patronage and corruption.

"There's a political will within the donor community to put the people
first," he said. "I think they are going to explore the other avenues that
are available."

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Zimbabwe to cut 10 zeros off currency

Sun, 01 Feb 2009 19:00:42 GMT
The newly unveiled Zimabawe's hundred trillion dollar note
Zimbabwe's central bank is to slash 10 zeros from its banknotes due to trouble it has caused to computer systems and among businessmen.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, will present the first quarter of the year monetary policy statement on Monday amid calls by businesses for the slashing of zeros they say are collapsing their computers, Press TV correspondent Pindai Dube reported.

"The zeros are too many for our machines to handle," the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), Obert Sibanda, told Press TV.

Sibanda added, "It's hard to count zeros and slashing the zeros is the only way to make it easy for business to transact in local currency in our hyper-inflationary environment."

A man holds a 100 billion dollar note, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Currently the country's highest currency denomination is a 100 trillion dollar Zimbabwean note which buys two loaves of bread.

In mid 2008, Zimbabwe slashed 10 zeros off the country's valueless currency and introduced coins. Ten billion Zimbabwean dollars which was the highest currency denomination by then became one dollar.

Inflation is currently at 231 million percent but independent finance institutions put it over a quintillion.

Zimbabwe's government last week dumped the local currency in its 2009 national budget presentation and opened up to multiple foreign currencies, in a clear sign of lack of confidence in the local unit.

Acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa in the national budget presentation on Thursday hinted that the central bank will revalue the currency.

"As the Zimbabwean dollar trades concurrently with other currencies; it will be critical that it be revalued and thereafter maintain stability," he said.


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Gideon Gono engulfed in another embarrassing scandal

From (France), 30 January

By Alice Chimora

Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe boss has again been fingered in an
embarrassing financial scandal as it has emerged that he gave the Foreign
Exchange Licenced Warehouses and Shops (FOLIWARS) for free to Zanu PF
members, friends and relatives. The licenses are pegged at US$20 000 but to
date no one of those who are trading has paid such an amount. Said a source
at the RBZ headquaters, "Nobody has paid for the RBZ licences because most
of those trading in forex are related and friends to Gono. We are angry
about the development because we are being denied an opportunity to trade in
hard currency when the economy has been dollarised," According to the source
Gono was empowering his Zanu PF cronies as part of a looting strategy.
Businesspeople linked to opposition politics are said to have been sidelined
in getting licences to sell wares in United States dollars and Rands. "If
you a Zanu PF member, you are quick to be granted a licence without going
through hustles. That's an instruction we received from the Governor

"There is a lot of partisan, nepotism and favouritism in the allocation of
forex licences," said a top RBZ official who refused to be named for fear of
victimisation. The corruption at the RBZ has riled the business community,
which has since petitioned Gono to scrap the licences and allow people to
trade in foreign currency freely. The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
has handed over a petition to Gono asking him to suspend the FOLIWARS and
free the market to control itself. In the document, the ZNCC said businesses
are deeply concerned about the favouritism surrounding granting of licences.
The ZNCC complained that the US$20 000 required by the RBZ was beyond the
reach of many. "We don't have the money and we ask to pay later after we get
licences because we are aware a lot of businesses are trading with licences
they didn't pay for," read the petition. The ZNCC vice-president Alfred Dube
confirmed the petition to the central bank chief.

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Biti faces danger of arrest

February 1, 2009

LONDON (Times Online) Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, will have the
power to dismiss his arch-opponent from a government of national unity even
though the two men have agreed to join forces in an effort to rescue the
country's ruined economy.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), who will become prime minister, could be sacked for
incompetence under the terms of a deal that leaves the 84-year-old president
firmly in control.

One fear is that Mugabe will use the government to smash the opposition,
which has been severely weakened by intimidation and internal rivalry.

Tsvangirai will also have to manage without his adviser, Tendai Biti, who
opposes the unity government and will not join it. Biti, 42, is in danger of
being jailed on Wednesday, when politically motivated treason charges
against him are likely to be revived.

There were mixed reactions to the deal in Zimbabwe. Some feared Mugabe would
use Tsvangirai, 56, to extend his power. Others felt that the opposition
leader would neutralise the president. One opposition sympathiser said she
was "hop-ing for the best but preparing for the worst".

Many nonetheless applauded the opposition's decision, hoping that a unity
government would unlock overseas aid, which is needed to rebuild the
shattered country.

Western diplomats in Harare pointed out that development aid hinges on
economic and political reform and Mugabe's long history of reneging on
commitments holds out little promise of change.

The United States and Britain, Zimbabwe's biggest aid donors, are unhappy
that the deal leaves Mugabe in charge of security and the military and that
he reappointed Gideon Gono as head of the central bank, where Gono has
presided over hyperinflation and monetary collapse.

Britain provides £40m of emergency aid each year to Zimbabwe. That could be
increased to £200m overnight if it is decided that Tsvangirai's premiership
will bring progressive government.

One difficulty is that Britain and the US stated publicly in December that
any government in which Mugabe served was unacceptable. British ministers
now have a dilemma - do they eat their words and give aid, or do they deny
Tsvangirai the assistance that he and Zimbabwe require? Britain's decision
is likely to influence other European donor nations.

The US is in a less difficult position since President Barack Obama would
not consider himself bound by President George W Bush's officials.

The need for aid is acute. Zimbabwe is fighting a cholera epidemic that has
killed more than 3,100 and made more than 60,000 ill since August. The
collapse of the health and sanitation infrastructure had made it impossible
to bring the disease under control. In addition 80% of the population need
food aid.

The power-sharing arrangement will be fragile, at best. Half the new
government ministers will be from Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, which led Zimbabwe
to its plight. Tsvangirai's authority will be severely restricted: Mugabe
will chair the cabinet; Tsvangirai will chair a council of ministers.

Analysts said it was difficult to imagine such a divided government taking
the steps that the crisis called for.

One particularly unhappy feature for the opposition is its failure to win
control of the police. Under the deal it will share responsibility for the
interior ministry with Zanu-PF, an arrangement many see as unworkable.
Mugabe retains control of the military and intelligence ministries.

Nonetheless, Tsvangirai won his party's reluctant backing for the coalition
at the MDC's national council on Friday after coming under pressure from
southern African leaders.

His predicament was reflected in his statement that "this government will
serve as a transitional authority leading to free and fair elections".
Mugabe has never acknowledged that the unity government is a transitional
entity and considers himself president for a full term of office.

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Tsvangirai's big gamble

From The Sunday Independent (SA), 1 February

Basildon Peta

Morgan Tsvangirai took the biggest gamble of his life by agreeing this week
to go into a powersharing government with his archenemy, Robert Mugabe.
Tsvangirai, who now seems certain to become prime minister to Mugabe's
president on February 11, is being branded by many of his old allies as a
sellout. But most observers believe that in the end he and his Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) had no choice but to opt for the change-from-within
strategy, facing relentless pressure from regional leaders. An authoritative
official is convinced that what brought about Tsvangirai's sudden U-turn -
in agreeing to the coalition before all his demands had been met, as he had
previously insisted - were his impressions of Mugabe in their recent
one-on-one meetings. "Tsvangirai saw a tired old man who is seeking a safe
exit from the political scene," said the top official, who did not want to
be identified. "Working with him [Mugabe] in government provides a leeway
for Morgan to build confidence and pave the stage for Mugabe's safe
retirement and for Morgan himself to take over eventually."

And even fierce critics of Mugabe, such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, are
calling on the world to support the unity government. Yesterday the Elders,
a group of former leaders which includes Nelson Mandela, urged the
international community to support the unity government "to end the terrible
suffering" in Zimbabwe. Jimmy Carter, a former United States president and a
member of the Elders, said: "This political agreement is far from perfect -
but political life involves taking risks. "The international community
should now do what it can to give this agreement the best chance of success.
Talking it down will not improve the situation for Zimbabweans - it will
only prolong their agony." And Tutu, the chairperson of the Elders, said:
"We will be watching closely to ensure that the agreement between the
political parties is implemented fairly. But the people of Zimbabwe can no
longer be held hostage by politics. Their urgent needs must be met."

Tsvangirai decided to go into the unity government at a summit of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Pretoria this week. Though
several of his lieutenants immediately denied the statement of President
Kgalema Motlanthe, the SADC chairperson, that Tsvangirai had agreed to the
coalition, the MDC leader confirmed it later and the party's national
executive council endorsed the decision in Harare on Friday. In a statement
after the council meeting, Tsvangirai justified his decision by saying that
Mugabe had made concessions on four out of the five demands that the MDC had
made going into the summit. Mugabe had agreed to the sharing of provincial
governorships, after appointing Zanu PF officials to all of them last year;
had agreed to consider legislation for a national security council; had
agreed that Constitutional Amendment 19 - laying the constitutional
foundation for the unity government - should be adopted before the
government was launched and not after; and had agreed that breaches of the
Global Political Agreement signed by all the parties on September 15 should
be addressed.

This referred to the recent abductions of about 30 MDC supporters. He added
that the parties had already begun negotiations on Thursday to agree on a
formula for reallocating the governorships and to consider the MDC's
National Security Council Bill. Tsvangirai also noted that a joint
monitoring and implementation committee with representatives of all three
parties in the new government - Zanu PF, his MDC and Arthur Mutambara's MDC
faction - had been established on Friday to begin addressing the abductions.
The committee has powers to refer problems it cannot solve to the unity
government and then to SADC and even to the African Union - both of which
have guaranteed the unity agreement.

Tsvangirai received a hero's welcome when he announced to the Harare crowds
outside the MDC offices on Friday that the national council had agreed to go
into government - a sign that ordinary people are desperate for anything
that might lead to a change in their miserable circumstances. But
Tsvangirai's old struggle ally Lovemore Madhuku of the University of
Zimbabwe had branded his decision to join Mugabe in government as
"catastrophic". "You don't abandon a legitimate struggle because it is not
producing immediate results. It took decades to defeat apartheid," Madhuku
said, adding that the decision to join the government proved "the poverty of
Tsvangirai's politics". Though Western governments had indicated that they
would not support a unity government if Mugabe remained president, they
might reconsider their stance. James McGee, the United States ambassador to
Zimbabwe, said the US would assess the unity government on its performance.

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Interview with Botswana's President

To hear the audio of  The Perspective from Botswana - Excerpts from Celia
Dugger's interview with Botswana's  president,  go to
and look in the box on the left hand side entitled Multimedia.

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Cosatu loses confidence on South African leader's position on Zimbabwe

APA- Johannesburg (South Africa) The secretary general of the Congress of
South Africa Trade Unions (Cosatu) Zwelinzima Vavi said he is disappointed
by the softy stance being applied by President Kgalema Motlanthe towards
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, saying a tough approach would make the
85-year old dictator realize his time was over.

Briefing journalists on the situation in Zimbabwean in the company of his
counterpart, the ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibebe, Vavi said on
Sunday at the Cosatu head offices in Johannesburg, that President Motlanthe
and the Southern African Development Community (SDAC) leaders were treating
the "illegitimate government of Robert Mugabe" with kid's gloves.

"He (Motlanthe) needs to tell Mugabe in his face that we are withdrawing our
acceptance of him as the President of Zimbabwe and that his government has
no legitimacy and that alone will signal to Mugabe that the party is over,"
said Vavi.

Vavi added that the inclusive government endorsed by SADC would take
Zimbabwe nowhere as Mugabe had a history of not honouring past promises.

"He betrayed Joshua Nkomo who was one of the liberation icons so what would
stop him from doing the same on Morgan Tsvangirai whom he has over and over
again labelled an agent of the west?" he asked.

He said Cosatu as part of the tripartite alliance had raised the Zimbabwe
issue during party deliberations and were encouraged by ANC president Jacob
Zuma's open attack on Mugabe.

Vavi said he was very disappointed by Motlanthe whom he accused of having
taken the same soft stance adopted by former President Thabo Mbeki. Even if
the inclusive government was formed, Vavi said the Zimbabwe economy would
continue to crumble as no company worth its salt would invest in a country
where Mugabe remains the ruler.

Both Chibebe and Vavi said they supported a neutral transitional authority
to organize free and fair elections under the supervision of an
international body because "any unity government that rewards those who lost
an election is setting a very dangerous precedent."

Vavi said as part of its solidarity with the Zimbabwean people, Cosatu will
be intensifying its solidarity campaign with an already planned Southern
African civil society conference, demonstrations and pickets on Zimbabwe.

  MGM/daj/APA 2009-02-01

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 31st January 2009


                     The Umbane dance troupe                                                Luka Phiri back at the Vigil – FREE!


We expected passers-by to ask why we were still protesting outside the Embassy now that the MDC has agreed to join the Mugabe government. Most people who stopped to talk to us seemed well-informed about developments and no-one was surprised the Vigil was continuing. Certainly, our supporters turned out in unprecedented numbers and few of them had any confidence that the deal would work, given Mugabe’s failure to honour his undertakings in the power-sharing agreement of last September.


We expect to see Morgan in London soon on a begging mission.  We believe there is a lot of support for extra humanitarian assistance but that he will face an uphill battle to get serious economic aid.  The UK and the US have already made clear that they will wait and see before committing real money. In other words they will have to be satisfied it will not drain into the hands of the Mugabe cronies.  This means the new government will have to prove a willingness to respect the rule of law: we do not believe that Zanu-PF has any idea what that means. 


We accept that there may be secret understandings between the parties that we don’t know about. Indeed, the bewildering policy flip-flops by the MDC would suggest that this is the case. But how do we know? Anyway, when Morgan comes to London we at the Vigil will still be protesting outside the Embassy with our banners ‘No to Mugabe. No to Starvation’ and ‘End Murder, Rape and Torture in Zimbabwe’. If he drops by the Embassy it will be the nearest he has come to us in our 6+ years here. 


As Chipo Chaya and Arnold Kuwewa of the Vigil management team said ‘we feel betrayed’. Patson Muzuwa, also of the management team, certainly drew strong support when he declared ‘We don’t want power-sharing, we want Mugabe to go’. Patson was introducing the dance troupe ‘Umbane’ who, despite the icy weather, donned traditional tribal costumes and entranced us with their close harmony Zimbabwean songs and athletic dances. Grateful thanks to the 6-man troupe: Sandile Mpande, Muzomkhulu Ndlovu, Christopher Moyo, Jeremiah Mutotela, Innolent Hlongwane and Owen Ncube.


The Vigil bought a cake to celebrate the return of Luka Phiri of the Vigil management team and the Zimbabwe Association who was released this week after being detained prior to threatened deportation. He joked that at least he was warmer in detention.  Luka said he was deeply touched at the support he had received from the Zimbabwean community at large.  For our part we were delighted to have back with us someone Fungayi Mabhunu of the management team described as a true revolutionary, working so hard for all Zimbabweans.


Ironically, the announcement of the unity government might cut the ground from under the Zimbabwean diaspora in the UK. We fear the Home Office may say ‘The opposition is now in government. You must return home and rebuild your country’. The Vigil will fight to stop people being sent home until the situation allows it. 


The consensus from the Vigil is that a few months will show whether the unity government is working. In the meantime we have suspended our petitions targeting South Africa and SADC in favour of the following petition to the UK government: “In the light of the Zimbabwean power-sharing agreement, we call on the UK government to withhold development aid to Zimbabwe until it is clear that it will benefit the people rather than the corrupt Mugabe regime.’


For latest Vigil pictures check:


FOR THE RECORD:  290 signed the register.



·        Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 7th February, 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137, Tafadzwa Musemwa 07954 344 123 and Roggers Fatiya 07769 632 687.

·        ROHR Harlow Launch Meeting. Saturday 7 February. Venue: St James and St Luke’s Church, Perry Road, Harlow, CM18 7NP from 1 – 5 pm. Contact Clements Kuda Sabau on 07765831500 / 07853205523, Esther Makamo 07507949023, Lloyd Kashangura 07506481334 or P Mapfumo on 07915926323 or 07932216070

·        ‘The Agony of Zimbabwe, What Chance for Change?’ Monday 9th February, 6.45 – 8.45 pm.  Talk by Christina Lamb, Foreign Affairs Correspondent for the Sunday Times. Hosted by Friends of Le Monde diplomatique. Venue: the Gallery, 70/77 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ (near Farringdon Tube station).  For more information check:

·        WOZA Solidarity Protest. Saturday, 14th February, 12 – 2 pm, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR.     

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


Vigil Co-ordinators

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


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Cricket - Zimbabwe Cruise To Victory

February 01 2009

Zimbabwe claimed a 66-run win over Kenya in Nairobi on Sunday to open a 4-0
lead in the one-day series.

Half-centuries from Hamilton Masakadza, Prosper Utseya and Forster Mutizwa
allowed the tourists to pile up 285-8 after opting to bat first.

Opening batsman Masakadza gave the innings a solid base with 58 from 56
balls, featuring eight fours and a six.

But seamer Nehemiah Odhiambo removed Masakadza and Malcolm Waller (0) with
consecutive deliveries in the 21st over to peg back Zimbabwe at 92-4.

Sean Williams (43) and Elton Chigumbura (36) consolidated with a 65-run,
fifth-wicket stand and, after both departed in quick succession, Utseya and
Mutizwa wielded the long handle during the final 15 overs.


The seventh-wicket pair added 107 from just 81 deliveries to ensure their
side posted a formidable total.

Mutizwa reached 61 off 45 balls, including three sixes, before becoming
Odhiambo's (3-56) third victim in the penultimate over, while skipper Utseya
finished unbeaten on 51.

Kenya's run chase was derailed by a combination of Chigumbura's pace and
Graeme Cremer's leg-spin as they slumped to 219 all out, despite a battling
96 not out from Alex Obanda.

Chigumbura finished with figures of 4-28 and was ably supported by Cremer,
who bagged 3-34.

Number three Obanda's 93-ball knock included seven fours and five sixes but
he was left stranded agonisingly short of a maiden one-day hundred when last
man Peter Ongondo (1) chipped to midwicket off Chigumbura from the final
ball of the 49th over.

Zimbabwe have the opportunity to complete a series whitewash in the final
game - also in Nairobi - on Wednesday.

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