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New bid to ease Zimbabwe crisis
Monday, 26 January 2009
By Peter Biles
BBC Southern Africa correspondent

Zimbabwean villagers receive food aid
Almost half Zimbabwe's population need food aid

Another effort is being made to resolve the political deadlock in Zimbabwe with a special summit in Pretoria attended by Southern African heads of state.

President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the opposition MDC signed a power sharing agreement last September.

But they have been unable to agree on forming an inclusive government.

Zimbabwe is in a state of economic and social collapse, and nearly 3,000 people have died as a result of a cholera epidemic.

There's scant hope that Monday's regional summit will lead to the formation of a power sharing government in Zimbabwe.

It's the fourth such meeting since the inconclusive elections in March 2008.

'Real acrimony'

A week ago, Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai met in Harare, and failed to resolve their differences.

Five million people - almost half population - need food aid
Central bank introduced Z$100tr note, worth about US$30 (£20)
Unemployment more than 80%
Nearly 3,000 people dead in cholera outbreak

One analyst says those talks collapsed in "real acrimony".

The main issue of contention is over who controls key ministries and other top public posts. President Mugabe has said he won't compromise any further.

If there's still no agreement on Monday, he may ask the regional grouping SADC for the legitimacy to form a new government without the MDC opposition.

SADC - which has called this emergency summit - looks powerless and has shown no willingness to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.

South Africa's foreign minister has said any solution lies solely in the hands of Robert Mugabe and his political rivals.

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Mugabe to form govt after summit, with or without Tsvangirai: minister


43 minutes ago

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe will form a government
after Monday's regional summit in South Africa with or without a deal with
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, a minister said.

"This summit is the last summit that is going to discuss this issue of an
inclusive government. If it does not work today, definitely when the
president comes back here, he has to form a new government with or without
Morgan Tsvangirai," deputy information minister Bright Matonga said.

"The way forward, soon after this summit whether there is an agreement or
there is no agreement, President Mugabe is going to form a cabinet, 15
cabinet ministers, eight deputy ministers of ZANU-PF," he said in an
interview on public broadcaster SA FM.

"He will obviously try to leave room for (the Movement for Democratic Change
leader) Tsvangirai so that whenever he changes his mind ... but that is not
going to be for too long. He will then come to join the all inclusive
government. There has to be a government whether there is MDC or not," he

A summit of Southern African leaders will on Monday in Pretoria renew
efforts to break Zimbabwe's political deadlock, as Mugabe comes under
increasing international pressure.

Mugabe and rival Tsvangirai signed a deal more than four months ago to share
power and form a unity government but it has yet to be implemented because
of the failure to agree key posts.

The pact has floundered since last September over which party will control
top public posts, including the home affairs ministry which oversees the

The latest attempt by the 15-nation Southern African Development Community
(SADC) to forge a breakthrough comes one week after talks in Harare between
the rivals collapsed in acrimony.

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A Diplomatic Row Heats up Between Botswana and Zimbabwe Ahead of Monday's SADC Meeting

By Peter Clottey
Washington, D.C
26 January 2009

The diplomatic spat between Zimbabwe and Botswana took another twist after
Gaborone demanded a thorough investigation into the core issues surrounding
the political crisis in Zimbabwe ahead of the Southern African Development
community (SADC) meeting Monday. The SADC meeting is expected to be a
last-ditch attempt by leaders in the Southern African region to salvage the
stalled power sharing agreement between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party and
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Gaborone Sunday called
for Monday's crisis summit to go to the core of the issues that have
prevented the formation of a unity government in Zimbabwe and resolve
Harare's economic meltdown. Diplomatic relations between Harare and Gaborone
have been frosty after Zimbabwe accused Botswana of interfering in its
internal affairs. Political analyst George Mkwananzi told VOA Gaborone seems
to be the only voice of reason in the sub-region.

"It is quite refreshing that this time around we are going to have the
presence of the government of Botswana, which has been acting as a voice of
reason in this whole matter where the majority of the SADC leaders have been
sort of afraid to confront Mugabe and tell him the truth about the core of
the Zimbabwe crisis," Mkwananzi noted.

He said it was unfortunate for President Mugabe to be accusing Gaborone of
political interference when Botswana has been siding with the ordinary

"I think it would be hypocritical of the government of Mugabe to start
pointing fingers at Botswana and complaining about political interference
because that is the hallmark of being in communities such as SADC where
members have the right to intervene where they think that the rights of a
member state, particularly, the citizens of such a member state are being
violated. So, it is really being hypocritical on the part of the ZANU-PF to
complain about Botswana's stance," he said.

Mkwananzi said he supports Botswana's call for Harare to be prevented from
participating in any SADC meetings concerning the Southern African region.

"I think the call for the prevention of Zimbabwe to sit in the SADC summit
by Botswana then was in the context of giving one of the belligerents in the
crisis of Zimbabwe that is ZANU-PF an undue advantage over the rivals in
this case the MDC formation. I think this time around, if Robert Mugabe is
going to be there then it is perhaps because Botswana or the head of
government of Botswana realizes the fact that it would be necessary to let
Mugabe get it loud and clear from member states that certain things that
have delayed and caused this impasse have to be communicated directly to him
(Mugabe), and he must get this message without any equivocation," Mkwananzi
pointed out.

He described as baseless Harare's accusation that Gaborone is harboring MDC
militants who seek to overthrow Mugabe's administration through military

"To start with, it is important that up to this point in time, Zimbabwe has
been unable to corroborate these allegations and prove that indeed such a
scheme is in existence. And also the fact that the head of SADC at the
moment who is the president of South Africa, President Kgalema Motlanthe
dismissed these things as false it also means that Zimbabwe cannot continue
to pander to that kind of allegation with credibility. So, they won't be
able to win any Botswana has often accused President Mugabe's government of
abdicating its responsibilities to the detriment of the ordinary Zimbabwean
who it said has been saddled with shortage of food and diseases.

Gaborone also accused Mugabe of fraudulently clinging to power after a
controversial second round of voting after both the ruling ZANU-PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change failed to garner the needed votes
to with the first round of voting.

Zimbabwe also accused Botswana of harboring militants who Harare claims have
been plotting to overthrow Mugabe's administration.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has
accused President Robert Mugabe's administration of failing to fully
implement the power-sharing agreement.

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Khama wildcard in crunch Harare talks

 26 January 2009

Dumisani Muleya and Chantelle Benjamin

SOUTHERN African Development Community (SADC) leaders face their most
critical meeting yet on Zimbabwe in Pretoria today.

Diplomats fear the extraordinary summit could be explosive.

The dispute on how to handle Zimbabwe could rupture the regional body, which
has been battling to stay united amid widening divisions.

The worries arise mainly from the standoff between Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe and Botswana's President Ian Khama, the only SADC leader to
publicly reject Mugabe's disputed re-election last year.

Mugabe has been trying to defuse the powder-keg situation by reaching out to
Khama before the summit.

The SADC secretariat has urged all SADC leaders to attend the meeting today.
Khama was in SA yesterday.

Diplomatic sources said that Mugabe sent his close ally and confidant,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, to meet Khama's envoys in Chobe, Botswana, on Friday in
a bid to ease tension before today's meeting.

Mugabe was said to be afraid that if he did not contain Khama, SADC could
end up turning against him or split, forcing it to make concessions.

"Mugabe is concerned that Khama might become the catalyst for an explosive
meeting and as a result he has sought to defuse the looming crisis sending a
team of envoys led by Emmerson Mnangagwa to Chobe to engage Botswana
authorities," a diplomat said.

The agenda for the meeting included the SADC summit, allegations that
Botswana is training Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters to
overthrow Mugabe, immigration issues and souring relations between the two

Millions of Zimbabweans live illegally in Botswana. Hundreds are deported
every week, and violent crime linked to Zimbabweans has increased across the
country. Mugabe conveyed the message to Khama that they should stop
criticising each other in public. He said it was incumbent on him and Khama
to preserve the "very good" relations between the two countries, Khama's
father was a family friend and there was no need for him to attack Mugabe in

SADC leaders, including chairman President Kgalema Motlanthe, Mozambique's
President Armando Guebuza, acting chairman of the SADC organ on politics,
defence and security, and mediator Thabo Mbeki, met Mugabe, MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai and smaller MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara in Harare
last Monday.

The meeting today will be attended by Mugabe, Tsvangirai, and Mutambara,
Motlanthe and Guebuza.

SA's home affairs department confirmed late yesterday that Tsvangirai would
attend. Also confirmed was Zambian President Rupiah Banda and foreign
ministers from Tanzania and Angola.

According to foreign affairs spokesman Thembela Ngculu, ministers from the
Democratic Republic of Congo and Seychelles arrived early yesterday.

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A Growing Chorus In S. Africa Urges Action on Mugabe

By Karin Brulliard and Colum Lynch
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, January 26, 2009; Page A07

JOHANNESBURG, Jan. 25 -- Kumi Naidoo joined the struggle against apartheid
as a teenager, signing up with a movement that fought for human rights,
delivered democracy to South Africa and now governs the country. Last week,
he began a hunger strike to pressure that government to confront a different
oppressor, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

"The bottom line is, the South African government has betrayed its record,"
said Naidoo, honorary president of Civicus, an international alliance of
civil society organizations.

His was one voice in a growing chorus of frustration in South Africa at the
government's failure to condemn Mugabe, even as Zimbabwe's humanitarian
crisis worsens, a cholera epidemic that began there spreads throughout South
Africa, and the number of Zimbabweans seeking asylum here surges.

In recent weeks, the region's Catholic bishops have called on South Africa
to cut off support for Mugabe, and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu has
urged his ouster by force. Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela's wife, said
Wednesday that southern African leaders have "blood on their hands" for not
stopping Zimbabwe's crisis, while trade unions are demanding that leaders
reject Mugabe. Newspapers feature scathing attacks on the stance of South
Africa, whose leaders galvanized international support in their own fight
against oppression.

"Our country's stand makes me feel ashamed to be a South African," one
reader wrote to the Cape Times last month.

But as the 15-nation Southern African Development Community meets Monday in
Pretoria to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe, there is little sign that South
Africa, the group's chair and regional powerhouse, will call for an end to
Mugabe's 28-year rule or even criticize it.

Kgalema Motlanthe, South Africa's interim president, has said that the best
solution is the implementation of a power-sharing pact signed by the
opposition and Mugabe, whose security forces have been accused of abducting
and torturing activists while the rival parties haggle over details of the

Critics say South Africa should openly condemn Mugabe, as Botswana's
government has done, or try to bring down his regime by cutting off supplies
of electricity, fuel and food to Zimbabwe. Some have called for South Africa
and other nations to refer Mugabe to the International Criminal Court, a
move that a senior South African Foreign Ministry official, Ayanda Ntsaluba,
recently said would be "counterproductive."

"We don't see this as assisting, and I don't think we can expect South
Africa to join this chorus in the near future," he said, adding that South
Africa's approach is "guided by what holds promise for peace so that more
lives can be saved."

The continuation of South Africa's "quiet diplomacy" toward Mugabe has
disheartened those who had hoped for a firmer response after the ruling
party ousted Thabo Mbeki, the policy's architect, as president in September.
But regional leaders kept Mbeki as mediator of Zimbabwe's political crisis,
despite the opposition's protests.

Mark Gevisser, the author of the biography "Thabo Mbeki: The Dream
Deferred," has attributed Mbeki's insistence on negotiation in part to his
deep distrust of the West and a sense of indebtedness to Mugabe, a patriarch
in a "family of freedom fighters" who had backed the battle against

But Mbeki's brother and the deputy chairman of the South African Institute
of International Affairs, Moeletsi Mbeki, said the policy belonged not just
to Mbeki but also to South Africa's liberation movement-turned-ruling party,
the African National Congress, or ANC. Elitist party leaders view themselves
and their counterparts in Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front, or ZANU-PF, party as "superior to the black masses" that propelled
Zimbabwe's main opposition party to prominence, he said.

"They see the lower class as a threat to their power," Moeletsi Mbeki said.

The approach extended to South Africa's recently ended two-year term on the
U.N. Security Council, where the country promoted African initiatives and
positioned itself as a counterbalance to the council's dominant Western
powers, challenging U.S.-backed efforts to impose sanctions on Iran and
condemn rights abuses by autocracies including Burma and Zimbabwe.

That enhanced its standing among members of the United Nations' influential
Third World blocs. But it has eroded its moral standing in the West.

"Given South Africa's own history, one would have really hoped for more in
terms of lining up on the side of those who are now victims of human rights
abuses," said Steve Crawshaw, the U.N. representative for Human Rights

South Africa's U.N. ambassador, Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo, said critics have
a "romantic view" of his government's role as

a champion of human rights. He said his government has been defined by

"We sat across the table from people who were worse than Robert Mugabe,"
Kumalo said, referring to the political settlement with the rulers of the
apartheid regime. "The situation in Zimbabwe is terrible," he said, but he
added: "It won't function if you just zero in on one guy."

Still, South Africa's policy could shift. The nation's departure from the
Security Council could open the door to stiffer action against Mugabe's
government, U.S. and European diplomats said, although Obama administration
officials said it would be hard to rally support for tough measures from
China and Russia without South Africa's acquiescence.

Critics hope that consent will come if ANC leader Jacob Zuma becomes South
Africa's president in general elections this year, as expected. Zuma, who is
strongly backed by the trade unions that support Zimbabwe's opposition, has
spoken more harshly of Mugabe, saying recently that he could no longer call
Mugabe and his party "comrades."

ANC spokesman Carl Niehaus said in an interview Sunday that Zuma, if
elected, would apply "a more vocal condemnation" and "stronger diplomatic
pressure" on Zimbabwe, while urging other southern African leaders to do the
same. One senior ANC official said Zuma is also prepared to "turn the
economic screws on Zimbabwe."

In a recent interview, however, Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai said he would expect "a difference in style but not in substance"
under a Zuma presidency.

For their part, activists such as Naidoo said they think growing public
outrage in South Africa could hold sway. Last week, he, Machel and other
activists announced a "campaign of solidarity," to include hunger strikes
and protests.

About 2,000 mostly Zimbabwean migrants sleep on floors and in stairwells at
the Central Methodist Mission, having fled a "huge human catastrophe" in
their homeland, said Bishop Paul Verryn.

"Insofar as the South African government and the South African people owe a
debt to Zimbabwe, and we do, it is not a debt to Robert Mugabe," Naidoo
said. "That is a debt we owe to the Zimbabwean people as a whole."

Lynch reported from New York.

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Gono must be removed from RBZ

January 25, 2009
Jupiter Punungwe

A NUMBER of things are set to happen this week that in theory should be
milestones or turning points in the Zimbabwe crisis.

First, SADC is supposed to hold the penultimate summit in its efforts to
tackle the Zimbabwean crisis. Secondly either Mugabe is going to get the
green-light to go it alone or the MDC-T will finally jump into the lion's
den to try to tame the Zanu-PF lion from within a government of national

Lastly the government of Zimbabwe is going to try and announce a budget
whose basis nobody really knows as the country no longer has what can
practically be called a currency.

In my own books all three things are likely to be non-events in terms of the
suffering of Zimbabwe's people. None of them immediately addresses the root
cause of Zimbabwe's problems - corruption and greed leading to economic
mismanagement. None of them also offers any detail on how the problem is
going to be addressed in the long term.

Judging from immediate past experience, even if the MDC and Zanu-PF agree to
form a government they are probably going to spend a lot of time arguing
about what to do next. However, I hope that at least we will be able to move
beyond the mere political confrontation that has kept us bogged down for a

Whether Zanu-PF and the MDC Tsvangirai faction agree to work together it is
up to them. The MDC cannot be dragged, like a goat tied up for the
slaughter, into a unity government it doesn't want to be part of. Similarly
there is no immediately practical way of making Zanu-PF hand over power
unless they want to do it themselves. In short the two sides have no
practical choice apart from agreeing to work together, but they still don't
seem to realize that.

In my view the paramount interest should not be to force Mugabe and
Tsvangirai into the same bed. The paramount interest should be to save the
people and the region from the voodoo bone-thrower type of economics that
have been practiced since Gideon Gono was appointed governor of the RBZ.

The guy has written a book and I am sure he is busy patting himself on the
back for having finally written an 'economics book'. In fact the book is
nowhere close to being an academic examination of economic theory that we
all expected. Instead it is a collection of political fable, myths and
unsubstantiated claims about being offered international jobs.

Gono must be removed from the RBZ not because he is a Zanu-PF supporter, but
because he is absolutely clueless about how to run a monetary system and
that deficiency has had devastating effect on Zimbabwe's economy. In fact he
is so clueless that in a week's time he is likely to have no monetary system
at all to run, everything having been dollarized.

According to an independent weekly newspaper published in Zimbabwe, the
government is likely to introduce special coupons to pay civil servants
which will have US dollar equivalent face values.

What this means is that the government is going to try and finance itself by
printing pieces of paper with US dollar figures printed on them. The
important question is how far up the supply chain the coupons are going to
be accepted.

Suppose a supermarket in Zimbabwe accepts the coupons, will the supermarket
be able to buy from a supplier in South Africa using the coupons? Obviously
no. A piece of paper printed by the Zimbabwe government is not US currency,
and is not legal tender in terms of international law. If the Zimbabwe
government does manage to print notes which look exactly like real US
dollars it is an act of forgery and when one government forges another
government's currency it is usually considered an act of war.

Will the supermarket be able to go to the government and immediately get
foreign currency to re-stock? Obviously that is unlikely since the reason
the government is printing the coupons in the first place is it doesn't have
real foreign currency to pay civil servants. More precisely the government
will rather use real foreign currency to finance extravagant lifestyles and
Far East holidays for senior officials and their cronies while they try and
pull the wool over the eyes of the civil service with these worthless
coupons. I would like to see Mrs Mugabe go and pay for a stay at Shangri-La
Hotel with those coupons.

So the supermarket, having given its goods to civil servants, is left with
worthless paper printed by the Zimbabwe government, and we are back to
square one - empty shelves. Or the pieces of paper themselves will become a
commodity and start trading at values other those printed on their face so
inflation doesn't go away.

On the other hand, you cannot ask teachers to work for charity when somebody
who has no productive role in government like Grace Mugabe is being allowed
to go and spend 2000 British pounds a night in Hong Kong. If the government
could find money for Grace to go on holiday then they have no reason to tell
anyone that they can't find money to pay teachers who will teach our
children. Not just wages, but living wages.

Instead of pushing political leaders to just agree, SADC also should be
stressing the need for sensible economic management. As long as voodoo
economics continue, there will be no meaningful change to the crisis.

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Children and teachers unlikely to return to school as Zimbabwe term begins

Save the Children

Thousands of teachers could fail to return to school when Zimbabwe's new
term begins on Tuesday, denying millions of children their education.

A new report by Save the Children suggests that many teachers are being
forced to spend their time scraping together enough to survive rather than
returning to their schools. This, combined with the country's food crisis,
is likely to deprive many of the country's 4.5 million school-age pupils
their education, with severe consequences for the country's future.

Zimbabwe's education system has completely disintegrated over the last year.
As late as 2007, 85% of children were still going to school. By the end of
2008, attendance was already down to around 20%, and figures are likely to
drop even further. Of 300 teachers, parents and pupils interviewed by Save
the Children, teacher pay, hunger and lack of stationery were identified as
the three biggest problems keeping children out of the classroom.

Schools that do re-open, particularly those in urban areas, will pose a
significant risk for cholera infection, as many have little or no access to
clean water and no money for disinfectant or cleaning materials. Cholera has
killed nearly 2,500 people in Zimbabwe, many of them children.

Rachel Pounds, Save the Children's country director in Zimbabwe, said: "Less
than ten years ago Zimbabwe had the best education system in Sub-Saharan
Africa, with nearly every child going to school. Now a majority of children
are out of school and the system is in tatters.

"Pupils and teachers who do make it back to the classroom could be faced
with an increased threat of cholera. Sanitation is now so bad in schools
that they may become a breeding ground for infection unless there is more
money made available to put precautions in place.

"A generation is at risk of growing up without any education in Zimbabwe,
and that will have catastrophic consequences for the country's recovery."

The food crisis in Zimbabwe has had a disastrous effect on children's
attendance rates. 5.1 million people are now dependent on food aid to
survive in Zimbabwe, and thousands of children are forced to spend their
days working, scavenging or begging for food rather than getting the
education that is so vital for their development.

The country's raging inflation means that the current teacher salary, around
35 trillion Zimbabwe dollars per month, is now only enough to buy a few
loaves of bread, with the value decreasing every day. With no funds to buy
chalk, pens or paper, and often little ability to feed their families, many
teachers are now forced to spend their days trying to find enough money to
get by.

By the end of last year, an estimated 30,000 teachers had already dropped
out of Zimbabwe's education system, with at least 10,000 now living in South
Africa. For the 70,000 thought to be still in the country, morale is
rock-bottom and a significant proportion are inexperienced or untrained.
Save the Children's research shows that pupils are increasingly subject to
corporal punishment and exploitation by teachers unable to cope with
deteriorating conditions, scant resources and lack of support.

Ms Pounds continued: "Lack of education may not be life-threatening in the
short term, but in the long-term it can kill. Already in Zimbabwe one in ten
children die before the age of five. The single biggest factor that affects
child mortality is whether mothers are educated.

"Children in Zimbabwe are going hungry and many have already lost family or
friends. With classes closed, children feel they have no hope. They want to
learn, be with their friends, take exams and create a future for themselves.

"The world must act now to get children back to school before a generation
of children lose their education. With money for school feeding programmes,
basic stationery and teacher support packages, aid organisations like Save
the Children can help get classes going and pupils learning within weeks."

Save the Children is running a major emergency response in Zimbabwe, and
will be supporting schools by distributing text books, stationery and
cleaning materials, as well as providing vital cholera prevention training
for teachers and pupils.

To donate to Save the Children's Zimbabwe appeal, go to


For information or interviews in the UK call Save the Children's media unit
on +44 207 012 6841 / +44 7831 650 409 (24-hour line)

Notes to Editors

We're the world's independent children's charity. We're outraged that
millions of children are still denied proper healthcare, food, education and
protection. We're working flat out to get every child their rights and we're
determined to make further, faster changes. How many? How fast? It's up to
you. For further information about our work please visit

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Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's daughter Bona studying in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's government on Sunday came under fire for allowing the daughter
of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to live and study in the city despite
international sanctions against her father and his regime.

By Simon Parry in Hong Kong
Last Updated: 12:21AM GMT 26 Jan 2009

Bona Mugabe, 20, enrolled under an alias at the University of Hong Kong in
the autumn.

Emily Lau, a senior Hong Kong legislator, on Sunday called for a review over
the decision to admit Miss Mugabe, saying many people in the city found her
father's regime "obnoxious".

Australia last year deported eight students whose parents were senior
members of the Mugabe regime, saying it wanted to prevent those involved in
human rights abuses giving their children education denied to ordinary
Zimbabweans. The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions
on Mugabe's ruling clique, including asset freezes and travel bans.

Zimbabwe is currently in the grips of a cholera epidemic and has been in
political turmoil since Mr Mugabe last year refused to accept the outcome of
a presidential election won by his rival Morgan Tsvangirai. The two rivals
signed a deal to create a coalition government last September but the
proposed coalition has never been implemented and last week talks to save
the power-sharing agreement collapsed.

Asked about Miss Mugabe's admission, a University of Hong Kong spokesman
said: "We believe that education should be above politics and young people
should not be denied the right to education because of their family
background or what their parents have done."

A university official, who asked not to be named, said most students were
unaware of the presence of Miss Mugabe, who has gone to Zimbabwe for the
Chinese New Year holiday.

When she returns to Hong Kong, the university would "keep a watchful eye
more from a student life perspective", the official said. However, the
source added: "We are aware of the impact and significance of this. After
all, he is a dictator, no one will deny this - but education, frankly, is
above politics."

Law Yuk Kai, director of Human Rights Monitor in Hong Kong, said: "A child
who has not done anything wrong should not be asked to take the burden of
the wrongs of their parents - and in accordance with international human
rights, the interests of the child should be our first principle."

But he added: "If the money she is spending was siphoned off the ordinary
people, there is a problem. Just like other members of the international
community, Hong Kong should do its part in imposing sanctions."

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Daily cholera update and alerts, 25 Jan 2009

 Full_Report (pdf* format - 112.4 Kbytes)

*Please note that daily information collection is a challenge due to communication and staff constraints. On-going data cleaning may result in an increase or decrease in the numbers.

Any change will then be explained.

** Daily information on new deaths should not imply that these deaths occurred in cases reported that day. Therefore daily CFRs >100% may occasionally result

A. Highlights of the day:

- 655 cases and 26 deaths added today (in comparison 1906 cases and 21 deaths yesterday)

- 36.2% of the districts affected have reported today (21 out of 58 affected districts)

- 88.7 % of districts reported to be affected (55 districts/62)

- Revised figures for Bindura deaths from 19 to 21

- Cumulative Institutional Case Fatality Rate 2.2%

- Daily Institutional Case Fatality Rate 1.9%

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USAID_OFDA Zimbabwe Cholera Fact Sheet #6




Zimbabwe – Cholera Outbreak

Fact Sheet #6, Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 January 23, 2009

Note: The last fact sheet was dated January 16, 2009.


  1. Since the outbreak began in August 2008, cholera has spread to all of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces and 55 of Zimbabwe’s 62 districts. As of January 22, cholera had caused more than 2,770 deaths, with more than 50,000 cases reported and a case fatality rate (CFR) of 5.5 percent, according to the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO).
  2. Updated January 22 WHO figures included 65 cholera deaths and 1,380 new cases, an increase from 38 deaths and 1,125 new cases reported on January 21. From January 11 to 17, WHO reported 420 cholera deaths and 6,466 new cases, the highest weekly totals to date, and a weekly CFR of 6.5 percent.
  3. According to WHO, Masvingo Province accounted for more than 1,850 new cholera cases between January 11 and 17, or nearly 30 percent of total new cases for the week. In addition, WHO reported more than 1,200 new weekly cases in Mashonaland West Province. Harare and Mashonaland West provinces continue to register nearly 50 percent of total cases reported.
  4. For the same week, WHO reported 385 new cases in Binga District, Matebeleland North Province. The province had previously accounted for only two reported cases.


Total Reported Cholera Cases in Zimbabwe


WHO – January 22, 2009

Total Reported Cholera Deaths in Zimbabwe


WHO – January 22, 2009

Reported Cholera CFR in Zimbabwe

5.5 percent

WHO – January 22, 2009


USAID/OFDA Assistance to Zimbabwe ..............................................................................................................$6,800,000

Total USAID Humanitarian Assistance to Zimbabwe for the Cholera Outbreak ...........................................$6,800,000


  1. On January 17, WHO reported that the outbreak remained uncontrolled. According to the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART), the recent increase in reported rural deaths and new cases likely results from December holiday travel between cholera-affected urban areas and urban residents’ villages of origin.
  2. USAID/DART staff attribute recent reporting improvements to the establishment of the WHO-staffed cholera command-and-control center by the Government of Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MOHCW). Improvements suggest previous underreporting of deaths, new cases, and CFRs during the outbreak’s early stages from August to November. In addition, USAID/DART staff note that high recent daily and weekly CFRs may result in part from improved collection of delayed death and case numbers.
  3. Between January 11 and 17, nearly 70 percent of new cholera deaths occurred outside health facilities, cholera treatment centers (CTCs), and cholera treatment units (CTUs). According to USAID/DART staff, the spread of cholera to populations in remote areas without adequate or affordable transportation likely accounts for the increasing number of deaths outside health facilities, CTCs, and CTUs.

Humanitarian Coordination and Information Management

  1. According to USAID/DART staff, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has deployed an international water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) information management specialist to improve coordination and reporting at the district level. At the January 21 joint U.N. health and WASH cluster meeting, the specialist presented a standardized weekly reporting form for humanitarian organizations involved in the response. Command-and-control center staff plan to use collected data in conjunction with epidemiological reporting to develop a map outlining response activities by organization and location to determine remaining response gaps.
  2. On January 19, USAID/DART staff reported that the U.N. nutrition cluster plans to finalize educational materials on infant feeding during cholera outbreaks in the coming days. In addition, the nutrition cluster continues to prepare guidance for rehydration of severely malnourished children.

On January 15, USAID/DART staff attended the monthly U.N. education cluster meeting. With schools scheduled to reopen on January 27, humanitarian staff noted the need for an immediate survey of school water systems, followed by school social mobilization campaigns and distribution of hygiene supplies to students and teachers.

• USAID/OFDA continues to support information coordination through U.N. clusters in order to improve data collection, analysis, and dissemination, enabling humanitarian organizations to direct expertise and resources where most needed.


  1. At the January 21 joint U.N. health and WASH cluster meeting, a UNICEF team presented findings from a recent cholera knowledge, attitudes, and practices survey of more than 1,400 people in Harare and surrounding suburbs. Survey results indicated a near-universal awareness of cholera and noted the majority of respondents clearly identified a lack of clean water and functioning sanitation facilities as the primary barriers to cholera prevention.
  2. On January 15, the social mobilization working group, composed of non-governmental organizations, the MOHCW communicable diseases division, and city of Harare municipal staff, circulated two WHO resources containing guidelines for funerals and large gatherings and announced plans to finalize standardized monitoring tools for hygiene promotion.
  3. In FY 2009, USAID/OFDA has committed more than $4.8 million for WASH activities, including hygiene promotion, cholera risk and transmission awareness programs, and home-based water treatment. USAID/OFDA-funded WASH activities target locations with high reported cholera rates and areas prone to spread of the disease, particularly high-density, peri-urban districts.


  1. At the January 21 joint U.N. health and WASH cluster meeting, cluster leads noted that WHO and the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDRB), had deployed staff to Mashonaland West, Matebeleland North, Matebeleland South, and Masvingo provinces to provide additional case management support.
  2. From January 16 to 19, the ICDDRB team visited three CTCs, including two in remote areas. The team reported that CTC staff correctly classified dehydration levels but over-administered intravenous fluids and antibiotics and under-administered oral rehydration solution packets. Although the ICDDRB team reported adequate WASH infrastructure and infection control measures at CTCs, staff lacked adequate food, fuel, and financial incentives, resulting in staff shortages and strikes.
  3. At the January 19 U.N. humanitarian coordination meeting, humanitarian organizations cited reports of CTC staff charging informal fees to patients for services. An MOHCW representative stated that the ministry would investigate.
  4. USAID/OFDA plans continued support for data collection, the establishment of early warning mechanisms, and rapid response to new alerts.

Emergency Relief Supplies

  1. In response to the current cholera outbreak, USAID/OFDA has committed more than $360,000 for the procurement and transport of 400 metric tons (MT) of soap for use in hygiene promotion programs in Zimbabwe. USAID/DART staff report that the first shipment of nearly 100 MT, consigned to UNICEF, arrived in Zimbabwe on January 12.


  1. On December 16, 2008, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Katherine S. Dhanani declared a disaster due to the effects of the cholera outbreak. As part of ongoing response efforts, USAID/OFDA activated a five-person USAID/DART to identify humanitarian needs, evaluate response effectiveness, conduct field assessments, and participate in U.N. health, logistics, and WASH cluster meetings.
  2. To date, USAID/OFDA has pledged $6.8 million in emergency assistance for Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak. USAID/OFDA assistance will continue to target provision of emergency relief supplies for affected populations, humanitarian coordination and information management, and WASH interventions.
  3. USAID/OFDA support for the current response adds to the more than $4 million that USAID/OFDA has provided for emergency WASH programs in Zimbabwe since October 2007. The U.S. Government has provided more than $264 million in humanitarian assistance for Zimbabwe’s ongoing complex emergency since October 2007.


Implementing Partner






Emergency Relief Supplies; Humanitarian Coordination and Information Management; Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

Affected Areas



Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

Bulawayo, Chirumanzu, Gweru, Harare, Kadoma, and Mutare Districts



Emergency Relief Supplies

Affected Areas


Transport of Emergency Relief Supplies

Affected Areas


Administrative Support and Travel







1 USAID/OFDA funding represents anticipated or actual obligated amounts as of January 23, 2009.


The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for cholera response efforts in Zimbabwe can be found at

• USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, and warehouse space); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance.

• More information can be found at:

    1. USAID: – Keyword: Donations
    2. The Center for International Disaster Information: or (703) 276-1914
    3. Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at

USAID/OFDA bulletins appear on the USAID web site at

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Airzim urged to charge realistic fares

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Ziana.

Air Zimbabwe should charge realistic fares to enable the country to attract
more foreign tourists, a visiting Iranian delegation of tour operators has

Speaking at a media briefing last Wednesday, head of delegation Bozorgzadeh
Hazary said air transport costs had made Zimbabwe's tour packages one of the
most expensive in the world.

Hazary said the pricing structure in the country was unrealistic compared to
other African airliners.

"The pricing structure should be addressed," she said, adding "a local
flight for tourists in the country is equivalent to a regional flight at
other African airlines."

She said the present fares impacted negatively on tourist arrivals and
suggested that special fares for tourism groups could boost the number of
visitors into the country.

"An average group fare in South Africa costs about R8 000 while in Zimbabwe
an individual pays about

R4 000," she said.

Meanwhile, the delegation accused some local tour operators of high
profiteering, a development she said could derail efforts to resuscitate the
local tourism industry.

"There are operators charging as much as US$40 000 for a return trip to
Masvingo and Victoria Falls, an amount that is enough to buy two minibuses."

"We are not interested in buying buses but only hiring them," she argued.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke said they
would engage Air Zimbabwe to discuss sustainable prices for tourists.

He was recently in Iran to market Zimbabwe in the Middle East country. - New

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Rights body urges Zimbabwe suspension

January 25, 2009

By Mxolisi Ncube

JOHANNESBURG - Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on African leaders to
suspend Zimbabwe from the African Union (AU) if President Robert Mugabe's
government continues to persecute the opposition and civilians.

In an open letter addressed to AU Chairman, Jean Ping last Friday, HRW's
Africa director, Georgette Gagnon, said that the continental body should
attach top priority to civilian protection and the bringing of human rights
abusers to justice during its summit in Ethiopia.

The summit runs from January 26 to February 3.

The letter, which cites human rights cases in Somalia, Zimbabwe, the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, and Guinea, said that the
humanitarian crises in these countries were dire and in need of urgent

HRW accused Mugabe of being responsible for Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis.

The organisation described the Addis Ababa summit as "one final chance" for
the African leaders to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe, after apparent
failure by the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc
to help set up a national unity government in the country.

"The African Union has one final chance to ensure a change of course in
Zimbabwe before the country collapses," said Gagnon.

"The AU summit should condemn ongoing abuses by Zanu-PF and insist that it
end politically motivated violence, enforced disappearances, and torture."

Gagnon also suggested that former South African President, Thabo Mbeki
should be removed from mediating in the Zimbabwean crisis.

Mbeki was appointed by the SADC to mediate in the political deadlock between
Mugabe and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after the country's
ill-fated elections last year.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the March elections but did not
secure enough votes to form a new government, according to official figures
released after about five weeks.

Mugabe later claimed victory in a one-man Presidential poll rerun of June 27
boycotted by Tsvangirai and condemned as a sham.

The MDC claims that more than 100 of its supporters were killed in election
violence, while thousands of others were displaced, after their homes were
burned down by Zanu-PF supporters.

Mbeki is now under fire from the mainstream MDC, which accuses him of being
biased towards the 84-year-old Mugabe, who has been at the helm in Zimbabwe
since 1980.

"The AU should appoint a new emergency team of independent, impartial
mediators, who can set clear benchmarks and timelines for resolving the
crisis," said Gagnon in his letter.

"Finally, the AU should suspend Zimbabwe if - within a specific time frame -
Zanu-PF does not stop its abusive practices."

The human rights group said that without such stern action from African
leaders, Zimbabwe would collapse as the humanitarian crisis continues to

"More than 2 000 people have died in a cholera epidemic and tens of
thousands are infected. Thousands have also died from hunger and HIV or
related diseases," said HRW

"More than 5 million Zimbabweans - half the population - need international
food aid. With victims of political repression also fleeing across Zimbabwe's
borders, the regional situation is dire. Zanu-PF's leader Robert Mugabe will
attend the summit despite having lost elections in 2008."

HRW said that after the AU summit, held in Egypt in June last year, soon
after Mugabe was "sworn in", had appealed to all sides in Zimbabwe to
refrain from actions that would negatively impact on dialogue, the
octogenarian leader had refused to comply.

"By continuing to abduct and torture its opponents, Zanu-PF has clearly and
blatantly ignored that appeal," said HRW

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Beaten in jail..the world's youngest political prisoner age 2

By Martin Geissler Itv News Africa Correspondent 26/01/2009

A new low for Mugabe's Zimbabwe EXCLUSIVE

There is something different about Nigel Mutemagau.

It took a while for me to put my finger on it. He sat quietly in front of
me, sucking a biscuit and cuddling his grandmother.

But he wasn't like other two-year-olds.

He didn't smile.

For 76 days Nigel was, perhaps, the world's youngest political prisoner.

Locked up in Zimbabwe's Chikurubi jail with his mum and dad, activists for
the opposition MDC party.

It is claimed that Nigel was beaten in custody. The guards hit him with
their belts, either as an evil means of torturing his mother or just to shut
him up when he cried.

He was released after protests from local officials but his parents are
still in prison.

The family home has been torn down by the authorities. Nigel is now in
hiding in a one-room brick shack with his grandmother, brothers and sisters.
Where else on earth would a toddler be given such an atrocious introduction
to life?

But Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe is not like anywhere else.

People in other countries suffer.

And Mugabe doesn't have a monopoly on tyranny or human rights abuse. But
what sets him apart is the speed at which he's ruined a prosperous and
wonderful place. Forbes, the respected business publishers, put the
country's annual inflation at around 6.5 quindecillion novemdecillion

Familiar with that number? Neither was I. It's 65 followed by 107 zeros.

It's difficult to imagine what that looks like, much less what it means in
real terms. Put simply, anything you buy today will have lost more than half
its value by tomorrow.

But the fact is most Zimbabweans don't care about inflation. When you don't
have money, the figures don't matter. A friend told me about a once wealthy
acquaintance who paid the bill for last month's internet connection with a
tray of eggs. A country reduced to medieval bartering for modern technology.
The irony would be wonderful if it wasn't so tragic.

We drove into rural Zimbabwe, past the fields which used to feed much of
southern Africa. We stopped at a house, miles from anywhere, to ask
directions. The owner, Lillian, and her five children are starving to death.

They used to run a 200-acre farm. But now they can't afford to buy seed.
Much less the fertiliser needed for crops.

Her husband died last year, now every day is a struggle.

"We hunt for bees", she told me. "When we find the hive, we take the honey,
and my son walks 10 miles to the village and swaps it for grain."

When I met them they'd gone four days without food. Her daughters, Alice and
Beauty, were clearly malnourished. I asked Lillian when they'd get a
reliable source of food. "When our maize is ready by June," she said,
pointing to a few stumpy corn stalks.

If her kids survive it will be a miracle. And she knows it.

Aid agencies say they're feeding Zimbabwe but the villages I visited hadn't
seen a charity worker since 2001. Most hospitals are closed. Men, women and
children are, as a doctor told me, "dying quietly in the bush".

Back in the capital, Harare, we met up with one brave cameraman who risked
imprisonment to film pictures for us. He managed to get into an area
quarantined due to cholera.

We watched the tape. Men in masks were digging a row of graves.

A car pulled up - in the back, a coffin so makeshift the sides had scarcely
been nailed together. The dead man must have been tall because the end of
the coffin had been sawn off to allow his feet to stick out of the end.

Friends or family weren't allowed to attend - a vain effort by the
authorities to contain an epidemic that has spiralled out of control.

Today the presidents of southern Africa will meet again to talk about
Zimbabwe. They will try to form a "unity government" there. They've been
trying for almost a year now.

The opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai will come under pressure to sign up
with Mugabe. It's an awful dilemma for the opposition. Do they make a deal
and risk legitimising his government? Or do they turn their backs on him and
face a future in the political wilderness?

Back across the border, churches are packed with people praying for a
miracle - looking to the Bible for help. If they turn to the Book of
Revelation they'll read about the four horsemen of the apocalypse, bringing
lies, violence, famine and disease.

The awful prediction has come true in Zimbabwe. But it didn't take four
horsemen to deliver all this upon them. One man did it alone.

Martin Geissler's report is on tonight's ITV Evening News and News at Ten.

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