Abusive Policies Deepen Humanitarian Crisis and Need for Protection
January 22, 2009
(Johannesburg) - The African Union should put concerted political pressure
on Robert Mugabe to end Zimbabwe's longstanding political crisis, which has
led to an ever-deepening humanitarian emergency and a regional crisis, Human
Rights Watch said in a report released today. The African Union will hold a
summit meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from January 26 to February 3, 2009.
The 33-page report, "Crisis without Limits: Human Rights and Humanitarian
Consequences of Political Repression in Zimbabwe," details the Zimbabwean
government's responsibility for the country's humanitarian crisis. A cholera
epidemic has left over 2,000 Zimbabweans dead and another 39,000 ill. Over 5
million Zimbabweans face severe food shortages and are dependent on
international aid. Repeated political interference by the ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in the work of
humanitarian agencies has severely hampered international efforts to tackle
the country's multiple crises.
"Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party have shown scant regard for the welfare
of Zimbabweans," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director for Human Rights
Watch, "It is way past time for the African Union to act to help end their
The Global Political Agreement signed by ZANU-PF and the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), the opposition movement that won the country's
parliamentary elections, has all but collapsed and has not led to a credible
government of national unity or ended ZANU-PF's widespread abuses. ZANU-PF
has repeatedly breached the terms of the agreement that committed the two
parties to demonstrate respect for democratic values and human rights.
ZANU-PF's violations of basic human rights and various governmental policies
have worsened the country's humanitarian crisis.
"Crisis without Limits" is based on research conducted by Human Rights Watch
in six of Zimbabwe's 10 provinces from November 16 to 30, 2008. In-depth
interviews were conducted with victims of human rights violations as well as
representatives of local and international nongovernmental organizations and
humanitarian agencies, United Nations officials, MDC members, officials from
the Ministry of Agriculture and the Grain and Marketing Board, lawyers,
health experts, economists, and diplomats.
Human Rights Watch research identifies the causes of the food shortage, the
cholera outbreak, and the collapse in Zimbabwe's health system. Repressive
government and extensive corruption have led directly to an interlinked
economic collapse, humanitarian crisis, and growing public desperation.
The report also documents how ZANU-PF continues to use state institutions
such as the police and the justice system to violate the civil and political
rights of MDC members and supporters, civil society activists, and human
rights defenders. The police continue to use violence to break up peaceful
protests, and routinely persecute MDC activists.
Human Rights Watch expressed concern about the lack of progress in mediation
efforts by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Ongoing human
rights abuses have not ceased and those responsible have not been held to
Human Rights Watch called on the African Union to insert itself formally
into the mediation process and set basic principles, specific human rights
benchmarks, and timelines for resolving the crisis. Among the steps it
should take are to condemn and call for an end to ongoing abuses by the
ZANU-PF authorities, including an end to politically motivated violence,
enforced disappearances, torture, and the release of MDC members and human
rights activists who are being arbitrarily detained. Human Rights Watch
urged the AU to suspend Zimbabwe from the organization if - within a
specific time frame - it does not meet specific human rights and good
Human Rights Watch research found that the Zimbabwean government bears
primary responsibility for the severe food shortages in the country.
State-sanctioned political violence led to the destruction of food granaries
serving thousands of Zimbabweans who were forcibly displaced by ZANU-PF
supporters, "war veterans," and soldiers and left them dependent on food
aid. Official interference in the operations of humanitarian agencies that
distribute food aid worsened the crisis.
Endemic corruption within state-run agricultural institutions such as the
Grain and Marketing Board and by ZANU-PF's political elite has also led to
severe shortages of seed and other farming supplies such as fertilizer. Many
of the government's agricultural policies have benefitted the pro-ZANU-PF
political elite. The Zimbabwean authorities have diverted state-subsidized
maize, seed, fuel, and cheap tractors meant for local farmers to local
ZANU-PF officials and governors, who have then sold them on the black market
at high prices unaffordable for most Zimbabweans. And the government has
done little to address the corrupt practices that have affected the food
Health Crisis - Cholera
The Zimbabwean authorities have been aware of the potential for a major
cholera outbreak for nearly a year. In December 2007, 459 cases of cholera
were reported in two high-density suburbs of the capital, Harare, and 11
people died from cholera and more than 300 were hospitalized in Bulawayo.
Despite repeated calls to address the epidemic and to ensure that municipal
water sources were properly treated, the government did not respond
While the capacity to respond to the cholera outbreak may have been
undermined by a lack of medical and financial resources, health officials
informed Human Rights Watch that the Zimbabwean government initially refused
to acknowledge the extent of the cholera crisis and the urgent need to
respond. Despite an alarming increase in cholera deaths and infections, the
government did not immediately appeal for international help and initially
refused to declare the outbreak an emergency.
Zimbabwe's failing health system, in which ordinary Zimbabweans are no
longer able to get basic health care, has aggravated the cholera epidemic.
Many district hospitals and municipal clinics in Zimbabwe are either closed
or operating at minimum capacity. Dilapidated infrastructure, equipment
failures, shortages of drugs, and a "brain drain" of medical professionals
have all contributed to the collapse of the health system.
"The Zimbabwean government is responsible for the humanitarian crisis and
the failure to protect Zimbabweans from its consequences," said Gagnon, "The
government has violated the basic rights of Zimbabweans to food, health, and
Since the end of October, ZANU-PF has used the police and other state
agencies to arbitrarily arrest and "disappear" more than 40 MDC members and
human rights activists. Thirty-two MDC members and human rights activists
have been detained by the Zimbabwe authorities on various charges of
attempting to overthrow the government - charges that Human Rights Watch
believes are politically motivated. Most of the activists who have been
charged say they were tortured by state security agents during their
detention. The authorities are refusing to disclose the whereabouts of 11
other MDC members.
Regional leaders have repeatedly ignored the violations of human rights
inflicted on Zimbabweans by Mugabe's government and have not taken serious
steps to help their suffering, Human Rights Watch said. SADC leaders have
also failed to take any measures that would promote genuine democratic
transition. At the same time, the combination of political instability, the
cholera outbreak, and severe food problems have driven thousands of
Zimbabweans into neighboring countries. The influx has also taken cholera
across Zimbabwe's border to neighboring countries, including Botswana,
Mozambique, and Zambia.
"The urgent humanitarian needs of Zimbabweans are a direct consequence of
ZANU-PF's abusive rule," said Gagnon. "The AU can only restore the security
and well-being of people in the region by openly acknowledging the scale of
the crisis, putting human rights at the top of the agenda, and holding
abusers to account."
Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:21am GMT
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa will host a special regional summit on
Monday to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe, officials said on Thursday.
The summit follows the failure of talks earlier this week to bridge the
divide between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, on forming a
"The summit of heads of state and government is expected to be attended by
all (Southern African Development Community) member states," the South
African Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Zimbabwe is a member of SADC and the statement said the MDC was also
expected to attend the summit.
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, Mozambique's President Armando
Guebuza and Thabo Mbeki, SADC mediator and former South African president,
met the two Zimbabwean sides in Harare last Monday but no agreement was
A unity government is seen as the best chance of preventing total collapse
in once prosperous Zimbabwe, where prices double every day and more than
2,000 people have died in a cholera epidemic.
A September power-sharing deal has stalled amid disputes over who should
control key ministries.
Regional leaders have faced mounting international calls for stronger action
to end the crisis.
By Ntungamili Nkomo & Benedict Nhlapho
Washington & Johannesburg
21 January 2009
Officials of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the
Movement for Democratic Change formation of Morgan Tsvangirai are intensely
lobbying member nations of the Southern African Development Community and
the African Union ahead of summits of the two bodies running concurrently
next week that will focus on the Zimbabwe crisis.
While attention will focus primarily on the SADC session set for Monday,
sources say the AU will take up the deep crisis in Zimbabwe at its summit in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
SADC officials have not yet said whether the summit will be held in
Gaborone, Botswana, home of the regional organization, or in South Africa,
whose president, Kgalema Motlanthe, currently holds the SADC chair and
unsuccessfully tried to broker a deal early this week.
Sources said ZANU-PF and the Tsvangirai MDC wing are engaged in a blame game
over the failure of what were perceived as make-or-break power-sharing talks
ZANU-PF accuses Tsvangirai of being under Western orders not to join the
proposed unity government that President Mugabe has proposed to form. But
the MDC dismissed this charge, saying the problem is intransigence on the
part of Mr. Mugabe.
National Constitutional Assembly Deputy Chairman George Mkhwanazi told
reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that SADC is to
blame for the prolonged Zimbabwean impasse because of its softly-softly
approach to Mr. Mugabe.
Elsewhere, South African civic activists led by Graça Machel, wife of former
South African President Nelson Mandela and a member of the so-called Elders
group of eminent persons, on Wednesday presided over the launch of a "Save
Zimbabwe Campaign" including a hunger strike to galvanize public opinion, a
Studio 7 correspondent Benedict Nhlapho reported.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
MDC power-sharing issues ignored
A confidential SADC position paper to be tabled at the extra-ordinary
Zimbabwe summit next
week by SADc chairman Kgalema motlanthe has been leaked to the
Zimbabwean. The document sidesteps real issues raised by the MDC and pours
cold water on any hope that the regional bloc will be able to come up with a
lasting solution to the long-running crisis.
SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salamao declined on Tuesday to reveal
details of the SADC position paper, saying he could only do that after its
details had been divulged to regional leaders at the January 26
This has been scheduled to take place either in Gaborone or Pretoria
as a last-ditch bid to resolve the four-month standoff that has bogged down
the implementation of the powersharing deal between Zanu (PF) and the MDC.
The confidential document attempts to bulldoze MDC President Morgan
Tsvangirai into taking oath of office by January 24, even before the MDC
leader's outstanding issues have been resolved.
"After consultations held in Harare, on January 19, 2009," says the
document, "the principals
hereby agree to the following:
1. to proceed immediately with the formation of the Inclusive
Government as prescribed in the Agreement.
2. to support the adoption of the constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment
19 at the sitting of Parliament on Tuesday January 20, 2009.
3. to swear-in the Prime minister and Deputy Prime ministers by
January 24, 2009 and thereafter proceed to appoint ministers."
Tsvangirai wants the issue of ministries resolved before he can be
sworn-in as Prime minister, to give him authority to make meaningful change,
to deliver food and jobs, he said. He has classified 10 key ministries he
wants equally shared.
The SADC position paper also says the main MDC should submit a draft
Bill on the National Security Council for consideration by all the parties
by January 24, 2009.
The document makes if apparent that SADC has decided to take sides
with Mugabe, maintaining that the issue of governors cannot be reversed.
"At the end of the contract of the incumbent Governors, or should
vacancies arise, the posts will be shared amongst the Parties, according to
agreed formula," said the resolution, which supports Zanu (PF)'s retention
of all 10 gubernatorial posts.
The SADC position paper further states: "the allocation of ministerial
portfolios shall be reviewed six months after the inauguration of the
cabinet as per the decision of the SADC Extraordinary Summit held in
Sandton, South Africa, on November 9, 2008."
That resolution, which suggests that parties share control of the Home
Affairs ministry, was rejected by Tsvangirai as a "nullity". But the SADC
heads still insist on taking the rejected suggestion to another summit.
"Outstanding issues raised by Tsvangirai shall be dealt with:
a.) In terms of Article XXII, Paragraph 22.4 of the Agreement, which
states: 'Joint monitoring and Implementation committee ( JOMIC) shall be the
principal body dealing with the issues of compliance and monitoring of this
Agreement and to that end, the Parties hereby undertake to channel all
complaints, grievances, concerns and issues relating to the compliance with
Agreement through JOMIC and to refrain from any conduct which might
undermine the spirit of co-operation necessary for the fulfilment of this
b.) By the Inclusive Government after its formation Sources close to
the talks said Mugabe rejected a position paper tabled by Tsvangirai
suggesting that the MDC takes control of the "key" Home Affairs, Finance,
Information, Agriculture and Local Government ministries.
The MDC position paper suggested Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party retains
control of Defence, National Security, Justice, Foreign Affairs and Land.
Our source said a furious Mugabe charged that the MDC was shifting
goal posts and rejected the suggestion as "unacceptable," maintaining he
would implement recommendations made at the SADC summit of November 9 that
suggested that the parties share control of the Home
Affairs while Mugabe retained control of all the 10 powerful
Mugabe asserted that Tsvangirai was attempting to re-open issues that
had long been concluded. Efforts by Motlanthe and Guebuza to force the two
principals into making compromises were futile. With the entrenched
positions, the talks were teetering on the verge of collapse.
Efforts by Motlanthe and Guebuza to force the two principals into
making compromises were futile. With the entrenched positions, the talks
were teetering on the verge of collapse. mugabe suggested previously that
all the contested ministries, except Finance, go to his party, Zanu (PF).
Mugabe had earlier warned that the meeting was a "make or break," and
he would not make any more concessions, while Tsvangirai had declared
that he would not accept token ministries and responsibility without
A wily Mugabe maintained that he had followed the recommendations of
the November 9 SADC summit to the letter, which recommended the sharing of
Home Affairs, gazetting the draft Constitution Amendment No. 19 Bill to be
tabled during the current Parliamentary session that started on Tuesday, and
swearing in the Prime Minister.
He said the only problem was that Tsvangirai was refusing to be sworn
in, was being difficult and was refusing to cooperate.
Attempts by Motlanthe and Guebuza to extract concessions and
compromises from Mugabe despite the unequivocal SADC position, which clearly
favoured Mugabe, fell on deaf ears, our source said.
JANUARY 22, 2009
Mugabe doesn't recognize any African authority.
By ROGER BATE
Morgan Tsvangirai has nominally been Zimbabwe's prime minister since
September, but he may never actually get to hold the post. Monday's collapse
of power-sharing talks between Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe and Mr.
Tsvangirai marks the latest in a decade-long stream of bad news for this
Next week, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will once again
hold a summit to attempt to resolve this crisis. But so far, SADC leaders
have allowed Mugabe to renege on all agreements to yield power. Some even
portray Mr. Tsvangirai as the obstacle to compromise.
The increasingly demented Mugabe seems to truly believe that Britain wants
to recolonize his country and that Mr. Tsvangirai is in the pocket of the
West. His ludicrous insistence that Mr. Tsvangirai is merely a British
puppet has unfairly made the prime minister-elect part of the problem.
Regional leaders, afraid of being perceived by their citizens as supporting
the West, have refused to come to his defense.
The despotic Mugabe has misruled Zimbabwe since 1980. Today, at least 80% of
Zimbabweans are unemployed. All Western companies have abandoned the
country -- only the most ruthless Chinese and Russian operators remain,
paying hard currency for gemstones and minerals they help extract. Prices
more than double every day, and new-denomination bank notes are issued every
A cholera epidemic, which Mugabe blames on Britain, has infected 43,000 and
killed 2,150, according to the United Nations. Wilson Chimtengwende, a
health worker in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, told me, "The
poor are so malnourished and without transport that any infection can be
lethal. Most people die at home with cholera unreported. Deaths could be
three times as high as official numbers." (Our phone conversation got cut
off four times in 15 minutes, normal given the phone service there.)
By rights -- even by the rules of the Zimbabwean constitution -- the former
trade-union leader Mr. Tsvangirai should be president. He won the first
round of presidential elections last March, but Mugabe demanded a runoff.
His second campaign was derailed in the following months because 200 members
of his party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), were murdered by
Zimbabwe's security services. This handed Mugabe a convenient, uncontested
victory. It was the increasingly desperate humanitarian crisis and a lull in
violence against his party that led Mr. Tsvangirai to agree to a political
compromise in September: He agreed to be prime minister rather than
Since then, cholera has ravaged the country, violence against the MDC has
escalated (over 40 party members have been abducted), and until last week
Mr. Tsvangirai had been kept out of the country because the authorities
refused to issue him a new passport. Despite all of this, he was prepared to
negotiate at the request of South Africa, only to be rebuffed by Mugabe.
Lovemore Madhuku, a prominent Zimbabwean lawyer, is just one of many experts
who believe that Mugabe will never agree to a deal with Mr. Tsvangirai. I
have met with Mr. Tsvangirai during my travels to Zimbabwe and I admire his
courage and tenacity, but he may need to stand aside temporarily -- such a
move will give regional leaders no further excuses not to force Mugabe from
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party's salute is the clenched fist, compared to the
open-handed wave of Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC. President Barack Obama's
inauguration call to the world's oppressors to open their clenched fists
could have been written specifically for Mugabe.
Mr. Obama will likely continue the correct policies of the Bush
administration -- travel and financial sanctions against Mugabe's cronies.
But Mr. Obama's huge appeal, particularly in Africa, might inspire regional
leaders to stand up to Mugabe. If he does not at least try to pressure
regional leaders, there may soon be no country left for Mr. Tsvangirai to
Mr. Bate is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Cris Chinaka, Reuters
Published: Wednesday, January 21, 2009
HARARE - Another African summit on Zimbabwe's political crisis next week is
unlikely to break deadlock over a power-sharing deal between President
Robert Mugabe and the opposition, and analysts see a bleak future.
Mugabe's camp suggested the meeting of southern African leaders called for
Jan. 26 looked doomed after the ruling ZANU-PF and opposition MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai failed to reach agreement at talks brokered by regional
leaders on Monday.
"Efforts to finalise the broad-based agreement appeared to have
irretrievably collapsed," the government's Herald newspaper said. It said
Tsvangirai's party had rejected regional proposals "that would have seen an
inclusive government being formed by the end of the week."
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change is equally pessimistic. The
rivals blame each other for the failure to implement a September
power-sharing pact that had raised hopes of rescuing Zimbabwe from economic
Lovemore Madhuku, a lawyer and chairman of constitution reform lobby group
NCA, said it appeared increasingly unlikely that Mugabe and Tsvangirai could
"There is a crisis of confidence arising from Tsvangirai's belief that
Mugabe wants to trap his MDC party in order to tame it, ease pressure on his
government, get some international legitimacy and then absorb or destroy the
MDC," he told Reuters.
"On the other hand, Mugabe seems to truly believe that Tsvangirai is a
Western puppet holding out for an economic meltdown that may lead to a mass
uprising and a fall of his government."
The dispute has centred on who gets which posts in a shared government but
is as much as anything about the lack of trust.
"The SADC (Southern African Development Community) is not going to succeed
in Zimbabwe if they do not change their strategy," said Elinor Sisulu, head
of the South African branch of the Crisis for Zimbabwe Coalition.
She said that instead of focusing only on the deal, regional leaders should
look at violence in Zimbabwe, where the MDC accuses the government of
attacks, and at ZANU-PF accusations the opposition is preparing an
insurgency from Botswana.
If there is no agreement, Mugabe has said he would proceed in appointing a
purely ZANU-PF cabinet.
But its work will be difficult in a parliament dominated by the opposition
since elections last March.
Tsvangirai also won a presidential ballot then, but without enough votes to
avoid a run-off against Mugabe. He pulled out of that citing attacks on his
Without a political settlement, Zimbabwe is unlikely to get financial aid
crucial to reviving the battered economy. Nor will it be able to persuade
Western powers to lift sanctions imposed on Mugabe's government.
Aid agencies are already struggling to cope with food shortages and a
cholera epidemic that has killed over 2,100 people.
"The future can only be secured if the politicians sort out the political
issues, and then we can expect assistance to repair the damage of disastrous
policies and to grow the economy," said leading economic consultant John
Others say Zimbabwe's economic problems - which include food, fuel and
foreign currency shortages, unemployment of 80 percent and the world's
highest inflation rate of more than 230 million percent - can only get worse
with the impasse.
Mugabe, who will be 85 next month and has been in power since independence
from Britain in 1980, says Zimbabwe's once prosperous economy has been
sabotaged by enemies opposed to his seizures of white-owned farms for
"It is not clear, in terms of strategy, where both the MDC and ZANU-PF want
to go outside the power-sharing framework, but its very clear that the
economy will be doomed without it," said Eldred Masunungure, a University of
Zimbabwe political science professor.
© Reuters 2009
The launch of the movement Save Zimbabwe Now was launched today, 21st January 2009, at Central Methodist
Mission, Johannesburg. Speakers included:
Graca Machel - Member of The Elders and wife of Nelson Mandela, Kumi Naidoo - Honorary president of CIVICUS, Nomboniso Gasa - Chair of the South African Gender Commission, Bishop Paul Verryn of the Central Methodist Mission in Johannesburg, Louisa Zonda - Consultant and former CEO of the Human Rights Commission, Pastor Mugabe - Board member of the Zimbabwean National Pastors Conference and member of the Christian Alliance, Makoma Lekalakala - Steering committee member of Ceasefire and member of several women’s and community based organisations and Sipho Theys - Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum.
“Southern African leaders have the blood of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans on their hands for failing to solve the crisis”, said former Mozambican First Lady Graça Machel at the launch. “We trusted too long, it’s time we tell the leaders we lay the lives of all those who passed on… in the hands of SADC … They, as a collective leadership, took the responsibility to solve the conflict…,” said Machel. “It [the Zimbabwean government] has lost completely any kind of legitimacy”.
The movement aims to galvanise the solidarity and support of the people and organisations in Southern Africa, and to provide a range of opportunities to offer solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe. Several civil society groups in Zimbabwe have welcomed and pledged their support for this initiative and we envisage a collective passage forward in aspiring to assist the democratic journey for Zimbabweans through inspiration and action.
The first action of the movement will be a fast. High profile South African leaders and individuals will be fasting in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe.
Some of the support already galvanised
Among them are Moeletsi Mbeki, Chairperson of Endemol, Sipho Theys from the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum, Piers Pigou - Director of SAHA, Elinor Sisulu - Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Selvan Chetty - Solidarity Peace Trust, and Yasmin Sooka - Foundation for Human Rights.
Individuals like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Ivor Jenkins of IDASA and Hugh Lewin, director of SACST will be fasting one day a week, every Wednesday. Other participants, including Kumi Naidoo and Nomboniso Gasa will be fasting for up to 21 consecutive days whilst residing at the Central Methodist Mission. Rev Priscilla Everson, Anglican Priest in the JHB Diocesse, Bishop Paul Verryn of the Central Methodist church.
The fast will continue for a period of 3 months unless meaningful and tangible gains towards the demands put forward are met.
FASTING HAS BEEN CHOSEN TO SYMBOLISE THE HUNGER AND DISCOMFORT FACED BY MILLIONS OF ZIMBABWEANS EVERY DAY IN VARYING FORMS OF SEVERITY.
Information on how to join the fast are available at www.savezimbabwenow.com
by Cuthbert Nzou Thursday 22 January 2009
HARARE - South African church leaders have urged former president Thabo
Mbeki to step down as mediator in power-sharing negotiations in neighbouring
The religious leaders also blamed the regional SADC grouping of failing the
people of Zimbabwe by not pressing President Robert Mugabe to agree to
genuinely share power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
A power-sharing government is seen as the best way to pluck Zimbabwe out of
crisis but Mugabe and Tsvangirai failed to agree on a new government on
Monday because of dispute over control of ministerial and other top
In a statement released this week, the South African National Church Leaders
Consultation said Zimbabwe had collapsed and Mbeki "is compromised and no
longer suitable for the mediation process".
Tsvangirai has on several occasions asked the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) to remove Mbeki as facilitator claiming that he was biased
in favour of Mugabe, but the regional bloc has kept faith in the former
South African leader.
On Monday, Mbeki was part of the SADC team that was in Harare to try and
break the deadlock between Mugabe and Tsvangirai on the power-sharing deal
signed last September.
The team was headed by SADC chairperson and South African President Kgalema
Motlanthe and included Mozambique President Amando Guebeza.
The SADC delegation failed to break the deadlock and an extraordinary summit
of the regional bloc would be held in either Botswana or South Africa on
Monday, January 26 in what appears to be a last minute chance to salvage the
Accusing SADC of failing to take a tougher stance against Mugabe, church
leaders called for the African Union to intervene in Zimbabwe and said that
a new facilitator should be appointed.
The church group includes Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, Dutch Reformed,
Lutheran and Rhema leaders.
"We believe that Robert Mugabe is holding to illegitimate power. The people
of Zimbabwe spoke on March 29 2008 by electing a new leadership; we
therefore call upon Robert Mugabe to resign in order to give democracy a new
chance," the National Church Leaders said.
"We also call on churches, civil society groups and political leaders in
southern Africa to urgently address the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe."
The leaders said they would "seek and facilitate the unity of the church in
Zimbabwe", assist in providing food aid through church structures and
"actively work for the downfall of unjust rule in Zimbabwe". - ZimOnline
By Patience Rusere
21 January 2009
As a months-long cholera epidemic continues to claim lives in Zimbabwe,
large numbers of Zimbabweans are said to be crossing into South Africa to
seek treatment though the disease has also been taking hold south of the
Limpopo River dividing the two countries.
Reports said the disease has spread to all nine South African provinces,
especially Limpopo province close to the border. They said 91 new cases have
been reported in Limpopo where nine deaths had occurred as of Monday. In all
of South Africa there were 2,439 cases.
Reports from the World Health Organization through Monday showed nearly
46,000 cases in Zimbabwe itself, with a death toll of 2,484 from the disease
in the past five months.
Sox Chikowero, an activist of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
based in South Africa, told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that infected Zimbabweans are receiving adequate medical care in
South Africa regardless of their immigration status, and that after
treatment most are opting to stay.
January 21, 2009
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Outgoing Justice Minister and Zanu PF chief negotiator in on-going
unity talks, Patrick Chinamasa has dismissed the proposals made by the
Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC, subject to the formation of an all inclusive
government between Zanu PF and MDC.
Chinamasa is adamant President Robert Mugabe has no obligation to consult
Tsvangirai before appointing persons to occupy key government positions.
He contends the MDC leader is only a political office holder who is not yet
Zanu-PF wants a new government to be in place with outstanding issues being
dealt with later while the MDC says it cannot proceed with the formation of
an all inclusive government if the outstanding issues have not been
clarified and consistent.
The MDC wants an equitable distribution of ministerial portfolios, the
enactment of a law establishing the National Security Council, the
appointment of governors and other senior appointments, among some of its
demands, before a new government is put in place.
The MDC also Zanu PF to reverse everything which it says is in violation of
a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on July 21 and the Global
Political Agreement signed between the parties on September 15, 2008.
Chinamasa, who was evidently irked by the MDC's constant reference to Mugabe
as President-Designate, says the MDC's demands are unacceptable.
"Tsvangirai refers to the President as the President-designate, in
consultation with the Prime-Minister designate, shall agree on the
appointment of a new Reserve Bank governor of Zimbabwe by the 24th of
January 2009. That is his new demand," Chinamasa said to journalists at a
press conference held in Harare on Wednesday.
"The President has no obligation to consult a political office holder,
whether Zanu-PF or MDC, he has no legal obligation.
"He only has a legal obligation to act in accordance with the constitution
(of Zimbabwe) and only after (Constitutional) Amendment Number 19 is enacted
into law would he be required to consult the Prime Minister if, and when
that office is filled up after the enactment."
Chinamasa also defended Mugabe's unilateral re-appointment of one of his key
allies, Gideon Gono, as central bank governor.
"We are wilting under sanctions and the Reserve Bank governor has been in
the forefront in our anti-sanctions fight," said Chinamasa.
"There is no way a vacuum would have occurred in the office of the Reserve
Bank governor. He correctly appointed him for his second and final term.
"Tsvangirai would be happier if there is a vacuum in the office of Attorney
General," Chinamasa said in reference to the MDC's complaint over the
appointment of Johannes Tomana.
Tomana, who was appointed on December 17, 2008, has since publicly declared
his allegiance to Mugabe's Zanu-PF.
While she is yet to be tried for her alleged offence, Tomana has since
pronounced the jailed Zimbabwe Peace Project director, Jestina Mukoko as a
threat to the state saying she should not be released now.
The MDC has demanded the unconditional release of 31 of its activists and
human rights defenders, who are accused of attempting to dethrone Mugabe to
replace him with Tsvangirai. The MDC says these are trumped up charges.
"He would also be happier if we allow a situation where persons can commit
crimes with impunity," Chinamasa said.
"It would obviously help his cause to make this country ungovernable. It's
very clear and he probably does not think that we have seen through their
Chinamasa said there was no need to continue with the all- inclusive
government if the MDC kept refusing to be party to it.
"If there is no commitment from any of the three parties, it's pointless to
proceed with the project. The project can only be embarked upon in the full
understanding that it is supported by all the parties," he said.
Chinamasa's comments were made after the two parties again failed to resolve
their differences last Monday under the facilitation of South African
President and SADC chairperson, Kgalema Motlanthe, who was assisted by the
SADC chief negotiator Thabo Mbeki and Mozambican President Armando Guebuza,
the acting chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
January 21, 2009
FORMER ANZ secretary Gugulethu Moyo holding a special edition of The Daily News published outside the country while the paper was banned.
By Our Correspondent
BULAWAYO - Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the former chief executive officer of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of the banned Daily News, has dropped a bomb shell.
He says the once best-selling newspaper will never come back, even if the government grants the company an operating licence. Nkomo left the company under a cloud. The Financial Gazette reported at the time of his departure that Nkomo had been fired because he committed “a lot of strategic errors that the company has paid for heavily”.
The Daily News and its sister paper Daily News on Sunday were banned by President Robert Mugabe government on 12 September 2003. Former Information Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, now the independent Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho North, played a frontline role in the vicious campaign to silence the paper.
The paper was banned after the Supreme Court ruled that ANZ was operating outside the law after Nkomo refused to register the company’s two newspapers with the Media Information Commission (MIC) in terms of Moyo’s draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
When Nkomo subsequently complied with the Supreme Court ruling, the Tafataona Mahoso-led MIC refused on five occasions to grant The Daily News the publishing licence. Ensuing High Court rulings forced the government last year to dissolve the MIC committee chaired by Mahoso and replace it with another one led by blacklisted lawyer, Chinodyachii Mararike. The new committee was tasked to look into the Daily News case.
Mararike and his committee have merely sat on the matter, confirming a widely held view that the Daily News would never see the light of day under the Mugabe regime.
Now Nkomo claims that even if the licence were issued ANZ would never re-launch its two titles. Nkomo left ANZ under a cloud in 2005 to enter the world of politics with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The party split in two thereafter and Nkomo followed secretary general Professor Welshman Ncube and deputy president Gibson Sibanda to launch a breakaway faction, which operated under the same name MDC.
A few weeks later Nkomo executed a dramatic U-turn and returned to the mainstream MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai amid speculation that he was a Trojan horse assigned to keep an eye from within the party, which posed the greatest challenge to President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. Anxious to maintain in its leadership a presence from the western regions of Zimbabwe, where the party was particularly strong, Tsvangirai’s MDC welcomed him back with open arms.
In March 2008 he was elected Member of Parliament, representing the constituency of Lobengula in Bulawayo. There have been reports that Nkomo is earmarked for the much coveted position of Minister of Home Affairs.
Over the weekend journalists asked Nkomo at the Bulawayo Press Club when The Daily News was likely to return. Nkomo’s most notable act during his period tenure as chief executive of a functioning ANZ was to fire the founding editor of The Daily News, Geoffrey Nyarota, at the beginning of January 2002. This happened at the height of a strike by staff. Nkomo had caused the strike by refusing to award a salary increase which had been agreed months earlier with the company’s workers’’ committee.
The newspaper went off the streets for the first time in its turbulent history. Nine months later the newspaper and its sister publication, The Daily News on Sunday were banned after Nkomo unilaterally refused to register them with the MIC.
The former ANZ chief executive officer now says even if ANZ was to be granted the required operating licence, there is no way the company would ever be able to launch the newspaper again. He said ANZ was broke and the government had confiscated all its equipment, including computers.
“There are very slim chances of the Daily News ever coming back,” Nkomo said “even if it were to be granted a licence by government tomorrow. ANZ at the moment does not have any assets left. Their funder Strive Masiyiwa pulled out. They are completely broke and they can’t run a newspaper at the moment. They have to source funds again to buy new equipment.”
Nkomo’s appointment at ANZ, first as chairman and then as executive chairman soon afterwards in 2002 raised many eye-brows, not least those staff at the Daily News. The newspaper had caused the unceremonious departure of Nkomo from the wealthy Mining Industry Pension Fund. The paper had exposed allegations of massive corruption by Nkomo in his position as chief executive of the fund.
When he resurfaced it was as chairman of ANZ.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Union Journalists (ZUJ) has demanded that all media organizations in Zimbabwe should start paying workers in foreign currency with immediate effect.
In a statement released on Monday ZUJ president, Matthew Takaona, said all media organizations should comply with the labour body, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU)’s resolution that all workers should be paid in foreign currency with immediate effect.
“The ZCTU general council in its special meeting of January 17, 2009 adopted a resolution that all salaries and wages be paid in foreign currency. ZUJ is an affiliate of the ZCTU and it sits on the General Council. All media organizations must without fail pay in foreign currency beginning from the time of the resolution,” said Takaona in a statement.
With its value continuing to plummet, the Zimbabwe dollar has become virtually worthless, with both consumers and traders now in favour of the South African rand or the United States dollar.
January 21, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Senate President Edna Madzongwe, one of Zimbabwe's most powerful
female politicians, is reportedly harassing a Chegutu commercial farmer
whose farm she covets.
While Madzongwe already owns another farm which is managed by her sons, she
is reportedly trying to acquire Stockdale Farm, a thriving citrus farm, from
owner Peter Etheredge in Chegutu.
There is an orchard with 55 000 orange trees on the farm, which generates
US$4 million a year in exports.
Etheredge told The Zimbabwe Times Monday that Madzongwe had sent emissaries
to his farm on Sunday asking him to vacate the farm by end of that day.
"Mr Charles Kunonga, a Chegutu District Lands Committee officer, visited the
farm and ordered us to leave before end of the day on Monday because the
Senate President wants to move in," said Etheredge.
"He said the Senate President wants to move her farming equipment onto the
farm. But I told the gentleman that whatever happens to my family or any
property on the farm, I would hold him personally responsible.
"At that point he drove off."
Etheredge said Madzongwe's latest attempts to seize the farm were being made
despite a High Court order barring her from interfering with operations on
the farm. The order dates back to 2007.
He said Madzongwe had made her intentions clearer last year when she told
Etheredge point-blank that she wanted his farm and would get it through the
government's land redistribution programme.
She is said to have told Etheredge: "The government takes what it wants."
Etheredge says the conversation was recorded.
On June 17 last year, youths led by a man identified as Gilbert Moyo invaded
the farm and looted property from three houses.
Moyo, who is said to be a war veteran, allegedly operates from a militia
base camp at Pickstone Mine in the Chegutu district. Moyo is understood to
have taken over Masterpiece Farm from its former owner, commercial farmer
The farm is among those protected by a SADC Tribunal judgement delivered in
Windhoek , Namibia , on November 28, 2008.
The Tribunal ruled that the Zimbabwean government was in breach of a SADC
Protocol. However, the government has dismissed the tribunal as
Recently, Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba described the ruling as
inconsequential, saying the tribunal had no jurisdiction over the cases of
The recently appointed Attorney General, Johannes Tomana also said the
government would not abide by the ruling, saying Zimbabwe had merely signed
the SADC protocols but had not domesticated them.
By Lindie Whiz
Posted to the web: 21/01/2009 22:58:13
A BULAWAYO lawyer has been awarded $1 billion damages against the police for
assault in a 5-year-old lawsuit which highlights serious problems in
Zimbabwe's legal system.
The $1 billion in damages awarded to Ndabezinhle Mazibuko is hardly enough
to buy anything, but largely symbolic.
Last week, the deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba hit out at fellow judges for
not taking their job seriously and using their work time to pursue private
"Unnecessary postponement of the hearing of cases consume the time of the
lawyers and court staff. A poorly run judicial system will in time undermine
public confidence in the entire system of government," Justice Malaba said.
He added: "It becomes a matter of public interest if a judicial officer
fails to exercise the judicial function when he or she is expected to do so.
"Courts are instruments for the benefit of people and the quality of justice
is a function of cost, time and effort of men and women, who serve in the
Mazibuko represented by Shepherd Chamunorwa, of Calderwood, Bryce and
Hendrie Legal Practitioners sued the police and the Home Affairs minister
for damages, claiming he had been assaulted by police, and his dignity
On February 14, 2003, there was a public demonstration in Bulawayo and
several people had been arrested for participating in the protests.
Mazibuko, joined by several other lawyers, went to Bulawayo Central Police
Station to take instructions from his clients who had been arrested. The
lawyers were denied access, and all defiantly refused to leave the police
station without being allowed to see the protesters.
A senior police officer at the station, Chief Inspector Donald Sithole, is
said to have ordered that the lawyers be removed from the police station.
His orders were carried out resulting in Mazibuko being physically
"There is a dispute with regards the manner of the Mazibuko's removal from
the police station. From credible evidence, which was deduced before this
court, Mazibuko's feelings of dignity and self-respect have been
intentionally impaired by the conduct of Chief Insp Sithole," said Justice
Nicholas Ndou in a judgment made available this week.
"He was violently driven out of the police station to the street. This was
done within full view of his clients, other arrestees, police officers and
other onlookers. There was no need for Chief Insp Sithole to act in this
fashion and this is proper case for an award of exemplary damages."
Mazibuko had established that he is a man of high esteem in society, the
Chief Inspector Donald Sithole, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and
the Minister of Home Affairs are to pay the costs at the scale of legal
practitioner to client. They are also to pay interest on the amount of
damages awarded at the prescribed rate from February 14, 2003, to the date
of full payment, the judge ruled.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 19:28
University of Zimbabwe students staged a peaceful demonstration against the
dollarization of education on campus today.
The Zimbabwe National Students` Union national executive council members
addressed close to 2000 students at a general meeting which was held at the
The general meeting resolved to resist the paying of fees in foreign
currency and demanded that the college reopen the halls of residence which
were closed last year.
The meeting also resolved to seek audience with the university Vice
Chancellor Mr. Levy Nyagura which then saw the students marching to his
office resulting in him locking himself up.
Overzealous university security guards tried to violently stop the
procession to the Vice Chancellors office resulting in students` retaliating
and disarming them instead. The ZINASU President Clever Bere assured
students that the union will not let students` of Zimbabwe down.
The demonstration is part of the ongoing national campaign against the
dollarization of education (NACADEZ) which was launched by ZINASU last week
at a press conference in Harare.
We urge the students` of Zimbabwe to remain united and steadfast in the
fight against this terrorist attack and academic genocide being committed by
the President designate Zimbabwe Mr. Robert Mugabe. We salute the courage,
sacrifice, commitment and dedication exhibited by the cadres at the
University of Zimbabwe.
National Spokesperson/Press Secretary
Zimbabwe National Students Union
353 Samora Machel Ave,
+263913 022 456/ +263913010369
email@example.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You
by Cuthbert Nzou Thursday 22 January 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe's cash-strapped government this week paid teachers less
than US$10 for this month, as union leaders warned on Wednesday that
teachers will not report for duty when the new school term begins next week.
Teachers' unions yesterday said their members were on Tuesday paid an
average Z$29 trillion (less than US$10) as salary for January and enough to
buy only 10 loaves of bread.
Unions have been asking for the least paid teacher to earn slightly above
US$2 000. The American unit was on Wednesday fetching about Z$10 trillion on
the illegal parallel market for foreign currency, where the bulk of hard
cash is traded.
Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general Raymond
Majongwe dismissed the new salary as an "insult and a mockery" promising the
militant union that has led previous strikes by teachers would call on all
its members to boycott classes when schools open next Tuesday.
"The salary of $29 trillion for January is in essence an insult and mockery.
What in reality can the salary do in light of sky-rocketing prices of basic
needs, accommodation, transport, education and health costs?" said Majongwe.
He added: "The strike (next week) is about the misery of teachers. Without
money there is no going back to work."
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) spokesperson Sifiso Ndlovu said
teachers would not accept salaries in local currency that he said had been
virtually "demonitised" through partial dollarisation of the economy by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The central bank last September licenced selected manufacturers, wholesalers
and retailers to charge goods and services in foreign currency, but almost
every shop and trader is selling goods in hard cash.
"We are asking for salaries in foreign currency because we are operating in
an economically abnormal situation where you can no longer use the local
currency to buy goods or access essential services," Ndlovu said. "The
January salary for teachers is not peanuts, but nutshells. The salary is not
even fit to be called allowances."
Very little learning took place at public schools in 2008 as teachers spent
the better part of the year striking for more pay or sitting at home because
they could not afford bus fare to work on their meagre salaries.
The new school term was initially set to start on January 13, but the
government moved the date to January 27, citing failure by the Zimbabwe
Schools Examinations Councils to complete marking of last year's public
Delays in marking examinations were because senior teachers would not mark
them until their were paid more allowances.
Education ministry permanent secretary Stephen Mahere yesterday declined to
comment on threats by union leaders to call a fresh strike by teachers and
disrupt the new school term.
Close to a decade of acute economic recession has left President Robert
Mugabe's government unable to fund daily running costs or pay teachers,
soldiers and health workers and there are fears the entire civil service
could soon down tools due to poor remuneration.
Last week, soldiers failed to access their January salaries on time after
government failed to deposit them in their accounts.
The soldiers started receiving their salaries only last weekend, amid
reports that morale in the army was low after government said it had no
money to pay them in foreign currency.
However the government reportedly assured the soldiers that it would soon
pay them allowances in hard currency. - ZimOnline
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 20:45 Ivene Cheunga Jams
The sales of all newspaper titles of Zimpapers is set to dwindle further
following its recent acquisition of a license from the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe to sell all its products in foreign currency, the Harare Tribune
Happy that he will be selling his newspapers in forex, Zimpapers Group chief
executive Justin Mutasa said that the days ahead looked promising for most
of his workers.
"The headaches of retaining staff would be a problem of the past, the ball
is now in our court," he said. Mutasa, economists said, appears to forget
that very few Zimbabweans can afford anything in foreign currency, a
situation which will lead to declining sales and poor salaries for his
Zimpapers is a government entity that publishes the Herald, Chronicle,
Sunday Mail, Sunday News, Kwayedza / Umthunywa and Manica Post. The
publications are largely blamed by the reading public for playing duplicated
public relations for ZANU-PF without any sense of objectivity.
Early last year the circulation of the Herald took a knock from 170 000 to
less than 15 000 copies, development that was attributed by Mutasa to the
high costs of inputs especially newsprint at Mutare Board and Paper Mills.
The Herald and Chronicle have shrunk from about twenty pages to a mere eight
pages amid disclosures that advertisers are also shunning doing business
with Zimpapers owing to their decision to charge for advertising space in
Briefing senior managers in Harare yesterday, Mutasa said 75 percent of the
newspapers that are printed by the group will be charged in United States
dollars, pound sterling, pula and rand while the remaining 25 percent would
be sold in local currency mainly to spoiled Government institutions that are
a perennial drain on the fiscus.
The cover price of The Herald and all newspapers under the Zimpapers stable
will now cost US$1 or the equivalent in pound sterling, rand and pula.
The Zimbabwe dollar price is $5 trillion to US$1 today, but the local
charges would be determined by the market rate thereafter.
Under this new arrangement, Mutasa said, Zimpapers' newspapers will be sold
only in foreign currency, except to selected Government departments and at
some designated selling points including Herald House.
Mutasa has also said the granting of a license to sell its newspapers in
foreign currency by RBZ will result in the company financing its salaries
bill in foreign currency as well.
The developments have taken place at a time when one of the Herald senior
reporters, the deportee Ceasar Zvayi is at the brink of once again leaving
the Herald. Zvayi had secured employment with Sunday Times of South Africa.
Zvayi refused to confirm to the Harare Tribune whether he was still
preparing to leave the Herald.
Late last year, RBZ rewarded anointed Robert Mugabe's praise singers
Munyaradzi Huni, Zvayi and other senior journos with a Mercedes Benz each at
a time the nation was profusely bleeding due to hyper inflation.
By Tom Rhodes/Africa Program Coordinator
The Hong Kong police announced on Monday they would investigate the alleged
assault on photographer Richard Jones by Zimbabwe's first lady, Grace
Mugabe, while she was on vacation. On January 15, Jones claimed Mugabe
ordered her bodyguard to hold the photographer down while she punched him
repeatedly in the face near Hong Kong's exclusive Shangri-la Hotel,
according to wire reports.
Jones, on a freelance assignment for London's daily The Sunday Times,
managed to catch Mugabe outside one of Hong Kong's famous shopping centers
in the Kowloon Peninsula. The photos were meant for a story showing the
contrast between the first lady's extravagant lifestyle and the plight of
people in Zimbabwe, Times correspondent Michael Sheridan reported.
The 42-year-old photographer managed to see this contrast up close and
personal. Jones had nine cuts across his face from Mugabe punching him
repeatedly, according to wire reports. "She had several diamond rings that
were acting like knuckledusters," Jones told The Times.
Many Zimbabwean journalists are all too familiar with such rough treatment.
Photojournalist Shadreck Manyere has been in police custody since last
November, despite asserting that he has been tortured. Journalists who spoke
to CPJ last year referred to the post-election recount as the worst period
for journalists in Zimbabwe's history, as state-sanctioned violence mounted.
But Mugabe's regime has learned to use other, less obvious measures to
silence the press.
According to the newspaper, Mugabe, known as the "the First Shopper of
Zimbabwe," and her entourage spent 2,000 pounds (US$2,780) per day on
luxuries like a Jimmy Choo bag while her country faces unprecedented
inflation rates that have forced Zimbabwe's central bank to introduce notes
denominated in trillions. Where does Mugabe get diamond-encrusted rings in
such a dire economy?
In some small part, Mugabe and his friends may fatten their coffers by
bilking those they despise most: foreign journalists and Zimbabweans working
for foreign media outlets. On January 6, the Zimbabwean government announced
exorbitant hikes in fees for foreign media. Foreign correspondents in
Zimbabwe must now pay an application fee of US$10,000 and a further
US$22,000 for accreditation and permits. Even worse, local journalists
working for foreign media organizations pay up to US$4,000 in fees--an
amount few Zimbabweans can afford in light of the current economy.
Even local newspapers that are printed outside of Zimbabwe are a source of
government income. The government imposed a massive price hike last June on
the import tax paid by private weekly The Zimbabwean, which is printed in
South Africa and shipped into the country. According to Editor Wilf Mbanga,
the government increased the tax from 5 percent to 70 percent of the cover
price. "We have had to reduce our circulation from 200,000 to 60,000,"
Mbanga told CPJ. "It is obvious the government is trying to hurt us
economically. This method is a lot easier form of censorship for the
government instead of closing us down directly."
The payments must be made in foreign currency, Mbanga said, in either
American dollars or South African rands--money the ruling party could
potentially use with exchange rates designed in their favor. Other papers
imported into Zimbabwe from South Africa, such as The Sowetan, do not face
the same import duty taxes for unclear reasons.
The net result of these arbitrary price hikes on the foreign press may be
less critical reporting on a country whose situation grows more dire by the
day. The U.N. estimates that over half the population is in need of food aid
and more than 2,000 people have died of cholera since August. The ruling
party's war of attrition against critical journalism may eventually succeed
in silencing such startling estimates where direct censorship against
journalists in Zimbabwe has failed.
January 21, 2009 5:38 PM ET
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
firstname.lastname@example.org with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject
1. Cathy Buckle - Scams and schemes, frauds and fiddles
2. ANON - CLENCHED FIST
3. Geoff & Nikki Blyth
4. Today's Grey Monday....by Jacaranda
5. This is a message from the David Coltart Mailing List
6. Comment from a correspondent
7. Houseboat Concerns - Rautenbach
1. Cathy Buckle - Scams and schemes, frauds and fiddles
In the last week everyday things have moved from billions into trillions and
the calculations, conversions and zeroes are again the stuff of nightmares.
seems that at every turn there is a scam, scheme, fraud or fiddle going on
you have to proceed with extreme caution to avoid being cheated.
At the beginning of the week one US dollar bought 40 billion Zimbabwe
by the end of the week that same foreign dollar realized 500 billion
dollars. Its impossible to keep up and most people have given up trying to
operate in Zimbabwe dollars. In one huge supermarket which does not sell in
foreign currency, the only items on the shelves this week were long life
and condoms. In another supermarket nearby the shelves were full of goods
all were marked in US dollars and they were very expensive - more than most
could afford. You pay in American dollars and the change is given in South
African coins - its a flat, rounded down conversion rate - take it or leave
it. In other shops the tellers don't give any change at all so if you buy
something for 9 US dollars you either leave having lost a dollar or you have
to buy something you don't want that apparently costs a dollar. It's amazing
how many really trashy little sweets have suddenly appeared at check out
counters which cost fifty cents!
With almost everything now being in US dollars, the people suffering the
are the civil servants because they continue to be paid in Zimbabwe dollars:
teachers, nurses, police, army, telephone, electricity, municipal, post
and government department workers. Their salaries continue to be paid direct
into banks in Zimbabwe dollars and it's almost impossible to get the money
of the bank or to find anything to buy with their worthless Zim dollars.
simple reality explains bribery and corruption better than any university
For some unknown reason our banks are suddenly refusing to allow people to
withdraw their own money out of the bank unless they can provide a pay slip
prove that they earned the money legally. This might sound like a simple
but for most people it's a nightmare as employers no longer have paper or
to print pay slips on and the postal service has all but collapsed. Other
banks have adopted a policy of closing accounts which do not have a
transaction within a month - this apparently because the currency is
so fast. There is nothing in writing, no notice, no explanation, you just
suddenly find your bank account gone - four or five decades of loyal service
means nothing, millions, billions and trillions of dollars is suddenly
useless, worthless trash. One elderly lady I met this week cried as she told
me her life savings, including the money from a car she had recently sold,
devalued by sitting in the bank for a few months and were now worth 11
Zimbabwe cents. Another scheme that is causing huge suffering is that of
medical aid (insurance) societies demanding monthly contributions in US
dollars but then refusing to reimburse claims from patients in foreign
currency. Worse, they will now only honour the consultation fees of a
of doctors and so patients find themselves stranded: unable to afford to see
their own GP's or dentists and unable to physically get to the medical aid
society "approved doctors."
As President Bush leaves power in America this week I can't help wondering
many scores, hundreds, of world leaders have changed in the 29 years since
Zimbabwe's been controlled by one man, one party. It defies belief. Until
week, thanks for reading, love cathy cCopyright cathy buckle .17th January
2. ANON - CLENCHED FIST
This extract is from Obama's speech - it was clearly directed against
Mugabe's clenched fist
"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."
This was a very tough speech - if Mugabe does not get the message he is
in real trouble.
From an e-mailer
3. Geoff & Nikki Blyth
To Jag and to those that care.....
I have been a resident of Kariba for 18 years, and have always taken a
great interest in our wildlife and it's preservation here. Particularly
our 'tame' ele population. We have subsequently been involved in numerous
operations to dart and desnare a number of elephant (and zebra and
buffalo ) over the years, and have been rewarded for our efforts by
seeing those same ele up and about without the pain and suffering of that
snare and injury.
Recently I sent out a mail about the slaughter of these ele's to feed
Mugabe's starving army.
Now, thru the auspices of the jag mail address, and to add to the very
good mail by "PH" which is below....... I would like to point out that
the statements, made by 'certain persons' that they ( zim govt ) are
killing two birds with one stone when shooting the ele for rations
because they are also helping to reduce their overpopulated numbers.....
fails to state that the elephant that are being taken out, are easily
accessible ( and relatively tame and human orientated ) elephant from the
Kariba National Park area and the Kariba town environs. In other words,
'easy meat' for them to get at, as they are being shot from the side of
the road, ( +/-15 mtrs ) or at most not less than 200mtrs off the roads
and tracks in and around Kariba.
Certainly not from areas that need to be depopulated, and which would be
far too much hard work and effort on behalf of National Parks and the
ZNA. when it comes to the logistical problems involved.
So far at least 9 have been slaughtered, and it took place over the
Christmas and New Year holiday season. Identification of the various
carcasses just off the main roads has already been made. I can locate at
least another 15 that have been shot during last year..... most of which
have been eaten for 'celebratory' purposes .....? And I am led to believe
that the program will continue and that up to 40 will be culled
altogether! Which actually means that in due course kariba's ele
population, including the ones we have already saved from a slow death
from snares, and our favourite ("Stompie"....who lost his tail to a croc
attack some years back, and is exceptionally tame ) will all land up in
the 'pot', and will no longer be the huge attraction that drew in
In fact, this time of the year (Jan/Feb) is normally the time of the
Gathering of the Bulls....where anything up to 25 and 30 animals could be
seen in individual herds on the floodplain of Chawara and Kaburi and in
and around Kariba. This year there is not a SINGLE elephant to be seen
around, particularly on the floodplain..... and they are very conspicuous
by their absence.
Over the last 6 months in fact they have been slowly but surely
disappearing..... and now with this new program ( the last was where up
to 60 were to be shot to feed the National Parks Croc Farm project ), and
because of the thick green vegetation, what was once a common site in
Kariba, is now a thing of the past.....? Those that are left are
literally hiding in the thick bush, or have fled to safer pastures!
And once the elephant have all been slaughtered, it will then be the turn
of the buffalo, hippo and any other of the remaining species, so long as
this country remains in it's downward spiral. What's new in Africa....
and why worry about Zambian poachers, when we have the starving ZNA and
the Department of National Parks and Wildlife ( Destruction )..... as I
now refer to them as......to do all the damage.
What a sad reflection on the state of affairs that exists here. And the
future we hoped to have in the way of wildlife, for our future
generations? And to add insult to the injury to our elephants, it is
reported on the google news, that hunters from overseas ( I believe UK
and Europe ) will be coming out on the invite of the Zim National Parks,
to help 'cull' the elephant in a bizarre hunting program that will see
the 'hunters' paying huge amounts of foreign currency ( In the region of
five thousand pounds per ele ) to 'kill' an ele, and only to be allowed
the priviledge of a 'pic' as memory thereof, with tusks, meat and skin
going to National Parks. (To feed starving army and fill their depleted
f/c coffers! ).
So they are actually assisting in this disgraceful exercise...? Aiding
and abbetting the zim government in their slaughter program.
So not only is the Mugabe regime reducing the numbers of it's human
population, (Operations Gukuruhundi and Muramvatswina, the farm
invasions and now cholera) but also that of our National Parks elephant.
Herewith PH's comments:
(From the Diaspora:)
Back to the ridiculous: "Let them eat potatoes' Mugabe was reported as
saying some years back when there was a maize shortage. " We have plenty
of potatoes." Apparently we have plenty of elephants too and the jumbos
are being slaughtered to provide food for Zimbabwe's soldiers. No maize,
no potatoes, no mombes.so, like the punchline of a very poor joke, Let
them eat elephants!
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.
4. Today's Grey Monday....by Jacaranda
Today's "Grey Monday"...
Don't you know ?
The weather forecast proffers showers... and more... and more...
And if the rainbow shows its face with but the briefest ray of sun,
there will be a "monkey's wedding"...here... in
most likely at the Rainbow Towers...where back in September the deal was
This won't be a happy family occasion, rather the forced union of
The end to "NGOZI"!!!(Or maybe, just the start?)
An "African solution" to an "African problem"!!!
There has been killing...whilst others just make a killing...there has
been " a Luta continua" whilst others continue to loot...
and so the victim's family requires the hand -over of the
perpetrator's most prized ,eligible and cherished daughter...(this
vile abuse still happens here)
but here our SADC fixers have a newer vein,
The victim must give more at the perpetrators' sway...
simply buy a stay in further brutalisation....drivel...
Elsewhere this is called human sacrifice!!!
I feel dismayed... this is why my day is grey.
And yet I wonder if this merger will go on ?
Will not someone object from the body of the witnesses?
Or are they silenced already?
Abducted by the state's own agents and hidden from our view...
Yesterday I gave a soldier a lift and asked him how life was... how were
He said it was OK... for here we have no war!!
To many, this absence of war is not enough to slack the pain of our daily
We want more, we want enough, we are not satisfied that whilst we witness
our rapid fall,
we are yet to plumb the depths of our tortured neighbours' dire
We must learn...
We are brothers... and so we join the chorus of a continental song sheet
that boldly bolsters its leaders over its peoples.
The notion "servant" too mangled by the vestige tales of
colonial abuse to render good example to our shepherds!!
We have our own standards here and they are sovereign, no man outside our
core can claim a say no matter how his case was won.
We are here by right and no one can remove us but God!!!
Oh Good Shepherd, hear our plea and let the lost sheep find a fold
that's more inclusive!!!
We fear not what your justice hold s for us, but sadly wait whilst you in
your mercy delay and grant opportunity to those whose independence would
quash our own.
Is there a way to find a breakthrough in this sad impasse or must the
lesser citizens of men grovel more in dim decline whilst hope's
tenuous light flickers ever more feebly?
Is the road so travelled by the dark precedent of history to be ours or
will the good we yearn for soon defeat that grave precedent which shows
the wicked prosper?
I yearn for respite from this long sojourn and pray that selfishness
might find an end, at least in part, whilst those who can decide seek
first the good of others and less the fate of only those they claim their
5. This is a message from the David Coltart Mailing List
I have just finished celebrating the inauguration of President Barack
Obama by watching it on television with my family. On a day when there is
so much gloom in my beloved Zimbabwe - the legacy of decades of
oppression - I found the entire occasion uplifting and inspiring.
Today offers a beacon of hope for those of us throughout the world who
are struggling against tyranny.
I was privileged to be present at the Democratic Convention in Boston in
2004 when Barack Obama first came to the attention of the international
community. He delivered a stirring speech which had the refrain
"Hope is on the way" repeated throughout. I was so inspired
by that speech that I kept one of the placards handed out during the
speech which bore that phrase and to this day it adorns the door of my
study. It has served as a constant reminder to me during the last 4 bleak
years that hope is indeed on the way. The events of today are a powerful
confirmation of that promise.
Almost 45 years ago one of my most revered heroes Martin Luther King Jr.
in his "I have a dream" speech delivered from the steps of
the Lincoln Memorial said:
"With this faith we will be able to we will be able to hew out of
the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able
to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful
symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work
together, to pray together, to struggle together, to stand up for freedom
together, knowing that we will be free one day".
Zimbabweans identify with those words - for Martin Luther
King's dream is our dream. Our nation has been in a state of
extreme despair and pessimism for many years. We all long for a radical
transformation of our great Nation - we long that fear, repression,
intolerance, hate, callousness and suffering will be replaced by joy,
liberty, tolerance, respect, compassion and hope.
The events of today before a Capitol Building constructed by slaves are a
reminder that our merciful Lord is a God of truth, justice and compassion
- that the Lord desires precisely the same things Martin Luther
King dreamed about all those years ago. The sacrifice and struggle of
faithful men and women struggling against tyranny using non violent means
for what is just has not been in vain. God has honoured the dedicated and
constant commitment of those people to the principles so eloquently
enunciated by President Obama as follows:
"As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between
our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can
scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the
rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those
ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for
expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are
watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my
father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every
man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that
we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just
with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring
convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor
does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power
grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of
our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility
This was timely reminder not only to those who are able to wield great
physical power but also to those of us in Zimbabwe who have to oppose a
regime that wields that power against us to frustrate our legitimate
aspirations for freedom. It is a reminder that our strength does not lie
in our ability to confront violence with violence; our strength lies more
in our commitment to "enduring convictions". And there is in
these words the massive encouragement that there is a President in the
White House who is at his heart a human rights lawyer, who understands
why respecting the rule of law and human rights is so important if the
world is to progress from dictatorship, war and chaos to global peace,
harmony, sustainable economic development and prosperity. We do indeed
have a friend in the White House who understands what we are struggling
for and why it is important that we continue to use the non violent means
we have chosen to achieve that goal.
Finally we in Zimbabwe take great encouragement from the following words
so clearly directed in our minds at Robert Mugabe and his brutal regime:
"To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or
blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will
judge you on what you can build, not what you 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."
We in Zimbabwe know all about "the fist" because it has been
waved against us for almost 3 decades. We know all about a leadership
that blames the catastrophic destruction of our Nation on the West but
which in fact is itself responsible for the decay of our wonderful land
because of their corruption, deceit and ready use of violence.
It is somewhat ironic that it is through this new American President, who
is so deeply committed to respecting human rights, that some way out is
offered to those who are on the wrong side of history. The offer to
"extend a hand" to those who will "unclench the
fist" is a timely reminder to Zanu PF even on this day which is as
depressing in Zimbabwe as it is joyful in the United States of America.
The reminder must surely be that it is not too late for this regime to
stop it s brutality; to stop its torture, to release the unjustly
accused, to negotiate genuinely so the Global Political Agreement is
implemented in its true spirit.
But there is also in these words a warning that if the fist remains
clenched this President will act. That is not to say that other world
leaders, including President Bush, have idly stood by. What however will
make the actions of President Obama so effective is that they cannot be
dismissed as racist. So we can take heart that Robert Mugabe's
regime has been served a powerful warning today that whilst there is a
window of opportunity open it must be grasped quickly and in good faith.
Hope is indeed on the way.
6. Comment from a correspondent
"WHERE was Britain and America when Gukurahundi was battering people in
Matabeleland and Midlands? Can we trust them to be our saviours now? I am
definitely not impressed by their antics."
E Ndlovu, Bulawayo.
Re the above, when are the great majority of Zimbabwean people going to
take some responsibility for what they are allowing to happen to them and
get off their backsides and do something about it for themselves?
I am fed up of the whinging and lack of action coming out of Zimbabwe.
Other countries in the same position have fought their oppressors. Yes,
it has cost lives and caused hardship but they have eventually overthrown
the oppressive regime controlling them.
Zimbabweans are not even prepared to organise "a day on the streets" or
any other civil unrest in case they get hurt or arrested. This is not the
way to change things. For goodness sake get out there and fight for your
basic freedoms whatever it may cost you in the short-term.
Mugabe relies on your inaction to retain his power and day after day,
week after week, month after month you let him get away with it. Why?
Only a few brave souls raise their heads above the parapet and so are
easily picked off. Get behind Jestina and here ilk, follow them, give
Protest as never before when people are abducted, when a two year old is
incarcerated, when people are tortured.
Do something about it; Let Mugabe know it is not acceptable.
For God's sake, and your own, do something to get Mugabe's attention and
indeed that of the whole world. Stand up and fight like people who want
their freedom. Don't rely on others.
7. Houseboat Concerns - The Golden Mariner
Please can you forward this to any holiday club members (ex farmers) who
are still resident or who will be concerned about their investments into
the Zimbabwe Holiday Club. We would think that there would be a lot of
farmers that were, or are still members, as we are out of the country and
feel that something should be done to get things right again. We never
get replies from this office and it is difficult to try and phone them as
Mrs & Mrs Stewart, Please note that we have sent this on through the
above avenues, as we do not think that this would of gone to any of the
holiday club members otherwise. To say the least, we think this is
completely unacceptable that the boats are in this state. And serious
action should now be taken.
It is not fair on anyone to have to go to such great expense to get to
the boats to find them in the same state as we did and try to enjoy your
holiday otherwise or have accidents happening because of rails and safety
nets not being in place or being broken.
Secondly, we have requested for our invoice for our subs for this year be
sent to us so that we can sort out some payment method, but have not
received anything up until today's date.
HENRY & CECILIA RAUTENBACH
JAK DOODLE & CO
P BAG 114 SUITE 54
NOTE: Further to this letter there is substantial documentary evidence
and photographs in support of the contents herein- Editor
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
The first week of February 2009 we are publishing the book "Saving Zimbabwe."
I quote from the back of the book...
Saving Zimbabwe is the gripping story of a group of extraordinary black and white Zimbabweans who lived together forming “The Community of Reconciliation.” They chose love over hate and integration over segregation. They believed in harmony over discord and that loving your former enemies was a higher way of life. Against all odds they succeeded in transforming a region of the nation into a life-giving community. By example they demonstrated that the course of Zimbabwe could be changed, and provided a working model for the road ahead.
Tragically, on November 25th 1987, the sixteen white members of the Community made the ultimate sacrifice and were martyred. Their killers thought they were “liberating” their people but in fact drove the black community back under the oppressive forces of poverty. Why did they die? This book takes you on a journey to discover the answer to this haunting question and more.
With the current atrocities being committed under President Robert Mugabe’s government, the message of Saving Zimbabwe is needed more than ever. The country needs transformation which must start in the heart of her people. The destiny of a nation and millions of lives are at stake.
We have set up a website for interested readers at www.savingzimbabwe.com whereby people can become more acquainted with the story and the book. We have made available the first chapter online for those interested. The book will be available at Amazon.com. I'm wondering if you would consider establishing a link form your site to ours?
All the best,
Compassionate Justice International