By Tony Hawkins in Harare
Published: January 12 2009 20:27 | Last updated: January 12 2009 20:27
Zimbabwe on Monday stepped up police and military security around the
country amid claims by Bright Matonga, the deputy information minister, that
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was "recruiting youths to use
as bandits to destabilise our country and topple the government".
Accordingly, the police and military were searching for weapons and
suspicious people, he said.
Armed police patrolled central Harare and police sources said the number of
roadblocks around the country had been increased. Wayne Bvudzijena, a police
spokesman, said police were on "high alert as there are elements within the
MDC who are bent on destabilising the country. We will come down very
heavily on people found with weapons".
Nelson Chamisa, MDC spokesman, described the claims that his party was
plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe, the president, as "absurd propaganda".
"Why should the MDC, which controls parliament, want to destabilise itself?"
The move to step up security comes just days before Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the MDC, is due to return to the country to chair a crucial
meeting of his party next Sunday, at which the opposition will debate
whether to continue negotiations with Mr Mugabe's administration on the
establishment of a coalition government. Senior party officials say that the
MDC's top leaders, who met in Johannesburg last week, will recommend that
MDC members reject the national unity government that Mr Mugabe plans to set
up next month.
The opposition has a growing list of demands, including control over the
police, a say in the appointment of senior security personnel, civil
servants and regional governors, and the immediate release of dozens of its
supporters abducted by the security services over the past two months, some
of whom are to stand trial on charges of treason.
from the Zimbabwe Vigil
– Monday 12th January
2009 – 22.30
A leading Zimbabwean political activist in the UK campaigning for human rights in Zimbabwe has been taken into detention and told he is to be deported on Thursday. Luka Phiri (40) was helping organise a demonstration in London for Tuesday 13th January calling for Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers to be allowed to work in the UK.
Phiri is on the management team of the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for the last six years. He is also a leading member of the Zimbabwe Association, a charity looking after Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the UK.
Phiri entered the UK in 2003 on a Malawian passport and it is apparently for this reason that the Home Office wishes to expel him. At present the government is not enforcing deportations to Zimbabwe because of the situation there but feels free to send people back to Malawi.
Vigil Co-ordinator Rose Benton said “There is no doubt that Luka is a Zimbabwean but the Home Office wants to send him back to Malawi, a firm supporter of Mugabe. Malawi will send him on to Harare where he will face retribution from the Mugabe regime.”
She said Luka was a high profile campaigner in the UK and would be well-known to the authorities in Harare. “He has given many outspoken interviews to the media on behalf of the Vigil.” She added that he’d been detained in the UK in 2006 but had been released while his asylum case was considered. New evidence had been submitted but it appears that this had not been taken into account.
Mr Phiri’s MP, Mr Stephen Timms (Labour, East Ham), has been asked to intervene with the government.
1. The ‘right to work’ demonstration is organised by Citizens for Sanctuary. Protestors are meeting opposite 10 Downing Street at noon on Tuesday 13th January and a delegation will be taking in a petition to the Prime Minister at 12.45. For more info contact Jonathan Cox, 07919 484 066.
2. Luka is held at the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre, Colnbrook Bypass, Harmondsworth, West Drayton UB7 0FX. Phone: 020 8607 5200, Fax: 020 8759 7996. Visiting times: Daily, 1400 - 2100 (last admission 2030)
3. He is booked to fly to Malawi on Thursday at 7 pm with Kenya Airlines KQ101 from Heathrow.
4. For more information, contact: Rose Benton 07970 996 003, 07932 193 467.
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
Press Association, UK
3 hours ago
Hundreds of Zimbabwean refugees are due to descend on Downing Street to urge
Gordon Brown to give them the right to work.
Zimbabweans are not deported to their home country but are unable to get
jobs or claim benefits.
The Prime Minister promised to review the status of Zimbabwean nationals six
months ago and will be urged to "keep his word".
Jonathan Cox, from the Citizens for Sanctuary campaign, which is organising
the demonstration said: "It has been half a year since the Prime Minister
promised to look at what could be done for Zimbabweans.
"This demonstration will remind Mr Brown that 11,000 destitute Zimbabweans
are waiting for him to keep his word.
"Our Government has been a world leader in criticising Mugabe while leaving
many of those who escaped that horrific regime to languish here without
"We must prepare Zimbabweans who came to Britain in search of sanctuary with
the skills and experience that they will need to forge a brighter future for
their country once democracy and stability are restored."
Archbishop of York John Sentamu has said more help is needed for Zimbabweans
living in a "dehumanising limbo" in Britain.
Demonstration organisers say many of the refugees living in Britain could
fill shortage occupations in Britain. They want internships in universities,
schools and other institutions to help Zimbabweans to rebuild their country
when the Mugabe regime comes to an end.
In July Mr Brown told the House of Commons that he was "actively looking" at
how to support failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers. He said: "They are provided
with accommodation and vouchers to ensure that they are not destitute, but
we are looking at what we can do to support Zimbabweans in that situation,
and we will report back to the House in due course."
** Daily information on new deaths should not imply that these deaths
occurred in cases reported that day. Therefore daily CFRs >100% may
occasionally result 1- Highlights of the day: - 1472 cases and 117 deaths added today (in comparison 541 cases and 25
deaths yesterday) - 67.9% of the districts affected have reported today (38 out of 55 affected
districts) - 88.7 % of districts reported to be affected (55 districts/62) - Newly affected areas: Chamunangana (Beitbridge), Ngungumbane (Mberengwa)
Full_Report (pdf* format - 105 Kbytes)
* Please note that daily information collection is a challenge due to communication and staff constraints. On-going data cleaning may result in an increase or decrease in the numbers. Any change will then be explained.
** Daily information on new deaths should not imply that these deaths occurred in cases reported that day. Therefore daily CFRs >100% may occasionally result
1- Highlights of the day:
- 1472 cases and 117 deaths added today (in comparison 541 cases and 25 deaths yesterday)
- 67.9% of the districts affected have reported today (38 out of 55 affected districts)
- 88.7 % of districts reported to be affected (55 districts/62)
- Newly affected areas: Chamunangana (Beitbridge), Ngungumbane (Mberengwa)
by Cuthbert Nzou Tuesday 13 January 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party said on Monday President Robert
Mugabe will not meet opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to try to rescue a
power-sharing deal that looks headed for collapse following differences over
Tsvangirai - who meets his MDC party next Sunday to decide whether to pull
out of the power sharing-deal - has asked South African President Kgalema
Motlanthe to convene a "confidential meeting" between himself and Mugabe to
resolve outstanding issues blocking implementation of the power-sharing
Motlanthe chairs the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that
alongside the African Union is guarantor to the power-sharing deal and last
November ordered the Zimbabwean rivals to urgently form a unity government
and resolve outstanding issues later.
ZANU PF chief negotiator in power-sharing talks Patrick Chinamasa said
Mugabe would not attend any meeting that seeks to undermine the authority of
former South African President Thabo Mbeki, SADC's appointed mediator in
Chinamasa, considered one of the hawks in ZANU PF, said: "The President's
position is clear. He will never meet Tsvangirai for the so-called
confidential meeting. SADC appointed Mbeki to facilitate the negotiations
and that position has not changed.
"SADC has made its position on the global political agreement. Tsvangirai
should be in government by now. There is no need for confidential meeting."
ZANU PF's stance could mean the end of what had appeared an historic
power-sharing deal that had ignited hope that Zimbabwe could finally begin
to emerge from its multi-faceted crisis.
Tsvangirai and his MDC party, who hold the most seats in the House of
Assembly, have made it clear they will not back a constitutional amendment
Bill that seeks to give legal effect to the power-sharing agreement unless
all outstanding issues have been resolved.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No 19 Bill is expected to be tabled
in the House of Assembly when the lower chamber resumes next Tuesday.
Under the September 15 power-sharing agreement Mugabe will remain president
with Tsvangirai becoming prime minister and Arthur Mutambara, who heads a
splinter MDC faction, deputy prime minister.
The agreement has failed to take off as Mugabe and Tsvangirai wrangled over
control of key ministries and lately over the abduction and torture of
several MDC and human rights activists.
Mugabe has indicated he will next month appoint a new government and invite
the opposition to join. He has previously hinted he will call fresh
elections should the opposition refuse to join and the power-sharing deal
Once a model African economy, Zimbabwe is suffering a debilitating economic
and humanitarian crisis that is highlighted by the world's highest inflation
rate of more than 231 million percent, acute shortages of food and basic
Analysts see little hope of economic recovery without a power-sharing
government that is acceptable o the international community. - ZimOnline
By Ntungamili Nkomo
12 January 2009
The leader of one formation of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change on Monday urged members of both MDC groupings not to delay passage of
a constitutional amendment needed to put a national unity government in
place, warning this could lead President Robert Mugabe to dissolve
parliament and call for new elections.
Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller MDC formation, said the opposition
would be sure to lose such elections which he said would be held "under June
27 conditions," a reference to the deadly violence which ushered in the
president runoff held on that date last year.
Mutambara criticized both the president and Tsvangirai for "prevaricating"
on the formation of the government of national unity contemplated in the
power-sharing agreement signed Sept. 15 by both MDC formation leaders and
Mr. Mugabe on behalf of his ZANU-PF party.
"They are equally culpable" Mutambara said of Mr. Mugabe and Tsvangirai in
an interview with reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe.
"Yes, Mugabe is the author of the crisis in our country, but Morgan
Tsvangirai has a unique chance and opportunity to assist in the serving of
our country. Unfortunately, he is abusing that leverage. We condemn without
any reservation [his] abuse...of an opportunity for him to help his own
constituency. So we are encouraging both to put the people first."
Responding to Mutambara's broadside, spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the
Tsvangirai MDC formation accused Mutambara of ignoring legitimate MDC
concerns and siding with ZANU-PF. He said there could be no legal basis for
Mr. Mugabe to dissolve the parliament simply because the combined MDC, which
holds a majority, refused to pass the amendment.
"Instead of pointing fingers at Mr. Tsvangirai to say that he is equally
culpable, we need to deal with outstanding issues. We have a very
legitimate, noble and justifiable case, and I believe that Mr. Mutambara is
not looking at these cases objectively," Chamisa said.
Offering a civil society perspective, National Constitutional Assembly
Chairman Lovemore Madhuku said the dissolution or continuation of parliament
is a political matter.
Tsvangirai was due back in Harare this week after spending two months
outside the country, mainly in Botswana in recent weeks. There was
speculation he might meet with President Mugabe, who has returned from what
Harare called his "annual leave" in Singapore.
Elsewhere, High Court Judge President Rita Makarau, in a ceremony marking
the opening of the 2009 legal year lashed out at the nation's political
leaders, saying their bickering was exacerbating the nation's profound
by Cuthbert Nzou Tuesday 13 January 2009
HARARE - A group of rowdy soldiers at the weekend assaulted informal traders
and stole their wares in the city of Chitungwiza, in a disturbing repeat of
riotous behaviour by Zimbabwe's soldiers once famed for their discipline.
According to witnesses, the soldiers who were in uniform but unarmed went on
the rampage at the popular Makoni shopping centre, apparently incensed that
informal traders were selling basic commodities in foreign currency without
authorisation from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
"The soldiers came to the shopping centre around 3pm on Saturday and started
beating up traders who were selling their wares in foreign currency,
demanding foreign currency licences from them," one of the witnesses said.
"They (soldiers) eventually sped off in a minibus they had loaded with
mealie meal and other basic commodities they had forcibly confiscated from
the traders," said our witness, a trader who gave her name only as Maria
fearing she could be targeted for victmisation if she disclosed her full
Zimbabwe, through the central bank, partially dollarised the economy last
September and authorised selected manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers
to charge hard cash for goods. However, nearly every shop and traders are
now demanding payment for goods and services in foreign currency.
Last year, soldiers rioted in Harare, attacking street money-changers,
vandalising and looting shops. Police called in to quell the riot had to
fire shots in the air and use teargas to disperse the soldiers.
At least 12 of the rioting soldiers were arrested for the looting and,
according to the army, shall face a court martial.
Army director of public relations Simon Tsatsi was not immediately available
for comment on the latest disturbance involving soldiers.
The army is credited with keeping President Robert Mugabe in power, always
quick to use brutal tactics to keep public discontent in check in the face
of an economic and humanitarian crisis marked by acute shortages of food and
basic commodities, amid a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 1 700
people since August.
But a recession that began when the International Monetary Fund cut
financial support to Harare in 1999 and which worsened following Mugabe's
controversial land reforms that destabilised the mainstay agricultural
sector has gradually crippled the veteran President's ability to keep the
army well fed and happy.
The government has in recent weeks resorted to slaughtering elephants to
feed thousands of hungry soldiers.
However, analysts rule out the possibility of a military coup against
Mugabe - at least for now - because all top commanders are still relatively
But some say that worsening hunger could at some point force the underpaid
ordinary soldier to either openly revolt or to simply refuse to defend the
government should Zimbabweans rise up in a civil rebellion.
Meanwhile, heavily armed riot police patrolled the streets of Harare
yesterday in anticipation of mass demonstration by members of the National
Constitution Authority (NCA) political pressure group.
The NCA is pushing for the establishment of a two-year transitional
authority to lead the drafting of a new and democratic constitution and to
organise a fresh election.
Most of the riot police were concentrated in streets leading to Parliament
Building, the usual destination of demonstrators.
However the NCA demonstration did not take place yesterday. - ZimOnline
By Jonga Kandemiiri
12 January 2009
Many Zimbabwean consumers have not been able to withdraw as much cash as
they wanted from their bank accounts on Monday despite the central bank's
announcement of an end to withdrawal limits, as they could not produce pay
slips justifying their balances.
The catch to the elimination of withdrawal limits by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe was that only funds accounted for by wages could be withdrawn
The central bank's pledge followed meetings late last year between Reserve
Bank Governor Gideon Gono and officials of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions who demanded an end to limits which they said kept workers from fully
enjoying the fruits of their labors.
On Monday the Reserve Bank also introduced notes in denominations of Z$20
billion and Z$50 billion, though they were not yet in circulation in some
Economist Luxon Zembe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe it is of little use for workers to withdraw all their money in
Zimbabwe dollars when most retailers and transport operators now demand
payment in hard currency.
13 January 2009
ZIMBABWE's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is expected
to refuse to support a proposed constitutional amendment to facilitate
implementation of a political agreement for an inclusive government when it
meets at the weekend.
The move would leave the agreement, signed in September last year between
two MDC factions and President Robert Mugabe's ruling minority Zanu (PF),
virtually dead. It would also allow Mugabe to form a new government
unilaterally, and that could plunge fast-crumbling Zimbabwe into new depths
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said yesterday his party was not going to
support the amendment, which would be introduced to parliament next week,
unless Mugabe conceded to the MDC's demands.
The MDC is demanding an equitable distribution of ministries, including
exclusive control of home affairs, sharing of the 10 provincial
governorships, and an influential role in the National Security Council,
which brings together the army, police and intelligence service. It is also
demanding a role in the control of the security forces, which it accuses of
kidnapping and torturing its members and activists.
The party says more than 40 of its activists were recently abducted and
detained for weeks on end without trial on allegations of plotting to
overthrow Mugabe. Chamisa said unless Mugabe made concessions and stopped
his regime's vicious crackdown on his party, the deal could be dead after
the MDC's crucial meeting.
The MDC's national executive would meet on January 18 to discuss "a wide
range of critical issues", Chamisa said. These included "the desperate
humanitarian situation characterised by massive starvation" and "the
abductions and arbitrary arrests of party and civic activists on trumped-up
charges". The executive would also discuss the status of the negotiated
"On the issue of the political agreement, I can't pre-empt the meeting and
the party's expected resolution on that, but we are not going to support the
Constitutional Amendment Bill next week unless outstanding issues are
addressed," Chamisa said.
The bill would be introduced in parliament on next Tuesday after the parties
agreed last month on its content. However, the MDC is planning to use the
bill as a bargaining tool after Mugabe rejected their demands and threatened
to go it alone. Mugabe's Zanu (PF) cannot pass the bill without the MDC
because Zanu (PF) is now a minority party in parliament.
Pressure is mounting at home and in the region for Mugabe and main MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, prime minister-designate in terms of the
agreement, to climb down soon to form an inclusive government to try to
revive the collapsed economy.
Published: January 12, 2009
WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- An international group of experts on genocide
has used the term for the first time about the activities of strongman
Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
In a statement posted on its Web site, the International Association of
Genocide Scholars called for the U.N. Security Council to refer Mugabe to
the International Criminal Court for prosecution, ISG reported.
"Mugabe is now committing genocide by attrition," write the scholars, which
they say falls under the provision of the U.N. Genocide Convention outlawing
acts that "deliberately inflict on the group conditions of life calculated
to bring about its physical destruction, in whole or in part. Mugabe's
apparent intention is to destroy his political and ethnic enemies in
Zimbabwe," says the statement.
Founded in 1994, ISG is an international interdisciplinary scholarly
organization that seeks to further research and teaching about the nature,
causes and consequences of genocide -- and to advance studies on how to
Mugabe is facing growing criticism from the international community after
months of an ongoing political crisis over a power-sharing agreement signed
in September with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe is also facing an escalating humanitarian and economic crisis. A
cholera epidemic has claimed as many as 2,000 lives since August.
January 12, 2009
Godfrey Chidyausiku swears in President Mugabe on June 29, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE – The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an urgent application in which lawyers representing the jailed Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko were seeking a ruling on whether or not her continued detention was constitutional.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, who heard the matter in chambers, ruled that the application was not properly brought before him and should be taken back to the magistrate’s court to restart the cumbersome procedure.
Because Mukoko had other matters still pending in the magistrate’s court, Chidyausiku said the application to refer her case to the Constitutional Court should have been instituted from the magistrate’s court.
Chidyausiku refused to go into the merits of the case citing technical inconsistencies in the procedure in which the case was brought before the highest court.
“Our argument from the beginning has been that Jestina is not before the magistrate’s court properly,” Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights executive director, Irene Petras said Monday.
“She is not on formal remand. So there is no way that an application could have been made in the magistrate’s court and that’s why we approached the Supreme Court directly in terms of Section 24 of the Constitution.”
Mukoko faces charges of alleged banditry emanating from her alleged attempt to recruit persons for purposes of military training to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s government. She denies the charge.
Lawyers representing the former broadcaster filed the application last week seeking an order to have her 40-day detention declared a violation of her fundamental rights.
They want the Supreme Court to bar the arrest or detention of Mukoko on the same or similar charges pending a full enquiry into her kidnapping and the prosecution of her kidnappers.
The lawyers also want Mukoko to be declared a victim of forced disappearance as opposed to being an accused person.
Mukoko, a former staffer with the state controlled ZBC, was seized from her Norton home early last month by a dozen armed men in civilian clothing who claimed to have been police officers.
For 19 days, her whereabouts remained a mystery among friends and relatives who were increasingly fearful of her life.
She claims severe torture at the hands of her captors who tried to force her to confess to charges of banditry.
Human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told The Zimbabwe Times that Monday’s application sought to bring before the courts issues surrounding the continued violation of Mukoko’s basic rights as enshrined in the Constitution.
Mtetwa contends her client has been denied protection by the law.
“They have denied her the right to be properly arrested by the police and taken to a court of law within the 48 hour period stipulated by the law,” she said.
“If you are not arrested within those methods your rights are being violated.”
The High Court early this month declined to compel the Attorney General to produce Mukoko’s kidnappers in court citing the need to preserve the secrecy of state security apparatus.
Mtetwa insists this is violation of her client’s rights.
She said the Supreme Court application sought to highlight the fact that Mukoko has been denied the right to make any complainant against people who took her in her night dress and detained her for 19 days without any recourse to the law.
“The Constitution says you can only be denied your liberty in terms of the law,”’ she said.
Mukoko and 16 of her co-accused persons have narrated details of their harrowing experiences at the hands of their captors.
A two-year-old child, son to a jailed couple, makes the 18th member of the abductees and is jointly charged for the offences.
Said Mtetwa; “Being denied the right to have your medication, the right to your lawyers, your relatives, being blindfolded and interrogated for long periods, all constitute serious violation of one’s Constitutional rights.
“Section 15 (1) of the Constitution says no one should be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.
“We are saying how does the Attorney General, fully knowing she is a victim of admitted abduction, take her and straight away prosecute her without investigating the circumstances of her kidnapping.
“We are saying to prosecute her, as indeed is the case with the others, when the Attorney General has shown he is being partisan, is being denied protection of the law. Police have failed to investigate her abduction.
“Up to now, not even a single statement has been recorded from any of her relatives who saw her being abducted and that to us is a violation of her rights as provided for by the Constitution.”
Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri is listed as first respondent with security minister Didymus Mutasa, Attorney General Johannes Tomana and Commissioner of Prisons Paradzai Zimondi second, third and fourth respondents respectively
Monday, 12 January 2009 21:32 Nomsa Moyo
ZANU-PF and the recently breakaway ZAPU are involved in a fierce fight over
properties with the battle likely to be taken to court soon.
Over the weekend the ZANU-PF Bulawayo province wrestled a vehicle from
former secretary for security Andrew Ndlovu who is now a senior member of
the revived ZAPU. There was a fierce clash between ZANU-PF and ZAPU members
with both parties claiming ownership to the vehicle.
The marauding youths finally overpowered Ndlovu and his backers who
surrendered the car in protests.
Ndlovu threatened that ZAPU would recover the vehicles from ZANU-PF and the
matter will be referred to the courts so that ZAPU gets the cars.
"Those cars belong to ZAPU. We will make sure that we get the vehicles even
if it means going to court. We divorced with ZANU-PF but we have the right
to own properties," he said.
Ndlovu claims that he bought spares for the car, including tyres.
On the other hand, ZANU-PF youths said they grabbed a Madza double cab from
Ndlovu because he was using the vehicle for ZAPU programmes.
"We took away the vehicle from Ndlovu on 7 January because he was abusing
the party car. He had removed the ZANU-PF logos from the vehicles and
imprinted ZAPU statements. We recovered the vehicle which was parked at
Mavambo offices. That shows that Ndlovu is no longer part of ZANU-PF, so why
should he hold on to the property," said a ZANU-PF source.
"The doors are no longer locking and some parts are being tied by wires but
we are taking the car to a garage for service. The car was used in bad roads
in the rural areas for a long time and that caused the damages."
The ZANU-PF insider said they were hunting for the secretary for the
commissariat, Silas Dlomo who is supposed to surrender a vehicle.
Former ZANU-PF Bulawayo Province chairman Macleod Tshawe, was embarrassment
after being dispossessed of the party vehicle at a bottle store. Tshawe was
forced to surrender the vehicle, a Toyota Hilux twin cab, to scores of
ZANU-PF youths who accused him of championing the revival of ZAPU.
ZAPU was revived last month and is headed by former ZANU-PF Politiburo
member, Dr Dumiso Dabengwa.
12 January 2009
Eddie Cross answers his critics in the state-controlled media in Zimbabwe
I am sure we all recall that press conference in Iraq when the Minister of
Information for the Iraqi government was holding forth on the status of the
war against them launched a few days earlier by the Americans. He boldly
declared that the American forces would never reach the city of Baghdad.
Behind him and clearly visible on camera, were American tanks crossing the
bridge into the suburb where the press conference was being held.
The shrill protests and hysterical claims of the regime in Harare take on a
similar character. I include in that the statement by Mugabe at the Bindura
conference of Zanu PF that he would 'never, never, never give up - Zimbabwe
is mine'. I found it curious that my last article headed 'Let it Crash and
Burn' (see here) has evoked a storm of debate in the State controlled media
here. I have also been attacked by the War Veterans and called all sorts of
They seemed frightened of the prospect of being left to their own devices in
the chaotic situation we are living in here at present. A bit like the
horror of a killer who finds himself locked into the room containing the
body of his victim and forced to sit there while it stinks and rots and the
killer himself faces the prospect of dying from thirst and hunger.
The reality is that Zanu PF finds itself hooked on a line that leads back to
a transitional government that will in fact be controlled and managed by MDC
with the obligation only to consult and gain consensus with the Zanu PF
minority in its ranks. This fish is fighting the line, but losing the
battle. This coming week they must decide whether to tear the hook out of
its mouth and dive into deep water, or to allow it to be landed on the
The situation is quite clear, Zanu and MDC have signed an agreement, that
agreement is backed and guaranteed by regional and continental bodies and
leaders. It provides for the formation of a transitional government that
will last about 27 months before a free and fair election under a new
constitution and observed by the international community. In that
transitional authority, Zanu is in the minority - in every organ of the
State. All it has is consultation rights and the need to agree with the MDC
on what has to be done to fix the economy and our shattered society.
'Zimbabwe is mine' Mugabe is stripped of much of his power, has to deal with
Tsvangirai on all policy issues and before any senior appointments are made.
The JOC is replaced with a new National Security Council that is dominated
by the MDC and is democratic in character. The Zanu PF Politburo saw the
implications immediately after the SADC signing ceremony and has been
furiously fighting a rear guard action ever since. But the pressure from the
region on the regime has been relentless.
This coming week is the Rubicon for the regime. They must decide to either
go with the deal, conclude the steps necessary to complete its
implementation or to refute the deal and go ahead with the formation of an
illegitimate government without the MDC or the approval of the region. This
decision must be made before Parliament is convened on the 20th of January.
If they decide to go into the transitional government then they must accept
what the MDC is proposing - a draft of new legislation to set up the
National Security Council, the equitable allocation of ministerial portfolio
's and they must accept that all the senior appointments made since June
2008, in violation of the MOU and the GPA be rescinded and new appointees
agreed with the MDC and substituted.
Once this happens then everyone can expect that events will move quite
rapidly; Parliament will debate and adopt the new legislation - followed by
the appointment of both Mugabe and Tsvangirai to their respective posts,
followed by the nomination and swearing in of all Ministers. This could all
be over by the 31st January and a new government could start work on the 2nd
If however they decide not to go this route, they will walk away from the
deal and in the process walk into the wilderness. Their problems will
multiply exponentially; they have no idea how they are going to finance
salaries this month, whatever they pay civil servants and the army and
police, and it will be worthless. They will plunge the region as a whole
into a real crisis - they could jeopardize the prospects for the World Cup
next year, (over 400 000 people crossed the Beitbridge border post in
December), South Africa would be swamped with economic refugees.
The Zimbabwe regime would be even more isolated and regional leaders would
have no choice but to repudiate the new government. Internationally,
sanctions would be tightened and broadened to include financial restrictions
on all deals with Zimbabwe. China and Russia would not be able to maintain
their neutrality and political pressure would grow for fresh,
internationally supervised elections. Elections that Zanu PF would lose
What the criminals in the Mugabe regime have also got to understand is that
this is their last chance to avoid their very worst fears becoming a
reality. Inside the new transitional government, working with and not
against the MDC, the leadership of Zanu PF would be able to avoid
prosecution and probable imprisonment for various crimes for at least the
period during which they would be in the transitional government. It is
unlikely that the government, operating on a consensual basis, would agree
to going over all the violations of the past 30 years and bringing the
perpetrators to book.
In fact, for the Ministers and other senior officials in the present regime,
it would take the form of a type of enforced community service. They would
have to accept the failure of their policies in the past and their
shortcomings in many areas. They would be confronted by the very people they
beat and tortured yesterday and be required to work with them in repairing
the damage and helping to build a new Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans are a unique people in many respects, if these erstwhile masters
accepted their fate and willingly gave themselves to the task of
reconstruction, many would find forgiveness and reconciliation. I think the
decision facing Zanu PF this week is quite simple and straight forward, but
then we have been there before.
Eddie Cross is MP for Bulawayo South and the MDC's Policy Coordinator. This
article first appeared on his website www.eddiecross.africanherd.com/
Paul Nyakazeya, an award winning business journalist, told IRIN the hardest hit firms were those which did not generate foreign currency through export sales, and were therefore unable to pay for their foreign inputs.
“The companies that were trading using foreign currency have not had any problems opening for the new year because after the economy was dollarised, they were able to remain afloat because they could procure what ever requirements they needed using ready cash,” Nyakazeya said.
“On the other hand, companies in the textiles industry and the mining sector scaled down operations or did not open because they could not access foreign exchange from the RBZ [Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe], which has given priority to agro-based industries.”
Gold mines especially were in trouble, and had either closed or operating at a “depressed capacity”, because of the RBZ’s failure to pay them for gold exported under the Foreign Currency Retention Fund, in which up to 75 percent of gold exports should be paid by the RBZ in foreign currency.
Nyakazeya said some of the companies had adopted a "wait and see" attitude, hoping that deadlocked political talks involving the main political parties would end with a solution to the country’s collapsed economy. Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate of 80 percent.
On the fence
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) is due to meet on 18 January to decide whether to join a government of national unity. It has accused President Robert Mugabe of clinging to power rather than resolving the impasse around last year’s deeply flawed election, in which MDC-T won a parliamentary majority, but Mugabe romped home in a violence-marred presidential contest as the sole candidate.
“Some businesses are just sitting on the fence waiting to see how political developments unfold before taking a decision on their investments," said Nyakazeya.
Zimbabwe has witnessed a wholesale dollarisation of the economy after the RBZ last year authorised some businesses, including retail outlets, to conduct transactions in foreign currency. A shortage of local currency and a world record inflation rate has encouraged the transformation.
According to economic analyst John Robertson, “The whole process is tied to many failed economic policies, including the one in which the RBZ forced banks to lodge foreign currency with them, but spent it on government projects and failed to release the money to companies who wanted it to buy raw materials and for operational costs.”
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the main labour federation, has launched a campaign to have workers paid in foreign currency rather than the ever-eroding Zimbabwe dollar, which now boasts a Z$50 billion note
“The government has lost faith in its own local currency, so why does it expect the workers to have faith in a worthless currency which they do not respect?” ZCTU president, Lovemore Matombo, commented.
“Workers in Zimbabwe are being forced to pay rentals and transport fares and even school fees in foreign currency ... Our position is that given that the shops are now selling their goods in foreign currency, workers have no option but to demand that all wages and salaries be paid in foreign currency.”
Doctors and nurses have been on strike for four months demanding a dollar-based salary. Teachers have also taken industrial action with the same goal.
The government can open the gates to
schools and classroom doors, but there will be no teachers because they would
either be on strike or have left to try other options
Education permanent secretary, Stephen Mahere, announced that the decision “has been neccessitated by the need to facilitate completion of the 2008 public national examinations involving a significant number of teachers”.
The delay in releasing the results of the key Grade 7 exams prevents final year primary school pupils from graduating to secondary school. The results for Ordinary-Level examinations are also not yet out, which determines whether students can proceed to Advanced Level.
Happy Ndanga, an official with the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council, told the official Herald newspaper that "marking of the exams was completed weeks ago, but the results are currently being captured".
Raymond Majongwe, the secretary general of the militant Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, told IRIN that the government was in denial, refusing to acknowledge it had run one of Africa's best education systems into the ground.
"The truth of the matter is that public examinations marking has not been completed because teachers have been on strike and refuse to be paid peanuts for teaching pupils and marking public examinations. As a result of the poor working conditions, more than 35,000 teachers out of a national complement of about 113,000 left their jobs in 2008 because it did not make sense to continue to provide their labour for free."
Majongwe predicted that even if schools reopened on 27 January, most classrooms would be empty.
"The government can open the gates to schools and classroom doors, but there will be no teachers because they would either be on strike or have left to try other options. The government can bring in the militia and the military, but that will not improve the quality of education."
by Own Correspondent Tuesday 13 January 2009
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's ruling ANC president Jacob Zuma's image took a
fresh battering on Monday when the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned a
judge's ruling dismissing corruption charges against him.
"The appeal is upheld with costs," Deputy Judge President Louis Harms said
in delivering judgment, adding High Court judge Chris Nicholson made several
errors in a September 12 2008 ruling.
Nicholson dismissed bribery, fraud and other charges against Zuma in
September and suggested former president Thabo Mbeki had interfered in the
case, leading to the ousting of Mbeki as president and deeply dividing the
The ruling opens the way for fresh corruption charges against Zuma with only
a few months before a crucial general election in which he is supposed to
stand as the African National Congress' presidential candidate.
Zuma can still appeal to the appeals court ruling in the Constitutional
The ANC chief, expected to take over South Africa's presidency after
elections this year, has openly criticised President Robert Mugabe's
controversial rule, suggesting that under his charge Africa's economic
powerhouse might take a more robust stance against the Zimbabwean leader. -
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is an old saying Mother used to
quote, but in Zim
these days, due to the currency restrictions, we can only purchase one apple
a week !!
Yes its true, it does not matter how much we have in our banks, we are only
law to draw enough money, to buy one apple, once a week !!
I suppose it has the required effect, reducing us all to the obligatory
Marxist principle !
Our common denominator is one single apple per week !!!
Its actually great fun living in Zimbabwe, I always remember my singing
teacher at Eveline
School once remarked that I had a "perverted sense of humour", and that,
apart from the
obligatory apple, is essential in this beleaguered country !
One has to laugh at it all, it certainly saves one from crying .....
At least the banks are quiet, if every employed person in the country, (and
there are only
ten percent of the population working remember) can only draw five billion
week, that means the girls in the bank are sitting twiddling their thumbs
all day long. But I
suppose it is preferable to the days when the crushes at the banks had to be
My friend Jeannie was badly hurt in a "bank trample" which was the new name
for a "bank
There are many things that make us Zimbos exquisitely happy.
Today HeeHoo gave me ten whole US dollars which purchased some airtime for
phone. Now I had in fact become quite disciplined about not using my cell
really quite easy.
Gone are the days when one can pick up a cell phone on a whim and send
one's offspring telling them that you love them. Instead one has to head
home and dial the
home phone hopelessly,again and again and again, but if one has perseverance
tenacity, one can possibly get through if one is exceptionally lucky !!
Now ten US dollars, at 67 cents per message will give me nearly 15 messages
offspring !! Now that's is blissful happiness is it not ?
I am also happy that the cell phone system works so seldom, as HEEHOO is now
road to mental recovery !! Previously he would carry four phones (as do many
of the local
businessmen) - one phone for each of the three local servers and one for a
S.A. phone, in
the vague hope that at least one of them might work sometime @@
Now THAT is heart attack material ...... but now he does not bother too much
goodness, about carrying even one cell phone !!
Another excitement is being able to pick one's own veggies. The days of
going to the
market and buying one's veggies are over. Pay ten billion for an English
Not a chance, it would take me two weeks to save up for it !! Now HeeHoo has
satisfied with spinach, aubergines, chillies, and lettuce. (And he manfully
Meat is not a problem for us thankfully, as HeeHoo Must Fish and his Kind
Papa both have
butcheries and we can do a sort of counter trade for meat so its back to the
which HeeHoo loves.
Another exciting aspect of living in Zimbabwe is called "Dodging Those Who
We live on a main access road to the city and every day one has to take
ones' own life in
one's hands as the car in front and the car behind, and the car in the next
lane, when they
see the police road block up ahead, suddenly, without warning, career off in
direction,or swing into a quick maniacal U turn.
Their main aim is to avoid the cops at all costs whatever their reasons and
our main aim is
to avoid them !
Ayrton Senna type driving is then the order of the day to survive a trip to
Schooling is another pleasure. No "Back to School" rush in Zimbabwe, no
furious buying of
school uniforms, books, pens pencils etc, these are simply just not
And besides which my four adopted daughters are easy to get ready for
school is not taking place, the Powers That Be, have simply cancelled
Mind you I gather that Aggie and Pence have back to school items so e mail
<firstname.lastname@example.org> if you need stationery of any sort.
One can also derive much happiness from a fruitful phone call. Now First
a fruitful business phone call, but we Third Worlders are exceedingly
grateful for the same
!! We are thrilled in the first instance to get through on the phone, any
phone !! And when
the phone is answered it is another bonus !!
Then when the person on the other end is bright and cheery and exceptionally
and obliging , one has a day made in heaven ... I phoned Mr Battery (about a
problem and a delightful lady called Wendy answered. She was so sweet and so
that I made a mental note to deal only with her in future. Telephone Wendy
Enchanted experiences also begin (and sometimes end) with the Robot Colour
Game Now a robot is called a traffic light in most parts of the world, ours
Zimbabwe have a peculiarly distinctive flavour in that we have no globes for
It makes for fun and games I promise you. People approach a robot in fear
... "Are the lights working at all? Are they red, green or amber. ?
One out of four could possibly be working but the globes are really dim and
to see what colour they are.
So its a kind of Road Rage Robot Russian Roulette.
The Bold and The Beautiful always take the initiative. There is nothing a
civilised as "first
come first serve" or the usual four way stop option. The bigger you are the
faster you go
.... and beware anyone else in your path. Oh I wish HeeHoo had bought me a