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Robert Mugabe and opposition in last-ditch talks

A last-ditch effort to save Zimbabwe's power-sharing agreement faced
breaking down as President Robert Mugabe met his opponents.

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare and David Blair
Last Updated: 7:16PM GMT 19 Jan 2009

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), joined Mr Mugabe at a highly charged meeting in the capital,

The two bitter rivals signed a deal to create a coalition government last
September. This agreement would have seen Mr Tsvangirai become prime
minister, with Mr Mugabe staying on as president, and the MDC's two factions
taking 16 cabinet posts.

But the proposed coalition has never been implemented. Both Mr Tsvangirai
and Mr Mugabe insisted that one of their allies should become home affairs
minister, a powerful post bringing control over the police.

On this stumbling block, the whole agreement was deadlocked. Talks broke
down and Mr Tsvangirai has spent the last two months in self-imposed exile
in neighbouring Botswana.

The meeting on Monday was a crucial bid to break the logjam. Mr Mugabe, who
turns 85 next month and has recently begun a new campaign of repression
against the MDC, said these talks were the moment when Mr Tsvangirai would
have to join a coalition or walk away from the deal. "Either they [the MDC]
accept, or it's a break," said Mr Mugabe.

To increase the pressure for an agreement, President Kgalema Motlanthe of
South Africa arrived in Harare, along with President Armando Guebuza of
Mozambique and Thabo Mbeki, the official mediator. They represent the
Southern African Development Community (SADC), a regional organisation of 16
countries which is trying to broker the deal.

A source close to the talks said that SADC officials were "writing a final
communiqué". He added: "If Morgan signs it, then there is a deal. If he
doesn't, that's the end of the SADC negotiations. That's it."

The source added that Mr Mugabe had "made a compromise" and there was some
chance of an agreement being reached. A possible formula to break the
deadlock over the home affairs ministry would have an ally of Mr Mugabe
holding the post, with an MDC figure serving as his deputy. Alternatively,
the position could rotate between the two parties.

Mr Tsvangirai is under intense pressure to agree a compromise formula. His
relations with Mr Mbeki, the chief mediator, are dogged by mistrust and
suspicion. Many in Mr Tsvangirai's own party doubt his ability to withstand
the pressure.

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Little progress seen in Zim power-sharing talks

HARARE, ZIMBABWE Jan 19 2009 19:00

Southern African leaders pressed Zanu-PF leader Robert Mugabe and his
long-time rival to implement a stalled power-sharing deal on Monday, but
both Zimbabwean leaders appeared intransigent.

Both sides had indicated that Monday's talks would make or break the deal
seen as vital to ending an economic crisis that has half the population in
need of food aid.

With evening falling and the leaders still locked behind closed doors, a
leading official of Mugabe's party told the Associated Press there was no
sign of the agreement. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because
of a declared media blackout.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and former president and mediator
Thabo Mbeki, Mozambique's President Armando Guebuza and other leaders of the
Southern African Development Community met all day with Mugabe, Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, head
of a smaller MDC faction.

The power-sharing deal was signed in September but stalled by disagreements
over Cabinet posts.

The deadlock has left the government paralysed amid a spiralling economic
crisis, with the central bank last week introducing a Z$100-trillion note to
keep up with rocketing inflation. The health, water and education systems
have collapsed, and most major goods are in short supply.

More than five million Zimbabweans are likely to need food aid this year,
and a cholera epidemic has killed more than 2 200 people and infected more
than 42 000.

The September 15 power-sharing deal calls for 84-year-old Mugabe to remain
president, Tsvangirai to become prime minister and for Cabinet posts to be
equitably shared.

Mugabe has tried to keep all important portfolios for his party. But
Tsvangirai has said he will not be "bulldozed" into joining a lopsided
government, after winning first-round presidential elections in March but
pulling out of the run-off because of violence against his supporters.

Untold suffering
Meanwhile, failure by Zimbabwean political parties to reach agreement on
power sharing was to blame for the country's crumbling health system, the
South African Medical Association (Sama) said on Monday.

"The cholera crisis is driven by social issues beyond healthcare. The lack
of basic social services such as functioning sewerage system, safe drinking
water and food is resulting in untold suffering to the people of Zimbabwe
... all because of the government's inability to focus on the needs of its
citizens," Sama said in a statement.

The association said the crumbling health system was further compounded by
the flock of skilled Zimbabweans to other countries "for their livelihoods".

"Sama also remains concerned that the widespread shortage of both health
personnel and pharmaceutical products is causing difficulties, including the
non-availability of treatment for people living with HIV/Aids."

This, the association said, could "lead to increased mortality in Zimbabwe".

Sama urged South Africans, particularly health professionals to join relief
efforts in Zimbabwe.

"Sama is considering more tangible means of supporting efforts of
international agencies like Unicef and NGOs.

"Sama requests the South African government to assist in this humanitarian
crisis by providing additional resources. We also call on our government to
take the lead in rallying regional governments in a combined social
assistance programme to relieve the suffering," it said. -- Sapa-AFP, Sapa

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Opposition says Zimbabwe talks at risk of collapse

Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:52pm GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Power sharing talks between Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe and the opposition are in danger of collapse, an opposition source
said on Monday, raising fears an economic crisis will deepen without a

The assessment came just after regional leaders started talks with Mugabe
and opposition parties in a renewed push for implementation of September's
power-sharing agreement.

The source close to the negotiations told Reuters they were "almost certain
to collapse." There was no immediate comment from Mugabe's officials on the

A unity government, delayed over the distribution of cabinet posts, is seen
as the best chance of preventing total collapse in once prosperous Zimbabwe,
where prices double every day and more than 2,000 people have died in a
cholera epidemic.

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Monday
insisted on controlling several key ministries before any government can be
formed with Mugabe, suggesting no progress had been made on the main hurdle.

The party said in a position paper it remained committed to an agreement as
long as it controlled powerful ministries such as home affairs, finance and

It also described abductions of its members, which it blames on Mugabe's
ZANU-PF, as a "slap in the face" to the negotiations, proving "beyond a
shadow of a doubt" its rivals had not respected the spirit of the September

The MDC reiterated it would not join a unity government until all its
demands were met.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, Mozambique leader Armando Guebuza
and Thabo Mbeki, regional mediator and South Africa's former president, are
hoping to persuade the rival parties to agree.

But regional grouping SADC has failed to secure a compromise, despite
repeated international calls for stronger action and pleas for help from
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.


Mugabe, Tsvangirai and the head of a breakaway MDC faction Arthur Mutambara
were trying to thrash out an agreement to save the pact.

"Now is the time to find common ground among Zimbabweans. Now is the time
for flexibility, compromise and pragmatism," Mutambara told reporters at the

"As the opposition, we share and agree with the demands made by MDC-T. Those
demands must be addressed. We hope Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF respond
positively to those demands."

On Sunday, however, both sides appeared entrenched.

Mugabe said the MDC should accept the deal or end talks over its
implementation, state media reported.

"Since they signed the deal, the parties are further apart and there is a
strong likelihood of the total collapse of the political agreement,"
political commentator and Mugabe critic John Makumbe told Reuters.

"It is very likely that ZANU-PF will go it alone and form a minority
government. It is also very likely that without an agreement, the
humanitarian crisis will take a sharp turn for the worse."

Tsvangirai won a presidential election last March but by too few votes for
an outright victory. He pulled out of the subsequent run-off, citing
violence against MDC supporters.

Zimbabwe's parliament is due to resume sitting on Tuesday for a session
likely to define the state of relations between Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the

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MDC position paper on agreement

January 19, 2009

THE following is the full text of the position paper of the Movement for
Democratic Change with regard to the Zimbabwe Global Political Agreement
signed on September 15, 2008


In March of 2008, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won the majority
of National assembly seats and the majority of votes in the presidential
elections. Zimbabweans and African Observer missions rightly dismissed the
June re-run of the presidential election as an election that was neither
free and fair, nor met the standards of both SADC and the African Union.
Therefore, the MDC had a legitimate claim to be the party with the electoral
mandate to form the new government of Zimbabwe.

Nonetheless, at the behest of the African Union and SADC, the MDC entered
into negotiations with Zanu PF and the smaller MDC faction, in good faith
and in the national interest with the aim of establishing a power-sharing
arrangement leading to a transitional inclusive government that could
address the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

When the MDC signed the power-sharing agreement on 15 September, we did so
believing that the settlement would result in the MDC having an equitable
share of government power and we remain deeply committed to implementing the
agreement in its letter and spirit.

In this regard, the position of the MDC has not changed in that we remain
committed to the letter and spirit of the agreement subject to the
resolution of the five outstanding issues detailed below as per the
resolutions of the party's National Council. The detailed resolutions are
attached as Annexure 1 & 2.

These issues must be fairly, transparently and comprehensively addressed
prior to the formation of an inclusive government. This is the firm position
of the MDC.

Status of the Talks

After the signing ceremony of the 15th of September, 2008, the SADC Troika
on Politics, Defence and Security met in Harare on 28th October 2008, to
deal with implementation issues of the global political agreement. The
Troika meetings did not resolve the outstanding issues and referred the same
to the full summit of the SADC which met on November 9th 2008, in South
Africa. The summit urged the parties to form an inclusive government. The
Summit also made a recommendation that the Ministry of Home Affairs be
co-ministered by Zanu PF and the MDC.

This recommendation was not accepted by the negotiators and the National
Council of the MDC. On November 25 & 26 2008, the negotiating parties met
and without prejudice negotiated and initialled a draft Amendment to the
Constitution of Zimbabwe to give legal effect to the inclusive government
agreement. On December 25, 2008, the President designate, Robert Mugabe sent
a letter accompanied by a passport to the President of the MDC, Morgan
Tsvangirai purportedly appointing him Prime Minister. The President of the
MDC responded to the letter of appointment (See attached response marked
Annexure 3 ).

In an attempt to bring about a quick resolution to the outstanding issues,
the MDC has requested that South African President and SADC Chairman, Mr
Motlanthe, convene a meeting between Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mugabe. Only if
the two principals meet and agree on the resolution of the outstanding
issues can this process move forward. See attached letter to President
Motlanthe marked Annexure 4.

The key challenge to this agreement has been its implementation. The
implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) required honesty, good faith and goodwill to be
displayed by the parties to the agreement. Regrettably, following the
signing of the agreement, ZANU PF has acted in a manner that is contrary to
the spirit of the agreement and has displayed duplicity and bad faith in
regard to the implementation of various aspects of the agreement.

The Outstanding Issues and the MDC position

1.      National Security Council

The question of the composition, function and constitution of the National
Security Council is a critical issue in view of the dangerous and partisan
role that has been displayed by the security services in Zimbabwe.

In this regard, our position is that an Act must be enacted by Parliament
which will must regulate and oversee all State security and intelligence
agencies. This Act must seek to balance the need for accountability and
transparency with the competing principles of
national security and sovereignty. More importantly, is the principle that
national institutions and state security agents cannot be partisan and
cannot be an extension of any political party.

Annexure 5 contains a draft of the proposed National Security Council Bill
containing the minimum demands of the MDC.

This bill must be tabled before parliament immediately and or at the same
time with Amendment 19 to the Constitution.

2.  Equitable sharing of Ministerial portfolios

In order to bring finality to this matter, find below what the MDC considers
to be an equitable distribution of Ministries and if this and other
outstanding issues are resolved as stated in this position paper then we
will be in a position to form an inclusive government.

Key Ministries

1. Home Affairs
2. Finance
3. Media, Information and Publicity
4.  Local Government, Rural and Urban Development.
5. Agriculture

1. Defence
2. National Security[1]
3. Foreign Affairs
4. Justice and Legal Affairs
5.  Lands and Land Resettlement

Other Ministries


6. Economic Planning and Investment Promotion
7. Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Environment,
8. Natural Resources and Tourism
9. Women, Gender and Community Development
10. Information and Communications Technology
11. Health and Child Welfare
12. Labour and Social Welfare
13. Public Service


6.Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development
7.Mines and Mining Development
8.Youth, indigenization and Empowerment
10.Higher and Tertiary Education
11. State Enterprises & Parastatal Management
12. Energy and Energy Development
13. Science & Technology
14. Water Resources Development and Management
15. Public Works
16. National Housing

1. Industry & Commerce,
2. Regional Integration and International Trade
3. Education, Sport & Culture

The President and the Prime Minister will also each appoint one Minister of
State in their respective offices as full Cabinet Members.

The issue of the equitable allocation of ministerial portfolios has
unnecessarily delayed the consummation of the Global political agreement  to
the detriment of resolving the other outstanding issues. Therefore, unless
the above allocation is accepted we see no
point in any further discussions on this matter.

3.  Appointment of Governors and Senior Civil Servants

In terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, 10 Provincial Governors must be
appointed. Contrary to the terms of the MOU on 24th August 2008, Mr. Mugabe
unilaterally appointed the governors yet again illustrating his
unwillingness to abide by the letter and spirit of the agreements he signed.

On the day of the signing ceremony, the then South African President Mbeki
publicly acknowledged that this issue was outstanding and had to be
resolved. The appointment of governors is a straight forward issue that has
again unnecessarily delayed the consummation of the agreement. To put
finality to this, we present the following
democratic formula for the allocation of these posts.

In this regard, our proposals are that the party that got the majority of
seats, on a province by province basis, in the House of Assembly elections
of the 29th March 2008, should have the governorship of that province. This
would result in the MDC having five provincial governorships, Zanu PF four,
and Professor Mutambara's party, one as follows.

MDC-T                        ZANU-PF                           MDC-M

Manicaland                  Mashonaland Central          Matabeleland South
Masvingo                     Mashonaland East
Matabeleland North     Mashonaland West
Bulawayo                     Midlands

The inclusive government represents a new administration and therefore all
Senior appointments in government and its agencies have to be made in line
with the GPA i.e. by agreement between the President and Prime Minister and
where applicable by agreement between the President and his deputies and the
Prime Minister and his Deputies.

4.    Breaches to the MOU and the GPA

4.1 Unilateral Appointments
Reserve Bank Governor

The reappointment of Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono on 26th November
2008 contravenes both the Reserve Bank Act and the GPA.  A Central Bank
Governor should play an essential role in the economic stabilisation of
Zimbabwe and therefore, in terms of the GPA no one person should make such
an appointment.

It is our firm position that this appointment be reversed and that the Prime
Minister designate and President designate agree on his replacement prior to
the consummation of this agreement.

Attorney General

Similarly, the Attorney General was appointed unilaterally by Mr Mugabe on
17th December 2009. Considering that the country had been without a
substantive Attorney General for three years there was no need to fast track
this appointment. The office of the Attorney General is a key constitutional
position and as such, no person genuinely interested in building an
inclusive government would proceed to make such a unilateral appointment.

Once again, our firm position is that this appointment be reversed and that
the Prime Minister designate and President designate agree on his
replacement prior to the consummation of this agreement.

4.2 Rule of Law and Abductees

All persons who were not properly arrested by the police but abducted
(kidnapped) by state security agencies from October 2008 as confirmed by the
Police and Acting Minister of State Security in court must be released
immediately. To date a total of 27 people have been abducted by the state
security agents, 16 of whom have appeared in court and have since been
remanded in custody. The continued remand and detention of these individuals
whose initial arrests were unlawful is in breach of their constitutional
rights and the rule of law.

In addition the following individuals are still missing, have not appeared
in court and have not been seen since their abduction. Lloyd Tarumbwa, Terry
Musona, Fanwell Tembo, Larry Gaka and Gwenzi Kahiya who were abducted in
Banket in Mashonaland West province on 29 October 2008. Charles Muza,
Ephraim Mabeka and Edmore Vangirayi who were abducted on 10 December 2008 in
Gokwe, Midlands province, while Graham Matewa was abducted on 17 December
2008, in Makoni South, Manicaland province and Peter Munyanyi in Gutu South
in Masvingo province on 13 December 2008.

It is the MDC's firm position that all abductees, including those currently
in remand prison must be released immediately.

Furthermore, the Zanu-PF regime must make a firm commitment to respect the
rule of law and any future court orders.

4.3 Bad Faith

On the 11 September 2008 the leaders of the political parties signed the
"Global Political Agreement."  The terms of this agreement were then
supposed to be incorporated into the document that was then formally signed
by the parties on 15 September 2008. However, after the formal signing it
was discovered significant alterations had been made in the final document
to the terms agreed to on 11 September, 2008. These unilateral changes were
made by Zanu-PF's chief negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa, who drafted the final
agreement document. The most important alterations were these:

As ZANU PF already had 5 non-constituency seats in the Senate, it was agreed
that an additional 6 senators would be appointed. Out of the six, four would
be from the MDC Tsvangirai and two from the Mutambara MDC. However in the
final agreement that clause was changed and substituted with a clause saying
there would be 9 new senate seats, to be shared equally between the three
rival parties.

Two clauses in the original agreement were omitted from the final agreement.
The first provided that persons appointed as Deputy Prime Ministers and Vice
Presidents would automatically become ex officio members of Parliament and
if they were already members of Parliament their political parties would be
entitled to appoint non-constituency members of Parliament.  The second
omitted clause provided that the
Prime Minister and his Deputy Prime Ministers and the President and his Vice
Presidents would sit to make appointments of senior government officials
like Ambassadors and

Permanent Secretaries.

The lack of good faith and the absence of a paradigm shift by Zanu PF and,
more importantly, the lack of trust and respect they have exhibited towards
the other parties and the negotiation process itself are at the epicentre of
the current impasse.

4.4 Hate Speech

The political agreement stipulate that steps must be taken to ensure that
the public media provides balanced and fair coverage to all political
parties for their legitimate political activities. It further provides that
both the public and private media must refrain from using abusive language
that may incite political intolerance.

[Article 9.1 (d) and (e)]. These provisions continue to be breached by the
sole electronic broadcaster and the sole daily newspaper, both of which are
controlled by ZANU PF. This media continues to provide partisan coverage of
political events that is full of hate, malice and untruths and completely
biased in favour of ZANU PF. They carry many
articles attacking and abusing the MDC. They give almost no coverage to
statements and comments made by the MDC.

The Mugabe caretaker administration which controls these media has made no
attempt to put a stop to these egregious breaches of the agreement. This
must be done now.

4.5 Democratic Space

The agreement was supposed to result in the opening up of democratic space.
This has not happened. Article 12 recognises the importance of the freedoms
of assembly and association in a multi-party democracy.

It then goes on to oblige the parties to work together to ensure the full
realisation of these rights. The police are supposed to receive training to
appreciate the necessity to respect this right. In complete violation of the
spirit of this agreement the police have continued violently to break up
entirely peaceful protests mounted by civic organisations such as women and
student organisations, inflicting injuries on unresisting protestors and
arresting participants. In one protest action it is alleged that a number of
the protestors were abducted and badly assaulted by ZANU PF supporters. The
Mugabe caretaker administration remains in control of the police force and
other law enforcement agencies and has done nothing to prevent the police
from violating these rights. Since the signing of the agreement, there has
been a major curtailment of the democratic space in Zimbabwe. Public
meetings are not allowed to take place and, as of now, there is a ban on all
political meetings and gatherings contrary to the provisions of the GPA.

Regrettably ZANU PF continues to display complete intolerance of the MDC in
particular and Zimbabweans in general. The peoples' freedoms must be
restored now.

4.6 Abuse of Power

The MDC is also concerned about the continuing abuse of power by the
Governor of the Reserve Bank on behalf of ZANU PF. The so-called
quasi-fiscal measures of the Governor not only have no legal basis but also
they are often used to benefit ZANU PF members and to fund partisan
political activities by ZANU PF. These activities are contrary to the
provisions of the agreement.

The illegal siphoning off of funds to be used for this purpose must be
halted immediately.

5.      Constitutional Amendment No. 19

A draft Amendment to the Constitution was negotiated and agreed by the three
parties who were then to agree on the final version to be presented to
parliament. In clear breach of this, Zanu PF unilaterally gazetted the
Amendment on Saturday 11th December 2008.

Procedurally therefore, before the bill can be tabled in parliament, there
must be agreement on the final version or on any amendments to the gazetted
bill. Once this has been done, the bill must be passed by parliament,
executed by the President and enforced into law and a government formed.


When the Global Political Agreement was signed on 15th September 2008 it
raised the hopes of the people of Zimbabwe who supported the concept of a
negotiated settlement to the political crisis in the country. They also
realized that the foundations of such an agreement must be solid and that
any government that does not reflect the people's will as expressed on March
29th 2008, will not be legitimate or viable.

Unfortunately, events following the 15th September signing have shown that
in Zanu PF, the MDC has an unreliable partner with whom we are expected to
form an inclusive government. As such, nothing can be left to chance or to
faith and all practical modalities of this proposed working relationship
must be embedded and enforceable in law. As the then South African
President, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, rightly said in his letter to the President of
the MDC dated September 1, 2008 "the agreement concluded by the parties will
and must have legal force, deriving from constitutional amendments which
will be effected by the Parliament of Zimbabwe: accordingly, nobody or
institution should be given responsibilities without the legal power to
discharge these.

The African Union and SADC are supposed to be the underwriters and
guarantors of this agreement meaning, among other things, that these
organizations must ensure that all parties adhere to the agreement by
putting in place an oversight mechanism. Unfortunately this has not yet
happened, despite the overwhelming evidence that such a mechanism would have
a key role to play in ensuring the success of this agreement.

The People of Zimbabwe have become impatient with the unnecessary delays in
bringing about a new government that reflects their wishes and strives to
meet their aspirations and they hope that in the coming days wise counsel,
that has the best interests of Zimbabwe at heart, shall prevail.

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White Zim farmers protected by SADC ruling due to be evicted by Chair of Senate today


19 January 2009

The chair of the Zimbabwean Senate, Senator Edna Madzongwe, is due to evict
the Etheredge family from their Stockdale farm in Chegutu, south west of
Harare today.

This is despite the fact that the farm is protected by the SADC tribunal
judgement delivered in Windhoek, Namibia, on 28 November 2008.

Senator Madzongwe sent the local Chegutu lands officer (Kunonga) to inform
the Etheredges yesterday (Sunday).

The Etheredges also have a High Court order from October 2007 that protects
them, as well as a second High Court case making Senator Madzongwe
accountable for her actions in June 2008 when she evicted them with the
assistance of Gilbert Moyo.

During the eviction, the Etheredges' houses and workshops were completely
looted and two members of the family were beaten in the presence of members
of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

Moyo is a notorious 'war veteran" who operates from a militia base camp at
the Pickstone mine in the Chegutu district.  He is the beneficiary of
Masterpiece Farm, formerly occupied by Dave Ullyett, and has spearheaded
many of the atrocities in the area.

He has also been charged with robbery according to the Criminal Law
Codification Reform Act (8 counts up to July 28, 2008).

Moyo's main accomplice in this spree of violence and looting was Simberashe
Zindoga who is currently out on bail.

The Etheredge property has three farm houses and a 55 000-tree orange
orchard that generates US$4 million a year in exports.  It was purchased by
the father of Richard Etheredge (72) and has been in the family since 1926.

Ben Freeth of Mount Carmel farm (Chegutu), who together with his
father-in-law, Mike Campbell, were the first farmers to take their case to
the SADC tribunal, says this action further demonstrates Zanu PF's contempt
both for SADC and Zimbabwe's highest court.


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Farmer protected by SADC ruling faces eviction by Senate Chair

By Violet Gonda
18 January 2009

On the day that SADC leaders converged on Harare to try and break a
political stalemate between the rival Zimbabwe leaders, the Mugabe regime
was continuing to threaten white farmers.

Senate Chairperson, Senator Edna Madzongwe, threatened to evict the
Etheredge family from their Stockdale farm in Chegutu, south west of Harare
on Monday.

The Senator sent the Chairman of the Chegutu lands committee (Kunonga) to
the Etheredge farm on Sunday to inform them that their property would be
taken the following day by the Senator.

The Etheredge property has three farm houses and a 55 000-tree orange
orchard that generates US$4 million a year in exports.

Peter Etheredge said this was in complete violation of a SADC tribunal
judgement delivered on November 28th last year. He said his family also have
a court order issued by a High Court in 2007, protecting them.

He said he had told the lands officer that the eviction was against a High
Court order barring Madzongwe from going on to the farm, but Kunonga said
the High Court orders are 'are of no consequence'.

By late afternoon the situation was quiet at the farm, and they were still
there. But the Etheredges believe that is because of the talks that are
going on.

"We just don't know what is happening with these people and how they are
going to take it or operate."

Ben Freeth, one of the first farmers to take the land issue to the SADC
tribunal, said this latest eviction threat further demonstrates Zanu PF's
contempt, both for SADC and Zimbabwe's highest court.

Last year the same court made Madzongwe accountable for her actions when she
evicted the Etheredges then, with the assistance of Gilbert Moyo a notorious
war veteran.

It's reported that Moyo, who is also a beneficiary of Masterpiece Farm
formerly occupied by Dave Ullyett, operates a militia base camp at the
Pickstone mine in the Chegutu district.

A statement issued Monday said: "During the eviction (last year), the
Etheredges' houses and workshops were completely looted and two members of
the family were beaten in the presence of members of the Zimbabwe Republic

Peter Etheredge said Madzongwe has since 2007 tried four times to forcibly
evict the family from their Chegutu farm, but the High Court has maintained
that the Etheredges are the legal owners.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Purported war veteran threatens lawyers

January 19, 2009

By Mxolisi Ncube

JOHANNESBURG - An association for human rights lawyers says an unidentified
man, claiming to be one of the veterans of Zimbabwe's war of liberation,
stormed its offices and threatened unspecified action on both its members
and employees Monday.

Kumbirai Mafunda, communications officer for the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR), said Monday that the man accused the association of working
with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the West to destabilise
Zimbabwe and topple President Robert Mugabe.

This was after the self-proclaimed war veteran had failed to find Kucaca
Phulu, the ZLHR's regional manager for its Bulawayo satellite office, who
was not in the offices at that time.

"The man refused to identify himself but declared that he is a war veteran,"
said Mafunda.

"After learning that Mr Phulu was not in the office, the unidentified man
started ranting and threatening Mr Tineyi Mukwewa, the ZLHR paralegal who
was alone in the office at the time of the visit.

"He accused ZLHR of working to destablise the government and representing
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) 'criminals and bandits'. The
unidentified man blamed the ZLHR for the imposition of targeted sanctions
against some Zanu- PF and government officials.

"He castigated the ZLHR for advocating for the upholding of the rule of law
and being recipients of financial resources from hostile western
governments," he added.

Before he left, the man is said to have threatened that he and his
colleagues would take unspecific action against the ZLHR and its staff
saying; "We are going to deal with you."

Mafunda says that after the threats, both members of his organisation and
its employees were now fearful, especially as abductions of opposition
officials, journalists and other civic group activists are still going on.

"This is an indication of a further escalation of attacks against the legal
profession since the opening of the 2009 legal year, which cannot be
tolerated in a democratic society, which purports to adhere to the rule of
law," added Mafunda.

Last week, Judge President Rita Makarau, made comments that the MDC and some
independent bodies representing human rights lawyers could set the tone for
the victimisation of legal practitioners who are fighting against the state's
human rights abuses.

While opening the first term of the High Court last Monday, Makarau accused
some lawyers of passing "dumbfounding and disrespectful comments" on the
justice system in Zimbabwe to the "foreign media" and threatened that she
would act against them.

Many people accuse the Zimbabwean judiciary of being pro-Zanu PF, for its
alleged lack of independence from the executive.

"We (the judiciary) say that enough is enough," said Makarau, while opening
the first term of the High Court last Monday.

"We have turned the biblical cheek several times already."

After these comments by Makarau, the mainstream MDC's secretary for legal
and parliamentary affairs, Innocent Gonese, lashed out at the Judge
President, whom he accused of inciting the state to victimise some lawyers,
who have previously suffered in the hands of Mugabe's torture machine.

Gonese said that his party feared that "the subtle threats" made by Makarau
would give Mugabe the leeway to further persecute legal representatives for
human rights activists, or stifle their freedom of expression.

"We have no doubt that the Judge President was referring to those lawyers
who represent human rights defenders and who for so long have been on the
receiving end of the repressive regime under Zanu-PF," he said last Friday.

"We fear that the Judge President's threats to the lawyers representing
human rights defenders are a precursor to victimisation of these lawyers.

"It is also an excuse to deny the human rights defenders favourable orders
and then seeking to be insulated against criticism," said Gonese.

He said since 2003, innocent lawyers had been harassed by being physically
attacked, arrested, detained, kidnapped and tortured, while also being
crucified in the government-controlled media.

"Over the period 2000 to date and before, the State has engaged in every
conceivable human rights abuse including mass murders, mass displacements,
imprisonment of political opponents, but the Judge President said nothing,"
said Gonese.

"At a time when the Judge President ought to have said enough is enough to
excesses by the State, she chooses a "street fight" with lawyers defending
and protecting human rights defenders.

"The Judge President could not have been more irrelevant. Now that the Judge
President has removed her glove, the public can only expect worse."

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Daily cholera update and alerts, 18 Jan 2009

 Full_Report (pdf* format - 80.2 Kbytes)

A. Highlights of the day:

- 434 cases and 11 deaths added today (in comparison 650 cases and 45 deaths yesterday)

- 31.0 % of the areas affected have reported today (18 out of 58 affected districts)

- 60 cases from Harare (Mbare- 11 cases; Glen View–10 cases; Budiriro- 5 cases; Mabvuku- 4 cases; Dzivarasekwa, Kuwadzana, Marlborough-3 cases each; Glen Norah, Mabelreign- 2 cases each; Mufakose, Borrowdale, Kambuzuma, Waterfalls, Whitecliffe, Tafara, Tynwald, Southerton, Hatfield, Chitungwiza, Crowborough – 1 case each; Unspecified- 5 cases)

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

- All 10 of the country's provinces are affected

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Daily cholera update and alerts, 17 Jan 2009

 Full_Report (pdf* format - 79.1 Kbytes)

***Completeness of reporting updated. Twenty-six out of fifty-eight districts reported on 17 January 2009

A. Highlights of the day:

- 650 cases and 45 deaths added today (in comparison 997 cases and 65 deaths yesterday)

- 51.7 % of the areas affected have reported today (30 out of 58 affected districts)

- 39 cases from Harare (Budiriro - 8, Mabvuku, Mbare, Glen View – 4 each, Dzivarasekwa-3, Mufakose, Tafara, Whitecliffe -2 each, Hatcliffe, Hopley, Kuwadzana, Grange, Greencroft, Westgate, Warren Park, Eastlea, Marlborough, Borrowdale – 1 each)

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

- All 10 of the country's provinces are affected

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UK MPs battle against deportation of Zimbabwean rights activist

APA - London (United Kingdom) Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom
are fighting to stop the Home Office from urgently deporting a leading
Zimbabwean human rights activist, APA learns here Monday.

The MPs insist that the move will place Luka Phiri's life in danger.

Phiri, a former aide to the vice-president of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), Thokozani Khupe, is currently being held at a
crowded Colnbrook Immigration Centre in England.

Official documents show he was due to be deported last Wednesday, but the
move was promptly blocked following timely intervention from the MP of the
area where Phiri resides; and a ruling Labour Party's Minister Stephen
Timms, backed by a good number of other politicians, including Kate Hoey,
chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Zimbabwe.

Although the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, has assured (following
all-round allegations of 'double-standard' and rights violation against
asylum-seekers) that his government will not remove Zimbabweans from the UK,
two immigration judges have approved Phiri's removal on the grounds he
entered the country on a Malawian passport.

Phiri, who grew up in Zimbabwe, insists he acquired the Malawian passport
when he fled his native country after being tortured by Robert Mugabe's

In another twist of the event, Malawian immigration officials have
threatened Phiri with arrest and prosecution if he dares enter the country,
accusing the Zimbabwean of "obtaining a passport fraudulently", diplomatic
sources confirmed Monday in London.

"Due to overcrowding in Malawi prisons, we will turn him over to the
Zimbabwe authorities," a Malawian official stated.

With Phiri's deportation order now the subject of a judicial review in the
UK, Zimbabweans in UK pledged Monday: "We are solidly behind Luka; and
strongly believe he is a Zimbabwean".

Urging the Home Office to halt his deportation, the Zimbabweans described
Luka as a consistent and vocal critic of Mugabe; "whose deportation is bound
to be known to the authorities in Harare".

  ME/daj/APA 2009-01-19

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Corruption bedevils farming inputs

Photo: IRIN
Food in short supply
HARARE, 19 January 2009 (IRIN) - An audit of an agricultural inputs programme aimed at rewarding productive farmers has unearthed cases of corrupt reselling of the aid by senior government officials and parliamentarians.

Brig-Gen Douglas Nyikayaramba, in charge of logistics of the "Champion Farmers" programme, told the official Sunday Mail newspaper that some senior ruling party officials, including eight parliamentarians, had resold the free inputs, or hired farmers to farm on their behalf with the intention of splitting the profits from harvest sales.

"We will soon reveal the names of the members of the august House who have been caught up in the scam. This is tantamount to corruption and the culprits will be charged accordingly," Nyikayaramba was quoted as saying.

The government's Champion Farmers scheme, designed to boost production, has been mired in controversy over its lack of transparency and potential for politicisation. The delays in distribution, with the rainy season well underway, have also been criticised for undermining whatever benefit could have been achieved.

A farmer in Chegutu, about 80km south of the capital, Harare, told IRIN that his maize crop was waist high and in urgent need of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, but none was in the shops and he was not a beneficiary of input aid.

"All we hear are that some of our neighbours have received fertiliser, but we don't know what criteria are being used by the soldiers to distribute the fertiliser. The lack of transparency in the whole exercise will have the effect of creating more man-made food shortages."

Speaking on condition of anonymity, for fear of victimisation, the farmer said, "It is the ordinary Zimbabwean farmer and citizen who are being affected by the corruption because the inputs are surfacing on the black market, being sold at extortionist rates."

Renson Gasela, secretary for agriculture of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Arthur Mutambara, said anomalies in the Champion Farmer programme were not surprising, and doubted that ZANU-PF officials would be prosecuted.

"To start with, the army should not be playing an active role in the distribution of farming inputs - they are only likely to give them to their friends and a few well-connected farmers," he told IRIN.

South Africa has provided Zimbabwe with a R300 million (US$32 million) agricultural inputs package, which been distributed without an agreed monitoring mechanism involving NGOs and regional governments in place to ensure transparency, IRIN reported on 14 January.

At least 5.5 million people - over half Zimbabwe's population - are in need of food aid as a result of a series of poor harvests and an economic crisis that has robbed farmers of the ability to afford seeds, fertiliser and fuel. 


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Railway workers down tools as demand for forex salaries grows

By Alex Bell
19 January 2009

Railway workers in Bulawayo have the become the latest working group in
Zimbabwe to down tools, as the country's civil servants and workers are
daily becoming more impatient with being paid in the worthless local

Rampant hyperinflation and the daily value-loss of the local dollar makes it
almost impossible to pin-point the exact cash exchange value of the
currency, although it's understood a single US dollar now equals one
trillion Zimbabwe dollars. This was confirmed by a source on Monday who
explained that the airport parking fee on Friday had risen to Z$1 trillion
or US$1. The almost total dollarisation of the local economy has highlighted
the useless nature of the local dollar, and yet the majority of the country's
workers and civil servants are still receiving salaries in Zimbabwe dollars.

The situation has now seen Bulawayo's railway workers refuse to return to
work until their salary grievances are addressed by the General Manager of
the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), a stand-off that led to violence on
Friday. SW Radio Africa's Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme explained
that five workers were injured when riot police were ordered to disperse a
union meeting held at Bulawayo's NRZ passenger platform on Friday afternoon.

"The NRZ area manager came uninvited to the meeting in the company of riot
police," Saungweme explained. "When the workers refused to deal with him, he
ordered the riot police to disperse the group, who did so with their usual
brutal efficiency."

The railway workers have vowed to not to resume working until the NRZ
General Manager meets them, and once again grouped at the Bulawayo station
on Monday waiting a response. The meeting came as some of the country's
soldiers caused chaos in Bulawayo banks on Monday morning after refusing to
accept their January salaries, believed to be Z$16 trillion. The soldiers
reportedly chanted anti-Mugabe slogans stating their salaries are a mockery
and have insisted the ZANU PF regime pays them in foreign currency.

Saungweme was unable to confirm the incident but explained that salary
grievances are a "national concern touching all levels." He argued that the
local dollar is 'just as good as tissue paper' and an unrealistic form of

Mugabe's once loyal armed forces are reportedly now threatening to turn
their backs on the dictator if their salary concerns are not addressed, and
have argued that they should be prioritised over their counterparts in the
health sector. Health workers are set to receive foreign currency salaries
after a financial bail out plan was offered by the UN's Global Fund and
other NGOs, although it is not yet clear if striking health workers have
accepted the Health Ministry's proposed payment plan.

Meanwhile, state teachers have remained on strike over their salary demands,
after the government rejected a proposed teacher-rescue package, which would
have seen the country's educators being paid in foreign currency. The school
year has already been postponed by more than two weeks, and although the new
term is set to start at the end of the month, teachers' union officials have
said they don't believe the year will ever get underway.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Soldiers refuse salaries

      Monday, 19 January 2009

      Bulawayo (ZimEye) - Zimbabwe's soldiers have refused to accept their
January salaries, demanding that the Zanu-PF regime pays them in foreign

      There was chaos at banks on Monday as soldiers chanted anti-Mugabe
slogans saying that their salaries were a mockery.

      The soldiers were supposed to get $16 trillion, an amount that is
equivalent to 50 Rands at the parallel market.

      Sources in the army said they were not happy with how the Zanu-PF
regime were treating them and threatened that there will be unrest if the
soldiers' grievances were not addressed.

      "We are extremely angry because we are paid peanuts. What's $16
trillion in Zimbabwe. We don't need Zimbabwe dollars, they are worthless.
What we want is to paid in foreign currency," said an army officer.

      The source said officers from the army, that is commanded by president
Robert Mugabe, said a private was supposed to be paid US$2 000 per month. He
said the cost of living was rising daily and it did not make sense to accept
Zimbabwe dollars.

      He said soldiers should be prioritized just like their counterparts in
the Ministry of Health who are due to receive payment in foreign currency.
The health sector is being assisted by the Global Fund and non-governmental
organisations to pay workers in foreign currency.

      "We understand that teachers will also be given foreign currency, so
why leave out soldiers. We will not take that Zimbabwe dollar rubbish. Its
not money because you will never shop anywhere," said the disgruntled

      Authoritative police sources said the officers will not accept payment
in Zimbabwe dollars. He added that salaries must be paid in hard currency
since shops are charging prices in US dollars.
      (ZimEye, Zimbabwe)

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MDC the road map

The Road Map to a New Zimbabwe: The Key Sign Posts

In May of 2006, the Movement for Democratic Change, released a thoroughly thought through document entitled, The Road Map, MDC Proposals for the Resolution of the Zimbabwean Crisis: Sign Posts to Peace, Democracy, Legitimacy, Reconstruction and National Healing. This seminal document of the party remains as relevant as ever, indeed real and illuminating sign posts to peace, democracy, legitimacy, reconstruction and national healing.

We invite you to re-read this document mutatis mutandis, the various accompanying and attendant developments that have happened since then.

For the document please visit

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Zimbabwean women and children: A daily life of tragedies

Monday, 19 January 2009 08:53 administrator

By Gibson Nyambuya
Imagine a life in which you are the bread winner and you have six
malnourished children, all of them dependent on you, scavenging for wild
fruits everyday for just their survival, listening to them daily using the
little energy from wild fruits to ask if there is still hope on the
political deal so that they, can have food, they can go to school, they can
get health care, so that they can have hope, ambition and dreams, so that
they can have a life after all, a new beginning. Such is the daily life of
Zimbabwean women and children, a life of tragedies and double tragedies.

With no signs of a political settlement in sight, cholera still mercilessly
dissipating desperate Zimbabweans, starvation still a reality, with Mugabe's
intransigence showing no signs of abating and increasingly becoming
calamitous, Zimbabweans, helpless and hopeless have nothing good to look for
in the starting new year as agony, despair and strife extend into 2009

Carrying their sullen, wrinkled and forlorn eyed faces and emaciated bodies,
Zimbabwean women have struggled and struggled for the past ten years. Theirs
has been a lifetime of struggles, a life full of empty promises. A life
whose meaning and destiny is not in their hands. A sad life where husbands
become refugees in neighboring countries and never look back again. A life
full of hardships, full of despair, full of agony, full of tragedies. A
painful life, a directionless life, a worthless life. A life when you are a
double victim. Victims of politics, victims of political consequences.

From 2000 up to 2009, Zimbabwean women have endured what many men cannot
bear for a day. From ever then, they have suffered as a result of men's
stupidity, they are only victims, sorry victims of political nuisance.
Victims of political struggles, victims of power fight. Victims of
intransigence, victims of sheer cruelty, victims of royal gradual genocide.
Victims of the world's defeaning silence.

Since then they have been political tools. Tools for work, Zanu pf works.
Tools whose worth is known only during election times. Mugabe and his thugs
have used them and disused them over and over again. They have been priced,
the only people the world over with prices. Surely, they have been forced to
carry price tags inscribed Zanu pf voter. They are voters, not electors.
Once you elect, you invite the full wrath of the political Demigods of Zanu
pf. A parcel of rape, molestation, torture, beatings and abuse will come
your way.

From the beatings of the farm invasions era, the abuses, rape and torture in
the subsequent elections up to 2008 run off and the current abductions,
women have borne the full-scale burden. Children have suffered as well. The
world was shocked to hear from our own leaders here that a 2-year-old child
could recruit bandits to unseat an unelected government lead by an 84 year
old! That is a tragedy in every sense, a double tragedy for Zimbabwean women
and children.

It is unthinkable and way unimaginable even in a madmen's paradise to hear
that a 2 year old baby can together with its mother be accused by anyone mad
or normal of recruiting and training bandits to topple a government which is
not there, or topple an unelected group of people masquerading as
government. If that happens, then it's a tragedy. That happened here in
Zimbabwe. A two-year toddler was arrested together with its mother for a
crime as above! May God forgive all who are doing this in Zimbabwe.

The year 2008 saw a lot, from elections in March, through the killing spree
in June, up to the Cholera and abductions era. Throughout these times, women
and children were silent victims. Still they remain victims up until the
world learns to deal with ghosts in government. Victims of crimes they know
not, the end they see not. After the June one off in which Mugabe and his
killing machine did a through job in making sure women became political
tools, victims.

The year stretched as hunger, starvation, cholera and diseases added more
misery to the already dire situation. For the kids, the year 2008 saw no
schooling as all schools closed citing lack of personnel. The year is in
terms of academics, a tragedy, a complete write off. Time wasted, time lost.
Back home, the kids faced cholera, persecution, they faced starvation, and
they faced death. Many died as a result of the tragedy, a man made tragedy.
Those who survived death by arson attack from Zanu thugs, faced cholera in a
country whose health system is collapsed; those that saw off cholera now
face a sure death by starvation.

In 2008, hope was rekindled when the political deal signed. Women and
children were the happiest. They were happy to hope for the end to their
decade of misery, agony, hunger, strife, persecution and strife. Surely the
deal, they wished it to be a deal, their deal. For months they held their
breath, praying, panting and exasperating but still hoping for the deal to
deliver them from the jaws of strife. Waiting anxiously for the deal that
will deliver from the prison, lead them out of the treacherous valley of
diseases, hunger, poverty and wholesale death into the smooth, warm plains
of hope, ambition, plenty, health and life. Surely the deal was supposed to
mean an end to a daily life of tragedies.

 For women and children, 2009 is but an extension of strife. An extension of
2008, an extension of misery, despair and agony. There is no hope. There is
no zeal. There is no ambition. No dreams. There is all but tragedy after
tragedies, surviving by the grace of the one above. The life ahead of women
and children in Zimbabwe is full horror unless something happens. Unless and
until the world knows what's going on as far as women and children are
concerned. Until when the world rethinks about Mbeki, SADC, Zanu pf and
Mugabe women and children will continue to sing the one song, a song of
despair from the hymn book of daily tragedies.

Women watch helplessly as Zimbabwe's spoiled political protagonists call
each other names fighting over ministerial posts. They watch in horror, as
the leaders take no notice of all they face daily. They are silenced by the
lack of urgency in all the leaders; lack of seriousness, lack of heart is
all-good to describe them from Mugabe to Morgan. All of them have put the
whole nation to ransom, surely putting women and children to ransom for
power. What more of tragedy one needs?

Zimbabwean children are still speechless on Mbeki. One man they know
contributed to their misery, their tragedy. He, to their shock said Zimbabwe
was not a crisis. They wonder even today how one leader of a nation can say
that ours was not a crisis. What they failed to understand more is how more
than fifteen heads of state still believe that same back can solve a crisis
he can not see in the first place. Surely there can be a worse tragedy a
child can find itself in Africa.

Agony, despair, hopelessness, disease, starvation and wholesale deaths made
2008 for us here. Still, they show no signs of abating. Even at least
showing signs of slowing down. Desperate no longer describes the situation.
Despair too does not match what's happening. Ours is no longer a crisis, it's
a calamity. A man made calamity. Surely, the world watches while all of us
here perish. We perish in the hands of a serious plague, a cancer like junta
masquerading as a democracy. A group of death messengers who knows no value
of humanity, the sacredness of life is but nothing near the value of power
and riches. Their love of money is both root and stem to evildoing.

Its 2009 and still the world watches us burn in a fire one man and his
shenanigans stoke mercilessly. Its 2009, still the guilty remain
unprosecuted and freer than the tormented. Surely, it pains us when we ask
why the world has remained satisfied with shouting and barking here and
there. It boggles the mind how the world, the whole world seeks to win
against mad dogs by just whistling louder. Its 2009, the crisis continues.
The voices of despair hazy as their lives set like a sun. The yells of agony
from the children get fewer as many perish, decimated by cholera, hunger or
other. For Zimbabweans, agony and despair is still theirs into 2009.

All vaults of hope are dry, as dry as our food reserves. Our cries for help
get fewer as many are silenced forever to rest eternally. Streams of bitter
and hopeless tears pierce through the plains of ambition and wish in our
hearts. We stare and still stare the valleys of bones, as the bones get
drier and increasing. Our food reserves are empty, very empty. What is
there, we cannot afford. Those of us who claim to own us made us poorer,
each day we get poorer. They cannot feed us anymore. Nobody is coming. Its
2009, a year we all hoped will be better, far better than the crisis laden

This is a cry for help, a cry to heard. A loud cry from victims of tragedy.
A cry from the land of Zimbabwe. The author can be contacted on
gibnyambayo@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots.
You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Cops probing Grace's 'attack'

19/01/2009 14:15  - (SA)

Hong Kong - Police in Hong Kong were investigating on Monday whether an
alleged assault by the wife of Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe during a
shopping trip was captured on video.

Investigators were told that Grace Mugabe allegedly repeatedly punched a
newspaper photographer in the street took beneath a security camera on the
side of a shopping centre.

The incident occurred at the Tsim Sha Tsui Centre on Mody Road where Mrs
Mugabe, 43, allegedly attacked Richard Jones, chief photographer of Hong
Kong photo agency Sinopix, after he photographed her shopping on Thursday.

Jones was on assignment for the Sunday Times in London and was tailing Mrs
Mugabe, whose home country relies heavily on food aid, on her trip to Hong
Kong with an entourage including friends and bodyguards.

After her bodyguard chased after Jones and tried to grab his camera, Mrs
Mugabe allegedly ran over and punched the 42-year-old Welshman repeatedly in
the face and head, causing abrasions.

Jones said the attack took place directly beneath one CCTV camera and within
range of another camera further along the side of the shopping centre.

Police will study footage from the cameras, the property of shopping centre
owners Sinoland, and are also expected to take formal statements from a
reporter and second photographer working with Jones at the time of the

"I have been very impressed by the response of the police," Jones said.
"They are being very professional and thorough in their investigation and
they are clearly taking what happened very seriously.

"I have no idea if Mrs Mugabe can be brought back to Hong Kong if an assault
case comes to court, but I am pleased to see that it's being looked into
properly and isn't just being put to one side because of who she is."

Mugabe checked out of the Shangri-la Hotel where she stayed with her
entourage and returned to Zimbabwe on Friday, a day before Jones reported
the incident to police.

A Hong Kong police spokesperson yesterday confirmed the investigation was

Criticised in the past for her lavish spending while most Zimbabweans suffer
appalling poverty, she married the president in 1996 after the death of his
first wife, to whom he was married for 40 years. - Sapa-dpa


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Comment from a correspondent

Your correspondent from calling himself Tendai Masanga
needs to tell the truth about the situation obtaining in zimbabwwe. The fact
that he was able to travel to zimbabwe since 2003 should have been used to
good effect to tell your readers about the situation that is obtaining in
zimbabwe presently.

To peddle the fiction or terminological inaccuracies or inoperative
statements about the state of prices in zimbabwe plays straight into the
hands of the supporters of government who believe that the independent press
does not have anything good to say about them(not that there is anything
good to say about them anyhow). Peddling falsehoods does not help the
matter, it dilutes the credibility of the author(maybe he just does not
care) and publisher.Would be new readers and current ones are disullusioned
with such drivel. Remember the majority of your readership are in zimbabwe
and if not are greatly informed about what is happening on the ground.

Tendayi tells your readers that 2kg of rice costs most local shops
it is going for usd3 per kg. Toilet rolls( a luxury item in zim) 5 dollars
can get you 8 rolls as they are packed in 4s each set going for usd2.30-2.50
and a 10kg roll of mealie meal is going for usd 7. A round trip from the
city to Malbereign is 2 usd. While the prices in zimbabwe are a lot higher
than those charged in the region they have not yet reached the heights that
Tendayi has prerscribed for them. Of course given the rate we are going
there is no telling when they will get to this point..for now usd 40 can buy
you twice what is on Tendayi's shopping basket.

Is Tendayi sure that he was in Zimbabwe or maybe he went to some other
up-market shop in Chicago? The idea could be perhaps to impress his friends
that he has been to hell(Zimbabwe) and back. I f this is the case then it is
really unfortunate.

After spending all of about 6 years in Stateside one would have thought
Tendayi has benefited somewhat from, according to their parlance in the
states, 'Keeping it real'. Anything less does not help the Zim cause at all.

Things are hard enough in as it is in Zimbabwe and your readership(in
zimbabwe) does not need these contributions from these people who obviosly
show such contempt for them by peddling such blatant lies.Its like our own
government that tell us that our problems are authored in the West when we
see them  with our own eyes stealing our chickens in broad daylight!

Best Regards,


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