The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zim judge throws out Biti treason case
Feb 06 2009 11:52
A judge ended the treason trial of a top opposition leader on Friday, an indication that Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party wants a proposed coalition government to work.
Magistrate Olivia Mariga said prosecutors appeared unprepared to proceed against Tendai Biti. She also ruled that Biti had been improperly arrested.
Ending the Biti case removes a major irritant between his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu-PF. The opposition had accused Zanu-PF of engineering the charges against Biti, who is expected to enter the coalition government.
The two parties are now pledged to work together to try to end Zimbabwe's growing humanitarian and economic crises, though their union is likely to be rocky after years of deadly rivalry.
Biti said after Friday's ruling he was "happy to know that I've been set free" and was preparing to enter government.
He added: "We are going to finish this job that we started of removing the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe."
Biti, a sharp-tongued lawyer and the MDC's secretary-general, had been arrested at the airport after flying back to Zimbabwe from South Africa on June 12. His whereabouts were unknown for two weeks, until he was brought to court and charged with treason, which carries the death penalty.
The charges were based on a document purporting to lay out opposition plans for a coup. The document had been widely dismissed as fraudulent, and the MDC insisted its strategy was peaceful.
Zimbabwe's Parliament on Thursday passed a constitutional amendment opening the way for the unity government by creating the post of prime minister - planned to be held by MDC chief Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, would remain president.
Biti went to Parliament from a hearing in his trial to second the motion introducing the amendment.
The unity Cabinet is to be sworn in next week. While it is not certain Biti will take a Cabinet post, there has been speculation he will be appointed to the Police Ministry which, under a complicated arrangement mediated by regional leaders, is to alternate every few months between an MDC and a Zanu-PF politician.
The coalition's agenda includes preparing for new elections.
Mugabe is accused of engineering Zimbabwe's economic crisis through mismanagement and corruption, then ignoring his people's desire for change as expressed at the ballot box.
Tsvangirai won the most votes in a March presidential election, then dropped out of a runoff against Mugabe because of attacks on opposition supporters.
Tsvangirai's party also won control of Parliament in March, Zanu-PF's first defeat since independence.
Tsvangirai, a former trade union activist, formed the MDC in 1999. He led it in parliamentary elections in 2000 and 2005 and won 42% of votes in the 2002 presidential elections. All three polls were marred by allegations of rigging through violence, intimidation and voting irregularities.
Tsvangirai has survived at least three assassination attempts. He was imprisoned for six weeks in 1989 on allegations of spying for South Africa.
In 2003, after an 18-month trial, Tsvangirai was acquitted of treason in a case stemming from an alleged a plot to assassinate Mugabe.
In March 2007, police beat and tortured Tsvangirai during and after his arrest for attending an opposition meeting the government had banned.
Cholera toll rises to 3 371
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak has now killed 3 371 people and infected 67 945 since it began in August, data from the World Health Organisation showed on Friday.
A previous toll from earlier this week showed about 65 739 people had been infected and 3 323 among them had died.
The United Nations' humanitarian coordination office, which released the figures compiled with Zimbabwe's Health Ministry and dated February 5, reiterated that the outbreak was "still not under control".
The WHO has estimated that about half of Zimbabwe's 12-million inhabitants are potentially at risk from cholera because of poor living conditions.
A senior WHO specialist last Friday called for drastic action to tackle the outbreak, after the number of cases soared past the agency's "worst-case" threshold of 60 000. - Sapa-AFP

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Opposition politician Biti set free
by Wayne Mafaro and Nokuthula Sibanda Friday 06 February 2009
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
TENDAI BITI . . . God has prevailed
Zimbabwe opposition party secretary general Tendai Biti is now a free man after a Harare magistrate on Friday granted his application not to be kept on remand.
President Robert Mugabe’s government had charged Biti with treason over a controversial document that it says was authored by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party politician and which outlines plans to seize power through unconstitutional means.
He faced the death penalty if convicted of treason.
The opposition politician also faced charges of insulting Mugabe, causing disaffection among security forces and publishing falsehoods when he announced that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won the March presidential election by an outright majority before the electoral body announced the results.
The trial date was on Thursday set for May 4 but lawyers representing Biti opposed further remand, arguing that the state had failed to serve indictment papers since the case began last year and thereby delayed setting the trial date.
“The application for refusal of further remand is therefore granted,” magistrate Olivia Mariga ruled on Friday, effectively setting the opposition legislator for Harare constituency free.
“The effect of the ruling is that the charges have been withdrawn before plea,” said Biti’s lawyer Lewis Uriri, adding that the state never intended to prosecute Biti but wanted to use him as a pawn in the negotiations for a government of national unity.
“The state was using Biti as a pawn in the negotiations. The state did not have an intention to prosecute him but that it can find some leverage,” said Uriri.
Biti, who is himself a practicing lawyer and denies breaking the law, is the MDC’s chief representative in power-sharing negotiations with Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party.
“God has prevailed,” said Biti addressing scores of MDC supporters who had gathered at the magistrate’s court in solidarity with their leader.
Meanwhile, in a landmark development Zimbabwe’s House of Assembly will now accept floor-crossing which could see legislators crossing the floor from the other side of the house, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Friday.
Chinamasa, who is also the ruling ZANU PF party’s chief negotiator at the inter-party talks with the opposition MDC said floor crossing will now be enshrined in the country's constitution.
"Floor-crossing will now be a permanent feature in our constitution," Chinamasa said.
On Thursday, Chinamasa also told members of the Senate that floor crossing will now be a permanent feature in the country's constitution.
In his remarks to Senators during his submissions on the Constitutional amendment 19, Chinamasa said "this will be a landmark development in our constitution as floor crossing will now be allowed".
This development effectively means that a ZANU PF member can now become an MDC member or vice-versa.
This will be the first time in the country's history that floor crossing will be approved.
Zimbabwe's Parliament on Thursday passed constitutional amendments, paving the way for the formation of a power-sharing government between the ruling ZANU PF party and the opposition MDC that is expected to defuse political tensions dating back to the disputed March polls and tackle the country's crises.
Constitutional Amendment number 19 is now awaiting assent by Mugabe to become law.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) last week directed Zimbabwe’s rival political parties to urgently form a unity government, ordering that outstanding issues be dealt with between the parties’ negotiators before a unity government is put in place by February 13.
Under SADC’s plan for the formation of a government of national unity in Zimbabwe, Parliament will amend the country’s Constitution by February 5 to create the positions of prime minister and deputy prime minister. Tsvangirai will be sworn in as Prime Minister on February 11. His two deputies will also be sworn in on the same day.
Cabinet ministers will be sworn in on February 13 to complete the process.

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Inputs scam - 9 MPs named – (Alleged Seven from MDC-T

The Herald
2009 02 06
Herald Reporter
GOVERNMENT has named nine legislators who allegedly abused subsidised agricultural inputs distributed to farmers under the National Food Security Programme as it prepares to take the cases to court.
The list of two Zanu-PF legislators and seven MDC-T Members of the House of Assembly comes barely two weeks after the chairman of the logistics sub-committee of the National Resource Mobilisation and Utilisation Committee, Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, said he would name, shame and hand over for prosecution those who abused the Government facility.
The two from Zanu-PF are Member of the House of Assembly for Chivi South Cde Ivene Dzingirayi and Senator for Seke-Chikomba Gladys Mabhiza.
The seven from MDC-T are Mr Ramsome Makamure (Gutu East), Mr Edmore Mudavanhu (Zaka North), Mr Hega Shoko (Bikita West), Mr Edmore Marima (Bikita East), Mr Tichaona Maradza (Masvingo West), Mr Hamandishe Maramwidze (Gutu North) and Ms Evelyn Masaiti (Dzivaresekwa).
Addressing journalists at the Operation Maguta National Command Centre in Harare yesterday, Brig-Gen Nyikayaramba said no ministers had yet been implicated in the scam.
He said while the committee had indicated that it would name political leaders who had allegedly abused the Government facility within a week, the disclosure had been delayed by logistical constraints.
"There was a need to get the facts together to ensure that the public is given the correct information, coupled with the imperative necessity to record warned and cautioned statements from the members," he said.
He said while Mashonaland East had topped the list of cases reported last month, Masvingo has since taken over with 10 cases.
All nine of the named legislators received 20 tonnes of Compound D fertilizer, enough to cover 80 hectares, and at least one tonne of maize seed.
One had an extra tonne of seed plus diesel and two others received in addition 10 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer.
Sen Mabhiza received in addition a second tonne of seed and 1 500 litres of diesel, but did not plant anything and could not account for the inputs.
Cde Dzingirayi was given the standard allocation, but investigations revealed that some of the inputs were allegedly misused.
Brig-Gen Nyikayaramba said investigations to establish the quantities were still in progress.
Mr Makamure planted about 12ha, but could not account for the remainder of the inputs.
Mr Mudavanhu planted about 5ha. The balance of the inputs could not be accounted for.
On the other hand, Mr Shoko planted about 10ha, but could not account for the other inputs.
Brig-Gen Nyikayaramba said Mr Marima planted 5ha and allegedly used the other inputs to campaign in his constituency.
He said Mr Maradza planted 20 ha.
"Other inputs, enough for 20 hectares, were given to people in his constituency to fulfil his campaign promises," Brig-Gen Nyikayaramba said.
Mr Maramwidze received over and above Compound D fertilizer, one tonne of maize seed and 10 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, but could not account for all the inputs.
Ms Masaiti also received 10 tonnes of ammonium nitrate along with the standard allocation, but planted just 6ha and could not account for the remaining inputs.
Brig-Gen Nyikayaramba said Government had indicated that farmers with commercial farms measuring 75ha and above with their own transport could collect the inputs from Bak Storage but there was suspicion that offences had been committed by the legislators.
"It is now up to the investigation team to follow the necessary legal processes and ensure that those who fail to account for the inputs are brought before the courts for prosecution following the normal and necessary course of our justice delivery system," he said.
He said investigations would continue at national and provincial levels to ensure that inputs collected by farmers are put to intended use.
He said the Government would also prosecute farmers who benefited from the scheme who failed to deliver their produce to GMB as they are under contract to deliver to the country’s grain reserves.
He urged people with information on any form of abuse of Government inputs to phone the command centre on Harare numbers 797435, 797436, 797433 and 797418.

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Police, RBZ round up gang mass producing fake notes

The Herald
2009 02 06
Herald Reporter
A major gang mass producing fake US dollars, including a "fake" but non-existent US$ 1 million bill, was rounded up by police on Wednesday with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono part of the team.
One of the oddest finds was a US$ 1 million note, although there has never been such a denomination.
The largest US banknote was a US$ 100 000 note but that one, and the four others over US$ 100, were withdrawn from circulation 40 years ago in 1969.
The crack police team arrested three men printing fake US dollars, rand, pula and even the newly introduced local currency denominations.
Police picked up two of the suspects at Matapi Flats in Mbare and the alleged "big boss" at Makoni Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza.
During the raids, the fake US$ 1million note, a further US$ 350 in US$ 100 and US$ 50 notes, R950, P-200 and Z$ 100 000 in the new denominations were recovered.
The gang was printing the fake notes at a photocopying shop near Chicken Inn at Makoni Shopping Centre where buyers would go to buy the fake notes with genuine notes at one tenth their face value.
A buyer would give the dealers, say, US$ 2 000 in genuine notes to buy US$ 20 000 in fake notes.
After this, the buyers would go into unsuspecting shops and use the fake notes buying goods and getting change in genuine bills.
Sadly some elders in rural areas have fallen victim as the dealers would buy cattle from unsuspecting elders using the fake notes, then swiftly slaughter the animals and sell the meat at low prices for genuine notes.
RBZ had a tip from an informer that the fakes were coming from Mbare and it set up a trap with police to nab the culprits.
Two staff from the central bank pretended that they were regular customers and pressed an order with the dealer on the phone to get US$ 10 000 in fake notes
They were told to bring genuine notes totalling US$ 1 000 and meet the dealer at Jameson Hotel to switch bills in a car.
RBZ teamed up with detectives from the fraud squad and waited from 2:30pm in two separate vehicles to pounce on the culprits.
Dr Gono was seated in one of the vehicles.
The dealer kept changing stories.
First he said he was 15 minutes away, then he changed that he was waiting for someone.
Patience was the game and so everyone waited with eyes glued to the road.
Around 6:30pm the dealer told his "prospective" buyers that he could not make it so the RBZ team in conjunction with police decided to raid him at Matapi Flats.
"We raided his house and discovered the fake notes under the bed. We arrested the dealer together with his brother who was also involved.
"Upon questioning, the dealer revealed that the fake notes were being printed at Makoni Shopping Centre.
"We got into the car to go to Makoni and the dealer tried to run away.
"Fortunately, one of our officers jumped from the car and apprehended him," said one of the arresting officers.
On the way to Makoni and this was now around 7:30pm, Dr Gono together with Deputy Commissioner General in Charge of Crime, Sibanda, Senior Assistant Commissioners Makono and Mutamba joined in.
When the teams arrived at Makoni Shopping Centre Dr Gono, who was clearly mean, just walked into the printers, catching the supposed "big boss" as he was just about to close business for the day.
At first, the "big boss" seemed not to notice who this intruder into his business was and when he sobered up, his facial expressions told the story of a thief caught in the act.
There was nowhere to run because the shop was surrounded by armed police.
Following the arrest, the accusations and counter-accusations between the "big boss" and the dealer started, with the dealer giving further information that the real master-mind had fled to South Africa.
It later turned out that the dealer was, about a month ago, arrested on the same charges and the printing machine was confiscated by police and returned.
Police later revealed that on the second attempt the dealer escaped arrest but one of the ring leaders nicknamed "Sekuru" was arrested and was still in police custody facing charges of printing fake money.

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We’ll exceed target - Revenue Authority Commissioner-General

Gershem Pasi - {Dreaming Perhaps}
The Herald
2009 02 06
By Victoria Ruzvidzo
RAISING US$ 1,7 billion in 10 months from taxes and duty collections in an economy as Zimbabwe’s is a mammoth task by any standards, but for Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Commissioner-General Mr Gershem Pasi, it is just another target he is confident to exceed.
In his budget statement last week, Acting Finance Minister Senator Patrick Chinamasa assigned the taxman to raise that figure to balance his US$ 1,9 billion budget.
At least US$ 200 million is already in the Government’s purse from external partners.
"As Zimra, we do not achieve targets, we exceed them," said Mr Pasi, who looked confident and on top of the situation.
"Zimra has to play its role effectively, more so now than ever before to bring the revenue that will match the stipulated expenditure. We believe that with the policies announced in the budget and the monetary policy statement, we should see the resuscitation of economic activities from which we can then collect more revenue for the State," he said.
Over the years, the institution has managed to collect more revenue than anticipated.
However, Mr Pasi conceded that it would not be an easy feat this year. The revenue base has over the last few years continued to dwindle, with at least 90 percent of the economy having gravitated to the informal sector.
He said Zimra would want to tap into that sector but the exercise required more resources while yielding lower returns.
Mr Pasi would be banking on business to formalise as soon as possible. Most of the operators in that sector had been "forced" into it by challenges over the last few years.
"The daunting task ahead is not lost upon us. It’s not going to be a walk in the garden. It’s a real forest, but I believe we have the tools and the courage to succeed."
The first half of the year would be difficult for Zimra but once the results of trade liberalisation began to show, more revenue would flow into the fiscus.
"The first half of the year will be challenging, but we are confident that we will do enough to allow Government to function."
Presently companies have downsized, jobs have been lost, with production capacity estimated at an average 10 percent at best. The subdued economic activity had grossly affected the revenue base.
This has affected tax heads such as value-added tax, Pay As You Earn, corporate tax and other indirect taxes.
However, anticipated economic growth as enunciated in the two major policies and the imminent formation of the inclusive Government were expected to chart a new course for the economy.
But revenue would not be expected to flow in immediately. The fiscal drag between the time the policies were announced and the period it would take for the economy to respond was bound to slow collections for much of the first half of the year.
Analysts have applauded the 2009 Budget and undertakings by Sen Chinamasa that expenditure would not exceed revenue, but questions have been raised as to the source of funds to finance the recurrent and capital expenditure until such time revenue from taxes and duties begin to flow in significant amounts.
But the commissioner-general was upbeat that results would be achieved.
The proposed establishment of tollgates on major roads would bring in revenue much faster.
At least US$ 2 million has been earmarked in fiscal 2009, for the construction of the necessary structures. The issue of tollgates has been on the cards for some time now but Government looks set to implement the project next month.
"We anticipate that tollgates will be a major source of revenue, particularly in the second half of the year. To us it’s already a success waiting to manifest. We will start with rudimentary structures and we hope the public will bear with us," said Mr Pasi.
Other initiatives and the formation of a new Government were bound to yield results.
"As you know, we are not a political set-up but an institution of Government. We are here to serve the nation and not individuals and it’s our hope that with the new dispensation, we as a nation, will focus on development . . . uplifting the standard of living," Mr Pasi said.
A revamp of the agricultural sector would also work well for the economy, hence revenue generation.
Mr Pasi said the task ahead demanded that Zimra be adequately capacitated.
He commended the Government for the financial and material support devoted to the revenue collector.
As with most institutions, Zimra has not been spared from the effects of the hyper-inflationary environment, to the extent that at some point the institution was operating without stationery.
For instance, at ports of entry staff had to use scrap paper instead of the usual declaration forms.
Furthermore, it lost staff to other institutions locally and abroad.
Some of its experienced staff had left for such countries as Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
Presently, Zimra’s staffing levels were at 80 percent. Programmes were now in place to train and re-orient staff in anticipation of increased business.
"We are not just looking at bringing back staff physically, but we will have to do mental refocusing. We have already started this with support from Government.
"It’s our role as Zimra to take a leading role in changing attitudes and to have a positive outlook."
Zimra has been fraught with corruption in recent years. While admitting this, Mr Pasi said the institution continued to take stern measures against the vice.
"Zimra is an institution and not an island. We work with other institutions such as the Anti-Corruption Commission to rid the country of corruption.
"Although we should never condone any bad habits, as a country we created a situation where for someone to have food on the table they had to do this or that, but as an institution we want to take the lead in cleansing ourselves."

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EU says 'premature' to lift Zimbabwe sanctions
05 February, 2009 08:33:00
EU Business Weekly
The European Union will not lift sanctions against Zimbabwe until a new unity government fully complies with the terms of a power-sharing deal, the EU ambassador to South Africa said Thursday.
Lodewijk Briet said in a statement that the European Commission welcomed opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to join the unity government as prime minister.
"While we underline that this is a positive development, it does not itself spell the end of the political, economic and humanitarian crises Zimbabwe finds itself in," he said.
"This first step towards normalising the situation in Zimbabwe must be underpinned by clear confidence building measures by the new government," the statement said.
"In this light, we consider calls for the immediate lifting of the EU's targeted measures to be premature and would first encourage all parties to comply fully with the terms of the power-sharing agreement," Briet said.
He reiterated that the EU sanctions do not target Zimbabwe's population but "a defined number of people and companies that have been clearly linked to the government and the failure to respect basic human rights and democratic practice."
The sanctions are limited to travel restrictions and asset freezes, he said.
"The EU remains the main provider of humanitarian and essential development assistance to Zimbabwe," giving nearly 90 million euros (116 million dollars) annually.
The African Union and South Africa at the weekend called for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe, following Tsvangirai's decision to join the government.
The unity government has stalled for months following bickering over allocation of key ministries, including home affairs, which oversees the police.

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Zimbabwe faces 55,000 more cholera cases as disease moves from town to countryside
From The Times
February 6, 2009
A child suffering from cholera is treated at the Budiririo polyclinic in Harare
Martin Fletcher in Chegutu
The toll from Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic will almost double in the next few months as up to 55,000 more people contract the disease, according to private predictions by the World Health Organisation.
Last weekend the number of infections swept past 60,000, the worst case predicted by the United Nations in early December. The Times has now obtained a WHO memorandum expecting between 32,000 and 55,000 more cases.
The epidemic has already claimed 3,300 lives - greater than the toll for the whole of Africa in most years - and is one of the worst recorded. Last week there were 8,578 new cases and 324 deaths.
“We are at our wits’ end,” one senior aid worker confided. “We are not yet winning the battle,” admitted Custodia Mandlhate, the WHO representative in Zimbabwe.
Another Western health official said that the epidemic would not end until May, when the rains cease and it can run its natural course.
Cholera has increasingly moved from urban to rural areas, and the small, isolated village of Numasi, with its thatched mud huts, dirt paths and tiny vegetable plots, illustrates why a small army of aid organisations has failed to tame it.
The disease arrived in Numasi on December 23, almost certainly imported by a city-dweller returning to relatives for Christmas. A middle-aged man, Iwell Phili, was the first to fall sick. Nobody knew what was wrong with him. The local white farmer who might have helped was on holiday. Within two days Mr Phili was dead, and a red flag flies from the roof of his hut to warn of danger.
In early January an old man, Everson Ngozo, developed the same symptoms - sweating, vomiting and chronic diarrhoea. The farmer sent him to the town of Chegutu, 15 miles (25km) away along a pitted track, but Mr Ngozo died on the way. “The villagers were shocked. They didn’t know what was happening. At first they thought someone among them was a witch and killing the others,” said George Zulu, one of their number.
Margaret Phili, a woman in her sixties, developed the illness one morning and was dead that night. The day of her funeral her husband, Lapulan, developed cholera. “It started in my stomach. I got diarrhoea, then I passed out. I didn’t know what was happening. I thought I was going to die,” he said. He, too, was taken to Chegutu, spent five days in the cholera treatment centre there, and survived.
Four other villagers were stricken and lived, but not Yusof Katumba, 14, who succumbed in less than 24 hours last week.
Western aid organisations, working with Zimbabwe’s skeletal health service, have made herculean, if sometimes haphazard, efforts to counter the epidemic. They have trained or retained medics and volunteers, helped to open 235 cholera treatment centres, delivered oceans of clean water, drilled scores of boreholes, unblocked sewers, and distributed untold quantities of hygiene kits, buckets, water purification tablets and leaflets.
In urban areas this has yielded results. The Chegutu cholera centre - a canvas encampment on the edge of town - was receiving 145 cases a day when it opened in early December but now receives a mere handful. However, cholera is erupting instead in rural areas, where it is far harder to control.
Infections soared after Zimbabweans returned to their villages en masse for Christmas. The health service no longer has the vehicles, fuel or staff to venture into the countryside to educate, spray and bury. Villagers are so destitute that they have no means of reaching the urban cholera centres, and in extreme cases - especially in a population weakened by hunger - cholera can kill in four to six hours.
Most villages have no sanitation and rely on shallow wells for water, and with the rainy season in full spate many of those have been contaminated. Villagers are often unaware of the need to boil their water or wash their hands - even if they had soap. They sometimes fail to report cholera deaths, or to bury victims properly, and officials in Chegutu spoke of instances where corpses were simply abandoned.
More than 70 per cent of Zimbabwe’s victims are now dying in their communities - meaning that they are unable to reach help at cholera centres. Fatalities are running at 5 per cent, far higher than need be the case for a disease easily treated with antibiotics and rehydration. But the regime of Robert Mugabe appears unconcerned about the tragedy.
“Cholera is under control,” Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank governor, declared this week. “Every year there is a cholera outbreak in southern Africa. The epicentre of the disease just happened to be in Zimbabwe this year.”
Anatomy of an epidemic
1,828 cases diagnosed on Wednesday
27 deaths confirmed on Wednesday
90 per cent of districts affected
61 per cent of those districts reported new cases on Wednesday
3,323 have died since outbreak began in August 2009
65,739 infections since last August 2009
1 per cent of those infected with cholera die, under normal circumstances
5 per cent of those infected in Zimbabwe are dying because of lack of clean water
13 months since Harare’s biggest township, of one million, had running water
34-year life expectancy for women in Zimbabwe, the world’s lowest
Source:; Times database

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South Africa bats for Zim cricket
Feb 06 2009 09:49
Cricket South Africa (CSA) has once again emerged as the knight in shining armour, out to rescue Zimbabwe Cricket barely a year after cutting ties with the beleaguered country.
South Africa and India pledged before the International Cricket Council (ICC) board in Perth last weekend to assist the country in its efforts to build a competent Test side. "The [ICC] board was informed that both the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket South Africa [CSA]have offered playing and administrative support to Zimbabwe Cricket," ICC communications officer James Fitzgerald told the Mail & Guardian this week.
Despite the confirmation coming straight from the headquarters of the sport in Dubai, CSA was still inexplicably cagey about its involvement with Zimbabwe Cricket. "Any policy issue dealing with Zimbabwe Cricket will be discussed at Cricket South Africa board level. The ICC request is likely to be on the board’s agenda at its next meeting in February, with other relevant decisions taken at the last ICC executive board meeting," said CSA spokesperson Kass Naidoo.
But she was the odd one out. Zimbabwe Cricket chief executive Ozias Bvute also confirmed that South Africa would resume close ties with his association.
"I can confirm that the suspension of the agreement we had with our neighbours, South Africa, has been lifted. We only need to sit down to work out the modalities of putting into motion the support Cricket South Africa will assist us with," said Bvute.
The new development overturns former CSA president Norman Arendse’s decision to kick Zimbabwe out of the local league in mid-2008 after the political situation deteriorated to an alarming level. Zimbabwe Cricket was thrown into further turmoil when its key backer, South Africa, added its voice to the international condemnation of the country by withdrawing its support in the wake of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) pulling out of a violent election campaign.
From the feedback that the task force team sent to Zimbabwe in November gave to the ICC last Friday, it seemed Zimbabwe’s Test-playing days were facing an imminent end. The findings of the team, led by West Indies President Julian Hunte and ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, painted a gloomy picture of the poor state of the sport in the country. It reported an overwhelming consensus from all the stakeholders interviewed, including the Zimbabwe Cricket executive, that the team was in no position to resume playing Test cricket. This is as damning as it could get for a country that still struggled, even with Andy Flower rated as the best batsman in the world.
But thanks to the new administration in South Africa under the leadership of Mtutuzeli Nyoka, Zimbabwe have, according to the ICC, the chance to bounce back to top-class cricket in the next six months to two years. Those who have had the opportunity to watch Zimbabwe play in recent times might argue it would take more than a miracle for the team to recover that quickly.
The sport has been in free-fall since 2003 when the majority of top Zimbabwean players, such as Andy and Grant Flower, Heath Streak, Henry Olonga and Guy Whitall, left en masse shortly after the World Cup over the selection process.
In 2006 Zimbabwe voluntarily pulled out of Test cricket for what was supposed to be a stop-gap measure to fasttrack the development of a competitive side.
Sadly, as with everything else that has come to be associated with the once-prosperous country, the sport has gone from bad to worse.
Decaying playing facilities and schools that have yet to open as teachers battle government to receive their salaries in foreign currency have rendered the development of cricket virtually impossible.
England, New Zealand and Australia have led the call for Zimbabwe to be suspended as an ICC member and have refused to play the team to protest against the political intolerance bedevilling the country. Zimbabwe Cricket boss Peter Chingoka did not even attend the crucial meeting in Perth that had such a huge bearing on his union.
The Aussies accuse Chingoka of being a Robert Mugabe ally and made it clear that he would not be issued with a visa, despite being a senior ICC board member. The fact that Mugabe has been patron of Zimbabwe Cricket since 1992 has also done little to help the team’s international image. Bvute refuses to take blame for the close link with the Zimbabwean dictator and took a swipe at the exclusion of Chingoka from the meeting in Perth.
"It is sad that a largely white board, led by David Ellman-Brown, head-hunted and appointed President Mugabe as patron of the sport in 1992, but Chingoka and I continue to be politicised for their decision," said Bvute.
Fortunately, the Zimbabwe Cricket administrator can be thankful for the exit of Arendse from the sport in South Africa and the arrival of Nyoka. The new CSA boss is on record saying that Zimbabwe’s cricket problems should not be politicised. He said that if political considerations were placed on the sport, some of the big Asian nations would also be excluded. Although he may not name them, Sri Lanka and Pakistan quickly come to mind.
Indeed, the developments concerning the sport in Zimbabwe raise many questions. Does India support Zimbabwe to guarantee an extra ICC vote?
Should South Africa assist its troubled neighbour?
Are the political reasons advanced by the likes of Australia and England - and Arendse for that matter - to exclude Zimbabwe from Test cricket justified?
What is perhaps a more important question is whether Zimbabwe is worthy of being part of the exclusive club of countries that play in the longer version of the game right now.

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Zimbabwe wants to beat ICC schedule on test return
The Associated Press
Published: February 6, 2009
Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Ozias Bvute believes the team could make a test comeback earlier than the six months to two years determined by the ICC.
The International Cricket Council announced that timeframe at a two-day meeting in Australia last week after an ICC-appointed task force headed by West Indies board president Julian Hunte presented an interim report on the state of the sport in Zimbabwe.
Bvute is happy with the process and told The Associated Press his organization was making plans to prepare the team to return.
"Our timetable is in tandem with theirs. I think it's a fair reflection of what's on the ground - we don't dispute that," Bvute said. "Although we have seen improvements in the team's performance, it's however too early to say whether we are ready. It could be early, it could be not.
"We will endeavor to shorten the period. We obviously have programs set up to make that possible. That includes playing in leagues in other countries. I'm glad that the Indian board has been kind enough to allow us to participate in their league (the Deodhar Trophy in March)."
Bvute said that Zimbabwe, which beat Kenya 5-0 in an ODI series this year, was making progress in improving its on-field form.
"It should be noted that Zimbabwe is a full member of the ICC and will continue to take part in ODIs under the Futures Tours Programs," Bvute said.
"Then, with time, we should participate in all forms of the game. We are trying to quicken that process."
Former Zimbabwe coach Kevin Curran, currently employed as ZC high performance director, said the team's experienced players will be a barometer to measure its readiness to return to test cricket.
"We can't say when we will actually play tests again," Curran said.
"The senior guys must perform consistently because, if we are to compete in tests, these are the guys who will spearhead that.
The guys with 50 plus ODIs under their belts need to get their (batting) averages above 35.
"We have a lot of talented players, but we need depth and that comes with exposure. We need guys to be pushing for places."

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How a profiteer works one of the world’s worst economies
Dave Mphele, a black marketeer in Zimbabwe, uses a combination of cunning and coercion to thrive in a nation with 231 million percent inflation. In his own bizarre way, he’s helping the country function.
By Jerry Guo and Alaina Varvaloucas
Correspondents / February 5, 2009 edition
Dave Mphele stands tall and proud in front of his sprawling three-story mansion. He is giving us a tour of his newest real estate acquisition (he already owns seven other houses). This place will be worth US$ 8 million when completed. He waves his arms excitedly at the roof. “Look at the quality of the tiling,” he says with pride.
Then his phone rings. His friend needs to borrow $ 100. And, as Mr. Mphele soon makes clear, the friend wants to borrow the money from us. Reporters.
“It’s impossible to get cash around here,” Mphele explains, referring to the rapid dollarization of Zimbabwe’s basket-case economy. The plea for pocket money from two journalists seems perplexing coming from a man who has his own swimming pool and tennis court, plainly visible through the window of his new house.
Like many of the nouveau riche in Zimbabwe, Mphele (whose name, like everyone’s in this piece, has been changed for security reasons) is a man of contradictions. He goes to church every Sunday, but he has a team of eight thugs who enforce his deals.
He delivers firewood to needy homes, and an hour later bribes a local police official. He takes his daughter to France to visit Disneyland, but he admits to having shot a man, though not fatally. He’s a one-man NGO, a mafia king, a doting father, a shrewd businessman, and, potentially, the future president of Zimbabwe (or so he claims).
In reality, Mphele, 33, is a middleman in one of the worst economies in the world. He is part of an underground network of black marketeers, foreign-exchange dealers, import-export merchants, and just plain street-savvy capitalists who dabble in anything that turns a profit. They are opportunists and entrepreneurs who, in their own perverse way, help a destitute country function.
“There are very shady guys, but there are also teachers selling things on the side because they don’t make enough,” says a Western diplomat. “If people are making serious money, they have a protector in ZANU-PF [President Robert Mugabe’s political party].”
It isn’t easy to survive, let alone thrive, amid Zimbabwe’s continuing economic collapse. With a seemingly endless stream of billion-dollar notes printed daily, the country has faced some of the worst hyperinflation in history: The official rate is 231 million percent per year.
Upwards of 80 percent of the people are unemployed, and those who still work are paid largely in Zimbabwean dollars, though the government is now allowing businesses to charge in foreign currencies to help check inflation. Not surprisingly, 7 in 10 people eat only one meal per day, or none at all. Millions are in need of food aid.
Loud, boisterous, and unafraid to get his hands dirty, Mphele is representative of an often overlooked sphere of wheeler-dealers who have prospered as disease and famine ravage the country. These new titans of commerce - hundreds exist in Harare alone - skirt traditional routes to business success.
Ironically, they get richer as the poor become poorer. But they also serve important functions in Zimbabwe’s bizarre economy, in which basic institutions like banks or exchange bureaus have essentially stopped functioning.
Mphele himself owns part of a mine, a wholesale grocery outlet, a beverage distribution center, an electrical company, a sports bar, an investment bank, a security firm, and a house-painting service. Suffice it to say that a week with him can lead to anything.
The car we approach is a beat-up old Nissan. It’s painted canary-yellow, sounds like a lawn mower, and reeks of gasoline. Parked in front of his McMansion, it looks like either a modern art piece or a bad joke (Mphele insists his new Mercedes CLK 63 is on its way from Germany).
It turns out his ragtag vehicle is necessary to blend in at our next stop, Epworth, a township outside Harare known for crime and poverty. Mphele’s mission: delivering a few dollars to his aunt, who is among a dozen or so relatives who rely on him for food, clothing, and shelter.
Going from his house in the exclusive community of Borrowdale to his aunt’s shack in Epworth is like driving from Beverly Hills to Watts. There’s no running water or electricity, yet Mphele seems at home. He waves to all of his aunt’s neighbors, hugs his nephews, and grills them about schoolwork.
We chat for a few minutes, he hands her some money, and we drive away. Mphele’s demeanor instantly changes. He points at a group of youths and says, “Thugs are bred here in Epworth. There are no other jobs, even for university grads.” Thieves are yet another type of Zimbabwean entrepreneur.
Then we pass a man walking. Mphele tells us the man once worked for him and stole a bike, so he fired him, dumped all his stuff on the street, and hasn’t spoken to him since. “I’m not a bad character, but I can’t appear to be vulnerable,” he says. “You have to get ruthless in Zimbabwe.”
He’s nonchalant about his uglier side, freely talking about the gun he carries, the limbs he’s broken, and the stint he spent in prison for illegally trading in foreign currency. “I have guys who I will call, and they will go to jail for me. I’m the kind of guy who will get my money,” Mphele says. In a hurried voice, he adds, “But I haven’t had anybody killed.”
Even his buddies think he is shady, nicknaming him Dirty Dave. “He knows too many people,” says one friend. “He’s the kind of guy who can get you anything.”
The tough act isn’t anything new. “I was short and small in school - constantly bullied - so I had to fight back,” says Mphele. But it was also on the playground where he earned his first buck, selling candy and gum to wealthier classmates, since Mphele grew up poor. Both of his parents had to work, his mother in a supermarket and his father in a shopping mall.
“I brought myself to where I am today,” he says. “I created something out of nothing.”
Even as busy as he is (his mobile phone bill runs $ 800 per month), Mphele can’t stop working. This month, he’ll be enrolling in a three-year correspondence program in law.
A couple days later, we’re on our way to Borrowdale Brook, a gated enclave within Borrowdale. Mr. Mugabe has an Oriental-style home here. The foreign press rarely mentions this side of Zimbabwe: suburban lawns, scowling guards, and 18-hole golf courses.
We wonder aloud how we will get in. Mphele then delivers one of his many mantras: “I don’t know why you’re panicking,” he says. “I told you I’ll take care of it.” He does. Soon, we’re gawking at the splendor within the electrified walls. Despite the old Nissan, Mphele fits in here, too, schmoozing with waiters at the members-only clubhouse and buying expensive drinks.
The rest of the week is more tension-filled. We go to a tough township to buy a cellphone card. While there, Mphele sees a top intelligence official and gives him a ride home.
On another afternoon, we pull into a liquor store, and Mphele, of course, knows the owner, Peter Thompson. He is a younger version of Mphele. Until six months ago, he was running a one-man bank out of his garage. He exchanged more than US$ 1 million per year in foreign currency for multinational corporations like Dell and Coca-Cola.
But over the summer, with Mr. Mugabe’s much-criticized price controls causing a run on consumer goods, Thompson saw an opportunity. He started importing liquor from South Africa and marking it up 1,000 percent. Many of his friends have now started similar ventures. “The government stopped paying people,” he says. “So we have to create our own businesses.”
At 2 a.m., we are still out and puttering along in the Nissan, when, suddenly, it blows a tire. By the time it’s fixed, two hours later, we’re apprehensive about driving the car on the dark Harare roads. Mphele, seeing our faces, leans close, his thick eyebrows wiggling mischievously.
“I don’t know why you’re panicking, guys,” he says. “I get my Mercedes tomorrow.”
Even better, we finally get something back: The $ 100 we “loaned” his friend.
Photo (not included) caption: Zimbabwe's luxurious side: Dave Mphele, a middleman in the economy, is building a new house in the exclusive community of Borrowdale outside the capital city - one of eight homes that he owns.

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Gono warns asset management companies

The Bulawayo Chronicle
2009 02 06
Business Reporter
Asset management companies found engaging in non-core activities will be ordered to cease operations, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dr Gideon Gono, has warned.
He also gave the companies up to 1 March to raise their capitalisation to US$ 2,5 million or face closure.
Dr Gono said most of the country’s 17 registered asset management companies were undercapitalised, forcing them to engage in non-core activities, including illegal trade in foreign currency, to meet running costs despite repeated warnings from monetary authorities.
He said the practice was prevalent in companies in group structures within the financial services sector.
“Some asset management companies, especially those in group structures incorporating banking institutions, pension funds and/or insurance companies, continue to be used as willing conduits to facilitate diversion from core business.
“Asset management companies engaging in illegal activities in violation of the Asset Management Act (Chapter 24:26) and other applicable legislation shall be closed with immediate effect, again with no option for curatorship,” he said when he presented his monetary policy statement on Monday.
Dr Gono said the asset management industry was overcrowded despite the closure of 14 companies between 2004 and 2006.
Five asset management firms accounted for 80 percent of the business.
Meanwhile, lack of comprehensive regulatory supervisory frameworks for the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, stockbrokers, insurance companies and pension funds was compromising financial stability, Dr Gono said.
He said many stockbroking firms were accountable to no one as they were being run as one-man bands.
“There are no prescribed educational credentials for registration of stockbrokers. Some unscrupulous players in the insurance and securities sectors took advantage of the absence of oversight to engage in illegal transactions, indiscipline and reckless disregard of the applicable rules and regulations,” he said.
The governor called on regulatory bodies such as the Insurance and Pensions Commission and the Securities Exchange Commission to come up with a framework for supervision of companies under their mandate.

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Is it end of the line for a forgotten dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam
05 February 2009
Until today I had totally forgotten about former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.
I had no idea he had been living in Zimbabwe since he was deposed in 1991. For the last 17 years or so he has, apparently, been dividing his time between a heavily guarded villa in Harare, a farm near the capital and a retreat on Lake Kariba.
Last year an Ethiopian court sentenced him in absentia to death after convicting him of genocide (Genocide under Ethiopian law also covers the destruction of opposition groups). Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Mugabe flatly refused to extradite a man who helped to arm Zanu (PF)’s guerrillas during Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation war.
According to today’s Times, however, Mengistu’s future looks less assured.
Next week the Zimbabwe opposition Movement for Democratic Change will enter a unity government with Zanu (PF) and Nelson Chamisa, its chief spokesman has stated that Mengistu’s extradition to Ethiopia would be “high on the agenda” of that new administration.
“Zimbabwe should not be a safe haven or resting place for serial human rights violators like Mr Mengistu,” he said. “We can’t shelter purveyors of injustice.”
Few Zimbabweans would shed tears if Mengistu, 71, is sent home to the gallows. Mr Mugabe has spent millions of dollars providing him with a villa in a barricaded cul-de-sac in the Gun Hill suburb, with round-the-clock protection and any number of other benefits. In return Mengistu has advised Mr Mugabe on security issues, and was allegedly the mastermind of Operation Murambatsvina in 2006 in which security forces and Zanu (PF) thugs razed the homes of 700,000 slum-dwellers regarded as MDC supporters.
Mengistu has plenty of experience in that field. He seized power after a military coup in 1974 that ended Emperor Haile Selassie’s 44-year rule. In 1976 he mounted the “Red Terror” campaign against opponents of his Derg regime. Over the next few years more than half a million people were thought to have been killed in what Human Rights Watch called “one of the most systematic uses of mass murder ever witnessed in Africa”. The victims included the former Emperor and numerous members of the Royal Family, and Mengistu is said to have executed some of them himself.
He turned Ethiopia into a Marxist state, backed by the Soviet Union, earning the sobriquet the “Black Stalin”. He created giant collective farms that had the same ruinous effect on agricultural production as Mr Mugabe’s land seizures in Zimbabwe, and that helped to cause terrible famine.
His Soviet-armed military sought to crush an independence war in Eritrea, and an uprising in Tigray province, but when the Soviet Union collapsed Mengistu lost his sponsors. In 1991 he fled to Zimbabwe as the Tigre People’s Liberation Front and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front surrounded Addis. Washington asked Mr Mugabe to accept him to end the bloodshed.
In 1995 Mengistu narrowly survived an assassination attempt by two Eritreans as he took an afternoon stroll with his wife near Garvin Close, his Harare home. Otherwise he has maintained a low profile. As Mr Mugabe’s popularity has plunged, Mengistu was rumoured to have made contingency plans to move to North Korea.
As I said I had totally forgotten about Mengistu. I thought he had died years ago. Sadly so many former dictators, be it Amin in Saudi, or any number elsewhere escape retribution dying in their beds. While I do not support his execution he is one of many people I would love to see pay for his crimes. On the other hand I am not sure that the MDC will be successful in extraditing him while Mugabe and his cronies are still around

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No room for lazy officers - Chihuri

The Herald
2009 02 06
Herald Reporter
POLICE Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has declared zero tolerance for lazy and under-performing officers in pursuit of the newly-launched strategic police plan dubbed "Vision 2020".
Addressing senior police officers at the launch of "Vision 2020" strategic plan in Harare yesterday, Comm-Gen Chihuri said the force would accordingly deal with officers who did not perform as expected.
Some officers loitered during working hours thus acting as obstacles to the achievement of the force’s goal of "policing the nation for sustainable development".
"Let me reiterate that the organisation will not tolerate anyone who behaves like lifeless logs floating amongst crocodiles for they will never become crocodiles and thus will remain irrelevant to their course.
"The organisation expects all officers and members as well as its structures to assume ownership of this initiative and fully commit themselves to its success.
I am therefore directing every commander to ensure that this vision is communicated to all your subordinates," said Comm-Gen Chihuri.
His address marked the beginning of a two-day workshop for Deputy Commissioner-Generals, Chief Staff Officers and Officers Commanding provinces to analyse and discuss the strategic plan.
Comm-Gen Chihuri said the plan would satisfactorily serve the people who are the police’s main constituency.
"We should always bear in mind that in policing the nation, our main constituency are members of the public and we must strive to meet their expectations.
"In this new era, where policing draws its credence from strategic planning, there is need for the organisation to re-orient itself towards issues of law enforcement in order to provide quality service to the people.
"Therefore, through Strategic Plan: Vision 2020, we are strategically positioning ourselves to deal with the rigours of policing a dynamic society," he said.
Comm-Gen Chihuri said the plan was a roadmap of what the police intend to do and achieve in the 11-year journey to 2020.
The implementation of the all-encompassing strategic plan sought to consolidate the gains realised through land reform and the discovery of precious minerals around Zimbabwe.

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Shiri shooting suspect’s bail ruling set for today

The Herald
2009 02 06
Court Reporter
THE High Court will today rule on the bail application by an employee of the United States Agency for International Development accused of attempting to assassinate Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri.
Frank Muchirahondo, a driver with USAID, was arrested on January 22 at Forbes Border Post in Mutare en route to Mozambique.
He appeared at the Bindura Magistrates’ Courts where he was charged with attempted murder and was advised to apply for bail at the High Court.
Yesterday, Justice Alfas Chitakunye heard the application by Muchirahondo, represented by Mr Bernard Chidziva of Kantor and Immerman and reserved his ruling to today.
Mr Chidziva asked the court to grant bail saying his client was a proper candidate.
He argued that the prosecution case was weak in light of the evidence of the investigating officer whose affidavit he claimed carried unsubstantiated allegations that made it impossible to create a reasonable suspicion warranting the incarceration of Muchirahondo.
The prosecution is contending that Muchirahondo was the only person seen leaving the scene after the shooting and was driving a high-powered Toyota Land Cruiser.
But the defence argued that the investigating officer, in his affidavit, did not state Muchirahondo’s vehicle was seen leaving the scene, but a vehicle resembling the one he was driving.
Mr Chidziva dismissed the State’s allegations that Muchirahondo attempted to sneak out of the country through Forbes Border Post, an official point of exit. He said his client was on his way to Mozambique on duty.
He also argued that the State’s allegations that USAID was facilitating his client’s flight were unfounded as the organisation had a reputation to protect.
To allay the prosecution’s fears, the lawyer suggested that his client be granted bail coupled with stringent conditions.
But prosecutor Mr Beaven Marevenhema urged the court to dismiss the application arguing that there was overwhelming evidence against Muchirahondo.
He said Muchirahondo was facing a serious offence that attracted a lengthy jail term upon conviction.
Mr Marevenhema said Muchirahondo’s employers displayed an intention to facilitate his departure from Zimbabwe and said Muchirahondo was not co-operative with the police.
The State alleges that Muchirahondo shot and injured Air Marshal Shiri on the night of December 10, 2008 as the AFZ chief was driving to his farm in Shamva, hitting him in the right palm at around 8:30pm.

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Mutambara, Zim's deputy premier, the world's luckiest politician
06 February 2009
By Tambanavo Chamanyawi
Some people are lucky. For real, Arthur Oliver Mutambara is fortunate.
The Mechatronics professor will be the deputy prime minister of Zimbabwe from February 13. Isn't it shocking?
He virtually did nothing that deserves him the post. Mutambara will absolutely make it in the book of records as the world's most auspicious politician.
History is littered with tales of how politicians toil, rot in jails or escaped the hangmen's noose for laying claim to higher offices. Nelson Mandela of South Africa sat in solitary confinement for 27 years; Zanu PF's Robert Mugabe lost 11 years of his life. Morgan Tsvangirai glared at death in its ugly face after Mugabe raised sedition incriminations against him. Jacob Zuma, the ANC president is still limping from one court room to another for daring to declare interest in the presidential post.
Obasanjo of Nigeria spent time behind bars after the late military dictator, Sani Abacha detained him. Frederick Chiluba of Zambia did not have the best of times when he took on Kenneth Kaunda. Jonas Savimbi of Angola even died before laying his hand on the throne. But Samanyika, aka Wasu has accessed the job through a phone call from the controversial constitutional professor, Welshaman Ncube. What a through pass?
Just Imagine!
He never even contested the presidency, but chickened out, opting for a safer battle zone in Zengeza where he polled 1,322 votes, trailing way behind Tsvangirai MDC and Zanu PF candidates. But the former visiting fellow of Massachusets Institute of Technology will be sworn in as Tsvangirai's deputy this month.
Many would agree that politics is a game of luck and power, but Arthur’s rise (if ever he has risen) to higher office left neither any trace nor formula. In his bid for political relevance, the man lost his moral compass, a sad development which will prove to be a recipe for future disaster in his political career.
I love Arthur's 'Catholic God'. He plentifully rewards him for doing utterly nothing, zero, and zilch. His prayers are really being well acknowledged and answered. The dearly departed ancestors of the indubitably luminous Robotics professor must be working over-time in their graves.
All the Rhodian Scholar had to do was to accept a well-calculated offer from Welshman Ncube to come and be a credible Shona face of a rebellion against Tsvangirai. He also had to do Ncube another small favour. To elbow-out the ambitious but ungifted Gift Chimanikire, who turned out to be a liability to the Ncube formation. Ncube went out shopping for Chimanikire's replacement and 'bought' Arthur.
In a hire purchase agreement, Mutambara was promised a parliamentary seat in exchange for his tribal services and obviously not for his robotics expertise. Instead, Arthur got more than what he bargained for. A deputy prime minister post!
Of course, Tsvangirai's deputy, Thokozani Khupe is also another opportunist who never dreamt of being a deputy prime minister, until the split dawned, but at least she was persecuted by the Mugabe regime. Not even a single slap was administered on Arthur's face by Zanu PF thugs since his startling appearance in Zimbabwe's political furnace.
When Tsvangirai, Lovemore Madhuku, Grace Kwinjeh, Sekai Holland and others were arrested in March 2007 in Highfields and savagely flogged, Arthur, who was also in detention never, sustained even a single bruise. Whilst others were dripping with blood and tears, Arthur did not even lose a sweat. Yes! This is a fact. Check with Mrs. Holland or Dr. Madhuku. It is common knowledge that Arthur even asked the police to beat him up as well so as to beef up his residual and ailing credibility.
And this is the man who will be your Deputy Prime Minister in the next few days. Wait for a moment; don't feel bad about this development. It's not your fault. You never elected him. Whose Deputy Prime Minister is he anyway?
Of course not mine, maybe yours. Others are really born with silver spoons in their mouths. The 43 year old Oliver surely must be having gold-coated blood flowing in his veins.
Very soon his work place will be Munhumutapa Building. It is now certain. Can we all imagine, Zanu PF characters, like Emerson Mnangangwa, Ignatius Chombo and Didymus Mutasa saluting Mutambara as Shefu?
O-oh his gods are shining dazzlingly at him. Who doubts that the Zengeza senatorial aspirant can easily make millions if he tries his hand at lotto?
Mutambara came to prominence in the late 1980s as a student leader at the University of Zimbabwe. His celebrity status was not a result of anything spectacular. All UZ student leaders have always staged lengthy demonstrations. All he had to do was to jump from his third floor room in Complex three's hall of residence. Arthur was apparently frightfully fleeing from a late night knock on his door.
The bald headed Arthur later made everyone to believe that his 'nicodimus visitors' were members of the Mugabe's dreaded CIO. And for that, the man would re-write Zimbabwe's history by being the second black deputy Prime Minister of former Rhodesia. The first black deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe was the late Simon Vengai Muzenda.
After scooping a Rhodes scholarship alongside Simukai Utete, daughter of Mugabe's Permanent Secretary, Charles Utete, Arthur disappeared from the political radar of Zimbabwe for almost 20 years. His first port of call was Merton College where he obtained a PhD in Robotics and Mechatronics. Thereafter he prostituted his services in various institutions before being parachuted back to Zimbabwe to lead the Ncube break away.
What he is now is a clear shadow of his former self. But the man is destined for Mzee's (Muzenda’s) boots.

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Mugabe set to sign 'unity' bill

Cape Argus (SA), 6 February

President Robert Mugabe is expected to sign constitutional amendment 19, which provides the legislative foundation for a unity government, heralding what many Zimbabweans hope will be the beginning of the end of his era. Front benchers of Zanu PF and MDC members burst into song as they left the House of Assembly yesterday: "We are now in agreement," they sang, in a refrain used by both parties at political rallies. Abdenico Bhebe, MP for Nkayi, one of south-western Zimbabwe's driest and poorest areas, said: "Every fight must come to an end and this is evidence that people are willing to try to work together to resolve the problems bedevilling the country." Paul Madzore, MP for a western Harare township where cholera is raging, said: "At least people in Zanu PF have now come to the realisation that they are the main problem in Zimbabwe, and this time next year Mugabe will be gone."
Only two western diplomats, one British, were in the Speakers' gallery during the 110-minute debate to slam the amendment through a mutilated set of standing orders, fast-tracked through parliamentary processes to enable Mugabe to seize white farms. Several African diplomats shook hands and grinned when the amendment was adopted by 184 legislators in the 210-seat Parliament which has several vacancies as a result of MP deaths since the March 2008 elections. The amendment also passed easily through the upper house, the Senate, soon afterwards. "I am cautiously optimistic but I am not under any illusions about the problems ahead," said MDC senator David Coltart. Constitutional Amendment 19 came before Parliament yesterday despite MDC statements on Wednesday that it would be delayed by a week because of Zanu PF foot-dragging. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had rushed to Cape Town to consult President Motlanthe and this may have put the process back on track.
At the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit last week, regional leaders set the Zimbabweans a timetable to a new government, including passage of Constitutional Amendment 19 by February 4. The passing of the bill now means Tsvangirai could still be sworn in as prime minister - and Arthur Mutambara, leader of another MDC faction, as deputy prime minister - by February 11, as the SADC timetable requires. Then cabinet ministers could be sworn in by the scheduled date of February 13 and the unity government could be under way. But while MDC legislators were putting their names to what they hope is the start of a new, more democratic era in Zimbabwe, Zanu PF supporters, army, police and militia were still evicting and detaining white farmers. Chris Jarret, who was kicked off his farm six years ago, was arrested in Bulawayo yesterday because police said he had failed to pick up his person-al property when he had been forced from his land. Gary Godfrey, who had managed to survive on a small piece of his original farm, was pick-ed up by police about 60km north of Bulawayo. In a nearby district, Paul Rogers, who had also continued to farm nine years after the land-grab started because his farm had not been listed for "acquisition", was also held. Another three white farmers have been in detention for three weeks, accused of training terrorists. The three ran outdoor adventure courses for school children about 50km south-east of Harare. Four smallholdingers on the outskirts of Harare have been evicted in the last week.

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Zimbabwe: Landmine Kills Girl (5)

All Africa
The Herald- Published by the government of Zimbabwe

6 February 2009

Harare — A five-year-old Rushinga girl was last week blown up while her one-year-old sister was seriously injured after a landmine they were lying on while playing house (mahumbwe) exploded.
Fadzai Chitembwe, of Chimusoro Village under Chief Makuni in Rushinga, died at Marymount Mission Hospital while her younger sister, Tadiwanashe, is fighting for her life in the same hospital.
The tragedy occurred on Saturday when the two were playing in the minefield, about 400 metres from their home.
Mashonaland Central provincial police spokesperson Inspector Niccison Kasoso said the girls' parents were weeding their cotton field when tragedy struck.
It is believed that the girls accidentally lay on a landmine, triggering the explosion, said Insp Kasoso.
Their father, Mr Isaac Chitembwe, rushed them to the hospital were Fadzai died a few hours later.
The matter was reported to police, who attended the scene.
Insp Kasoso urged people living in landmine-infested zones to closely monitor their children's movements and whereabouts.
Copyright © 2009 The Herald. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

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SAfrica urges aid for Zimbabwe


CAPE TOWN (AFP) — South African President Kgalema Motlanthe on Friday urged the international community to help rebuild Zimbabwe and end a crushing humanitarian crisis, once a unity government is installed next week.

Motlanthe said in his state of the nation address to parliament that Zimbabwe's feuding parties had achieved "the ultimate prize... that is, a stable and legitimate government."

"Now the work of reconstruction can start in earnest, and South Africa stands ready to assist wherever we can," he said.

"There is urgent need to assist in dealing with the humanitarian crisis in that country. We are confident, that because it cares, the international community will partner the people of Zimbabwe as they blaze out along a new trail," he added.

South Africa mediated the power-sharing deal between Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is set to be sworn in as prime minister next week.

The pact aims to end months of political turmoil following disputed elections last March, and to piece back together the shattered economy, crushed by the world's highest inflation.

More than half the population needs food aid to survive, while only six percent of the workforce has jobs, according to the United Nations.

But major donors like Britain and the United States have said they will wait to see if the new government can function before giving the new administration major new aid.

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