By Peta Thornycroft
Independent Foreign Service
South African taxpayers’ gift of R300 million to Zimbabwe was a waste of money and some of it is being misused for the benefit of President Robert Mugabe's cronies in Zanu PF.
The donation - or aid - was announced late last year by finance minister Trevor Manuel who pledged the gift would only be handed over after an internationally- recognised government of national unity was formed. President Kgalema Motlanthe repeated this assurance.
But suddenly and mysteriously the aid was transformed into a Southern African Development Community ( SADC) aid package.
An instant SADC foundation, the Zimbabwe Development Assistance Framework, was formed to channel agricultural inputs to Zimbabwean farmers.
This framework is still not yet fully operational and its impartiality has been questioned.
The aid began moving into the country before Christmas.
It is mostly seed, fertiliser and fuel from South African companies and was sent despite warnings from Zimbabwe agriculturalists that most of it was too late for this summer season, and unless distributed carefully would be abused.
Most of the seed arrived months too late to plant and is being eaten, and the wrong fertiliser was ordered for this time of year in the maturation cycle of annual crops like maize.
Before Christmas, 60 000 litres of diesel was also sent into Zimbabwe for distribution.
A senior civil servant, working in the state's depleted technical support network for farmers, Agritex, in the fertile Mashonaland West province, confirmed last week that South African aid was often only available to Zanu PF supporters in parts of the country, particularly Mashonaland West, Mugabe’s s home province and Mashonaland Central where Zanu PF is also in control. This is because it is distributed by chiefs who are invariably loyal to ZanuPF.
The monitoring framework which SADC hastily began setting to ensure fair distribution of the aid mostly comprised three church groups, seen by many Zimbabweans as aligned to Zanu PF; the Evangelical Fellowship, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, and the Johannes Masowe Apostolic Church. At the height of the distribution last month the Catholics, also cited as monitors in the Department of Agriculture circular, were supposed to have joined but had not yet been invited.
The point of arrival of the consignments in Zimbabwe was the state's Grain Marketing Board’s various depots, which are controlled by the military, loyal to Zanu PF.
As a result opposition areas we're often neglected.
Abdenico Bhebe, Movement for Democratic Change MP for Nkayi, one of the driest parts of Zimbabwe in the south west, said Thursday his constituency had received no SADC aid packages.
“Nothing, nothing, and there is also not enough food aid coming in either because the government is not fulfilling its part of the memorandum of understanding it signed with the NGO sector by providing 40 percent of food. “There is only western food aid coming in, and people are hungry. “We have received none of the SADC seeds and fertiliser but it would be too late now anyway,” he said.
A young farmer in the Chiweshe communal area, about 60 km west of Harare, was denied any seeds or fertiliser because he did not have a Zanu PF card. Three weeks ago, in ward 18 at the Gweshe business centre in the Chiweshe district where the aid packs were stored, police from the Howard police station had to break up fights when non-Zanu PF farmers were denied seeds and fertiliser by local Chief Medomo.
“We were about a thousand people there and the sacks of seeds and fertiliser were labelled "SADC." Zanu PF got everything and people became angry and there was fighting, ".the young farmer said.
“One policeman called for three more police and they took bribes and allowed Zanu PF people to take all that was handed out that day.
“There was still some sacks left over at the end of the day but they closed down distribution and the rest was given out at the end of January, also to Zanu PF. The people I know who do not have Zanu PF cards got nothing..”
The SADC aid appears to have been well-intentioned but misguided.
The senior Agritex officer from Mashonaland West, who spoke on condition he was not identified, said SADC had tried to provide for fair distribution by not using civil servants like those from Agritex to disperse it.
“The South Africans don’t know how the system works. Not all of us are Zanu PF. There are still a few professional left in Agritex and we could have stopped this. The chiefs have to obey Zanu PF even if they don’t want to. “Zanu PF always takes control and the chiefs have to obey. It doesn’t matter what anyone does, unless they are monitored by real independent people, or NGOs, Zanu PF will ensure only their members get food and seeds.”
“The problem is that it is organised so the chiefs get everything and there is nothing for ordinary people or those without Zanu PF cards."
A hostile Agritex official at its head office in Harare denied on Friday that it was possible to misuse the aid, because he said a SADC official, he called Mr Whale, attended many of the distributions. But he conceded Whale he couldn’t be everywhere when the aid was handed out.
SADC officials were not available for comment on Friday.
Each village head was given;to dole out to seven or eight farmers in his precinct; three packs of South African seeds, 25 kg of maize 20 kg of beans and 5 kg of Rapoko, ground nuts, sorghum and cowpeas, and 50 kg of fertiliser.
South African suppliers were Pannar Seeds and Advanced Seeds while Omnia provided the fertiliser.
Experienced seed growers for both commercial and communal farmers said the deadline for planting maize, sorghum and groundnuts, passed in November, and that if seeds were sent to Zimbabwe after this , when so many people were hungry, they would all be “consumed as food.”
One of Zimbabwe’s top seed producers who asked not to be named, said the sugar beans can be planted now, but only under the “right conditions. If distribution of sugar beans has been completed, the farmers will harvest some crops if the rain continues.
“None of us are sure of the quality and genetic purity, especially of those seeds which originated from Malawi."
He said the compound D fertiliser which was part of the aid packs was too late for summer crops but the highly nitrogenous fertiliser, LAN, could still be of used for winter wheat planting which begins in May- although communal farmers do not have irrigation do not grow it.
“This assistance programme will be unable to make any significant difference to our immediate food shortage situation.” he said.
According to the latest Ministry of Agriculture circular, distribution began on January 19, although maize seed had arrived in Zimbabwe a week earlier. Most of the rest of the inputs arrived a week later.
Despite the SADC aid which was supposed to help Zimbabweans feed themselves, the World Food Programme has upped its estimates of Zimbabweans needing emrgencyfood aid from 5.2 million to more than seven million.
It says it does not have enough donations to buy food for those in need and so it cut rations again this month.
Zimbabwe now also has Africa’s worst ever cholera epidemic with about 65 000 infected and more than 3 400 dead since last August. The latest surge in infections is in central Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 7th February 2009
At a Vigil attended by supporters from far and wide it was decided that, now we are all united, Comrade Mugabe would be invited to join us outside the Embassy to mark his 85th birthday on 21st February. We know that his fans at home are trying to extort US$ 200,000 for his birthday celebrations at Masvingo but we are sure he will be able to use the miraculous powers which have enabled him to bamboozle the world to join us (in the shape of Fungayi Mabhunu wearing our Magabe mask). He will be given presents of cholera and torture, and Grace will be shown valiantly beating up a Western photographer and battling with a Zimbabwean judge over a stolen farm. Thanks to Mike Mudyiwa for the suggestion.
In the new spirit of unity, the Vigil will ask Mugabe to make over his personal fortune of US $3 billion (Top 20 African Rich List – http://www1.zimbabwesituation.com/old/feb4a_2009.html#Z32) to the Zimbabwean people. By curious coincidence this matches the talked about Western bail-out package. It would be wonderful if a generous donor like Mugabe would show that the West is not needed to rescue our dying families.
Now the far and wide bit: it was great to welcome the Oatens from south west France and Tendai Madume who came all the way from Plymouth in snowbound Devon – pretty heroic given the circumstances.After a week of bleak winter weather we escaped lightly today – very cold but dry. We bought a cake to celebrate Sue Toft’s birthday. She was lifted shoulder-high by her friends at the Vigil in appreciation of her work for Zimbabwe even though she has no direct connection with the country. Sue was fortunate in having two cakes for her birthday – Emily Garupira and Eunita Masolo, who work in a cake shop, made her a superb concoction which was shared out post Vigil in the pub. The Vigil thinks that you are the best thing about England Sue.
For latest Vigil pictures check:
FOR THE RECORD: 215 signed the register.
FOR YOUR DIARY:· ‘The Agony of Zimbabwe, What Chance for Change?’
Monday 9th February, 6.45 – 8.45 pm.
Talk by Christina Lamb, Foreign Affairs Correspondent of 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: http://monde-diplo-friends.org.uk/calendar.htm.
Central London Zimbabwe Forum.
Monday 9th February at 7.30 pm.
Venue: Downstairs at the Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.
WOZA Solidarity Protest.
Saturday, 14th February, 12 – 2 pm,
outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR.
Next Glasgow Vigil.
Saturday 14th 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.·
Mugabe’s Birthday Bash at the Vigil – 21st February, 2 – 6 pm.
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. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.__._,_.___
Short of lifting sanctions, it can offer targeted help to boost Mugabe's rival.
By the Monitor's Editorial Board
from the February 9, 2009 edition
A sliver of light is shining in Zimbabwe, once a star nation in Africa that's been brutally mismanaged by dictator Robert Mugabe. This week, Mr. Mugabe's rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, is expected to become prime minister in a new power-sharing government. Few give the deal much hope, yet it must be given the opportunity to succeed.
How big an opportunity?
Africa's leaders, as voiced by the 53-member African Union, say the new unity government is cause for the international community to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe. Now's the time, it argues, to help to its feet a country staggering under hyperinflation and near-total joblessness, hunger and severe health problems - including a cholera epidemic.
Not so fast, caution the United States and European Union. They're lukewarm to the new political arrangement, and want to see proof of power-sharing and effective governance before they'll ease sanctions.
But doing nothing also leaves Mr. Tsvangirai with nothing - no leverage to succeed, and probably more likely to fail than if he had at least some tangible outside help to rely on. Small, targeted steps can be taken that are short of ending sanctions.
Western diplomats are right that this big move is premature. Mugabe, in power for nearly 30 years, stubbornly remains president, and he has a long history of broken promises.
He did not deliver on free or fair elections last year, when he lost to Tsvangirai and this trade unionist's Movement for Democratic Change. Neither has he allowed the free flow of humanitarian aid to desperate Zimbabweans - instead blaming the West for the country's problems.
And while Mugabe signed the power-sharing deal last September, it broke down over the divvying up of ministries and arrests of opposition figures. Last fall, Tsvangirai had hoped to at least gain control of the police (Mugabe gets the Army); he's since been forced to accept joint command.
Other factors bode ill for a unity government. Tsvangirai is considered feckless by some, and his party unprepared to govern. The one outside power that could truly apply pressure to Mugabe, neighboring South Africa, shirks from crossing a man still recognized for his role as liberator from white rule.
Still, while the West may be justified in its distrust of this deal, it is one that Tsvangirai has chosen - and the only option for now.
What the West can and should do is publicly offer limited humanitarian assistance to Tsvangirai, channeled through the ministries that the opposition in theory will control. Food, medical assistance, and temporary shelter could be funneled through the health ministry, for instance.
The West should demand accountability along with this help, then be willing to pull the plug if the aid is blocked by Mugabe and his supporters, or diverted to them - as it has been in the past.
With such a strategy, Tsvangirai has something to work with, and, if he can deliver, perhaps show even Mugabe's supporters that he's the one to back.
A unity government in Zimbabwe may last only weeks. But the West should do what it can to hasten success - not failure.
Published: Feb 06, 2009
ROBERT Mugabe yesterday rushed through legislation that will legalise his disputed presidency and make his arch rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, prime minister.
Zim parliament clears way for unity deal
Zim parliament meets on unity deal
Morning radio broadcasts instructed all members of parliament to attend the constitutional amendment session. By late afternoon, parliament had passed the legislation without controversy, paving the way for a unity government.
The speed at which the process was concluded - it took a little longer than two hours - illustrated the desperation of Mugabe’s government.
It was also eager to meet the deadline set by the Southern African Development Community.
More than that, Zimbabwe is on its knees and in dire need of international aid to revive its crumbling health and education systems and dilapidated infrastructure.
Worse still, most of its people face critical food shortages.
With cholera continuing to exact its toll - more than 3230 people have succumbed to the disease - the health sector is in a shambles. Junior doctors and nurses remain on strike.
Teachers are not giving lessons two weeks after schools opened.
Morale in the police force and army is at a low after the government declined their request to be paid in foreign currency.
The UN estimates that seven million of the nine million people remaining in Zimbabwe need food aid this month, according to the Washington Post.
It said the opposition hopes that its being placed in charge of the finance, health and education ministries - in terms of the legislation passed yesterday - will allow it to solicit and distribute aid to prevent mass deaths from starvation and disease.
Mugabe, who turns 85 in a fortnight’s time, recently quipped, “I have had enough, haven’t I?” This was in apparent reference to the difficulty of forming a unity government.
The Washington Post reported yesterday: “It long ago became clear that Zimbabwe cannot recover as long as Mr Mugabe remains in power.
“South Africa and other neighbours who insist on supporting the criminal regime are free to supply aid. But Western governments must maintain their sanctions - especially those aimed at individual members of the Mugabe regime and the companies they control.”
Mugabe is pinning his survival on the unity government, convinced donors will accept the new political arrangement.
He still has a stronghold over the senate, which is expected to rubber-stamp the amendments.
After that, Mugabe will sign the bill into law.
Feb. 03, 2009
Taipan Publishing Group
The root cause of hyperinflation is excessive money supply growth, usually caused by governments instructing their central banks to help finance expenditures through rapid money creation. Hyperinflations have mostly occurred in a context of political instability, adverse economic shocks and chronically high fiscal deficits.
- Joachim Fels and Spyros Andreopoulos, Morgan Stanley Global Economic Forum
Poor Gideon Gono. He gave it the old college try, but that just wasn’t good enough.
Gideon Gono, in case you aren’t familiar with the name, is (or at least was) the head of Zimbabwe’s central bank.
In local circles he is known by his nickname, “Mr. Inflation.”
The “Mr. Inflation” moniker is due to certain eyebrow-raising measures Mr. Gono has taken, like issuing bank notes worth Z$ 100 trillion (How many zeroes in a hundred trillion?
Fourteen?) in a futile attempt to ease the country’s chronic cash shortages.
When 14 zeroes don’t do the trick, you know it’s time to give in - and that’s what the country has done.
“Zimbabwe abandons its currency,” the BBC reported on Thursday. “Zimbabweans will be allowed to conduct business in other currencies, alongside the Zimbabwe dollar, in an effort to stem the country's runaway inflation.”
Failure is never fun, but don’t feel too sorry for Mr. Gono. Being a connected member of Zanu-PF (the ultra-corrupt political party that has driven Zimbabwe into the ground), he has a 47-bedroom mansion to console him. No doubt he also has a well-padded slush fund... held in something other than Zimbabwe dollars.
In an interview with Newsweek a few weeks back, Mr. Gono explained his actions to the outside world. What was frightening about the interview was not the degree of crazy talk - of which there was some - but the more sober aspects of the exchange.
Consider this excerpt:
Newsweek: Your critics blame your monetary policies for Zimbabwe's economic problems.
Gono: I've been condemned by traditional economists who said that printing money is responsible for inflation. Out of the necessity to exist, to ensure my people survive, I had to find myself printing money. I found myself doing extraordinary things that aren't in the textbooks. Then the IMF asked the U.S. to please print money. I began to see the whole world now in a mode of practicing what they have been saying I should not. I decided that God had been on my side and had come to vindicate me.
Hmm. Some of that language rings familiar. Where else have we heard about central bankers doing “extraordinary things that aren’t in the textbooks”?
Isn’t that, in fact, both the main line of defense and the main source of hope behind the West’s now-unfolding mass Keynesian experiment... the idea that the degree of money-printing, asset-buying and stimulus-funding we now witness with slack-jawed awe is “extraordinary,” such non-textbook measures having never before been tried?
Maybe what Mr. Gono (a.k.a. Mr. Inflation) is telling us is that such measures have been tried... and they didn’t work out very well...
The United States is not Zimbabwe, of course. Uncle Sam’s regime is a heck of a lot more stable. And Gideon Gono never had the privilege of printing the world’s reserve currency.
All the same, one has to wonder. Are the basic conditions that stoke the flames of hyperinflation - political instability, adverse economic shocks and chronically high fiscal deficits - really so far from the West’s doorstep?
In an interview with Barron’s last month, money manager Rob Arnott made a modest case:
How can we get out of this current mess without renewed inflation?
A lot of folks are deeply concerned about the risk of deflation. The temptation is to look at history, especially the Great Depression, which was a deflationary depression and which started with a very, very low national indebtedness. If you have very little debt and you have a depression, it is likely to be deflationary. The contrast with Germany in the 1920s is noteworthy; they had massive indebtedness and hyperinflation. I’m not suggesting a risk of hyperinflation. But I am suggesting that people are too glib about tossing aside the risk of inflation, which was front and center less than six months ago for most investors.
That Hideous Strength
As your humble editor has said before in these pages: When it comes to rapid money creation, the U.S. Federal Reserve reigns supreme. In terms of sheer scale and scope, nobody but nobody prints like the U.S. of A.
Here and now, though, there are at least two reasons traders are complacent about the dollar’s fate. One, because the greenback remains visibly strong; and two, because Fed Chairman Bernanke is still wrestling with a deflationary grizzly bear.
There’s no arguing with the chart. Given the current climate, traders prefer greenbacks.
This is, in large part, because Europe looks to be at risk of cracking up. Riots on the continent threaten to make France look like Greece (where things got so bad the police ran out of tear gas), and Britain is staring down the prospect of bank losses larger than the country’s entire GDP. (Some wags have begun newly referring to London as Reykjavik-on-Thames - though it seems a touch early for Iceland comparisons.)
Add in Moody’s threat to downgrade Ireland’s credit rating, Spain in the grips of a vicious housing bubble unwind, and more troubles building up in Italy and the Eastern bloc, and what you get is a euro on the outs.
Then further season the stew with ongoing global economic fears, a lack of certainty as to when growth will resume, and an increasing likelihood that Japan will devalue a too-strong Yen, and you wind up with a situation where the U.S. dollar is the only freely traded major currency alternative left standing. (Besides gold, that is.)
Cracks in the Dam
But you’ve got to wonder (or at least I do)... is it really a good thing, in the long run, for the Fed and Treasury to be given even more rope to hang themselves?
Think about how we got into this mess - this global mess - in the first place. At root, U.S. consumers were given too much credit and Wall Street was given too much trust. In both cases, the appearance of stability led to a dramatic build-up of pressures beneath the surface.
The U.S. consumer has never pulled back, we were reminded, and U.S. house prices have never gone down. These were key rationales for letting the bubble get bigger and bigger before its 2007-2008 burst.
Now, with the greenback looking good in a relative paper sense, it’s easy to see the Fed and Treasury employing a similar line of logic. “Why not print more,” Bernanke and new man Geithner can say, “when the print-fest thus far has had no ill effects?”
Furthermore, there is a similar “hidden pressure” problem embedded in the Fed’s deflation-fighting efforts.
Imagine, if you will, the present gloom-and-doom outlook as a sort of deflationary dam holding back the waters of credit - waters desperately needed to refresh the economy. (The refusal of the banks to dole out their cash, in fact, is very much like a giant lending dam.)
In order to get liquidity to the people, the Fed (with the help of the White House) will have to “break through” this deflationary dam via sheer, unadulterated force. (At heart, that is really what these “unprecedented” Keynesian measures are all about.)
But what happens when the deflationary dam has well and truly smashed, giving way to inflationary flood?
After you’ve ginned up a boiling river, how do you turn off the taps?
On that score, I doubt Ben Bernanke has any more of a clue than Gideon Gono.
That’s why I suspect the “extraordinary measures” being taken by the Fed now could prove even more extraordinary in their aftermath... and why I prefer the long-term prospects of countries with assets on hand rather than debts.
Taipan Publishing Group
Published:Feb 08, 2009
ZIMBABWE RUINS: The A field at Alexandra Cricket Club in Harare is meant to be the city’s reserve Test venue
Picture: LAURIANE NEAVE
“So tell me Miles, why do you need to talk to me about the state of Zimbabwe cricket?” asked a former Zimbabwe international as he gestured to our surrounds.
We were sitting on the side of one of Harare’s premier club grounds, but the grass on the outfield was approaching knee height.
With the city’s cricket clubs no longer able to maintain their own tractors, Zimbabwe Cricket’s only mower has been overwhelmed by its duties around the capital during the rainy season.
People used to take pride in the national cricket team, when they punched well above their weight for a country with a population of just 12-million.
Test victories against respectable sides were not uncommon in the late nineties, but now the national team’s high points involve thrashing a poor Kenyan side and the odd win over Bangladesh.
Zimbabwe cricket’s crash is a by-product of the country’s economic and political decline. But more crippling to the game was alleged financial mismanagement by administrators, led by president Peter Chingoka and chief executive Ozias Bvute.
Of all the accusations levelled against them, the most serious came from the Reserve Bank in 2005, and they were arrested for 12 exchange control violations.
However, two days after their arrest, Chingoka and Bvute walked free and their case never went to court.
The pair have close links with Zanu-PF, the ruling party, and were banned from travelling to Australia, along with a number Zimbabwean politicians.
The embarrassing arrest forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take note and ZC’s accounts were forensically audited twice.
The results of the first audit were rejected outright by Chingoka and Bvute, although they had hand-picked a local auditor. The second was conducted by a multinational company and, in the words of the ICC, revealed “serious financial irregularities”.
Yet the ICC clung to the final paragraph of auditors’ report, which said no criminal charges could be levelled at any individual, ignoring the fact that this is a typical cautionary note that the auditors are only employed to gather facts, not determine guilt or innocence.
The exact facts unearthed by the second audit may be known only to those on the ICC board, but what’s clear to everyone is that millions of US dollars have flowed into the ZC coffers over the past six years as a result of Zimbabwe’s participation in ICC events, yet the country’s cricketing infrastructure has all but collapsed.
In November, the ICC sent a task team to Zimbabwe, led by West Indies Cricket Board president Julian Hunte and ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat.
The idea was to establish the state of cricket and assess the possibility of restoring the senior team to Test cricket, a ludicrous suggestion given that Zimbabwe have won just one of their last 60 one-day matches against top-eight opposition in the past five years.
Hunte stayed on after Lorgat left and met Kevin Curran and Robin Brown, both former coaches of the national side, and former ZC chief executive Dave Ellman-Brown and selector and board member Charlie Robertson.
“We had a frank meeting,” says Robertson of his encounter with the task team. “I handed over all of my correspondence with ZC, including my list of questions to them about their conduct, as well as their replies to me which showed how Chingoka had shamelessly fobbed me off.
“I also made it clear we’d be holding the ICC accountable for the death of cricket in this country, because they have just watched on despite the fact that ZC did not have their finances in order as per ICC regulations.
“I will hold them accountable when (the current administrators) finally walk away with the money and leave nothing, because Zimbabwe will just be an associate with none of the income required to rebuild.”
When the ICC met in Perth last weekend to hear an interim report from Hunte, they were told “none of the stakeholders spoken to during the visit were of the view that Zimbabwe was ready to return to Test cricket, with time frames proposed ranging from six months to two years or more”.
According to Robertson, the reason for this indeterminate amount of time relies on one major factor: “The only way we can return to Test cricket is if we get rid of this administration.”
Miles Maponyera works for TEAMtalk Media Group (SA)
Cricket South Africa to restore links with Zimbabwe
February 7, 2009
Ozias Bvute is happy with the progress Zimbabwe are making
Barely a year after cutting ties with Zimbabwe, Cricket South Africa (CSA) has pledged to resume bilateral relations with the fraught country and support efforts to build a proficient Test team. While the ICC has yet to confirm this, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chief executive Ozias Bvute said 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," said Bvute. "We only need to sit down to work out the modalities of putting into motion the support Cricket South Africa will assist us with."
ICC communications officer James Fitzgerald told the Mail & Guardian, "The [ICC] board was informed that both the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket South Africa have offered playing and administrative support to Zimbabwe Cricket."
CSA spokesperson Kass Naidoo, however, was less forthcoming and said any policy issue regarding ZC would be discussed at the 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," she said.
CSA, under former president Norman Arendse, had cut off ties with Zimbabwe Cricket because of what Arendse termed was "the worsening situation in Zimbabwe". At the time the move was greeted with surprise as South Africa had been staunch supporters of Peter Chingoka and his board. The power-sharing agreement between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangarai, assuming that it holds, makes a restoration of relations all the more likely.
During the ICC board meeting in Perth last week, an ICC-appointed task team presented an interim report on the state of the game in Zimbabwe, who voluntarily stepped away from Tests in 2006. The team was headed by Julian Hunte, the president of the West Indies board, and included ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat. They visited Zimbabwe in November 2008 to inspect facilities, infrastructure and to speak to various stakeholders. The outcome was that Zimbabwe were still at least six months away from being ready for Tests again, but in reality that is likely to be much longer.
Bvute, however, felt otherwise. "Our timetable is in tandem with theirs [the ICC's]. I think it's a fair reflection of what's on the ground - we don't dispute that," he told AP. "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, who beat Kenya 5-0 in a recent ODI series, were making progress. "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."
Ten years ago, Victoria Falls hotels were often full amid a tourism gold rush.
But under Mugabe's rule, tourism revenue has plummeted.
By Karin Brulliard
The Washington Post
PREV of NEXT
BRULLIARD / THE WASHINGTON POST
Some visitors still view Victoria Falls from its namesake town in Zimbabwe, but most now stay just across the border in Zambia, where tourism has boomed.
VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe - This hamlet is swathed in lush emerald jungle, a serene place that is 500 miles from the political turmoil in the nation's capital but seems a galaxy apart.
And then there is the attraction for which the town is named, one of the world's Seven Wonders: the mighty Victoria Falls, a mile-long, 350-foot-high cascade best seen from here in Zimbabwe, residents insist - not from across the chasm in Zambia.
All of which mattered not a whit to Manhattan resident Michael Marsh on a recent morning. He stood on the Zambian side, his baseball cap damp with waterfall spray, and offered a list of reasons why he passed on the view from Zimbabwe.
"I didn't even consider going across the border," said Marsh, 70, a retired dentist who was staying with his wife, Andrea, 67, in a tony lodge outside the Zambian falls town of Livingstone. "Starvation, cholera, desperation, an irrational dictator. I'd love to be able to support the people, but I can't support the government."
And so it was that once-thriving Victoria Falls lost two more tourists to its once-desolate northern neighbor, a continuation of a trend that illustrates the reverberations of Zimbabwe's boom-to-bust economy and chaotic politics under President Robert Mugabe's 28-year reign and, many in Victoria Falls say, the power of bad press.
"Livingstone has become a success because of what's happened in Zimbabwe," said a Zimbabwean executive with a tourism company that operates on both sides of the falls, expressing an opinion that many in Livingstone do not dispute. "There's no way, to the extent that it has grown, that it would have happened without the downturn here."
Ten years ago, Victoria Falls hotels were often full amid a tourism gold rush, and guidebooks were advising those in search of a less theme-park feel to head across the Zambezi River into Zambia. Livingstone - named for British explorer David Livingstone, the first European to see the falls - was an undeveloped nook in a country that had abandoned communism a decade before.
Then Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms, triggering the collapse of Zimbabwe's agricultural economy and widespread international condemnation. The years since have been marked by disputed elections marred by violence and repression, inflation that has skyrocketed past 231 million percent and shortages of food and currency.
Now Zimbabwe, a former tourism mecca, is the subject of many Western nations' travel warnings. Tourism revenue dropped from $ 777 million in 1999 to $ 26 million in 2008, according to figures from Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank, which are considered the most reliable. The World Economic Forum, relying on sunnier data from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, predicts the industry will contract more than 1 percent annually for the next decade.
"The tourism sector has suffered because of the bad publicity we have received from our enemies," said Karikoga Kaseke, chief executive of the tourism authority, referring to the Western nations that Mugabe's government blames for its problems.
Whatever the reason, Zambia saw an opening and began marketing its side of the falls, sometimes as "Victoria Falls Livingstone." Big hotel chains arrived, and risk-averse corporations moved conferences there. National tourism revenue doubled to $ 176 million from 1999 to 2006, according to government statistics. The Livingstone Tourism Association says the number of hotel rooms in the town has swelled from 700 to about 1,900 in the past eight years.
"Initially, it was a negative for us," Tanya Stephens, a longtime Livingstone resident who manages the new Livingstone branch of the South African Protea Hotel chain, said of Zimbabwe's slide. "Then Zambia started to go out and say, 'You can still see Victoria Falls. You can come to Zambia, the safe side of the falls.' "
This is the off-season, and the global recession has slowed tourist traffic, but even now Livingstone feels like a town in the midst of a an oil boom. Footpaths along the waterfall were humming on a recent weekend, and recently opened and in-progress guesthouses marked the landscape. Another big hotel and a supermarket were under construction. A new, tourist-friendly pub on the main drag is "very busy in the evenings," taxi driver Evans Mumbuaa said.
Across the river in the center of Victoria Falls was a shuttered bar and a lonely square. Tourists must bring cash - preferably U.S. dollars or South African rand - to pay for warm sodas at the partially lighted grocery store, because ATMs no longer dispense Zimbabwe's worthless currency.
"They didn't have any postcards in the nice hotels!" said German retiree Ruth Burchardi, who was sipping coffee near a guesthouse pool. She said she knew nothing of Zimbabwe's political situation until friends told her she was crazy to have booked a trip there.
Down at the falls, the few tourists were mostly from other African nations. Among the exceptions were two German engineers on a journey through Southern Africa by four-wheel-drive. But they had been warned that a road trip into Zimbabwe would invite hassles from police, so they came just for the day, with a tour guide from across the border in Botswana.
Victoria Falls tourism operators bemoan negative headlines and stress that the nation's woes have largely bypassed the town. Violence and political unrest are rare and have never affected tourists, they say, and proximity to stocked shops in Zambia and Botswana allow hotels and restaurants to offer first-rate menus and amenities.
But things are dire enough that the hospitality industry has had to keep the town functioning. Operators interviewed in Victoria Falls said some businesses take turns buying chemicals to treat the town's water supply, and one outfit recently bought an engine for the trash truck.
More officially, several operators banded together three years ago to launch a $ 150,000 campaign and Web site, GoToVictoriaFalls.com, aimed at reclaiming the town's good name.
A special correspondent in Harare, Zimbabwe, contributed to this report.
Writer: Clemence Manyukwe
Date: 08 February 2009
Hong Kong University has rejected growing calls to send home Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's daughter, Bona Mugabe, who is studying there under an assumed name. The presence of the dictator's daughter in Hong Kong became known after her mother, Grace Mugabe, assaulted photographer Tsim Sha Tsui while shopping in the country.
Around the world, universities have been under pressure to revoke honorary degrees awarded to Robert Mugabe and government's to expel individuals linked to his autocratic government.
His daughter's presence in Hong Kong was first revealed by the South China Morning Post, despite efforts to mask her presence. Bona Mugabe has never made political statements in Zimbabwe, but has attended political rallies addressed by her father.
"We believe that education should be above politics and young people should not be denied the right to education because of their family background or what their parents have done," a Hong Kong University spokesperson was quoted as saying in the local press. Legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing called for a debate over the admission of students such as Bona Mugabe.
The Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) has since launched a campaign to pressure China to deport young Bona Mugabe. In a petition delivered to the Chinese ambassador in Harare on 27 January, Zinasu said she should return and attend university with other students in Zimbabwe who are suffering because of her father's policies.
She should, said Zinasu in the petition, "come and suffer with other patriotic students studying in state universities. The state of the education system is so deplorable that the President has seen it fit to trust the Chinese with the education of his daughter whilst ordinary students are failing to get a decent education."
The petition outlined a litany of problems that have hit the education system hard and prompted Mugabe's government to take action - such as charging university fees in United States dollars, the brain drain, suppression of academic freedom and the failure of some students to write examinations because of industrial action.
"Zinasu demands the return of Bona Mugabe as a way of mounting pressure on President Mugabe to resuscitate the once prestigious education system," the petition concluded.
The latest campaign follows one last year that resulted in the Botswana government deporting Mugabe propagandist and University of Botswana media studies lecturer, Ceaser Zvayi. Prior to working in Botswana, Zvayi was political editor of the state-run The Herald newspaper, and he was slapped with targeted sanctions by the European Union for hate speech that fanned violence against Mugabe's political opponents during which hundreds of people died.
Universities in the United States and the United Kingdom have revoked degrees awarded to Mugabe. Last year, Australia deported eight students with links to members of Mugabe's government, including the children of Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, saying it wanted to prevent people involved in human rights abuses giving their children education denied to ordinary Zimbabweans. In recent years, government officials have opted to send their children to universities in Asia, mainly Malaysia.
Opposition officials have jumped on the bandwagon of sending their children to foreign institutions. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change and now Prime Minister-designate in an envisaged power-sharing government with Mugabe, sent his daughter to university in Australia to escape plummeting standards at local institutions.
Local analysts have said the campaign to bring back Mugabe's daughter is unlikely to succeed, citing China's refusal to censure him as exemplified by its blocking of debate on Zimbabwe by the United nations Security Council.
by Nokuthula Sibanda
Monday 09 February 2009
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
President Mugabe . . . will have to drop some of his loyal lieutenants from Cabinet
President Robert Mugabe is yet to finish selecting the 15 people from his ZANU PF party that he will appoint as ministers, just four days before a unity government is appointed, sources told ZimOnline.
Under the power-sharing agreement, there shall be 31 ministerial posts with the main MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai allocated 13 posts and the Arthur Mutambara-led smaller formation of the opposition taking three posts.
It was not immediately clear whether Tsvangirai and Mutambara had finished making their own selections but sources said the opposition leaders were unlikely to face much difficulty given that their parties had always campaigned on smaller government of no more than 15 Cabinet ministers.
Mugabe, who will announce the power-sharing Cabinet on February 13, has the harder task, as he will have to drop some of his loyal lieutenants from Cabinet to make room for the opposition, with our sources saying there will be lots of surprises from ZANU PF when the new ministers are announced.
"The final line up on who will be in the Cabinet has not yet been finalised," said a source in Mugabe’s office, who spoke on condition he was not named.
He added: "They will be a lot of surprises in the final line up. Nobody is guaranteed of his or her post despite others working hard to be noticed over the year. Nothing is guaranteed and nothing is certain. Just expect fireworks in the final team from ZANU PF."
Making it more difficult for Mugabe is in-fighting between two rival factions in ZANU PF that are vying for control of the party in the event that he steps down.
The factions, one led by former parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other by retired army general Solomon Mujuru, are expected to push for their candidates to occupy influential posts in government as a way to strengthen their hand in the party.
The appointment of Cabinet next Friday will be preceded by the swearing in of Tsvangirai as Prime Minister on Wednesday. Deputy Prime Ministers Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe will be sworn in on the same day as Tsvangirai.
Zimbabweans hope a power-sharing government will help ease the political situation and allow the country to focus on tackling an economic and humanitarian crisis marked by acute shortages of food and basic commodities, amid a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 3 000 people since last August.
February 7, 2009
I HAVE just spoken to Kanda Bongo Man about the US$ 100,000 he is supposed to have been paid for a recent performance in Harare.
The poor man is suffering despite what we Zimbabweans we are saying about him. The poor man is said to have been invited to perform at a so-called concert to promote the tourism of Zimbabwe.
Believe me the King of Kwasa-Kwasa says he was paid no more than US$ 1 500. If US$ 100 000 was indeed spent on that gig, then Karikoga Kaseke must be arrested and prosecuted for the rest of the money.
Kanda Bongo Man is very bitter about what Zimbabweans are saying that destroys his image. He always performs for good causes. From what he said when I personally spoke to him I don’t think he will ever allow anybody else to use his image to rob Zimbabwe’s taxpayers.
Kaseke must be brought to court where he will explain what happened to the rest of the money.
[ Background ]
Kaseke splashes on Kanda Bongo Man
December 30, 2008
Kanda Bongo Man in action.
By Our Correspondent
THE government of Zimbabwe has splashed a fortune in precious foreign currency in fees paid to Kanda Bongo Man for performing at a modelling contest to be held Tuesday night in Harare.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has hired the ageing Congolese-born kwasa kwasa musician to perform at a Zimbabwe Miss Tourism pageant in Harare for a cool US$ 100 000. A highly placed source at the ZTA says the burly Congolese performer, who arrived in Harare on Monday with his large ensemble, will be the star attraction at the event to be held at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).
“I am told that the US$ 100 000 as well as all his travel, accommodation and incidental expenses have already been paid for,” said the source who asked for anonymity.
“Bongo Man has agreed to act as Zimbabwe’s tourism ambassador to the world.”
How the ZTA expects a French-speaking Manchester-based musician, who is clearly in the twilight of his music career to be effective as Zimbabwe’s world ambassador has not been explained, especially when President Robert Mugabe’s own government is in the forefront of effectively tarnishing the county’s image. Two weeks ago Mugabe announced that his government had now brought the current cholera epidemic under control. Not only was this a gross misrepresentation of the actual situation, more than 200 more people have died since he spoke.
A total of more than 1 500 Zimbabweans have succumbed to the widespread cholera epidemic over the last two months, according to the latest United Nations figures, mainly because of lack of access to clean potable water and lack of medical treatment.
Zimbabwe’s acute shortage of foreign currency has been cited as the cause of the serious shortage of both water treatment equipment and medicines.
The cholera epidemic coupled with the internationally disseminated widespread kidnapping and torture of political opponents has not helped to promote a positive image of Zimbabwe as a popular tourist destination. Some western countries have issued warnings against travelling to Zimbabwe.
The ZTA believes, however, that it can pull a fast one as it were on the international tourist community by engaging musicians such as Bongo Man to woo them back.
“We have no apologies for being Africa’s number one tourism destination,” said Karikoga Kaseke, the ZTA chief executive officer at a press briefing in Harare. “The World Tourism Authority accorded us the status and we hope Kanda Bongo Man will make his own assessment and then spread the message. We’re not going to tell him what to say but we hope he will see the real situation in Zimbabwe and tell the truth and the truth is the true message.”
Always steeped in controversy and constantly featuring at the centre of negative publicity in the press, the temperamental ZTA chief executive is hardly the ideal ambassador for Zimbabwe himself. Far from questioning some of Kaseke’s more dubious decisions and actions, government ministers and top officials regularly grace the ZTA functions with their presence. Outgoing deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga and Mugabe’s press secretary George Charamba are regular front-row revellers.
Meanwhile, Bongo Man has urged the beauties scheduled to strut their stuff Tuesday night for the right to represent Zimbabwe in international tourism modelling competitions to promote Zimbabwe.
“You’re now like Zimbabwean passports or an ID that you show everywhere you go,” he said in a live television broadcast. “So if you behave badly it reflects on your country.”
It is not clear whether this was a deliberate barb aimed at Kaseke. Bongo Man then proceeded to heap praise on exiled Zimbabwe Chimurenga music guru, Thomas Mapfumo, whom he described as a friend.
Ironically, Mapfumo was forced to flee to the United States as a result of the Mugabe regime’s political repression. He was accused of singing subversive songs critical of the government. Two songs in particular, Mamvemve and Marimanzara, narrated the sad story of the crumbling of the country’s once vibrant economy and the chaotic land reform programme.
Meanwhile, Bongoman and his entourage are expected to be taken on a tourism junket to some of the country’s premier but now forlorn resort areas as part of the musician’s tourism ambassadorial package.
The ZTA has brought in a stream of other international musicians and conferred on them the dubious status of tourism ambassadors for Zimbabwe. While they have all departed with a hefty bounty there has been no feedback on how many tourists visited Zimbabwe as a result of their personal intervention. Nothing tangible has materialised out of the launch of the ZTA’s so-called Perception Management Programme.
Kaseke has not responded to allegations that he could be deriving benefits through backhanders.
Prominent among the visiting musicians were South African Kwaito stars, Mafikizolo and Malaika as well as Mbaqanga musician, Ringo Mandlingozi. Another Congolese Kwasa kwasa star Awilo Longomba and Jamaican reggae star, Luciano, have also been Kaseke’s guests and Zimbabwe’s alleged ambassadors.
In-fact the country’s image has deteriorated with tourist arrivals falling sharply, particularly following the chaotic and violent June 27 run-off election which left scores of main stream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters dead, prompting the party’s leader to pull out of the election. To compound Zimbabwe’s tourism problem, several foreign journalists were arrested for operating without licences while others were tortured while in police custody during the same period.
Bongo Man now 53, is most famous for the structural changes he implemented to Soukous music. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, says the previous approach was to sing several verses and have one guitar solo at the end of the song. Bongo Man is credited with revolutionizing Soukous by encouraging guitar solos after every verse and even sometimes at the beginning of the song.
His form of Soukous gave birth to the kwasa kwasa dance rhythm where the hips move back and forth while the hands move to follow the hips.
Despite his musical achievements Bongo Man is generally regarded as being long past the prime of his music career.
February 7, 2009
By Simba Dzvairo
Recently freed senior MDC official Tendai Biti will be appointed to the powerful post of Minister of Finance and Economic Development by the Prime Minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai, a source has revealed.
Biti is the Secretary-General of the MDC and was the MDC chief negotiator in the SADC brokered unity talks. He served as the MDC’s Secretary for Economic Affairs, and is reportedly the brains behind RESTART, the MDC economic blueprint.
Also in the cabinet will be Roy Bennett who returned to Zimbabwe for the first time in more than two years after claiming asylum in South Africa. Bennett is the MDC Treasurer General and will be one of the non constituency Members of Parliament that the MDC will appoint according the power sharing deal.
The source also revealed that a draft cabinet list has been drawn up by the MDC President and his closest advisers but is yet to be presented to the party ’s National Executive Council for approval before being passed on to President Robert Mugabe next week.
The Finance post is envisaged to be the most powerful post in the unity government as the country tries 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.
In a related development Metro has learnt that MDC MP Evelyn Masaiti-Matongo who had been tipped for a cabinet post has been dropped, Masaiti who is personally close to the MDC President is the MDC Women’s Assembly Secretary-General and wife of the late MDC National Chairman Isaac Matongo.
Posted Sunday, February 8 2009 at 18:52
Good news came from Zimbabwe last week. Constitutionally, President Robert Mugabe and his archrival, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, will form a unity government.
In addition to re-creating Zimbabwe, pressure is needed for Zimbabwe to surrender former Ethiopian ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam, for trial. He deserves one!
Not all members of Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF are ululating over the new arrangement. The same goes for Mr Tsvangirai’s MDC membership. Both groups sought total power.
Knowing Mr Mugabe’s rhino-like assault tactics, celebrations need wait. One thing is certain. Mr Mugabe gleefully waits to swear in Mr Tsvangirai on Wednesday. The president relishes humiliating opponents. Remember Joshua Nkomo.
One of the reasons Mr Tsvangirai gave for joining the government is telling. Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC) leaders told M&T, “Enough!” The duo didn’t say, “Let’s do it.” That’s inauspicious.
The deal makes nonsense of South African President Kgalema Motlanthe’s assertion SADC member nations “take our cue from the people of Zimbabwe…” Nearly a half of the electorate wanted Mr Mugabe out last March. In the runoff, Mr Mugabe whipped voters into voting for him.
The cowed-like manner in which a majority of SADC presidents handled Mr Mugabe casts doubt about their determination to ensure he doesn’t weasel out.
Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan is on record saying SADC lacked courage to act on the basis last March elections were the only one free and fair, otherwise “we probably would be facing a different situation.” They now have given Mr Mugabe an additional butcher knife.
Possibly, the new arrangement will stymie Zimbabwe’s descent to a cartographer’s lines. Already, the country has abandoned its currency. Tinkering with zeros on currency notes is fiscal management. Inflation rate is more than 300 trillion per cent. As for food, Zimbabwe as a granary is ashes. Cholera kills daily. At 39 years, Zimbabwe’s life expectancy is depopulation.
Most woes that can befall a people have befallen Zimbabweans. Not so long ago, Mr. Mugabe declared, “Zimbabwe is mine.” A country of world’s hungriest billionaires isn’t much to boast possessing.
The African Union and SADC are demanding the US and the European Union lift sanctions against Mr Mugabe, some cronies and companies associated with them. Equally, they should tell Mr Mugabe that Mr Mengistu’s time is up. Mr Tsvangirai’s party should add his voice.
In addition to ruining Zimbabwe, Mr Mugabe harbours one of Africa’s notorious leaders, assuming only five per cent of Mr Mengistu’s alleged misdeeds are true.
Colonel Mengistu was among a group of officers who ousted Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974. He shot his way to the top of the ruling council, and remained head of state up to 1991.
Allegations were made Mr Mengistu was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Ethiopians between 1975 and 1978. During his reign, Ethiopians paid for a “wasted bullet” to collect bodies of relatives the state murdered.
In 1991, Mr Mengistu fled an insurgency. After a 12-year trial in absentia, Ethiopia’s High Court convicted Mr Mengistu to life in prison. Last year, the Supreme Court enhanced the sentence to death.
Because of Ethiopia’s death penalty law, international sentiments would work against Ethiopia were it to seek Mr. Mengistu’s extradition. That’s where the International Criminal Tribunal comes in. Statutes of limitations for murder don’t exist.
Using evidence Ethiopian authorities gathered, the ICC ought to find grounds to try Mr Mengistu, once described as “the butcher of Addis.” After all, compared with Mr Mengistu, Sudan’s President Omar el-Bashir, whom the ICC has indicted over the Darfur conflict, emerges as a deviant Sunday school teacher. ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Sunday, 08 February 2009
A Moses Moyo forecast of who will get what in Tsvangirai's partial cabinet
Morgan Tsvangirai has bitten the power-sharing bullet.
And now, still staggering under the realisation that he is to be Prime Minister of Mugabe's Zimbabwe - a poisoned chalice if ever there was one - he has to nominate those of his party who will take the MDC share of ministerial appointments in the new administration.
I understand that the situation is still fluid. Not that there aren't enough volunteers for the available cabinet posts. The jobs carry good salaries and the inevitable perks. After years of being beaten up, thrown into jail, and living in fear, the thought of life in smart offices, wearing smart suits, and being driven to and fro in a smart Mercedes, is a tempting one.
Tsvangirai has 13 posts to fill. So far no-one's got anything. But here's my pick of the runners and riders. Place your bets on the following:
Tendai Biti. The party's secretary opposed the agreement with Zanu-PF, and even indicated that he would not be interested in serving in the inclusive government. But power is a strong argument. And Tsvangirai needs that sharp lawyer’s brain in the inevitable battles with Mugabe's men. Biti could well be our next Minister of Home Affairs.
Tapiwa Mashakada. Mashakada is an economist and as such is expected to be named Minister of Economic Planning. But there's an outside chance he could get the crucially important Finance Ministry.
Fidelis Mhashu. The veteran educationist is expected to be named Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture.
Elias Mudzuri. The former mayor of Harare is tipped to get the National Housing and Social Amenities portfolio.
Lucia Matibenga. The veteran trade unionist could be given the Labour portfolio.
Other names in the frame for important posts include MDC policy co-ordinator Eddie Cross, former party treasurer now back in the country Roy Bennett, Eric Matinenga, Douglas Mwonzora, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Giles Mutsekwa, Jessie Majome, Paurina Mpariwa, and of course the charismatic party spokesman Nelson Chamisa.
My fans will have realised that the name Moses Moyo has so far not been mentioned. But I'm standing by the phone.
Posted on Sunday, 08 February 2009 at 11:01
Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic has broken all African records and the World Health Organisation predicts 100,000 people may be infected before it is contained.
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 4:52PM GMT 08 Feb 2009
The International Federation of the Red Cross has deployed a large number of emergency response units in Zimbabwe. Photo: REUTERS
When cholera first started spreading last year the worst-case projections were that 60,000 people could fall ill. That total has already been surpassed, with well over 3,000 dead.
The scale of the problem illustrates the challenges Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, will have to face once he is sworn in as prime minister this week.
The MDC risks being held responsible for a situation over which it has little or no power if the Zanu-PF party of Robert Mugabe obstructs the work of the unity government. Mr Mugabe, Zimbabwe's longstanding autocratic leader, remains Zimbabwe's president and has control of several key ministries after months of negotiations with Mr Tsvangirai.
While the cholera epidemic in Harare, the capital, has stabilised, in other more rural locations, cholera is raging.
The International Federation of the Red Cross has deployed a large number of emergency response units in Zimbabwe, but neither it nor other humanitarian agencies can cope with the spread of cholera.
The World Health Organisation recently found that in a two-week period in Midlands province infections quadrupled from 1,000 to 4,000, while deaths rose from 100 to 400.
Matthew Cochrane, the IFRC's spokesman, travelled across Zimbabwe last week and said that in Kwekwe, a mining town 100 miles west of Harare, the Imbizo clinic, which had no resources, was overrun with patients after admitting 130 in three days.
"Dozens of people were lying there, seriously infected next to those not so ill, and there were three bodies among them on the floor," he said.
"In a couple of days we set up a tent, supplies, some training, and the situation improved immediately."
46 minutes ago
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said Sunday that neighbouring Zimbabwe, crippled by a record rise in inflation, could adopt the South African rand as its standard currency.
"We have to help them so that the coalition government works," Motlanthe said in an interview with the SABC channel, referring to power-sharing between President Robert Mugabe and prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai.
It "may be practical for them to enter into an arrangement with the reserve bank here and allow the rand to become the common currency," he added, without fleshing out his suggestion.
Motlanthe also currently serves as president of the Southern African Development Community, which is mediating the crisis.
Prices in Zimbabwe rose by 231 million per cent in July - the last time official inflation figures were made public. However, analysts say inflation in Zimbabwe actually stands at several billion per cent.
The national currency, the Zimbabwean dollar, has been repeatedly devalued and restrictions on the use of foreign currencies including the US dollar, the euro and the rand have been lifted by Harare.
Zimbabwe is also struggling to fend off a deepening humanitarian crisis amid a cholera epidemic blamed on collapsed infrastructure and a desperate need of food aid, according to international agencies.
Motlanthe also urged the international community to help the new power-sharing government, due to be installed this week, after the African Union called for sanctions against Robert Mugabe and his aides to be lifted.
The Times of Swaziland
By Musa Hlophe on February 08,2009
One is increasingly amazed, if not disappointed by the quality of leadership Africa has, particularly when it comes to acknowledging leadership short-comings or mistakes. Compare President Barrack Obama’s bold and honest acknowledgement that, in appointing Tom Deschle to a ministerial position, not knowing that Tom had not honoured his tax obligations, that this was his mistake!
Can you imagine if that had happened in Africa?
In fact, can you imagine African politicians being disqualified from holding public office simply because he/she had not honoured his/her tax obligations?
Totally unheard of!
But, America being the society wherein integrity counts or matters, the revelation that Tom Deschle had fallen foul of his tax issues was enough to prevent or disqualify him from holding high office. You do not expect that in Africa. In fact, being a person of questionable integrity seems to be the licence of being elevated to higher office in Africa, especially here in Swaziland.
That is why you have people in Parliament, some who bought their way through the election process, in full view of election officials. But we call these fraudsters ‘Honourable Members’. What is honourable with bribing your way through to Parliament?
Should we expect anything honourable from some of these fraudsters - why?
It is therefore not surprising that to date; African leaders have not come to accept that the problems of Zimbabwe have nothing to do with the West having imposed sanctions. The problems of Zimbabwe have all to do with Robert Mugabe having totally subverted all the institutions which would have guaranteed good governance, the respect for the rule of law, the protection of human rights and democracy.
For decades in the sixties and the seventies, the people of Zimbabwe sacrificed their precious lives in order to bring about the abovementioned values/freedoms from white racist Rhodesians. They did not sacrifice so that one of their own could have these freedoms as his own and his associates.
On March 29, 2008, the people of Zimbabwe went out to the polls to vote for change, to vote for the restoration of the freedoms many died for, which had now become Mugabe’s monopoly. And vote for change they did, and the Movement for Democratic Change came out as the preferred political party to lead the reconstruction process of a country Mugabe and his associates has helped to destroy. African leaders are fully aware of this!
But guess what?
As soon as Mugabe realized he had lost the elections, first, he prevented the release of the election results for over a month, whilst, at the same time, unleashing the worst humanitarian crisis, only equal to the atrocities of the 1980s when Mugabe massacred more than 20 000 people in Matebeleland.
However, this time around, his murderous machine had become refined, with the trained youth brigades who carried out massive campaign of abductions, murders and rapes of women and girls. Authoritative reports coming out of Zimbabwe since March to June, 2008, tell of horror stories of mothers and their daughters being gang raped in full view of their tortured husbands and fathers!
African leaders are fully aware of these reports but, for the sake of one of their own, they will pretend that these are an excuse by the West, Europe and the United States of America, for demonizing Mugabe, so that they can install their puppet, Morgan Tsvangiria. What nonsense and what rubbish?
Due to the sustained campaigns by civil society activists in Zimbabwe, who have been able to tell the story of Zimbabwe to the world, most of it covered in video form, the civilised citizens of the West have successfully mobilised their governments to act on Zimbabwe. That is why you have the European Union and the United States of America, having imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe, his associates and their private businesses. The sanctions have no bearing on the poverty currently afflicting the majority of the people of Zimbabwe and African leaders know this.
Why then, even before the Government of National Unity is in place, should African leaders call on the West to lift these sanctions?
Are we to believe that to African leaders, the deaths of over 3 000 Zimbabweans through chorela, and the infection of more than 60 000 people, count for less than Mugabe’s inconvenience in visiting Western capitals, where most of our dictators hide their loot?
Doesn’t the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans count to these leaders?
What about those members of the MDC and other human rights defenders who are in unlawful detention, brutalized and yet denied access to medication of their choice?
Don’t the lives of these Zimbabweans count in the eyes of African leaders?
You all do not deserve the titles of being leaders. You actually deserve much worse than that.
Those of us in the human rights field applaud the decision of both the United States of America and the European Union, for not listening to these African clowns, who masquerade as our leaders, by deciding to keep the sanctions on. Sanctions must stay on until certain conditions are met by the Mugabe regime.
The first condition is the immediate and unconditional release from detention, of all the MDC supporters and members who are currently in unlawful detention. The immediate and unconditional release of all the human rights defenders, including Jestina Mkoko, from their unlawful detentions.
Second condition: the normalisation of the politics of Zimbabwe. This should come about by reversing all the oppressive laws Mugabe has been creating over the years, which gave him power to politicize all the institutions which should support democracy and human rights.
These include the police, the army, the judiciary and the public broadcaster. This must be followed by the release of the airwaves for all those who want to launch independent radio and television stations, restore freedom of the media, by removing all the laws that were used to gag the press.
As part of normalizing the politics of Zimbabwe, the Government of National Unity must be seen to be grappling with the real problems of restoring Zimbabwe to its former glory. This can only be achieved if Mugabe is not the face of the new order. The democratization agenda must be seen to be non-reversible. A process to democratize the electoral process must be in place and be visibly seen to be working and non-reversible. Third condition: full compliance with the SADC Tribunal Judgment on the land issue. To be seen to be respecting the rule of law, the transitional government must fully implement the judgment of the SADC Tribunal on the land issue in Zimbabwe.
It is only when the state of Zimbabwe is in full compliance with its legal obligations that the civilized world can begin to review its position on sanctions. Fourth and final condition: the full restoration of the infrastructure and all social services. As we speak, the education infrastructure and the health sector are dead.
These need to be fully restored before we can think of removing these targeted sanctions for these targeted individuals. Along with this condition, is a clear commitment to routing out corrupting at every level, but especially in the army and the police. These conditions must be underpinned by a clear demonstration by the Government of National Unity that theirs is not a situation dominated by Mugabe and his cronies.
We must ensure that the GNU is not a repeat of what Mugabe and his ZANU-PF associates did with Joshua Nkomo in the1980s-subdue the MDC, and then go back to his old tricks of brutalizing the opposition to surrender.
What I am saying is that until each of these conditions is fully met, then the sanctions must remain in place. It must take the people of Zimbabwe to say to the West: all is now well, the project of democratization is now irreversible, we now have peace with justice, please remove the sanctions!
Until that condition is met, the sanctions must remain in place.