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Armed police patrol as Zimbabwe's crisis deepens

Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:18pm GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Armed riot police patrolled the Zimbabwean
capital Harare on Monday where frustrations have been growing over a
deepening economic crisis.

President Robert Mugabe's government has routinely used police to violently
break up opposition rallies and protests against a crisis that has left many
Zimbabweans scrounging for food and medicines as health and education
services collapse.

On Monday, dozens of riot police in armoured trucks and armed with automatic
rifles were stationed at a central city park where protesters usually gather
for marches.

Other police squads with batons, shields and teargas canisters patrolled
Harare on foot, although there was no public announcement or visible sign of
planned protests.

There was no comment from police on the deployment. Public anger is high
over an economic meltdown that has brought 80 percent unemployment, chronic
shortages of food and fuel, hyperinflation and an outbreak of cholera.

A power-sharing deal signed between Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF and Morgan
Tsvangirai's opposition MDC in September has not been implemented as the
sides argued over control of ministries and the abductions of opposition
figures and human rights activists.

On Monday, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced it would let workers with
payslips cash their salaries without limit, while all other withdrawals
remained restricted.

Zimbabwean dollar salaries are now mostly being used to pay for public
transport, but many businesses are demanding payment in foreign currency in
the face of inflation that officially stands at over 230 million percent.

Critics say Mugabe -- 84, and in power since independence from Britain in
1980 -- has mismanaged the economy and violated human rights, sending the
once-prosperous nation into meltdown.

A cholera outbreak has worsened the humanitarian crisis, infecting nearly
40,000 people and killing more than 1,900, according to the World Health
Organisation (WHO).

Mugabe, who is on leave this month and returned home on Saturday from a
week's vacation in Southeast Asia, says Zimbabwe's economy has been
sabotaged by Western powers opposed to his seizures of white-owned farms for

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High court judge blasts Zimbabwe leaders for worsening economy

Business News
Jan 12, 2009, 12:36 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - The protracted wrangling by Zimbabwe's political
leaders is furthering the deterioration of the nation's economy, Zimbabwe's
high court head said Monday.

'Our political leaders should put aside their political differences,
vendettas if any and put the nation of Zimbabwe first,' said judge president
Rita Makarau. 'As a result of the differences between our political leaders,
the economy has been battered, and battered most severely.'

Zimbabwe is going through its worst economic and humanitarian crisis since
the country gained independence from Britain in 1980. An acute shortage of
all essentials ranging from food, cash, fuel, electricity and medical drugs
has produced the highest inflation rate in the world, officially pegged at
231 per cent.

Makarau said the economic meltdown has also affected the judiciary in

'Our staff, faced with the ever-increasing cost of transport and diminishing
earnings and access to cash, struggle to make it to the High Court each day.
We salute all those who have not resigned to date and continue to come to
work in these hard times,' she said.

A power-sharing deal signed last year in September between President Robert
Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was seen as a hope in halting
a further meltdown of Zimbabwe's economy.

The deal has yet to take effect as Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of taking all
key ministries such as home affairs, local government, foreign affairs,
finance, information and defence. Several meetings called by regional
leaders to break the impasse have ended in failure.

In addition to the economic meltdown, Zimbabwe is battling to contain a
cholera epidemic that has claimed close to 2,000 lives since its outbreak in

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Tsvangirai and Mugabe likely to meet this week

By Tichaona Sibanda
12 January 2009

South African President Kgalema Monthlante has been engaged in 'secret
discussions' with leaders of the MDC and ZANU PF, aimed at reviving the
faltering Global Political Agreement.
A meeting between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai might take place this
week in Harare, according to our source. Reports say Mugabe has cut short
his visit to the Far East and this may be because of an imminent meeting
with Tsvangirai.

The MDC leader is expected to fly back home this week after almost three
months in Botswana and South Africa. The MDC last week wrote to Mugabe,
indicating that they wanted a meeting between him and Tsvangirai to bring
finality to the dialogue.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara signed a unity deal in September
last year, but that deal is yet to be consummated by ZANU PF and the MDC-T,
as Mugabe appears determined to hold on to power.
Newsreel can reveal that Monthlante recently held a lengthy meeting with
Tsvangirai in South Africa. Immediately after this meeting Monthlante
dispatched South African facilitator Sydney Mufamadi, to meet with ZANU PF
negotiator Nicholas Goche in Musina.

'The meeting between Mufamadi and Goche was facilitated by the South
Africans who wanted ZANU PF updated about Monthlante's discussions with the
MDC leader. This week could turn out to be crucial for the crisis in the
country, as both Mugabe and Tsvangirai are set to meet to thrash out the
remaining issues,' our source added.
The anticipated meeting between the two protagonists is set at a time when
the country's multifaceted crisis takes an interesting turn following the
'dollarisation' of the country.

Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu confirmed
consultations are in progress over allowing business entities to charge for
all goods and services in foreign currency.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI), various business entities and the Progressive Teachers
Union of Zimbabwe, have called on the government to pay them in foreign
currency and allow business transactions be conducted in forex. Employers
across the economy are under increased pressure to pay workers in foreign
currency, as the local unit continues to lose value at an alarming rate.

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono was in South Africa last week and there
are reports he approached South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and
Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni, with a proposal that they rescue the
Zimbabwean economy by extending the common monetary area of rand (CMA) into

The Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) reports that the regime,
invoking its sovereignty mantra, initially rejected Gono's suggestion, but
has backed down under the pressure of the imploding economy. Under the plan
the rand would be allowed to circulate legally in Zimbabwe.  The common
monetary area encompasses South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Economic analyst Luke Zunga told us from Johannesburg that South Africa
might want to tie the legal use of the Rand in Zimbabwe to the successful
conclusion of the talks between ZANU PF and the MDC.

'They can't just say yes to the proposal from Zimbabwe. There is no
production in Zimbabwe, and this could weaken the Rand and bring chaos to
the region. The South Africans might just agree, but only if there is a
unity government, otherwise it's risky for them to say yes under the current
circumstances,' Zunga said.

Meanwhile, workers at sugar cane plantations in the Lowveld last week downed
tools, demanding payment of their salaries in forex. The workers say they
also want their employers to give them regular maize-meal allocations to
save their families from starvation.

The strike has since spread to the two giant sugar milling companies,
Triangle and Hippo Valley, and could paralyse the production of sugar,
already hampered by the multi-faceted economic crisis in the country.

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Mugabe is back on home soil - report

January 12 2009 at 10:28AM

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has returned home from a
short holiday in the Far East, the state-controlled Herald reported on

The newspaper cited George Charamba, the presidential spokesperson, as
saying that Mugabe had arrived in Zimbabwe on Saturday.

"He is still on leave," Charamba added.

Until the president's return to duty, Vice-President Joseph Msika was in
charge of the country. - Sapa

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Cost of 3 papers in Zimbabwe: 1 $50 billion note

The Associated PressPublished: January 12, 2009

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe's central bank released a new $50 billion note
Monday - enough to buy three newspapers in the nation's hyper-inflated

The new note was worth 1.25 U.S. dollars at Monday's black market exchange
rate. A week ago, $50 billion was worth $2.20. Two weeks ago it was worth
3.30 U.S. dollars.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe unveiled new $20 billion and $50 billion notes
in an advertisement in Monday's Herald newspaper. It said the notes were
being introduced "for your convenience." In December, the bank printed new
$10 billion notes.

But each time a larger denomination note comes, prices shoot up in the shops
even though local currency is so scarce that most demand that customers pay
in U.S. dollars or South African rand.

Zimbabweans are reeling from the inflation. The largest note ever in the
country was $100 billion in August, when the before the bank struck 10 zeros
from the currency. Then The Herald newspaper cost 10 new Zimbabwe dollars.
Today the paper costs $15 billion.

Zimbabwe's economy is in meltdown amid a months-long political crisis over
President Robert Mugabe sharing power with the opposition amid acute
shortages of everything from medication and food to fuel and electricity. A
collapse of the piped water system has caused a cholera epidemic that has
killed nearly 2,000 people.

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Harare workers have access to their money

January 12 2009 at 10:34AM

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's workers will, from Monday, start withdrawing their
full salaries following a decision by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in
December 2008 to allow them access to their money, the state-controlled
Herald reported.

The withdrawal limit for non-payslip holders and corporate clients will,
however, remain at Z$5-billion and Z$50-billion per week.

Before the latest increase, workers could withdraw Z$10-billion on
production of a bona fide payslip, with workers from the informal sector
having to produce proof that the earnings were from lawful sources, the
newspaper said.

"The RBZ has since put in place modalities to allow workers access to their

"Last Friday, the central bank introduced new 20-billion Zimbabwe dollar and
50-billion Zimbabwe dollar notes for the convenience of the transacting
public," the Herald said.

Workers welcomed the latest development, but urged the government to put in
place measures to stop wanton increases in the prices of goods and services
each time the withdrawal limit was raised, the newspapers said. - Sapa

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Cholera aid to Zimbabwe is enriching Mugabe regime

By Lance Guma
12 January 2008

Water purification tablets, re-hydration therapy kits and mosquito nets,
donated by United Nations aid agencies and others to help Zimbabwe's
humanitarian and health crisis, are winding up on the black market and being
sold to desperate people. Since the cholera outbreak last year which has now
claimed nearly 2000 lives the United Nations Children and Education Fund
(UNICEF) has been trucking in 470 000 litres of water daily, drilling
boreholes and distributing water purification tablets. But speak to many
people in the townships and they will tell you they are buying most of these
materials, especially water purification tablets, on the black market. How
the aid materials are winding up on the black market is anybody's guess.

Newsreel spoke to a family in the gold mining town of Kadoma who confirmed
buying two sets of mosquito nets, bearing the World Health Organisation tag.
One mosquito net is fetching R100 on the black market. Aid agencies are also
giving water purification tablets to clinics, who in turn are meant to be
distributing these tablets to residents for free. But residents are being
told there are no tablets in stock when they visit their local clinics.
Newsreel has been told the black market is awash with the tablets, as
corrupt officials rake in huge windfalls by siphoning them off from the
official distribution channel. Several shops in Harare are also stocking
these tablets.

Only last year several nurses were arrested at a clinic in Kadoma after
charging for cholera treatment. They were charging R100 for adults and R50
for children. A woman who sought treatment last month died after failing to
raise the required foreign currency. Well wishers managed to keep her two
children alive after raising R100 to treat them. City health officials in
Harare are also said to be charging US$40 for cholera disinfectant sprays,
which are supposed to be free, according to our correspondent Simon

The death toll from cholera in Zimbabwe continues to rise as the rainy
season worsens the spread of the disease. Despite all the best efforts of
the international community and other aid agencies, the break down in the
sewage system and the inability of government to supply clean water to
residents has ensured the disease remains unstoppable. Even South Africa has
not been spared, with 77 new cases of suspected cholera being reported this
week. Limpopo Water Affairs chief director Alson Matukane admitted that
parts of the Tubatse River in the Steelpoort area were contaminated with the
disease. Just this weekend 64 new cases were reported in  Limpopo and
Gauteng while 13 cases were reported in the Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal and
North West.

Meanwhile United States based Physicians for Human Rights have called for
Mugabe to be charged under what it described as 'criminal neglect' which has
caused the deadly cholera outbreak. They argue that the ZANU PF leader is
culpable for the collapse of the health and sanitation services in the
country. The group has compiled a report which will be released on Tuesday..
Group Chief Executive Frank Donaghue said; 'Mugabe spends money on the
military and intelligence services that keep him in power, instead of on the
medical and sanitation services essential to the health of the population.'

Donaghue who was part of a team that visited Zimbabwe at the end of December
last year said 'cholera is not just a disease, it's a crime.'

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Cholera fact sheet and program map put out by USAID, 9th January 2009

Fact sheet

Program map

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Zimbabwe doctors vow to maintain strike

From AFP, 12 January

Harare - Zimbabwe doctors in public hospitals have vowed to maintain their
strike launched last year until their demand for better pay is met, state
media reported on Monday. "We will not return to work until our needs are
addressed," The Herald quoted Hospital Doctors Association (HDA) secretary
general Malcom Masikati as saying. "We have not yet received any
communication from either the ministry or Health Services Board. Last year,
they (government) told us our grievances would be addressed this month and
we are still waiting for a response," he said. Junior doctors had demanded a
monthly salary of 2,600 dollars while specialist doctors wanted 4,000
dollars, he said. The striking doctors have turned down a government offer
of a monthly salary of between 150 and 850 dollars.

Health Minister David Parirenyatwa has said that unnamed donors had offered
to provide health workers to work in public institutions but his ministry
had instead requested funds to pay the strikers. "A number of well-wishers
have pledged to give us their health workers to work in public institutions,
but we have said no, give us the money so that our staff return to work,"
the Herald quoted Parirenyatwa as saying last year. Health professionals
took to the streets last year following a deadly outbreak of cholera. They
called on the government to provide medicine and equipment to combat the
epidemic, which has claimed 1,822 lives since August, according to the World
Health Organisation. Major private hospitals in the capital Harare are now
charging fees in foreign currency, which ordinary people cannot afford.
Zimbabwe is currently battling with the world's highest inflation - 231
million percent as of July last year - while government is deadlocked over a
stalled power-sharing deal.

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Donors pledge to meet 40% of Zimbabwe health workers' salaries: Report

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Efforts to save Zimbabwe's ailing health sector appear
to be bearing fruits amid reports that donors have so far pledged to meet
almost 40 percent of salaries of medical professionals for this year, APA
learnt here Monday.

Health minister David Parirenyatwa told the official Herald daily that the
Zimbabwe government had so far raised US$7 million from the donor community
for salaries of medical workers since launching an international appeal for
assistance on December 4, 2008.

A further US$11 million was now needed to meet salaries for the health
professionals for the rest of the year.

\"The ministry has budgeted at least US$1.5 million a month for salaries.
The new salaries are effective January 1," Parirenyatwa told the paper.

He said striking health workers had been offered salaries of ranging between
US$50 and US$850 a month depending on their qualifications.

Zimbabwe's doctors and nurses have been on strike since early 2008,
demanding to be paid in foreign currency and a review of their working

They complained about the lack of protective material in the face of
infectious diseases and the absence of proper equipment and drugs to treat

The strike has forced most public hospitals to close, worsening a deadly
cholera outbreak that has claimed about 2,000 since August.

  JN/nm/APA 2009-01-12

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Private school authorities threatened with arrest if schools opened

By Alex Bell
12 January 2009

Private school authorities have been threatened with arrest if they open
their school's doors as scheduled on Tuesday, as the future of the 2009
academic year remains uncertain.

The government has already postponed the opening of public schools until the
end of the month, after Education minister Stephen Mahere last week said
more time was needed for teachers to finish marking the end of year public
exams. Teachers meanwhile have pledged not to return to work until a
guarantee is made by the government that they will be paid in foreign
currency, as the local currency has become completely worthless.

Private schools however were set to reopen on Tuesday as expected, after
their exam results were released earlier this month. But it has emerged that
the school doors will also remain firmly shut this week under government
orders and the threat of arrest.

Meanwhile, the government has struck yet another nail into the coffin that
was once a highly respected education system, by turning down a 'teacher
retention scheme'. The rescue package that was proposed by a coalition of
NGOs and teachers' unions would have stopped the exodus of teachers leaving
the country and might have lured back some of the thousands who have already

The Education Working Group (EWG), which comprises the Zimbabwe
Teachers Association (ZIMTA), the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ), and international humanitarian agencies, had pledged to raise funds
for the scheme that would have seen the estimated 100 000 teachers currently
threatening to leave the country, being paid in foreign currency. Teachers
would also have received food aid packages under the scheme that the EWG
says would have acted as motivation for teachers return when the new term
starts on January 27th.

But it's understood the Ministry of Education turned down the offer, saying
teachers were civil servants whose salaries was the 'prerogative of the
government'. PTUZ National Coordinator Oswald Madziwa explained on Monday
that it was unfortunate, but not surprising, that the government was
unwilling to relinquish payment of teachers to the donor community. He said
the scheme "would make the government a non-entity" and also cause other
public services to switch their loyalties.

"The army and the police would become more loyal to the donor community and
in this regard the international community, if they were able to pay better
salaries than the government," Madziwa explained.

Madziwa said that the 2009 academic year was likely already a write off, as
many teachers have reportedly already left the country. He said teachers
would not be able to afford to come to school and warned that the union
"doesn't see any child receiving any learning this year."

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Strategies for reviving Zimbabwe's education system

By Dennis Sinyolo
Posted to the web: 12/01/2009 15:02:13
THE current political and socio-economic environment prevailing in Zimbabwe
has adversely affected the provision of basic social services.

A recent cholera epidemic, which has taken so many innocent lives, is a
painful reminder of the extent to which the country's social services,
including the provision of health services, clean drinking water and
sanitation, have deteriorated.

Zimbabwe's education system has not been immune from the neurotic political
situation and harsh socio-economic environment in the country. Our once
revered education system is now a shadow of its former self. Many schools
and institutions of higher learning have not been operating normally for
more than a year now, thereby depriving millions of students their right to
quality education.

The chaotic handling and administration of Zimbabwe's public examinations
last year and ZIMSEC's failure to mark and release the Grade 7 results in
time, are obvious symptoms of an ailing education system.

Virtually all schools and institutions of higher learning are without basic
provisions, equipment and teaching and learning materials. Many teachers and
lectures, most of them highly qualified and experienced, have left the
country due to low salaries and poor working conditions, while many others
have been forced to stay home just because their earnings are not even
enough to cover their transport costs, to and from work.

This is a tragedy, taking into account the undeniable fact that the country's
education system is the backbone of social and economic progress. Education
provides opportunities for individuals to realise their full potential and
to achieve their dreams. It is through education that young people can climb
the socio-economic ladder and improve their well-being.

Basic literacy, numeracy, entrepreneurial and other life-skills benefit, not
only the individual, but the country as a whole. A country cannot develop
without an educated and highly skilled labour force.

Therefore, immediate and concrete measures ought to be taken to revive
Zimbabwe's education system. The envisaged formation of a new government on
the basis of the September 1, 2008, Global Political Agreement (GPA) would,
hopefully, provide an opportunity for comprehensive educational reforms.

However, whether there is a new government or not, concrete action still
needs to be taken to revive, sustain and improve service delivery in the
education sector. Otherwise current and future generations will continue to
be robbed of their fundamental and basic human right, which is education.

Some of the possible measures for reviving Zimbabwe's education system are
given below.

1. Make education revival part of the country' broader recovery strategy

The new inclusive government, if established, will inevitably, embark on
reviving the economy and on restoring social services.
I have heard political figures talk about reviving the agricultural and
manufacturing sectors, the health sector etc. Granted, these sectors are
important. However, I have not heard much talk about reviving the country's
education system, yet it is the backbone of all other sectors.
The revival of the education sector should not be forgotten, it should be
part of the whole recovery effort and an important item on the new
government's reconstruction agenda. This calls for political will and
commitment on the part of the signatories to the GPA and the new government
(if formed).

2. Establish Education Recovery Task Force

Rebuilding the country's whole education system will not be an easy task. It
will be necessary to tap on the skills, experience, expertise and support of
various government departments/ministries, individuals and organisations. In
that respect, it will be necessary to establish an Education Recovery Task

The main role of the Task Force would be to come up with concrete strategies
and measures for reviving the country's education system. The Task Force may
also oversee the implementation of these measures, working closely with the
Ministries of Education.

Members of the Task Force would be drawn from relevant government ministries
such as Education, Finance and Local Government, from responsible
authorities, institutions of higher learning, education experts, teachers'
unions/organisations, UN agencies such as UNESCO, UNICEF and UNDP, donors,
civil society organisations and other stakeholders.

3. Develop Comprehensive Education Sector Plan

Zimbabwe is currently one of the few countries in Africa, and indeed in the
whole world, still without a comprehensive education sector plan. Education
policy is currently enshrined in the Education Act and other relevant Acts
of Parliament, statutory instruments and policy circulars. While the above
legal instruments are necessary, they are inadequate without a consolidated,
comprehensive long-term education sector plan.

The absence of a long term comprehensive plan, spanning over a period of 5 -
10 years or so, partly explains why Zimbabwe's education policy almost
always changes with the appointment of a new Minister or Permanent

Such a comprehensive plan would have to cover the various levels and aspects
of the education system, based on the concepts of relevant quality education
for all, building a knowledge society and life-long learning. For example,
the plan would include early childhood education/development, primary
education, secondary education, tertiary and higher education, vocational
education and training, formal and non-formal education etc.

The development of such a plan should involve various stakeholders,
including the Ministries of Education, Finance and Local Government,
responsible authorities, institutions of higher learning, experts, teachers'
unions, UN agencies such as UNESCO, UNICEF and UNDP, donors, civil society
organisations and others. Some of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry
into Education and Training 1998/99 and the various policy circulars may
inform the development of the consolidated plan.

4. Mobilise resources

Reviving Zimbabwe's education system will obviously require enormous
financial, material, human and other resources. The government, through the
proposed Task Force or other mechanism, will have to mobilise substantial
financial and other resources to restore basic services in schools, colleges
and universities.

Many schools, colleges and universities will need renovation, furniture,
textbooks, stationery, equipment and other resources. Adequate financial
resources will have to be mobilised to pay teachers and lecturers salaries
that are above the poverty line and befit their professional status. Good
salaries will encourage teachers and lecturers to stay in the profession and
attract those who have left back into the system.

Resources will have to be mobilised both internally and externally. The
Government will have to demonstrate its political will and commitment to
reviving the country's education system by allocating substantial funding to
the Ministries of Education from the national budget.

However, since enormous financial resources will be required, particularly
during the first few years of the rebuilding exercise, additional funding
for specific programmes, projects and general budget support will have to be
mobilised from the local and international donor community. Opportunities
for such additional funding exist, particularly if the situation in the
country comes back to normal.

5. Attract teachers back into the profession and into schools

A special campaign to attract teachers back into the profession and into
schools should be organised in close collaboration with teachers' unions.
Such a campaign should also target teachers who have left the country (brain
drain) and encourage them to return to Zimbabwe. Special incentives, such as
assistance with relocation and settlement in the original or new school,
could be put in place.

Current Public Service Regulations on dismissal and readmission into the
Civil Service would have to be reviewed or relaxed to make it easier for
teachers who had emigrated to be rehired. Some of these teachers have
acquired additional knowledge and skills from the host countries (brain
gain) and these new competencies can help improve teaching and learning and
the country's education system as a whole.

I am confident that a number of Zimbabwean teachers who are currently
teaching in South Africa, Botswana, Britain, Ireland, New Zealand and other
countries, or doing menial jobs in these countries(brain waste) would be
willing to return, provided they are paid well and there is a conducive
political and socio-economic climate in the country.

Sinyolo is the former secretary of ZIMTA, currently the coordinator of
Education International -- a global union representing 30 million teachers
and education workers from 140 affiliates in 172 countries

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University holidays extended

Monday, 12 January 2009 14:53 Thomas Shumba

A week after it postponed the opening of the primary and secondary schools,
the ZANU-PF govt. announced Monday that tertiary institutions will now open
on January, later that had been scheduled.

"The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education has released a new tertiary
calendar for 2009. In this vein, the opening date for all polytechnics,
teachers' colleges and industrial training centres will be Monday 26
January, 2009," a statement shown to the Harare Tribune from the Ministry of
Higher and Tertiary Education said.

The govt. decreed that primary and secondary schools will open January 27,
instead of January 13.

In a statement, the UN's UNICEF said only about 20% of registered students
were expected to attend school, while about 40% of teachers would show up
for work.

The Zimbabwe education sector is now a former of itself, thanks largely to
the ZANU-PF govt. policies, critics say.
The extension of the tertiary institutions affects universities, teachers'
colleges, politechniques and all industrial training centers

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Critical staff shortage in Zimbabwe's judiciary

Monday, 12 January 2009 15:36 Radio Voice of the People

The deputy Chief Justice of the High Court, Chief Justice Luke Malaba, says
the High Court in Bulawayo is operating with 13 staff members only and with
three judges a situation which has resulted in a serious backlog of 1360
cases in 2008 alone.
Justice Malaba made the revelations at the official opening of the 2009
legal year at the Bulawayo High Court on Monday.

"Office orderlies, registry clerks and judges' clerks responded to the
economic hardships they felt as part of the general effect on the society by
resigning from their positions. As a result the Deputy Registrar's office
has 13 members of staff to deal with the administrative requirements of the
judicial process at the High Court, the expected staff compliment expected
to cope with the demands of the public is 42 staff members,"Justice Malaba

He further added that the situation at the Bulawayo High Court was further
aggravated by the boycott of the High Court by assessors who wanted the
issue of their allowances to be addressed by the Ministry of Justice.

Assessors have not attended any High Court session since late last year and
have vowed not to return to the High Court unless the issue of their
allowances has been addressed.

Justice Malaba said out of a total of 3 032 civil cases instituted with the
High Court as chamber applications only 1 672 cases were disposed of leaving
a backlog of 1360 cases.

Turning to the issue of judges Justice Malaba said Bulawayo High Court
initially had three judges manning the High Court but later one judge was
sent from Harare to relieve the judges but said the number of judges was
still quite low.

"There were three judges manning the High Court in Bulawayo at the beginning
of 2008 but they were later in the year joined by a judge from Harare who
was seconded to the Bulawayo to assist. It is clear from the figures of
cases pending disposition that although the four judges managed to maintain
the judicial system working, the reality is that they could not cope with
the overload cases,"Justice Malaba said.

The official opening of the Bulawayo High Court was attended by Zanu PF
national chairman, John Nkomo, the provincial governor for Matabeleland
North, Sithokozile Mathuthu, the Minister of Small to Medium, Enterprises
Development, Sithembiso Nyoni.

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Justice Makarau says young lawyers 'disrespectful'

By Lebo Nkatazo
Posted to the web: 12/01/2009 14:02:13
YOUNG lawyers of a certain political disposition are showing disrespect to
judges, Judge President Rita Makarau said on Monday.

Opening the 2009 legal year of the Harare High Court, Justice Makarau said
while senior lawyers generally respected judges, it was regrettable that the
"young ones" were becoming bad-mannered.

Some lawyers have allowed their relationships with judicial officers to be
strained because of politics, she said, while others had resorted to
attacking the judiciary in the foreign media because decisions had not gone
their way.

"We say enough is enough. We have turned the biblical cheek enough," Makarau

Meanwhile, Makarau told of her disappointment that lawyers for losing
candidates in the March parliamentary and senatorial elections had filed
electoral petitions with the High Court, many of which had nothing to do
with legal matters but political grandstanding.

Makarau said almost all of the 135 applications could have ended at the
lawyers' desks had they shown more steel in dealing with their clients.

There were "fatal flaws" in most of the cases, she said.

Some lawyers had intoned that they were forging ahead with the applications
as their political clients wanted them to proceed, despite the clear
evidence they had no basis to get the results to be overturned, according to
the judge.

Justice Makarau wondered what the concerned lawyers would do if appointed to
the bench when they could not withstand political pressure.

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Zimbabwe makes overtures to link to SA rand

From Republikein (Namibia), 12 January

Harare - A senior government official said Zimbabwe has approached South
African finance minister Trevor Manuel and South African Reserve Bank
governor Tito Mboweni with a proposal that they rescue the Zimbabwean
economy by extending the common monetary area of rand (CMA) into Zimbabwe,
the Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) said. The CMA currently
encompasses South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland. Similar proposals
have been made by Steve Hanke, Cato Institute Senior Fellow and Professor of
Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University, who advocates the creation of
a currency board to end Zimbabwe's spiralling inflation, and by Tomaz
Salamao, executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community,
SADC. Tomaz has reportedly suggested that Zimbabwe's depleted foreign
reserves be topped up with the South African currency and that Zimbabwe be
allowed to join the rand monetary area.

The Zimbabwe government, invoking its sovereignty mantra, initially rejected
the suggestion, but IWPR has learnt that it has backed down under the
pressure of the imploding economy and proposes issuing Zimbabwean dollars
that are fully backed by and convertible into rands at a fixed rate. Under
this plan, the currency board will initially be capitalised by South Africa
and the rand will be allowed to circulate legally in Zimbabwe. "The rand
would effectively prop up the Zimbabwe dollar which has become almost
worthless," said a government official. The ultimate aim would be to
stabilise the exchange rate of the Zimbabwe dollar and curb hyperinflation,
enabling the country to buy foreign exchange and continue to import
essential goods. According to diplomatic sources, the price of South Africa's
help will be Mugabe's commitment to a genuine power-sharing arrangement with
the opposition in terms of the agreement signed on the 15th September, 2008,
and to farreaching political and economic reforms. The power-sharing deal,
which, it was hoped, would halt Zimbabwe's plunge to destruction, has
stalled over the allocation of key cabinet ministries.

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635% leap in Zim asylum seekers

From The Cape Argus (SA), 11 January

Craig McKune

The deepening humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe caused a whopping 635% leap in
the number of desperate people who poured over South Africa's borders last
year, compared with 2007. And, according to the Department of Home Affairs,
about 80% of these are not eligible for refugee status because, under the
Refugee Act, they are not fleeing political persecution. Reporting more
conservative but still high figures last week, Human Rights Watch called on
the South African government to find a way to accommodate the mass of asylum
seekers, who are buckling an already overburdened asylum system. Home
Affairs spokeswoman Siobhan McCarthy said the situation was hampering the
department's ability to process the applications of other asylum seekers,
including those who qualified for refugee status in terms of South African
law. "We are looking at reviewing this to accommodate economic migrants from
the region," she said. More than 70 000 Zimbabweans applied for asylum in
South Africa in the first nine months of last year, compared to 10 000 over
the same period in 2007, according to statistics provided by Home Affairs.
More conservatively, Human Rights Watch reported that between 25 000 and 30
000 Zimbabweans lodged asylum claims in the border town of Musina in the
past five months. In its statement it said this was "close to double the
total number of Zimbabwean claims made in all six of South Africa's refugee
reception offices in 2007".

Reflecting a tougher reality, Home Affairs' figures also showed that since
South Africa's storm of xenophobic violence last May, and despite the
continuing persecution faced by many African nationals in South Africa, the
flow of African asylum seekers into the country had continued to increase.
The flow of people from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) more than
doubled from the second to the third quarters of last year, when 4 753
asylum applications were lodged. This is up 84% from the same period in
2007. Official asylum application figures were not available for the last
three months of last year, during which fighting in eastern DRC flared
dramatically. The flow of Ethiopian asylum seekers jumped 150% to 5 271 from
the second to the third quarters of last year. Rwandan refugee hopefuls
nearly doubled, and Somali applications were up 48% during the same period.
More than 46 000 Zimbabweans applied for asylum between July and September
last year, compared with 5 135 in 2007. McCarthy said she was unable to
comment on the figures without further research, but it was apparent from
the number of "manifestly unfounded" asylum applications that only 20% of
the Zimbabweans were "genuinely fleeing political persecution in their home
country". According to the Refugees Act, a person qualifies for refugee
status if they have "a well-founded fear of being persecuted by reason of
his or her race, tribe, religion, nationality, political opinion, or
membership of a particular social group" ,or if the person has fled the
country "owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination, or
events seriously disturbing or disrupting public order". This excludes
"economic refugees", who McCarthy described as not fleeing political
persecution but "seeking a better life" in a country with a stronger

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IBA calls on SADC to act on detained activists and to push for accountability against Robert Mugabe's government




the global voice of the legal profession


[For immediate release: Monday, 12 January 2009]


Zimbabwe: IBA calls on SADC to act on detained activists and to push for accountability against Robert Mugabe’s government


Leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) must act to ensure that detained activists in Zimbabwe are released, the International Bar Association (IBA) said today.


 ‘SADC has an obligation to act on the crimes of Robert Mugabe’s government,’ said Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association. ‘To date SADC has blocked outside initiatives to hold Mugabe’s regime accountable for its abuses and has been silent while international law is violated with impunity,’ he commented further.


At least 40 people including a two-year old boy and the prominent human rights group leader, Jestina Mukoko, are being detained in Zimbabwe in a fresh campaign of persecution and prosecution. The detainees, many of whom are members of the Movement for Democratic Change party, were abducted in November and December from various locations and held incommunicado for weeks. The Minister of State for National Security, Mr Didymus Mutasa who is responsible for intelligence operations, has since admitted in court proceedings that state security agents seized and detained a wide array of individuals on his orders.


While nine are now known to be in police custody and have appeared in court, many are still missing and unaccounted for. A doctor who examined some of the detainees testified in court that they have been tortured and need medical treatment. A High Court judge ruled that their detention is unlawful and ordered that they be taken to a hospital for medical treatment, but government lawyers are challenging his ruling and police have refused to obey the court order.


The IBA deplores the inaction of SADC leaders on the unlawful actions of the Zimbabwean government. ‘Regional leaders cannot stand by while these unlawful detentions continue in Zimbabwe and still ask the rest of the international community to wait on them to solve the crisis. A key term of the power-sharing deal was that rights violations would stop,’ said Co- Chair of the IBA’s Human Rights Institute, Justice Richard Goldstone.


‘The Mugabe regime is clearly failing to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens of Zimbabwe. This places a responsibility on other governments, and especially those of the SADC, to intervene,’ Justice Goldstone concluded.



For further information please contact:


Romana St. Matthew - Daniel

International Bar Association

Press Office

10th Floor

1 Stephen Street

London W1T 1AT

United Kingdom


Direct Line: +44 (0)20 7691 6837

Main Office: +44 (0)20 7691 6868

Mobile: +44 (0)7940 731915

Fax:+44 (0)20 7691 6544




Notes to the Editor

About the International Bar Association

the global voice of the legal profession


The International Bar Association (IBA), established in 1947, is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Its membership includes over 30,000 lawyers and nearly 200 bar associations and law societies spanning every continent. The IBA influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world.


The IBA’s administrative office is in London; regional offices are located in São Paulo, Brazil and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Grouped into two divisions – the Legal Practice Division and the Public and Professional Interest Division – the IBA offers its members access to leading experts and up-to-date information across all areas of legal practice and professional interest. Through a network of specialised committees, the IBA enables an exchange of information and opinions regarding laws, practices and professional responsibilities pertaining to the practice of law globally. High-quality publications and world-class conferences further provide unrivalled professional development and networking opportunities for legal practitioners and professional associates.


The IBA’s Bar Issues Commission provides a forum for IBA member bar associations and law societies to discuss any matter relating to law at an international level. 


The IBA’s Human Rights Institute works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just Rule of Law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.


In partnership with the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, the IBA created the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, to promote human rights and the Rule of Law in Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


The IBA was instrumental in establishing the International Legal Assistance Consortium in Stockholm, Sweden. This global consortium of non-governmental organisations provides technical legal assistance to post-conflict countries. Through a grant-funded project, the IBA also maintains an office in The Hague which manages the IBA’s International Criminal Court (ICC) Monitoring and Outreach Programme. This office follows the work and proceedings of the ICC, focusing primarily on the fair trial rights of the accused and the manner in which the Rome Statute and other legal documents of the Court are implemented as well as promoting greater understanding of the work of the Court among the IBA membership network worldwide.


Contact information:

International Bar Association10th Floor

1 Stephen Street

London W1T 1AT

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7691 6868

Fax: +44 (0)20 7691 6544




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Seven dangerous criminals escape

January 12, 2009

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - Seven dangerous criminals clad in prison gab escaped from
Masvingo Remand Prison over the weekend.

The police and prison officials have since launched a manhunt for the
inmates. One of the inmates has since been arrested while six others are
still at large police in Masvingo have said. Some of the escapees are
believed to have either skipped the border into neighbouring South Africa or
to be heading that way.

The hardcore criminals, who were facing cases ranging from carjacking to
armed robbery, escaped from the remand prison on Saturday night. There is
speculation they might have made good their escape with the connivance of
prison warders.

The cholera outbreak currently ravaging the country's prisons could have
also facilitated the escape.

According to the police the seven criminals were removed from the cells and
housed in the prison's typing pool following an outbreak of cholera in the

From the typing pool the seven allegedly broke the entrance into the
building before jumping out to safety.

Surprisingly the prison guards on duty did not notice anything until the
following morning when the seven were discovered to be missing.

One of the inmates was arrested while walking along the Masvingo-Harare

Masvingo police spokesman Inspector Phibeon Nyambo yesterday confirmed the
incident saying that the police together with prison officials had launched
a combined operation to hunt for the six prisoners still at large.

"We are still looking for the six and are urging the public to report to any
nearest police station if they see any suspicious people", said Nyambo

"Those who escaped are dangerous criminals and we urge people to be very
careful when dealing with them."

However sources within the prison service yesterday intimated the inmates
were assisted by prison guards to escape.

According to sources a female prison guard who had a relative in the cells
allegedly facilitated the escape of the inmates.

"We are investigating the incident as well as probing all the prison guards
on duty to at the time establish the truth ", a source within the police
said yesterday.

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Dead by the road side

A pitiable sight of a young girl aged around six to seven years, seated by
the roadside, with a huge black bungle lying on her thighs caught my
attention. The young girl was seated in an awkward area, in the middle of
nowhere, a place not meant for anyone to rest as it was bare with not even a
tree for shade. I saw her as I drove from Bulawayo to Harare on Christmas

I stopped. I got out of the car and called to the child who then told me
that lying on her knees was her mother who was resting and they were going
to proceed home once her mother had rested enough. I moved closer to them
only to realise that her mother was already dead. I looked at the child who
looked hungry and emaciated yet convinced and hopeful that they were going
to proceed with their journey back home. What was not known to her was that
her mother was dead. Dead by the roadside.

Tears streamed down my eyes as I pitied the child whose fate no one knew. I
could not tell her that her mother was dead. I simply left and phoned the
Bulawayo Central Police Station and reported the case. The response from the
police officer I spoke to, Constable Phiri, shocked me. He told me that the
station had no fuel to go and collect the body and suggested that I find a
private funeral home to assist the child.

I was so upset and decided to leave the issue hoping that someone from close
by would assist the child. This decision I made never put my heart to rest.
The thoughts and picture of the little girl still haunt me. The scene
reflected the level of the socio-economic crisis bedeviling Zimbabwe with
children left to their own devices to deal with issues they can hardly

This entry was posted on January 12th, 2009 at 2:51 pm by Fungisai Sithole

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Surgeon tells of her 'heartbreaking' trip

Published Date: 09 January 2009

AN eminent surgeon has described the appalling conditions facing the people
of trouble-torn Zimbabwe.

Christine Evans, who retired as urological surgeon at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd five
years ago, has just returned to her home in Llanarmon-yn-Ial after a month
in Africa working with Urolink, a scheme through which specialists visit
Third World countries to pass on their expertise, train medical staff and
carry out operations.

A former chairman of Urolink, she has visited Africa every year since 1969,
when she first went as medical officer to the government of Botswana.

She has also made similar trips in recent years to Kurdistan and other
developing countries.

Her latest month-long visit to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique was her last,
however, as she had decided to call it a day when she reached 65.

"You stop improving then, and if I went back there to do any work they would
ask me to operate," said Mrs Evans.

Though well used to working in primitive conditions on her visits, the
heartbreaking conditions Mrs Evans encountered in Zimbabwe under president
Robert Mugabe were among the worst she has seen.

"There is just no money and people can't afford the transport to go to work.
It costs more than a month's wages just to get into work," said Mrs Evans.

The hospitals were closed as the doctors and nurses were on strike, and so
Mrs Evans' work was restricted to training examiners and lecturing.

There was also no running water for three weeks due to a lack of chemicals
for purification, her drinking water coming from a friend's borehole.

She managed to have a cold shower when the supply was restored for three

"The surgeons and doctors are in despair because they have no control as to
how, when and where they can treat their patients, and the government
doesn't care," said Mrs Evans, a former holder of the title of Hospital
Doctor of the Year for the United Kingdom.

Whereas junior doctors were worse off than nurses, who were at least housed
in the hospitals, senior doctors and administrators in Bulawayo had been
given cars by President Mugabe as bribes to keep them in the country - but
the vehicles had no number plates so that they could not be sold.

Mrs Evans can now concentrate on her work as a Denbighshire county
councillor, to which she was elected last year.

"Things may be grim here at the moment but the troubles in Africa far
outweigh anything we have in the UK, so the credit crunch and the closing of
Woolworths, etc, has left me unmoved," she added.

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Can't happen here, right?   Chicago

THE SAVAGE TRUTH | The perils of creating too much paper money

January 12, 2009

Over the weekend, the Zimbabwe central bank announced it is about to
distribute a new $50 BILLION note! That's Zimbabwe dollars. One U.S. dollar
is worth 25 billion Zimbabwe dollars. One $50 billion note will buy two
loaves of bread. Today. Probably only one loaf of bread by the time it gets
into circulation.

That's what happens when a country creates too much paper money, or
equivalent credit.

Zimbabwe is not a poor nation in terms of natural resources or literacy.
Despite a troubled history since gaining independence in 1980, the former
Rhodesia has one of the highest literacy rates on the African continent, at
90.5 percent. And it has a huge asset base of natural resources, with
deposits of more than 40 minerals including gold, silver, platinum, copper
and asbestos, as well as forest land.

Yet this country is in the midst of hyper-inflation, something few Americans
can imagine. The inflation rate is estimated at 231 million percent
annually! No one actually uses the currency, making the new notes a waste of
the paper they're written on. The unemployment rate there is more than 80
percent, and the economy is shrinking at an alarming rate.

OK, Zimbabwe is an extreme example of what happens when a despotic
government takes over the economy. Germany, after World War I, was another
example -- but also too far removed from our consciousness to make a current
impact. Those images of German citizens pushing wheelbarrows full of
currency down the street to buy milk are long forgotten, or a quaint memory.

Can't happen here
It certainly couldn't happen here. Our financial leaders are much too smart.
And so are we. (I always believe that -- except when I catch Jay Leno
"streetwalking" and realize how little our citizens know about current
events, much less history.)

The fact that the Congressional Budget Office has just announced a $1.2
TRILLION budget deficit for the year makes little impact. The fact that the
president-elect says the stimulus package will involve huge costs on top of
that projected deficit is taken with a yawn. After all, we're America. Our
dollar is still the world's strongest currency.

If we have to print or borrow our way out of our problems, the world will
just have to understand. After all, they're "stuck" with the dollars they
already have earned from selling "stuff" to us. That's the money they've
loaned to us by buying Treasury bills, notes and bonds. They're even willing
to settle for zero percent interest on these loans, which is "proof" of how
much they like us, and need us to keep our economy going.

As of July 2008, Japan and China led the list of countries owning U.S.
Treasuries, with more than half a trillion dollars each. The U.K. owned 291
billion, and the oil exporting countries collectively have about $18 billion
in U. S. Treasuries. In all, foreign holdings of long term Treasury
securities amount to more than half of our outstanding long-term debt.

The kindness of strangers
Of course, these figures do not include other dollar-denominated investments
that are owned by foreign investors or countries, including equities or
agency notes. Put it all together and, as Blanche DuBois would have said:
"We live on the kindness of strangers."

Just how long will that "kindness" last? How long will the world be willing
to lend to us in dollars, even as we print and borrow more? Right now,
dollar-denominated assets have been disappearing "down the drain" faster
than we can create them.

The disappearing dollar assets include: stock market losses, real estate
losses, bank capital writedowns, and -- coming soon -- writedowns of
"impaired assets" on corporate balance sheets. All point to a current
problem of DE-flation, not inflation.

So the federal government continues the "bailout" -- whether through TARP,
sending money to auto-makers, or directly to consumers. The world is
allowing us to create new money, which they continue to accept at face value
while earning little or low interest. They're betting on us to succeed in
restoring economic growth. They're learning they need us as much as we need
them. For the moment, anyway. But they're not extending any more credit to

And that's The Savage Truth.

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