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Soldiers loot MDC MP's shop

by Prince Nyathi  Friday 23 January 2009

HARARE - A group of 15 armed soldiers on Tuesday looted a shop belonging to
an opposition Movement for democratic Change (MDC) party legislator in
Masvingo province, saying they were hungry.

Amos Chibaya an MDC Member of Parliament for Mkoba in the Midlands city of
Gweru told ZimOnline that the soldiers arrived at his shop at Mabika
Shopping Centre in Chivi, Masvingo province, at 10 am on Tuesday, jumped
over the counter and looted goods valued at over R6 500.

The soldiers loaded their booty - packets of maize meal, boxes of washing
soap, cooking oil, cases of flour, bathe soap, tinned beans and biscuits -
in a waiting white Mitsubishi truck and sped off without paying despite
pleas from the shop attendant.

"They told my shop attendant that they were hungry because they are not
being paid enough money but what surprised me is that they targeted my shop
only. There are six other shops at the centre," said Chibaya.

A report was made at the local police station.

"This clearly shows that there is lawlessness in this country. How can
soldiers, who are supposed to be disciplined and protect civilians go around
looting people's property?" questioned Chibaya.

Zimbabwean soldiers this month received salaries of about Z$30 trillion
(US$10 on the black market), enough to buy 10 loaves of bread.

Efforts to get a comment from Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) spokesperson
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Tsatsi were fruitless yesterday.

This is not the first time that soldiers have looted people's belongings
claiming they were poorly paid.

Last week unidentified soldiers raided Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono's
farm in Norton and forcibly took 175 chickens valued at US$787.50.

Chinhoyi police records show that six armed soldiers who were driving a
white Chinese-made truck arrived at Gono's New Donnington Farm and asked
farm manager Philip Musvuuri to load all the chickens at gunpoint.

The soldiers are said to have told the manager that they would not pay for
the chickens because Gono owed them money.

Last month some soldiers looted clothes and cash in Harare and were only
stopped after the army and police launched joint patrols in the city.
Soldiers are demanding their pay in foreign currency.

Zimbabwe, which has the highest inflation rate in the world at 231 million
percent, has been beset by cash shortages, prompting the central bank to
print higher denomination notes, the latest of which is a Z$100 trillion

Hyperinflation is the most visible sign of a severe economic crisis blamed
on President Robert Mugabe's policies and seen in shortages of food and
every essential commodity.

However, through all this, the army has been the most loyal to Mugabe,
always ready to use brutal tactics to keep public discontent in check in the
face of an economic and humanitarian crisis that in recent days has also
manifested itself through outbreaks of killer diseases such as cholera and

Analysts rule out the possibility of well-paid top army generals staging a
coup against Mugabe but they have always speculated that worsening hunger
could at some point force the underpaid ordinary trooper to either openly
revolt or to simply refuse to defend the government should Zimbabweans rise
up in a civil rebellion. - ZimOnline

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WOZA leaders in court on charges of disturbing peace

by Own Correspondent Friday 23 January 2009

BULAWAYO - Leaders of a militant Zimbabwean women's rights group on Thursday
appeared in a Bulawayo magistrate's court facing charges of disturbing peace
and public order arising from demonstrations held nearly five years ago, the
organisation said in a statement.

"Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga
Mahlangu appeared in Bulawayo Magistrate's Court this morning on trial for
two charges, one relating to an arrest in October 2008 and the other to an
arrest in June 2004," the statement said.

Kossam Ncube, who is representing the WOZA activists asked the presiding
magistrate to dismiss the charges against the two, arguing that by their
nature, demonstrations were public activities held in public places and
therefore bound to cause some form of public disturbance.

"As peaceful demonstrations are allowed under the Constitution, those
participating in peaceful demonstrations cannot be charged with disturbing
the peace," the defence lawyer told the court.

The court will next Tuesday make a ruling on whether to proceed with the
trial under the current charges or to dismiss the charges.

Under Zimbabwe's tough Public Order and Security Act (POSA), Zimbabweans
must first seek permission from the police before staging any demonstrations
or public gatherings to discuss politics.

But WOZA has over the past six years consistently defied the law to stage
surprise demonstrations in urban areas against President Robert Mugabe's
government which they blame for plunging the country into economic crisis.

Last October Williams and Mahlangu were arrested in Bulawayo for leading a
protest demanding that the food situation in the country be declared a
national disaster and everyone be able to access food aid whilst protracted
power-sharing talks between Mugabe and the opposition should be concluded

The two 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 statement said.

Their arrest, detention and trial is in violation of the September 15 global
political agreement between Mugabe's ZANU PF party and the two Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) formations. - ZimOnline

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Unintended effect of Zimbabwe dollarization - no change!

Business Features
By Jan Raath Jan 23, 2009, 1:08 GMT

Harare - At each till in a large supermarket in the upmarket Avondale suburb
of Zimbabwe's capital Harare is a small, much-handled cardboard tray
containing boiled sweets, boxes of matches and a few loose eggs.

Most customers in the queue are paying in US dollars. If the change for the
purchases is less than one dollar, you can take a sweet, a matchbox or an
egg, or a combination of them, in lieu of change in cents. Each egg is worth
50 cents, the matches 20 and a sweet 10 - approximately.

'Or do you want a plastic bag?' the till operator asked helpfully.

Zimbabwe's currency, the Zimbabwe dollar, is on the verge of disappearing
entirely because of its near total worthlessness, financial analysts say.

Five years of aggressive printing of money to pay for expenditure by
President Robert Mugabe's government have reduced the Zimbabwe dollar to a
fraction of its worth. On Wednesday, a Zim dollar, as it is usually called,
was worth one ten-trillionth of a US dollar or 0.0000000000001 US.

'All our prices are in trillions,' says a sign in the Avondale supermarket.
Last week, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe issued a new 100-trillion-dollar

Late last year, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, whose fiscal policy is
held responsible for what experts estimate is the highest inflation rate in
modern history (around 18 zeroes) authorized a limited number of traders to
charge for goods in hard currency, in the first official acknowledgement of
the economy's dollarization.

In reality, a few state-owned utilities are the only organizations still
forced to charge in the local currency. Bananas are sold on the street for
US or South African banknotes. The rattletrap commuter minibuses that move
most of Harare's poor people have been charging exclusively in foreign
exchange since Christmas.

'We have to buy all our fuel in US,' said Clever Kachangwe, a minibus
driver. 'We allow them to pay in Zim dollar, but they have to pay double,
because when we go to change it into US dollar tomorrow, it will be

A headmaster from a government high school showed his January pay cheque. It
has taken four lines to write out the value in words. 'It was worth 8 US
dollars,' he said.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper, which has maintained an indignant
line against the takeover of 'imperialist' Western money, announced that it
can now be be sold for local and foreign currency.

A copy of the 8-page propaganda sheet costs 1 US dollar, 10 South African
rands or 5 trillion Zimbabwean dollars. A vendor quickly whipped out a 10
rand note in change for the 20 rand offered.

It is seldom so easy. Low denomination foreign exchange notes are in short
supply and coins are almost non-existent. The queues in supermarkets grow
longer, slower and angrier as customers present US 100-dollar bills, arguing
with worn-out cashiers whose tills are almost empty.

'Zimbabwe's money now comes from other countries so the supply of banknotes
is unreliable,' said accountant Davison Masuku. 'You can't go to the bank in
the morning and draw your small change requirements.'

Banking has been transformed. In the third quarter of last year, electronic
transfers in Zimbabwe dollars were halted, followed soon after by cheques.
Zimbabwe dollars are now also unwanted. Banks report heavy demand for
foreign currency accounts, but many are wary after the Reserve Bank
plundered unknown millions of US dollars from company and charities'
accounts to pay for elections in March and June last year.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Obert Sibanda on Monday
appealed for the full-scale unfettered dollarization of the economy to
revitalize the economy. 'We have to accept the economy has dollarized and
all companies should be registered to trade in forex,' he said.

But Gono, whose recently-released biography, Zimbabwe's Casino Economy:
Extraordinary Measures for Extraordinary Challenges, is on sale in US
dollars, is obdurate.

'The Zimbabwe dollar will not be overtaken by any other currency, formally
or otherwise, now or at any point in the future,' he said last week.

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Lance Guma speaks to Dumiso Dabengwa

Behind the Headlines Lance Guma

23 January 2009

SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma speaks to former Home Affairs Minister, and now interim leader of the recently revived ZAPU party, Dumiso Dabengwa. Why did he decide to leave ZANU PF and support Simba Makoni’s bid for the presidency last year?

Lance also finds out why Dabengwa and other ZAPU members have moved out of the unity accord, signed in 1987 with ZANU PF. Dabengwa now criticizes Mugabe for using violence against his opponents, but there are accusations that he sat through torture sessions of MDC activists himself, at the CIO headquarters in Bulawayo’s Magnet House

Programme transcribed by Brilliant Pongo

Guma: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to Behind the Headlines. My guest this week is former Home Affairs Minister and now interim leader of the recently re-formed Zapu, Dumiso Dabengwa. Mr Dabengwa thank you for joining us.

Now last year you shocked the political establishment by quitting Zanu PF and throwing your weight behind Presidential aspirant Simba Makoni. Lets start there. Why did you leave Zanu PF?

Dabengwa: I did because I thought it was time for us to change as leadership and I was convinced that we would not be able to win the election with the leadership that we because in the eyes of the people that leadership had aged and they thought it was time for change of the leadership in the party so that we could get people with new ideas coming in. And when this did not happen, and it was the feeling of quite a number of people not just myself but the feeling of the majority of the people in Zanu PF. But when it didnt happen then I thought ah ah I would not be part of the defeat of the party.

Guma: Does Zanu PF have a system were for example grievances can be addressed and if so did you ever try to work out your differences with the party before leaving?

Dabengwa: I did, I did. We had a number of meetings at Politburo. We had a number of meetings at Provincial levels, where all these things were aired by the people and we took them in turn up to the Central Committee and up to the Politburo meetings. But those views were shot down and they were subdued.

Guma: Your decision to back Presidential aspirant Simba Makoni surprised a lot of people. What were your reasons for putting your weight behind Mr Makoni?

Dabengwa: The reasons, first I must say that the idea of having an alternative leader coming up in Zapu was an idea that came from myself and we discussed with friends and colleagues in Zanu PF and we had agreed that we have an alternative leader and Makoni’s name was then suggested and the basis of the idea that I had myself come up with I certainly backed him and we did it as a rescue operation. As I did say even in the election campaign its not about Makoni but about the rescue operation. We need to rescue this thing. Zanu could easily have been defeated absolutely in the election and we would have come with a situation like in Zambia where because the leadership is no longer performing you get people who are not necessarily capable to take over and run the country coming in and I said we need to have a rescue operation to ensure there will be no winner and that we achieved.

Guma: A lot of people are saying the entry of Simba Makoni and your support of him which got him a lot of support in Matabeleland created the (presidential) run-off and that Zimbabwe is worse off because of that decision. Would you agree with that argument?

Dabengwa: We created, we certainly created a situation, an environment as we said. An environment were the people of Zimbabwe would say and were people clearly expressed that view, we do not anymore trust Zanu PF to be able to rule on its own, neither do we trust the opposition to take over and run the country and therefore from here where do we go? The people of Zimbabwe would sit down and they would be able to come out with a formula and we would have expected they would be broader consultations in order to resolve that situation, either than the one that was prescribed were the same people that have been negotiationg over the years between Zanu PF and the MDC had been doing so and they were the same people that are being brought in to negotiate this important issue which meant a completely different environment from the one they were negotiating and we thought therefore they would be representatives from the civic society, they would be representatives from the war veterans who fought the war and other stakeholders would have been included. It should have been a broader consultation.

Guma: You backed Simba Makoni in the Presidential race but it seems now you have withdrawn that support and are focusing on your own political project. Were you disappointed by Makoni’s performance and management of the Mavambo Movement as some are suggesting?

Dabengwa: No, I don’t really want to go into that. But I think we...The idea was in the first place to achieve what we managed to achieve, creating that environment and it was not a party. Kusile/Mavambo was not a party. And the idea was to carry out that rescue operation. After the rescue operation had succeeded as far as we were concerned we then asked the people, the people that supported Simba Makoni particularly, what do we do from here? And they talked about the need to convert Kusile/Mavambo into a political party and we said go and discuss it with the people down at the grassroots and lets hear what the people say. And we left it with the people to then take it up and see what the people decide. Then when the people decided they wanted to form a political party, we threw it back here in Matabeleland, threw it back to them and said what political party and how do you want it to be done?

Guma: In December last year you were appointed appointed ZAPU's chairman at a convention held at the Macdonald Hall in Mzilikazi. Now more specifically why have you and other members of ZAPU decided to withdraw from the unity accord (with Zanu PF).

Dabengwa: Precisely the people then came out with the view that there was no need to form a party. They thought what was most important, because Zanu PF had failed them they thought what was most important was that ZAPU should be brought back. ZAPU should come up and be able to put through those ideas that it had in 1980 which had never been implemented because they got subdued in Zanu PF. It was the people that decided that, I did not participate in their preliminary discussions. We gave them, we told them it was necessary to consult the leadership, the ZAPU leadership that was involved in the unity accord hence their invitation to Msika to come and explain to them what should be done after they thought about those ideas. And this is why Msika had been invited to address that meeting. Its the people it was not me. And we were following the procedures that were necessary because Msika had actually said to them, look this decision would only be done after the ZAPU congress had met, so this is why they went on to then prepapre for the convening of a ZAPU congress. And this is what is being done and that’s the mandate that this interim executive in which I was appointed chairman to do. I am appointed only up to congress to be able to prepare and to convene congress and that mandate ends there, once congress has been called the people will then decide what next to do.

Guma: Is it true the power sharing deal between the MDC and ZANU-PF was threatening to make ZAPU members irrelevant because it was sidelining them from important positions?

Dabengwa: The people said we have suffered a lot of disadvantages since we went into that unity accord with ZANU. A lot of ideas that we had when we fought for the independence of this country have not been realized. We have said them all over again at all conferences that have been held under the banner of ZANU-PF and none of them are being implemented at all. And the last thing to break the camel’s neck has been these negotiations that have been taking place, look at it again we are not represented Chinamasa was never ZAPU, Goche we don’t know him he has not been ZAPU, and our voice is not there and important issues of the country are being discussed and we have no voice at all, as if we never existed. The best thing is let’s go back to ZAPU so we can be able to make our voices be heard in issues pertaining to this country.

Guma: In December last year you described Robert Mugabe as an unrepentant leader who believes in violence to maintain his hold on power. Now obviously at one time you were Home Affairs Minister and some of the violence used by ZANU-PF could not have escaped your attention. Some are wondering did you just turn a blind eye to that?

Dabengwa: Unfortunately I would not say that statement could be attributed to me. I don’t remember saying that about Mugabe at all. However, as to the aspects pertaining to my having been an onlooker or participated in the violence that took place during the time I was Minister of Home Affairs I think I did everything possible to ensure at least that there was peace in the country and there was very little violence during my time in office.

Guma: Just recently a group of exiled MDC activists in South Africa accused you of sitting through torture sessions at the CIO Bulawayo headquarters at Magnet House what’s your response to that?

Dabengwa: At sitting?

Guma: Yes they said you sat through the torture sessions at Magnet House, you watched them being tortured.

Dabengwa: Me?

Guma: Yes

Dabengwa: How? Who invited me in the first place? Do you think members of the CIO would ever invite me to come into their operations? They never did so when I was Minister of Home Affairs, how would they do it now?

Guma: Khumbulani Sibanda a former youth member of the MDC in Bulawayo says the CIO raided them some time ago and they were taken to Magnet House and when they saw you entering the room they thought maybe as Minister you are going to intervene they claim you told them to cooperate or else they would die, is that a false accusation?

Dabengwa: Absolutely, I don’t think I’ve been to Magnet House for over a year now. I mean setting foot at Magnet House? I don’t think I have done it for over a year.

Guma: One more accusation that has been thrown your way Mr Dabengwa. The MDC is saying in 2001 you led a group of ZANU PF youths to the MDC offices in Herbert Chitepo in Bulawayo and the result was an arson attack on the offices. Do you have any comment on that one?

Dabengwa: Me leading them to where?

Guma: To the MDC offices in Herbert Chitepo in Bulawayo.

Dabengwa: I don’t even, up to this date. I don’t even know exactly where the MDC offices are? I know there are somewhere in Herbert Chitepo, I have never been there. I can’t lead somebody to a place where I don’t myself know where it is.

Guma: The issue of ZAPU properties brews on the horizon Mr Dabengwa. Several reports are already talking about ZAPU wanting back for example Magnet House, the headquarters of the CIO in Bulawayo. Is this a route that you are pursuing as a party?

Dabengwa: These were issues that were raised during the convention that we had at the Macdonald Hall last December. And we did agree the issue will just be referred to congress and it is congress that will have the mandate to make decisions over those issues.

Guma: ZANU PF has already begun trying to take what they claim are their cars. We understand ZANU PF Bulawayo province wrestled a vehicle from former Secretary for Security Andrew Ndlovu, who is now a senior member in your party. And we also understand they were fierce classes between ZANU PF and ZAPU members with both parties claiming ownership of the vehicles and I'm sure this is spreading to other areas. So even if maybe you have not made a decision on this it looks like ZANU PF is already trying to take vehicles from your officials.

Dabengwa: We decided not to make vehicles an issue and there has never been any struggle in the taking away of vehicles they did. The first one they took from the former chairman of the party, Mr Tshawe, he handed them the keys and said he did not want any noise and he did not want unnecessary scuffles. The second vehicle they came, the guy was in a restaurant and they towed it away. There was no scuffle, so there was never a fight.

Guma: Do you anticipate a fight with ZANU PF when you do come to a point when you want your property as ZAPU?

Dabengwa: We don’t. We think these are issues that are going to be discussed at congress and congress will be able to direct exactly how they should be handled.

Guma: The Zimbabwe Standard reported 2 weeks ago how ZAPU members are already being victimised. The report says ruling party militias have launched a retribution war targeting your supporters and 3 officials were reportedly abducted in Mashonaland West. How serious a problem is this for you Mr Dabengwa.?

Dabengwa: Well, I don’t know, we got a report from our people in Mashonaland West and they told us what had happened but that they had been released, not long after that and we take it as part of the harassment that we probably expect will continue until such a time that they realise that we are really a party and that congress as given the mandate that the party should run as ZAPU.

Guma: There are some conspiracy theorists who are already suggesting that ZAPU is being used to dilute the support of the MDC in Matabeleland and the idea they say is to elevate Emerson Mnangagwa as President while you become his Deputy. Any reaction to that theory?

Dabengwa: I don’t know. I don’t know what deputy, I would be of Mnangagwa, certainly no, not in my life. And the second aspect of it is that ZAPU has a right. We went into a unity arrangement. That unity accord is not working. We have a right to pull out of that unity accord. Whether in the process it has implications for other existing parties or organisations is immaterial to us. What is important is that we have a right to choose to pull out of that unity accord. And this is what the people have decided to do. The ZAPU members have decided to do. To pull out of that unity accord. It’s taken them a long time but they have finally decided to do so.

Guma: Do you think ZAPU’s biggest disadvantage is the fact that some perceive you as a party built on tribal lines and that your support will be mainly coming from Matabeleland. Is that a major disadvantage for you?

Dabengwa: I don’t think it’s a disadvantage; firstly it’s not true to say to say the membership will be coming mainly from Matabeleland. You don’t know the extent of the enthusiasm that is there in other provinces in Mashonaland, in Manicaland, in Masvingo right through the country. We probably…the people there have received this with more enthusiasm than the people in Matabeleland and they have gone a long way to form ZAPU structures in those provinces.

Guma: Is there any chance of Zimbabweans seeing Dumiso Dabengwa in an alliance with the MDC or you actually joining the MDC as some politicians like Pearson Mbalekwa have done after leaving ZANU PF?

Dabengwa: No, I am directed by the people. The people have said I should lead this interim committee up to congress. Congress will decide on the next step and any alliances that are done can only be decided by the people, by congress. Dabengwa is no factor at all in coming up with a decision on those issues.

Guma: My final question. How do you see the Zimbabwean question being resolved? Is it going to be fresh elections, a unity government, a transitional authority, I mean how do you see it?

Dabengwa: My own personal view is a transitional government. It could be formed anytime now if the current negotiations succeeded next week. That transitional government could be formed. The permanent solution would be elections immediately at the end of that transitional arrangement.

Guma: That was former Home Affairs Minister and now interim leader of the re-formed ZAPU Mr Dumiso Dabengwa. Mr Dabengwa, thank you for joining us on Behind the Headlines.

Dabengwa: You welcome.

To listen to the actual audio interview click here

SW Radio Africa

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Call for Zimbabwe to be kicked out of African Union

Irish Sun
Thursday 22nd January, 2009

A call to Africa has come from a human rights group amid rising concern that
talks over Zimbabwe are not working.

Human Rights Watch has called on the African Union to suspend Zimbabwe after
mediation efforts by southern African leaders stalled.

The group has said the lack of progress in resolving Zimbabwe's political
standoff has caused a deepening humanitarian crisis.

Zimbabwe's deteriorating economy has driven millions of citizens to flee,
while a cholera epidemic has killed 2,700 people in the country.

The Southern African Development Community will next week hold an emergency
summit in South Africa, to once again thrash out solutions to a deadlock
which has occurred over a power-sharing agreement, signed four months ago.

In South Africa activists led by retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu have begun
a series of hunger strikes in sympathy with suffering Zimbabweans.

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Teachers demand US$2 200 minimum

January 22, 2009

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has vowed
teachers will not go back to work when schools open next week if government
does not agree to start paying its members a minimum salary of US$2 200,
among some of its demands.

Zimbabwean teachers are paid a minimum salary of $26 trillion, an equivalent
of US$2.

Apart from low salaries, the PTUZ says the operating environment is not
conducive to the opening of schools owing to a number of factors, the
cholera outbreak being cited as one of them.

Government last week switched the opening of the 2009 first term from
January 13 to January 27.

Government said the postponement was meant to accommodate the delayed
marking of the Grade 7 schools public examinations.

But the PTUZ however feels government will not meet January 27 as it has
emerged that there was only a four percent turnout of markers of Grade 7
examinations while some of those who heeded the call later withdraw their
services due to squabbles over poor or lack of payment.

"Schools cannot open without Grade 7 results," PTUZ President Takavafira
Zhou told journalists at a media briefing on Thursday.

"Otherwise it would create a dangerous presupposition that Grade 7 results
are not important.

"At the same time we want to rest assured before we begin a new academic
year that we will not witness the madness of 2008 by having proper

"We do not even have a credible minister.

"We understand that Cde Chigwedere (Aeneas), who lost primary elections in
Zanu-PF and then craved to be a headman in his home area, before being
elevated to be a governor, is now acting minister.

"We know him for messing up the education system and now he is recycled.

"We are saying time is now that we should have a substantive minister before
we can open schools so that we can rectify a number of anomalies in the
education system. Otherwise opening schools will be palpably unjust and a
miscarriage of justice in Zimbabwe."

Oswald Madziva, another PTUZ official also said it was not proper for
schools to open before the "policy constipation" on what currency school
fees would be paid is clarified.

"Government has not pronounced whether school fees are going to be
dollarized or they will remain in local currency. We are still guessing.

"Under such circumstances, it becomes difficult for parents to start
preparing for the academic year. We need a good period between the
pronouncement of this policy and the opening of schools. Otherwise 27
January is going to be a false start."

Madziva urged parents to stop buying groceries for teachers to ostensibly
supplement poor salaries as this was not a long term measure.

"Parents now want to usurp the role of government by paying salaries," he
said. "We have situations where teachers are buying pairs of trousers for
teachers while some are buying food to keep them in schools.

"Our message to parents is that teachers do not need food only. Teachers
need to have a social life to talk about. They need an economic life to
talks about.

"We don't live at a biological level. We want to build houses, we want to
own cars. For those parents who are willing to take over the role of
government, our message to them is then provide enough so that these
teachers can build houses, then provide enough so that these teachers can
own cars and lead a decent life.

"Otherwise we are saying no to food for work."

The teachers contend government is capable of meeting their salaries in
foreign currency as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been dishing out
unbudgeted for Nissan Hardbody vehicles and tractors to government
functionaries and Zanu-PF loyalists while pampering judges with cars and
other expensive assets.

The PTUZ is also adamant its members will not go back to schools if
government does not institute any investigations and prosecutions over the
persecution of teachers during the violent Presidential election between
March and June last year.

The PTUZ has also demanded assurances from government that it now has a
concrete framework to avert the cholera epidemic from spreading to schools.

The food security crisis has been cited among the reasons that will delay
this year's opening of schools. Most boarding schools last year closed
earlier than scheduled because of the critical shortage of the staple maize

"We want an assurance before schools open that we have adequate stocks of
food to give to students in boarding schools," said Madziva. "Our major
worry is we have a government that is even failing to give food to army

"Being a government that is head over heals with the army as we have come to
know of it, you really start to wonder if they will then get food to give to
the schools."

Teachers spent almost the whole of 2008 on strike over poor salaries.

Zimbabwe's beleaguered teaching sector has seen its staff shrink from 150
000 teachers in 1995 to 70 000 in 2008. Of the remaining teachers, 40
percent are temporary teachers.

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EU to expand Zim blacklist, urge probe into diamond sales

by Own Correspondent Friday 23 January 2009

JOHANNESBURG - The European Union will add more names to the list of members
of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government on its travel sanctions
and call for a probe into Zimbabwe's diamond sales, as the bloc ratchets up
pressure on the veteran leader to share power with the opposition.

The European Union's foreign ministers will meet in Brussels next Monday and
add new names to the list of 171 members of the Harare administration
already banned from travelling to Europe because of their links to alleged
human rights abuses, a draft EU paper which will be presented to the
ministers said.

The bloc will also call for the Kimberley Process - an international
certification scheme set up to ensure diamonds do not fund conflict - "to
take action with a view to ensure Zimbabwe's compliance with its Kimberley

"The (EU) Council supports action to investigate the exploitation of
diamonds from the site of Marange/Chiadzwa and their significance in
possible financial support to the regime and recent human rights abuses,"
the document said.

Zimbabwe produces about 0.4 percent of the world's diamonds, the majority of
which is exported according to the Kimberley Process. But the World Diamond
Council in December raised concern about possible illegal exports of
Zimbabwean diamonds "for the personal gain of a few".

The Southern African country is in the grip of an unprecedented economic and
humanitarian crisis that is marked by a world record inflation of 231
million percent, poverty and a cholera outbreak that has claimed close to 3
000 lives since August.

A power-sharing agreement clinched in September and seen as the best
opportunity to save Zimbabwe's crumbling economy, has stalled over control
of key Cabinet positions and senior government appointments, leaving the
once prosperous country hovering on the brink of total collapse.

The latest push by Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders
early this week to try to persuade Zimbabwe's political rivals to agree to
form a unity government ended in Harare without an agreement. A full summit
will be held in South Africa on Monday to see if the Zimbabwe crisis can be

The EU and other Western nations have maintained visa sanctions and asset
freezes on the Harare administration since 2002 following disputed
elections, allegations of human rights abuses and the often violent seizure
of white owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

Last year the Western countries widened the sanctions to include companies
and individuals doing business with Harare, following Mugabe's re-election
in a vote widely condemned as undemocratic.

The worsening humanitarian situation has led to growing international
pressure on Mugabe - in power since independence from Britain in 1980 - to
step down.

In November the US blacklisted four allies of Mugabe's government - John
Bredenkamp, Muller Conrad "Billy" Rautenbach, Mahmood Awag Kechik, a
Malaysian urologist and one of Mugabe's doctors, as well as a Thai
businesswoman said to be involved in business deals for Mugabe and his wife
Grace, Nalinee Joy Taveesin.

"The (EU) Council condemns the regime for its ongoing failure to address the
most basic economic and social needs of its people . . . The Council urges
stakeholders to comply with the power-sharing agreement," the EU draft said.

Critics say Mugabe's policies, such as the seizure of white-owned farms for
resettlement of landless blacks who have failed to maintain productivity on
the farms resulting in the country - once a net exporter of food - failing
to feed itself, have ruined Zimbabwe's economy.

But Mugabe says Western sanctions are responsible for Zimbabwe's
hardships. - Zimonline

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New Surge In Zimbabwe Cholera Deaths As Epidemic Sweeps Rural Areas

      By Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye
      22 January 2009

The cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe seems to be gathering new momentum based on
figures released Thursday by the World Health Organization showing the
number of deaths surging to 2,755 with the number of cases of cholera
topping 48,000.

Relief organizations such as World Vision said the epidemic has shifted to
rural areas where people have moved from the cities seeking to avoid the

World Vision on Thursday announced it would provide US$4.7 million in
medicine and medical equipment to help battle the persistent cholera

Correspondent Sylvia Manika of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported.

Dr. Claire-Lise Chaignat, head of the WHO Global Task Force on Cholera, told
VOA reporter Joe De Capua that said the epidemic is far from being brought
under control.

With cholera rampant despite infusions of international relief funding and
staff, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, locked in a stalemate with
President Robert Mugabe over the terms on which Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change would enter a unity government to take more decisive
action against the epidemic, visited a Harare treatment center.

Tsvangirai said he went to the Budiriro Polyclinic Treatment Center to
witness first-hand the devastating impact of the epidemic. Tsvangirai
expressed dismay at the suffering and said he hoped the Southern African
Development Community summit coming up next week would resolve the political
crisis so the government can take more effective action.

There have been some gains in the fight against cholera, however. The
International Red Cross said it would shortly restore the flow of water to
15,000 people in Chitungwiza, a Harare satellite town that was hit very hard
in the epidemic's early stages.

Chitungwiza has been without running water for the 13 months.

Red Cross Water and Sanitation Coordinator Agrippa Anganyime said clean
water will start flowing at designated locations in Chitungwiza on Friday
under an initiative carried out with local authorities and the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority, or ZINWA.

Anganyime told reporter Marvellous Mhlanga Nyahuye of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that his organization would eventually start drilling boreholes as
a step toward establishing a more sustainable supply of clean water,
essential to stop the spread of cholera.

Anganyime said the Red Cross will also provide water purification kits to
help local residents.

Although Anganyime said said his organization lacked funds to scale up its
efforts in a major way, he said the Red Cross plans initiatives in rural
areas hit by the disease.

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Media watchdog slams move to sell newspapers in forex

by Own Correspondent Friday 23 January 2009

HARARE - A media watchdog on Thursday raised concern over a move by
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government to allow media organisations
to sell their newspapers in hard currency, saying a majority of the people
will not afford the newspapers.

Zimbabwean authorities have licensed the country's media houses to sell
their newspapers and other products in both local and foreign currency with
the Zimbabwe dollar price determined by the market rate of the day.

In statement, the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(MISA-Zimbabwe) while acknowledging that the development would help
publishing companies mitigate against high production costs, expressed
concern that the reading public would lose out.

"MISA-Zimbabwe's concern is whether the reading public will afford to buy
newspapers in foreign currency given that the majority of workers are still
being paid in Zimdollars," the statement said.

Starting from January 22, a copy of state-owned Herald newspaper was selling
at US$1 or the equivalent in pound sterling, pula or rand while the weekly
privately owned Financial Gazette also started selling its January 22-28
edition at US$2 a copy.

MISA-Zimbabwe said workers were likely to forego newspapers and "use the
little foreign currency that they can lay their hands on to buy basics as
well as meet the educational needs of their children in an economy that is
fast being dollarised across the socio-economic spectrum".

The result is that a large chunk of the country's population, especially
following a recent licensing of mobile phone service providers to charge in
hard currency, will not have access to information, said MISA-Zimbabwe.

"Suffice to say the majority will be kept in the dark on developments on the
socio-economic and political front, thus being denied the opportunity to
make informed decisions on issues that affect their daily lives."

The media watchdog urged the media houses to increase their print runs and
circulation which had been hit hard by the high production and transport
costs in an economy beset with foreign currency shortages, calling for
quality products to ensure readers get value for money.

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

A collapsed currency is the most visible sign of the country's deepening
economic and humanitarian crisis that is also seen in acute shortages of
food and basic commodities, amid a cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 3 000
people since last August. - Zimonline

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Soaring cholera toll spells need for Zim political solution

by Wayne Mafaro Friday 23 January 2009

HARARE - "This is suffering must end," Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai said, his eye sweeping across scores of emaciated and
pale-skinned children at a temporary cholera treatment centre set up by
UNICEF in Harare's Budiriro suburb.

Budiriro, meaning development in the vernacular Shona, was built after
Zimbabwe's 1980 independence from Britain - a true sign of progress.

But the working class suburb has been the hardest hit by a cholera epidemic
that has killed close to 3 000 people since August, to become the most
visible symbol of Zimbabwe's regression over the past decade.

"This suffering must end, we'll do everything in our power to make sure that
(we) fix these problems for the good of the nation and the good of the
people," Tsvangirai said.

A little while ago, Tsvangirai, who toured the cholera centre on Thursday,
had tried to cheer up a little girl admitted at treatment centre.

"How are you feeling now?" Tsvangirai asked the eight-year old girl.

She appeared disinterested either because she was too shy with all eyes that
focused on her as the opposition leader talked to her or most probably, the
girl was just too weakened by disease.

Health workers at the institution said that although there were few people
in the wards, the outbreak had not yet been brought under control, contrary
to frequent claims by President Robert Mugabe's government.

And the evidence abounds that cholera is still wrecking havoc among
Zimbabweans. At the outpatient section at the camp, a woman in her early 30s
narrated how she and her two children had been having running stomachs for
the past week.

"My other child is now admitted after doctors said he had contracted
cholera," she said, the mention of he ill child appearing to drive her close
to tears.

The cholera epidemic, coupled with acute food shortages, has highlighted
Zimbabwe's worsening economic and humanitarian crisis that critics blame on
mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country since

Figures released by the World Health Organisation on Thursday showed that
the cholera death toll in Zimbabwe had soared to 2 755, with 48 623 people
suspected to be infected.

The latest numbers show a sharp rise in fatalities and new infections from
statistics published earlier while relief agencies inside Zimbabwe say the
disease that at one time Mugabe claimed had been brought under control is
quickly spreading from cities and towns to rural areas - some too remote for
health workers to access.

Western leaders and some African leaders alarmed by rising deaths due to
cholera have in recent months stepped up calls for Mugabe's resignation,
while Graca Machel, the wife of Nelson Mandela, said on Wednesday southern
Africa leaders had allowed innocent lives to be lost needlessly by not
confronting Mugabe over Zimbabwe's crisis.

But the regional SADC alliance and the African Union led by the continent's
economic powerhouse, South Africa, have rejected calls to pressure Mugabe to
quit and insist a power-sharing government between the veteran ruler and
Tsvangirai is the best way to end Zimbabwe's political, economic and
humanitarian crises.

SADC leaders meet Mugabe and Tsvangirai in South Africa next Monday to try
to push them into agreement on a new government of national unity.

However similar meetings by regional leaders -the latest such meeting was
held in Harare earlier this week - have failed to pressure the Zimbabwean
rivals into a unity government. Analysts think next Monday's meeting will be
no different.

Addressing journalists after the tour, Tsvangirai said that he wanted
problems around the formation of a power-sharing government resolved soon so
that it can begin to find solutions to the plight of many Zimbabweans, most
of them "man-made".

The opposition leader, who defeated Mugabe in a first round presidential
vote last March but pulled out of the second round ballot citing violence
against members of his MDC party, said he was hopeful next week's regional
summit could end the power-sharing deadlock.

"I hope that if SADC leaders approach the problem with an objective point of
view, I'm sure we should be able to resolve the matter," said Tsvangirai.

But Tsvangirai said a unity government could only function effectively if
Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party agreed to cede some of its power instead of
wanting to incorporate the MDC as a junior partner in government.

Tsvangirai said: "Yes forming a government which is functional can respond
to some of the problems the people are facing but what we have here is
totally different. We have a party that has lost an election, which has
accepted to negotiate but does not want to cede power in line with the
power-sharing ideals.

"Why is it difficult for ZANU PF to appreciate that this is the essence of
sharing power not of dominating, not of trying to make the MDC a junior
partner, not of trying to co-opt but genuine power-sharing.

"So yes, we are committed to the agreement but subject to the resolution of
these outstanding issues and I'm hoping that SADC will appreciate that the
MDC is not the one that is obstructionist in the formation of this

It remains to be seen whether regional leaders will see it that way on
Monday. But whatever SADC leaders decide to do about Zimbabwe, analysts are
convinced not much recovery can ever take place in the country without a
unity government.

In addition to cholera, Zimbabwe's crisis is also seen in acute shortages of
food and basic commodities, deepening poverty and the world's highest
inflation rate of more than 231 million percent. - ZimOnline

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'Citizens for Sanctuary'
By Natasha Dhumma
22 January 2009, 1:00pm
On 13 January, over four hundred Zimbabweans gathered in Westminster to demonstrate for permission to work legally in the UK.

The event publicly launched the Citizens for Sanctuary campaign, organised to implement the findings of the Independent Asylum Commission which recommended that Zimbabweans currently seeking sanctuary in the UK be allowed to work and pay tax. (The review of the UK asylum system was carried out between October 2006 and July 2008 and made 180 recommendations.)

Of the four hundred Zimbabwean refugees attending the demonstration many have been denied political asylum but are unable to return home because of the situation in Zimbabwe. They were joined by MPs from the main political parties, all calling on Gordon Brown to review the situation for destitute Zimbabweans, a promise he made six months ago.

The Citizens for Sanctuary campaign aims to fulfil the Commission's recommendations to safeguard those seeking asylum here, while restoring public confidence in the UK's role as a place of sanctuary for those fleeing persecution.

Some of the demonstrators at Downing Street delivered CVs of Zimbabweans ready and willing to contribute to the UK economy. The campaign is highlighting the fact that the asylum system prevents them from working and paying taxes and that vital skills are going to waste. Until it is safe for them to return home, their choice is either to survive on charity or risk criminalisation in the black economy.

The Citizens for Sanctuary campaign seeks not only to mobilise citizens to call for government action, but to involve businesses and public sector organisations in contributing to Zimbabwe's future. Organisations can offer asylum seekers strategic internships which can help to equip them with the work experience and skills necessary to rebuild their country once it is safe to return.

For further information on the Citizens for Sanctuary Campaign and strategic partnerships, please see the link below.
The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

Related links

Citizens for Sanctuary

IRR is not responsible for the content of external websites. Inclusion of a link does not constitute an endorsement.

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SADC should heed Machel's words

January 22, 2009

By Sibangani Sibanda

WE have just had yet another round of talks aimed at resuscitating the
Zimbabwean version of a Government of National Unity (GNU).

As many in Zimbabwe had predicted, it yielded no results. Eminent leaders
from the region flew into Harare, presumably sat around tables and listened
to both President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirayi telling
them exactly what they have told them at earlier meetings. The eminent
leaders (again, presumably) made copious notes, nodded at the right times,
shook their heads in mock disbelief at appropriate junctures, and consulted
their watches endlessly while they fought diligently to suppress their
frequent yawns.

They then set a date for the next round of meetings (Monday, January 26),
picked up their brief cases and headed for Harare International on their way
back home to preside over meetings that will discuss substantive issues on
the respective welfares of their own people.

Morgan Tsvangirayi went back to wherever Prime Ministers-in-waiting go to
wait for their time to become Prime Ministers, and Robert Mugabe was
escorted back to State House where be proceeded to have a good laugh!

His plan was working brilliantly! The whole of Africa, particularly the fine
gentlemen from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had clearly
accepted him as the legitimate President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. If he
held out long enough, they may even get to a point where they will
understand the importance of his being President for Life.

Meanwhile, I doubt that anyone in Zimbabwe can even imagine what our rate of
inflation is. It runs into figures with many zeroes. Traveling on public
transport from one point to another within the same city is now virtually
impossible for most - which makes it particularly galling that "our" leaders
can waste so much on traveling to pointless meetings in distant places. But
now, we are running out of options. So much hope had been put on the
expected success of the GNU talks that their now inevitable failure is
creating near panic in the citizenry.

What if they decide to call another election as is being speculated widely?

Now, that is a prospect not relished by many Zimbabweans; because the
calling of elections usually coincides with levels of violence and
intimidation not often seen in most modern societies.

We have seen this happen consistently over the years, particularly when it
is clear that President Mugabe and his cohorts will lose a free and fair
election. We saw it in 2000 after the government lost a referendum which had
really become a test of the government's popularity; We saw it in 2008 when
our rulers had (it is widely suspected) convincingly lost a relatively free
and fair election to the opposition, taken several weeks to "engineer" the
results so that a run-off became inevitable, then changed the rules so that
instead of the rerun being held within twenty-one days, three months were
allowed for the state's "terror machine" to re-educate the electorate.

Graca Machel, widow of, probably, Robert Mugabe's closest revolutionary ally
and now wife of that most iconic of African icons, Nelson Mandela, this week
made a statement that I think those leaders who continue to legitimize
President Mugabe's rule by negotiating with him (and this includes Morgan
Tsvangirayi), should take heed of.

She said, (and I paraphrase): the primary responsibility of any government
is to protect its people. Any government that goes out to assault its own
citizens completely loses legitimacy. This was said at the launch of a
coalition of churches and civic groups, in South Africa, whose purpose is to
put pressure on the leaders of Southern Africa to "Save Zimbabwe Now".

Robert Mugabe has consistently assaulted this country's citizens physically.
He has assaulted us by denying us basic civil liberties like freedom of
choice, freedom of association, and freedom of expression. He has, for many
years, denied this country's citizens their right to gainful employment. And
now, we no longer have the rights to clean water, to decent education, to
competent health care, to safe roads; we have been assaulted out of all
rights, period.

The man has lost all legitimacy. Yet, for some reason, African leaders seem
unable to tell him this. It is an unpleasant truth that they would rather
not deal with. So they continue to flog a deal that was never a deal. They
continue to waste resources that they do not have in endless, meaningless

Perhaps they even wish they had the guts to do to their citizens what Robert
Mugabe has been able to do to his. They should be man enough to say so.

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Will SADC summit in Pretoria resolve Zimbabwe's crisis?

By Tichaona Sibanda
22 January 2009

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he was anxious as everyone else in the
country to resolve all outstanding issues with Robert Mugabe and form a
unity government soon.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, after visiting cholera patients at
Budiriro clinic the epicenter of the disease in Harare, Tsvangirai said he
was confident that regional leaders would find a way to save a deal to form
a unity government at a summit in South Africa next week.

But the MDC leader said their demands must be met, before a unity government
can be put in place. Efforts to implement a power-sharing deal have stalled
because of Mugabe's determination to hold on to power and to the key
ministries. The allocation of provincial governors and the release of
detained activists were other issue that had been brought up by the MDC, and
ignored by ZANU PF.

As Tsvangirai toured the clinic, a frenzied crowd waited outside chanting
'hero, hero.' This was the first time he had visited cholera victims since
returning to the country last week Saturday. When the disease broke out last
year, the MDC leader was in Namibia.

Tsvangirai told the crowd; 'I am saying that this suffering must end, for
all of us, for the good of the nation, certainly this suffering must end.
You are also aware that the education system is down, the health system is
down, industries are closed, the food situation is in a critical state.

South African President and Chairperson of SADC, Kgalema Motlanthe will host
the SADC summit in Pretoria on Monday, which follows the breakdown of talks
on Monday. The summit, the seventh that SADC has held on the Zimbabwe
crisis, is expected to be attended by all member-states of SADC, as well as
leaders of the two MDC formations. SADC comprises South Africa, Botswana,
Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe,
Madagascar, Mauritius, Angola, Swaziland, Seychelles and the Democratic
Republic of Congo.

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti flew into Johannesburg on Tuesday to
prepare for the meeting. Tsvangirai is expected there Friday evening. ZANU
PF has also sent an advance party. Both parties are engaged in intense
lobbying of SADC leaders, to try to influence the decision of the 15-member
body which guaranteed the power share agreement.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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The MDC and its supporters must be a little more user friendly


Received quite a bit of feed back over my monologue in which I expressed my
continuously lowering expectations of the MDC.
The interesting thing is that almost all the "respondents", who are free to
give their views, criticised me for criticizing the MDC and for asking
questions without they themselves offering alternatives.

We can all see that these damned negotiations have not worked. But when I
say so publicly, some people leave Mr Tsvangirai and the MDC and descend on
me demanding that I offer alternatives as if I am anyone's leader.
All of those who wrote clamour for me to offer an alternative. Why should I?
I never said I wanted to lead the people and think on their behalf. All I
know is what I don't want.

Someone who called himself Fanny wrote and said that when we, that is MDC
supporters, criticize ourselves or our party, we are helping Mugabe. I am
not an analyst, a critic, a commentator like he accuses me of being. I am
just something called Zimbabwean but I dare say that this kind of thinking
is unfortunate and is the type of thinking that helped ZANU-PF to oppress
the people. It does not deserve any more comment.

Another, calling himself Doccon, accuses me of telling the MDC what to do.
He does not appear to have understood anything I said.
I said the MDC should come up with something better this year because for
two years they were more concerned with talks and negotiations and launching
diplomatic offences than planning any other alternatives.
Then there was also someone called Majuru who said that it is incumbent upon
every Zimbabwean to propose the way forward. Is it really?

If I refuse to join your forced march, please do not ask me what other
destination I prefer. I am in enough trouble with ZANU-PF as it is and I
ain't moving or going anywhere until I know exactly where I am going.
One writer was so simplistic enough as to offer that since I have criticized
the MDC I must be ZANU-PF. Gosh.

In my quest for answers, I have criticized all the political parties here
and there because they want to lead us. Political parties want something
from us and we must question their depth and intentions.
If I question you and you have no answer to my question, do not turn around
and ask me what the answer is. I asked you the question because you are
aspiring to be my leader. I will not always be available to give you
answers. Besides, if I can give the answers, why shouldn't I be a leader? I
am not a leader because I don't have the answers. All I have is the
knowledge and my sense of smell. I know danger. And I can smell danger.
Comfort me with answers that mean something to me not to demand answers from
me when you cannot answer my questions.

Those who claim to be leaders and parties that claim or aspire to represent
the people must have the answers.

The MDC is a party that asked us for its vote so as to lead us and get us
out of the quagmire we find ourselves in.

The MDC leadership shuns people in the Diaspora and we only become important
when its election time when we are expected to make financial contributions.

There is bitterness here in Botswana that party leaders, including Mr
Tsvangirai himself, do not even bother to meet and talk to the very large
Zimbabwean population here but they, including Tsvangirai, are not available
to "ordinary people", preferring, instead, to hole up somewhere and play
golf at exclusive clubs where we have no access to them.

The same complaints have been received by me from the US chapters, South
Africa and Britain. The leadership is just not accessible at all.

The people have ideas too which they can offer then they can get polished up
by the party leaders. But does the MDC ask for anyone's opinion?

I may not be intelligent enough to think for Zimbabweans but I know what I
don't want and I will say so.

They have an obligation to offer us alternatives. I am not a politician nor
do I want to lead anyone into anywhere but I damn know what I don't want and
one of those is my reluctance to be gudza dungwe, just following to make up
the numbers.
I have been abused since 1984 when this government campaigned to convince us
then students in America, UK and other places in the Diaspora to return home
to assist in the rebuilding of the new republic.
Many answered the call.
I intercepted my studies for this but the honeymoon lasted a few hours.
For twelve years in the 70s and early 80s, I was a refugee and I am now,
again, a refugee. And I will be damned if I jumped to cheer something I do
not understand.
I urge the MDC to be a little more people-oriented. I urge Mr Tsvangirai to
not bother himself with acting presidential yet because he got no country to
preside over yet. He is aloof and inaccessible yet our battle is still in
progress. He needs us badly.
When I criticize ZANU-PF, Charamba, Chinamasa and Zvayi call me MDC; when I
criticize the MDC, they call me ZANU-PF.
You can shout all you want, I am neither.
All I am is Zimbabwean and I am not going to support things or people who do
not have the decency to inform people of their intentions. Until I
understand, there is no support.

Over the past few years, Mr Tsvangirai has always been in Botswana but not
once did he attempt to talk to or meet the large Zimbabwean population who
are legally resident here.
He is always whisked away to exclusive areas where unthinking people like me
cannot enter or see him.

For example, I am News Editor for a major paper, I write for several other
newspapers, radio broadcast to Zimbabwe every week and, as you may know,
maintain a blog on the Zimbabwe Times, but I and local journalists here can
hardly get an interview with MDC leaders when they are in Botswana while Mr
Tsvangirai gives interviews to CNN, BBC, and other foreign news
The same complaints come from MDC supporters in the US, from South Africa
and the UK.
There is no bitterness, we laugh about it that we, local journalists,
broadcasters and writers have a hard time getting to interview him yet we
reach more Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe that CNN does.

So my compatriots, this is our forum to talk. I just did and I do all the
time. It is my opinion, born out of past and current experience.
If you know where we are going, please run ahead and don't look back. As for
me, I will only move when I am certain that the MDC is not going to do a
ZANU-PF on me once again.
Let's not get too comfortable clinking away at the computer in the diaspora.
Tomorrow is a different story. The real world is out there.
Leading a party is not easy but that is what leaders do. They have to
satisfy individuals. They need to sell themselves.

Although I understand their enthusiasm, those who write in defense of the
MDC, saying things that the MDC never said, are misleading both the people
and the MDC itself. Let the party leadership stand up and say it then we can
cross-examine them, if need be. That is something ZANU-PF never did.
I am not cashing in one dictatorship for another.
ZANU-PF proved to us all that it is a malicious and evil party. We saw the
glorification of a murderer, North Korean style. We let him do that

Let's not make the same mistake again.
The heart of the matter is that we might support the MDC as an alternative
to ZANU-PF but let's make sure that the MDC deserves our support and not let
it slowly acquire the bad habits we experienced from ZANU-PF. We must, of
necessity, ask questions and get some answers to satisfy our doubts and
strengthen our support.

I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and I wish the MDC the best and will support it
in any way I can, but they have to satisfy my criteria. Other than that, my
compatriots, this vote of mine, or whatever donation I can make, is not
going anywhere until I am satisfied that the MDC is not going to cause me to
slip on the same banana twice.
What do you think? Send me your comments on
And that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it is today, January 22, 2009.

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Motlanthe must act now to end cholera crisis

The Editor, The Times Newspaper
Published:Jan 23, 2009

Government appears to be without a plan and refuses to disclose numbers

EDITORIAL: TODAY The Times publishes shocking details of South Africa's
hidden cholera epidemic. Our reporting team visited rural Mpumalanga where
they found four villages entirely dependent on water from a cholera-infested
river.Chillingly, they heard how the people had "no choice" but to draw
water from the river.

a.. At the local hospital, so many patients have been admitted for the
disease that tents have been pitched in the parking lot to treat those for
whom there is no place in the wards.

The team saw a cholera-infected man being rushed to hospital in a
wheelbarrow because of the parlous state of emergency services.

There are now more than 3000 South Africans infected and 33 have died within
this country's borders - at least 19 of them in Mpumalanga.

Yet the government appears to be without an emergency plan and its spokesmen
refuse to talk about how many are affected.

This denialism, which resembles the government's initial denials about the
extent of the xenophobia crisis, is worrying.

South Africa's health resources need to be used to their fullest to attend
to those infected.

Emergency measures must be taken to ensure a supply of clean water to people
living in these areas with immediate effect.

It is outrageous that a country with the relative infrastructure advantages
of South Africa should play host to this disease, which can be prevented and
treated with simple medicines and technology.

President Kgalema Motlanthe would do well to wake up his slumbering health
department and take action to stop this crisis from expanding further.

For the moment it seems that the poorest South Africans remain off the
government's radar screen. These people should have access to clean running
water and proper medicines some 15 years into our democracy.

The cholera crisis is a national disgrace.

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Zimbabwe’s Political Impasse: Mugabe and ZANU PF culpable

21 January 2009


The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is deeply concerned with the unwarranted delay in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which is supposed to culminate in the formation of an inclusive transitional government comprising the country’s three principal political parties, MDC, MDC-T and ZANU PF; a delay that emanates from ZANU PF and ‘President’ Mugabe’s intransigence and disrespect of the main tenets of power sharing as encapsulated in the GPA. CHRA reiterates that the current economic challenges, characterized by a high unemployment rate of more than 90% and an inflation rate of 230million percent as at mid last year, can only be addressed if lasting political and socio-economic solutions are found. The Global Political Agreement (GPA) of 15 September 2008 has the potential to give the Zimbabwean populace a chance to revive sustainable political and socio-economic fundamentals and hope for a bright Zimbabwe; the Agreement deserves utter respect from all and sundry.


The residents blame the political impasse on ‘President’ Mugabe and ZANU PF’s lack of good faith and commitment to the implementation of the GPA which will culminate in the formation of an inclusive/transitional government and set a basis for the revival of the country’s economy. It is apparent that Mugabe’s government has failed to sustain a sound economy over the past decade and this has seen almost every sector of the economy unabatedly deteriorating.  The Inflation and unemployment levels have alarmingly and unabatedly skyrocketed and the ZANU PF government has not been able, neither does it have the capacity nor legitimacy to put in place any sound policies to encourage national cohesion for the revival of the economy. Furthermore, the dollarisation of the economy has condemned many to a state of abject poverty as most people get their income in the valueless Zimbabwean dollar.


The ZANU PF defacto government has also failed to effectively control the cholera outbreak which has seen more than 2000 lives being lost across the country. Most hospitals and even schools have not been operating for several months now and yet ‘President’ Mugabe and ZANU PF are unperturbed and continue to tighten their grip on power while blaming the West for the hoard of problems that they have plunged the country into.


CHRA calls on SADC, the guarantor to the GPA, to take a strong stance that serves the people of Zimbabwe not the selfish interests of self-centered politicians. The SADC is presented with yet another chance to render justice to the plight of fellow Africans and put an end to the reluctance of ZANU PF. The country’s ailing economy can only be healed when the principal political parties commit to the principles of equal/proportionate power sharing for the formation of an inclusive transitional government that will pave way for national healing, cooperation, goodwill and sustainable policies and global integration that will yield in solutions to the country’s woes.


CHRA remains committed to the tenets of democracy and advocating for good, transparent and accountable local (and national) governance. The Association hopes the SADC Summit scheduled for Monday the 26th of January 2009 will yield fruitful resolutions to the Zimbabwean political impasse.



Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

Contacts: Mobile: 011 923 2040912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email, and


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Assault in Hong Kong

-----Original Message-----
From: FCC Main Office []
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2009 19:58
To: Concierge
Subject: Assault on FCC Member

Thursday, January 22nd 2009

The Foreign Correspondents Club
2 Lower Albert Road

His Excellency Frederick M. Shava
Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe
7 Dong San Jie

Your Excellency,

The Foreign Correspondents' Club wishes to convey its deep dismay about the
disgraceful attack inflicted on Richard Jones, a photojournalist and FCC
member, on Thursday, January 15, while covering a visit to Hong Kong by your
country's first lady and her entourage. Mr Jones was assaulted while
photographing Grace Mugabe on an assignment for The Sunday Times of London,
and suffered multiple head and facial injuries.

The Hong Kong police have opened a formal investigation into this incident
and we look forward to the widespread publication of its results, regardless
of whether any of the parties involved are protected by diplomatic immunity.
In a city where the rule of law prevails and media freedom is respected, no
person - no matter his or her rank or status - can expect such a matter to
be swept under the carpet.

Yours Faithfully

Ernst Herb
Foreign Correspondent's Club

Ambrose Lee, Secretary for Security, Hong Kong SAR

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