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Zim introduces $100 trillion notes as inflation spirals

by Wayne Mafaro Friday 16 January 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe's central bank has introduced new 100 trillion Zimbabwe
dollar notes, in the latest sign of runaway inflation officially estimated
at 231 million percent as of last July but which independent analysts say
could be anything in the trillions.

The $100 trillion note - the highest in a new range that includes new 10, 20
and 50 trillion dollar notes - is enough to buy only about six loaves of

"In a move meant to ensure that the public access their money from banks,
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has introduced a new family of notes,"
The RBZ said. The notes will be gradually introduced into the market with
effect from Friday.

With its value falling faster than any other currency on earth, the Zimbabwe
dollar is nearly worthless, and both consumers and traders are increasingly
shunning the currency in favour of the South African rand or the United
States dollar.

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 outbreaks of killer diseases such as
cholera and anthrax.

A September power-sharing agreement meant to ease the political situation
and allow the country to focus on tackling the economic meltdown remains
deadlocked as President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai bicker over control of key posts in a unity government outlined
under the deal. - ZimOnline

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Military police sent to restore order at Zim diamond field

by Clara Smith Friday 16 January 2009

CHIADZWA - Zimbabwe's government has sent military police to Chiadzwa
diamond field in the east of the country to quell violent clashes between
soldiers fighting over control of local labourers employed to mine diamonds

The government - which industry experts say could have lost more than US$300
million in potential earnings to illegal miners and dealers who had invaded
the Chiadzwa diamond field - last November deployed soldiers to flush out
illegal miners and secure the area in preparation for organised mining of
the diamonds.

But the poorly paid soldiers have, after chasing away illegal miners, turned
to mining the diamonds illegally, resulting in constant and violent clashes
between rival gangs of soldiers over control of the most lucrative mining
sites and labourers.

Impeccable army sources told ZimOnline that rivalry boiled over last week
when gangs of soldiers opened fire at each other forcing army authorities to
deploy military police.

"The shootouts happened on Sunday and Monday (4 and 5 January) last week
between rival gangs of soldiers," said an army officer who declined to be
named because he had no authority to speak to the media.

The officer said there were no casualties from the shootings but said
military police were still making arrests of the individual soldiers
involved in the violence.

Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi was not immediately available for comment
on the mater.

According to our sources, the soldiers exchanged fire last week following
disagreements over control of labour drawn mainly from surrounding

The soldiers need help to mine diamonds from local people who have worked on
the Chiadzwa field for the past two years.

But a ruthless campaign by the soldiers to flush out illegal miners from the
diamond field also forced most able-bodied people from surrounding villages
to flee their homes. The few who remained behind are reluctant to work for
soldiers who they say are abusive and sometimes refuse to pay for labour

"The problem is that unlike the police who were here before, the soldiers do
not negotiate. They force us into their syndicates, and then pay us whatever
they like. Most of the time they don't pay us all," said a villager who
talked on condition he was not named.

Zimbabwe is in danger of losing its status as a diamond dealer under the
Kimberley Process, a watchdog body set up to stamp out trade in so-called
conflict diamonds that fuel civil wars.

The World Diamond Council (WDC) has demanded an urgent inquiry into the
Zimbabwean diamond industry amid fears gems from Chiadzwa may be finding
their way onto the black market in violation of rules established to curb
trade in conflict diamonds. - ZimOnline

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'MDC MP will retain seat until House discusses issue'


             by Nqobizitha Khumalo Friday 16 January 2009

BULAWAYO - An opposition Member of Parliament (MP) disqualified by a
court after being convicted of forgery will not lose her seat until the
House has considered the matter, Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo has

Lynette Karenyi of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led opposition MDC party was
disqualified as MP for Chimanimani West constituency after a magistrate's
court ruled that four signatures on her nomination papers to stand in the
constituency in elections last March were forged.

Magistrate Billard Musakwa sitting in the eastern city of Mutare on
Monday sentenced Karenyi to 20 months imprisonment, wholly suspended and
ordered her disqualified from her post as MP. The magistrate also banned
Karenyi from contesting parliamentary elections for the next five years.

But Moyo, who is MDC chairman, said Parliament had not yet received a
copy of the judgment from the courts, emphasising that the House had its own
procedures and requirements that had to be complied with before an MP can be

"There is nothing official, as things stand Karenyi is still the MP
for Chimanimani West and will remain one until the issue has been brought
before all the organs of Parliament," Moyo said.

The MDC has said it will appeal Musakwa's ruling, which the opposition
party has dismissed as a government ploy to erode its simple majority in the
key House of Assembly.

The Tsvangirai-led opposition MDC won 100 seats in House of Assembly
elections last March against 99 seats won by ZANU PF, the first time that
President Robert Mugabe's party had lost control of the lower chamber since
Zimbabwe's 1980 independence from Britain.

A faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara won 10 seats and an
independent candidate took one seat in the 210-seat chamber.

The disqualification of Karenyi, if it is upheld by the High Court,
will leave ZANU PF and MDC-Tsvangirai with equal number of seats and the
Mutambara faction enjoying even greater influence as it holds the balance of
power in the lower chamber. -ZimOnline

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Mutambara should be patient, says Tsvangirai

      by Basildon Peta Friday 16 January 2009

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has advised his
opposition rival Arthur Mutambara to be a bit patient in his quest to move
into the deputy prime minister's office under a stalled unity government
deal signed last September.

In a long article that appeared in several publications last week, Mutambara
largely blamed Tsvangirai for stalling the formation of a unity government
in Zimbabwe.

Mutambara, the leader of a smaller splinter MDC faction, has on a number of
occasions in the past also attacked Tsvangirai for not accepting the
power-sharing deal as currently formulated.

Tsvangirai was asked to respond to Mutambara's article at a packed press
conference in Johannesburg on Thursday.

In a somewhat sarcastic tone, Tsvangirai urged the robotics professor to
exercise some patience.

The MDC leader said he would not rush to join a government under the present
defective terms simply because Mutambara is desperate to move into the
deputy prime minister's office.

"I can understate Mutambara's desire to be in government. But it is
unfortunate he will have to wait a bit longer. He ought to exercise some
patience," said Tsvangirai, emphasising that his prime responsibility was to
the majority who voted for him on 29 March and not to the personal interests
of Mutambara.

In his article, Mutambara devoted his harshest vitriol to Tsvangirai and
Western countries, who ironically are the ones feeding Zimbabweans
impoverished by Mugabe's bankrupt policies.

He explained various possible options of removing Mugabe but said they were
not feasible except through the current unity deal.

Mutambara's critics say his article basically amounted to suggesting that
Mugabe should be allowed to dictate the terms of his departure, a shocking
stance by the former student leader who made his name as an anti-Mugabe
activist in the late 1980s.

Prominent former Financial Gazette journalist Makusha Mugabe delivered a
particularly scathing response to Mutambara's article. Makusha accused
Mutambara of not being driven by logic but "his desire to get into
Munhumutapa Building, or wherever the deputy prime minister's office is
going to be housed".

He lambasted Mutambara of masquerading as the greatest of Pan African
statesmen "like his new handler, Robert Mugabe".

Mutambara reportedly met with Mugabe last week to discuss ways of pushing
the new unity government.

In a below the belt attack, Makusha (not related to Robert Mugabe) described
Mutambara as Zimbabwe's "new chief Jeremia Chirau". Chirau sold out when he
formed a front political party called ZUPO during the liberation struggle
which was funded by Ian Smith and received good coverage in state news
organisations when real liberation movements like ZANU PF, as it existed
then, were banned.

Mutambara's critics also say he has effectively destroyed his political
career by aligning with Mugabe at a time when democratic forces in Zimbabwe
are under attack. They say history shall judge him very harshly and, if ever
the coalition government fails to take off, then he will have fewer options
in politics considering that he failed to win a parliamentary seat and sided
with Mugabe at the greatest hour of need for democratic forces in
Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Rejects Opposition Demands for Activists Release

By Peter Clottey
Washington, D.C
16 January 2009

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party has rejected demands by the leader of the
opposition for the immediate release of opposition activists. Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, is
demanding the immediate release of all opposition and civic activists before
he agrees to the full implementation of the recently signed power sharing
agreement. This comes ahead of a possible meeting early next week between
Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe. The meeting is a last-ditch effort
by the opposition leader to revive the stalled power-sharing agreement that
was supposed to lead to the formation of a unity government. Political
analyst Glen Mpani tells reporter Peter Clottey that the opposition is
within its rights to ask for release of the detainees.

"The demands of Morgan Tsvangirai are in line with what every progressive
Zimbabwean is thinking of right now because the charges that the ZANU-PF
government has leveled against the MDC activists and the civil society's
Jestina Mokoko, who has been arrested, are not new. ZANU-PF has got a
history of trumping up charges, creating stories of people plotting coups to
overthrow the government as a way of weakening the opposition," Mpani noted.

He said both the African Union and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) have paid little heed to distress calls of repression
allegedly committed by the ruling ZANU-PF government.

"These allegations have been dismissed by SADC, and they have been dismissed
externally. And I think for these activists to be continued being detained
by ZANU-PF while ZANU-PF is claiming that it is willing to talk to the MDC
is in itself pretentious. So for Morgan to demand for the immediate and
unconditional release of the activists is one condition that ZANU-PF has to
be able to deal with as a sign of showing how sincere they are about the
power-sharing agreement," he said.

Mpani said the bone of contention in the current impasse can be easily
resolved by ZANU-PF fully implementing the agreement.

"The ball is in the court of ZANU-PF. If you look at the current agreement
and to what they have so far agreed on, we see that the balance of
distribution is skewed in favor of ZANU-PF. the ball is in the court of the
ZANU-PF to either accept or not to accept the concerns of the opposition
MDC," Mpani pointed out.

He said the only way the impasse would be surmounted is when ZANU-PF meets
MDC concerns and agrees fully to implement the agreement.

"Any opportunity for negotiation should be viewed as an opportunity where
the deadlock can be broken. But the deadlock can only be worked through if
ZANU-PF accepts that the MDC is an equal partner, and the MDC is not being
coerced or been trampled upon by the ruling party. And I think if that
approach is taken, then a solution can be found," he said.

Mpani said although the opposition does not have enough leverage within the
SADC region, it has a lot of support in Zimbabwe.

"I think the leverage for Morgan Tsvangirai is only immersed in the amount
of support that he has within the country. Obviously, he doesn't have enough
in the region because the decision by SADC dampens the whole process because
SADC gave a decision that outrightly gave support to Mugabe. And even if the
issue is taken to the AU (African Union), I don't think they would come up
with a different position. So the only place where Tsvangirai has and
currently holds now is to say 'if I don't get into this agreement, things
are not going to change the economy is going to remain as it is.' People are
still going to view Zimbabwe as a state that is repressive and a state where
nothing has changed. So that in itself is leverage enough to be able to
assist in providing an opportunity in which Mugabe can look at things
differently," Mpani noted.

Opposition leader Tsvangirai also accused President Mugabe's government of
breaching the power-sharing agreement by abducting and detaining MDC
activists. He demanded the unconditional release of party activists before
the power-sharing deal can be implemented.

Meanwhile, the presidents of South Africa and Mozambique will meet Zimbabwe
political parties on Monday in a new regional push to break the
power-sharing deadlock. South Africa's President Kgalema Motlanthe will lead
a SADC delegation that includes Mozambique President Armando Guebuza and
mediator and former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

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Staring down the barrel

JASON MOYO - Jan 16 2009 06:00

The future of Zimbabwe's power-sharing agreement will likely be decided on
Sunday when the national executive of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) meets to decide whether to join President Robert Mugabe in a
unity government.

Meanwhile, Parliament is expected to resume sitting on Tuesday; a key matter
on the agenda is the draft legislation that would enable the formation of
the new government. There are three scenarios that may play out in the weeks
to come.

Talks resume and a power-sharing deal is implemented
Amid rising tension and increasing rhetoric from both sides, the prospect of
an agreement being reached looks least likely.

Mugabe has declined Morgan Tsvangirai's call for a meeting, while hawkish
members of the MDC appear to have the upper hand going into Sunday's crucial
national executive meeting. Sharing power remains a hugely unpopular option
for both sides, but some hope that the absence of any real alternative for
either side will force them into a partnership. Neither side wants to appear
to be the spoiler.

If a government of unity is agreed upon, the immediate priority would be
economic recovery.

South Africa has released humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe already, but a more
substantial financial aid package, backed by the entire region, would be
required to address the worst of the suffering.

Crucially, the United States and the United Kingdom have declared that they
will oppose any deal that involves Mugabe. The MDC will therefore be under
huge pressure to play a key role in winning back Western donor support,
which will be crucial to the survival of the new government.

Even if a deal is reached, doubts will remain over whether the new
government will last. Members of the new administration will need to agree
on what will have to be a comprehensive programme of social and economic
reform, but mistrust between the two sides runs deep.

Mugabe forms the government unilaterally
The combined opposition, which is in control of the key lower house of
Parliament, would make it impossible for Mugabe's government to function. He
would therefore have to call a fresh election to attempt to regain a
parliamentary majority. Mugabe has already told his party to prepare for
this possibility.

Such elections would most probably be held under conditions similar to the
June run-off, which the MDC boycotted, partly in protest against the ruling
party's brutal campaign of violence.

Not only would Western governments withhold aid to a Mugabe government, they
would devise new ways to undermine his regime. This would likely push Mugabe
into an even more intransigent position and speed up the pace of economic

Mugabe appears to be preparing himself to go it alone, canvassing allies for

Mugabe insiders have, in recent weeks, been talking about an aid package
they claim their leader has up his sleeve. Mugabe has used his annual
vacation to visit the Far East and is said to have scheduled a visit to
Russia. His spokesperson, George Charamba, confirms that Mugabe is visiting
"friendly nations" in an effort to secure financial support.

There have been suggestions of a possible $5-billion package, although even
Mugabe loyalists doubt this is possible given the global financial crisis.

MDC drops out of talks
Public comments last week by a senior Tsvangirai adviser who said the MDC
has the option to wait for the country to "crash and burn" dramatised the
re-emergence of a radical core of the MDC that has always opposed

But others in the opposition doubt that sitting it out and waiting for a big
crash is a good strategy.

David Coltart, a prominent opposition senator, warned that a total collapse
of Zimbabwe would see "the more radical elements within the military seizing
power, which in turn could see Zimbabwe degenerate into even worse forms of
anarchy than exist at present".

But the hawks have been strengthened in their position by a spate of
abductions of Mugabe opponents and a declaration by the US and Britain that
they will not support any agreement that includes Mugabe.

For now, at least, the MDC's options are limited.

Should the MDC pull out of the talks, its next step would likely be to carry
the struggle to Parliament. But after the expulsion of an MDC MP this week
for having forged signatures on her nomination papers, the Tsvangirai
faction of the MDC and Zanu-PF now have an equal number of seats in the
lower house.

Only a combined opposition could challenge Zanu-PF in Parliament. But even
then, Mugabe could dissolve Parliament.

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Half of Zimbabwe population reliant on food aid

Over half of the population of Zimbabwe is now dependent on food aid, the
charity Oxfam claims.

The agency warns the situation could get even worse as vulnerable households
are set to receive smaller food rations this month due to funding

At present the United Nations World Food Programme is currently facing a
shortfall of around $65 million (£44 million) for its Zimbabwe operations
until the end of March.

Oxfam yesterday called on the governments around the world to increase their
aid to the UN emergency food appeal.

"Peoples' lives are in danger because of the lack of food. They are severely
weakened and therefore less able to deal with cholera, which has spread
across the country, or fight HIV/AIDS," Peter Mutoredzanwa, Oxfam's country
director in Zimbabwe, said.

He continued by claiming aid donors also needed to look at longer-term
inputs to help local farmers and prevent future food emergencies and food

Zimbabwe is currently suffering from mass unemployment, huge inflation, a
cholera outbreak and a continuing political deadlock.

A recent survey by the World Food Programme found that nearly one in five
households in the country - including those receiving food aid - had sold
assets in the past three months and that more than 70 per cent of households
did so in order to buy food.
© Adfero Ltd
16 January 2009 00:01 GMT

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Activist breaks down as she narrates ordeal in court

      by Wayne Mafaro Friday 16 January 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwean human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko, abducted last
December and allegedly tortured by state security agents, broke down in
court on Thursday as she narrated her ordeal at the hands of her captors.

Mukoko wept bitterly as she told magistrate Archie Wochiunga that her
experience was frightening and that she would not wish it on anyone at all.

The rights campaigner, who is accused together with scores of opposition MDC
party activists of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe, was in
court to ask the magistrate to allow her to challenge the constitutionality
of her arrest and continued detention at the Supreme Court.

Wochiunga will decide today whether to grant Mukoko permission to approach
the Supreme Court, Zimbabwe's highest court of law.

Mukoko, who won a court order on Monday to be allowed urgent medical
attention, told Wochiunga it was like coming back to a funeral when security
agents briefly took her back to her home in Norton town to search for arms
of war, a month after kidnapping her.

"My brother from Gweru, my nephew from Chitungwiza, my mother and my
mother-in-law were all there. I saw a pile of . . . " She did not finish,
breaking down in tears, before continuing, "it resembled a funeral because
they all thought that I must have died."

Mukoko, a former staffer at the state broadcaster and now director of human
rights organisation Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), wants the Supreme Court to
determine whether her constitutional rights were violated and therefore
should not stand trial.

"I apply that the court refer the matter to the Constitutional Court to
determine the violation of my constitutional rights," said Mukoko. "The
experience I have gone through is really frightening and I do not wish that
on anyone," she said.

Making submissions on behalf of Mukoko, lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told the
court that admission by the state that the rights campaigner had been held
by security agents for almost two months made her case suitable for referral
to the Constitutional Court for a hearing whether it was legal for people to
be abducted and kept in isolation.

During cross-examination, Mukoko said she doubted she could get a fair trial
after Attorney General Johannes Tomana this week labelled her a security
risk and said she should not be released from jail.

Mukoko and about 40 MDC activists are accused of attempting to recruit
people for military training in neighbouring Botswana to overthrow Mugabe
and his ruling ZANU PF party.

The accused were abducted in November and December from various locations
and held incommunicado for weeks. Their lawyers say they were severely
tortured by state agents in a bid to force them to admit to the charges of

If convicted the group face the death penalty, in a case that has potential
to scuttle a power-sharing agreement between Mugabe and main opposition MDC
party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai told journalists in South Africa on Thursday that the charges
against Mukoko and MDC activists are trumped up and part of a fresh
crackdown against its members and structures.

The opposition leader demanded the release of the detained activists before
the stalled power-sharing pact can be implemented.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and the leader of a faction of the MDC, Arthur Mutambara,
signed an agreement last September to share power in a government of
national unity to tackle Zimbabwe's decade-long political and economic

However, the pact appears to be unravelling over a dispute between Mugabe
and Tsvangirai over control of key ministerial and other top government
posts and over the composition and powers of a new national security
council. - ZimOnline

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Police continue to harass Anglicans

January 15, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) still provides fallen former
Anglican clergyman and ardent supporter of President Robert Mugabe, Nolbert
Kunonga, with tactical support long after he was ousted following a split in
the church early last year.

The former Bishop of Harare Diocese incurred the wrath of the majority of
Zimbabwe's Anglican community when he withdrew his diocese from the Anglican
Church's Province of Central Africa, ostensibly in protest at the tolerance
of homosexuality by Anglicans in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Kunonga was ousted and replaced by Bishop Sebastian Bakare.

The ZRP officers are now said to be still patronising church establishments
throughout Harare and physically preventing members of the mainstream
congregation led by Bakare from using church property. This is despite a
High Court order granting access to both groups.

A member of the Anglican Church in Harare told The Zimbabwe Times this week
that police officers were still harassing worshippers who chose to remain
loyal to the larger Bakare group.

"The Anglican church members are always harassed by the police who prevent
us from using church premises, despite a High Court order allowing us equal
access to church facilities until the matter is finalised," said Elizabeth
Chimwe of the Greendale Parish.

"Our group has the support of three quarters of people who were part of the
united Anglican Church but now we have to leave a church with a seating
capacity of about 200 to a group of 38 people just because we have no
political muscle."

The High Court ruled last year that both the mainstream Bakare group and the
much smaller rebel Kunonga faction should both have access to the church
facilities. For example it was agreed that the Kunonga faction would use the
church facilities for its services from 8 am to 10 am. The Bakare group
would then use the same facilities between 11 am and 1 pm.

Instead, the police have intervened at the time of the change-over and
prevented the Bakare group from using the facilities, it is alleged.

The Bakare group is said to have written to Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri to appeal to him to intervene but without success.

There is speculation now that the group is being victimised because Bakare
is profiled by Kunonga as a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activist.

Other sources within the Anglican Church said at one time Bakare was invited
to officiate at St Michaels Anglican Church in Mbare. A truck-load of riot
policemen arrived to disrupt the service. It is alleged the police had been
informed that Bakare was hosting an MDC rally at the church.

Because of the presence of the police at Anglican Church facilities, the
Bakare group is now forced to rent houses or buildings close to church
buildings to hold Sunday service.

The Central Anglican Cathedral in the Harare city centre has become a no-go
area for the Bakare group. Worshippers now congregate in the Les Brown
Swimming Pool complex in the Harare Gardens, behind Crown Plaza Monomatapa
Hotel, for their services.

When Bakare was installed as the new Bishop of Harare the ceremony was
staged at the City Sports Centre because access to the cathedral was
blocked. The police have constantly refused to act on a High Court order
granting Bakare access to the church.

"The same method used to invade the farms is the method used by Kunonga to
invade our cathedral," said Bakare on the occasion.

"It's very much politically driven. Political involvement is clear in the
way that Kunonga promised to deliver the diocese to Zanu-PF," said a
worshipper aligned to Bakare. "His protection from arrest is telling, even
though he is defying High Court orders left and right."

Even a High Court's deputy sheriff was harassed when he tried to open the
doors to the church armed with a High Court order.

High Court judge, Rita Makarau, had ordered Kunonga to give Bakare and the
majority of Anglicans who support him access to all churches in Harare.

In her ruling she said, "The legal fight gives the impression that the
church has lost its focus, and instead of fighting the good fight and
seeking the Kingdom of God first, church members are fighting each other and
are seeking earthly power and control of church assets."

But Harare's chief police officer, Fortune Zengeni, sent a letter at the
time to Anglican churches ordering that only priests aligned with Kunonga be
permitted to hold services.

The Anglican Church arguably the second biggest religious denomination in
Zimbabwe after the Roman Catholic Church was split in January last year
after the Bishop of Harare, Kunonga,  declared the diocese independent.

Previously the church was part of the Church of the Province of Central
Africa which dismissed Kunonga as bishop following his cessation. But after
his sensational sacking Kunonga refused to relinquish power and control of
the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe before setting up his own structures even
though the majority of the members of the church were against him.

Kunonga was appointed Bishop of Harare in 2001. He went on to use his new
position to sing the praises of President Robert Mugabe and purge the church
of more than half its trained priests.

Kunonga made history when be became one of, if not the only, Anglican priest
ever to be hauled before a special ecclesiastical court to answer to charges
of inciting violence against Mugabe's opponents, intimidating critics and
misusing church funds.

For his loyalty to Zanu-PF Kunonga was rewarded with a sprawling commercial
farm near Harare which was seized from a white farmer. Kunonga promptly
evicted 40 workers and their families from the property.

Kunonga is a close friend of Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of State for
National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement. Mutasa also serves
as the Secretary for Administration of Zanu-PF. Also an Anglican, Mutasa was
the rebel clergyman's classmate in primary school at Faiths Mission outside
Rusape. It was one of the earliest Anglican missions established in Southern

Mutasa (74) remains the only member of Mugabe's original inner-circle still
active both in Zanu-PF politics and in government. Observers believe he is
the power behind the fallen Kunonga.

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Met Office warns of severe flooding

By Lebo Nkatazo
Posted to the web: 15/01/2009 19:55:23
ZIMBABWE'S Meteorological Office has warned of severe flooding in parts of
Matabeleland in a repeat of thunderstorms that hit the country last year,
destroying crops and road networks.

The head of the Met Office Tich Zinyemba said the flood threat would last
between Wednesday to Sunday next week, although it could last as long as 10

"During this period, the risk of flooding will be very, very high," Zinyamba
said, adding that other low lying areas would follow Matabeleland North and
South in flooding.

The heavy rains will be moving from Botswana into south-western Zimbabwe.

Last year, heavy rains pounded most parts of the country destroying schools,
bridges and homes some of which remain unrepaired due to the economic crisis
gripping the country.

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Gold-miners' plight set to continue as Mugabe ignores payment appeal

By: Oscar Nkala
Published on 16th January 2009

The Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines has predicted more gloom for the country's
mining sector, amid reports that President Robert Mugabe has simply ignored
a direct appeal from gold-miners for his intervention in settling the
long-standing dispute over the nonpayment of royalties owed to the mining
companies and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) gold-dealing subsidiary
Fidelity Printers & Refiners.

Chamber of Mines CEO Joe Malaba tells Mining Weekly that there has been no
word from either President Mugabe or Fidelity on when the miners can expect
for their gold deliveries, most of which date back to March last year.

Malaba says although most of the gold-mines remain on care and maintenance,
there is no sign that production will resume any time soon because they have
no money.

"The miners can only get back to work if they are paid all the money they
are owed. That will be the first step towards a revival of the gold-mining
business in this country. However, the situation looks very gloomy at the

"The miners have exhausted all the avenues available in trying to settle the
dispute over the nonpayment, and President Mugabe has not responded to the
miners' appeal for his help in getting the RBZ to pay up. So there are no
changes and we expect things to get worse before they get better," Malaba

He adds that the gold-mining outlook for 2009 is not at all promising
because of the dispute between the miners and the RBZ and the net effect of
the global financial crisis, which has hit the mining industry hard,
resulting in subdued production and a suspension of many capital-intensive
activities, such as exploration and the expansion of existing mines.

Further, labour unrest is simmering at most of the mines, while the few
remaining skilled workers are leaving the country in droves to seek
opportunities in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Australia.

The Chamber also fears that the skills flight will impact very negatively on
the entire mining industry in the country, if it ever gets back to work.

"Most of the workers who have remained in the country have done so out of
commitment, but the present suspension of production has dented their
confidence and they are leaving. There are also growing calls from some
workers to be paid retrenchment packages but that will be a long and
complicated process if the mines do settle for it because it will involve
certain government ministries, the employers and workers' unions. We still
hope that we will not get to that stage, although we have no way of
controlling things at the moment."

The Associated Mine Workers' Union has taken the lead in demanding
retrenchment packages for workers, arguing that mine closures are imminent
and workers need to move on and find jobs elsewhere.

Most of the employers have not offered retrenchment packages and continue to
pay their staff even as the mines lie idle.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba tells Mining Weekly that Mugabe
has received the letter of appeal from the miners but adds that the veteran
leader has not responded because he is "too busy with the job of forming a
new government".

"The President will handle the issue of the miners when he has finished the
big task of forming the government. To the best of my knowledge, something
is being done [about] resolving that problem, and I can tell you that
government has secured a loan from the African Development Bank, which has a
component that deals specifically with paying off [what the gold-miners are

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Zimbabwe Cholera Epidemic Adds 1,550 Cases, 104 Deaths In 24 Hours

By Patience Rusere
15 January 2009

The count of fatalities from the cholera epidemic that has been ravaging
Zimbabwe for several months rose by 104 to a total of 2,201, the World
Health Organization said Thursday citing data collected through Jan. 14,
with the total of reported cases at 41,986.

The WHO said 1,550 cases and 104 deaths were added over 24 hours.

Large numbers of new cases were reported in a number of locations: 501 in
Bikita, Masvingo province, 262 in Makonde and 142 in Kadoma, both in
Mashonaland West, and a combined 170 in the districts of Gokwe North and
South, in Midlands province.

Health Secretary Henry Madzorere of the Movement for Democratic Change
formation headed by Morgan Tsvangirai said the surge in new cases in Kadoma
reflects residential overcrowding, sewage contamination and chronic
shortages of clean drinking water.

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Ex-Rhodies charged with training bandits

Court Reporter

THREE businessmen and former members of the Rhodesian forces have appeared
in court for allegedly recruiting MDC youths for banditry training at their
plots in Goromonzi.

The trio's arraignment follows that of the director of the Zimbabwe Peace
Project, Jestina Mukoko, and eight others on allegations of recruiting
people for banditry last month.

John Vigo Naested (57), an ex-member of the Rhodesian Light Infantry who is
a major shareholder for Tiles for Africa, and two former members of the
Rhodesia Police Reserve, Bryan Michael Baxter and Angus John Thompson,
owners of Bax Investments and Angus J. Thompson (Private) Limited,
respectively, appeared before magistrate Ms Gloria Takundwa. The three own
plots in Goromonzi where the offences were allegedly committed.

Chief law officer Mr Michael Mugabe appeared for the State while Harare
lawyers Mr Maxwell Mavhunga and Mr David Dumbura represented the trio.

Ms Takundwa, who did not ask the three to plead to the charges, remanded
them in custody to January 22, but advised them to apply for bail at the
High Court.

Mr Mavhunga and Mr Dumbura have since filed bail applications at the High
Court and the hearing is expected today.

Charges against the three arose between February 2003 and this month when
they allegedly recruited several people for training in terrorism at plots
16A and 13A and the Remainder of Lot 1 along Gardener Road in Goromonzi.

It is the State's case that the three recruited, assisted and encouraged MDC
youths to undergo military training with the intention of later committing
acts of insurgency, banditry, sabotage and terrorism in Zimbabwe.

It is alleged that the recruitment was done at the plots and that some of
the trainees are prepared to testify in court when the trial opens.

The State also alleges that during the same period, the three trained the
people at Naestad's plot where structures for the military training were

According to the State papers, Naested was in charge of the physical
training of the recruits while Baxter was responsible for co-ordinating the
training programmes.

Police, working on a tip-off, raided Naestad's plot and found structures
used for training, which they photographed. The pictures were filed in the
court record as exhibits.

Further investigations led to the recovery of six guns that were allegedly
used for the training at Naestad's plot while five other firearms were
recovered from Baxter's plot.

Mr Mavhunga notified the court of the defence's intention to apply for
removal from remand on January 22.

Meanwhile, Mukoko - whose urgent chamber application was thrown out at the
Supreme Court for bypassing the magistrate and taking her matter directly to
the Constitutional Court - yesterday sought referral of her matter back to
the Supreme Court.

Mukoko, who was given an opportunity to testify in the application, alleged
abduction, ill-treatment, illegal detention and other forms of infringement
of rights.

She said she wanted the Supreme Court to determine those constitutional
issues before she was placed on remand.

Director of Public Prosecutions Mrs Florence Ziyambi said the High Court
upheld the ministerial certificate that barred the court from seeking the
disclosure of the alleged torturers for security reasons and that the matter
should not be referred to the Supreme Court.

Mrs Ziyambi said the alleged harassment should rather be pursued in the
magistrates' courts and High Court instead of approaching the Supreme Court.

Magistrate Mr Archie Wochiunga remanded Mukoko in custody to today for his

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Why Zimbabwe's economy should be dollarised

January 15, 2009

By Lance Mambondiani

THOSE who recently visited Zimbabwe have reported that the country has been
transformed into a poor version of New York, all prices are in US dollars,
the prices are extortionist and there is nothing you can do about it.

Since the central bank's partial dollarisation in September through the
introduction of Foreign Currency Licensed Warehouses and Retail Shops
(FOLIWARS) when 1 000 retailers and 200 wholesalers were allowed to sell
goods in foreign currency, the distinction between who is FOLIWARS and who
is not has become as blurred as the real winner of the harmonised elections.

If everyone is demanding foreign currency for goods and services and if
civil servants are demanding salaries in foreign currency is there a strong
case for official and complete dollarisation of the economy? Alternatively,
should the central bank consider dollarising the financial sector?

Real evidence suggests that the Zimbabwe dollar has lost its position as an
acceptable medium of exchange. Nationals and foreigners alike have become
less willing to transact in the local currency due to its instability
preferring foreign denominated currencies. It is worth remembering the
simple fundamentals regarding paper money as a legal tender in any economy.

Firstly, the general acceptance of paper currency in exchange is more
important than the government's decree that it is legal tender. As a
consequence, dollarisation does not often become a reality because the
central bank has declared 'hear hear, ye mere mortals, the economy shall
henceforth be dollarised'. The economy becomes dollarised because the
generally accepted paper currency is the US dollar. Common usage suggests
that the economy is near complete dollarisation. Monetary policies should
therefore ideally be strategically aligned with that inevitability.

Secondly, what will determine whether the Zimbabwe dollar will disappear
altogether and the economy fully dollarised whether officially or
unofficially is the state of the economy itself and the monetary policies
utilised to address revival. This is because the value of money, like the
economic value of anything, depends on its supply and demand no matter how
many times it is manipulated or how many zeroes are surgically removed.
Money derives its value from its scarcity relative to its utility.

On the other hand, the utility of money lies in its capacity to be exchanged
for goods and services now or in the future. An economy's demand for money
therefore depends on the total dollar volume of transactions in any period
plus the amount of money individuals and businesses want to hold for future
transactions. With a reasonably constant demand for money, the supply of
money (by the central bank) will determine the value or purchasing power of
the currency.

At a basic level, dollarisation reflects the failure of domestic monetary
policies regardless of whether that failure is justifiable or not. In my
opinion, despite the widening gap between the 'Have and the Have Not' due to
partial dollarisation or the introduction of FOLIWARS it hasn't all been bad
news, dollarisation may have been essential in attracting foreign currency
albeit only to the central bank, it has resulted in supplies returning to
supermarket shelves and commodity prices coming down as a result of
increased competition. It has also resulted in the disappearance or
reduction of those winding queues outside banks (although this is largely
because of the extinction of the currency). However, dollarisation may
create a bigger and unintended problem.

It can lead to a contraction of the financial sector making it more
vulnerable to liquidity and solvency risks.  Since the banking system itself
is largely not a US dollar depository, the foreign currency circulation is
outside the banking system which reduces the important intermediary role of
banks in the payment system, in attracting savings and in the disbursement
of loan facilities. When these core functions are removed from banks as a
result of local currency inactivity, the role of the banking system becomes
dangerously marginal and hopelessly superfluous.

The contraction of the financial sector is evident in recent reports that
the banking sector and stockbroking firms are facing serious viability
problems. Some banks are allegedly introducing rotational shifts for staff
as a result of low business. There are also growing calls from stockbrokers
to dollarize the ZSE to allow the stock market to reflect the true economic
picture of the country and the true value of listed counters.

The stock market last traded on November 17 2008 after allegations of
insider trading and fraudulent activities. Allowing the value of counters to
convert to foreign denomination and opening US dollar IPOs will attract
significant international interest and huge inflows of foreign investments.
With the entire country now dollarised it may be logical to dollarize the
financial sector by allowing banks to take US dollar denominated deposits
and regulate the stock market as a foreign currency backed bourse.

Although this move will lead to full dollarisation, there are many
advantages to this arrangement. Firstly, it will increase the circulatory
capacity of foreign currency into a formalised market and restore the
pivotal role played by the banking sector in guiding economic development.
Secondly it will lead to foreign currency denominated savings (savings are
of fundamental importance in facilitating growth).

Thirdly, the move will ensure viability of the financial sector, save jobs
and reduce the disequilibrium caused by the current bypass of the sector and
may very well avert an inevitable banking crisis.

Lastly, dollarising the financial sector will reduce the increasing risk of
counterfeit money and the possibility of the country being used as a dumping
ground for fake foreign currency.

Lance Mambondiani is an Investment Executive at Coronation Financial. The
view expressed in this articles are personal and do not necessarily reflect
the position of Coronation Financial. To join the discussion on this article
visit Lance's blog or his facebook discussion forum. He can also be reached

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Dollarisation: one blow Zanu PF cannot survive

Posted By Joram Nyathi on 16
Jan, 2009 at 12:26 am

I HAVEN'T read Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's book, Zimbabwe's Casino

Still I doubt that I would have found in it a solid explanation for
dollarisation of the Zimbabwean economy, and especially its timing. So let
me pass my ignorant verdict: it is a despicable policy decision which will
haunt Gono for the remainder of his tenure. It is the bitterest New Year
gift to Zimbabweans ever recorded. His enemies are celebrating.

It's now accepted: we live under abnormal circumstances and bizarre
decisions will be made. I have been sympathetic to Gono's situation. Many a
time, I have found myself defending his decisions without much thought. Here
is a man who is passionate to make things work in this country, yet at every
turn it looks like political leaders make it their vocation to undermine his
efforts. I see him as a victim of bad politics. I doubt that in Gono's shoes
Alan Greenspan would have fared any better.

Thus I don't agree with those who say Gono should be fired for ruining
Zimbabwe's economy. This exposes lack of appreciation of the systemic
interplay and the ineluctable dynamic of politics and economic policy. It's
like saying President Mugabe should fire his "worst cabinet ever" without
bothering about who selected it and why he has kept it for so long.

The worst of the lot say Gono should simply quit, to quicken the end. They
have been predicting this end since the February 2000 referendum.

Gono's blunder on dollarisation is the culmination of a series of economic
policy decisions in which he and the government appear to have been led down
a garden path.

First it was ESAP launched in 1991. A reluctant government and a hostile
labour movement led by Morgan Tsvangirai were forced into ESAP in the name
of free markets and foreign investment. The austerity measures called for
led to unprecedented retrenchments in the private sector as companies
slimmed down.

At "peak" performance of the economy and about the time ESAP was abandoned
in 1995/6, almost 75% of workers in industry had been retrenched. Only
agriculture still employed around 400 000 workers who earned miserly wages.
Throughout this period, the government was under attack for executing ESAP
half-heartedly, that is, subsidising service charges by parastatals and not
cutting its recurrent expenditure sharply enough by retrenching civil
servants and the uniformed forces.

The unexplained irony is how the same businesses which had retrenched the
most in the name of a more robust economy were suddenly able to gang up with
their former workers against a proposed tax to pay gratuities to war
veterans amid declining food security and alleged looting of the War Victims
Compensation Fund.

The ESAP period also witnessed the most acrimonious disputes over land
reform as it became evident that the willing seller, willing buyer model had
failed. The die was cast in 1995 when Mugabe declared that his government
would take land without paying compensation and that he would "not be taken
to court by a settler" over the land, describing farmers as "hard-hearted as

This should have been enough. But Mugabe further ostracised his government
from civilisation by declaring in 1995 that gays had no rights in Zimbabwe
and that they were "worse than pigs and dogs". The verdict was that he had
to go.

Thus grew calls about property and human rights. White commercial farmers
quickly realised that with the courts sidelined, their only redress was
political. It was a momentous decision and the consequences haunt us to this

Enter Gono and devaluation from 2004. The exchange rate was about 55 to the
US dollar and inflation at 620%. Once the convulsions his entry caused in
the financial sector subsided, he became the darling of business. Finally we
had a devaluation man Mugabe could trust.

The trouble with devaluation is once you start, it is never enough for
business and there is no ending. Gono was wheedled down the precipice with
promises of greater exports and more foreign currency inflows. So long as
business benefited, there was nothing wrong with devaluation, although in
reality it means you have to print more money to meet daily transactions,
especially under a sanctions-induced cash economy.

But once it became known that Gono also printed money to meet government
expenses, it became a crime of a quasi-fiscal nature. For his part, Gono
didn't know when to stop and soon abandoned all pretence that it was the
role of the Reserve Bank to defend our currency. And once it was in
freefall, business trashed it as worthless, and so began calls for Zimbabwe's
ultimate strangulation: dollarisation, as inflation fed on itself and raced
past 230 million percent mid last year.

I doubt that anyone believed Gono would fall so easily into this trap. You
don't dollarise to a currency with whose country you are literally at war
without a formal truce. You expose the nation's underbelly.

Full or partial dollarisation is not the issue. Dollarisation, argued the
prophets, should kill three birds with one stone: cut inflation through
price stabilisation; stamp out bank queues; and generate forex for
government. I don't know how much forex he is getting; inflation is a
worthless vacuum.

The most visible sign of success has been on banks where it has wrecked the
most grievous havoc - the steep pauperisation of the majority of the
population who don't generate foreign currency; small-scale traders and
dealers recovering from the ravages of Murambatsvina, and government
employees, from civil servants to the uniformed forces.

There are no bank queues because effectively dollarisation has demonetised
the local currency and no retailer or dealer wants it unless it is twice or
three times its face value and secondly, whatever amount one can withdraw,
it can purchase only US$1. That is because Gono doesn't know and can't
control the exchange rate. The same cabal which controls the exchange rate
is taking all our cash for a song because they are doing us a favour; buying
a currency which nobody wants. So banks can keep the sextillions.

The big question is how Gono is going to appease the millions who have been
rendered redundant and are turning to violent crime and daylight
prostitution in the Avenues? How does he expect industry to operate without
workers? Is it not logical that for an economy under sanctions the key to
salvation lies in import substitution rather than killing local industry
through massive imports of trinkets?

It is easy for Gono to make sanctimonious statements about pushing people
who were making illicit lucre from "burning" US dollars. But given
widespread allegations of how the RBZ raises forex, this is called opening a
Pandora's Box.

Moreover, in our extraordinary circumstances, it is dishonest to expect
everybody else to stick to orthodoxy. We are all impacted on by the acts of
politicians, economic sanctions, foreign currency dealers, teachers, banks,
the Reserve Bank and retailers. Amidst all the chaos, something works. But
to me dollarisation should be the last and I hope Gono can see the fire
ahead. Short of a miracle, it is a blow the Zanu PF government is unlikely
to survive.

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Unity Deal Can Only be Saved From Within -- Analysts

Thursday, 15 January 2009 19:04
SADC cannot push President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai to form a unity government "unless and until" the deep mistrust
between the two protagonists is resolved, political analysts have said.

The analysts said although the regional bloc failed to facilitate a
"real" power-sharing deal, it had done much to find a political solution to
the country's decade-long crisis and was let down by Mugabe and Tsvangirai's
fixation on gaining maximum power in the envisaged unity government.

The pact signed on September 15 last year, the analysts said, was on
the verge of collapsing and would take direct intervention by Mugabe and
Tsvangirai to salvage it.

Tsvangirai's party meets on Sunday to decide whether or not to support
Constitutional Amendment No19, which gives legal effect to the power-sharing
pact, when it is introduced in parliament on Tuesday.

The MDC had earlier indicated that it would oppose the Bill until
"outstanding issues" of the pact are resolved.

This, the analysts said, would signal the collapse of the deal and the
country's crisis will deepen and worsen the  humanitarian situation.

Among the outstanding issues the MDC-Tsvangirai cites are the
allocation of ministerial portfolios; appointment of governors, ambassadors
and permanent secretaries; and the constitutive nature of national security

Political commentator Alex Magaisa said there were no hopes of Sadc
salvaging the deal given the positions of Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

"To continue to raise hopes and insist on the deal, which is yielding
nothing, is tantamount to buying time and patience for the Mugabe regime
while the disaster is unfolding in Zimbabwe," Magaisa observed.
He said both parties were to blame.

"For its part, the MDC is not helping matters. They protest that there
are fundamental breaches of the deal, that the talks have stalled and there
are abductions and all manner of violations that suggests to all and sundry
that nothing good will comes out of this, yet incredibly insist that they
are still committed to the mediation process," Magaisa said.

"There must come a point, surely, when they have to say that this is
not working and it's not going to work and pursue other options. But I fear,
however, that they have no other strategy other than the negotiations --
that means they are stuck (and so are Zimbabweans) in a process that is
unlikely to yield anything."

Sadc chairperson and also South African president, Kgalema Motlanthe
indicated that there was nothing Sadc could do for Mugabe and Tsvangirai to
form a unity government.

"Being the chair does not mean you have the power to take or push for
decisions the parties to the conflict are not agreeable to," Motlanthe told
the South African Mail & Guardian. "Our role can only be to facilitate the
process of finding solutions."

He said if the regional bloc had its way, the constitutional amendment
should have been tabled in parliament in the first week of January, but the
MDC took a decision to convene the House on January 20.

Motlanthe lamented the absence of Tsvangirai from Zimbabwe and
insisted the MDC should join the unity government.

"Whatever outstanding issues the MDC might have can be dealt with
after an inclusive government is formed," he suggested. "Besides, without
such a government efforts to deal with the humanitarian crisis are

Eldred Masunungure, a political science professor at the University of
Zimbabwe, recently told the Zimbabwe Independent that Tsvangirai should be
party to the unity government and "participate under protest".

He said the MDC leader's concern with the security apparatus of the
country could be addressed by insisting on the creation of a professional
oversight body to oversee the security sector.

"This oversight structure will be comprised of men and women of
integrity consensually selected by all three principals and its function
will be to monitor the conduct of the police, defence forces and
intelligence sector and ensure that these agencies do their work
professionally and above partisan considerations," Masunungure suggested.

Michael Mhike, a political scientist, said Zimbabweans should not be
concerned with what Sadc should do to persuade Mugabe and Tsvangirai to form
a government of national unity, but should focus on how the impasse should
be resolved.

"Zimbabwe at this defining moment needs to turn a new leaf and it does
not appear that Zanu PF is willing to relinquish executive control of the
state," he said. "What the deal provides is a framework that leaves Zanu PF
in control of the state while giving some control to the MDC through the
council of ministers."

"The passage of time since the signing of the deal confirms that the
two dominant political forces cannot work together suggesting that the
solution may lie in holding fresh presidential elections for the people of
Zimbabwe to determine who should lead them," Mhike suggested.

"I do not think that a solution supported by Sadc with no cash will
do. Zimbabwe urgently requires external financial support and the providers
of such potential support have already spoken.

They want a new face to represent Zimbabwe and after 28 years in power
there must be some recognition that responsibility for the crisis may lie in
the very players who want more time to do the same."

He said it was wrong for anyone to suggest that MDC was holding the
country to ransom when Zanu PF was in control of the state even after the
outcome of the elections.

"The current state of affairs shows that Zanu PF does not need the
legitimisation of citizens to continue to hold onto power," Mhike argued.
"It is MDC that went to the elections to gain something from the process,
but an absurd outcome has resulted where the doors to state power will
remain closed without patronage. Zanu PF will need to change its approach to
governance that has helped create a power vacuum and MDC has no pride to
swallow when it has nothing to give. Its demands are supported by what
people voted for."

The International Crisis Group in its latest report suggested that
Zimbabwe needed an 18-months transitional government excluding Mugabe and
Tsvangirai to drive the drafting of a people-driven constitution,
institutional reforms and prepare for free and fair elections.

It said the power-sharing deal was dead.


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Legal Implications of Media Fees, Continued MIC Existence

Thursday, 15 January 2009 19:13
IN terms of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(Aippa) as amended in January 2008, Section 38 of the statutory instrument
notes the creation of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), which replaces
the Media and Information Commission (MIC).

Although  the functions of the newly created ZMC are largely similar
to those of the former MIC as set out in Section 39, there is no clause or
provision in the Act which presupposes that the MIC shall be transformed
into the ZMC.

Nor is there any intimation that the MIC may execute the duties
expressly mandated to the ZMC.  In fact the wording of the Act clearly
anticipates the formation of the ZMC and sets out the manner of appointment
of the new office bearers.

Section 39 of the Principal Act which establishes the MIC reads:
Established is a Commission, to be known as the Media and Information
Commission, which shall be a body corporate capable of suing and being sued
in its own name and, subject to this Act, of performing all acts that bodies
corporate may by law perform.

On the other hand the amendment Act under Section 38 reads:
established is a Commission to be known as the Zimbabwe Media Commission,
which shall be a body corporate capable of suing and being sued in its
corporate name and, subject to this Act, of performing all acts that bodies
corporate may by law perform.

A casual glance at the provisions outlined above raises one
interesting question about the legality of any media commission. This
question hinges precisely on the premise of the legal persona of the

This is where the Commission derives its legal recognition and power
to act as an independent artificial person. It is this legal persona that
legally empowers any body corporate to act or carry out such business as may
be reasonably incidental to the objectives enshrined in its articles of

If, therefore, a commission or any other artificial legal entity
should lose such legal persona or corporate personality it necessarily loses
its power to act. It is therefore unequivocally clear that the former MIC,
having been replaced by the ZMC, lost its legal persona and, by the same
token, its legal recognition.

What this means is that the MIC can no longer lawfully act or issue
legally binding directives as it has recently purported to do as implicitly
highlighted by its attempt (acting through the minister) to issue the new
steep application and accreditation fees that were recently gazetted by the

This act is a nullity; it is of no force and effect.   Any attempt at
according the actions of the MIC legal recognition would be a perpetuation
of the illegality since the MIC no longer exists at law. Its directives are
therefore illegal and unconstitutional.

One pertinent question that also comes to mind is the idea of when a
Bill becomes law.  At which precise moment does a Bill become an official
legal instrument? It is a trite point that a Bill, having gone through
parliament and duly passed by the same body becomes law upon being signed by
the president, or upon a two-third majority resolution by parliament should
the president refuse to so sign.

However, in the present scenario we need not bother ourselves with the
latter scenario, since the Aippa Amendment Bill was duly passed by
parliament and signed into law by the president in January 2008.

Having noted the above position and bearing in mind the fact that the
law does not operate retrospectively, it is clear that the operations of the
MIC were suspended by the passing of the amendment Act.

Its subsequent existence after the passing of the Act was just as
illegal as any other business that it may have purported to conduct under
the guise of the Commission, unless such business was reasonably incidental
to its winding up.

Only the ZMC could legally execute the business of the Commission
thereafter. The fact that to date the ZMC has not been constituted does not
then sanitise the illegal operation of the former Commission. Not even
convenience or necessity can exonerate or legally justify the continued
operation of this body.

It should be the duty of the government to ensure that an enabling
environment that can conduce to the realisation or creation of this new
legal body is created.

Section 38 clearly states: The Commission (ZMC) shall have a
chairperson and eight other members appointed by the president from a list
of not fewer than 12 nominees submitted by the Committee on Standing Rules
and Orders.

The fact that the ZMC is yet to be formed or created is a fault that
inevitably lies with the Parliament, considering the fact that it did not
endeavour to take necessary steps to ensure that the statutory body came to

However the executive, being the arm of government responsible for the
implementation of the law, should be apportioned with the greater part of
the blame. As noted above, a Bill becomes law upon being assented to by the

Why the executive then chose to sit on the law before its
implementation boggles the mind. There can be no capable justification for
the fact that ZMC is still not constituted.

The "dirty hands" principle is a fairly common maxim which stipulates
that a party cannot approach the court for redress with soiled hands. This
means that one has to comply with the law first before seeking legal redress
from the court. This classic maxim was applied in the case of The Daily News
by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.

In this case the Chief Justice denied the applicant the right of
audience before the court on the basis that it had not fully complied with
the law by choosing not to register as a media house, notwithstanding the
fact that the applicant was challenging the constitutionality of that same
requirement that it was now being compelled to fulfil before it could
properly come before the court.

In the same vein, the continued existence of the MIC is illegal
rendering any of its proclamations or directives null and void.

One wonders how its directives can be legally enforceable when it has
long outlived its sell-by date. Unless its legal persona is reassumed, it
therefore cannot wish to demand legal compliance from any sector of the
media industry before it justifies or shows its existence to be legal.

What is however shocking is the fact that the Minister of Information
and Publicity, purporting to execute his duty under the guise of Section 91
of Aippa recently enacted new regulations under statutory instrument 185 of

The Amendment which is cited as Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy (Registration, Accreditation, and Levy) (Amendment) Regulations,
2008 (No.5) fixes the new accreditation and registration fees for
journalists working for foreign media.

The new fees proposed are absurdly high. They range from about US$4
000 to about US$30 000 in application and accreditation fees of journalists
working for the foreign media and international media wishing to operate in
Zimbabwe respectively.

Besides being illegal, these fees are unjustifiably high. Even if the
fees were set within reasonable limits, the question is: to whom should the
fees be paid given the fact that MIC is now legally defunct and the ZMC is
yet to be constituted.

The new statutory instrument was gazetted on 19 December 2008, yet
purports to operate retrospectively, as it clearly states that new
regulations shall become operational with effect from August 1 2008.

Clearly there is nothing to merit or warrant retrospective operation
of the law from a purely rational standpoint. This development appears to be
nothing short of being senseless and illogical.

There is yet another legal twist to this debacle pertaining to the
issuance of regulations by the minister in terms of statutory instrument 185
of 2008. The minister no longer has these powers.

This power now vests within the domain of the ZMC which has not yet
come into existence.  The role of the minister under the new amendment is
reduced to a merely consultative one in which the commission (which is
absent in the present case) only requires the approval of the minister to
make any regulations or proclamations.

The minister cannot however make these regulations.  It is clear
beyond any reasonable doubt that the directive by the minister seeking to
review the registration and accreditation fees is legally defective. The
minister made regulations which he is not legally competent to make. On this
ground the regulations are null and void.

Beyond this obvious unlawfulness of the entire process there are also
the illogically steep fees that have been gazetted in the legally invalid
regulations. The fees are prohibitive and punitively high.

They can arguably be regarded as being in violation of the fundamental
right to freedom of expression. It is clearly a hindrance to the free
dissemination of information on the part of those journalists working with
foreign media agencies.

The right to free expression on its own without the necessary
conditions for exercising the same right becomes very dim. Arguably a right
is meaningless if it is impossible for the right-holder to exercise it. The
restrictive fees imposed by the regulations are so prohibitive that they may
in all probability reduce the right to an unusable conceptual form.

Farai Nhende is a legal intern with Misa-Zimbabwe.


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Eric Bloch: Facing Dollarisation Facts

Thursday, 15 January 2009 18:38
NO matter how greatly government may wish to do so, it is now
impossible to deny that the Zimbabwean economy is very substantially

Irrespective of whether it be in the formal or informal sectors, or
even significantly so within the public sector, Zimbabwean currency has
become virtually meaningless, without any substantive value, and
unacceptable to most.

Almost all in industry, most traders, the majority of service
providers, many parastatals and numerous local authorities now demand that
payments to them be made in sound international currencies, and not in the
near defunct Zimbabwean currency.

Even those that do not demand such payment vigorously encourage it.
(Thus, for example, it is still possible to pay for flights between Bulawayo
and Harare on Air Zimbabwe with the national currency, but the airline
prefers meaningful currency payments and, therefore, pitches the domestic
currency fare at punitive levels intended to motivate passengers to pay in
US dollars - at time of writing, a Bulawayo/Harare return flight was priced
at US$215 (including taxes), or Z$19,2 quintillion!).

Should anything be read into the fact that even the book written by
the governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr Gideon Gono, was priced in US dollars?

The harsh fact is that with annual inflation being hundreds of
billions per cent, if not now exceeding a trillion per cent, no one wants to
have Zimbabwean cash for it devalues before one can spend it.

Moreover, even though there has recently been some significant
enhancements in Reserve Bank limits on cash withdrawals from banks, the
amounts of cash available to most are grossly insufficient to fund basic
essential expenditures and purchases. Therefore, the prevailing currencies
operating within Zimbabwe's tragically decimated economy are, in the main,
US dollars, the South African rand, Botswana pula, and British pounds.

Government is vigorously opposed to "dollarisation", both because it
perceives it as a surrender of Zimbabwe's sovereignty, albeit that that is
not so, and because so many within, or associated with those within
government are widely reputed to be very profitably engaged, directly or
indirectly, in trafficking in foreign currencies.

However, that opposition has not deterred government legislating that
many custom duties and other import charges be payable to the Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority (Zimra) in foreign currency, government hospitals and
schools accepting foreign currency payments, Zesa seeking foreign currency
payments from the mining sector and other exporters, and numerous other arms
of government similarly demanding or, at the least, seeking payments in
foreign currencies.

But because it is unacceptable to government that any other than the
Reserve Bank and government itself should resort to foreign currency charges
for goods or services, wide-ranging "raids" are repeatedly launched upon the
business sector (exclusive of the foreign currency licenced enterprises,
being Foliwars, Felicos and Felopads).

Reportedly, last week more than 100 businessmen and informal sector
vendors were arrested, and any foreign currency in their possession
impounded, generally without issue of receipts!

It is long overdue for government to recognize realities, and to
respond constructively to them, and one such reality is that Zimbabwean
circumstance is such that survival of the economy, as weakened as it is,
necessitates legalised dollarisation  (as well as very many other long
overdue actions), and that dollarisation would be one constructive measure
towards containment of hyperinflation. Government needs to overcome its
bigoted resistance to that which is now an economic essential.

It is time for it to "bite the bullet", in the best interests of the
populace it is intended to serve.
The renowned Professor Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University, highly
respected for his in-depth understanding of various features of the
Zimbabwean economy, suggests three exchange rate options for Zimbabwe in his
work "Zimbabwe: Hyperinflation to Growth", being:

 "1. Dollarisation (or Randisation). Zimbabwe already has a high, but
unknown, degree of unofficial dollarisation. With the introduction of
foreign currency shops, the public has been allowed to purchase goods from
retailers in foreign currency. In addition to over 500 registered shops
operating in foreign currency, the wider informal sector has long been
transacting in foreign currency, making dollarisation (officially or
unofficially) a de facto reality in Zimbabwe.

(Official or full dollarisation is where a foreign currency - possibly
the rand, or US dollar - has exclusive, predominant status as full legal
tender so that the domestic currency is phased out and replaced by the US
dollar or South African rand. Countries that adopt this model can no longer
have an independent monetary policy and set their own interest rates but
must 'import' the monetary policy of the country whose currency is chosen).

2. Free Banking, which existed in Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia)
until 1940 when a currency board was established. This leaves private
commercial banks to issue notes and other liabilities with 'minimal
regulation'. The banking system is unregulated; there are no reserve ratios,
no legal restrictions on bank portfolios and no lender of last resort.

3. A Currency Board must hold foreign reserves equal to 100% of the
domestic money supply determined at a fixed exchange rate. As a result,
money supply, and thereby interest rates, are determined by market forces."

In Zimbabwe's distressed circumstances, what government and the
Reserve Bank should now put in place is an appropriate blend of the actual
current market practices, and elements of the options identified by
Professor Hanke.

Effectively, Zimbabwe's exchange controls should be modified by the
elimination of all controls, save and except that, transitionally until such
time as Zimbabwe enjoys a favourable balance of payments, there be some
constraints upon the externalisation of assets from Zimbabwe, and there be
reasonable and equitable regulations and controls over foreign investment in

In particular, the economy should be free to operate in whatsoever
currencies individuals and enterprises deem fit, and exchange rates to
Zimbabwean currency should be determined by market forces, rather than by
regulation or by banks' determination.

Allowing usage of a spread of foreign currencies, instead of tying
Zimbabwe to a specified one, avoids Zimbabwe having to seek the consent of
the relevant issuing country, and minimizes the impacts of other countries'
monetary policies upon Zimbabwe.

It also recognizes the current diverse sources of foreign currency for
the Zimbabwean population, the greatest thereof being the millions of
Zimbabweans now located in South Africa, other regional countries, United
Kingdom, Australia and elsewhere.

A prerequisite of monetary deregulation is that the populace should be
masters of their own foreign currency. Therefore, foreign currency accounts
(FCAs) should not be mandatorily situated at the Reserve Bank, but should be
operable through the private sector financial institutions as selected by
commerce and industry, other economic sectors and the public at large,
albeit subject to Reserve Bank controls to prevent unauthorised
externalisation of funds. Moreover, government should source its foreign
exchange requirements competitively within the open market.

None of these measures preclude Zimbabwe also having its own currency
(which, once inflation is contained, can again have value), and at the right
time in the future the present near valueless currency can be replaced. If
replacement is to be effected immediately, ahead of economic recovery,
containment of inflation and currency deregulation, then the Zimbabwean
dollar should be replaced by the Zimbabwean Azeko!


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Muckraker: State Media Takes Spin to Dizzying Heights

Thursday, 15 January 2009 18:27
Distortion in the state media is reaching epic proportions. South
African president Kgalema Motlanthe was quoted in the Herald last Saturday
as "slamming" the MDC-T for having a "lackadaisical" attitude towards
forming an inclusive government.

In fact Motlanthe said "the parties there (in Zimbabwe) have sometimes
had a lackadaisical attitude to these matters", referring to forming an
inclusive government and solving the humanitarian crisis.

In other words, the Herald inserted the MDC-T into their story as the
sole target of Motlanthe's remarks.
And where did the Herald get its story? It looks suspiciously like
Ebrahim Harvey's interview in the Mail & Guardian. If so, they omitted the
bit where Motlanthe referred to "fair conditions for a presidential run-off"
not existing in June which led the Sadc heads to act on the Zimbabwe crisis.

And for the record, Sadc has not "rejected" a request for a meeting
between Motlanthe, President Mugabe, and Morgan Tsvangirai. Sadc executive
secretary Tomaz Salomao simply said Sadc had no plans to convene such a
meeting at present.

Not quite the same thing, is it?

Meanwhile, it was useful to have Motlanthe disclose in the M&G
interview that he called Mugabe and asked for a passport to be placed in a
diplomatic bag and sent to Tsvangirai, which was done. Amazing isn't it that
South Africa had to intervene to ensure Tsvangirai got what he was entitled

There has been a whole raft of speculative comments in the government
press about what Motlanthe said, Salomao said and Frazer said. Some of it is
even put in quotation marks when the reporter is obviously quoting himself!

None of these three would make the sort of crass statements they are
quoted as making. And why does the Herald believe it is promoting
constructive dialogue by insulting Tsvangirai on a daily basis and printing
the state's childish claims about leadership divisions in the party?

Why hasn't any government commentator said when and where Frazer made
the remarks she was reported by them to have made regarding Tsvangirai being
"too weak to stand up to Mugabe"? Strange isn't it that nobody can source
those remarks?

Hasn't Zanu PF woken up yet to the fact that Zimbabweans do not hate
Britain and the US? The target of public outrage is located closer to home!

How many Zimbabweans do you hear going around saying "it's all the
fault of Britain and the US"? Only a handful of fools in the government
press say that.

And Zanu PF's concoction that it is the Americans holding Tsvangirai
back from joining a unity government is equally daft. It is the majority of
MDC-T members who don't want him to be associated with a party that abducts
and tortures its members.

Mugabe's gang think that their tactics will force Tsvangirai into
their discredited project. But it is having the opposite effect. How can a
party committed to democratic reform and the rule of law submit to one that
kidnaps and tortures them as a means of coercion?

And why is Zimpapers thanking Sikanyiso Ndlovu for his sterling
service to the media as Minister of Information? What did the public say
when they voted in Mpopoma on June 27 when a by-election was held in that
constituency alongside the presidential run-off?

He tried to get the MDC to "see sense" during his tenure as minister,
Ndlovu told the Sunday Mail. But it seems they weren't listening. Nor was
anybody else.

It was one of three by-elections to be held post-March and it repeated
what voters said so decisively on March 29. Muckraker forecast a humiliating
defeat for Ndlovu at the polls after the minister made boasts at the Quill

Never mind, the Sunday Mail gave his Zdeco distance education project
several paragraphs of free advertising. A consolation prize.

Muckraker was interested to see Justice Edwin Cameron's remarks on the
role of judges following his elevation to South Africa's constitutional

He was asked by the Sunday Times whether he agreed with Justice Carole
Lewis who criticised the quality of judges suggesting that "the problem
arose when political connections and race took precedence over merit in
appointments to the bench".

"I think that she rightly signalled a widely-held concern," Cameron
replied. "Being a judge is a tough job technically, a tough job emotionally,
a tough job intellectually, and we need tough men and women who can do it."

What he meant was crystal clear. The bench needs justices who can
exercise an independent mind, who can stand up to political pressure and who
are not seen as creatures of ministers.

No South African judge, for instance, seeking the respect of his peers
in the legal profession, would take ownership of a confiscated farm knowing
full well that the lease on that farm could be withdrawn by the Minister of
Lands at any given time.

Cameron follows events in Zimbabwe closely. His appointment is a
welcome addition to South Africa's constitutional order and we wish him

Has our old friend Gideon Gono got a licence to trade in US dollars?
Obviously he has because his recent autobiographical work is sold
exclusively in the US unit. Perhaps he awarded himself a licence! Meanwhile,
his green bombers are visiting newspapers to inspect their forex receipts.

This is what is called selective application of the law. Unless of
course he is prepared to show us his. It would be useful to know how the
book is selling. Public libraries will be classifying it under "Fiction", we
are told.

Muckraker has not watched ZTV for years. It is very simply

But over the holiday in a moment of madness, Muckraker tuned in to
Channel 138 on DStv and started to watch an episode of Prison Break, which
looked very much as if it had been lifted from another network.

Then, halfway through, the soundtrack gave way to what sounded a bit
like Soul Train.

Obviously, something had gone seriously wrong at Pocket's Hill. So we
watched another channel and then returned to ZTV 20 minutes later. But the
soul music was still blaring out while the Prison Break episode continued
minus its original soundtrack.

We don't know for how long this went on. But nobody at ZTV seemed to
notice. We would hazard a guess that somebody had gone to sleep and leaned
on the audio control. Can ZTV shed any light on this strange occurrence?

Manheru in his piece last Saturday gave us a useful exhibition of how
to invent a story and then write an editorial to support it. The targets of
his venom were Eddie Cross, Roy Bennett and Ian Kay.
This coterie of "Rhodesians" are accused of suborning Tsvangirai so
certain strategic ministries are reserved for themselves.

In that way they will return the country to the past, we are rather
improbably told.

Throughout his piece Manheru repeatedly used the word "ignorant". The
three accused are for instance called "a haughty, ignorant triumvirate" even
though the charges against them are entirely imagined by the meisterspinner

Cross's metaphor, in an article he wrote, about passengers saying they
would not climb aboard the unity bus so long as Mugabe is at the wheel,
appears to have given particular offence to the haughty Manheru.
"It is a vivid imagery, a more advanced metaphor than Welensky's
rustic horse and rider one, so fashionable in federal days," he declared.

There's only one thing wrong here. The horse and rider metaphor was
the product of Godfrey Huggins, not Roy Welensky.

"Oh ignorance the leveller," Manheru comments later on.

We have commented here before on the Met Office report in the Herald
being a work of fiction. On Tuesday they had the minimum for Harare as two
degrees. A bit on the chilly side, you may think.
But pity the poor inhabitants of Bulawayo. Their minimum was minus
three. In January!

Also in Tuesday's Herald, under the 50 Years Ago heading, was an
interesting report on Ruwa Scout Park where parents were helping their
children prepare for the Central African Jamboree.

"A large arena had been prepared and planted with grass," we were
told, "and the camp had been installed with electricity and telephones, all
without outside assistance."

Imagine that. In 1959 the Ruwa Scout Camp had electricity and
telephones installed by volunteers. And a Scout Jamboree was held without
anybody being arrested and imprisoned on dubious charges. How far we have

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Editor's Memo: Dollarisation Not a Solution in Itself

Thursday, 15 January 2009 18:50
DOLLARISATION is a phenomenon that touches on raw political nerves
because sovereignty is involved.

In Zimbabwe, where our rulers have displayed unbridled hostility to
the US, one would have thought convincing them to accept American money
would be an arduous task.

But official pronouncements lately show that the Zanu PF government is
warming up to the idea of abandoning the local currency in preference to the

It is worrying that in its quest to save face and defend its
nationalist mantras, the government is getting it wrong again, and with
damaging ramifications for the economy.

The government has proposed paying health profession staff in foreign
currency. It has already given state-run medical institutions the go-ahead
to charge fees in foreign currency.

On the other hand, the same government has launched a blitz against
businesses which are charging for goods and services in foreign currency
without the requisite licences from the central bank.

This is the form of structural dislocation of our policy-makers which
has ensured that every monetary policy decision becomes a disaster in the

Firstly the awarding of forex trading licences to select businesses
last year was the virtual go-ahead to business, including the informal
sector, to charge for goods and services in foreign currency. The issuance
of licences has virtually become an academic process because the thrust to
dollarisation was given impetus by government itself.

We have seen the same mistakes in the last four years when the Reserve
Bank tried to come up with favourable exchange rates for a select portion of
business while everyone else was expected to trade at the suppressed rates.
Immediately after a partial devaluation to suit a particular sector, the
whole market responded to trade in the higher paradigm.

The decision to allow government hospitals to charge for services in
foreign currency and to pay health staff in US dollars is another such
trendsetting decision that has serious ramifications for the whole country
largely because government is the largest employer.

All civil servants and parastatals employees will now want to be paid
in foreign currency. Other government departments will now want to charge
for their services in foreign currency.

This week cabinet was expected to deliberate of the possibility of
government charging school fees in foreign currency.

This decision was deferred but it is one government has to make soon
and will determine whether we have fully dollarised or not. Putting the
issue of affordability aside, it is important for policy-makers here to
understand that dollarisation under the current circumstances will not
practically deal with the crippling problem of inflation.

We must disabuse ourselves of the silver-bullet notion in dealing with
our crisis. Were we not led down the garden path by economists into
believing that floating the currency was the wherewithal to our economic

 In fact there is evidence from  Latin American countries that
dollarised economies tend to display higher inflation rates, higher
propensity to suffer banking crises and slower and more volatile growth,
without significant gains in terms of domestic financial depth.

All these woes are with us at the moment and they are not going to be
solved by dollarisation.
Our columnist Eric Bloch last year said "dollarisation can only
achieve financial-system and economic metamorphosis if the underlying
principal cause of the distraught state of that system and the economy is a
pronouncedly defective central banking system, in need of replacement by
alternative monetary infrastructures".

 There has not been official data for months to show the extent of
inflation, and such data is undoubtedly intentionally suppressed by
government. It is evident to everyone that inflation has surged upwards to
in excess of one billion % year-on-year to December, 2008, and is continuing
to rise at a horrendous pace.

This gargantuan inflation is solely attributable to the defective
monetary regime and failed economic policies, and can therefore not be
halted by dollarisation, in isolation. We need to deal with other very major
stimulants of Zimbabwe's world-highest inflation, chief among them depressed

The considerably decreased foreign exchange generation in agriculture,
the great reduction in export operations of the manufacturing sector, the
lowering outputs of much of the mining sector, and the substantial fall in
tourism have all contributed to the intense erosion of foreign exchange

As a result, much of commerce and industry, and other economic
players, have become increasingly dependent upon alternative market funding
of imports, at exchange rates encompassing marked premiums over official
rates, and this has further fuelled inflation. All these causes of Zimbabwe's
hyperinflation would not be substantively addressed by a dollarisation of
the economy.

Despite the merits of dollarisation, those merits cannot be
forthcoming unless, prior to or concurrently with dollaristion, appropriate
actions would be taken to eliminate the drivers, of inflation. All these
problems have their roots in governance. A ruling order and central bank
that fail to defend the currency of a country should fall together with that


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A Good People Turned Crooks

Thursday, 15 January 2009 18:35
CIRCUMSTANCE has transformed the whole nation of Zimbabwe into
dealers, conmen and crooks, whose numbness and shark-like instincts have
long undone any elementary appreciation for the requisite basics and
dictates necessary for growing or sustaining a country.

Crazed blind bulls in a china shop   sums up the scenario. It is
however not by design and definitely not by choice.

The object of this letter is not to offend fellow Zimbabweans, far
from it. It is instead to give a brief insight into an invaluable aspect of
the unexplored immediate aftermath of the formation of an "all-inclusive"

The greatest drawback to the anticipated redemption of the Zimbabwean
economy is the Zimbabwean people themselves!

So irretrievably entrenched in the  convolution of  rogue informal
trading, dealing, taking advantage and siphoning -- it will take at least a
generation for the country to come up with citizens sober and fit for
meaningful contribution to real extrication of this dead economy from its

Citizens who will realise one and one will always make two no matter
who you are or who you know!
A mere change of government will surely be exposed as meaningless and
valueless in bringing about any relief in the coming Zimbabwe.

Far more damage has been done to people's livelihoods and routines for
this simple and over celebrated prescription to bring about a cure or a
turnaround of fortunes.

For instance, who in their right mind would opt for a formal job for a
fraction of what they used to make from a two hour deal at a street corner?
Would you?

Change will take much, much more. It will take a new people with new
ideologies, a total reprogramming of minds and a completely new leadership.

A leadership not moulded in the press of persecution and struggle
against a dictatorship and coming out dictators themselves.

Leaders without scars that constantly remind them of how grateful the
rest of us have to be to them for ''liberating'' us. Champions of human
rights with magnanimity to appreciate all people's equality in their need to
be accorded access to opportunity and personal advancement.

It will take a lot more than the euphoric song and dance that
characterised the end of the war in the bush as opportunistic thugs went on
an orgy plundering our resources while our guardians let go of the economic
reins the ousted white colonialists had meticulously set up.

This has thrown the country into an irretrievable tailspin that has
led us to where we find ourselves today. A place where even the greenback
tumbles in value.

Perhaps we should stop fighting this reality with our ridiculously
inflated national ego.

We should perhaps accept the current state of affairs as our real
identity and stop masquerading as the educated and gifted people capable of
turning the country around, which in itself is very doubtful.

We should probably erase the sweet memories of the past Zimbabwe and
acknowledge it was nothing but a fading and passing shadow of the great
Rhodesia whose complex maintenance was and still remains unfortunately
beyond our scope.

Concerned Doctor,

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State media Rhetoric Should be Consistent With Current Events

Thursday, 15 January 2009 18:33
I FIND it hard to believe that Zanu PF really wants to work with the
MDC-Tsvangirai in the GNU. The venom and vitriol spewed by state officials
and Zanu PF apparatchiks like George Charamba seems to swell by the day.

Day in day out the state media is awash with stories of factions
baying for Morgan Tsvangirai's blood and propaganda that he is a terrorist
as he is training rebels in Botswana. In the same issue you find news items
that they have invited Tsvangirai to the GNU.

How can anyone in their sane mind invite a terrorist into a
government? I believe Morgan Tsvangirai is on record stating that he will
not join the GNU if certain conditions are not met so I wonder why Zanu PF
expends its energies trying to lure him.

If he is not his own man as they always tell us why do they want him
on board? What if his so-called Western masters continue to control him in
the new government? Who will carry the blame for having brought a "traitor"?
Why not just take on Mutambara who has shown his willingness to join in a
no-question asked condition? After all he has degrees and will bring them an
extra 50 voters!

If Tsvangirai decides to join the new government what will those in
the state media houses and government press offices say when he becomes
their senior? Isn't it time to tone down on vitriol lest they are overtaken
by events?

The other thing I find stupid from the state media and Zanu PF
officials is the insinuation recently that there is a faction of whites --
namely Eddie Cross -- who are planning to oust Tsvangirai and consequently
lead the MDC.

If the USA can be ruled by a black person why can't the same happen
here? We in the MDC don't choose leaders on racial, ethnic, religious or
tribal grounds. Ours is a party which welcomes all who love peace and

Look at how the likes of Roy Bennett, Ian Kay and David Coltart have
trounced Zanu PF over the years. We never heard MDC-Tsvangirai or MDC-M
candidates who lost to these guys in the primary elections decampaigning
them on racial grounds. After all it is the electorate's will that should be
respected and which  spoke -- as they did on March 29 2008.


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Zimbabwe Independent SMS

Thursday, 15 January 2009 18:56
EDITOR: why do you not have a more comprehensive classified ads page
as most other newspapers do? Correct this issue.
Reader, Rusape.

OVER 1 000 people killed in 17 days in Gaza and over 2 000 people have
died in Zimbabwe from cholera. Whether people are being killed by
phosphorous bombs or a medieval bacteria human life is being played around
with by these politicians. The world must stop these evil tyrants.

WHERE was Britain and America when Gukurahundi was battering people in
Matabeleland and Midlands? Can we trust them to be our saviours now? I am
definitely not impressed by their antics.
E Ndlovu, Bulawayo.

THE Ministry of Education must accept reality and take responsibility
for neglecting the welfare of teachers and for not reforming the inefficient
Zimsec. The warning signs were flashing as early as 2003.
Irate Parent.

WITH the legalising of the use of the South African rand and United
States dollar in Zimbabwe it certainly means that this colony will never be
a country again. We have now become the northern province of South Africa.
Give us a break!
Analyst, Masvingo.

EVERYTHING is now pegged in foreign currency except the worker's
salary. Gideon Gono should stop pretending as if he has a plan to extricate
us from this disaster. He should just swallow his pride and quit. Failure is
not an option but a reality.

SCHOOLS and hospitals remain closed, inflation is at a record high,
monetary transactions are now almost exclusively in foreign currency and a
third of the populace has now emigrated to foreign lands. In the midst of
all this someone has the temerity to state that "Zimbabwe will never
J, Marondera.

WHILST one would appreciate that there needs to be sanity in the
charging of school fees, the government has shown once again its
shortsightedness by not coming up with a school fees structure plan in good
time. They now want to deliberate upon it when we are already in January and
when schools should have been opened.

ROBERT Mugabe must just go now.
Taneta, Harare.

MORGAN Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe are all the same. They all pursue
personal power and not to serve the people.  Removing Mugabe would only be
changing a prison officer but we would still be in jail.
Sebele woMzansi, Bulawayo.

IS it not proper to agree to the rules that govern a soccer game
before playing instead of creating rules when the game is in full swing? So
Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe should clear all outstanding issues
before kick off. To demand for a penalty when it had not been included in
the rules would be a naïve expectation from an untrustworthy rival. The
referee would then be the Constitution.
Zwai, Masvingo.

I WOULD greatly appreciate it if Morgan Tsvangirai would come out
clearly as to where he stands on the envisaged power sharing government.
Instead of hearing from the horse's mouth we are bombarded by nonsensical
analyses from so-called political commentators from both the state and
private media who are completely clueless about what is going on but want to
pretend otherwise. We would rather hear from Tsvangirai for whom we voted
for and come to our own conclusions and not have an interpretation shoved
down our throats.

NEXT elections we should not vote for either MDC-T or Zanu PF. They
are both responsible for our suffering and are all dictators. Let us be
KaGatsheni, Bulawayo.

THE diatribe we are subjected to on national radio and television is
totally sickening to say the least. Sinister characters purporting to be
political analysts make comments on the political situation that are totally
uncomplimentary and sow seeds of division in our nation. They vituperate the
opposition in a manner that even fools cannot comprehend. They are dishing
out ideological cholera and Zimbabweans should wash their ears and ignore
them, as better days are ahead.

JORAM Nyathi should not be given any space in your paper to write Zanu
PF propaganda. It would be better if that space were allocated to Sudoku.
Y M, Bulawayo.

WE always talk of freedom of speech and democracy but want to gag
Arthur Mutambara and Joram Nyathi for telling it as it is. Hypocricy isn't
Ndlovenkulu, Bulawayo.

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