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Zinwa to cut Harare water supplies for one week from Monday

Sunday Mail 13.1.08
Zinwa to cut supplies for one week

By Susan Tokwe

THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has announced that Harare and Chitungwiza residents will from tomorrow go without water supplies for a week following major electricity power cuts at the authority’s Morton Jaffray Waterworks in the capital.

Zinwa general manager Mr Lisben Chipfunde told The Sunday Mail yesterday that intermittent power cuts experienced between Friday and early yesterday morning had seen the water treatment plant failing to process and pump water.

Mr Chipfunde acknowledged the great inconvenience the situation will have on residents. He, however, said the authority was working out measures to urgently restore supplies to the affected areas. Zesa Holdings officials could not be reached for comment last night.

"Harare and parts of Chitungwiza will this whole week experience a loss of water supplies due to problems beyond our control," said Mr Chipfunde. "We would, however, like to assure residents in the affected areas that we are doing all we can to address the situation. We are really concerned about the frequency of the power cuts, which are affecting our plant."

Mr Chipfunde said power went off at the water treatment plant at 9.55 pm on Friday. Supplies were, however, restored at around 11.40 pm before another power cut hit the plant at 1am.

Again, supplies were restored at 1.45am, but power went off at 7.15 am yesterday. Residents in and around Harare complained yesterday that they had spent the entire day without water flowing from their taps. Central Harare and most western suburbs, including Highfield, Glen Norah, Budiriro and Mufakose, were affected. Mr Chipfunde said the western suburbs would be the first to receive water after supplies are restored.

It will, however, take longer for areas such as Mabvuku and Tafara. Mr Chipfunde said it usually took a week for pumping to normalise in the event of an hour’s power outage.

This translates into 10 hours without electricity, meaning the current situation may take longer to normalise, he said. Morton Jaffray has a capacity to produce 500 megalitres of water per day while Prince Edward sub-station produces 66 megalitres.

At the moment, Prince Edward is the only functional plant. Said Mr Chipfunde: "Prince Edward only produces about one tenth of the required water and will only feed a fraction of the Chitungwiza area.

"Unlike in situations of power cuts whereby everything returns to normal after reconnection, it takes a bit of time to reset the pumps and have them channelling water to the other pump stations."

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Zimbabwe villagers use human excrement on farms: media

Yahoo News

Sun Jan 13, 7:08 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Some villagers in Zimbabwe have resorted to using human
excrement to beat an acute shortage of fertiliser and enhance their crop
yields, state media reported Sunday.

"Chihota villagers have invented optional fertiliser by turning human
excreta (faeces) into organic manure with urine being used in the mixture
instead of ammonium nitrate," the state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
The human waste collected in specially designed toilets replaces the
ordinary compound D and ammonium nitrate fertilisers which are in short
supply across the country.

"The collected human waste is commonly referred to as humanure and
ecological fertiliser," the report said.

Chihota is about 50km (30 miles) southeast of Harare.

The government-owned Sunday Mail newspaper said: "Abhorred as this may
appear, the community's innovation is expected to produce better yields at a
time the country is faced with an acute shortage of fertiliser."

Zimbabwe is an economic crisis with inflation last announced at nearly 8,000
percent in September. Economists estimate the real figure is now closer to
50,000 percent.

Fertiliser companies have suspended production after failing to secure
foreign currency to import chemicals.

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Zimbabwean police break up church services

Monsters and Critics

Jan 13, 2008, 17:30 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwean police disrupted Sunday several Anglican Church services
in Harare, arresting at least three priests and a number of parishioners
opposed to a pro-government bishop, a church official claimed Sunday.

The priests were dragged out of church because they were conducting services
without the authorisation of the police or that of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga,
who is a staunch supporter of President Robert Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF
party, according to the church official.

Police have not confirmed the arrests. The Harare diocese of the Anglican
Church has been torn apart since Kunonga pulled the church out of the
regional mother body the Church Province of Central Africa (CPCA) -
ostensibly because he opposed the province's stance on homosexuality.

The CPCA replaced Kunonga with Bishop Sebastian Bakare and said Kunonga was
no longer a member of the Anglican Church. But Kunonga and his followers
have refused to recognise the new bishop's appointment.

Police paramilitaries in riot gear and carrying batons disrupted a service
at St Elizabeth church in Harare's middle-income suburb of Belvedere, said
church spokesman Christopher Tapera.

'They disrupted the service and asked everyone to leave. One woman who was
taking a video was arrested,' he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in a
telephone interview in Harare.

Police this week sent a circular to all parishes ordering that only priests
loyal to Kunonga were allowed to conduct services, he said.

'Police cannot interfere with the running of the church unless there is
violence,' insisted Tapera.

At St. James Church in the suburb of Warren Park, 16 parishioners loyal to
Bishop Bakare were arrested, said Tapera. He did not know, if charges had
been brought against the arrested.

One of the priests, who was arrested at the Anglican Church in Harare's
upmarket Marlborough suburb was later released, said Tapera.

Police at St. Luke's Church in Greendale eventually allowed Bishop Bakare to
hold a service in the church hall, while Kunonga held a service inside the
church, he said.

'The hall was packed. Kunonga only had three people with him in the church,'
claimed Tapera. Meanwhile, Kunonga has announced that he is creating a new
Anglican Church province, the Church Province of Zimbabwe, official media
reported Sunday.

Kunonga announced his decision at a press conference on Saturday.

'History has been made today,' the state-controlled Sunday Mail quoted
Kunonga as saying, adding, 'We have formed our own province. It has been
painful and sorrowful but out of that came the joy of our own province,' he

Bakare spokesman Tapera described the move as a 'mockery', insisting that
the Harare diocese was still part of the central African church province,
which groups Anglican churches in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

© 2008 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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Pro-Mugabe bishop forms splinter church


    January 13 2008 at 03:13PM

Harare - Axed Anglican bishop Nolbert Kunonga, an ally of Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe, has formed a splinter church after his ousting in a
dispute over homosexuality, a state weekly reported on Sunday.

"History has been made," The Sunday Mail quoted Kunonga as telling his
supporters in the capital.

"We have formed our own province. It has been painful and sorrowful
but out of that came the joy of our province."

He said the new entity would be known as the Anglican Church of
Zimbabwe, with five dioceses in and around Harare.

Kunonga, a vocal backer of Mugabe's controversial land reforms,
attempted to pull his Harare diocese out of the Anglican Church's Province
of Central Africa over its stance on homosexuality.

He fell out with the province, comprising Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and
Zimbabwe, for failing to condemn the ordination of gay bishops.

"There is no bishop in the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe whom I can
clearly say has sympathised, indulged or compromised in homosexuality and we
follow the scriptures. We refuse to embrace homosexuality," the Sunday Mail
quoted him as saying.

Following his decision to quit the province, the Anglican church
withdrew his licence and appointed Sebastian Bakare as bishop.

But Kunonga insisted he was the legitimate head of the diocese,
splitting it in two factions that have in recent weeks engaged in fisticuffs
in a dispute over church property.

Last week, police were called in to oversee the Kunonga and Bakare
factions worship in different rooms of the main Harare cathedral.

Kunonga, who has officiated at various state functions and at Mugabe's
swearing-in in 2002, has praised the much-maligned Zimbabwean leader as "a
true son of God".

He is on the list of Mugabe allies banned from travelling to the
United States under sanctions imposed after 2002 presidential elections
widely denounced as rigged.

Mugabe, a Catholic, is also known for an anti-gay stance, having once
referred to gays and lesbians as "worse than pigs and dogs." He has called
Kunonga "my spiritual father". - Sapa-AFP

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Mugabe goes shopping while Zim crumbles


Basildon Peta
January 13 2008 at 10:26AM

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace withdrew $100
000 (R700 000) of scarce foreign currency from their country's central bank
to finance a lavish three-week holiday and shopping spree in Asia, even as
poverty in the country dramatically worsened.

The Mugabes bought the $100 000 from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) at the low official exchange rate of ZIM$30 000 dollars for one US
dollar before Christmas.

If they had bought the greenbacks on the much more realistic black
market - which ordinary Zimbabweans with no connections at the central bank
have to use - they would have cost at least 60 times more, about ZIM$1,8
million to ZIM$2 million per US dollar.

"You might as well just say he took the money out of the RBZ for
free," said a highly placed RBZ source.

Authoritative sources said Mugabe and his wife had left for Asia last
month with a dozen bodyguards whose salaries, allowances, accommodation and
food expenses while with the president would all be paid for by the state.

Sources said Mugabe sometimes covers up by doubling his trips with
official duties, when he meets heads of state from other countries while on

While ordinary Zimbabweans reel from a collapsing economy, only Mugabe
and a few of his cronies are able to buy the little foreign currency that
trickles into the country from mineral and tourism receipts at the official
exchange rate.

Some critics suspect that the government keeps the exchange rate at
unrealistically low levels precisely to enable those at the top to make
enormous profits by reselling the US dollars on the black market or using
them to buy goods cheaply.

Sources say the giant Makro store near OR Tambo international airport
in Johannesburg has become one of the shopping venues of choice for many
Mugabe cronies because of its proximity to the airport.

Mugabe and his family are expected to return from Asia in time for the
the start of the school term in February.

Details of the holiday trip have been kept a closely secret but it is
understood Mugabe visited Singapore and the plush holiday resorts of
Langkawi in Malaysia and Phukhet in Thailand. In Langkawi he usually meets
his old friend, the former Malaysian prime minister Mahatir Mohamed, with
whom he shares a dislike of the West.

On his return he is expected to dissolve parliament in preparation for
a general election in March, unless President Thabo Mbeki persuades him to
postpone it to create more time to implement agreements reached in
negotiations in Pretoria with the opposition.

Mugabe's refusal to postpone the elections so far has deadlocked the
negotiations which Mbeki is mediating for the region.

To try to break the deadlock, Mbeki has summoned the negotiating teams
from both the ruling Zanu-PF and the MDC to Pretoria this week for
discussions that he will personally take charge of.

Previous talks have been chaired by Sydney Mufamadi, the local
government minister, on Mbeki's behalf.

Although the two parties have agreed on several issues, including a
"transitional constitution", everything is now stalled by Zanu-PF's
insistence that it will only implement the agreement - including the new
constitution - after the March elections.

The opposition argues that this defeats the whole purpose of the Mbeki
mediation, which was aimed at ensuring that the March polls would be based
on a new constitution to ensure they were free and fair.

The opposition also accuses Mugabe of reneging on implementing all
other agreed items, such as rewriting the voters roll, freeing the media and
halting political violence.

Mbeki is supposed to report soon to the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) on the progress of his mediation. But with the SADC
politics, defence and security troika now chaired by Angolan President Jose
Eduardo dos Santos, a close supporter of Mugabe, the Zimbabwean leader might
feel he can afford to stall, sources said.

"It would have been better if [Tanzanian President Jakaya] Kikwete was
still in charge [of the troika] because he appeared enthusiastic about
getting things done and prodding Mbeki for some progress. But only the very
optimistic can believe that Dos Santos will make a difference," said the

"Unless Mbeki personally wields the stick on Mugabe, chances are that
we will have elections without a fundamentally changed environment in March.
If there was ever a time that Zimbabwe needed Mbeki, it's now."

Officials in both factions of the MDC say they now feel cheated
because they were "duped" into supporting a Zanu-PF-inspired constitutional
amendment expanding the size of parliament from 150 to 210 MPs as a
confidence-building measure and under the pretext that more fundamental
reforms would follow.

Mugabe has since allocated a majority of the 60 extra seats to his own
party stronghold in Mashonaland.

This article was originally published on page 4 of Sunday Independent
on January 13, 2008

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Harare enlists UNDP help to draft economic blueprint

Zim Online

by Thenjiwe Mabhena Monday 14 January 2008

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s government has enlisted the help of the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to cobble up a new economic plan
to end an acute recession gripping Zimbabwe since 1999, ZimOnline has

The Harare administration, accused by critics of ruining Zimbabwe’s once
vibrant economy through repression and wrong economic decisions, has also
roped in business, labour and civic society to help draft the Zimbabwe
Economic Development Strategy (ZEDS), expected to be launched in 2009 and
run until 2013.

The UNDP -- which signed a memorandum of understanding with Harare outlining
its involvement in drafting of the policy document -- said in a statement
published on its website that the broad consultative process to capture
input from various stakeholders had already begun.

It said: “The broad consultative process has begun with the project steering
and technical committees formed; 11 thematic groups constituted; project
secretariat in place; 19 stakeholder sensitisation meetings held; key
technical drivers of the process trained to equip them with the necessary
tools to lead the process.”

Thematic committees that are headed by experts drawn from stakeholder groups
will discuss key issues such as macro economic stabilisation and growth,
productive sectors, investment and export development, infrastructure
development, governance and poverty reduction.

The Ministry of Economic Development, the lead agency in the drafting of the
new economic plan, postponed its launch last October to allow for more
consultations with other stakeholders. The ministry indicated at the time
that it would seek the assistance of UN agencies in formulating the policy.

ZEDS is expected to spearhead the country’s economic revival after nearly a
decade of recession triggered by the violent removal of former white farmers
from their properties which led to foreign currency shortages, fuel and
power supply bottlenecks. Over the past 17 years, Zimbabwe has come up with
no less than seven economic blueprints.

These include the International Monetary Fund-sanctioned Economic Structural
Adjustment Programme in 1990, Vision 2020, Zimbabwe Programme for Economic
and Social Transformation in 1998, the Millennium Economic Recovery Plan in
2001, the National Economic Recovery Plan of 2003, the 10-Point Plan and the
much-hyped National Economic Development Priority Programme (NEDPP) launched
in 2006.

Launched with great excitement in April 2006, the NEDPP was the latest
blueprint touted by the government as the panacea to the country's economic

At the time of the NEDPP launch, the government claimed that there was
strong private sector participation in the programme, then seen as the
answer to the problems of hyperinflation, unstable currency and low foreign
currency generation.

The country has been operating without an economic blueprint since the end
of the NEDPP, which was supposed to be a short-term stabilisation programme
that sought to restore economic stability through the implementation of
quick-win strategies in the last six months of 2006.

Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product is estimated to have contracted by between
30 percent and 40 percent since 2000 while inflation is still the highest in
the world at more than 8 000 percent and a foreign exchange crisis has led
to acute shortages of food, fuel and electricity. - ZimOnline

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ZANU PF, MDC resume talks

Zim Online

by Patricia Mpofu Monday 14 January 2008

      HARARE – Zimbabwe’s opposition on Sunday said it had resumed talks
with President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party in a bid to break the
deadlock over the date for elections as well as the adoption of a new

      Nelson Chamisa, the spokesman for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) party, told about 5 000 party supporters at a
rally in Harare’s Glen View suburb that the party’s negotiators left Harare
for Pretoria last Saturday for the make-or-break talks.

      Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti, the secretaries-general of the two
factions of the MDC are representing the party in talks with ZANU PF.

      Chamisa said Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Social Welfare
Minister Nicholas Goche, who are leading the ZANU PF delegation, also left
for Pretoria for the talks that have been deadlocked over ZANU PF’s
rejection of a new constitution before the elections scheduled for March.

      “The dialogue is resuming. Our negotiators are in South Africa right
now after President Thabo Mbeki stepped in to break the deadlock,” said

      “Mbeki has called the negotiating teams to try and break the deadlock.
The MDC is still insisting on a transitional constitution as well as the
shifting of the election date,” he added.

      The MDC said it wants a new, democratic constitution that has been
agreed at the talks to be implemented before the elections.

      It also wants the election date moved from March to sometime in June
to allow democratic reforms and other legal changes agreed to at the talks
to have effect on the ground before voting could take place.

      Mugabe has however rejected the opposition demands insisting that the
elections will take place in March “without fail.”

      Speaking at the same rally yesterday, MDC vice-president Thokozani
Khupe said the opposition party was also pushing for every Zimbabwean
eligible to vote to be allowed to vote using their national identification
card as happened during the historic 1980 elections that ushered in

      “We are campaigning for an environment that is conducive for free and
fair elections. We want a situation whereby any eligible Zimbabwean would be
allowed to vote using his or her national ID card,” said Khupe.

      The MDC, ZANU PF talks have the blessings of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) that is eager to broker a lasting solution to
Zimbabwe’s eight-year political crisis.

      A key objective of the talks is to ensure that the presidential and
parliamentary elections are free and fair.

      Analysts say truly democratic elections are vital to any plan to end
an acute economic crisis gripping Zimbabwe and that is seen in
hyperinflation, a rapidly contracting GDP, the fastest for a country not at
war according to the World Bank and shortages of foreign currency, food and
fuel. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe's new press, security laws take effect

Monsters and Critics

Jan 13, 2008, 20:32 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - Changes to Zimbabwe's press and security regulations
that were fast-tracked through Parliament last month are now law, it emerged
late Sunday.

Legal watchdog Veritas said that the laws were published Friday as acts of
Parliament in an extraordinary government gazette.

The changes to Zimbabwe's notorious Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act make it no longer compulsory for reporters to carry a press

But only accredited reporters will be allowed into Parliament and the courts
and to cover national events.

The state-appointed Media and Information Commission responsible for
shutting down four private newspapers in the last five years will also be
reconstituted, and a media council to enforce media ethics will be set up.
Independent press watchdogs have dismissed the changes as piecemeal.

Under changes to the Public Order and Security Act, it will now be harder
for police to ban rallies and street protests. The amended laws come into
force with only two months to go before crunch presidential, parliamentary
and local government polls.

The ruling party's political commissar, Elliot Manyika, said this weekend
that he was satisfied ZANU-PF would 'romp to victory.'

© 2008 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 12th January 2008

To our surprise, several supporters were hugged by passers-by. It's a great
way to keep warm, although it wasn't a particularly cold day for this time
of year.  It turns out that the "free huggers" were practicing for National
Hugging Day on 21st January: yet another whacky phenomenon in the bizarre
kaleidoscope of British life.

Who, for instance, would have expected - while we were singing our demands
for freedom - that a red double-decker bus would drive past with on its side
the slogan "Don't forget to register to vote"! If only we could . . . .

A Zimbabwean group say they are to hold a demonstration outside the Embassy
next Saturday afternoon in support of the diaspora vote.  It would have been
good to consult us as we have been here every Saturday going on 6 years.
Anyway we are quite happy to give them a free hug - especially if they are
not behind the emails and telephone calls received by our supporters saying
that next week's Vigil has been called off.  It would appear that the Vigil
is coming under increased attack since the success of our lobbying in

We can assure our supporters that the Vigil, as always, will be out there
demanding free and fair elections.  This is in line with the request by the
MDC Tsvangirai Secretary for Information, Nelson Chamisa, who said that this
should be the main drive for the diaspora.  As for the diaspora vote, the
Vigil sees little point in talking to the Zimbabwe Embassy .We will be
putting our concerns about this to South Africa House, which is a more
vulnerable pulse to press.

Another good attendance with marvelous singing and drumming and some star
musicians among them.  As always, we were humbled by people traveling long
distances to be with us.  Take Patrick Dzimba, for example.  He lives in
Glasgow in Scotland and caught a coach at 11 pm on Friday so he could be
with us.  When we said goodbye to him he headed off to Victoria Coach
Station to catch a bus for 11.30 for his 8 hour journey home.  Coaches are
the cheapest form of transport.  It was great to have you with us, Patrick.
We are putting him in touch with one of our long-term supporters, Ancilla
Chifamba , who has recently moved to Glasgow and wants to start a Vigil

Finally, our commiserations to Chipo Chaya of the Vigil co-ordinating team
whose only brother has died suddenly in England.  He came from Zimbabwe
about a month ago on a visit.  We grieve with you, Chipo.

For this week's Vigil pictures:

FOR THE RECORD:  201 signed the registers

FOR YOUR DIARY:  Monday 14th January at 7.30 pm. Central London Zimbabwe
Forum.  This week forum discusses how best the diaspora can support the
upcoming elections. Venue: downstairs function room of the Bell and Compass,
9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the
corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.

Vigil Co-ordinators

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

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Mbeki scrambles to save talks as MDC seeks SADC intervention

New Zimbabwe

By Torby Chimhashu
Last updated: 01/14/2008 03:46:50
ONGOING talks between Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) might this week be referred to the
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) if no deal is struck, a senior
MDC official has warned.

Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai said
seeking SADC intervention remains an option if current broker, South African
President Thabo Mbeki, fails in his bid to get a the MDC and Zanu PF to
agree on a range of key legislative changes ahead of joint presidential and
parliamentary elections in March.

“There is a stalemate. We went into talks with Zanu PF and we both agreed to
work around five key issues we identified as a way of promoting an enabling
environment for the holding of free and fair elections,” MDC spokesman
Nelson Chamisa told a rally in Harare’s Glen View suburb on Sunday.

“So far, Zanu PF has failed to honour its commitment. If President Mbeki
fails to help find a solution to this deadlock, then he will have to refer
the talks to the SADC troika which first called for them in March.”

Mbeki made last ditch efforts to save the talks on Saturday evening when he
summoned both MDC and Zanu PF negotiating teams to Pretoria.

Labour Minister Nicholas Goche and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
representing Zanu PF, flew into the South African capital on Saturday
evening while Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube, representing the two MDC
factions, left Harare on Sunday morning.

Chamisa said: “As we gather here in Glen View, our representative in the
talks, Honourable Biti and others are meeting President Mbeki. We hope a
solution would be found but if it’s not, then the talks would be
unfortunately referred to the SADC troika.”

Talks between Zanu PF and the two MDC factions -- currently in negotiations
to reunify the party after an acrimonious split in 2005 -- were initiated by
the regional trade bloc to cool political tensions in Zimbabwe after
Tsvangirai and several senior MDC officials were beaten up in police custody
in March.

The talks centred around five key issues, including opposition demands for
amendments to security, media and electoral laws, a new constitution and
cessation of political violence.

Zanu PF made concessions on media and security laws, but has ruled out a new
constitution before elections in March.

Thokozani Khupe, Tsvangirai’s deputy, told the same gathering: “As the MDC
we are preparing for free and fair elections. We can win under free and fair
elections but Zanu PF is not committed to what was agreed on in the talks.
There is still violence, newspapers have remained shut and the delimitation
process is almost complete without us being consulted.

“All we are saying is we must have sufficient time to implement what would
have been agreed in the talks. That would make the elections free and fair.
Despite changes to media laws, The Daily News has remained closed. Where is
The Daily News, where are other papers?”

Khupe said the MDC wants a voter registration exercise that gives people
adequate time to register, an independent electoral commission and
Zimbabweans outside the country to be allowed a vote.

She said her party supports a voting process that would allow citizens to
vote even with any identity documents, like what happened during the 1980
elections which catapulted Mugabe to power.

The harmonised elections will result in an increase in the membership of the
House of Assembly from 150 members to 210 in the Lower House, and from 66 to
93 in the Upper House.

About 5,6 million Zimbabweans have so far registered for the polls in which
the 83-year old Mugabe -- who has ruled since Independence in 1980 -- has
been controversially endorsed as the ruling party’s presidential candidate.

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MDC launches 'New Zimbabwe' campaign with 300 rallies

New Zimbabwe

By Fikile Mapala
Last updated: 01/14/2008 03:49:50
ZIMBABWE’S opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will this weekend
officially launch its 2008 election campaign with 300 rallies lined up for
rural constituencies until the end of January, officials said.

Zimbabweans vote in joint parliamentary, presidential and council elections
in March.

The fractious MDC is currently holding talks aimed at reunification. Arthur
Mutambara and founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, lead rival factions.

Tsvangirai’s faction will begin its campaign with four rallies in Harare on
Saturday and Sunday, officially kicking off the race for State House, and
this despite threats by Tsvangirai to boycott the elections if a new
constitution is not put in place.

The MDC and Zanu PF have been engaged in talks to discuss the electoral
ground rules, but the two parties have failed to reach agreement on a new
constitution, which President Robert Mugabe says will be introduced after
the elections.

A meeting of the MDC’s powerful standing committee on Wednesday resolved to
press ahead with preparations for the watershed elections while
simultaneously pursuing talks with Zanu PF.

The committee which received its mandate from the party’s December 16
national council meeting also resolved to vigorously pursue unity with the
breakaway faction led by Mutambara as well as the prospect of a united front
with other opposition parties.

January 31 has been set as the deadline for the conclusion of all talks with
Zanu PF, the Mutambara-led MDC and other opposition parties.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the safari dubbed the New Zimbabwe
Campaign will assume four dimensions namely; the campaign for free and fair
elections, the people’s campaign against poverty, the campaign for a united
front against Zanu PF and the international campaign for the Diaspora vote.

“The New Zimbabwe Campaign is a national outreach program that will be held
throughout the country with special emphasis on rural areas. 300 rallies
have been slated for the rural areas up to the end of January,” said

During the campaign, the MDC says it will demand that the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) be reconstituted before it undertakes a new, transparent
and all-inclusive voter registration and delimitation exercise.

The MDC wants a new constitution before the next election and the date of
the election that allows implementation of comprehensive reforms and
tangible deliverables.

Other campaign demands include international observation and monitoring of
the polls at least three months before the actual elections.

The opposition party is also calling for equal access to the government
controlled public media.

In the event that a new, credible voters’ roll cannot be put in place ahead
of the poll, the MDC wants every eligible Zimbabwean to be allowed to cast
their vote upon producing their national identity card as happened in the
1980 elections. However, it remains doubtful whether the Zanu PF government
will capitulate to all the demands by the opposition.

The ZEC, appointed by President Mugabe, has ruled out the postponement of
the elections to June as demanded by the MDC.

Commission chairman George Chiweshe has argued that it would be
unconstitutional to defer the joint elections as they are regulated by an
act of parliament.

“The focus is on elections being held in March. There have been suggestions
that the commission should wait for the conclusion of the talks between Zanu
PF and MDC. We do not work like that,” Chiweshe said.

He added: “We simply consider the law and we know that harmonisation of the
elections was captured in the law accordingly. If any changes are to be
made, they should be reflected in the law.”

Zanu PF has also rejected the demand for a transitional constitution
preferring to introduce a new constitution after the polls.

The ruling party has also dismissed the MDC demand to allow Zimbabweans
abroad to vote, arguing that the opposition has an unfair advantage because
of travel sanctions which prohibit Zanu PF officials from visiting Western
countries to campaign.

The harmonised elections will result in an increase in the membership of the
House of Assembly from 150 members to 210 in the Lower House, and from 66 to
93 in the Upper House.

About 5,6 million Zimbabweans have so far registered for the polls in which
the 83-year old Mugabe -- who has ruled since Independence in 1980 -- has
been controversially endorsed as the ruling party’s presidential candidate.

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Zuma takes swipe at African dictators

The Zimbabwean

Sunday, 13 January 2008 05:54

PRETORIA- AFRICAN leaders have been challenged to desist from holding on to
power either by hook or crook as this undermines the principles of
democracy, rule of law and human rights, African National Congress (ANC)
President Jacob Zuma announed on Saturday.

Addressing over 30 000 party faithfuls at Super Stadium, Atteridgevile,
Pretoria, Zuma took a swipe on fellow African presidents, who hold on to
power through vote rigging and dishonest arguing that such moves should be
condemned in strongest terms. Zuma did not rightly point at Zimbabwean
president Robert Mugabe, who is clinging on to power since the country
attained its independence from Britain in 1980, but the whole of
Africa.Mugabe, who has received international condemnation for gross human
rights abuses, election rigging as well as clinging on to power was
represented by his embassy officials in Pretoria."We remain steadfast in our
position to interfere with the democratic right of people to elect a
government of their choice, to vote rigging, or any dishonest means of
attaining power. "As Africans we must continue to work in 2008 to eradicate
such practices from our continent," said Zuma, receiving much appluase from
thousands of Zimbabweans present.Zuma also took a swipe on the events that
are unfolding in Kenya saying such disturbances should be resolved as a
matter of urgency."We express our deep concern at the situation in Kenya,
which has severe political, social, econimc and humanitarian implications.
We are concerned in particular about the loss of human life, homes and
livelihoods that have been visited upon ordinary Kenyans in recent days. "We
urge all parties to co-operate in the process of finding a just, peace and
lasting solution to this crisis," said Zuma.He said other troubled countries
such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, Somalia and Burundi
needed attention from the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) in
order to resolve the conflicts- CAJ News.

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A people’s struggle for freedom

Punch, Nigeria

By Our Reader
Published: Sunday, 13 Jan 2008
The tragedy happening in Kenya is an undiluted product of the sit-tight
mentality that African leadership has come to represent.

Recently, I read in the papers that Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
was contemplating making a constitutional amendment that would enable him to
run for an extended term in office. There is also the case of Robert Mugabe
of Zimbabawe, who has been the only leader the southern African country has
known. Foreign presidents have called for his removal, yet, surprisingly, no
African leader has thought it wise to lend a voice in that respect.

We cannot so easily have forgotten how our own Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
sought to extend his rule by yet another four years. But his political
opponents were able to whip up enough courage to stall his evil attempt.

All over Africa, this crazy trend seems to exist where there is a seat of
power. The continent has become known for its awkward leadership style and
governmental approach, rather than for anything else. This malaise is slowly
spreading to the lower cadre of leadership on the continent.

In all honesty, the election that was conducted in Kenya last December was
no worse than the general election in Nigeria last April. But, unlike the
Nigerian experience, the Kenyan people decided to fight for their freedom.
They stood up against the powers of the incumbent, who has decided to
subvert their will and wishes.

They decided to stand up for the sake of morality against the enthronement
of slavery; they chose to put their destinies in their hands. They decided
to control the manner in which they should be ruled. They sought for a
government of the people, by the people and for the people.

It is unfortunate lives were lost, more so innocent blood. But that was all
the result of Mwai Kibaki’s devious intention to remain in power against the
wishes of the majority of the electorate.

Awenlimobor Sylvester,

12 Jida Road,


Ogun State.

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Mugabe's Multiple Mistakes

Many people who observe the Zimbabwe situation fail to recognise that Mr.
Mugabe has made several serious errors of judgment in the past year - errors
that, in my view, will cost him the Presidency in 2008.

For the purpose of
this missive I will deal with each of those errors of judgment in sequence,
rather than consequence.The first error is an observation rather than a
specific event. Had Mr.
Mugabe co-operated with President Mbeki in his various efforts over the past
7 years to find a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis, we would have been in a
very different situation today. In all probability we would have seen Mr.
Mugabe retire some years ago and a "reformed Zanu PF" regime ushered in with
a reformist agenda. MDC would have been relegated to the opposition benches,
international recognition would be creeping back and Zimbabwe would be
slowly recovering.Instead Mugabe has repelled all attempts to persuade him
that his time is
up, humiliated and subdued the alternative leadership that is available in
Zanu PF and insisted on remaining in power despite the clear failure of his
administration in all spheres of government.It was against this backdrop
that his decision to try and defer the
electoral challenge from March 2008 to June 2010 in December 2006 came as
such a shock to South Africa. He had talked about this for some time, it was
expected but it was not until he announced this decision at the December
Zanu PF conference that it actually sank home in South Africa that this
might impact on the World Cup. The South African government is determined to
hold the World Cup and to make a success of this huge event at all costs.
Nothing will be allowed to disturb the path to May/June 2010!Mbeki brought
his Zimbabwe team back together and instructed them to think
about a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis, one that would protect the World
Cup and get the Zimbabwe situation off South Africa's back. One major
consideration that had changed since 2002/2005 was the rise of Jacob Zuma
and the understanding that this meant the ANC alliance was no longer under
threat by the possible withdrawal of Cosatu.The subsequent foreign policy
review led to the meeting in Accra on the 7th
March where President Mbeki met Mr. Mugabe and persuaded him to revert to
March 2008 for the next elections. He also broached the subject of the
conditions under which those elections might be held.Mr. Mugabe's third
mistake was not to read those signals right and to under
estimate his opponent in the form of President Mbeki. He assumed (wrongly as
it turned out) that he could "deal" with Mbeki in the same way that he had
dealt with a challenge from Mr. Mandela in the late 90's when the latter
tried to get him to step down from a senior position in the SADC. He thought
that he had enough friends and supporters in the SADC region to be able to
blunt the SA initiative. He was wrong on both counts.President Mbeki knew
his man - he understood very clearly just what type of
character he was dealing with and prepared his ground very carefully. SADC
was fully briefed and he also drew in the international community to be sure
that they would support the new initiative. So when Mbeki called the March
29th emergency SADC summit - it had been carefully set up and prepared and
Mr. Mugabe faced a united group of 10 SADC Presidents and 3 Foreign
Ministers when he walked into the hall in Dar es Salaam.Even then, having
learned of the consensual nature of the decisions he was
faced with in SADC, Mr. Mugabe believed that he could manipulate SADC and
avoid the full implications of the SADC decisions on the March 2008
elections. Because he was so confident he made his fourth mistake. When the
two negotiating teams were scheduled to start work in May and June, Mugabe
simply ignored the meetings and instructed his Ministers to go about their
ordinary work. The timing of the second snub could not have been worse. The
Presidents of 5 African countries were scheduled to meet with the G8
leadership in Germany and had thought that they had done enough to ensure
that the Zimbabwe crisis would not ambush the G8 summit again. Instead of
being able to say that the Zimbabwe crisis was being dealt with - they had a
letter from Mr. Mugabe listing all the reasons why Zanu PF would not talk to
the MDC. Mbeki was furious.The unthinkable then happened - the talks began
with no fanfare and for the
next 6 months Zanu PF arrived on time and on schedule for all arranged
meetings and eventually a complete package of reforms were agreed and
signed. Then Mr. Mugabe made mistake number five. He tried to avoid
implementing the deal just completed. MDC responded with outrage - what had
the past six months of painful negotiation been for? The proposed delay in
the whole reform process was rejected and the facilitators were confronted
with a complete impasse.President Mbeki had his own problems to deal with
and said to the MDC that
he would deal with the situation as soon as he had completed the ANC
Congress in Polokwane. When he finally got back to the Zimbabwe situation he
did the necessary preparatory work to ensure he did not fire any damp squibs
and then called a meeting of the negotiating teams for this past week.
Mugabe then made his sixth mistake - he instructed his people not to attend.
President Mbeki was informed that "we have an election to contest, we do not
have the time for these futile meetings!"Needless to say, the cattle prod
came out of its box and was used and I
understand the negotiating teams are in South Africa today for what is
expected to be final talks about the whole process. President Mbeki and his
SADC colleagues have too much at stake to allow Zanu PF to prevaricate, this
time a deal will be done and it will be implemented. Kenya has driven that
lesson home to regional leaders, there is just too much at stake.I think
that because of these key events and mistakes of judgment by the
Mugabe team, Zimbabwe will get its elections - probably sooner rather than
later, they will be reasonably free and fair, compromises will be made and
time alone will give the outcome. They often say about tennis, that you lose
the game more from your mistakes than for the brilliance of your game. Mr.
Mugabe must ponder on that truth as he starts the final match of this
Eddie Cross
12th January 2008

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Zimbabweans shun banks after cash shortages

Mail and Guardian

Godfrey Marawanyika | Harare, Zimbabwe

13 January 2008 07:30

      Kennedy Tsambo's faith in Zimbabwe's banking system finally hit
breaking point over Christmas when he spent an ultimately fruitless three
days queuing to withdraw cash in order to buy a bus fare home.

      "This was not a donation that I was queuing for, it's my own
money which I should be able to withdraw as and when I like," said the
37-year-old, who works as a mechanic in Harare but whose family lives in
eastern Nyanyadzi district.

      "Now I am thinking of taking out all my money. I won't deposit
any more in the bank until this chaos is over."

      Tsambo is among tens of thousands of casualties of a cash crisis
in inflation-ravaged Zimbabwe which has seen banks regularly run out of
notes since mid-October.

      Central back chief Gideon Gono blames the crisis on cash barons
he says have been hoarding Zimbabwe dollars and exchanging them for scarce
foreign currency.

       Despite unveiling three new currency denominations last month in
a bid to ease the shortages, winding queues are still a common feature at
banks as the cash crisis persists.

      Mairos Chigwada, a self-employed upholsterer, vowed he would
"never repeat that mistake again" after depositing all the money he had
earned during the peak month of November into his bank account.

      "Now I can't withdraw the money," says Chigwada standing near
the tail-end of a queue outside a bank in Harare's Samora Machel Avenue.

      "It's just not fair. It's hard enough working for that money and
it shouldn't be another pain taking it out of the bank where I put it in the
first place."

      With the cash crisis showing no sign of abating, many
Zimbabweans are losing faith in the banking system, according to analysts,
and could revert to the old days of stashing vast sums of money into pillow

      "Nobody in their sense would sell their goat, for example, and
take the money to the bank when they are not sure they can withdraw it when
they want it," said Daniel Ndlela, an independent economist.

      Godfrey Kanyenze, chief economist of the Zimbabwe Congress said
depositors had no incentive to keep money in the bank.

      "There is no incentive of keeping money in the bank any more,"
said Kanyenze.

      "There is a crisis, everything is now collapsing on its face.
Ultimately, this is a national problem."

      A banking executive painted a gloomy picture of the sector,
predicting massive withdrawals while potential depositors stashed their
earnings at home.

      "The sector is bound to face serious problems when it comes to
deposits," the executive said on condition of anonymity.

      "Why would one go back to the bank after spending so many hours
in the queue? These cash shortages are the sort of things which will cause
people to riot in other countries," he added.

      The current cash shortages are a repeat of a similar crisis from
May to September 2003 which prompted the central bank to introduce bearer
cheques -- temporary currency denominations with a short lifespan -- as a
stop-gap measure.

      The country has 14 registered commercial banks, five merchant
banks and four building societies, but Gono said the number of banks was too
large for Zimbabwe's economy.

      "My view is that we have got too many banks relevant to the size
of the economy," Gono told reporters last week.

      Two weeks ago, Gono was forced to extend the deadline to
exchange bills of Z$200 000 (about $8) just hours before they were to cease
being legal tender after chaotic scenes at banks across the country.

      Gono said Zimbabwe had Z$100-trillion in circulation but
analysts say the cash shortages were due to a combination of waning
confidence in the banking system and a deliberate withholding of cash by the
central bank.

      But the Z$100-trillion which is in circulation could easily have
been eroded by inflation. Assuming that the money was shared equally by six
million economically active people, each person would get Z$16,6-million
daily -- just enough to buy one kilogram of beef.

      Eric Bloch, an economist from the second city of Bulawayo, said
although bank queues had eased, the shortages might recur within three to
four months.

      "The cash shortages led to a loss of confidence in the central
bank and government," he said.

      "The government forgot that due to massive inflation, a person
needed 25 times the money in December compared the previous year."

      Zimbabwe is in the throes of an economic crisis with annual
inflation officially put at nearly 8 000% but economists say it could be
nearer 50 000%.

      Unemployment is running at around 80% while there have been
widespread shortages of basic goods like sugar and the staple cornmeal. -AFP

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Flood Relief Efforts StepUp In Mozambique; Evacuation Difficult Amid High Water Levels

All Headline News

January 13, 2008 9:10 a.m. EST

Mayur Pahilajani - AHN News Writer
Mozambique, South Africa (AHN) - Tens of thousands of residents of
Mozambique have been displaced after devastating floods caused by heavy
rains battered the region. However, relief efforts are being stepped up.

Other regions including Malawi Zambia and Zimbabwe have also been affected
and they still need evacuation and food aid as the regions tackles with the
heaviest rains in more than 100 years.

BBC reported that a ship carrying 3,000 tones of food, which is enough to
support 250,000 people for one month, has arrived in the port of Bira.

Floods have hit hardest in Mozambique's northern and northwestern provinces.
The supplies will be distributed by the United Nations World Food Program
overland except remote areas where aid agencies may not be able to reach

According to the local newspaper, Independent Online, aid agencies have
warned that the heavy rains might have swamped major agricultural areas in
Zimbabwe, which can further aggravate the current food shortage situation in
the region.

Additional damages could include roads and bridges that can hamper the
relief process in the region. The floods have killed six people in
Mozambique, according to the official reports.

Meanwhile, the ship in Mozambique has started sending life-saving cargo by
trucks to Caia, where the main relief effort is being coordinated, the BBC

The government troops have been working along with the aid agency workers to
help stranded flood victims move to a much safer region. More than 50,000
people have been reportedly rescued in a relief operation and they have been
transported to temporary accommodation centers, away from the river.

BBC's correspondent reporting from the region said that the Mozambique
disaster management authority has only one helicopter but an airlift was not
possible with the current conditions in the affected region.

The authorities also have some boats for shallow floodwaters to rescue
people stranded in several pockets of less flooded areas.

Mozambique's disaster management officials had warned that due to the
swelling of the Zambezi River caused by the heavy rains, the Cahora Bassa
dam operators may have to open the dam's floodgates fully.

Mozambique usually is hit hard by the flooding in southern Africa compared
to Zambia and Malawi. Last year, more then 40 people were killed due to
floods and over 250,000 residents lost their shelters and livelihood.

The worst affect was noted in 2001 when heavy rains killed 700 people in

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China is Zimbabwe's biggest investor, state media

Monsters and Critics

Jan 13, 2008, 19:42 GMT

Harare - Cash-starved Zimbabwe soaked up 7.8 billion US dollars in foreign
investment last year with China as the biggest investor, state media
announced Sunday.

The Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) approved 98 projects in the
agricultural, manufacturing, tourism and mining sectors, said the Sunday
Mail newspaper.

Manufacturing projects were worth 3.5 billion US, while the value of the 20
mining projects approved totalled 2.5 billion. Most of the projects are
partnerships between local and foreign investors. Exact investment figures
for China were not given.

'The investment trend shows a strong appetite driven by an economic growth
spur from the Asian subcontinent,' said the Sunday Mail.

As Zimbabwe's economic crisis deepens, President Robert Mugabe has urged
companies and businessmen to turn away from traditional Western investment
partners and look east to Asia and in particular China, the country the
longtime ruler calls Zimbabwe's 'all-weather friend.'

© 2008 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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