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Zimbabwe talks end without agreement-SADC

Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:07pm GMT

HARARE, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and the
opposition failed to reach agreement over power-sharing talks at a meeting
on Monday, an official of regional body SADC said.

"The meeting was not conclusive and ... on 25th January, the chairman of
SADC is going to report to an extraordinary summit of SADC on the meeting
held in Harare," Southern African Development Community executive secretary
Tomaz Salomao told reporters.

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Mugabe says talks to go on in Zimbabwe ahead of summit

HARARE, Jan 20 (AFP)

President Robert Mugabe said power-sharing talks with his rival Morgan
Tsvangirai will continue in Zimbabwe ahead of a regional summit next week,
after negotiations Monday failed to reach a deal.

Mugabe said the talks broke down after Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) presented its own proposals which differed from recommendations
by the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC).

"We will continue with discussions here at home," Mugabe told reporters
after leaving the talks. "We shall continue to exchange ideas and see where
the differences are with the SADC proposal."

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Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Hangs By a Thread; Regional Summit Called


      By Irwin Chifera & Jonga Kandemiiri
      Harare & Washington
      19 January 2009

Zimbabwe's troubled power-sharing process was left in limbo late Monday as
leaders of the Southern African Development Community who were attempting to
broker a last-ditch deal between President Robert Mugabe and opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai came up empty-handed and punted the matter to a
special SADC summit one week's time.

"This is a sad day for Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai told reporters upon emerging
from the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare, the same venue where he, Mugabe and
rival opposition leader Arthur Mutambara last Sept. 15 signed a
power-sharing pact that was supposed to give rise to a unity government but
has since bogged down over just how power will be shared.

Tsvangirai told reporters he is still committed to the power-sharing deal,
but said ZANU-PF must show its sincerity by making further concessions.

Mr. Mugabe told reporters,"The meeting was not successful; it broke down."

He said SADC officials including South African President Kgalema Motlanthe
had proposed a solution to get a government afoot, but Tsvangirai's
formation of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change had tabled a
counter-proposal at odds with the SADC plan.

Mr. Mugabe said his ZANU-PF and the MDC would continue talks in Harare to
see if they can find common ground, then will take the discussion to the
SADC summit.

Mutambara, like Tsvangirai, declared it "a sad day" for the country. He said
the talks failed because Mr. Mugabe and Tsvangirai could not agree, calling
their positions "untenable."

He said Zimbabwe "deserves better leaders than Robert Mugabe and Morgan

Most observers had not voiced optimism as to the chances of a breakthrough
deal in these talks. Tsvangirai, who leads the dominant formation of the
Movement for Democratic Change, had repeated that he would not join a
government without a fair distribution of cabinet seats and other key posts,
also demanding the release of opposition activists held on charges they
conspired to topple the government. Mugabe said he would make no more

Reflecting keen regional concern, Monday's session was attended by South
African President Kgalema Motlanthe, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza
and SADC Secretary General Tomaz Salomao, as well as longtime Zimbabwe
mediator Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa until late last year. But
the high-level SADC intervention was to no avail.

Salomao told reporters around midnight that the Tsvangirai MDC formation had
presented its positions on the appointment of provincial governors and other
top posts, on the alleged violation of the power-sharing agreement by Mr.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, and on the composition of a proposed national
security council governing security forces.

Salomao said the SADC officials had made recommendations - but that these
would only be made public after they have been presented to an extraordinary
SADC summit to be held on Jan. 26, either at SADC headquarters in Gaborone,
Botswana, or in South Africa.

A similar summit was held in Pretoria, South Africa, in October - without
yielding the hoped-for agreement between the Zimbabwean parties.

As the comments from the principals indicated, diplomatic niceties did not
conceal that what most observers saw as a make-or-break negotiating session
had failed to yield results.

Power-sharing remains a possibility - but an increasingly distant one.

The approach was intended to provide a structure for coexistence by the
long-ruling ZANU-PF party of President Mugabe and Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change, which in the March elections claimed a parliamentary
majority but failed to unseat Mr. Mugabe although electoral officials
acknowledged Tsvangirai achieved a plurality over the aging leader.

For ZANU-PF the arrangement offered the chance of retaining a significant
measure of control over the country despite the MDC's electoral inroads,
while for the MDC the power-sharing solution offered hope of an end to
political violence mainly targeting the opposition.

Ordinary Zimbabweans welcomed the power-sharing agreement because it
promised a more politically balanced and responsible government which could,
with the help of foreign donors, move to resuscitate the economy and expand
food aid and other humanitarian relief.

Correspondent Irwin Chifera of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe was at the
Rainbow Towers venue earlier Monday evening and provided an update on the
high-stakes negotiations.

Observers earlier said that in light of recent declarations by the
principals, the talks did not seem likely to break the impasse between
President Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Political analyst John Makumbe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the
positions of the two leaders before the meeting suggested the talks were
doomed to failure.

National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku said statements
made ahead of the meeting could be misleading as the parties have shifted
their positions in the past - but acknowledged that the odds were against a
breakthrough agreement.

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Despair over failed Zimbabwean power-sharing talks

January 20, 2009

Article from:  Agence France-Presse
ZIMBABWE opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said 12 hours of power-sharing
talks with President Robert Mugabe amounted to "the darkest day of our

"We came to this meeting hoping we would put the  people's plight to rest
and conclude these power-sharing discussions,'' Tsvangirai told reporters as
he left talks mediated by South African President Kgalema Motlanthe.

"Unfortunately, there's been no progress because the very same outstanding
issues on the agenda... are the same issues that are creating this
impasse,'' said the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"For us as the MDC, this is probably the darkest day of our lives, for the
whole nation is waiting.

"We are committed to this deal. We are committed to the power-sharing
government, subject to the resolution of these issues.''

President Mugabe said power-sharing talks would continue in Zimbabwe ahead
of a regional summit next week.

Mugabe said the talks broke down after Tsvangirai's MDC presented its own
proposals which differed from recommendations by the 15-nation Southern
African Development Community (SADC).

"We will continue with discussions here at home,'' Mugabe told reporters
after leaving the talks.

"We shall continue to exchange ideas and see where the differences are with
the SADC proposal.''

Leaders of the 15-nation SADC will hold the summit on Monday, January 26 in
a new bid to break the deadlock, the group's executive secretary Tomaz
Salomao told reporters.

"The meeting was not conclusive,'' he said of the talks on Monday between
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

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Mutambara backs Tsvangirai

Local News
January 19, 2009 | By Simba Dzvairo
MDC Faction leader Arthur Mutambara told reporters on Monday that his
faction supports the demands of Tsvangirai's mainstream MDC as a regional
bid to resolve Zimbabwe's unity government deadlock was under way Monday.

"We support those demands. We hope and trust Robert Mugabe and his party
will be able to respond positively to the demands," Mutambara said.

But while Mutambara called for "flexibility, compromise and pragmatism" the
state-run Herald has labelled the talks as "D-Day", with Mugabe and
Tsvangirai saying the meeting could be the last attempt to make the
September deal work.

Mugabe threatened Sunday to break off power-sharing talks if the opposition
declined a deal, saying "either they accept or it's a break" in the
government mouthpiece Sunday Mail newspaper.

Tsvangirai's MDC meanwhile, insisted it would not join a unity government
until all its concerns had been addressed - including allegations that its
supporters had been abducted and tortured by state security agents.

Motlanthe, Mbeki and Guebuza were to meet the Zimbabwe leaders before
negotiating teams for the three parties tackle the details of their

Mugabe and Tsvangirai have yet to agree on how to share power within cabinet
despite repeated interventions by African leaders.

"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," said South African government
spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa.

Included in talks would be a constitutional amendment that would give effect
to the power-sharing arrangement ahead of a parliamentary session on
Tuesday, he added.

The agreement calls for 84-year-old Mugabe to remain president while
Tsvangirai would take the new post of prime minister.

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Fireworks expected in Zimbabwe's parliament

The Zimbabwe Parliament resumes sessions January 20, 2009.

Zimbabwe’s Parliament resume business Tuesday and fireworks are expected in the august house as legislators debate over the constitutional amendment number 19 bill.
The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa will table the bill in the House of Assembly during the session.

Constitutional amendment number 19 bill is designed to facilitate the implementation of the 15 September Global Peace Agreement that was signed by President Robert Mugabe of Zanu-PF, MDC leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.

MDC legislators vowed not to pass the bill, which favours Zanu-PF. They said the bill should represent the will of the people as the country awaits a new constitution.

“We will make sure wet what the people want. We were chosen to represent the people and we are going to do that,” said an MDC MP in Bulawayo.

Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma revealed that the minister of Justice would give notice of his intention to table the Bill before it could be captured on the Order Paper, a schedule that shows parliamentary business for the day.

"It is the duty of the minister responsible for any Bill to rise and give notice on when he intends to present a Bill. We expect that to happen when the House resumes sitting," he told the state-run media.

According to the proposed constitutional amendment, President Mugabe remains Head of State and Government deputised by Vice Presidents Joseph Msika and Joice Mujuru while Tsvangirai becomes Prime Minister with the leader of the other MDC splinter group Mutambara, and MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe deputising him.

Government is also expected to introduce other regulations under the constitutional amendment.

Some of them include the establishment of a Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to promote human rights and investigate any abuses in the country.

Constitutional Amendment (Number 19) also provides for the establishment and functions of the Zimbabwe Media Commission.

The functions of the commission would be to uphold and develop freedom of the media, promote and enforce good practice and ethics in the profession, ensure equitable and wide access to information and develop all indigenous languages spoken in the country.

Zimbabwe has the toughest media regulations and many journalists have been arrested, kidnapped and killed for working for the private media. The state-controlled Media and Information Commission recently announced high accreditation fees for foreign media houses.

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The Threat at the end of the Tunnel

Sinister new plans that could put Morgan Tsvangirai behind bars

Tsvangirai and Mugabe are talking again. It's a last ditch attempt to agree
on a power sharing government in Zimbabwe, and everyone says it's doomed to
failure. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for Morgan Tsvangirai.
But there could be a very nasty surprise.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe are being watched by President Motlanthe and
Ex-President Mbeki of South Africa and President Armando Guebuza of
Mozambique. And my advice to Tsvangirai is just this:  when and if these
Harare talks break down, hitch a lift out of Zimbabwe with one or other
president. Stay - and you could be in big trouble.

My sources within Mugabe's Zanu-PF cabal tell me that plans are well
advanced for the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to be
arrested as soon as the talking stops. The charge will be treason. And this
time Mugabe means it.

Tsvangirai will not be held in any local police station. He won't be knocked
about a bit, then released, as he was last year. Instead he will be hauled
off to the notorious police torture camp at Bindura in Mashonaland, where a
vintage Zanu-PF reception committee is already waiting for him.

"They have his cell well prepared," my source told me. "The guys with the
sticks can't wait to start beating him, they want to hear him squeal like a

Tsvangirai is clearly aware that he is in danger. He has stayed out of the
country for weeks until this meeting, and he has watched from Botswana as
many senior MDC officials and supporters have been abducted by the
authorities. To date 32 party members are known to be in custody, and
another 11 are missing.

It is Tsvangirai's demands that his people be released, together with the
long-term disagreement over the make-up of a power-sharing government, that
has helped doom these latest talks to probably failure. He can't be seen now
to give in to Mugabe's conditions.

Mugabe, too, is sticking to his guns. With no intention of any real sharing
of power, he has anticipated that these talks will fail. Then he will make
his move, charging Tsvangirai with treason, with plotting the removal of the
President, and with attempting to raise forces in Botswsana to invade

Grab a lift and get out of there, Morgan. Before it's too late.

Posted on Monday, 19 January 2009 at 21:00

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Six drown while crossing flooded Limpopo

January 19, 2009

By Mxolisi Ncube

JOHANNESBURG - At least six Zimbabwean border-jumpers drowned in the flooded
Limpopo River over the weekend, as they attempted to illegally cross into
South Africa, their country's prosperous neighbour to the south.

The Monday edition of a South African daily newspaper - The Daily Sun,
published the sad picture of the body of one of the drowned Zimbabweans
still floating in the giant river, while several onlookers helplessly stood
across the river, watching the immigrants die.

Both South African police and their Zimbabwean counterparts in the border
town of Beitbridge confirmed to The Zimbabwe Times that they were
investigating the case, although they were working on different figures of
the victims Monday.

"Six illegal Zimbabweans immigrants were eaten by the Limpopo River ..
swollen by this time of the year by heavy rains," the paper reported in

"They were desperate to get out of Zimbabwe, South Africa's broken northern
neighbour, where life has become hell, but they are all dead."

The paper quoted eye witnesses saying that the six drowned after the fragile
canoe they were using capsized in the middle of the roaring torrent of the
flooded river, which has received a substantial amount of water due to the
current heavy rains.

"I saw the vessel overturning, leaving them to drown," the paper quoted one
Clive Chedza, another Zimbabwean immigrant already living in South Africa.

"I cried because I knew they were coming to South Africa to seek a better

Limpopo provincial police spokesman, Captain Mhlotiu Ringani, told The
Zimbabwe Times Monday morning that the lawmen were investigating the case,
after hearing about the case over the weekend.

"I can confirm that we have heard about that case, which we are
investigating. So far we do not have all the details, as we are still trying
to get details from the few eye witnesses that we have," said Ringani.

"The problem is that some of the immigrants do not come to the police to
report such cases for fear that they might be arrested and deported, but we
have managed to see a few who are willing to assist."

A Zimbabwean police Superintendent working at the Beitbridge Rural police
district also confirmed that they were investigating the case, but said they
had received reports of a higher number than the six cited by the South
African police.

"We have been told that more than 20 people drowned between Saturday and
Sunday in the same manner. We are now waiting for scuba divers from the
Bulawayo Support Unit camp to arrive, so that they search for the bodies,"
said the Superintendent.

He said that hundreds of Zimbabweans die every year either through drowning
or through being mauled by crocodiles in the Limpopo River as they try to
cross into South Africa illegally. He said many cases went unreported due to
the immigrants' fear of arrest.

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Magistrate set to rule on activists' application

by Wayne Mafaro Tuesday 20 January 2009

HARARE - A magistrate's court is today expected to make a ruling on an
application by a jailed human rights campaigner and an opposition MDC party
activist to have their case referred to the Supreme Court.

"Magistrate Gloria Takundwa will make a ruling on Tuesday on our application
to have Broderick Takawira and Audrey Zimbudzana's case referred to the
constitutional court," their lawyer Alec Muchadehama told ZimOnline.

Takawira a staffer at a human rights organisation - Zimbabwe Peace Project
(ZPP) - and MDC activist Zimbudzana are arguing that their abduction and
continued detention violated their constitutional rights and freedom and
have asked the magistrate for permission to take their case to the Supreme
Court, the country's highest court that hears constitutional matters.

"Our argument is that their constitutional rights and freedom were violated
through abduction and forced disappearance and their continued
incarceration," Muchdehama said.

Takawira and Zimbudzana are part of a group of about 40 human rights
defenders and opposition MDC activists accused of attempting to recruit
people for military training in neighbouring Botswana to overthrow President
Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.

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

Torture and other forms of inhuman punishment are illegal in Zimbabwe.

A former staffer at the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and
now ZPP director, Jestina Mukoko is also facing similar charges as the MDC
activists and was on Friday granted permission to take her case to the
Supreme Court.

If convicted the group faces the the death penalty. But the MDC and human
rights groups say the charges against the activists are part of a
well-orchestrated scheme by state agents to persecute human rights defenders
and government critics in a bid to scare them from highlighting deepening
crisis in Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline.

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Zimbabwe Business Watch : Week 4

January 19th, 2009

A number of large manufacturers may stay closed indefinitely whilst others
extend their Christmas shutdown. This is largely due to unworkable nature of
the business environment rather than orders and demand for goods. Wages and
salaries paid cannot be spent by employees to provide for their households.
Many of the day to day inputs of companies cannot be obtained as virtually
everything is priced in forex and many organizations still await their Forex
Trading Licenses. In the meantime, they survive by transacting illegally,
facing potential jail sentences.

Government has more or less declared all embarrassing statistics National
Secrets, and it is anyone's guess precisely what the state of play is at any
one time. There have been no official statistcs for over 4 months now. It is
reliably estimated that inflation is now over 6 million percent per month!
Old Mutual was delaying dividend payments to Zimbabweans because the country's
banking system could not process the zeroes involved in the transaction.

Posted by Sokwanele

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Solidarity Statement - MDC-USA

MDC-USA unequivocally endorses President Morgan Tsvangirai's continued
commitment to the formation of a unity government in Zimbabwe. As stated in
prior communications,  any new agreements must be preceded by an equitable
distribution of cabinet posts, a constitutional amendment that provisions
for a power-sharing framework as well as the release of innocent civilians
from unknown locations and those languishing in Zimbabwe's prisons that are
unfit for human habitation. Justina Mukoko and many other perceived enemies
of Mugabe continue to suffer numerous human rights abuses that include
severe torture.The very fact that those simple conditions have not been met
rest squarely on Mr Mugabe's brazen intransigence and lack or urgency in
addressing the ever-worsening crisis.
To this present day, Zanu PF and th e not-so-significant Mutambara faction
have disgracefully connived to circumvent the democratic process thereby
attempting to short-change the people of Zimbabwe again. Other regional
players have also declared their partiality in a shameful manner that has
been quite hurtful to the people of Zimbabwe. We urge Mr Motlanthe to be an
honest broker who does not become another spokesperson of Mugabe just as we
saw in Thabo mbeki. Mugabe must be stopped from dictating terms of the deal.
Let us not forget that Mugabe is an illegitimate President who was rejected
at the polls by the people Zimbabwe and they will forever reject him.
President Tsvangirai has been resolutely devoted to the much needed fair
deal that will afford the people of Zimbabwe a breath of fresh air through
the restoration democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. We
continue to pay the highest tribute to the man Zimbabwe chose to be its
leader on March 29th, 2008 and we will not rest until Mr Tsvangirai takes
his rightful place in the political leadership of Zimbabwe. That is also in
solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe who voted Mugabe out fully cognizant
of the fact that change comes with new leadership.
Long live President Morgan Tsvangirai
The struggle continues

Dr Maxwell Shumba
Chairman, MDC-USA

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