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My experience in the hands of CIO

January 13, 2009

By Bothwell Pasipamire

(Transcript of s statement by Bothwell Pasipamire, a Kadoma councillor who
was abducted by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) on Saturday,
December 13 at approximately 12.30 am.)

MY NAME is Bothwell Pasipamire and I am an elected councillor on the Kadoma
Town Council [Ward 3].

The board has a total of 17 members, of which 16 are from my party, the MDC
and one represents Zanu-PF. When the MDC was formed in 1999 I became
involved with the party and am well-known in the area as an outspoken
activist. Like most of my colleagues, I have been verbally threatened by
members of Zanu-PF and accused of being a traitor to Zimbabwe, but I just
put that down to the usual nonsense of politics.

On Friday 12 December, I attended a Council meeting and returned at around
7.30 pm to my home in the Rimuka suburb, about one kilometre south of the
CBD (Central Business District). My wife, [name withheld from transcript],
prepared supper and, being tired from a very full day's work, I went to bed


At around 12.30am, my wife and I woke to the sound of someone trying to
force open our front door. Another was at the window. I rose and opened the
door. Two men confronted me, one put a gun to my neck and they told me to
walk with them. The third, who had been at the window, joined us and we
walked to the street where a white Toyota twincab was waiting. It had tinted
windows, but I could see that a forth member of the team sat at the wheel.

My wife had run to the vehicle, but the man with the gun shouted, "Go back
to your house now. I will kill you at gun point." For her safety, I also
told her to wait at the house. The car door was opened and at the same time
something was sprayed into my eyes. It burned and made me sneeze, but it was
not tear gas or pepper spray because I was not choking, but I could not see.
I was pushed onto the back seat with one man either side of me. The gun was
lowered and we drove on in silence.

After a short time we pulled up at a nearby bus stop known as the Waverley
Terminus and the man who had held the gun hit me on the head and asked," Are
you Bothwell Pasipamire, the councillor?" I said I was. He had what appeared
to be photographs taken of me at the council chambers. The gunman asked me
why I was with MDC and told me that I had been very vocal in Chambers and at
party meetings, and that I was a problem to Zanu-PF in the district.

Arrival at the base

We drove for more than two hours, through Harare and onto the Mutare road
and near Goromonzi, we left the tarred road and, though it was dark, I think
we went to a farm. There were lots of outbuildings. At this place, I was
told to get out and was led to some kind of small storeroom with a tiny
barred window, and I was locked inside. The place went quiet and I think it
must have been close to 4am.


By the light in the sky, I believe it was around 6am when two men in dark
clothes unlocked the door and led me to another building. From the way they
spoke, I know they were Shonas and I would place their accent as coming from
somewhere near Chinhoyi, but I can't be sure. They were both in their

Inside the second building, I was offered a seat and ordered to give my
name, date of birth, ID number and so on. These were written down. "Why did
you join the MDC?" one of the men asked. "It is the party I believe in."
"What's wrong with Zanu-PF? Why do you not support the ruling party?" I
replied: "Just as a man is free to choose his own wife, so he can choose his
own party." The questioning went on like this, with nothing of any
importance being discussed. I got the feeling that the two men were bored
with their work.

I was now taken to a larger room in the same building. I remember it well
because there was wood panelling on the walls. The same two men were with
me, but we were soon joined by another who introduced himself as Army
Warrant Officer Mabhunu. He told me that his job was to sort out people like
me and that, in time, he would "finish off all MDC members". Foolishly I
thought he was joking and I said, "MDC is like HIV. You can never finish it
off completely."

He pushed me over, I fell to the ground and he kicked me. He was very angry.
There was a steel table in the room with a hole in the middle. I was told to
take off my shoes and slip headfirst into the hole. My hands were cuffed
behind me and Mabhunu started beating the soles of my feet. "The MDC has
been blowing up trains and they tried to blow up Harare railway station," he
said. "Who was responsible for this? I want the names." I said I didn't
know. "It is Morgan Tsvangirai security people. I want their names."

"You must ask at Harvest House (MDC HQ)," I said.

He was now very angry and told me to climb out of the table and take off all
my clothes. I stripped to my underpants, but he shouted for me to remove
them. I was then told to lie on the table and he began playing with my
private parts. It seemed he was trying to embarrass me in front of the other
two who were still in the room. He would fondle me like a lover, and then
suddenly squeeze my testicles so that I cried out in pain. There followed
some humiliating abuse, which I do not wish to talk about except to a
doctor. Suddenly, after hurting me so badly, Mabhunu told the other men to
leave the room and he started speaking to me nicely.

"I don't want you to suffer, but we do need your help," he said. "All I want
you to do is to kill one of the soldiers we have here at the camp." He
produced a crowbar and said, "The soldiers have already been beaten, they
won't fight with you. But I need you to hit one of them on the head with
this and kill him. Can you do that for me?"

"I have never killed anyone in my life. I can't do that."

He said: "Okay, can you pretend to do it? "

I wasn't sure what he meant, but at that point he told me to put on my
clothes and I was escorted back to the little barred room. It must have been
close to midday and, in the afternoon, someone brought me sadza (porridge)
and a little meat and I ate. For the rest of the day, I could hear other men
being tortured nearby. It was terrible to hear people screaming and crying.
There was only one blanket in the room and I held it around my head to keep
out the sound. Late that night, some officials opened my door, and when I
came out, I saw other men like myself standing in front of other doors and
rooms where they had been kept. A hose was turned on and we were all sprayed
and then our rooms were sprayed, including my blanket.

We were locked up again and I was glad this was the middle of summer or I
would have suffered with cold by sleeping wet. Even so it became cold in the
early hours of morning and I was afraid of what might be coming with the new
day. Late into the night, there were still the screams of people being
tortured and beaten. I cannot properly tell you how terrible it is to be
cold, wet, and unable to sleep and surrounded by the sounds of men crying in
pain. This was the worst torture of all and it will be with me all my life.

On camera

By the next morning, I decided that I must cooperate with these officials if
I was to survive, though I would not harm another person if ordered to do
so. I had not slept since being abducted 36 hours earlier and was very
tired. There was no food in the morning, but I was led from the cell to an
area of open ground between the buildings where other young men were
gathered. I did not recognise any of them, but we were a long way from
Kadoma. One officer asked whether he should bring some of the women and I
believe there were female prisoners in another block. He was told not to
bring them. By this time, human-rights worker, Jestina Mukoko had been
missing for more than a week and I was hoping to find her alive at the camp,
but I never got to see the women prisoners.

However, from the brief description given by her lawyer about how she had
been kidnapped and held, I believe she may well have been at the same place
near Goromonzi.

Mabhunu arrived and told us that we had to pretend to beat up a soldier.
There was someone with a large video camera, the kind you see when ZTV are
filming. A young soldier in camouflage uniform was brought to stand in front
of us. I remember thinking that he looked more scared that I was and I think
he had been abused or threatened, though there were no marks on his face. We
were made to pretend we were beating a kicking him and he rolled on the
ground crying.

The film crew covered it all. Now I was again separated from the others and
handed a hand-written script with questions and answers, in English. "We
need you to answer questions as they are on the paper," Mabhunu told me. "I
will give you some time to read it and I will be back soon." When he
returned with the TV crew, there was another man in a suit who asked me the
questions, just like they do on TV and I replied with the answers I had been
given. When I made a mistake, they stopped and I had to do that one again. I
was handed a microphone and I cannot remember everything, and some of the
words will be different, but it was like this:

Q Why have you been beating and killing soldiers of the Zimbabwe National

A It is because they are keeping Mugabe in power.

Q You have murdered at least one soldier. Is that true?

A Yes it is true.

Q When did you kill him?

A It was today, before being caught by the police.

Q Had the soldier committed some offence that made you kill him?

A No. But soldiers like him are supporting Mugabe and we have been ordered
to kill them.

Q Who gave you those orders?

A Our party president, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Q Where were you trained for killing soldiers?

A I was trained in Botswana.

Q Did Tsvangirai give you money?

A Yes, he gave me [US] $1000.

Q Did he tell you where the money came from?

A He said there was plenty of money coming to MDC through Mr Pocock the
British Ambassador and Mr Magee the US Ambassador in Harare. He said the
money was paid by the US and Britain through Ian Khama of Botswana.

Q How many were with you in the gang that killed the soldier?

A We were 10.

Q Do you believe that Tsvangirai will be president of Zimbabwe?

A Yes.

Q How many people are being trained at camps in Botswana?

A There are many thousands.

Q How many from Harare?

A I think at least 2500.

Q Who is in charge of recruitment and where is it being done?

A It is Tsvangirai security staff and it is all based from Harvest House.

When it was over, we [Bothwell plus Mabhunu and ZBC team] were all laughing
at the questions and answers and they said I had done a good job. One of the
officials patted me on the shoulder and said, "Don't worry if it is true or
not. It's what we need, nothing more." I did not reply and was taken back to
my room and given food and water.


I was held for three days. During that time I was not allowed to meet or
talk with other prisoners. Each night we were again sprayed with water. By
the third night I was so cold and depressed I thought of hanging myself with
the wet blanket. I was convinced that these people would kill me, before
they put my interview on TV, otherwise I was sure to tell someone that it
was a lie. On the fourth day after my abduction, I was injected twice in the
buttocks but I was not told what medication I was being given. I was not
given food that day and, in the evening, I was driven to Harare. No one gave
me any information on where I was going or why, but I had a feeling that
they were planning to kill me. At this time, I cannot reveal any details of
my escape because it will be a danger to the people who helped me. There are
some inside Zanu PF and CIO who do not believe in what they are doing.

Training camps in Botswana

I am not on the MDC national executive and am not in a position to comment
on allegations made by the Zimbabwe government about training camps in
Botswana. As a councillor, I am often approached by residents asking why we
have not taken up an armed struggle. I do believe that if the MDC did go to
war then, as happened with Mkontho we Sizwe in South Africa, thousands of
youth would join up to free Zimbabwe. When asked, in reply I just quote the
stated MDC policy that we are not a party of violence.

However I can say that, after almost 10 years in the MDC I do know a lot of
people in the party and never once have I heard anybody talking about arms,
violent tactics or training camps. And I have not met any person who claims
to have been asked to go for training in Botswana. This convinces me in my
own mind that the story is false. And if there was any truth, why would CIO
need to abduct people like myself to tell lies on video about such camps.

My life now

It was I who told the MDC that I wanted to put my story out to the media.
After this I will not be able to return home safely, but I do believe that
change will come soon and then things will be okay in Zimbabwe. The above is
my statement and mine alone. Every word is true and, in time, I hope to
appear in court where the CIO members who abducted me and who, with Mr
Mabhunu, so humiliated me, will be on trial. I will give the same testimony
under oath in court, and my only plea to the MDC is that those who have
killed and tortured must not be allowed to just go free.

Justice must be done in a new Zimbabwe.

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Tsvangirai MDC 'lose' parliamentary seat in court farce

14 January 2009

By Never Kadungure

As predicted several months ago Zanu PF and Mugabe have turned to a
compromised judiciary to try and whittle down the parliamentary majority of
the MDC led by founding President Morgan Tsvangirai.

On Monday a Mutare magistrate convicted MDC Member of Parliament for
Chimanimani Lynette Karenyi of 'forging signatures on her nomination papers'
ahead of the harmonized elections in March 2008, which Zanu PF lost to the

The state owned Herald newspaper ran a celebratory headline 'MDC T MP loses
seat,' and put forward the argument that in terms of the Electoral Act
Karenyi ceases to be a member of parliament.

The Tsvangirai MDC upset the odds to win 100 parliamentary seats, Zanu-PF 99
and the Mutambara MDC only 10 seats during the harmonized elections. The
other seat went to independent candidate Professor Jonathan Moyo from
Tsholotsho; a constituency the Tsvangirai MDC did not field a candidate.

The judges in the country have been bribed with farms, luxury cars, plasma
TV's and other perks from the Reserve Bank. It was no surprise that
magistrate Billard Musakwa convicted Karenyi of 'forgery' and sentenced her
to a wholly suspended 20 days' imprisonment.

She was ordered to pay a $20 billion fine and 'disqualified' from
representing the people of Chimanimani West with immediate effect. Karenyi
was also suspended from contesting any elections in Zimbabwe for the next
five years although it remained unclear whether a magistrate's court had the
power to impose such restrictions.

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New AG openly declares support for Zanu-PF

January 13, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Newly-appointed Attorney-General (AG) Johannes Tomana has openly
declared his support for Zanu-PF.

Tomana was sworn-in as AG last December amid protests by the mainstream MDC
that his appointment flew in the face of the power-sharing agreement between
the MDC and Zanu-PF.

Welcoming Tomana to the Cabinet, President Robert Mugabe called him "the
right man" to confront the challenges as government' chief law officer.

Tomana took over from Justice Bharat Patel, who was acting AG following the
suspension and eventual dismissal of Sobusa Gula-Ndebele in May.
Gula-Ndebele was fired amid unsubstantiated allegations that he was purged
for failing to adhere to a Zanu-PF agenda on prosecutions.

In an interview with the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Tomana openly
declared his allegiance to Zanu-PF.

"I am Zanu-PF and I am proud to be of that party," he said. "Nothing bars me
from being a Zanu-PF supporter.

"Our law protects that right and that is why in society, public offices are
occupied by people who are free to belong to their political parties.

"I am very good at separating business from politics. I do not appreciate
the undue concern that there is a problem with my association with Zanu-PF."

Tomana said detained human rights activist Jestina Mukoko was a security

"I do not know Mukoko at a personal level and I am sure she does not know me
as well," he said. "My office has no reason to fix her as has been peddled
in the foreign Press.

"She was brought to me by the investigating arms of the State and they
explained her case of allegedly recruiting people for insurgency training.

"Evidence gathered proves that she is a threat to society and she should not
be released now.

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 relatives and friends
who were increasingly fearful for her life.

She claims severe torture at the hands of her captors as they attempted to
extract a confession to charges of banditry.

Mukoko has been shuttling between courts and prison in a bid to secure her
release and the arrest of her abductors.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, another avowed supporter of Mugabe,
recently refused to hear Mukoko's case, referring it back to the magistrates'

Tomana claimed some cases - irrespective of political personalities
involved - took long to be brought for trial because the State would be
conducting intensive investigations.

He said: "The investigations take longer and we cannot send a half-baked
case to court. It is not true that political cases take longer than other
cases, but instead, all complex cases drag on for some time.

Before his appointment, he had served as deputy AG for 11 months.

A staunch Zanu-PF supporter who has vigorously defended government while in
private practice, Tomana has been an unwavering supporter of the Mugabe

As senior partner at law firm, Tomana, Mandaza and Muzangaza, Tomana
represented the Media and Information Commission (MIC) and was directly
responsible for the banning of the country's popular independent daily
newspaper, The Daily News, and three other titles.

He was lawyer for the MIC for years and also represented the then
Information Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo in several cases against
independent journalists.

He is a commissioner of Zimbabwe's largely useless Anti-Corruption
Commission which has failed to secure even a single high profile prosecution
despite rampant top level corruption in government.

He has routinely been quoted by State media as a political analyst
energetically defending some of Mugabe's more questionable policies.

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Destitute Zimbabweans ask PM for right to work and pay taxes

By agency reporter
14 Jan 2009

Zimbabwean demonstrators at Downing Street
Hundreds of destitute Zimbabweans who have sought sanctuary in the UK asked
Gordon Brown yesterday for permission to work, pay taxes and gain the skills
to help them rebuild Zimbabwe at a demonstration and delegation to Downing

The demonstration was organised by Citizens for Sanctuary, a Citizen
Organising Foundation campaign to implement the findings of the Independent
Asylum Commission. The action marked six months since Gordon Brown promised
to review the situation of 11,000 destitute Zimbabweans in the UK who cannot
return home, and yet are not allowed to work or access benefits.

A larger than expected crowd of several hundred Zimbabweans and supporters
assembled outside Downing Street in a traditional colourful and noisy
Zimbabwean demonstration of songs and dancing to remind the Prime Minister
that it is six months since he promised to look " what we can do to
support Zimbabweans in that situation [destitute], and we will report back
to the House in due course."

A delegation of Zimbabweans and a cross-party group of Parliamentarians
including Liberal Democrat frontbenchers Ed Davey MP, Chris Huhne MP, and
Simon Hughes MP, Labour backbenchers Kate Hoey MP, Jon Cruddas MP and Neil
Gerrard MP, Conservative Rob Wilson MP and the Earl of Sandwich (Labour)
then delivered a dossier of 500 CVs from Zimbabweans who are ready and
willing to work and whose skills and experiences are going to waste because
of the ban on work.

The dossier of CVs shows that many Zimbabweans have skills and work
experience in areas listed in the government's National Shortage Occupation
List - such as teaching, social care and nursing. In a covering letter to
the dossier, the parliamentarians and the Zimbabwean delegation challenged
Mr Brown to match his rhetoric on Zimbabwe with his treatment of its people
in the UK by allowing Zimbabweans to work and pay taxes to benefit the UK
economy and provide them with skills to help rebuild Zimbabwe when it is
safe to return.

Over 20 civil society institutions from across the UK showed the British
people's support for Zimbabweans by pledging strategic internships in
universities, schools, hospitals, churches, charities, the media and
Parliament, to provide the skills and experience that will help rebuild
Zimbabwe. Citizens for Sanctuary will issue an appeal for other
organisations to pledge strategic internships, starting with a call to the
Prime Minister to offer them within government departments, including at 10
Downing Street, to help rebuild democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe in
the future.

Chipo, an accountant from Zimbabwe who has been destitute in the UK for 7
years, said: "It was so difficult for me to leave the country, the job, and
the young children I loved because I opposed Mugabe. I came to Britain for
sanctuary, but instead find myself in a terrible limbo. I can't go home but
I have no way of supporting myself here. We are a proud people - we just
want to be able to work, pay taxes, and develop the skills that will help us
piece together the shattered remains of our homeland when it is safe to

Jonathan Cox, Lead Organiser of the CITIZENS for Sanctuary campaign, said:
"We have had an amazing turnout and they are representative of many
thousands of others who could not come because they did not have the means.
That is a real indication of how keen Zimbabweans are to find out what the
Prime Minister can do for Zimbabweans. We 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 hope. 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

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Daily cholera update and alerts, 13 Jan 2009

 Full_Report (pdf* format - 98.9 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:

- 1642 cases and 81 deaths added today (in comparison 1472 cases and 117 deaths yesterday)

- 36.84% of the districts affected have reported today (21 out of 57 affected districts)

- 87.1 % of districts reported to be affected (54 districts/62)

- Newly affected areas: Denda (Gokwe North) Sesame (Gokwe North)

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Over 2,000 Lives Now Lost to Worst Ever Cholera Outbreak, UN Reports

UN News Service

13 January 2009

The death toll in Zimbabwe's worst ever cholera outbreak has now topped
2,000, with more than 100 deaths - and nearly 1,500 new cases - added just
today, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported.

In all, there have been close to 40,000 cholera cases reported in Zimbabwe
so far, according to WHO, which adds that virtually no part of the country
has been spared in the epidemic, made worse by a near collapse of the health
system and deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

The disease, which is caused by contaminated food or water, has affected all
ten of Zimbabwe's provinces, and nearly 90 per cent of the country's 62
local districts. Half the cases are in the capital, Harare, and only a
handful of professionals are staffing clinics where several dozen are

WHO and sister agencies, such the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), have been
scaling up their efforts to respond to the outbreak, including through the
delivery of vital medical supplies.

Boniface Nzara, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist with UNICEF
Zimbabwe, painted a grim picture of what he found during a recent visit to a
rural clinic in Chinrundu, a small community in the country's northwest
region. The clinic, which only has the capacity to treat eight patients, was
overwhelmed on the day of his visit, with 185 cases and 16 deaths.

"When we arrived at the clinic we were met by a frightening sight. People
with cholera were just lying outside the clinic with very little
assistance," said Mr. Nzara. "The hygiene situation inside was literally a
cholera breeding ground."

UNICEF was able to assist the clinic by providing a "cholera kit," which
includes two treatment tents large enough to house 50 patients, beds and pit
latrine equipment, as well as IV fluids and oral rehydration salts.

The agency also supplied a 5,000-litre water tank and 500,000
water-purification tablets to secure safe drinking water in the short term.

The cholera epidemic is just the latest crisis to hit Zimbabwe, which has
been faced with a worsening humanitarian situation owing to years of failed
harvests, bad governance and hyperinflation, as well as months of political
tensions after disputed presidential elections in March involving the
incumbent Robert Mugabe and the opposition figure Morgan Tsvangirai.

Although a power-sharing deal on the formation of a new government was
reached in September with the help of regional leaders, outstanding issues
remain, jeopardizing the deal's implementation.

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Lawyers want judge to explain threats

by Hendricks Chizhanje Wednesday 14 January 2009

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Tuesday said it
would seek audience with Judge President Rita Makarau over her allegations
that some lawyers had shown disrespect and contempt of the judiciary in
interviews with foreign media.

ZLHR, a grouping of the country's leading human rights lawyers that offers
said it had taken note of the charges made by Makarau in a speech on Monday
marking the opening of the first term of the High Court this year

"As a membership-based organisation of human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe,
ZLHR wishes to make an effort to understand her concerns and work together
with her to address them in a productive manner," the human rights lawyers
said in a statement.

"ZLHR will therefore shortly be engaging with Mrs Justice Makarau in this
regard. Further developments will be advised as and when they arise."

Human right lawyers have often criticised the bench - purged of independent
judges by President Robert Mugabe - of lacking courage to defend the rights
of citizens against a government that has increasingly relied on brutal
force to keep dissension in check in the face of a worsening economic and
humanitarian crisis.

Makarau, appointed to the High Court in 2000 when Mugabe began re-moulding
the bench, said lawyers, like all citizens, had right to complain against
maladministration by the courts. But she said some lawyers she did not name
had been unfair to and disrespectful of the bench in utterances made to
foreign media.

Makarau threatened unspecified action against such lawyers in the future. -

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Rita Makarau executes a U-turn

January 13, 2009

Bu Our Correspondent

HARARE - Judge President Rita Makarau displayed anger on Monday over
criticism about the High Court bench's recent handling of a legal case
involving a leading human rights campaigner and 15 other activists who are
in remand prison over framed charges of plotting to topple President Robert

Makarau, who started her term of office last year with a fiery speech during
the opening of the 2008 legal year slamming the appalling administration of
justice and the collapsing judiciary in Zimbabwe, made a volte face Monday
during the official opening of the 2009 legal year. She tore into lawyers
who have said the rule of law has completely broken down in Zimbabwe.

Their observation followed the refusal by the High Court to investigate the
kidnapping of human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and her co-accused by
state agents. The High Court bench has also refused the political detainees
the right to medical treatment.

Mukoko was abducted by state agents from her home in Norton, 40 kilometers
west of Harare, at dawn on December 3. She was missing until December 24,
when she was brought to court.

At first, the police denied the state had anything to do with the abduction
and suggested they were treating the matter as a kidnapping. In court,
Mukoko was charged with recruiting people for banditry - a crime that
carries the death penalty.

Her lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa had asked the High Court to squash the criminal
proceedings against her until the kidnappers had been brought to court.

The lawyer had also argued that the information police were using against
her client was sought while Mukoko was kidnapped.

Makarau and members of the High Court bench have over the past year been
lavished by President Mugabe with 42-inch plasma TV sets, satellite dishes,
generators, Mercedes Benz E280 sedans and four-wheel drive vehicles. On
Tuesday she slammed lawyers for publicly attacking and criticising the
appalling court judgements in the foreign media.

"Lack of respect and utter contempt manifesting in the utterances by some
lawyers to the foreign media is sometimes dumbfounding and after reading
some of the reports one would be forgiven for believing that such legal
practitioners will never again seek recourse to the courts for anything as
they have no faith in the system," Makarau said.

"The truth is they happen to be among the busiest lawyers in town. They have
obtained more orders than most from a judiciary that is beneath contempt and
in a country where the rule of law has completely broken down.

"I wonder what value they place on the orders issued in favour of their
clients. Should such orders even be enforced?"

Makarau said enough was enough, adding, "We have turned the biblical cheek
several times already."

Makarau said everyone, including lawyers, was allowed to complain against
maladministration by the courts, but ethics required lawyers to use
"temperate language".

Makarau spoke as the International Bar Association slammed the "breakdown in
the rule of law" in Zimbabwe, repeating criticism by Mtetwa that the rule of
law had been subverted in Zimbabwe.

Mtetwa said:  "The law has absolutely broken down in Zimbabwe. If a High
Court can refuse to investigate an admitted kidnapping, refuses a patient
the right to medical treatment - to a place she can get treatment - what
else can we say?"

The International Bar Association, the world's leading organisation of
international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies, has
appealed to the SADC to intervene and ensure the courts in Zimbabwe are free
from political interference in its appalling handling of the political
detainees' cases.

"SADC has an obligation to act on the crimes of Robert Mugabe's government,"
said Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association in
a statement issued Monday. "To date SADC has blocked outside initiatives to
hold Mugabe's regime accountable for its abuses and has been silent while
international law is violated with impunity."

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Zim education in chaos as 2008 exams still unmarked

by Cuthbert Nzou Wednesday 14 January 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe's government is frantically mobilising teachers to mark
last year's public examinations, amid fears schools may fail to reopen for
the new term on January 27, plunging education deeper into chaos.

Zimbabwe's once admired public education sector is in crisis, weighed down
by incessant strikes for more pay by teachers that disrupted learning for
most of last year and a severe brain drain that has seen thousands of the
best qualified teachers leave for better paying jobs abroad.

The government last week postponed the beginning of the new school year from
January 13 to January 27 to allow time for completion of marking of last
year's public examinations.

But it has emerged very little marking, if any at all, has been taking place
because teachers will not mark the examinations until they are paid more

In a circular on Monday, the director of the Zimbabwe School Examination
Council (ZIMSEC), Happy Ndanga, said the council was urgently looking for 'O'
and 'A' level examination markers.

He said the government had improved marking rates and those recruited would
be paid travelling and subsistence allowances.

The circular, due to be published in national newspapers starting today
(Wednesday), said ZIMSEC wanted to recruit more Grade 7 examiners and
primary school teachers were required for transcription of the grades and
marks to scanner sheets.

"Interested teachers should report to regional managers as quickly as
possible," the circular read.

Sources in education said some examination transcripts were yet to be
transported from schools across the country to marking centres, adding that
it could take at least a month to mark the tests and release the results.

Last week Ndanga had claimed that the examinations were marked and results
would be due out soon.

The delay to open the new academic year, sources in the education system
said, was meant to facilitate the marking and also to give government time
to consider requests by schools to charge fees in foreign currency.
President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet was due to deliberate on the matter
yesterday (Tuesday).

Teachers went on strike several times last year over pay, as Zimbabwe's
stunning hyperinflation reduced their salaries to a pittance.

The teachers are threatening not to report for duty when the new school term
begins unless the government agrees to pay them in foreign currency to
cushion them against runaway inflation.

Teachers want an average salary of US$2 300 per month, money President
Robert Mugabe's government does not have.

"The position is that if there are no salaries in US dollars, it will be a
problem or difficult for teachers to return to work," said Oswald Madziva,
the national co-coordinator of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe

"Postponing the school calendar shows that government has admitted that
things are not in order," said Madziva, whose militant PTUZ has led previous
strikes by teachers.

Inflation was last estimated in July at 231 million percent, but outside
economists say it is now likely to be in the trillions.

The central bank prints ever-larger banknotes, sometimes several times a
month, but still cannot keep pace with soaring prices. Many shops now demand
foreign currency for their goods, effectively shutting out ordinary

A collapsed currency is the most visible sign of Zimbabwe's deepening
economic and humanitarian crisis that is also seen in acute shortages of
food and basic commodities, amid a cholera epidemic that the World Health
Organisation said on Tuesday has killed nearly 2 000 people since last

A September power-sharing agreement between Mugabe and the two opposition
MDC formations had sparked hope that Zimbabwe could finally emerge from its

But the deal has failed to take off because Mugabe and main MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai cannot agree over who should control key ministries in a
unity government outlined in the agreement. - ZimOnline

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Time for MDC to make big decision

January 13, 2009

By Tendai Dumbutshena

REPORTS by South African immigration and police sources say there has of
late been an upsurge in the number of Zimbabweans streaming into the country
legally and illegally.

Ever increasing material deprivation and a loss of faith in the future are
driving thousands to seek a new uncertain life in South Africa and other
neighbouring states.

The political leadership in Zimbabwe owes it to the people to put an end to
this mass suffering. People are desperate to know if there is any glimmer of
light at the end of the tunnel. It is unrealistic to expect Robert Mugabe
and his cronies to put the interests of the country and its people before
their own selfish ends.

In their calculations no cost is too high for their continued rule. No
amount of suffering will move them as long as their pockets are lined and
their hands are firmly on the levers of state power. They are confident that
given Zimbabwe's mineral resources there will always be sufficient money to
fund their lifestyles and pay for the state's repressive machinery. In
addition to dispensing largesse to the ruling elite Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono's other major task is to mortgage the country's mineral wealth
to interested foreigners.

The regime has no qualms about resorting to all manner of shady deals to
sustain its rule. The pretence that it is there for the people has long been
discarded. Pleas for Mugabe to restore political and economic sanity will
continue to fall on deaf ears.

Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC meets on Sunday 18 January to decide whether to join
the proposed inclusive government. It is imperative for the MDC to arrive at
a clear decision that leaves no room for uncertainty or ambiguity. It is now
four months since the Global Political Agreement (GPA) was signed on 15
September 2008. A lot has transpired in that time. The MDC should be in a
position to make a firm decision based on concrete facts and not unrealistic

This is no time to dilly-dally. The party is either joining the government
or opting out. There are no more SADC summits that will help the situation.
All parties including SADC have made their positions crystal clear. It is
decision time for the MDC.

A coalition or unity government only works if parties in it have a common
purpose. In Zimbabwe this is clearly not the case. Mugabe sees the inclusive
government as a tactical ploy to ultimately outmaneuvre the MDC.  He does
not see it as a vehicle through which the political and economic crisis in
Zimbabwe can be genuinely tackled. His main objective is not to bring
prosperity to the people of Zimbabwe but to rule them until he drops dead.
He only signed the agreement to secure legitimacy for his presidency which
he could not obtain through the ballot box. He detests the idea of having
the MDC in government even as junior partners.

He has no intention of allowing the inclusive government to serve a full
five - year term. His intention is to call for an early election when he
believes the MDC is sufficiently weakened. Mugabe is shrewd enough to know
that the MDC's presence as junior partners in a largely ineffectual
government will have serious political consequences for it. With no
improvement in the lives of Zimbabweans the MDC's political fortunes will
rapidly nosedive. At the same time the MDC's foot soldiers - the backbone of
the party - will continue to be killed, arrested, tortured and displaced.
With its organizers battered and demoralized and its structures crippled,
the MDC will be ripe for easy pickings in an early snap election.

That is Mugabe's calculation.

This is why it is so important for Mugabe not to make the compromises sought
by the MDC in relation to the balance of power within the unity government.
He wants the MDC to be mere spectators in a government in which, as he told
his party's Central Committee, Zanu-PF will be in the driver's seat. A clear
indication of this is Patrick Chinamasa's recent statement that no meeting
between Tsvangirai and Mugabe as requested by the MDC will take place.

He shot down the demand by the MDC for such a meeting to be chaired by South
Africa's President Kgalema Motlanthe. Chinamasa made it clear they would
only accept Thabo Mbeki, their staunch supporter, as mediator pouring scorn
on the MDC's call for his removal. Mugabe wants the MDC to make a choice
between joining the unity government under the present terms or opting out.
He is in no mood to entertain the MDC's concerns.

As far as he is concerned what is on the table is not negotiable. If the MDC
opt out he will argue that they went against a SADC resolution calling for
the immediate formation of an inclusive government and seek the regional
body's nod to proceed without Tsvangirai. If they join the government on his
conditions they will be on a slippery slope to political self- destruction.

The argument is often presented by some analysts that the MDC will be cast
into the political wilderness if it declines to join the inclusive
government. This is a false argument bereft of any merit. The MDC's raison d'etre
is to seek democratic change in Zimbabwe. That is supposed to be its
mission. It is not to seek political accommodation with a regime hell bent
on preserving its own tyrannical rule.

It is a mission which soon became difficult and protracted due to the
intransigence of an entrenched regime with no scruples about using all means
at its disposal to prevent change. It is not a mission that must be
abandoned because it is a difficult one. The MDC cannot secure its political
future through unprincipled compromises that at best bring short-lived
material benefits to a few leaders. It can only secure its political future
if it remains true to the aspirations of ordinary Zimbabweans. Those
aspirations demand that a new order brings with it freedoms enjoyed
elsewhere in the world and an environment conducive to economic growth.

When the MDC leadership meets this coming weekend it must take hard
decisions. There is no use pretending that Mugabe will make any concessions
on their demands. He will not undergo a miraculous metamorphosis and do what
is right for Zimbabwe. There is also no use pretending that SADC or the AU
will find an answer. They will not lift a finger to get Mugabe to accept the
principle of equity in power-sharing. What is on the table now is what they
should base their decision on. It is either they accept the terms offered
and come on board or they opt out. The decision will then determine how they
vote when the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment 19 is tabled in Parliament
next week. This is the time for bold decisive leadership.

President Motlanthe who currently chairs SADC has repeatedly said
outstanding issues raised by the MDC can be sorted out after the formation
of the government. Mbeki made similar promises to pressure the MDC to sign
the GPA. None of the concerns they raised then were addressed. One has to be
an absolute fool to believe that Mugabe will even entertain discussing these
issues after the MDC has taken the plunge.

Once they are in government issues they have raised will be off the table.
They must not mislead people that SADC and AU have guaranteed that these
issues will be addressed afterwards. There should be no pie in the sky
stuff. The decision made this weekend must be based only on what is on

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Pumping water for life in Zimbabwe

Cecilia Nedziwe, of the Centre for Peace Initiatives and a former Rotary World Peace Fellow, visits the Rotary water project's pump well at Mupamombe school in Zimbabwe. Photo courtesy of Stein Nørve

Amid famine, water scarcity, disease outbreaks, and rampant inflation in Zimbabwe, six Rotary clubs in as many countries are bringing hope to people there.

The project is establishing water wells and vegetable and tree gardens at seven schools in the country. A US$6,650 Rotary Foundation Matching Grant, combined with sponsor contributions, has provided a total of $16,950 in funding for the effort. 

The project began in 2007, sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Grenaa and Grenaa-Djurs, Denmark; Tûri, Estonia; Grossefehn/Wiesmoor, Germany; Drøbak, Norway; and Hunyani, Zimbabwe. Recent support has also come from the Rotary Club of Åmål, Sweden.

Pump Aid, a nongovernmental organization, is managing installation and maintenance of the wells. Environment Africa, another NGO, oversees creation of the gardens, designed to help feed area residents and provide some with a livelihood. The organization is headed by Charlene Hewat, of the Hunyani club. 

"The technology is simple and efficient and requires no special technical skills," says Stein Nørve, a member of the Drøbak club. "The pumps may be operated manually by anyone."

In 2008, Cecilia Nedziwe assessed the project's progress in the course of her work as manager of operations for the Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa. At the Mupamombe school, she found the water pump functioning efficiently and workers planting seeds in the garden.

"There was life and happiness around, and I was delighted to see everyone smiling and extending their gratefulness to Rotary for supporting the well project," said Nedziwe, who is based in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, and is a former Rotary World Peace Fellow (Zimbabwe to Australia, 06-08).

She found the situation similar at three of the other four schools. Only at the school in Kwayedza was the well for the pump yet to be completed. Two wells are also scheduled for installation at other schools.

Nedziwe said that the project is vital, "given the level of humanitarian crisis in the country. The project is making a difference and saving many lives."

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Wake up to the crisis

14 January 2009
Sowetan says:

The cholera racing through almost every province in South Africa threatens
us with a crisis that our health officials continue to ignore at our peril.

More than 70 new cases have been reported in three provinces this week.
Yesterday the Limpopo government found a local river from which thousands
draw their water contaminated by the highly infectious disease.

Cholera is easily treated if diagnosed early, but that means nothing to the
people of Zimbabwe, where the health system has broken down along with all
other government services.

There, 2000 people have succumbed as even water reticulation and sewerage
systems collapse.

And it was always inevitable that as more of our desperate neighbours fled
to South Africa to ensure their survival they would bring the disease with

But that hasn't troubled our authorities.

Though more cholera cases are reported daily, no one has yet declared a
national alert, a coordinated government effort or a public awareness
campaign to sensitise the public to the threat.

Health officials must stand up now and ignore political considerations to
declare the cholera epidemic ravaging Limpopo a national emergency or we
risk a fallout similar to what is happening across our northern border.

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Buddie issues

Buddie cards are top-up cards for 'pay as you go' cell phone airtime, for
one service provider (Econet). These are usually sold by vendors on street
corners and at traffic lights, as well as various outlets. I purchased mine
from vendors, as I think most people did. Selling Buddy cards became a very
important source of income for thousands of informal traders. Vendors would
go into the service provider, and buy their cards at a 'wholesale' price,
and they then sold the cards to the customer at the retail price printed on
the card, resulting in commission for them.

Just before Christmas the Buddie cards stopped being printed. I believe that
other service providers also stopped printing their top-up cards around the
same time. This meant that thousands of vendors suddenly found themselves in
a situation, just before Christmas, unable to buy cards to sell to their
customers. They were effectively left unemployed.

Rumours abounded that the system would be switching to forex.

I bought top-up cards this weekend for the first time. The new cards have a
US dollar value printed on them and the card I bought was for US$5. The
vendor charged me US$6 which obviously prompted question over why I was
being charged a figure over the retail price. He told me that he was now
buying the cards over the counter at the face value, so was forced to add
his commission on top. That vendor made US$1 on that deal, but if vendors
are setting their own commission then it is possible that the price paid
will vary from vendor to vendor. I won't know until I buy my next cards.

The second problem we had at the traffic light that day was change - not
political change but the money change! Not many people have small change in
forex and US$6 is one of those figures that usually requires US$4 returned
out of a US$10 note. I waited at the robots while two other vehicles
purchased their cards from my vendor, with him doing his best to get small
change from them, but each of those customers paid the full price.
Eventually we negotiated that change issue by converting the US$ he wanted
into Rands, and me scrabbling around for money kept over from my last trip
to South Africa.

My friend in the car with me had kept quiet through the transaction and
dryly joked as we pulled away from the pavement, "I wonder if that guy
bought himself a forex licence?" There is simply no way a vendor would have
been able to buy themselves a licence. My friend's point raises a range of
potential problems for the vendors. For a start, they run the risk of arrest
for illegally trading, they also run the risk of the Reserve Bank forex
police simply stopping alongside them and seizing their hard-earned cash
from them, or they may find themselves being asked to pay bribes to keep the
Reserve Bank off their backs. These are all the same dilemmas and stresses
that formal traders have to deal with.

We wondered if the forex licence issue might explain why the vendors could
no longer sell on commission. If the service provider holds the forex
licence, it is only they who can sell this product in foreign currency
(which they need to be able to do to ensure the service continues). So they
'legally' sell the cards to the vendors, and thousands of decent people who
previously scrapped together completely legally, now have to do it

That's only the start of their problems.
Forex is hard to come by and for Zimbabweans who protect every last bit they
have, buying from the vendors is no longer simply a convenient obvious thing
to do. It's still convenient and obvious, but it also comes at a cost. Why
would someone short of cash buy from a vendor, if they can go to a service
provider outlet and pay the face value? The only reason I did on that day
was because I decided the extra US$1 was worth paying to avoid the queue at
the outlet. But the length of the queue also indicated to me that a lot of
trade had drifted from the vendors to the service provider outlet. So
business to the vendors will be down.

Consider too that most of the vendors were unable to sell cards around
Christmas time - an expensive time of year for most people - because the
cards were not being printed. Those guys probably used the money they would
have held back for stock to cover their cost of living. This means that most
vendors probably found themselves in an impossible situation when the next
cards came out, because to buy stock on foreign currency, they'd need to
spend a LOT of Zimbabwe dollars (very hard to come by) on the black market
to raise the foreign cash they needed to re-stock.

I feel very sorry for the many vendors who have probably lost a way to keep
surviving in this economy. But I also feel sorry for the customer. Lengths
of queues aside, the cost of sending an sms, in forex, is scarey. One
message now costs about 22c to send locally, and 47c (US, not Zim) to send
an sms outside the country. I have no idea what it costs in other parts of
the world, but my gut feeling is that we are probably paying a lot more, in
a currency we have to go to the black market to get.

Everyone I spoke to is saying that cell phones will now only be held for
emergencies only because sms's are simply too expensive to use socially
anymore. But we have to be careful. The moment you scratch a Buddie card and
add the money to your phone, you have one month to use it. If you don't use
it within the month, then your line will be cut off and you will have to go
into the service provider office and pay a reconnection fee to be able to
use your phone. To avoid this, customers buy more airtime and add it to
their phones before the previous card expires, to ensure they always have
'active time' on their phones. It has always been a bitter pill to swallow,
but much harder when the pills come at such a high price.

If this is how complicated it is just to buy and sell airtime, imagine what
it must be like trying to manage a massive company in Zimbabwe.

This entry was written by Hope on Tuesday, January 13th, 2009 at 11:37 pm

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Fellowships for Threatened Scholars

Please find below a reminder for the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) Fellowships:
Application Deadline - January 31, 2009

Apply or nominate a candidate for SRF fellowship support:

*Professors, established researchers and other senior academics from any
country, field or discipline may qualify.  Preference is given to scholars
with a Ph.D. or other highest degree in their field; who have extensive
teaching or research experience at a university, college or other
institution of higher learning; who demonstrate superior academic
accomplishment or promise; who are facing or have recently fled from direct
and immediate threats; and whose selection is likely to benefit the academic
community in the home and/or host country or region. Applications from
female scholars and under-represented groups are strongly encouraged.

*Fellowships are awarded for visiting academic positions ranging from 3
months to 1 calendar year.  Awards are issued for up to US $25,000, plus
individual health coverage.

*Fellowships are disbursed through host academic institutions for direct
support of scholar-grantees.  In most cases, host campuses are asked to
match the SRF fellowship award through partial salary/stipend support,
and/or housing, research materials, and other in-kind assistance.

*Unfortunately SRF is not in a position to support students or professionals
seeking to continue their studies or pursue advanced degrees.

To apply, please download the information and application materials from:

To contact the Scholar Rescue Fund please email:


We also invite interested universities to join SRF and bring a scholar to
your campus!

SRF fellowship recipients are established academics from 40 different
countries who represent a diverse array of disciplines and academic
experience.  Many prestigious institutions around the globe have welcomed
SRF scholars to their campuses and provided the safe haven vital to allowing
a scholar to resume his or her academic activities.   While on fellowship,
scholars may teach courses, conduct research, facilitate seminars and offer
guest lectures and presentations.  Smaller colleges and large research
institutions have reaped the benefits of hosting SRF scholars who bring
compelling professional and personal experiences to their host communities.

For more information on how to host, please visit:

"Hosting an SRF Scholar" on our website at

Please contact us at:
IIE Scholar Rescue Fund Fellowships
809 U.N. Plaza
New York, New York 10017
Tel: (USA) 1-212-205-6486
Fax: (USA) 1-212-205-6425

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Former SABC staffers back 'gag' claims

14 January 2009

Jocelyn Newmarch

Media Correspondent

MORE claims of blacklisting at the SABC have been placed before a committee
of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) in support of a
complaint brought against the public broadcaster.

This will reopen debate on an issue that remains unresolved more than two
years after an inquiry found certain commentators had been banned from
appearing on the SABC, adding to pressure on the already beleaguered

Aubrey Matshiqi, Moeletsi Mbeki, Elinor Sisulu and Business Day political
editor Karima Brown had been banned from the SABC by the public broadcaster's
head of news and current affairs, Snuki Zikalala.

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) filed a complaint last year
arguing that despite the findings of the Sisulu commission in 2006, which
found that blacklisting did indeed occur, the SABC has failed to implement
the commission's recommendations.

These included that the role of group executive for news and current affairs
be restricted to general policy and strategy, and that the group CE's role
as editor-in-chief be reinforced. It said the board should take note of
concerns regarding Zikalala's management style.

Finally, there should be no attempt to exclude commentators, that this
should be incorporated into the SABC's editorial policies, and that regular
audits on the use of commentators should be conducted.

"It is our view that upon becoming aware of the commission's
recommendations, the SABC board should have taken corrective action
immediately, and publicly announced what these steps were to be," FXI
director Jane Duncan wrote in her affidavit to Icasa.

Duncan also complained that the SABC has contradicted itself, having
indicated last year to the parliamentary portfolio committee on
communications that it was in the process of implementing the commission's
recommendations and that Zikalala had been given a verbal warning.

But in responding to the FXI's complaint to Icasa, the SABC had denied
wrongdoing on Zikalala's part, she said.

The complaint was filed in February last year with Icasa's complaints and
compliance committee. But the committee ordered the FXI to provide
supplementary evidence for its complaint, ruling that it could not rely on
the Sisulu Commission's report.

This evidence has now been provided by respected former SABC staffers Pippa
Green and John Perlman, who have filed affidavits in support of the FXI's
complaint against the SABC.

A report by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and the Media Institute of
Southern Africa detailing substandard coverage of the 2005 Zimbabwean
parliamentary elections by the SABC English TV news team has also been
handed in as evidence.

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Cruel. And stupid
Leading article:
Wednesday, 14 January 2009

There have been plenty of protests outside Downing Street down the years but
few as surreal as yesterday's. The protesters were not calling for Britain
to withdraw its support from some foreign regime. Nor were they demanding
money from the Government. The opposite in fact: the plea of the scores of
Zimbabwean refugees who gathered in Whitehall was that they be allowed to
pay taxes in Britain.

Some 11,000 Zimbabweans find themselves in a bizarre limbo. They have been
denied political asylum in Britain, but cannot be deported as long as Robert
Mugabe is crushing their homeland. Furthermore these individuals are not
allowed to work here in Britain. Their choice is to survive on charity or
take their chances in the black economy. For the Government to deny these
refugees the right to work is cruel. But to prevent them from paying taxes,
especially with the public finances in their present state, must surely come
into the category of stupid.

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