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'MDC leader to be arrested'

Moses Mudzwiti
Published:Jan 19, 2009

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's government has put in place an elaborate plan to
arrest main opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai if he refuses to join
the envisaged inclusive government, security officials have claimed.

They say that Tsvangirai, who returned to Zimbabwe for the first time in two
months on Saturday, could be charged with treason if he continues to hold
out for a more equitable deal.

Today, the MDC leader will meet Mugabe in a last-ditch effort to save the
floundering power-sharing deal, signed between the ruling Zanu-PF and the
MDC in September last year. The main stumbling blocks are the allocation of
key ministries and continued detention by the Mugabe regime of opposition

President Kgalema Motlanthe and his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, the Southern
African Development Community mediator, are expected to attend the meeting,
along with Mozambique's president, Armando Guebuza.

"If Tsvangirai continues to play hardball he will be linked to ongoing
trials of people accused of plotting to overthrow Mugabe," a security source

The source, who is close to the investigation into allegations that arrested
Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko recruited insurgents, said
the plan was at an advanced stage. Mukoko is accused of recruiting people
for military training in Botswana with a view to pursuing an armed
insurgency to remove Mugabe, 84, from power.

The source said that Mukoko's arrest could have resulted from the fact that
she has interviewed hundreds of opposition members who were brutalised by
Mugabe's party before elections last year, and has compiled accounts of
their horror.

"There are serious concerns that these documents could end up at the
[international criminal court at] The Hague. This could strengthen calls for
the leadership of this country to be brought before the international
criminal court " said the source.

Mukoko has denied under oath suggestions that she was a member of the MDC.
The allegations are yet to be tested in court.

In addition, last week's arrest of three white farmers, John Naested, Bryan
Baxter and Angus Thompson, on suspicion that they were training MDC youths
in the use of firearms, raised fears that the final stages of the claim plot
against the opposition were being put into place.

Tsvangirai is expected to press for the release of all his party members.

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Mugabe the bully thinks he can get away with anything

19 January 2009

By Langton Mbeva

Robert Mugabe who lost the 'disharmonized' elections to Morgan Tsvangirai in
March last year, on Sunday threatened to form his own government if the MDC
refused to join him on his merry go round to nowhere. 'Its either they
accept or its a break' he told the sycophants at the state owned Sunday

My my my, what tough talk from someone who lost the elections. This is the
problem when you have bullies that have been allowed to do as they please
for donkey years and somehow (with good cause) think they can get away with
anything. Mugabe and his cronies know a Zanu PF government alone will simply
walk the road to Somalia.

You know I would really love it if Tsvangirai told the entire cabal of Zanu
PF hoodlums, shove the unity government up your behinds. Who needs this
unity government more, Zanu PF or the MDC? The answer is very clear. The MDC
'Osama Bin' laden with social and welfare ministries by Mugabe and Zanu PF
who grabbed the security ones, will be used to clean up Zanu PF's economic
mess by attracting foreign investment and aid.

If this equation is not written on the Zimbabwean wall for the MDC to read
then my we have another problem to resolve. I hear they might be several
upstart MP's and officials in the MDC party catching the Mutambara-lasis
disease of being power hungry. Which brings me to the robotics Professor. Is
it me or is it me? I just think Mutambara is the biggest waste of political
space in Zimbabwe.

The brother could not even win a village election in the Zengeza
Constituency but thanks to the combined lack of wisdom of former South
African President Thabo 'Good Riddance' Mbeki and Professor Welshman 'part
time farmer' Ncube he is destined, under the September deal, to be Deputy
Prime Minister. You can understand Mutambara's eagerness to be part of the
whole gravy train. He will never get it so easy in his life.

So whats up with anti-West bashing Professor Mutambara? Could you enlighten
us on why you seem to be trying your best to emulate Mugabe? Surely by now
your close friends should have told you to cut the student leader type
speeches and aggression. It does not work if you are trying to win people's
votes. Look at your side-kick, Job 'Wiwa' Sikhala. You share similar
arrogance and emptiness and this is why the votes never come.

I now turn my attention to another Professor and that's Independent
Tsholotsho MP Jonathan Moyo. His latest instalment in the media 'Stop
creating false controversies in the media' which was given oxygen by his
perenial admirers at New can only be described as a grovelling
application to be the next Information Minister in Mugabe's next government.

Apart from showing he lives in his own planet, Moyo fails to realise how the
new Attorney General Johannes Tomana has not only publicly sworn his
allegiance to Zanu PF but in the handling of this job and his previous one
has always been compromised. He is a blue-eyed boy who is not ashamed to
nail his colours on the Zanu PF mast. And coincidently he is just like
Professor Moyo whose only loyalty has always been Zanu PF and his
over-inflated ego.

I end with the observation that three Professors in Zimbabwe have done a lot
to damage the progresion of the country to greater freedom. What have
Professor's Welshman Ncube, Arthur Mutambara and Jonathan Moyo done to make
our country better? I will answer this question in my column next week. The
title provisionally will be 'The three not so wise men of Zimbabwean
politics' ah it should be a belter.

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The Great Chicken Robbery!

How our enterprising troops are eating, courtesy of Gideon Gono

It was early afternoon at New Donnington Farm, in Norton, Zimbabwe, last
Thursday. Farm manager Philip Musvuuri was going about his duties when a
large white Chinese-made truck pulled up in a cloud of dust. He was not
particularly alarmed. New Donnington Farm is one of several owned by the
erratic Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono. So unusual
events are almost routine.

As the truck came to a halt six armed Zimbabwe Army troops piled out. They
told Philip they wanted his chickens. All 175 of them. And they emphasised
their need for the chickens by waving loaded rifles under his nose.

The troops explained that they were hungry. And despite government promises,
despite loudly-proclaimed pay rises (of which no sign yet), and despite
rations of elephant meat, they were getting hungrier by the minute.

So, they argued, it was only fair that they take Governor Gono's chckens,
because it was Governor Gono who's financial mismanagement had led to the
military starving in their barracks.

And over and above all that, they fancied chicken for supper.

Soon Gono's entire flourishing flock were secured in the truck. The soldiers
declined to pay the bill, estimated at US$787.50. Instead they climbed back
on board. And the truck disappeared in another cloud of dust, this time
augmented by feathers.

Subsequently Philip related the incident to the Norton police, who in turn
informed Chinhoyi police, and a vigorous search has been mounted. But hopes
of actually retrieving any of Gono's chickens are rapidly diminishing.
Soldiers' appetites being what they are.

As Zimbabwe descends into further chaos and confusion, many commentators,
including your own Moses Moyo, are confidently predicting that for our
leaders, the chickens are coming home to roost. Not so in the case of Gideon
Gono. His chickens are never coming home.

Posted on Sunday, 18 January 2009 at 22:22

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Jocelyn, Joice and Grace a disgrace to Zimbabwe

18 January 2009

By Doreen Mutemeri

News from Hong Kong that the First Lady or First Shopper (as some already
call her) Grace Mugabe assaulted a British Photographer came as no surprise
given the culture of violence within Zanu PF and the growing list of female
bullies emerging from the system like Jocelyn Chiwenga, Joice Mujuru and

According to photographer Richard Jones he was about 6 metres away from
Grace when she instructed her bodyguard to assault him. The bodyguard is
said to have grabbed Mr Jones, wrestled with him, attempted to take his
camera then held him while Mrs Mugabe struck him in the face repeatedly.

Lest we also forget Robert Mugabe's own antics in Egypt at the African Union
summit when he tried to beat up UK Channel 4 journalists asking him
difficult questions about his rigging of the elections in Zimbabwe. George
Charamba his spokesman actually served as cheerleader during the outburst.

Those with a decent memory will also remember the violent antics of Jocelyn
Chiwenga, the deranged wife of army commander General Constantine Chiwenga.
Knowing very well she had the full might of state security behind her
Jocelyn threw obscenities at MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai at Makro
Wholesalers in Harare in 2007.

Mrs Chiwenga then assaulted freelance photojournalist Tsvangirai Mukwazhi
who was accompanying Tsvangirai on the tour of empty supermarkets in the
capital. When journalists asked her about the incident she bluntly retorted,
'you can write what you want. Yes I slapped him, so what. He is being used
to take and create negative images of Zimbabwe. Go ahead and write what you
want and leave me alone,' she said.

Adding to her impressive CV, in April 2002 is the incident where she showed
up at a farm outside Harare with an armed gang of thugs and ordered the farm's
white owner to turn over his property to her or be killed. The incident is
detailed in affidavits filed at the High Court and show her total disregard
for the rule of law.

A year later, Chiwenga accosted former Daily News lawyer Gugulethu Moyo and
beat her so severely that she had to seek medical attention. 'Your paper
wants to encourage anarchy in this country,' she shouted as she punched and
slapped the 28-year-old lawyer on a Harare street.

Add to this dissappointing line up of prominent female Zimbabweans is Joice
Mujuru who upon becoming the first female Vice President of the country
raised the hopes of many feminists that their issues would be dealt with at
a very high level. They were to be bitterly disappointed.

Her first act as Vice President was to pour cold water on the Dignity Period
Campaign started by trade unionist Tabitha Khumalo to source donations of
sanitary pads to poor Zimbabwean women. Donated pads were stuck at the
border as the regime refused to allow them in while Mujuru herself claimed
the country grew enough cotton and the companies in the field could make
enough for local production.

This was despite the main argument being that the women were too poor to
afford such expensive items and many were already using newspapers and tree
leaves to try and keep themselves clean. Mujuru never once stuck up for her
fellow women choosing instead to focus on cosing up to Mugabe and
maintaining her VP job.

The example of these three prominent Zimbabwean women remains a stark
reminder of how the Zanu PF system relies on violence and oppression to keep
itself alive. Can you imagine the late First Lady Sally Mugabe beating up a
journalist? Its a testament to how our standards have fallen that we have
these sort of embarrasing incidents taking place.

You would love the general stereotype of women as gentle, kind and loving to
hold true of women even in Zimbabwe but Jocelyn Chiwenga, Joice Mujuru and
Grace Mugabe have excelled in showing they are as evil as the Zanu PF
monster they serve. To all three I say you are a disgrace to Zimbabwe.

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Why Zimbabweans cannot wait any longer

By Sindiso Mazibisa
Posted to the web: 18/01/2009 20:05:15
IT'S gone beyond a joke. The political impasse in the Zimbabwean political
theatre occasioned by Zanu PF and the two MDC formations is a sick and
nauseating game that is killing people more than the cholera outbreak and
the AIDS pandemic pulled together.

We are looking at a nation that is on its knees, literally, and would do to
have just three level headed and mindful people who put Zimbabwe first and
tackle the crippling economic crisis.

It is common cause that there is no food countrywide, the major hospitals
have virtually closed. Schools, colleges and universities lie abandoned
without teachers and lecturers. Pupils and students do not see the need to
go to school. There is nothing to learn and there are no teachers to teach.

There is no industry and commerce to talk about, the shortage of foreign
currency to move industry forward is a known fact and yet these political
parties and politicians want the whole nation to wait on them until they
collectively narrow their self-serving political interests.

Zimbabwe has self respecting and respected citizens. It's not a crime
deserving punishment to have voted or not have voted for MDC's and Zanu PF
in the past elections, and citizens must not be treated like some infants
that the politicians can do as they please and the suffering masses and
business will just wait and wait.

Delays in forming a government raise several questions of a legal, political
and practical nature. Where does the current crop of ministers derive their
legal legitimacy, and do politicians see or hear of the hunger that is
killing people everyday? Are they collectively aware that the purpose of
their choice is to deal with socio, economic and political challenges
affecting the people?

The honeymoon days are over the politicians must know. Being the centre of
world attention has gone with the wind or the times, if you so wish. The
Zimbabwean political games and childish disputes have been overplayed in the
international scene and we are now stale news. The Somali pirates and
General Nkunda in D.R Congo make better news. The global economic crisis has
made many vocal nations to retreat and think of their countries' needs first
and deal with bail-out plans for their companies and the credit crunch.

The whole of last year, our leaders squandered a lot of political and
financial goodwill by refusing to agree and put the country first. Of course
the people in government and the leadership of the opposition have access to
food, foreign currency, the best schools and the best things in life for
themselves, their families and friends but what of the peasants and
suffering workers in Beitbridge, Nkayi, Mutoko and so on?

The agricultural season is here and besides reading in the newspapers about
seed and fertilizer for the people, we have on the ground seen nothing. lt
has been a big story gone in the path of Baccossi .What a shame!

Maybe we don't need politicians to represent the people but technocrats to
run this country. Maybe we don't need political parties to divide the people
and cause the chaos and mayhem we are witnessing. We just need serious and
honest people to represent their wards, constituencies based on content and
merit. We must consider this when we draft the new constitution which is
hopefully coming our way.

Sindiso Mazibisa is a Zimbabwean lawyer

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Alleged Zim bid to adopt rand

    January 19 2009 at 06:45AM

By Fiona Forde and Special Correspondent

A dubious document purporting to be the handiwork of the Zimbabwean
Reserve Bank governor strongly recommends the adoption of the rand to help
recover their failed economy - though Gideon Gono denies all knowledge of
the hefty report.

Experts are of the opinion, however, that if the document is
authentic, and if its recommendations were to be implemented, it could be
disastrous for the South African economy.

The 105-page report, which outlines reforms needed to stave off total
economic collapse, says "it is imperative that the economy informally adopts
the rand alongside the Zim dollar", following in the footsteps of Namibia,
Lesotho and Swaziland, which already have "formal bi-monetary" arrangements
in place with SA.

The so-called recovery plan also lists ways in which the country could
become self-sufficient - not having to rely on the international community
or a coalition government with the Movement for Democratic Change.

It identifies the country's rich resources of diamonds, gold,
platinum, iron ore and chrome as key sources of revenue that would permit
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to go it alone.

Almost 3-billion tons of platinum was lying in the country's Great
Dyke region, while "gross revenues from diamond mining can exceed
US$1,2-billion per month", the report says.

If properly managed, royalties would go a long way in earning the
US$350-million the report estimates is required each month to keep Zimbabwe

It begs the question, however, why pressure has not already been
placed on such lucrative resources and commodities in these dire times.

Gono has dissociated himself from the so-called plan, saying the
"Zimbabwean dollar will not be overtaken by any other currency, formally or
otherwise, now or at any point in the future".

The governor also said he had not been tasked to draft a recovery

However, the MDC insists otherwise.

"What soldier would admit his work if he is caught in action?" asked
the party's secretary-general, Tendai Biti, who claimed the document was
leaked to him on Friday, a day after it came into the possession of The

"It's an example of how they work and it reflects the inner thinking
of those who are running the state," Biti said.

"And it would pass on Zimbabwe's inflation to South Africa."

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's stalled power-sharing agreement could be heading
for total collapse today when President Kgalema Motlanthe hosts talks
between President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai vowed that they would not back down from
positions that have prevented a government of national unity being formed.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Star on January
19, 2009

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Death stalks destitute 'hospital of life'

Thulani Mpofu, Foreign Correspondent

A Zimbabwean riot policeman stands in front of demonstrating doctors and nurses, outside Parirenyatwa group of hospitals in Harare. Philimon Bulawayo / Reuters

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe // “Impilo” in the Ndebele language spoken in western Zimbabwe means “life”.

It was with that in mind that the colonial government of the 1960s named a hospital Mpilo, which was built to serve blacks in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city. Millions from south-western Zimbabwe were given access to the best healthcare services at the facility, one of the country’s four central hospitals.

But now, instead of preserving life, Mpilo Central Hospital is endangering it, officials admit.

There are no drugs, patients sleep on mattresses without blankets, the electrical wiring and water piping need repair and the incinerator has been out of service since 2005, meaning workers have to use a bonfire to burn the amputated limbs of patients.

Sixteen bodies were recently certified totally decomposed. A further 60 are at advanced stages of decomposition because the mortuary’s compressor broke down in August. Most toilets are blocked.

The few remaining nurses lack gloves, cleaning detergents and other protective devices, a situation that endangers their own health.

“Our infrastructure is crushed. We do not know where to start and what to do,” said Phinot Moyo, Mpilo’s acting clinical director, during a media tour of the hospital this month. “We cannot do repairs because specialists charge in foreign currency, which we do not have. Service delivery has resultantly been compromised.”

The dire scenario at Mpilo is a microcosm of Zimbabwe’s collapsed health delivery sector, which has suffered the worst in 10 years of economic malaise. Nurses, doctors and other key medical professionals are leaving the country in droves in search of better salaries and working conditions in other countries, while a lack of investment in infrastructure means hospitals lack the basic machinery, drugs and accessories.

“Most of our personnel have left,” Dr Moyo said. “The few that remain come to work as and when they want, so we depend on students serving their training. There are no experienced officers to supervise them, which is undesirable in medicine.”

“The situation is untenable,” said a nurse at the hospital who asked to remain anonymous.

“For instance, how am I expected to dress a wound of a patient when there are no gloves? We just watch them suffer or die because we are also human beings and our health is our responsibility.”

With limited supply of anaesthetics, most government hospitals countrywide now erratically conduct surgical operations.

At Ingutsheni, a psychiatric hospital in Bulawayo, 10 inmates recently died of untreated pellagra after living for months on minuscule amounts of food and water.

Winos Dube, chairman of the Bulawayo Residents’ Association, who was also on the tour of Mpilo, said the situation at the facility and elsewhere shows the entire health sector is sick. “It is pathetic,” Mr Dube said.

“It is sad, I am speechless. When you go to Mpilo, you think you will get life, but now the opposite is true. The systems are completely down, roofs are leaking and water taps are running every time because of disrepair. If you see workers making a bonfire to burn patients’ severed limbs because the incinerator is down, you realise how disastrous the situation has become. This for a hospital called Mpilo!”

After years of denial, the government of Robert Mugabe, the president, admitted in December the healthcare sector was in crisis. That was after a cholera outbreak exposed the depth of the problem. Acknowledging that it could not address the crisis on its own; his government declared an emergency, inviting donors to assist.

The cholera epidemic has killed about 2,000 people in Zimbabwe since August.

David Parirenyatwa, the minister of health, said hospitals and clinics countrywide urgently need drugs, food and equipment. “Our central hospitals are literally not functioning,” he said as he issued the appeal.

“Our staff is de-motivated and we need your support to ensure that they start coming to work and our health system is revived. Our hospitals need medicines, laboratory reagents, renal and laundry equipment, X-ray films and boilers. The emergency appeal will help us reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with the current socio-economic environment by December 2009.”

The United Nations, European Union, China and Zimbabwe’s neighbours have responded by providing food, medicines and other supplies.

Unicef added US$5 million (Dh18m) to a trust fund that would give health workers US dollar commuting stipends and has provided basic medicines to hospitals and clinics in the hope that professionals will come back to work.

In its own bid to retain health workers, who have been on strike since October, the government has proposed paying them salaries in foreign currency ranging from $60 to $850 monthly. Additionally, it has permitted hospitals to charge for their services in foreign currency to cushion them from the harsh economic conditions. But employees have rejected the salary offer saying it is too low.

Last week, junior doctors and nurses said they would pursue a three-month strike after rejecting a pay increase offer. The doctors want a minimum salary of $2,000 a month. Harare is offering $500. The doctors also want their salaries paid in US dollars.

Alva Senderayi, a medical doctor in private practice, suggests the emergency appeal and other initiatives can help revive the health sector but warned it cannot recover in isolation.

“The whole economy must turnaround. Only then will there be a sustainable recovery of the health system,” he said.

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MDC national executive calls for finality on dialogue

January 18th, 2009

The MDC national executive met in Harare today where President Morgan
Tsvangirai gave a briefing and a feedback on the diplomatic assignment to
end the political impasse and the state of the current dialogue process.

The President and the National Executive received formal representation from
the provinces on the humanitarian situation, the cholera epidemic, the
debilitating economic meltdown and the declining living conditions of the
people in rural and urban areas across the country.

The National Executive noted with concern the suffering of the people, the
massive starvation, the decay of public institutions and the collapse of
basic services such as health and education. The executive also noted with
serious concern the lack of guarantee on the security of persons as
witnessed by the recent abductions of MDC and civic activists on trumped-up

The National Executive reiterated that there has to be finality on the
protracted dialogue, either in success or in failure, because Zimbabweans
cannot continue to be arrested by an inconclusive process. The executive
also reiterated that all outstanding issues should be resolved first before
an inclusive government is formed.

The outstanding issues include:

  1. an equitable allocation of ministerial portfolios,
  2. the appointment of governors in line with the election results of 29
March 2008,
  3. the composition and functions of the National Security Council and the
appointment of ambassadors and permanent secretaries.

The outstanding issues also include the issue of the unilateral executive
appointments done after 21 July 2008 and the immediate release of all MDC
and civic activists who have been arrested on trumped-up charges.

[MDC Information and Publicity Department]

Posted by Sokwanele

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Zimbabwe: A broken system in need of new life

by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 19 January 2009

OPINION: Today, January 19, is the last day United State (US) President
George Bush will sleep in the Whitehouse and for Zimbabwe it provides yet
another day for the political actors to decide on what kind of Zimbabwe they
want to see.

Of all the actors in the Zimbabwean political drama, President Robert Mugabe
may be the only one who really does not know what time it is principally
because being president limits one's personal freedom as one can only see
what his/her handlers wish him/her to see.

It is difficult to imagine that Mugabe is fully cognisant of the state of
the economy and its devastating impact on citizens.

If he was, I have no doubt that he would be the first one to welcome change
because in the final analysis it will free him from the kind of headaches he
must be having from constant briefs from his colleagues about this or that
conspiracy being responsible for this or that problem.

There are people who have invested in shaping Mugabe's worldview that
sanctions, economic saboteurs, and the abductees are the real threats to the
country's stability and prosperity.

Is Mugabe a villain or a victim of his own making? We may never know the
answer but what is clear is that there are many state actors who would
rather have Mugabe remain in power because they know that he is their

There is no doubt that Mugabe will approach today's meeting on the
power-sharing deal with a position that says a signed agreement is in place
and there is simply no room to negotiate and all that is required is the
implementation of what has been agreed.

Only 30 years ago, Mugabe was on the opposite side of the same argument when
he was part of a team that accepted promises that land reform would be
supported with financial resources from the British government and other
developed nations only to discover later that there was no binding agreement
between the parties.

Although the global political agreement (GPA) has been negotiated under the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) framework, it is obvious that
Zimbabwe needs more than an inclusive government and SADC lacks the
resources to support the economic turnaround that the country urgently

Mugabe is at one with SADC and the African Union (AU) that the West must not
be involved in determining the kind of government that Zimbabwe should have
in order to open doors for financial support and yet without financial
support the prospect for a turnaround is gloomy.

He can at least boast that he has outlived Bush and former British Prime
Minister Tony Blair but at what cost.

In the case of incoming US President Barack Obama, Americans spoke
eloquently that they wanted change and such change called for a new face to
represent them as head of state and government.

In Zimbabwe's case notwithstanding the state of the economy, the people of
Zimbabwe who chose to vote must accept that they are ultimately responsible
for the current state of play.

The results of the general election did not give the outcome that suggests
that there is any urgency for change and who should drive it. Rather the
voters left it to the actors to solve a problem that should have been solved
by citizens themselves.

Former South African President and SADC facilitator in the Zimbabwean talks
Thabo Mbeki would have had no business being involved had Zimbabweans spoken
that they were ready for change. It would, therefore, be wrong to expect
Mbeki/SADC to solve a problem created directly by citizens.

The results of the election suggest that the only way is for the political
actors to work together in the transition and it appears that there is no
other way.

Zimbabwe was denied a new life but its own citizens who wanted a bit of
everything at a time when the country needs direction and leadership. It is
never too late for citizens to acknowledge and take responsibility for the
current absurdity.

Anyone who believes that political leadership has any bearing in inspiring
the governed to realise their dreams cannot be satisfied that a leadership
that has been at the helm for the last 29 years while the economy has been
imploding should be trusted to have the energy and vision to drive the
change agenda.

Even to the most ardent supporters of the no-regime change agenda, it must
be self-evident that there is a leadership problem in Zimbabwe and it will
simply not be cured by blindly taking the position that getting into an
inclusive government will be a panacea and all challenges can be resolved
once a government has been formed.

It must be accepted that Zimbabwe has had an administration led by Mugabe
for the last 29 years and yet through the government systems and procedures
it has not been possible for people to change him on some of his fundamental
beliefs and worldview.

If it has not been possible to change the man for the last 29 years what
confidence does SADC have that this will be possible in the context of the

The recent unilateral actions are just but many of the signs that a bumpy
road lies ahead and citizens should fasten their seat belts.

One cannot deny that the position taken by Mbeki/SADC was the only one that
could be taken and what is left is for the forces of progress in ZANU PF,
MDC-Mutambara and MDC-Tsvangirai to work together in the state to reclaim
the future.

ZANU PF got a majority of the votes because of state control and a shared
state will certainly not be in the interests of ZANU PF with an elder

What is ironical is that there appears to be no discussion that SADC is
prepared to engage in that deals with the causes of the crisis and what is
required to move the country forward. Zimbabweans must take the ultimate
responsibility for allowing the country to sink to its current level.

What is to be expected from today's talks? I have no doubt that opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe must have discussed and agreed on
the way forward allowing Motlanthe to recall Mugabe from vacation.

Already Mugabe has regularised his Cabinet that was operating illegally
since March 29, 2009. Some of the decisions already made by Mugabe after
March 29, including appointments, must also form part of the discussion.

If there was nothing new to discuss, I do not believe that it would have
been necessary for the two SADC presidents to be at today's meeting.

Although Mugabe may be shielded from the truth about what is at stake, there
is no doubt that he must be overwhelmed by reports of a dysfunctional system
for which he no longer has any credible solutions other than blaming other

He also must be angry that the economy has now been dollarised and there is
simply no alternative but to accept that even the state has now to do
business in a foreign currency.

The land is ours now as Mugabe would want to believe but the official
currency is no longer ours. This must be a painful acknowledgement of
failure after 29 years in power.

An inclusive government will be in place this week but unlike the US,
Zimbabwe will begin a new journey that requires vigilance on the part of

For the past 29 years, Zimbabweans have surrendered into a position of being
passengers while the driver has been looking at the rear view mirror instead
of looking forward.

Will the inclusive government compel Mugabe to start looking less at the
rear view mirror and more at the challenges that lie ahead?

Zimbabwe's infrastructure is showing signs of neglect and the human capital
has been subjected to the most inhuman conditions in the last few years.

The dimension of the Zimbabwean challenge is so intimidating that people who
are fixed with the knowledge that no progress will be made without a change
of an approach to governance will be the first to excuse themselves from
playing a role in the inclusive government and yet surprisingly there is no
evidence that there is appetite to try new things and reach out to the
people whose support is critical in turning the economy around.

With an Obama administration, it does not appear that he will have the
appetite to convince Americans, who are also challenged economically and
financially, that Zimbabwe under the control of the no-regime change team
deserves support.

This leaves Zimbabweans to map their own strategies while taking an active
interest in shaping the kind of policies that will advance national
interest. - ZimOnline

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Wage negotiations should be in US dollars: ZCTU

by Own Correspondent Monday 19 January 2009

JOHANNESBURG - The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) on Saturday said
all wage negotiations should now be in hard currency as most workers were
failing to access basic services because of the dollarisation of the

"The general council has therefore resolved that starting from January 1,
all ZCTU affiliates and the generality of the workforce should negotiate
wages in terms of the United States dollars, failure of which the sector
will withdraw its labour," ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo said in a

"The ZCTU General Council noted that the Zimbabwean market has been
dollarised and that most social services such as education, health, rentals
and transport, among other things, have been dollarised," said the statement
released after the labour union's general council meeting in Harare.

Last week the labour body said it was pushing for workers to be paid in US
dollars and warned of fresh protests by workers if employers refused to peg
wages in hard currency.

The union cited the authorities' apparent lack of confidence in the
Zimbabwean currency seen in a decision by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last
year to allow selected shops to charge for basic commodities in US dollars
as a compelling reason for salaries to be paid in hard currency.

The ZCTU statement said minimum wages for the respective sectors were still
to be determined but the national council would meet next month to assess

"The estimated minimum wages as determined by the poverty datum line will be
sent to affiliates in due course."

There have been increasing calls for workers to be paid in foreign currency
and the Zimbabwean government had already begun paying some civil servants
in hard currency.

With its value eroded daily by the world's highest inflation of more than
231 million percent, the Zimbabwe dollar is nearly worthless and both
consumers and traders are increasingly shunning the currency in favour of
hard cash.

A collapsed currency is the most visible sign of the country's deepening
economic and humanitarian crisis that is also seen in acute shortages of
food and basic commodities, amid a cholera epidemic that has killed more
than 2 000 people since last August.

Zimbabweans had hoped a power-sharing government between President Robert
Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara would
ease the political situation and allow the country to focus on reviving the
collapsed economy.

The three political rivals agreed on September 15 to form an all-inclusive
government under a power-sharing deal that retains Mugabe as president while
making Tsvangirai prime minister and Mutambara deputy prime minister.

But the agreement brokered by former South African President Thabo Mbeki on
behalf of the regional SADC alliance immediately stalled as Mugabe and his
main opponent, Tsvangirai, wrangled over who should control key ministries
and other top government posts.

While analysts agree that Mugabe and Tsvangirai probably resent each other
too much to be able to form a successful partnership, however they say there
is little viable option to resolving Zimbabwe's crisis outside a
power-sharing government. - ZimOnline

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January 19, 2009

The grotesque greed and hypocrisy of Mugabe and his wife are plain for all
to see
Even for a woman as inured to the suffering of others as Grace Mugabe, the
contrast was too grotesque for her to shrug off. While women scrabble for
leaves and berries to feed starving children in Zimbabwe, the President's
wife saunters out of the Shangri-La Hotel in Hong Kong to go shopping. And
when a photographer chances to see her, designer handbag on her arm and
cashmere shawl over her shoulders, she reacts as her husband does when
caught plundering the state finances to spend on fripperies: she orders her
bodyguard to attack.

For the enraged and delusional First Shopper, pictures of her extravagance
are not simply lèse-majesté: they are dangerous evidence that hypocrisy,
greed and megalomania have reached their apotheosis in the dictator and his
cosseted wife.

Africans have long been used to their leaders' selfish materialism, their
shopping sprees abroad and their inability to separate state finances from
their private purse. Few, however, even including Mobutu Sese Seko, the
kleptocrat of Zaire, have done so on the scale of Robert Mugabe. Not only
does he pose still as the great liberator, the Marxist champion of people's
rights, while seizing whatever assets he and his cronies can find for their
own use; he does so with a supreme indifference to opinion at home or
disapproval abroad.

Corruption can scarcely be more blatant than Mr Mugabe's indulgence of his
wife. Before embarking on her Far East holiday, she withdrew $92,000 from
the central bank in Harare. Yet there is no money available for water pumps
and electricity supplies to ensure fresh water in the capital. Children die
of cholera so that Mrs Mugabe can go shopping. Visas to visit Hong Kong are
obtained despite global sanctions directed at Zimbabwe's elite. Inflation in
Zimbabwe has reached 231 million per cent, making the currency worthless and
halting all economic activity. Yet the second Mrs Mugabe - a former
secretary and mistress - insists on the annual foreign holiday.

At each stage of Zimbabwe's agonising decline, fresh calls are voiced in the
West for effective action to rid the country of this tyrant. Wily as ever,
he clings on, jailing and torturing his opponents. Zimbabwe's neighbours
protest and then fall silent. The country's plight disappears from the
headlines. Without a legal administration for almost a year, Mr Mugabe now
presumes to offer Zimbabwe's Opposition "one last chance" to join a
government of national unity. Today he will meet Morgan Tsvangirai to tell
him that he has made all the concessions he is willing to make to implement
September's power-sharing agreement. The hapless Mr Tsvangirai, adrift and
bewildered, can do no more than refuse, while the President then trumpets
his own readiness to form an "inclusive" government.

Neither South Africa nor Zimbabwe's other anxious neighbours will be fooled.
The enormity of Mr Mugabe's crimes are there for all to see: 2,200 dead from
cholera, three million refugees, five million people dependent on outside
aid to stay alive - and the national budget spent on handbags and shawls for
the First Lady. No concessions have been made by Mr Mugabe, and none are now
needed. Zimbabwe can be saved only by his removal. The spotlight may be
elsewhere and the West preoccupied by Gaza and change in Washington. It
should be planning nevertheless for regime change in Harare.

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Reporting from a war zone called Zim

Published:Jan 19, 2009

Reporting from Zimbabwe is a dangerous way of earning a living, writes Moses
BEING a journalist in Zimbabwe is as perilous as being a foot soldier on a

There are no bullets to dodge but there are many pitfalls to negotiate. Any
slip-up could be costly and injurious to a negligent scribe.

The Zimbabwe government has put in place a tedious and expensive process of

Journalists face arbitrary arrest if the state deems their work offensive or

Former state television news anchor Jestina Mukoko was picked up by state
agents under cover of darkness at her home on December3.

The poor woman didn't even get a chance to dress.

Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, was kept in custody at a
secret location, which is yet to be identified, until her first court
appearance 20 days later.

"I was wearing a nightdress and nothing underneath," said Mukoko in an
affidavit .

Her ordeal is typical of those endured by those associated with the
independent media. She now stands accused of plotting to overthrow the

It is hard to believe that it is a coincidence that another media employee,
photojournalist Shadreck Manyere, is accused of bombing police stations and
railway bridges.

At the Zanu-PF congress last month, the ruling party displayed a poster that
read "Dissent > Treason". Perhaps that poster summed up the attitude of
Robert Mugabe's government towards the independent media.

The acting Minister of Information and Publicity, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana,
said media practitioners should be aware that the country is in battle.

"In a state of war, the media should play a positive role by sending the
right ideological statement to unite the people rather than divide them," he

"We expect the press to drive the people into a mentality of producing."

Mangwana has yet to explain how the punitive accreditation fees recently
imposed on journalists by the government encourage unquestioning patriotism.

The government-controlled Media and Information Commission last week
increased accreditation fees for both local and foreign journalists.

In a move condemned by media houses, the commission ordered local
journalists to pay US1000 in application fees and another 3000 for

The fee for the temporary accreditation of foreign journalists was set at

Foreign mass media services and news agencies wanting to operate a bureau in
Zimbabwe will be expected to pay an application fee of 10000 and a further
20000 if they are granted permission to operate.

They would also be required to pay a permit administration fee of 2000.

Commission officials say the accreditation increases affect only foreigners.

"These people are coming here to make money," said a senior official of the
commission who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"I don't understand these local journalists. Why are they complaining? Whose
fight are they carrying? If the BBC pulls out because it feels the fees are
too high, then it opens gaps for locals to correspond for them," he said.

Accreditation for local journalists was nominal and was payable in Zimbabwe
dollars, the official said.

But a good number of media houses, including the Zimbabwean chapter of the
Media Institute of Southern Africa, complained about the fee increases,
saying they were uncalled for and unlawful.

The institute said the steep increases were "indicative of the arbitrary and
undemocratic nature of statutory regulation of the media" in Zimbabwe.

It dismissed the Media and Information Commission as "defunct" and said it
had wanted to "curtail the right of journalists and the citizens of Zimbabwe
to freedom of expression, access to information and freedom of the media."

Zimbabwe's Union of Journalists agrees with the media institute.

"Our position is that the fees are a malicious attempt to make sure there is
no news that comes from Zimbabwe," says the secretary- general of the union,
Forster Dongozi.

He said the new fees were illegal because the Media and Information
Commission no longer exists. It was replaced by the Zimbabwe Media
Commission last year.

Mugabe's government believes that stopping the publication of "negative"
stories about Zimbabwe would miraculously revoke its pariah status
internationally and turn it back into being a beautiful country.

The government has spent a lot of energy and money on controlling the
independent media, but there is no evidence that Mugabe's people are winning
the war on truth.

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The dancers voting with their feet

The rise to power and brutal rule of Robert Mugabe is the subject of a
daring ballet choreographed by a Zimbabwean exile - but can dance ever
express such horrors? Alice Jones reports

Monday, 19 January 2009

A man pushes a wheelbarrow full of bricks on to a bare stage bordered by
corrugated iron shacks. Opposite him stands a dancer wearing a pinstripe
suit, checked shirt and maroon tie. The ensemble is topped off by a rubber
mask. The belligerent, bespectacled face is unmistakeable - it's Robert
The first man is joined by others who, slowly and deliberately, begin to
hurl the bricks at Mugabe. In a stylised sequence of steps set to soothing,
swooping classical strings, the President is brutally stoned by his own
people. He sinks to the ground, tries to get up and cries for help but his
desperate pleas fall on deaf ears. The curtain falls.

So runs the final scene of My Friend Robert, a new ballet about the rise of
the Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe and the gradual disintegration of
the country under his controversial leadership sandwiched into the Heart of
Darkness performance. Choreographed by Bawren Tavaziva, who left his native
Zimbabwe 10 years ago for a new life in London, the work tackles the last 30
years of his country's troubled history.

From the heady early days of independence in 1980 when the election of
Mugabe as the country's first black leader empowered ordinary Zimbabweans,
it moves, via last year's violently chaotic elections, to the present day
and a nation ravaged by a spiralling economy, food and oil shortages,
drought and twin epidemics of Aids and cholera. That the government has so
far refused to acknowledge these crises makes Tavaziva's work daringly
outspoken. Its ending, envisaging a violent end to the Mugabe regime, pushes
it into the territory of the dangerously dissident. "I usually go home every
year. Now that I've choreographed this work, I can't go home", says
Tavaziva, who grew up in a township outside Harare. "It will be just too
dangerous. I'm not going to risk my life."

Tavaziva created the piece during the Zimbabwean elections last year. "You
know when you get to the point when you think things aren't going to get any
worse and then they get worse. I didn't think it would get this bad.
Everything's out of control."

Driven by anger and frustration, it took him just four weeks to complete.
Mugabe is played by Everton Wood, a 39-year-old dancer from Wolverhampton
who worked at the Royal Opera House before joining Tavaziva Dance's
five-strong company last year. Wearing a Spitting Image-style mask, Wood
marches on to the stage at the start of the ballet and strikes a variety of
bombastic poses. While the rest of the piece combines contemporary African
dance with classical ballet, Mugabe, appropriately, remains a rigid figure.
More power than pirouettes, his dance style might best be described as

Clips from Mugabe's rousing speeches (including the "So, Blair, keep your
England and I'll keep my Zimbabwe," riposte to the Prime Minister's
declaration that Africa was a "scar on the conscience of the world" at the
2002 Johannesburg earth summit) and Tavaziva's interviews with exiled
Zimbabwean journalists are mixed with the national anthem to create an
evocative soundtrack. The choreographer, who honed his musical talents as a
child on a guitar fashioned by his brother from a 5-litre tin can and some
fishing wire, has added his own choral and percussion-based compositions and
the dancers hammer and beat out rhythms on the corrugated iron set.

Can dance do justice to such a political hot potato? "Yes. With my
background, stories are told through dance. It's obvious why this government
failed - it stayed in power for too long and Mugabe started to abuse his
power. Now everybody needs a change, everybody is desperate to get rid of
Mugabe and is waiting for him to die. But I also hope this will change
people's opinions of Zimbabwe."

It is not, on stage at least, all doom and gloom; Tavaziva's work also has
moments of jubilation, celebrating the rise of black power in Zimbabwe. He
hopes that his own story, of a "normal black Zimbabwean" who came to the UK
and now runs his own company, might act as an inspiration.

"Under white rule... I would not have had the opportunity to get an
education or come to England. So there's a positive message, too."

The overriding emotion behind My Friend Robert remains, though, angry
protest, particularly in the wake of the country's latest humanitarian
crisis which has seen the death toll from cholera rise to nearly 2,000. "I'm
angry because it's a country that used to feed everybody else and now we are
really suffering," says Tavaziva. "You see it on television and it's an
embarrassment. The government is still claiming there's no cholera. It's the
same thing they did with Aids and now they can't control it." Most of
Tavaziva's family remains in Harare, including his octogenarian parents,
brothers and "about 20" nephews and nieces. There have been, he says, "lots
of incidents" involving his brother, a campaigner against the Mugabe regime.
"He's always in trouble, always running away..." Other friends and family
were beaten up by government troops in the run-up to the elections, some of
them blinded, their eyes gouged out with screwdrivers. "It's brutal," he
says. "If I had the opportunity to get my parents out of the country for a
while, that would be fantastic, but everyone's seeking asylum."

Tavaziva's own route out of the ghetto came when the National Ballet of
Zimbabwe paid a visit to his local community hall, offering contemporary
dance classes to under-privileged children. Tavaziva leapt at the chance. As
a child, he had dreamed of dancing, forming a group, New Limits, with his
two brothers, performing routines and lip-synching American pop songs on the
streets. He soon gained a place with the City Youth Dance Group. From there
he joined Tumbuka, a company set up by Neville Campbell who had left his job
as artistic director of the British company, Phoenix Dance to set up a new
troupe in Zimbabwe. Tavaziva stayed with Tumbuka for four years until moving
to the UK in 1998 to work with Phoenix, Ballet Black and Union, among
others. In 2004, he was a finalist for the prestigious Place Prize and as a
result received Arts Council funding to establish his own company.

In the decade since Tavaziva left the country, the opportunities for
contemporary dance in Zimbabwe have dwindled. Tumbuka survives only thanks
to international funding and all the other companies have either closed
down, operate part-time or offer only traditional African dance. "There used
to be a national dance company in Zimbabwe but the government pulled the
funding. They only fund football. They don't fund the arts." This is perhaps
unsurprising in a country in the grip of hyper-inflation, where a
newly-launched Z$50-bn note is worth just 84p, but it makes Tavaziva's
mission all the more important. "There is no chance I could do what I do
here in Zimbabwe. Most of the artists back home don't say what they want and
they can't produce work like this. They would just get killed. Being here in
England it's really an opportunity to share where I come from and what it's

While Tavaziva took his company on tour to Zimbabwe two years ago, a trip
home remains out of the question for the moment. "They would attack me. If
this piece gets too big and it starts to make an impact, it will start
affecting my relatives. I am really worried about it but I felt that it was
something that had to be done."

'Heart of Darkness' opens at the Paul Robeson Theatre, Hounslow on 29
January and tours to 1 April

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Bill Watch 2 of 18th January 2009 [Monday - SA to Chair Meeting on Inter-Party Dialogue]


[18th January 2009]

The House of Assembly will resume sitting on 20 January and the Senate on 27 January

Constitution Amendment 19 Bill Not on House of Assembly Agenda

The constitutional proviso of letting 30 days elapse after gazetting before a Constitutional Bill is introduced has been met – the Bill was gazetted on 12th December 2008, but it is not on the order paper [agenda] for Tuesday.  It could still be added late to the agenda, but it is doubtful that it will be, until consensus on its passage by all parties guarantees the required two thirds majority.

Update on Inclusive Government

After a week of denials from ZANU-PF and the state media that there was to be a meeting set up by President Motlanthe between Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai, the official announcement came from the South African President’s office that there was to be such a meeting:

SA Media Statement on Zimbabwe Inter-Party Dialogue

President Kgalema Motlanthe will on Monday 19 January 2009 lead a SADC delegation to Zimbabwe where discussions will be held with leaders of the country’s political parties involved in the Inter-Party Dialogue.

The delegation will include President Guebuza of Mozambique [deputy chairman of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security] and former South African President Thabo Mbeki, the facilitator in the Zimbabwe Inter-Party Dialogue.

The meeting of the leaders will be followed by a meeting of the negotiating teams which is expected to discuss outstanding matters related to the implementation of the Global Agreement, including the processing of Zimbabwe Constitution Amendment 19.

The meeting of the negotiating teams was initially scheduled for Friday 16 January 2009 but had to be postponed at the request of one of the parties.

For inquiries contact Thabo Masebe at 082 410 8087.


Difficulty over the Role of Mr Mbeki

Morgan Tsvangirai, when he confirmed that he had written to Motlanthe asking him to chair a meeting between himself and Robert Mugabe, said that his asking Motlanthe to call and chair the meeting was in line with his party's position that Mbeki be removed as mediator.  "Mbeki has finished his job," said Tsvangirai, "The sooner people respect that position, the better."  In July the MDC-T was already adamant that Mbeki remained a stumbling block in the mediation – “We have no confidence in him".  At the end of November the MDC-T wrote to Motlanthe as Chairman of SADC, detailing the irretrievable state of our relationship with Mr Mbeki and asking that he recuse himself.  Sadly, the negotiations have also been hampered by the attitude and position of the facilitator, Mr Thabo Mbeki. his partisan support of Zanu PF, to the detriment of genuine dialogue, has made it impossible for the MDC-T to continue negotiating under his facilitation.

Today a senior member of the MDC-T said: "I don't know who invited him or what he is going to do. He can go to Harare, but we have nothing to do with him. "The talks are between Tsvangirai, Motlanthe and Mugabe.  Period."  "Our relationship with Mbeki has irretrievably broken down and as far as I am concerned SADC chairman and South African president Kgalema Motlanthe and the SADC itself are in charge of dealing with mediation efforts," he said.

It is unusual for a facilitator/mediator to continue as such after one party has said it has lost confidence in him and asked for his replacement.  The standard practice for mediation is that the facilitator/mediator continues acceptable to both parties.  Mbeki was appointed by SADC as facilitator when he was President of South Africa, but after he was replaced as President of SA, SADC said “Thabo Mbeki’s role as facilitator in Zimbabwean’s political dispute will continue as long as he is willing to act in that capacity”.

It is hoped, however, that this issue can dealt with in a diplomatic manner and will not cause yet another obstacle to the talks.

MDC Statements about the Forthcoming Meeting

Mr Tsvangirai flew into Harare yesterday 17 January.  In a speech he gave on arrival he said he would not allow MDC-T "to be bulldozed into an agreement which does not meet the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe", but that he is committed to "find a lasting solution to the crisis".  He reiterated the outstanding issues the MDC have been raising since the Sept 11th signing of the IPA and in the light of the recent violence has added to these [see below].  The MDC has made many painful compromises during this negotiation process.  However, we will not and cannot accept responsibility without authority”   Pushing the MDC into a government without fulfillment of these issues constitutes a false start.”  [Full text of speech available on request.]

The MDC National Executive met today Sunday and reiterated that there has to be finality on the protracted dialogue, either in success or in failure, because Zimbabweans cannot continue to be arrested by an inconclusive process.  The executive also reiterated that all outstanding issues should be resolved first before an inclusive government is formed. [Statement available on request].

The outstanding issues include an equitable allocation of ministerial portfolios, the appointment of provincial governors in line with the election results of 29 March 2008, the composition and functions of the National Security Council  and the appointment of ambassadors and permanent secretaries.  They also include the issue of the unilateral executive appointments made after the MoU [e.g. provincial governors and now the recent appointments of the Governor of the Reserve Bank and a new Attorney General.  The MDC-T are now also demanding the immediate release of all MDC-T and civic activists who have been arrested on trumped-up charges.  The MDC-T is also saying It is imperative that the National Security Council legislation be put in place to determine the management and governance of all security departments of the country.  The failure to realize the need for change by the departments of police, CIO and, army in light of the signing of the GPA further proves the need to have these arms put under the effective control and management of all parties. The recent abductions, torture and assault of innocent Zimbabweans is further evidence of the need for this legislation.”

Mr Mugabe’s Statement about the Meeting

Mr Mugabe was quoted in the state press today as saying: "This is the occasion when it’s either they accept or it’s a break. After all, this is an interim agreement. If they have any issues they deem outstanding, they can raise them after they come into the inclusive Government.  This is a meeting which is taking place against a decision of SADC which we already have. We have gone past negotiations and whatever concessions were there to be made have already been made," said Cde Mugabe.  "We have signed an agreement which we have already gazetted as required by SADC. We have done all that SADC expected us to do and all that remains is fulfilling the agreement by forming an inclusive Government".  

A State Press Editorial warned that the “MDC-T has run out of time and tricks.  It will now have to decide whether or not it still wants to remain part of the power-sharing agreement…SADC must be prepared to live with the possibility that a government may have to be constituted without the MDC formations…SADC leaders are to be commended for being patient with Mr Tsvangirai and continuing to tolerate his antics…We hope it is a reformed Mr Tsvangirai that will turn up at the meeting tomorrow and willingly submit to the guidance of the leadership of the region.”

Key Point of Disagreement

The MDC-T want outstanding issues left over from the IPA to be settled before entering an inclusive government.  Mr Mugabe says outstanding issues can be raised after they come into the inclusive government.  [Note: President Motlanthe has recently indicated that he supports Mr Mugabe’s view by urging the settling of outstanding issues after forming a unity government, on the other hand the notice of the Monday meeting states that it will be followed by a meeting of the negotiating teams which is expected to discuss outstanding matters.]

Motlanthe’s Attitude Crucial to Meeting’s Success

Previously President Motlanthe has shown:

·   ambivalence on the role of SADC – on the one hand “Our role can only be to facilitate the process of finding solutions.”  On the other hand under his chairmanship the November 9 SADC Extraordinary Summit, despite being attended by only three other heads of state, unanimously decided that:(i) the Inclusive Government be formed forthwith in Zimbabwe;(ii) the Ministry of Home Affairs be co-managed between the ZANU-PF and MDC-T; etc.  

·   a dismissive attitude to MDC-T’s objections to the SADC November 9th Summit’s procedures and decisions.

·   a tendency to unreasonably blame MDC-T for any delays in implementing the IPA.  The latest example was in an press interview only last week.  He stated : “That amendment was gazetted on December 13 saying that Parliament can be convened for adoption of the amendment a week later” … “the Speaker of Parliament is an MDC person, whose party has taken a decision to convene Parliament only on January 20”.  This statement of Motlanthe shows he has been abysmally briefed on the Zimbabwe Constitution [a Constitutional Bill has to be gazetted 30 days before introduction in Parliament] and on how Parliament works [the Speaker of the House of Assembly does not decide on the length of Parliamentary adjournments].

·   a considerable degree of impatience – on 29 December his spokesman said "Again, the SADC's position is that the Zimbabwean parties, without any further delay, implement the agreement that they signed in September.”  

·   what most Zimbabweans would consider an unrealistic optimism over the goodwill of ZANU-PF.  In last week’s media interview Motlanthe urged “the MDC-T to settle its outstanding issues with President Robert Mugabe after creating a unity government.”  [This is spite of Mr Mugabe going almost straight from the signing of the IPA to tell his party that it was a ‘humiliation”.

·   that he has not taken the violence and hate speech directed at the MDC-T seriously.

These attitudes may have changed because of:

·    The deepening of the Zimbabwe crisis and the humanitarian disaster taking place in Zimbabwe are affecting South Africa and the region more and more.  

·    The Zimbabwe situation is increasingly on the politics of South Africa at a time when South Africa is gearing up for Presidential Election and Parliamentary Elections in a few months’ time.

·    MDC-T is pushing for SADC to involve the AU and UN to a greater degree.  

·    South African and EU officials have just met in Cape Town and the Zimbabwe crisis was an important agenda item. The EU is the principal source of foreign direct investment in South Africa and one of its biggest markets.

·    Destabilisation in Zimbabwe is affecting FIFA 2010 World Cup preparations.

·    The world financial recession may induce South Africa to take more notice of the hardening world opinion on Zimbabwe.

Barack Obama to be Sworn in as President of USA on 20th January

United States President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for UN ambassador, Susan Rice, on Thursday vowed to get tough with Zimbabwe and revive US leadership globally with an emphasis on beefing up peacekeeping capacity.  Rice pledged to confront the regime of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, urging China, Russia and southern African countries to join the Obama administration in isolating the Zimbabwean leader."  “Their interests no longer, frankly, coincide with Mugabe's regime.”  "I hope very much that under president-elect Obama's leadership, we will work with southern Africa and bring their private condemnation into the public sphere, so that the people of Zimbabwe's suffering can finally end," she said.

AU Meetings Start Next Week

African leaders meet in the Ethiopian capital from January 26 to February 3 for the organisation's 12th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, 17th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee, and 14th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council.  The AU condemned the recent coup in Guinea and put Guinea’s membership on hold pending the restoration of constitutional rule.  [Guinea has also been suspended by ECOWAS].  The SADC and AU have recognised Mr Mugabe as part of a deal setting up an inclusive government.  If that fails and Mugabe forms a go-it-alone government they will have to make a decision about Mr Mugabe’s continued recognition as President.  In the light of their policy not to recognise unconstitutional transfers of power this would put them in an awkward position.

South Africa No Longer on UN Security Council

The UN Security Council was briefed on Zimbabwe last month and, although the Secretary-General reported there was a “political, economic, human rights and humanitarian crisis”, condemnation of the Mugabe government’s failed leadership was blocked by South Africa.  The burden on the UN resulting from the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe has increased considerably since then.  Uganda replaced South Africa as a non-permanent member of the Council for a two-year term commencing on 1st January.  

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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