By Tichaona Sibanda
21 January 2009
There are reports that negotiators from the MDC-T have declined an
invitation from ZANU PF to continue with discussions in Harare, before next
week's extraordinary summit of the SADC Heads of State.
After Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai failed to reach a deal on forming
a unity government on Monday, the ZANU PF leader told reporters 'we will
continue to discuss here at home and we shall continue exchanging ideas.'
Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa said the MDC felt there was nothing
to be discussed since ZANU PF have failed to show any signs that they are
serious on finding a lasting solution to the crisis.
'An invitation was extended yesterday (Tuesday) but the MDC have said no to
it. The MDC insists they can't be seen entertaining ZANU PF when 30 of their
activists are still languishing in prison for no apparent reason, after they
were abducted from their homes on trumped up charges' Muchemwa said.
He added; 'The MDC is strategizing for next week's summit, although they
remain doubtful another meeting would rescue the fragile power-sharing pact.'
The summit in Harare on Monday was brokered by a team from SADC and was
aimed at ending the four-month impasse between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and
Tsvangirai's MDC on the implementation of the September power-sharing
accord. South African President Kgalema Motlanthe led the team, which also
included Thabo Mbeki, SADC's official mediator, and Mozambican President
Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed to try again to break the deadlock, at a
summit in either Botswana or South Africa next week held by the regional
Some observers believe a unity government is the best chance of preventing
the total collapse of the country, where prices double every day and the
rate of inflation is the highest in the world. Others fear that it would be
the end of the MDC, because Mugabe would ensure that he just held on to
power and would block any effective change they tried to initiate.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:17pm GMT
By Paul Simao
JOHANNESBURG, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Graca Machel, the wife of Nelson Mandela,
on Wednesday described Zimbabwe's government as illegitimate and said
regional leaders had allowed hundreds of thousands of people to die
needlessly in the African nation.
Zimbabwe is facing a humanitarian catastrophe as President Robert Mugabe and
the opposition bicker over a stalled power-sharing deal. Rights groups say
scores of opposition activists have been murdered, tortured and beaten.
"Any government that goes out and assaults its people, its citizens, it has
lost completely any kind of legitimacy," Machel said at a news conference
where Zimbabwean activists launched a hunger strike to pressure Mugabe and
the SADC regional body.
Asked if the veteran Zimbabwean ruler, in power since independence in 1980,
should step down, Machel said: "The people of Zimbabwe have already said so
... the ballot has spoken."
The Mozambican-born Machel joined a growing list of prominent Africans who
in the past year have criticised Mugabe's authoritarian rule or called for
the removal of his government.
Mugabe lost the first round of a presidential election last year to MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, but he won the second round overwhelmingly after
Tsvangirai pulled out of the race, citing violence against his supporters.
For almost a decade South Africa and other nations in SADC (Southern African
Development Community) have used quiet diplomacy to try to nudge Mugabe
toward democratic reforms and halt Zimbabwe's meltdown.
An apparent breakthrough was reached last September when Mugabe and
Tsvangirai agreed to form a unity government, but the deal has unravelled
over control of key ministries and many doubt it can be salvaged.
In the meantime, food shortages have worsened and the healthcare system has
all but collapsed, exposing the population to diseases such as HIV/AIDS and
cholera, which has killed more than 2,100 people in recent months.
Machel, who was barred from entering Zimbabwe on a humanitarian visit late
last year, said hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved had the
leaders of SADC taken stronger action to end the crisis.
"We trusted too long. It's time to tell our leaders we lay the lives of all
those who passed on ... in the hands of the SADC leaders because they took
responsibility to stop the mess there," she said.
Machel, however, said she would not join the hunger strike and rotating
fasts, which are due to last for three months.
A total of 55 activists have joined the protest, according to Kumi Naidoo,
one of the hunger strikers. Anti-apartheid icon and Nobel laureate Desmond
Tutu is among the clerics who abstaining from food.
Tutu told South Africa's Talk Radio 702 last week that he was fasting one
day a week in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe and he called on all
South Africans to join him.
The protesters are demanding, among other things, that SADC recognise that
Mugabe's government is illegitimate and a transitional authority be set up
to implement the power-sharing deal if the deadlock continued past the end
of February. (Editing by Alison Williams)
FIENIE GROBLER | JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - Jan 21 2009 14:29
Southern African leaders have failed miserably in saving Zimbabweans from a
government that has lost all legitimacy, Elders member Graça Machel said on
"We trusted too long, it's time we tell our leaders we lay the lives of all
those who passed on ... in the hands of the SADC [Southern African
Development Community] leaders because they took the responsibility to stop
that mess there," Machel said in Johannesburg.
"Politicians have very huge egos to protect. They don't care if another
thousand, another thousand and another thousand die, as long as they protect
The former Mozambican first lady was speaking at the launch of the "Save
Zimbabwe Now" campaign by church leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
who will participate in a period of fasting to raise awareness of the crisis
Machel said long-time Zanu-PF leader Robert Mugabe's government had lost all
legitimacy and warned other liberation movements in Southern Africa against
following the same route.
In the past, leaders in the region, including Zimbabwe, stood together to
fight against oppressive white rule, said Machel.
"What has happened in the meantime in Zimbabwe? Those colleagues of mine
from yesterday now brutalise their own people simply because the people
consciously voted them out.
"It is a question which haunts me again and again," said Machel.
More than 2 000 people have died of cholera in strife-torn Zimbabwe and many
others have died in political conflict. Mugabe and Movement for Democratic
Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai failed yet again on Monday to agree to a
SADC has been facilitating talks on a government of national unity in so-far
unsuccessful attempts led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.
Zimbabwean Pastor Wison Mugabe, a member of the National Pastor's Forum,
said he would start a 21-day hunger strike on Wednesday.
Pastor Mugabe said the people of Zimbabwe were already on a "forced fast by
"We have become beggars ... yesterday we were people who could feed the
whole of Southern Africa.
"Hear us, we have suffered enough," said the pastor, who broke down in tears
and had to be comforted by Machel before he could continue talking.
"Let's just pray for God to restore the conscience of political leaders and
open the eyes of SADC leaders," said Pastor Mugabe.
He will be joined by about 54 others who will take part in the fasting
period, most of them fasting one day per week, including Tutu, who will
start next Wednesday.
Other participants are Bishop Paul Verryn of the Central Methodist Church
and Reverend Priscilla Everson.
The SaveZimbabaweNow campaign, whose headquarters will be the Central
Methodist Church in Johannesburg, is supported by several organisations and
religious groups, including the South African Council of Churches, the Young
Communist League, The Elders, the South African Communist Party and the
Islamic Relief Support centre.
Nomboniso Gasa, chairperson of the South African Commission for Gender
Equality, and Kumi Naidoo, honorary president of the NGO Civicus, will join
Pastor Mugabe in the 21-day hunger strike.
'This is a lesson'
Machel, who is not participating in the fast "for personal reasons", said
SADC leaders needed to add new voices in their attempts to solve the
"They will be meeting here on Monday again ... I think we have to send a
very clear, unequivocal message -- 'we are dying, this has got to stop',"
She said SADC had the mandate of millions of citizens in its region to
create stability in Zimbabwe.
"This is the biggest test to all leaders of SADC ... They, as a collective
leadership, took the responsibility to solve the conflict and we have been
waiting too long."
Machel said Zimbabwe had failed in its responsibility to protect its
citizens and called on Mugabe to release all political prisoners from jail.
"I want to say to the leadership who are in government in Zimbabwe ... a
government must protect its citizens ... it's how you treat your own
citizens, that's where your legitimacy comes from.
"It [the Zimbabwean government] has lost completely any kind of legitimacy.
"This is not normal. This is a lesson to our region. We came together to
liberate ourselves, but now [we see] that power can pervert you to become
precisely the opposite of what led you to become a freedom fighter.
"This is a lesson to other liberation movements in our region," said Machel.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 19:25 Nomsa Moyo
As was predicted by Zimbabwe's main opposition, MDC, the corrupt Zanu-PF
Members of Parliament have abused the South African R300 million
agricultural aid after looting fertilizers, maize seed and fuel.
The eight corrupt Zanu-PF legislators, who are close allies of president
Robert Mugabe, were working together with some farmers and members of the
public to swindle large quantities of the ammonium nitrate, Compound D and
The inputs were brought into the country recently but unfortunately fell in
wrong hands of Zanu-PF members in influential positions.
Late last year, South Africa handed over R300 million aid to Zimbabwe to
bail out Zimbabwe's crippled agriculture sector.
The MDC chided South Africa for disbursing the aid to the Zanu-PF government
before the finalisation of the peace deal.
The revelations are a confirmation of how unscrupulous Zanu-PF members are
abusing the South Africa's R300 million agriculture aid.
Mugabe's henchman, Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba, handles the
inputs that were sourced by South Africa.
Nyikayaramba's inputs committee has denied to name-and- shame the Zanu-PF
thieves but sources in Parliament have promised to let the cat of the bag.
However the other implicated Zanu-PF supporters are Shingirai Mawere, Simon
Machiri, Simbarashe Benhura, Paddington Mutasa and two Malawians John Phiri
and Liaka Musa.
The other fraudsters are two Malawians who acquired 30 tonnes of Urea
Fertilizer and 160 litres of diesel under unclear circumstances.
The inputs committee says Mashonaland East Province tops the list of
corruption cases, with 22 while six cases happened in Mashonaland East, and
Matabeleland North has four cases. Mashonaland West and Masvingo have three
cases each, while two cases were recorded in Harare.
During the Zanu-PF conference in December, party members stole nine beasts,
mealie-meal and other foodstuffs, as thuggery in the regime reared its ugly
Once Africa's breadbasket, the southern African nation has low agricultural
outputs because of poor farming preparations.
The UN says more than 5.5 million Zimbabweans require food aid this year.
Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:58am GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe faces another huge food deficit in 2009 due to
continued falls in farm production, mounting political uncertainty and
economic instability, a report by a farmers' union said on Wednesday.
The southern African country is battling hyperinflation and has endured food
shortages since 2000, when President Robert Mugabe's government began
seizing farms from whites to resettle landless blacks.
A power-sharing deal signed by Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai last September looks fragile due to bickering over control of key
cabinet posts, dimming hopes the ruined economy will be rescued.
The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), which represents most of the few
remaining white commercial farmers, said agricultural output would continue
to fall sharply until the country's political crisis was resolved.
"Investment in agriculture is long-term and its risk factor very high,
therefore under the present unstable conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe at
the moment, production in all sectors is expected to be extremely low this
season," the CFU said in a report.
The CFU added that the economic meltdown had also hit farm operations.
"The super-hyperinflation prevailing in the country and the unavailability
of cash from the banks has also impacted negatively on any meaningful
production this season," the union said.
The last official inflation rate, for July last year, stood at 231 million
Donor agencies say more than 5 million Zimbabweans, almost half the
population, currently rely on food handouts and expect the number to rise
following another poor agricultural season.
The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) says its $140 million
emergency food aid appeal for Zimbabwe has come up $65 million short.
The CFU said continued disturbances on farms, where some white farmers are
still being forced off land or prosecuted for failing to do so, had also hit
Less than 500 white farmers remain active on their farms, down from over
6,000 before the land seizures began.
Mugabe's government has said it would press on with the prosecution and
eviction of white farmers still on land earmarked for acquisition, despite a
ruling by a regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal
stopping such action.
Critics say Mugabe's land policies have ruined Zimbabwe's once prosperous
economy, but the veteran ruler says the seizures were meant to reverse
colonial land imbalances.
** Daily information on new deaths should not imply that these deaths
occurred in cases reported that day. Therefore daily CFRs >100% may
occasionally result A. Highlights of the day: - 894 cases and 37 deaths added today (in comparison 1910 cases and 137
deaths yesterday) - 44.8% of the districts affected have reported today (26 out of 58 affected
districts) - 88.7 % of districts reported to be affected (55 districts/62) - Chegutu and Chiredzi reduced cumulative deaths after data cleaning.
Full_Report (pdf* format - 95.4 Kbytes)
* Please note that daily information collection is a challenge due to communication and staff constraints. On-going data cleaning may result in an increase or decrease in the numbers. Any change will then be explained.
** Daily information on new deaths should not imply that these deaths occurred in cases reported that day. Therefore daily CFRs >100% may occasionally result
A. Highlights of the day:
- 894 cases and 37 deaths added today (in comparison 1910 cases and 137 deaths yesterday)
- 44.8% of the districts affected have reported today (26 out of 58 affected districts)
- 88.7 % of districts reported to be affected (55 districts/62)
- Chegutu and Chiredzi reduced cumulative deaths after data cleaning.
Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:27pm GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic is spreading to rural areas
because people with the preventable disease have quit heavily-infected urban
centres for the countryside, an agency official said Wednesday.
United Nations agencies say cholera has killed nearly 2,500 people and
infected more than 40,000 in the Southern African country, where the health
and sanitation systems have collapsed due to an economic crisis.
The disease has also spread to neighbouring countries, including regional
powerhouse, South Africa.
Critics blame the crisis on the policies of President Robert Mugabe, a
charge the veteran ruler denies.
A power-sharing deal signed by Mugabe and his opposition rival Morgan
Tsvangirai on September 15 raised hopes Zimbabwe's ruined economy could be
rescued, and the humanitarian crisis arrested. But the pact appears to be
unravelling as the two fight over the control of powerful ministries.
"The cholera threat has not subsided," Wilfred Sikukula, World Vision
Zimbabwe's cholera response manager, told Reuters. He said cholera was not
under control even though international agencies had mobilised resources to
"What has happened is that while it initially affected mostly urban areas,
it has now shifted to rural areas, where some affected people have migrated
to. We continue to have reports of new outbreaks in villages."
World Vision Zimbabwe received $4.7 million worth of cholera drugs, water
purification chemicals, water tanks and body bags Wednesday, donated by the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and World Vision Canada.
Sikukula said the goods would be distributed to the families and communities
of more than 75,000 vulnerable children.
(Reporting by Nelson Banya)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
"We have to accept the economy has been 'dollarised' and all companies should be registered to trade in hard currency," Obert Sibanda, president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, told the state-run The Herald newspaper on 19 January.
Dollarisation, or the use of a foreign currency - not necessarily the US dollar - in parallel to, or instead of, the domestic currency, has long been a daily reality for most Zimbabweans. Record-breaking inflation has made them reluctant to accept the local currency, preferring either to trade in a more stable currency, or to barter.
They could not get their hands on their Zimbabwe dollar savings and salaries even if they wanted to - banks have been limited by law to a ceiling on withdrawals that no longer covers the cost of a loaf of bread.
The US dollar and South African rand are in use across the country, while Botswana's pula is favoured in Bulawayo and the west of the country, the Zambian Kwacha is used in the northern areas, and the Mozambican metical in Mutare and the country's eastern regions.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had already endorsed semi-official dollarisation in September 2008 by introducing 'Foreign Exchange Licensed Warehouses and Shops' when some 1,000 retail outlets and 250 wholesalers were permitted to trade in foreign currency.
In a statement released earlier in January 2009, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) demanded that "all workers should be paid in foreign currency, given the fact that shops are now selling their goods in foreign currency - even those that have not been licensed to do so."
The ZCTU was previously opposed to introducing foreign exchange as legal tender, but the reality on the ground has caused it to reconsider. "Workers are even forced to pay rentals and fares in foreign currency ... public hospitals can now charge for their services in foreign currency, but the majority of workers who utilise these hospitals do not earn in foreign currency."
Various reports in the local media this week noted that a draft economic recovery plan, purportedly issued by the RBZ, had said: "It is imperative that Zimbabwe informally adopts the rand alongside the Zimbabwe dollar", in a bid to stem the rampant economic crisis.
However, RBZ governor Gideon Gono distanced himself from these reports by telling The Star newspaper, a South African daily published in Johannesburg: "The Zimbabwean dollar will not be overtaken by any other currency, formally or otherwise, now or at any point in the future."
Stop printing money
Zimbabwe's out-of-control hyperinflation has become the symbol of its unprecedented economic decline, and most people simply treat the two local currencies (original and "revalued") as beyond salvation.
Prices double every 24.7
hours... Shops have simply stopped accepting Zimbabwean dollars.
The monthly inflation rate passed the 50 percent mark - the threshold for defining 'hyperinflation'- in March 2007; in January 2009 the RBZ issued the world's first 100 trillion dollar note.
"Since then, it's gotten much worse," said Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, in the US, and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based think-tank. The latest official RBZ figure, dating back to July 2008, put year-on-year inflation at more than 231 million percent.
In the absence of credible official statistics, Hanke developed a hyperinflation index for Zimbabwe and in an article in the December 2008 issue of the financial magazine, Forbes Asia, put the annual inflation rate at around 6.5 quindecillion novemdecillion percent - 65 followed by 107 zeros. "Prices double every 24.7 hours," he noted. "Shops have simply stopped accepting Zimbabwean dollars."
A report released by the Cato Institute in June 2008 - Zimbabwe, From Hyperinflation to Growth - said the RBZ's money machine was the source of the hyperinflation. "The government spends, and the RBZ finances the spending by printing money. The RBZ has no ability, in practice, to resist the government's demands for cash ... To stop hyperinflation, Zimbabwe needs to immediately adopt a different monetary system," the report said.
The RBZ sees itself in a different light, as evidenced by its strategic vision: "to become the financial cornerstone around which Zimbabwe's economic fortunes and developmental aspirations are anchored ... the pursuit of the Bank's vision will express itself through leadership in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of policies and action plans for fighting inflation, stabilisation of the internal and external value of Zimbabwe's currency and of the financial system in a manner that gives pride of achievement to Zimbabweans across the board."
The price of monetary stability
Most economists agree that ditching Zimbabwe's discredited currency would help pave the way to recovery. "This is an idea we have been suggesting for years. We need to tie up the Zimbabwe dollar with a stronger currency," Zimbabwean economic analyst John Robertson told IRIN. "We need the confidence in the South African rand to help us out of economic problems."
According to Dawie Roodt, a government finance expert in South Africa, the benefits to Zimbabwe would be considerable: "First of all, they would be importing the South African inflation rate. The Zimbabwe inflation problem is purely a Zimbabwe dollar issue, so over time the inflation rate would be equal to the inflation rate in South Africa."
This would mean the adoption of real interest rates, allowing banks to resume lending - essential to kick-start the country's ailing industrial sector.
The notion of adopting the rand is not new to the region: the Common Monetary Area (CMA) of the rand fixes relative values of the currencies of neighbouring Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland to the South African unit.
But Roodt cautioned that there was also a downside: "The most obvious [drawback] of using another currency is that you lose control of monetary policy," and Zimbabwe would also be adopting South Africa's monetary framework.
The legal tender could also become an issue of sovereignty and national pride, which, he commented, were sensitive matters. "You don't have the president's picture on the currency."
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe will require about 3.5 billion South African
rands (US$350 million) every month to finance government activities as part
of an economic turnaround plan that will see the country embrace free market
forces and adopt the more stable South African currency as the mode of
payments, according to a leaked document seen by APA here.
The elaborate plan is contained in a leaked Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
document detailing how the government intends to use local resources to
pluck Zimbabwe out of an eight-year economic crisis, APA learnt on
The economic turnaround would be anchored on the six-month staggered
"randification" of the economy, starting with a gradual acceptance of the
rand as the official alternative to the free-falling Zimbabwe dollar for
purposes of paying for public utilities and workers' salaries.
A runaway inflation has undermined the credibility of the Zimdollar as an
acceptable medium of exchange and store of value.
The economic has gradually dollarised or "randified" to the extent that very
few traders and service providers now accept the local currency, preferring
the United States dollar or the rand instead.
"Against this background it is imperative that the economy informally adopts
the rand alongside the Zimdollar to eliminate distortions associated with
the use of multiple currencies," the RBZ said in the leaked blueprint.
It said a "randified" Zimbabwean economy would require about 42 billion
rands (US$4.2 billion) a year to meet statutory and other needs such as
civil service salaries and imports of power, fuel, agricultural inputs and
water treatment chemicals.
This translates to about 3.5 billion rands a month which would be financed
from taxes and other government levies.
The proposed economic regime would see the return of free market forces in
the determination of prices, the relaxation of exchange control regulations
to allow exporters to retain all their proceeds as well as the opening up of
the mining sector to increase exploration activities and restore investor
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
Williams and Mahlangu on trial Thursday 22 Jan - Bulawayo Magistrate's Court
LEADERS of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), Jenni Williams and Magodonga
Mahlangu, will appear on trial tomorrow, 22nd January 2009 in Tredgold Court
in Bulawayo. The duo are charged with C/S 37 (1) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law
Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23: "Acting together with one or more
other persons with him/her in any place realizing that there is a real risk
or possibility of disturbing peace, security or order of the public". The
State will be represented by Lovemore Chifamba with senior Magistrate Msipa
The state has also served summons for an arrest on 19 June 2004 under c/s
7(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act chapter 9:15 "acting in a manner
which is likely to lead to a breach of the peace or to create a nuisance or
obstruction". It is unclear how this matter will be handled as it could be
tried simultaneously or will be added and incorporated into the current
They were arrested on 16th October 2008 at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex
and were held in custody for three weeks; first at Bulawayo Central Police
Station, then at Bulawayo Remand Prison before spending the remainder of the
time at Mlondolozi Prison. The protest was to demand that the food situation
in Zimbabwe be declared a national disaster and all Zimbabweans be able to
access food aid whilst protracted political negotiations are more speedily
Their trial was due to start on 2nd December 2008, but the state,
represented by Mr. Shawarira, was not ready for trial and so Magistrate
Msipa postponed the trial until 22 January 2009. All bail conditions, which
included reporting to police twice a week and not being allowed to travel
outside a 40-kilometer radius of Bulawayo without written permission, were
Kossam Ncube, briefed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, will represent
Williams and Mahlangu.
Their arrest and detention was in violation of the 15th September 2008
Global Political Agreement between Zanu PF and the two Movement for
Democratic Change party's. WOZA asks for solidarity from individuals and
other civic partners.
Wednesday, 21st January 2009. 10:12am
By: Kumbirai Mafunda.
Harare: An unidentified man on Monday threatened the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR) and its employees with unspecified action as
harassment and attacks of lawyers intensify.
ZLHR said an unidentified man who identified himself as a war veteran
forced entry into the organisation's Bulawayo offices enquiring about Kucaca
Phulu, the regional manager for the ZLHR's satellite office, who was out of
office at the time of the visit.
The man who boasted of his liberation war credentials started ranting
and threatening Tineyi Mukwewa, one of Phulu's assistants. The unidentified
man accused the lawyers grouping of working to destabilise and unseat
President Robert Mugabe's administration by offering legal representation to
some Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members who are facing charges of
banditry and trying to unseat Mugabe's administration.
"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. The
unidentified man threatened unspecific action against the ZLHR and its staff
saying; "We are going to deal with you (ZLHR)," before he left, read part of
an alert issued by ZLHR.
ZLHR, which has for more than 10 years provided opposition members and
human rights activists with free legal aid and has on several occasions won
court orders, condemned the threats.
"ZLHR unreservedly condemns such threats against the organization and
its lawyers. 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," said ZLHR.
The threats against the ZLHR come at a time of unprecedented attacks
against legal practitioners in the country.
Last week Judge President Rita Makarau threatened legal practitioners
for allegedly criticizing decisions and judgments made by High Court judges
while Nathaniel Manheru, a columnist with the state-run Herald newspaper
accused ZLHR of giving legal representation to MDC supporters whom he
accused of working as bandits to unseat Mugabe's administration.
ZLHR is currently leading a team of lawyers, which is offering legal
assistance to human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and several MDC
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
THE Registrar-General's office has been ordered to issue a passport to a
Bulawayo businessman, who was being denied the document because his mother
was South African.
Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Maphios Cheda, hearing an urgent chamber
application lodged by Mr Russell Carlaisle Caldecott ruled that Mr Caldecott
was entitled to be issued with a Zimbabwean passport.
Justice Cheda ordered that each party pay its own costs.
In his founding affidavit filed by his legal practitioner, Mr Vonani Majoko
of Majoko and Majoko, Mr Caldecott states that on 15 December, he went to
the Registrar General's office in Bulawayo to apply for a new passport.
Although his passport expires on 26 November next year, the pages have been
"While my application was being processed a query was raised by the
Respondent's officers concerning my entitlement to a Zimbabwean passport, in
view of the fact that one of my parents, my mother, was not a Zimbabwean
citizen," he states.
Mr Caldecott submits that he was advised that in terms of the law, he lost
his entitlement to Zimbabwean citizenship because he did not renounce his
South African citizenship.
"I advised the Respondent's officers that I have never had South African
citizenship, but they insisted that in terms of the law I was presumed to
have acquired South African citizenship," he submits.
He notes that in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Citizenship
of Zimbabwe Act Chapter 4:01, anyone who at the appointed day was a citizen
of Zimbabwe by birth or descent "shall continue to be a citizen of Zimbabwe".
The Citizenship Act was amended by the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Amendment Act
No 12 of 2001.
The amendment provides that a citizen of Zimbabwe who is also a citizen of a
foreign country ceased to be a citizen of Zimbabwe at the expiry of six
months from the date of commencement of the amendment.
He says that he did not renounce South African citizenship because he never
held the neighbouring country's citizenship.
Mr Caldecott was born to a father who was a citizen of Zimbabwe and a mother
who was South African, permanently resident in Zimbabwe.
He has at all times held the citizenship of Zimbabwe, a local National
Identity document and a Zimbabwean passport.
The reasons for bringing the matter as an urgent chamber application are
that he is a majority shareholder in Ultimate Safaris (Pvt) Ltd, a hunting
Annually and every January there is a marketing show in Reno, United
States,under the auspices of the Safari Club International (SCI), a leading
organisation for safari operators and outfitters.
"I have pioneered in Zimbabwe hunting by disabled persons and my business is
the only business which caters for hunting by the disabled. Hunting by
disabled persons is thus a specialised business, which at the moment only I
am an authority on in Zimbabwe," submits Mr Caldecott. He further states
that he has already made bookings for a stall at the Reno 2009 show.
He adds: "It is thus absolutely necessary and imperative that I be at the
show. If I will not be, I stand to lose a lot in money already committed to
book flights, the stall and accommodation. I will also lose out on business
and in goodwill. I will not be the only loser, though, the country also
stands to lose on revenue and goodwill that would be engendered if Zimbabwe
were to be marketed as a safe destination which it is, after a barrage of
On approaching the Registrar General's Office in Bulawayo on Monday armed
with the order, Mr Caldecott was advised to go to Harare to see the
Registrar General, Mr Tobaiwa Mudede.
Although the RG's office had indicated through the Civil Division of the
Attorney General's Office, no papers were filed and the case had to be
postponed to last Friday to give them a chance to file their opposing
No papers had been filed by the time the case went to the judge's chambers
and Mr Whisper Mabaudi, of the Attorney General's Office in Bulawayo had to
stand in for the Harare office.
By Lance Guma
21 January 2008
Zimbabwe's worsening humanitarian, economic and political situation forced
over 100 000 people to claim asylum in South Africa in 2008, according to
pressure group Human Rights Watch. The group have released a report saying
at least 30 000 claimed asylum in the last 5 months of 2008, a period that
started after the violent June one man presidential run-off, and this figure
was double the total number of Zimbabwean claims made in all 6 of South
Africa's refugee reception offices in 2007. The figure is also more than
half of the total number of asylum claims made by all nationalities in South
Africa in those offices the same year. It's now believed there is a backlog
of at least 200 000 Zimbabwean asylum cases in South Africa.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) slammed the often-unlawful deportation of more than
250,000 Zimbabweans a year and says this means South Africa violates the
most basic principle of refugee law, 'the right not to be forcibly returned
to persecution.' Bill Frelick, the refugee policy director for HRW said they
were seeing a significant number of Zimbabweans crossing into South Africa
via Musina. He said those crossing were in bad shape because of the dramatic
reduction in the availability of food and medicines. This he said had been
caused by a combination of the economic implosion and political repression
in the country.
The rights group urged South Africa to stop deporting Zimbabweans, because
this was forcing many to claim asylum even if they did not need it. This in
turn was placing even greater pressure on a system already struggling to
process refugee claims, according to international standards. They
criticized South Africa's bureaucratic asylum policy and say it needlessly
subjects applicants to stringent conditions. This was because the system
required too much in terms of evidence and justification from Zimbabweans on
why they fled their country.
'We are calling upon the South African government, which has already a
pretty dysfunctional asylum system in terms of doing individual refugee
status determinations, to basically say that this is a situation that calls
for a temporary status that would basically put into effect a
non-deportation policy for Zimbabweans and give them work authorization,'
The collapse of a power sharing deal signed in September last year has
convinced most Zimbabweans to leave the country. A devastating cholera
outbreak that has claimed more than 2200 lives, the abduction of over 30
opposition and civil society activists, food shortages and other economic
challenges have simply compounded the general doom and gloom.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
8:50 PM ET
Ambroise Pierre [Africa Desk, Reporters Without Borders]: "As head of
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders' Africa desk, I am both concerned and
exasperated by the harsh conditions in which the Zimbabwe authorities are
holding journalist and human rights activist Jestina Mukoko.
First of all, I am concerned because her state of health has seriously
deteriorated in the last few weeks. We know that she was tortured in prison
after she was abducted from her home on December 3, 2008, and then held in
secret for nearly three weeks. In addition, she has been put in solitary
confinement in Chikurubi high security prison, which will undoubtedly prove
extremely grueling for her. Jestina Mukoko is sick and needs medical
treatment, which is being denied to her by the men who are holding her.
Exasperated as well, because it seems that the courts in Zimbabwe, answering
to the orders of the country's political authorities, are doing everything
to keep her in detention, even though a High Court ruling on December 24
determined that she should be taken to a hospital. The trial of Jestina
Mukoko and her co-accused is a sham, the rights of the detainees are being
trampled on, and hearings are constantly being adjourned. As for the charges
against this director of the human rights organization, the Zimbabwe Peace
Project (ZPP), they are absurd and baseless. Hidden behind the charge of "a
terrorist plot aiming to overthrow President Robert Mugabe" is the reality
of the authorities' determination to hound opposition activists.
It is as though the regime of Robert Mugabe was trying to undermine the
power-sharing agreement signed with the opposition in September 2008, as
though Mugabe has decided to lay bare his cruelty in gagging any independent
and critical voices. Against this background, negotiations between the
ruling ZANU-PF party and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) will prove to be complicated."
Opinions expressed in JURIST's Hotline are the sole responsibility of their
authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff,
or the University of Pittsburgh.
To be honest, we don't care about the politics that much any more.
We saw the failure of Monday's power-sharing talks coming - despondency set
in a long time back. As the talks were going on, we were talking about the incident over the
weekend when the first lady - Grace Mugabe - slapped a photographer in Hong
Kong. It sums up the arrogance of those in power in this country. If you don't like
somebody, you beat them up. We read about it on a news service on the internet. It's not - as some have
suggested - the pressure of the beginning of the end, I honestly don't think
that thought ever enters their mind. Even the vegetable vendors quote in US dollars and will sometimes let you
negotiate to pay with the Zim-dollar equivalent for that day. But over the weekend I bought sour cream drinks - known as lacto - from a
vendor for US$1 for two 500ml packets. Some other guy came up and the vendor told him the same price. He said: "I
don't have US dollars; how much in Zim dollars?" The vendor told him: "I don't accept Zimbabwean dollars, sorry." Inauguration rumours The abduction last month of [human rights activist] Jestina Mukoko, has put
paid to the feeling that it was safer to speak your mind - prevalent after the
September deal. I was becoming quite outspoken in my opinions. But if they could abduct her - such a public person doing such public work,
gathering evidence of torture and so forth - detain her, ignore court orders to
release her, then the message to the rest of us is clear: "It's business as
usual; nothing has changed." If you talk and speak your mind, you're labelled an activist - and that's it,
you're gone. So that outspokenness has gone. The one thing people have been excited about is the inauguration of US
President Barack Obama. On Tuesday, some people left work early so that they could be sitting at
their TVs on time for when the satellite news stations broadcast the whole
thing. There's a feeling that because he's of African descent he's going be more
involved with our politics and he's somebody who's going to really put his foot
down that there has to be a solution. There was this rumour going around that he'd invited opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai to the inauguration, so I think people have this hope that Obama's
going to have the Zimbabwean cause closer to his heart than [George W] Bush did
and that he's going to do more to bring about a political solution. The involvement of the South African and Mozambican leaders at the talks on
Monday was just a waste of time and their taxpayers' money. At the end of last year, the [Southern African Development Community] leaders
at a conference on Zimbabwe's impasse asked Tsvangirai and [President Robert]
Mugabe and their delegations to leave the room so that they could discuss the
matter. Mugabe refused to leave. So how on earth are you going to get him to give up
a ministry, if you cannot get him to leave a room? No passion When I started doing this diary I was so on fire - I wanted to talk about
what was happening in my country. I hoped it would somehow bring the story to a lot more ordinary people - and
there'd be action and something would change for the better. But it's been a long 10 months and my passion and my hope in politicians has
gone. Even the hope that the MDC was going to change the political scene has gone.
We've basically started to label them as useless people as well - in as much
as we appreciate that it's very difficult for them and they have tried really
hard, when it comes down to it, they've failed.
Esther (not her real name), 29, a professional living and working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, describes the reaction to the last round of power-sharing talks between the ruling Zanu-PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
To be honest, we don't care about the politics that much any more.
We saw the failure of Monday's power-sharing talks coming - despondency set in a long time back.
As the talks were going on, we were talking about the incident over the weekend when the first lady - Grace Mugabe - slapped a photographer in Hong Kong.
It sums up the arrogance of those in power in this country. If you don't like somebody, you beat them up.
We read about it on a news service on the internet. It's not - as some have suggested - the pressure of the beginning of the end, I honestly don't think that thought ever enters their mind.
Even the vegetable vendors quote in US dollars and will sometimes let you negotiate to pay with the Zim-dollar equivalent for that day.
But over the weekend I bought sour cream drinks - known as lacto - from a vendor for US$1 for two 500ml packets.
Some other guy came up and the vendor told him the same price. He said: "I don't have US dollars; how much in Zim dollars?"
The vendor told him: "I don't accept Zimbabwean dollars, sorry."
The abduction last month of [human rights activist] Jestina Mukoko, has put paid to the feeling that it was safer to speak your mind - prevalent after the September deal.
I was becoming quite outspoken in my opinions.
But if they could abduct her - such a public person doing such public work, gathering evidence of torture and so forth - detain her, ignore court orders to release her, then the message to the rest of us is clear: "It's business as usual; nothing has changed."
If you talk and speak your mind, you're labelled an activist - and that's it, you're gone. So that outspokenness has gone.
The one thing people have been excited about is the inauguration of US President Barack Obama.
On Tuesday, some people left work early so that they could be sitting at their TVs on time for when the satellite news stations broadcast the whole thing.
There's a feeling that because he's of African descent he's going be more involved with our politics and he's somebody who's going to really put his foot down that there has to be a solution.
There was this rumour going around that he'd invited opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to the inauguration, so I think people have this hope that Obama's going to have the Zimbabwean cause closer to his heart than [George W] Bush did and that he's going to do more to bring about a political solution.
The involvement of the South African and Mozambican leaders at the talks on Monday was just a waste of time and their taxpayers' money.
At the end of last year, the [Southern African Development Community] leaders at a conference on Zimbabwe's impasse asked Tsvangirai and [President Robert] Mugabe and their delegations to leave the room so that they could discuss the matter.
Mugabe refused to leave. So how on earth are you going to get him to give up a ministry, if you cannot get him to leave a room?
When I started doing this diary I was so on fire - I wanted to talk about what was happening in my country.
I hoped it would somehow bring the story to a lot more ordinary people - and there'd be action and something would change for the better.
But it's been a long 10 months and my passion and my hope in politicians has gone.
Even the hope that the MDC was going to change the political scene has gone.
We've basically started to label them as useless people as well - in as much
as we appreciate that it's very difficult for them and they have tried really
hard, when it comes down to it, they've failed.
Analysis by Basildon Peta, Southern Africa Correspondent
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Zimbabwe's so-called global political agreement, intended to achieve a
coalition government between Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe, was never
worth the paper on which it was written.
Soon after the agreement was signed on 15 September last year, it became
clear that it was not a matter of "if" but when it would all collapse. Even
as the two leaders delivered their speeches at the signing ceremony, the
philosophies of Tsvangirai and Mugabe were like oil and water. They simply
While the opposition leader, Mr Tsvangirai, was lucid on how Zimbabwe could
pull back from the precipice, Mugabe did what he knows best: blaming Britain
and everyone else except himself for all of Zimbabwe's past and future
That the agreement has come down crashing before any attempt to implement it
is not surprising. What is more surprising is why Mr Tsvangirai ever lent
his signature to such a flawed arrangement in the first place.
Having experienced President Mugabe's crude tactics to keep him at bay over
the years, Mr Tsvangirai ought to have known better. Investing any trust in
his ruthless adversary through an outline document was never a workable
Now Mr Tsvangirai has given Mr Mugabe what he wanted on a silver platter; an
excuse to blame the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader - at least
in the eyes of regional African leaders - for the failures of the agreement.
It should have been obvious to Mr Tsvangirai that all his promises of adding
flesh to the skeleton deal in a just and equitable way were not to be
believed. It should also have been obvious to the MDC leader that Mr
Mugabe's regional peers, who have stood by and watched while he destroys a
once prosperous Zimbabwe, were never going to drop his support for him when
the crunch time arrived.
The issues here are straightforward. Mr Mugabe is a callous and heartless
dictator who is prepared to cling to power at all costs. He will never
endorse a deal that effectively negotiates him out of power. Having lost the
elections in March and shamelessly defied the will of the people, Mr Mugabe
has effectively closed down the democratic process of achieving change in
Zimbabwe. He thus is not going to be removed from power via democratic
January 22, 2009
Africa's leaders have helped Robert Mugabe remain in power.
THE US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James Mcghee, says Zimbabwe is a failed
state. Cholera and malnutrition are bringing death everywhere while schools
and hospitals have closed. Unemployment is 90 per cent, prices are doubling
every day and barter has replaced a worthless currency - the Zimbabwean
13 zeros removed last year in a vain attempt to make it viable. Hundreds of
thousands of Zimbabweans have fled to bordering countries.
But African leaders still refuse to intervene effectively.
Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, lost a close-run election last year to
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
but he is hanging on by diplomatic bluff and bluster abroad combined with
torture, murder and criminal neglect at home.
Cholera is spread in conditions of poor sanitation, where sewage can easily
contaminate water supplies. It marks the breakdown of the most basic systems
of public health. Aid agencies are trying to deliver clean water,
antibiotics and rehydrating salts to treat the tens of thousands of people
infected, but supplies are intercepted by officials. The UN figures of
roughly 40,000 cases and 2100 deaths underestimate the situation because
many die at home, often alone, too weak to seek treatment. The World Health
Organisation estimates 60,000 cases are likely now the rainy season has
begun washing even more human waste into the water supplies.
The economy is in its death throes, too. This week a 100 trillion Zimbabwe
dollar was introduced, but all meaningful trade is done by barter or in
foreign currency, illegally, amid inflation higher than 230 million per
cent. Previously productive mines are now lethal places to work, as army
officers have seized control and pocketed the dwindling revenue.
Yet the ruling Zanu-PF and Mugabe, its 84-year-old leader who has run
Zimbabwe since 1980, still refuse to yield any power. As the country
collapsed and the MDC won the elections but could not take office, South
Africa, Botswana and Tanzania pushed Mugabe to the negotiating table.
The result was a deal for Zanu-PF to share ministerial power with MDC. But
within days of the much-heralded agreement, Zanu-PF backtracked, refusing
the MDC control of any ministries overseeing the security forces. The MDC
rejected lesser portfolios because the ruling party's record of violence and
intimidation meant an agreement was worthless without control of the police,
since Mugabe and his cronies would never yield the army.
Recent events prove them right. In the past three months more than 40 MDC
supporters have disappeared and others have been arrested and tortured.
Abductions not only undermine the rule of law and weaken the political
organisation of the MDC, they drive MDC spokesmen to aggressive condemnation
of Zanu-PF. MDC criticisms are eagerly reported in international media
alongside similar comments from Western leaders. This actually helps Mugabe,
who simply claims that the MDC is the stooge of the West.
Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu shamelessly described the cholera
outbreak as a "genocidal onslaught on the people of Zimbabwe by the
British". Mugabe claimed that Britain and the US were using cholera as a
cover for an invasion plan. Mugabe knows that by constantly blaming distant
Britain and America for his country's ills, he makes it hard for democratic
but awe-struck leaders in his own region to criticise the veteran
revolutionary hero - some even seem ready to believe that Britain wants its
colonies back. So Mugabe's lies still carry the day.
Although he should have known better, Thabo Mbeki, who was persuaded to
resign in September as South African president and was negotiator of the
power-sharing deal, followed Mugabe's lead and even rebuked Tsvangirai for
looking to the West for help.
If Mbeki had shown any leadership, Tsvangirai would be president of
Zimbabwe, but his successor Kgalema Motlanthe shows no sign of squaring up
to Mugabe either. South Africa's stint on the UN Security Council has just
ended, but its replacement, Uganda, stated right away that it also would
oppose any UN action against Mugabe, just as Mbeki did, with Chinese and
Although Mugabe is a murderous despot, he understands how to retain power.
Until Africa's democratically elected leaders can ignore his rhetoric,
Zimbabweans are doomed.
With Barack Obama's inauguration causing a news frenzy all over Africa, he
has the opportunity to shame those leaders into action.
Dr Roger Bate is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a
US think tank. He was refused entry into Zimbabwe earlier this month.
By Violet Gonda
21 January 2009
As Zimbabweans watched the momentous swearing in of Barack Obama as the USA's
first African American President, comparisons were being made about the
stark differences between this new President and our very own Robert Mugabe.
While the youthful 47 year old Obama took the oath of office to become
America's 44th President, Mugabe, who will be 85 years old in February, is
fighting to continue as President in a country he has ruled with an iron
grip since independence in 1980.
In his 29 year long rule Mugabe has seen six US Presidents come and
go -Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Snr, Bill Clinton, George Bush
Jnr and now Barack Obama.
All of these ex presidents, accept the late Ronald Reagan, were present at
Obama's inauguration. But in Zimbabwe over six months ago, Mugabe swore
himself in as President after the controversial presidential run-off in
which he was the sole candidate. This farcical inauguration in June was a
hurried process that only involved his faithful followers. In contrast, two
million people stood for hours in the bitter cold in Washington DC on
Tuesday to observe President Obama's swearing in ceremony. Unlike
Zimbabweans, they felt part of the process of government.
When the world's media went into overdrive to capture the moment that Obama
was sworn in as President, ZTV, the country's only broadcaster, completely
ignored the inauguration. Zimbabweans either had to be at a sports bar,
hotel or have access to satellite television to witness this historic event.
Those without this access had no choice but to watch the old movie screened
by the public broadcaster during this globally historical moment.
Some observers have said that the dictatorship imposed the blackout so that
people could not see what real democracy is about. Zimbabweans would have
witnessed a peaceful transfer of power and seen Presidents Bush and Obama,
and their spouses, hugging and kissing.
Very different from Zimbabwe where the President has opponents tortured,
jailed and murdered. It's also inconceivable that Obama's wife, Michelle,
would ever attack a news photographer and punch him repeatedly in the face,
while her security guard held him down. Something that Zimbabwe's first lady
allegedly did last week in Hong Kong.
While rivals set aside their political differences for the good of the
nation in America, in Zimbabwe the masses are force fed propaganda and hate
speech, at a time when the country is reeling from a massive humanitarian
Furthermore, it took one day to cast the votes and announce the results in
the US elections in November last year. Barack Obama was sworn in as
President on 20th January and started work the next day. Zimbabweans are
still waiting for a government to be formed, 10 months after the initial
presidential and parliamentary elections on March 29th.
The winner in Zimbabwe's Presidential election, MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, is not being allowed to hold office and is being pressured by
the rest of Africa to take a junior role in a government that will remain
under the control of the loser of the election, and the man who has caused
untold suffering to his own people.
While the elections in America were peaceful, in Zimbabwe they were the most
violent the country had ever seen - at least 200 opposition activists were
killed, 500 more disappeared, tens of thousands were beaten and tortured and
half a million people were displaced.
Zimbabweans at home and in the Diaspora, who watched Obama's inauguration,
said it was refreshing to see such a peaceful transfer of power, coming from
a country where democracy is in intensive care.
Sungano in London wrote: "I couldn't help thinking that Mugabe is rather
facially challenged as compared to the youthful and more appealing Barack
Obama. By merely looking at Mugabe with his tired and aloof look you just
get depressed - whereas with Obama you are energised."
Patience in South Africa said: "Look at the swearing in ceremony, it's a
smooth public event, but in Zimbabwe it's a hurried process that involves
throwing the Chief Justice in a car and forcing him to swear you in. What
happens in Zimbabwe is a mockery, it's a joke."
The comparisons between the two nations and their leaders were widespread.
Geoff Nyarota, the editor of the Zimbabwe Times website, told SW Radio
Africa that he was torn between two worlds when he saw the US ceremony. "I
was celebrating with the rest of the world, but at the same time my own
celebration of this landmark inauguration was marred by my sense of sorrow
and frustration that this kind of democratic process cannot happen in my own
country. I nearly wept, I don't do that easily." Nyarota said.
The editor said he was angry and frustrated that Zimbabweans are denied this
kind of genuine freedom, where they can freely vote for a leader of their
The online publication wrote on Wednesday: "While prayers at Obama's
inauguration and the invocation were delivered by men of God, such as
Reverend Rick Warren who moved many to tears, prayers at Mugabe's
inauguration were led by Nolbert Kunonga, a rebel Anglican clergyman, an
ally who broke away from the Anglican Church last year."
"We thank you Lord for this unique and miraculous day," dethroned Bishop
Kunonga recited as Mugabe stole another mandate. "You have not failed our
Meanwhile in his speech on Tuesday Obama told the despots around the world
who sow conflict and blame their society's ills on the west that; 'Their
people will judge them on what they can build and not what they destroy. To
those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of
dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will
extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."
Although President Obama didn't mention names, many Zimbabweans believe one
of those leaders he was talking about was our very own Robert Mugabe, who
clenches his fist at his opponents and western nations who criticise his
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
January 21, 2009
By Geoffrey Nyarota
UNDER normal circumstances I am most reluctant to engage in battle those who
portray themselves in public as intellectual giants on matters pertaining to
their interpretation of our much abused and amended Constitution.
But when I perceive obvious chinks in the armour the temptation to try to
disarm them becomes irresistible. Prof Jonathan Moyo's convoluted
dissertation on the recent utterances of Attorney General Johannes Tomana
and Judge President Rita Makarau, as published in the latest issue of The
Sunday Mail, proved too alluring.
Moyo, the Tsholotsho North legislator, may be a political scientist of
repute inside Zimbabwe but this time he appears to have been motivated by an
agenda other than to correctly enlighten the public on a matter of public
interest. He prompted me to take issue with him on two or three points in
the public interest over which he seems to claim sole proprietorship.
In doing so I will try my best to construct sentences of no more than 30
Moyo declares in his signature insulting language, "There is no Zimbabwean
today - excluding those who are brain dead - who does not support or belong
to either Zanu-PF or the MDC. ..neutrals have become endangered species and
the same goes for independents.
"Even more compelling is that it is not a crime to be a member of Zanu-PF or
to support it."
It is patently false to suggest that there is no Zimbabwean who does not
support Zanu-PF or the MDCs. There are hundreds of thousands who are not
supporters of those three parties. For instance, Dr Simba Makoni then of the
Mavambo Project received more than 200 000 votes in March. Moyo is either
ignorant, which is bad or lying, which is worse.
Moyo himself represents neither Zanu-PF or the MDC in Zimbabwe's House of
Assembly. In fact, he enjoys the unique distinction of being the Parliament
of Zimbabwe's only independent legislator. Now he declares with remarkable
disparagement that only the brain-dead are not members of either of the two
parties. He says independent politicians are, in fact, an endangered
This statement raises an obvious question: "So to which party is Moyo now
It surely cannot be the MDC, notwithstanding the fact that it is only
through that party's benevolence and graciousness that he made it to
Parliament. The MDC was the target of this vitriol in the Sunday Mail.
But then, neither can he be aligned to Zanu-PF. Here is what the professor
said about the leader of that party in an article penned for publication
back in November 18, 2004.
Waxing lyrical in his usually flowery language Moyo postulated: "One does
not need to be a malcontent to see that, after 25 years of controversial
rule and with the economy melting down as a direct result of that rule,
Mugabe's continued stay in office has become such an excessive burden to the
welfare of the state and such a fatal danger to the public interest of
Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora that each day that goes by with him
in office leaves the nation's survival at great risk while seriously
compromising national sovereignty."
Notwithstanding the prodigious length this statement, at 95 words, Moyo hit
the proverbial nail right on the head. But of course, those who accuse Moyo
of being at best a chameleon and at worst a political prostitute, don't say
so out of any malice. They merely capture the worst flaw of his character -
hypocrisy - especially when he deals, in his own contradictory fashion, with
matters relating to the national interest of Zimbabwe.
"Mugabe now lacks the vision, stature and energy to effectively run the
country, let alone his party," Moyo proceeded. "He is without compassion,
maybe because he is now too old, too tired and not in the best of health.
His failure to visit stranded families left homeless and suffering from the
irrational acts of his own government speaks volumes of his cold and cruel
"Of course, Mugabe is still respected as an old man and he still makes very
interesting bombastic speeches that are applauded for their entertainment
value and which are full of sound and fury but signifying (sic) precious
little at the level of policy and action."
Reverting to his favourite theme of national interest Moyo closed his
incisive article by writing: "Given the foregoing, President Mugabe has no
reason whatsoever to continue in office as that is no longer in his personal
interest and is most certainly not in the national interest."
That was back in 2004.
Moyo's remarks today must be viewed in the context of the vicissitudes of
post-March 29 personal political expediency. Moyo has not denied allegations
that he smelt personal benefit from the demise of Mugabe and Zanu-PF in the
harmonised elections. He came in from the cold and rose to become one of the
architects of Mugabe's violence-ridden electoral recovery, culminating in
his widely condemned so-called landslide victory on June 27.
But as he dexterously maneuvers his way to the coveted Ministry of
Information Moyo will pray that Mugabe is not gifted with the memory of the
elephant. He will also pray that his equally ambitious rival, George
Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman, does not remind His Excellency.
In his article Moyo felt compelled to take up the cudgels in support of his
friend and former lawyer, Johannes Tomana, the recently appointed Attorney
Recently Tomana publicly and proudly declared himself to be a staunch
Zanu-PF supporter, which statement did not go down very well with
Zimbabweans outside Zanu-PF circles and even within. The Zanu-PF old guard
does not take kindly to upstarts who try to become more Zanu-PF than
"Even more compelling is that (sic) it is not a crime to be a member of
Zanu-PF or to support it." Moyo argues in his article.
"Quite the contrary, Zimbabwe's Constitution guarantees and protects freedom
of association for all Zimbabweans regardless of their professions or
"The idea that an Attorney General in a constitutional democracy cannot or
should not be a member or supporter of a political party is preposterous and
primitive, which is why it has no precedence in the civilised world."
Professor Moyo is right, but as is his fashion, he speaks with a forked
tongue. The following is what Section 21 (Sub-section 1) of the Constitution
of Zimbabwe states without ambiguity:
"Except with his own consent or by way of parental discipline, no person
shall be hindered in his freedom of assembly and association, that is to
say, his right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in
particular to form or belong to political parties or trade unions or other
associations for the protection of his interests."
Moyo is being extremely deceitful. He is aware that during the campaign for
the presidential election, which he helped Mugabe to win "by a landslide" on
June 27, 2008, more than 200 MDC supporters lost their lives in the most
horrific circumstances imaginable. Thousands more were either maimed or were
displaced from their homes. Somebody with a wicked sense of humour called
the whole murderous exercise Operation Mavhotera Papi (Operation Which
Candidate Did You Vote For). Offending fingers were summarily chopped off on
Moyo never uttered a single word in protest or in defence of the right of
these innocent people to freedom of association. The professor seems to
believe in selective freedom of association.
To bolster his point Moyo cites the case of the new United States Attorney
General in the Barack Obama's administration. He says of Eric Holder that he
is a well-known and long-standing Democrat and that there has been no
attempt by the Republicans or anyone else to disqualify Holder on grounds of
his political affiliation.
The legitimacy of Barrack Obama has never been in dispute or challenged by
the Republicans. Outgoing President George Bush sat close to Obama at the
inauguration on Tuesday. In fact, Obama's rival in the presidential
election, John McCain, was quick to concede defeat and to publicly
congratulate Obama. On the eve of Obama's inauguration a dinner was hosted
in honour of McCain.
No single human skull was broken in order for Obama to be declared President
of the United States.
Yet Moyo has the temerity to draw specious comparisons between the US
administration and the Mugabe dictatorship.
The US presidential election was held on November 4, seven months after
Zimbabweans initially went to the polls to choose a new President. To date,
10 months after Zimbabwe's presidential election, and seven months after
Mugabe's alleged landside victory, he still has not formed a government.
On Tuesday, January 20, Mugabe must have hung his head in shame and
humiliation as he witnessed on CNN or SABC in the secrecy of State House the
ultimate display of democracy at work. A son of Africa became the president
of the mightiest nation on earth in the smoothest transition imaginable. The
United States stood proud. Africa was ecstatic. The whole world was
In the Zimbabwean context the departure of George Bush deprives Mugabe of a
favourite scapegoat. I can't see him saying, "Obama and Brown.." without
sounding totally ridiculous.
The man that Moyo defends so vehemently, Tomana, was appointed in the
context of an illegitimate regime.
Moyo says: "For the avoidance of doubt, in Tomana's case the matter would
have been different if there were serious questions about his qualification
as a lawyer."
I have had a serious question about Tomana's competence and I brought my
reservations about his proficiency to him back in 2002.
He had just dispatched, as was his regular practice then, a letter on behalf
of some government minister of other. It was probably Moyo - I don't
remember. Tomana demanded that The Daily News, of which I was editor,
withdraw an article that had been published about the minister or he would
sue for defamation.
Having satisfied myself that there was nothing particularly defamatory about
the article, and dying of curiosity to meet the source of a constant stream
of annoying threats, I called and made an appointment to see the lawyer.
He was then a senior partner in the law firm of Tomana and Mandaza. Diana
Mandaza was the wife of Dr Ibbo Mandaza, then publisher of The Daily Mirror.
She had made a name in her own right as the assiduous secretary of the
Sandura Commission back in 1989. I had never heard of Tomana until he
started to send threatening letter to me.
On arrival in his office I was forthright with Tomana, pointing out in no
uncertain terms that there was nothing in any way defamatory about the
article he was citing or about other articles before it. I suggested he
should learn to tell his clients when there were no legal grounds to sustain
their grief over a newspaper article.
He was equally forthright.
"You are right," he said, "but one has to earn a living."
He was probably right. He and his friend and former client friend are still
trying their best to earn a comfortable living.
Enjoying his power of the pen, Moyo then touched on the controversial issue
of Judge President Rita Makarau's attack on lawyers. I was shocked by the
virulence of the Honourable Member of Tsholotsho North's attack on Beatrice
Mtetwa, the president of the Zimbabwe Law Society.
"Although Justice Makarau did not mention any names," he sallied forth, "one
of the lawyers who recently made a clearly unwarranted and unfair attack on
the judiciary is the reckless president of the Law Society, Beatrice Mtetwa.
"Taken against the background of the prevailing situation in the country,
Mtetwa's scandalous statement was clearly calculated to harm not only the
integrity of the judiciary but also Zimbabwe's national interest itself,
which is probably something easy for a Swazi national to do."
Moyo can call Mtetwa reckless, if he so wishes or her statements scandalous.
But to invoke her country of origin in the circumstances is totally
unacceptable for a man who seeks high office again in our country,
especially when his own former spouse was from the same Mountain Kingdom. In
any case, in what way is it easy for the citizens of the friendly Kingdom of
Swaziland to harm the national interest of Zimbabwe?
This matter should be raised in Parliament.
If it was not for the vexatious issue of the missing funds at the Ford
Foundation in Nairobi, Moyo would most probably be still in Kenya today. I
doubt that Kenyan nationals ever reminded him of his country of origin
during his sojourn in their country. He is a Pan-Africanist, anyway.
If Moyo had remained in Nairobi or at the University of Witwatersrand in
Johannesburg, where he allegedly fled to before he allegedly fled from there
back to Harare, chances are that President Robert Mugabe would have long
been confined to the annals of Zimbabwe's turbulent early history by now.
A LITTLE theatre of the absurd
country road. A bare tree. Evening. Enter two clowns. MERVYN: [Stops centre-stage,
blinking into the footlights.] Nothing to be done. BERNANKE: Let's keep trying
anyway. MERVYN: But nothing happens!
Nobody borrows, nobody lends. It's awful. BERNANKE: Don't lose heart, not
when things are going so badly. MERVYN: You'd rather give up
when things go to plan? Nothing's happened. Twice! And all that
money... BERNANKE: He did warn
us. MERVYN: Who
Gono. MERVYN: [Irritably.]
Will he never get here? BERNANKE: He warned us against
doing too little, too late. As did I, you'll remember. MERVYN: Can't anyone guess how
long he will take? BERNANKE: Another quarter or
more, no later than the second-half of the year – unless we missed him already.
We are a long way from MERVYN: Hardly a million miles
though... BERNANKE: [Ignoring him,
scans horizon.] Perhaps he came and went when we weren't looking. Perhaps
he's already been, job done, everyone saved, everyone
rescued. MERVYN: [Laughing.]
What, carrying all that paper, all those zeroes? How could you miss a man like
that! Did you never read your Minsky? BERNANKE: I must have looked it
over at college. Pretty cover, I recall. Nice font, too... MERVYN: But nothing of the
text, not a word of the inflationary crack-up? BERNANKE: Inflationary
crack-pot, you mean. MERVYN: [Angrily.] A
hundred thousand-thousand-thousand thousands! It doesn't grow on trees, you
know. Well, except when it does. [Gestures sadly at the bare, leafless
tree.] BERNANKE: Nothing you can do
about it now. No use struggling. You must do what you
must. MERVYN: And what's that,
Bibi? BERNANKE: Print. And
wait. MERVYN: We've been waiting for weeks,
months already! And waiting for what, I ask you? BERNANKE: Waiting for
Gono... [Angry shouts
off-stage.] MERVYN: [Anxious.] Is that him,
coming now? [Enter BOZO and
UNLUCKY. Unlucky is first to appear, a rope tied round his neck.
Bozo holds the other end and follows after. Unlucky carries three heavy shopping
bags in each hand. Bozo carries a whip.] BOZO: On! [Cracks whip.] Don't
slack now! BERNANKE:
Gono? BOZO: If you like. Whatever works, I
always say. MERVYN: [Disappointed.]
Oh...Hello, Gordon. It's you... BOZO: Actually, it's Bozo to you – the
clown who saved the world! BERNANKE: Ah, Bozo!
[Pauses.] Not Gono? BOZO: You mean the great
inflationist? BERNANKE: The very same. We're
supposed to be meeting him here. He told us to wait by that
money-tree. BOZO: Not me, not me at all. [Kicks
Unlucky.] Just ask my friend here. MERVYN: [Also nodding towards
Unlucky.] He looks tired. Why doesn't he put down his
bags? BOZO: [Suddenly violent.] Put
down his bags? Put down his bags? Who then should carry them up, tell me that!
The Chinese perhaps? Idiot! Besides, they're growing lighter each day. The
burden of filling them is now falling, I made sure of that...down 1.5% from
November to last month. That's how I'm saving the world. [Kicks at Unlucky,
barking.] Go on, tell them! UNLUCKY: [Anxious, gabbling.] Yes
but the true cost of living – that relentless suck of rubbing your eyes,
showering and shaving, spooning in breakfast, then shuffling off to bring home a
crust (or not) and shuffling once more through the crowds and pricing up dinner
until it's back to bed and time to resume the whole sorry cycle next morning –
the price of domestic gas supplies rose 52% in 2008...water rates were up
6.5%...electricity added almost one-third again...tea-bags and a dash of milk
were both 11% up...cereal 15.5%...fruit nearly 10% year-on-year...train, bus and
other travel fares 14% higher...plus a daily paper, heaven forbid, at nearly a
quid a pop or £1.80 if you must have the latest financial horrors...then
mid-morning biscuits or cakes 11.5% up, even with shares in Premier Foods down
by three-quarters over the year to today...oh and then a lunchtime sandwich up
4.5% (VAT reduction included)...perhaps a pint of your favorite on the way home
4.9%...gasping a cigarette outside in the rain another 5% more...then pig, cow,
chicken or lamb for your supper up on average by 17%...fish more than 10% higher
in 12 months...vegetables and potatoes all up 15% plus...maybe wine from the
off-license to sluice it down 4.9% above the cost of a year ago, scarcely
dulling the pain...then top it off with sweets or a chocolate for another 7%
hike before finding something to sit or lie or collapse on as you stare at the
ceiling and wonder where-in-the-hell this deflation has got to up by 4.2%, even
while the furniture stores begin their closing-down sales and finally buildings
insurance so you can squeeze your eyes tight knowing the whole damn house won't
fall on your head when you're sleep, not at your expense anyway, that's another
7.5% on top, not that you'd have saved much just staying at home and nibbling
bread and butter instead, pricier by 5.8% all told if you add a dollop of jam
the same size as you had at the start of 2008 and now 28% more pricey than it
was just three years ago, but who's counting...certainly not the fixed-income
pensioners, poor sods, let alone the middle-aged investor – not now he's looking
at the FTSE or the S&P and kidding himself that stock prices at 10 or 11 or
12 times trailing earnings might be worth buying as business tips into the
steepest, deepest, post-inflationary slowdown since FDR's New Deal finally paid
off and the factories began to hum once again making bombs and tanks and
fighter-planes, all production, no surplus – use it up, then make another, turn
and turn about – makes you wonder whether Dubya Bush had it right back in '03,
the only sure way to fight a depression and keep young men off the dole is
sending them out to... BERNANKE: Is he finished
yet? BOZO: Pretty damn nearly,
yes. MERVYN: Looks at his last gasp to me.
It's awful! Lights fade
to black. Curtains for everyone. Adrian Ash Formerly City correspondent for
The Daily Reckoning in (c) BullionVault
2009 Please Note: This article is to inform your
thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and
any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included
here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere
– should you choose to act on it.
By: Adrian Ash, BullionVault
-- Posted Wednesday, 21 January 2009 | Source: GoldSeek.com
A LITTLE theatre of the absurd
A country road. A bare tree. Evening. Enter two clowns.
MERVYN: [Stops centre-stage, blinking into the footlights.] Nothing to be done.
BERNANKE: Let's keep trying anyway.
MERVYN: But nothing happens! Nobody borrows, nobody lends. It's awful.
BERNANKE: Don't lose heart, not when things are going so badly.
MERVYN: You'd rather give up when things go to plan? Nothing's happened. Twice! And all that money...
BERNANKE: He did warn us.
MERVYN: Who did?
MERVYN: [Irritably.] Will he never get here?
BERNANKE: He warned us against doing too little, too late. As did I, you'll remember.
MERVYN: Can't anyone guess how long he will take?
BERNANKE: Another quarter or
more, no later than the second-half of the year – unless we missed him already.
We are a long way from
MERVYN: Hardly a million miles though...
BERNANKE: [Ignoring him, scans horizon.] Perhaps he came and went when we weren't looking. Perhaps he's already been, job done, everyone saved, everyone rescued.
MERVYN: [Laughing.] What, carrying all that paper, all those zeroes? How could you miss a man like that! Did you never read your Minsky?
BERNANKE: I must have looked it over at college. Pretty cover, I recall. Nice font, too...
MERVYN: But nothing of the text, not a word of the inflationary crack-up?
BERNANKE: Inflationary crack-pot, you mean.
MERVYN: [Angrily.] A hundred thousand-thousand-thousand thousands! It doesn't grow on trees, you know. Well, except when it does. [Gestures sadly at the bare, leafless tree.]
BERNANKE: Nothing you can do about it now. No use struggling. You must do what you must.
MERVYN: And what's that, Bibi?
BERNANKE: Print. And wait.
MERVYN: We've been waiting for weeks, months already! And waiting for what, I ask you?
BERNANKE: Waiting for Gono...
[Angry shouts off-stage.]
MERVYN: [Anxious.] Is that him, coming now?
[Enter BOZO and UNLUCKY. Unlucky is first to appear, a rope tied round his neck. Bozo holds the other end and follows after. Unlucky carries three heavy shopping bags in each hand. Bozo carries a whip.]
BOZO: On! [Cracks whip.] Don't slack now!
BOZO: If you like. Whatever works, I always say.
MERVYN: [Disappointed.] Oh...Hello, Gordon. It's you...
BOZO: Actually, it's Bozo to you – the clown who saved the world!
BERNANKE: Ah, Bozo! [Pauses.] Not Gono?
BOZO: You mean the great inflationist?
BERNANKE: The very same. We're supposed to be meeting him here. He told us to wait by that money-tree.
BOZO: Not me, not me at all. [Kicks Unlucky.] Just ask my friend here.
MERVYN: [Also nodding towards Unlucky.] He looks tired. Why doesn't he put down his bags?
BOZO: [Suddenly violent.] Put down his bags? Put down his bags? Who then should carry them up, tell me that! The Chinese perhaps? Idiot! Besides, they're growing lighter each day. The burden of filling them is now falling, I made sure of that...down 1.5% from November to last month. That's how I'm saving the world. [Kicks at Unlucky, barking.] Go on, tell them!
UNLUCKY: [Anxious, gabbling.] Yes but the true cost of living – that relentless suck of rubbing your eyes, showering and shaving, spooning in breakfast, then shuffling off to bring home a crust (or not) and shuffling once more through the crowds and pricing up dinner until it's back to bed and time to resume the whole sorry cycle next morning – the price of domestic gas supplies rose 52% in 2008...water rates were up 6.5%...electricity added almost one-third again...tea-bags and a dash of milk were both 11% up...cereal 15.5%...fruit nearly 10% year-on-year...train, bus and other travel fares 14% higher...plus a daily paper, heaven forbid, at nearly a quid a pop or £1.80 if you must have the latest financial horrors...then mid-morning biscuits or cakes 11.5% up, even with shares in Premier Foods down by three-quarters over the year to today...oh and then a lunchtime sandwich up 4.5% (VAT reduction included)...perhaps a pint of your favorite on the way home 4.9%...gasping a cigarette outside in the rain another 5% more...then pig, cow, chicken or lamb for your supper up on average by 17%...fish more than 10% higher in 12 months...vegetables and potatoes all up 15% plus...maybe wine from the off-license to sluice it down 4.9% above the cost of a year ago, scarcely dulling the pain...then top it off with sweets or a chocolate for another 7% hike before finding something to sit or lie or collapse on as you stare at the ceiling and wonder where-in-the-hell this deflation has got to up by 4.2%, even while the furniture stores begin their closing-down sales and finally buildings insurance so you can squeeze your eyes tight knowing the whole damn house won't fall on your head when you're sleep, not at your expense anyway, that's another 7.5% on top, not that you'd have saved much just staying at home and nibbling bread and butter instead, pricier by 5.8% all told if you add a dollop of jam the same size as you had at the start of 2008 and now 28% more pricey than it was just three years ago, but who's counting...certainly not the fixed-income pensioners, poor sods, let alone the middle-aged investor – not now he's looking at the FTSE or the S&P and kidding himself that stock prices at 10 or 11 or 12 times trailing earnings might be worth buying as business tips into the steepest, deepest, post-inflationary slowdown since FDR's New Deal finally paid off and the factories began to hum once again making bombs and tanks and fighter-planes, all production, no surplus – use it up, then make another, turn and turn about – makes you wonder whether Dubya Bush had it right back in '03, the only sure way to fight a depression and keep young men off the dole is sending them out to...
BERNANKE: Is he finished yet?
BOZO: Pretty damn nearly, yes.
MERVYN: Looks at his last gasp to me. It's awful!
Lights fade to black. Curtains for everyone.
Formerly City correspondent for
The Daily Reckoning in
(c) BullionVault 2009
Please Note: This article is to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it.