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MDC position on the inclusive government to be made on Friday

MDC Pressroom - The MDC notes with concern the fiction being spewed by
speculative journalists and discredited newspapers such as The Herald that
are peddling non-existent fissures within the leadership of the MDC.

The first fictitious assertion is that the MDC leadership that was in South
Africa voted on whether to join the inclusive government or not. The second
illusionary assertion is that President Tsvangirai fully agreed with the
position of SADC.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Firstly, there was no point for the
MDC delegation that was in South Africa to go for such a ballot by show of
hands when the party's national council, the supreme-decision making body,
would meet on Friday to decide on the issue.

Why would the MDC leadership engage on such a futile exercise when a
constitutional organ of the party would later meet to deliberate and take a
decision on the same matter?

Secondly, President Tsvangirai did not necessarily agree with the position
of SADC. For the record, the President did not agree entirely with the
position of SADC. Outstanding issues were not treated with the justice and
fairness that we expected.

Notable among the outstanding issues is Zanu PF's yawning sincerity deficit,
fairness and equity in the allocation of ministerial portfolios and the
extra-legal abductions and detentions of innocent civic and party activists.

The unequivocal party position is that a decision regarding the inclusive
government will be taken by the national council on Friday, 30 January 2009.

The MDC leadership is clear on the goal, direction and processes in our
quest for democracy in Zimbabwe. All our national council resolutions on
this matter have been unanimous.

The national council decisions of 14 November 2008 and 12 December 2008 were
unanimous, further reinforcing the fact that the ruling party is of the same
purpose on this matter.

Regardless of the Herald's yellow journalism, which itches for the
relocation of factionalism and infighting from their home in Zanu PF to the
MDC, the people of Zimbabwe are fully behind the party and its leadership.
After all, the people of Zimbabwe defeated propaganda and malice and voted
for the MDC on 29 March 2008.

The people defeated speculative and destructive journalism and the
State-sponsored doomsday cult which never gave the MDC a chance in that
historic election.

The people overcame an avalanche of derogatory speeches and hate language
and overwhelmingly voted for hope, the MDC and its leadership; a leadership
which remains united and alive to the hopes and aspirations of the suffering
people of Zimbabwe.

We are a party of excellence. As we celebrate our 10th anniversary this
year, we know our national obligations and responsibilities. We have no
doubt that the people's project is firmly on course.

We shall forever walk together.

MDC Information and Publicity Department

This entry was written by Sokwanele on Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 at 2:20

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Zimbabwean negotiators to meet Thurs to iron out outstanding difference

By Violet Gonda
28 January 2008

It's been widely reported that Tsvangirai is likely to agree to the unity
deal, as presented by SADC after their summit. But Zimbabweans still wait a
final decision as the MDC maintains it is awaiting a mandate from its
National Council which meets on Friday.

After a day of confusion and conflicting statements the MDC President was
quoted on Wednesday saying he had agreed in principle, and was optimistic
that his party would agree to join.

Southern African leaders issued a communiqué on Tuesday stating a unity
government will be formed next month, and even the MDC's closest ally in the
region, Botswana, welcomed the outcome of the SADC Summit.

Despite being the Mugabe regime's harshest critic in the region, Botswana
issued a statement on Wednesday saying it hoped the developments would "move
forward the process of resolving the crisis of legitimacy in Zimbabwe and
put an end to the suffering and difficult challenges facing people of that

Frank Chikane, the Director General in the office of the South African
Presidency told journalists in South Africa, also on Wednesday: "It has been
tough, but we are there."
Despite the fact that the MDC is only going to decide on joining a unity
government on Friday, the SADC Communique said the implementation of the
agreement is starting this week on Friday with the establishment of a Joint
Monitoring Implementation Committee (JOMIC). This will be followed by other
processes to lead to the formation of a government by mid February.
Furthermore the negotiators from all three main political parties are
expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the remaining differences. These
include consideration of the National Security Bill and a formula for the
distribution of provincial governors.

Political analyst Professor Brian Raftopoulos said it's clear SADC will not
change its position and the real question is now on what the MDC will do.

While it's been reported that Robert Mugabe did make some concessions a
statement from the MDC said Tsvangirai did not entirely agree with the
position of SADC and "outstanding issues were not treated with the justice
and fairness that we expected."

The MDC said: "Notable among the outstanding issues is Zanu PF's yawning
sincerity deficit, fairness and equity in the allocation of ministerial
portfolios and the extra-legal abductions and detentions of innocent civic
and party activists."

And while it's widely reported there will be a deal soon, Zimbabweans are
still clueless as to what the deal actually entails. Raftopoulos believes if
the MDC National Council does not vote in favour of the deal, Tsvangirai
risks isolating his party from this regional group. He said: "This will also
mean that if there is any pressure, it will be coming from the West. In that
situation it will be pressure from the West versus that decision of the
Africans. And that is a decision that, I think, the MDC wants to avoid."

The analyst believes Tsvangirai has no choice but to join, as Mugabe is
likely to form a government on his own since he has already been endorsed by
SADC. Raftopoulos said the alternative is that the regime will continue to
inflict violence on the MDC structures and the deterioration in the country
will continue.

The MDC President stated on numerous occasions that he would join if and
when the scores of political detainees are freed. But SADC remained mum on
this issue while the Mugabe regime continues to hold the detainees
illegally. On Wednesday six of the activists appeared in court and were
further remanded in custody.

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Morgan Tsvangirai receives hero's welcome in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai returned to a hero's welcome
in Harare after agreeing to share power with Robert Mugabe.

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare and Sebastien Berger
Last Updated: 6:33PM GMT 28 Jan 2009

Mr Tsvangirai, who returned from South Africa after reportedly agreeing to
become prime minister, was serenaded by scores of his supporters in the
arrivals hall at Harare airport. A meeting of his Movement for Democratic
Change later this week is expected to endorse his decision to enter a unity
government despite doubts among sceptics over how the power-sharing deal
will work, and fears that once in office the MDC will be sidelined by
President Mugabe.

The female singers awaiting Mr Tsvangirai sang "Baba, baba" - "Father,
father" - in an unprecedented display with no interference from the
authorities, before Mr Tsvangirai was driven away with several vehicles
following him in an unofficial cavalcade, their occupants waving the
open-handed MDC salute.

Mr Tsvangirai did not explicitly confirm that he had decided to join the
government as prime minister, a move first revealed by the Telegraph on
Tuesday, but he made clear where he stood.

"We have a national council meeting where we will give directions as to how
we hope to deal with the problems we are facing," he said. "It is a historic
decision and I hope the party will be united in ensuring we respond to the
needs on the ground and to the expectations of Zimbabweans."

Meanwhile, more than 3,000 Zimbabweans have died of cholera, the United
Nations said, in the worst outbreak of the normally treatable disease
anywhere in the world for more than a decade.

The epidemic is the most extreme manifestation of the collapse of the
Zimbabwean state under Mr Mugabe, 84, who has ruled ever since independence
in 1980, and external pressure from neighbouring countries has been mounting
on the MDC to implement the power-sharing deal the parties reached in
September. Ordinary Zimbabweans have repeatedly made similar calls.

Governments in the region believe that the new authority will be able to
tackle the country's myriad problems, but the reality is that despite
supposedly guaranteeing the power-sharing deal they will be able to do
little if Mr Mugabe succeeds in marginalising the MDC - as he appears to be
planning, given his unilateral allocation of key ministries to his Zanu-PF
party soon after the outline agreement was signed.

But with Mr Mugabe and Zanu-PF firmly entrenched, despite their losing the
presidential and parliamentary elections of March last year, there are no
practical alternatives available to the MDC.

Sources in Johannesburg and Harare said that internal opposition within Mr
Tsvangirai's party to forming the power-sharing government was fading
rapidly. "We have got to do it, and we have got to be united," said one MDC

"There is no other way."

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Zimbabwe budget likely to show Mugabe's desperation

Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:07pm GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will present its annual budget this week, which
analysts expect to contain desperate measures in the wake of economic
collapse amid political crisis.

President Robert Mugabe's acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa will
unveil the 2009 budget in parliament on Thursday most likely in U.S. dollars
because soaring hyper-inflation has left the Zimbabwean dollar virtually

Analysts say the budget -- coming two months later than usual -- would be
both a number-crunching exercise and a confirmation that Zimbabwe has been
forced to use foreign currencies after the spectacular collapse of its own

The Zimbabwean dollar currently trades at anything up to 40 trillion to the
U.S dollar, despite being re-denominated through the removal of 10 zeroes in
August. An average worker earns trillions, but struggles to buy a loaf of
bread in the few shops that still accept the local unit.

"The situation is so desperate and I think, outside the usual statements
about political enemies, we are going to see some desperate proposals to try
to get the economy out of this mess," said John Robertson, an economic

Besides "dollarisation," Mugabe's government is expected to introduce some
new taxes in foreign currency -- including income and capital gains -- to
try to boost empty state coffers.

"The simple change of currency is not going to save the economy, but may
actually create more problems by getting the whole country, workers across
the board, to believe they can get foreign currency without production,"
Robertson said.

"What is going to save the economy is an acceptance that we are in this mess
because of bad policies and bad politics and that we have to change those to
have a foundation for recovery."

John Makumbe, a veteran political analyst and Mugabe critic, also said the
2009 budget would -- as with others in the last 10 years -- not be able to
pull Zimbabwe out of its deep troubles.

"Mugabe has turned Zimbabwe into a pariah state, and the economy stands
condemned and is not going to get any substantial foreign investment or
foreign aid until the political crisis is sorted," he said.

Zimbabwe's economic data is anyone's guess at the moment.

The government has not released any official inflation figures since July
when annual inflation stood at a staggering 231 million percent -- the
highest in the world -- while state spending figures have also not been

In its 2008 budget, Mugabe's government forecast that the Zimbabwe's gross
domestic product (GDP) would grow by four percent after nearly a decade in
decline and that inflation -- which stood at 8,000 percent in November
2007 -- would average below 2,000 percent in 2008 on increased farming

Instead, the economy has plumbed deeper into recession and what had been
dubbed "the mother of all farming seasons" turned into another disaster.

Mugabe's disputed re-election in a violent campaign last year worsened the
country's crisis which, following a collapse in agriculture, includes
shortages of food and fuel, power cuts and lately a cholera outbreak that
has killed over 3,000 people.

About half Zimbabwe's 13 million population is surviving on food handouts,
and international aid agencies say a lack of funds combined with projections
of more food shortages this year could make the crisis worse.

Mugabe, who turns 85 next month and has been in power since independence
from Britain in 1980, accuses Western countries of sabotaging Zimbabwe's

"In Zimbabwe's position, you are going to need a budget that is going to
address this man-made disaster, and I don't think that's what we are going
to get," Robertson said.

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Knock Off 12 Zeros, RBZ Urged

Published by the government of Zimbabwe

28 January 2009

Harare - THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has urged the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe to knock off 12 zeros from the Zimbabwean dollar while freezing
the monetary base (money printing) at current levels as a strategy to
stabilise the local unit.

The industrial representative body proposed that authorities allow multiple
currencies to be used, stressing the local unit should remain a legal and
not compulsory tender.

"Freezing the local currency monetary base will quickly stabilise the local
currency. After a period of free trade and subsequent stabilisation, a fixed
rate can be declared," read a document on its recommendations to the

CZI said the removal of zeros was vital for processing transactions.

In August, the central bank removed 10 zeros, but hyperinflation and
speculative activities rendered the strategy less effective.

Presently, figures running to quintillions (18 zeros) are being transacted.
The removal of 12 zeros would see a return to millions becoming the highest
range of figures once again.

Some analysts, however, were of the opinion that slashing zeros would have
to be part of a more holistic package to salvage the local unit, hence the

CZI said it was important that currencies such as the United States dollar
and the South African rand continued to be regarded as tender although it
proposed that the US dollar be made the primary unit of account for all
transactions in the economy.

Tax bands, said the document, would be set in US dollars with the threshold
at the Poverty Datum Line and a maximum rate of 20 percent for anyone
earning more than US$1 000 as a strategy to enable businesses to be more
competitive while retaining skills.

Corporate tax, currently at 35 percent, would need to be reduced to 20
percent, with the US dollar remaining the basis of accounting, it was

Tomorrow, Acting Finance Minister Mr Patrick Chinamasa is expected to
present the 2009 National Budget statement, while the monetary policy
statement would be announced anytime soon.

The industrial representative body challenged the Government to ensure
tariff charges by such parastatals as Zesa Holdings, Zinwa, TelOne and local
authorities be set at levels that were regionally competitive.

Currently, consumers feel shortchanged by some parastatals that have pegged
their US dollar charges at levels much higher than those obtaining in the

CZI president Mr Kumbirai Katsande said business was presently in
negotiations with Zesa and other parastatals to come up with "workable"

The body also proposed the introduction of fuel tax payable in foreign
currency to boost Government coffers.

Furthermore, all customs duties would have to be levied in foreign currency
while rates, particularly on luxuries produced locally, would need to be
reviewed downwards.

All other taxes, it was suggested, could be paid in either US dollars or Zim
dollars to maintain demand for local currency.

"Reviewing rates on luxuries downward will boost revenue and help employee
retention. The inability to afford luxuries is a key reason for skills
flight," CZI said.
Key objectives to the proposals were the restoration of fiscal balance,
boosting capacity utilisation and employment creation and to reduce
inflation levels.

Furthermore, strategies were recommended to support exports and increase
foreign currency inflows while setting "realistic" exchange rates would
increase inflows into the formal system.

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Daily cholera update and alerts, 27 Jan 2009

 Full_Report (pdf* format - 204.2 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:

- 1579 cases and 57 deaths added today (in comparison 2817 cases and 102 deaths yesterday)

- 68.9% of the districts affected have reported today (40 out of 58 affected districts)

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

- Cumulative Institutional Case Fatality Rate 2.1%

- Daily Institutional Case Fatality Rate 1.2%

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Zimbabwe cholera outbreak kills more than 3,000

Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:32pm EST

By Nelson Banya
HARARE (Reuters) - Cholera has killed more than 3,000 Zimbabweans and
infected at least 57,000, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday,
making it the deadliest outbreak in Africa in 15 years.

The disease has spread as rival political parties struggle to implement a
power-sharing agreement reached in September and seen as a chance to ease
the humanitarian crisis and save the faltering economy.

Regional leaders decided at a summit on Tuesday that a unity government
should be formed next month. Fears of the cholera spreading in Zimbabwe have
stepped up pressure on rival parties to end the political uncertainty.

WHO figures showed an increase of 57 deaths and 1,579 new infections since
Tuesday. The outbreak has hit the entire country, leading to a high overall
case fatality rate of 5.3 percent.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he agrees to form a government
with President Robert Mugabe although his Movement for Democratic Change
voiced disappointment with the deal reached at the summit, a South African
newspaper reported.

MDC officials are expected to meet on Friday to discuss how to proceed.

"It's a historic decision we will make. I hope the party will be united in
ensuring that we respond to the needs on the ground and the expectations of
Zimbabweans," Tsvangirai told reporters in Harare.

But Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper said MDC Secretary-General Tendai
Biti, considered more hardline than Tsvangirai, had made a "sudden U-turn"
against implementing the deal.

The MDC has said the outcome of the summit fell "far short of our
expectations" but in a statement it denied that there were divisions within
the party.

"There are struggles going on internally, between the pragmatists and the
hawks in terms of their contrasting positions on the power-sharing
arrangement," Zimbabwean political analyst Eldred Masunungure said.

The prospect of a split within the MDC over implementation of the September
pact added to uncertainty over whether a new Zimbabwean leadership would be
united enough to tackle an acute economic crisis.

Mugabe, who has made it clear he would set up a government without the
opposition if need be, said talks were concluded and a new cabinet could now
be formed.

South Africa's Star newspaper quoted Tsvangirai as saying that resolving
outstanding issues over a government was a "work in progress."

"Everyone agrees that -- subject to the clearing of all the issues that are
outstanding -- a coalition government can be formed," he said.

"After all, the whole idea of these negotiations is to form a coalition
government, and I therefore agreed to that principle."

The 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) said after the
summit in South Africa -- its fifth attempt to secure a deal on forming a
unity government -- it had agreed that Tsvangirai should be sworn in as
prime minister by February 11.

Frank Chikane, the director general in South Africa's presidency, told
diplomats in Pretoria that the establishment of a unity government in
Zimbabwe was meant to be a transitional step that would lay the foundation
for future free elections.

The signing of the pact is seen as an opportunity to prevent a total
economic collapse that would add to the strain on neighboring countries
already hosting millions of Zimbabweans who fled in search of work.

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Zimbabwe's children idle as schools buckle under crisis

Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Date: 28 Jan 2009

by Godfrey Marawanyika

HARARE, Jan 28, 2009 (AFP) - Like an orchestra without a conductor: this is
how mother Sharon Mpofu describes Zimbabwe's once proud education system,
now in tatters as a political crisis rages around the country's children.

While parents and children around the region proudly geared up for a new
school year, many new text books in Zimbabwe remain crisp and unused as
Mpofu and other weary parents didn't even bother to send their children to

"Why bother myself when there are no teachers. It's like having an orchestra
without a conductor," she said. "If I could afford it, I could be sending my
children to private schools or be engaging a private tutor at my home."

Getting the school year off the ground in Zimbabwe has been a rocky affair,
as teachers launched straight into a strike over their salaries, some of
which are now worth a mere three US dollars a month due to galloping

While children were turned away from some schools, others milled around
playing games or waited hopefully in classrooms.

Many youngsters still seemed jovial at the prospect of starting school this
week, while older children hung their heads in despair at the prospect of
another term without teachers.

Nearly 80 percent of the country's remaining teachers heeded the call to
strike said Raymond Majongwe, head of the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe (PTUZ).

Many Zimbabwean teachers have fled to neighbouring countries in recent years
because of the low salaries.

"Teachers are sending a clear message that we are suffering. Government must
start engaging us positively," Majongwe told AFP.

That may be difficult as Zimbabwe remains embroiled in a political crisis
since failed elections in March last year failed to yield a government.

Despite an agreement by President Robert Mugabe and rival Morgan Tsvangirai
to share power, the two have yet to set up a government.

Once a regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe has seen its economy collapse in
recent years with hyperinflation, widespread unemployment and at least 80
percent of the population living below the poverty line.

Zimbabwean teachers were this month paid 26 trillion Zimbabwe dollars, worth
just three US dollars on the parallel market where most currency trading is

Teachers went on strike for the greater part of 2008 and are demanding
monthly salaries that would amount to 2,200 US dollars (1,670 euros) before
they will return to work.

Schools have proposed charging fees in foreign currency as the Zimbabwe
dollar loses value every day.

"Teachers are prepared to take hard line stance this time, enough is enough.
All we are saying to parents is that they won't be any learning," said
Takavafira Zhou, president of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe

At some boarding schools, pupils are expected to bring cooking oil, ground
maize, salt, sugar and beans for meals during the term.

The state-owned Herald reported Tuesday that some schools have entered into
agreement to pay teachers in groceries to retain them as the government is
still to make a decision whether to pay teachers in foreign currency.

Students at the University of Zimbabwe were also asked to return home
Tuesday while those at Harare Polytechnic were being asked to pay 575 US
dollars (instead of six trillions Zimbabwe dollars or two US dollars on the
parallel market) per term, which many described as exorbitant.

"Nowadays children spend days doing absolutely nothing at home," said father
of three Lawrence Mhida, 60. "Our children will not learn this year if
teachers demands are not met."

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Zimbabwe public schools remain shut in new academic year

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Several public schools have failed to open for
Zimbabwe's 2009 academic year as teachers pressed on with a strike that
started nearly a year ago, APA observed here Wednesday.

Only a handful of privately-run schools in Harare resumed classes after an
extended end-of-year break, as children were turned back from public
institutions around the capital.

Teachers' associations insisted that their members would continue boycotting
classes until the government accepted their demands for foreign currency

"We continued where we left off last year as most teachers did not report
for work for the new term. We trust that the government will finally hear
our grievances and act to save the education sector," Majongwe, secretary
general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, said.

The less militant Zimbabwe Teachers Association noted that its members were
not on strike but had no money for bus fare use for their transport to the

Both associations are demanding payment of salaries in United States dollars
or South African rands, citing the free-falling value of the Zimbabwe

The teachers have boycotted classes at most of Zimbabwe's public schools
since February 2008.

  JN/nm/APA 2009-01-28

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Zimbabwe Crisis Described as Worse than Desperate


      By Joe DeCapua
      Washington D.C
      28 January 2009

 Southern Africa Catholic bishops have declared February 15th "Zimbabwe
Sunday" - an effort to show solidarity with the Zimbabwe people, who are in
the midst of a humanitarian, political and economic crisis. The Southern
African Catholic Church Has been critical of the Mugabe government, calling
it "illegitimate" and describing mediation efforts as "flawed."

South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier spoke about the reasons for declaring
a Zimbabwe Sunday.

"One of the things we heard from the Zimbabweans some years ago was that we
should keep them in mind, sending messages, and especially keeping them in
our prayers. And this is a logical thing to do at this because the situation
is just getting so much worse," he says.

Asked about the need to take action now, Cardinal Napier says, "There was a
delegation of two bishops that came to address the bishop's conference and
one of them put it, I think, in the most graphic way anyone could put it. He
said it was 'passive genocide' for the world to be standing by and watching
what's going on in Zimbabwe. I think one could say the situation is worse
than desperate."

Cardinal Napier says he hopes to accomplish two things on February 15th.
"The first one is simply to express our Christian solidarity with our
brothers and sisters, who are suffering. And do something
towards alleviating some of their suffering by collecting funds, food,
clothing and medicines and things of that nature," he says.

Collections will be made at Catholic churches across southern Africa
February 15th.

Commenting on what might be done to help solve the problems in Zimbabwe,
Cardinal Napier says, "I think a bit of honesty would help as a start. The
MDC (opposition party) won the parliamentary elections. They've been denied
the opportunity to form a government. And (Morgan) Tsvangirai won the first
round of the presidential election and I'm sure would have won the second
thing (runoff) outright had he not been forced to withdraw because of the
intimidation and violence that was let loose on his supporters."

Caritas, the international coordinating body for Catholic charities, is
expected to help distribute the charity items through Zimbabwe catholic

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Top Gono aide exposed as owner of bank

January 28, 2009

By Greatman Moyo

HARARE - Norman Mataruka, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s bank
licensing, supervision and surveillance chief, has been exposed for his and
the entire institution's duplicity, amid reports of his near 20 percent
stake in NDH Bank Limited (NDH Ltd) - against standing bank regulation and
general corporate governance rules.

Mataruka, who has emerged a key associate and enforcer of central bank
governor Gideon Gono, sank many "an institution" in the tumultuous 2003-2004
period over what they called "irresponsible banking and unbalanced
institutions" caused by weak governance, and monitoring structures.

However, news of the senior RBZ staffer's shareholding in an operational
Zimbabwean bank has invoked serious questions about conflict of interest
issues and how muddled, and selective Gono's bank regulation policy is.

Industry sources told The Zimbabwean Times that Mataruka "sneakily licensed"
the fledgling financial institution because of his interest in the NDH
Holdings Limited subsidiary early last year.

"He has an effective 20 percent stake held through various investment
vehicles and to cover his tracks (on obvious bias and his surreptitious
agenda) Mataruka licensed NDH just about the same time he okayed Tawanda
Nyambirai's TN Bank project," said an irate banker.

To compound matters, Mataruka's younger cousin Leo - a former University of
Zimbabwe economics lecturer who now describes himself as a business
consultant - is managing director of the Harare bank, operating out of MIPF
House in Central Avenue.

It was not immediately clear whether the Mataruka cousins held their NDH
holding-company equity separately or through a single special purpose

Norman Mataruka, known for his cavalier attitude at the height of bank
failures and great financial ruin to many Zimbabweans, has been dubbed a
"thorough-bred version" of the amoral RBZ hierarchy, due to his "acerbic
tongue and strong-arm actions" one alleged, if not phantom financial
offenders or wrongdoers, when the bank itself was mainly at the centre, and
forefront of dodgy deals and arrangements.

"This man typified or exemplified Gono's delinquent understanding, and
management of the financial sector. When confronting bank owners and
executives on alleged incestuous transactions, which culminated in arbitrary
arrests, harassment and humiliation you could see that he carried his
business with a cue from his boss," said the source.

So close were the two men - and government functionary's relationship -
that, mid 2005, Gono managed to "talk Mataruka out of his early and
voluntary retirement" plan from the cushy RBZ job in the aftermath of the
much-maligned "financial reforms", through a complex remuneration structure
executed outside the RBZ.

While Mataruka's "equity participation" in the privately-held NDH came long
after the "clean-up" debacle or fallout - aimed at ridding the industry of
bad apples - it was not clear whether he had declared such an investment,
especially in keeping with mandatory public office bearers' responsibility,
norms and laws in a sensitive sector like the financial services.

Still, such a proclamation would not suffice because Zimbabwe's Banking Act
expressly discourages and prohibits RBZ officials from owning shares in
allied businesses, which are subject to their routine scrutiny or checks for
fear of subjective views on appraisals and other operational issues.

Among those banks culled or said to have been plagued by poor to
non-existent oversight structures and mechanisms were Barbican Bank, ENG
Capital, Guardian Asset Management, Nicholas Ingrain's Aftermarket Banking
Corporation, Rapid Financial Holdings, Royal, Sagit Finance House, Trust
Banking Corporation and a host of other small institutions such as asset
management companies.

Although Gono and his main bank lieutenants have maintained a "moral high
ground", we can exclusively reveal that he once held a four percent stake in
NDH Ltd - among many other banking portfolios - prior to his RBZ crossover
and the shake out he orchestrated five years ago.

Along with other prominent bankers and politicians, notably Trust founder
William Nyemba and Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, this stake was
held directly and during his tenure as CBZ Bank Limited chief executive, and
amid a culture of convoluted inter-bank cross shareholdings marking the
hubris and greed that he was to try and contain through self-serving
monetary reforms.

In fact, it was further suggested this week that the former Zimbabwean
parliamentary speaker and Zanu PF politburo member, Mnangagwa, enjoyed
"several occasional and mainly-Friday afternoon lunches" hosted by veteran
banker, and NDH founding chief executive Ernest Matienga at his offices. In
tow - and central to those meetings or get-togethers - were the bank's now
exiled, and deposed former executive directors Jabulani Manyanga as well as
Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group supremo Never Mhlanga.

Today, it is not clear whether Gono and his political handlers - notably
president Robert Mugabe's would-be successor Mnangagwa - have disposed off
their NDH stock.

Observers said this scenario of co-investment by State and Zanu PF
heavy-hitters could explain why a "hurtling NDH" was saved from collapse in
the 2004-2005 period.

Once a highly profitable and top performing business, owing to its
securities wing or division's exploits, NDH escaped the fate of several and
similar indigenous-owned firms through an elaborate, and protracted
depositor/creditor re-investment scheme drawn up, and implemented by leading
commercial lawyer Edwin Manikai, a Mnangagwa acolyte. Mnangagwa, Manikai and
Manyanga's co-operation, and NDH history are well documented, especially
over the ruling party's business and financial affairs.

The NDH rescue programme and process, meanwhile, was also okayed and
overseen by Gono, and his trusted "licensing and supervision" chief

However, cracks seem to be emerging from the cabal and alliance amid
revelations that the latter has been badmouthing his RBZ boss over
allegations that he was "merely a pawn in Gono's power play and would soon
blow the cover of the governor's corrupt ways".

"In a true self-cleansing act and posture of the aggrieved, Mataruka has
been disparaging about Gono in certain private quarters, especially in the
wake of recent theatrical television dismissals of bank executives" said the

Particularly, this has been happening after the recent bank crises engulfing
our financial services sector, where accusations (and counter arguments) of
indolence have been flying," he added, observing the "apparent cat-fights"
were least surprising given the monetary authorities' legacy of being
double-faced when swamped by challenges.

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Zim students urge deportation of Mugabe's daughter from China

By Alex Bell
28 January 2009

As Zimbabwe's academic year got off to a rocky start on Tuesday, a campaign
was launched to bring back Robert Mugabe's daughter Bona from Hong Kong,
where she has controversially been enrolled at a university, under an alias.

Bona's place at the University of Hong Kong, which is being bankrolled by
the suffering Zimbabwean people, has caused a public outcry with an MP in
the country calling for her deportation. Zimbabwe's National Students Union
(ZINASU) has since echoed the call, explaining in a petition sent to the
Chinese Embassy in Harare that "the state of the education system is so
deplorable that the President has seen it fit to trust the Chinese for the
education of his daughter whilst ordinary students are failing to get decent

The Union has said the return of Bona would help increase pressure on her
father to resuscitate the failed education system that has seen the country's
literacy rate drop from 86% ten years ago to an estimated 40% in recent
years. The 2008 academic year saw school and university attendance drop to
an all time low of less than 30%, and it is widely believed that this figure
will drop even lower this year.

School and university doors reopened on Tuesday after a two week forced
postponement by government, but aside from a handful of private
institutions, the majority of students were sent home. The ongoing teachers
strike over the payment of foreign currency wages means almost no teachers
have returned to work, and there are doubts the academic year will get
properly under way at all. At the same time, many parents have not sent
their children back to class because they have been unable to pay the fees,
which in many cases are being charged in forex.

SW Radio Africa's Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme explained on
Wednesday that many university students have refused to pay their
'exorbitant' forex-fees, until the government "sets a realistic and flexible
fee structure for the country's learners." Saungweme explained that, despite
not being given the mandate to do so, the Midlands State University, as well
as the National University of Science and Technology, have both pegged fees
of more than US$800 per semester. Saungweme said the move is unrealistic
because the majority of wage earners are being paid in the worthless local
dollar, and students are feeling deliberately ostracised.

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Botswana falls in line with SADC

January 28, 2009

By Tanonoka Joseph Whande

GABORONE - The government of Botswana has urged Zimbabwean political
opponents Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, to accept the outcome of
Monday's SADC Summit and "to open a new chapter of building mutual trust and
confidence for the common good of the people of Zimbabwe".

At a SADC Summit in South Africa two days ago, SADC leaders instructed both
Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who signed an agreement to form a government of
national unity on September 15, 2008, "to endeavor to cause Parliament to
pass the Constitutional Amendment 19 by February 5, 2009".

The amendment creates the constitutional accommodation of a government of
national unity.

SADC leaders ruled that the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers be
sworn in by February 11, 2009, with cabinet Minister and Deputy Ministers
being sworn in on February 13, 2009, concluding the process of the formation
of the inclusive government.

"The government of the Republic of Botswana welcomes the outcome of the
January 26-27, 2009 Extra-Ordinary Summit which sought to assist parties to
the Global Political Agreement to move forward the process of resolving the
crisis of legitimacy in Zimbabwe and put an end to the suffering and
difficult challenges facing people of that country," reads a surprisingly
muted statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The statement added that Botswana had hoped that the signing of the Global
Political Agreement last September would usher in an atmosphere of mutual
trust and confidence, good faith and commitment to genuine power sharing.

"Regrettably, this has not been the case and very little or no progress has
been made in the implementation of the agreement," says the statement.

Since the much criticized elections of June last year in which Mugabe was
the sole candidate after Tsvangirai withdrew citing violence against his
supporters, Botswana became the most vocal critic of Mugabe and his ZANU-PF

Botswana later went on record as saying it did not agree with what SADC had
decreed on Zimbabwe and pursued a path different from that of the rest of

After a SADC Summit in November last year, Foreign Affairs Minister Phandu
Skelemani said that Botswana wished to reiterate its strongly held view that
if the Agreement could not be implemented as soon as possible, the
international community should demand a re-run of the Presidential election
in Zimbabwe "under international supervision so that the long suffering
people of Zimbabwe can resolve the impasse by voting to decide who their
true leaders should be".

Skelemani then added that Botswana recognized that decisions in SADC are
reached by consensus, after which they reflect the collective position of
the organization.

"However, it would be remiss of us if we did not express our strong
reservations/disagreements, as we did during the summit."

With today's statement, it appears as if Botswana has returned back into the
much criticized SADC fold and is now in support of SADC's approach.

"The time lines set by the Extra-ordinary Summit for the formation of an all
inclusive government represent a significant and critical step to the
effective implementation of the global Political Agreement," said Botswana
today. "It is our hope that what transpired in the discussions on the
concerns raised by the MDC-T at the Extra-Ordinary Summit impressed upon the
parties to the Global Political Agreement the importance of addressing the
outstanding issues in a spirit of mutual trust and good faith which has so
far been lacking."

The Extraordinary Summit of the SADC Heads of State and Government met at
the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria, South Africa, on January 26-27,
2009 to review the implementation of the Zimbabwe Global Political

"The next few weeks will be important in terms of what the people of
Zimbabwe can do to bring about national reconciliation, reconstruction and
rehabilitation of the economy," the government of Botswana said.

However, soon after the Summit on Tuesday, the MDC said that there was no
prospect of the MDC forming a unity government with Zanu-PF, describing SADC
directives as malicious resolutions.

"It was our expectation that the SADC processes would be above board and be
beyond reproach," the MDC said in a statement following the release of the
SADC communiqué.

"Regrettably once again we note that Mr. Mugabe was allowed to sit in during
the closed session of the plenary meetings. Thus, once again, Mr. Mugabe has
been unfairly allowed to be a judge in his own cause. As far as the merits
are concerned, our expectations were again that SADC would come up with a
just resolution to the outstanding issues in the interest of Zimbabwe and
all the parties concerned.

"Quite clearly the conclusions reached as reflected in the communiqué fall
far short of our expectations. Most importantly they do not accord with our
National Council resolutions of the 14th of November 2008 and 12th of
December 2008. It is important that finality be brought to this issue and
therefore our National Council will meet on Friday 30th of January 2008 to
define the party position."

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Zanu-PF's NetOne sued

By Moses Muchemwa

Published: January 28, 2009

Bulawayo (ZimEye) - The Zanu-PF run mobile network provider, NetOne, has
been sued for rejecting to receipt Zimbabwe dollars from desperate clients.

The clients want an order to be granted by the High Court for NetOne and
Zellco, to accept bill payment in local currency.

Bulawayo clients through their lawyer, Brighton Ndove, are suing NetOne for
rejecting the Zimbabwean dollar, which loses value in every hour.

Like other mobile services providers, NetOne is charging exorbitant rates in
foreign currency. Airtime is also being sold in United States dollars.

One of the affected clients, Chamunorwa said he owed NetOne US$278,80 in a
month's bill.

"It was further stated in the SMS that should I fail to pay on or before 27
January, I shall be barred from making any further calls. Upon tendering the
equivalent in the local currency, the 2nd Respondent (NetOne) refused to
accept payment and insisted on payment in the US currency," Chamunorwa said
in an affidavit.

"I was made to understand and verily believe that in the event of my failure
to pay in the United States dollars, my cellular phone connection would be

NetOne was given a licence to charge rates in foreign currency by Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, who is an ardent Zanu-PF supporter.

Mobile network clients say the Zimbabwe dollar remained legal tender and
should be acceptable.

Once Africa's pride, Zimbabwe is under a severe economic crisis and
businesses are charging prices in foreign currency.

Practically, Zimbabweans have abandoned their currency because it is
worthless. Almost all sectors are characterized by strikes, crippling the
already battered economy. Workers demand payment in foreign currency.

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The First Big Test Of Obama Diplomacy
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

   [Michael Ledeen]

Is apparently going to be Zimbabwe. As Jim noted, London Times tells us that
the Obama administration is going to attempt regime change via "tough
diplomacy" and sanctions in concert with the British and French, while
bringing all our diplomatic energies to bear on Russia and China to prevent
a Security Council veto.

I'm all for bringing down Mugabe, although, between you, me, and the lamp
post, the opposition isn't very inspirational, even if Tsvangirai is a name
that's fun to pronounce. And I'm delighted that there will be an early test
case of the religious belief that sanctions can bring down a hostile
government. So far as I know, that has never happened (the two examples
advocates usually give-Chile and South Africa-weren't hostile, and the
sanctions had a decisive political effect precisely because the Chileans and
South Africans felt stigmatized, not because of misery). And of course it
remains to be seen if the Russians and the Chinese will go along with this

The Times also speaks of sanctions and legal charges against individuals,
namely Mugabe's friends and associates. It will be interesting to see how
various "progressive" governments, from Europe to South America, react to
this. So far, this tactic has been primarily directed against Serbs,
Israelis, and Americans. Terrorists, along with their enablers and their
bankers, have been targeted by the United States to good effect (and one of
the really good personnel decisions by the new administration is the move to
keep Stuart Levey at Treasury. If Bush and Rice had been true to their
announced principles, they'd have arranged a Freedom Medal for Levey, a true
national hero), and we've convinced a few friendlies to cooperate, but the
big international campaign is of course aimed at us and the only democracy
in the Middle East.

Full marks to Obama, Hillary, and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice (prominently
cited in the Times story) for engaging on this one. Maybe they'll enjoy
regime change in Harare so much they'll go for it in Tehran and Damascus.
Or, unlikely though it may seem today, they may learn that this is not the
way to bring down a tyrannical and evil regime, and do it better when the
same methods fail in Tehran and Damascus.

01/28 01:10 PM

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None of MDC's demands will ever be met

January 28, 2009

By Tendai Dumbutshena

IT WAS all so painfully predictable. Leaders of SADC gathered in Pretoria
last Monday to break the stalemate in attempts to form an inclusive
government in Zimbabwe.

A communiqué was issued triumphantly proclaiming a breakthrough. An
inclusive government would be up and running by February 13, 2009. Moments
later the MDC issued a statement denying being party to such an agreement.
It said outstanding issues brought before the summit had not been addressed
to its satisfaction. It would refer the matter to a meeting of its National
Executive Council on Friday 29 January.

Recriminations followed.

The MDC's spokesman, Nelson Chamisa said in a statement: "It is important
that finality be brought to this issue and therefore our National Council
will meet to define the party position." He was right. The matter must be
finalized. This will certainly be the MDC's most important meeting since its
formation. It is decision time. The outcome of the meeting will have a huge
bearing on the future of the party.

The National Council passed two resolutions last November and December
stating categorically that five outstanding issues had to be addressed
before the MDC could join an inclusive government. These were the enactment
of Constitutional Amendment 19, the definition of National Security Council
legislation, equitable allocation of ministries, the appointment of
governors and other senior positions and breaches of the Memorandum of
Understanding and Global Political Agreement. Add to this the abductions,
torture, illegal detention of MDC members and civil society activists. For
months the MDC held steadfast insisting on the resolution of these issues as
a non-negotiable condition for joining the government.

The obvious question the National Council must ask is whether these issues
have been addressed. Honest answers must be provided by leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and his negotiation team. No spin. No lies. No vague empty
promises. Only straightforward answers will do.

From the information available, including that contained in the official
SADC communiqué the answer is an emphatic no. Promises were made that issues
raised by the MDC would be looked into but none were partially or fully
addressed. The MDC got nothing from the summit. If the party is to honour
its own resolutions it should not be part of an inclusive government.

If Tsvangirai buckled under pressure and agreed to what was outlined in the
communiqué he had no mandate from the party to do so. Honest and principled
leadership demands that the MDC says to SADC thanks but no thanks.

There is no doubt that the road ahead would be a difficult one if the MDC
rejects SADC's decision. But their honour and credibility would still be
intact. That difficult road is likely to lead to victory. The alternative,
abject surrender to Robert Mugabe, would certainly lead to the death of the
party as a political force. They should be under no illusion that this would
be the fate capitulation would bring.

The last thing that should concern them is what SADC leaders would say or
do. Whatever the MDC does these leaders with one or two exceptions will
remain devoted to Mugabe. The MDC's concern should be the people of Zimbabwe
and its founding principles. That is what should guide the decision on

Since the year 2000 hundreds of MDC members have been murdered by the Mugabe
regime. Many more were abducted, tortured, jailed and displaced from their
homes in the cruelest manner imaginable. These were ordinary folk who under
the banner of the MDC were fighting for basic freedoms and democracy. They
were fighting for the right to elect their leaders freely. If on Friday the
MDC throws in the towel and is essentially co-opted into Mugabe's government
these people would have died and suffered in vain.

They will have every right to be bitter and angry. They will know that that
at a critical juncture in the struggle for democracy leaders in whom they
had invested so much trust betrayed them. They abandoned them to join Mugabe
at the high table to eat whatever he gave them from his plate. That for
selfish reasons disguised as national interest they breathed life into an
ailing brutal dictatorship. They will never forget or forgive such

Furthermore the MDC must ask itself what it can achieve in a government in
which it will be marginalized and powerless. If they think they have seen
the worst of Mugabe they are in for a rude awakening. They may be naïve and
starry-eyed believing that the proposed government will actually work. It
will not. Mugabe's priority will remain the destruction of the MDC.

Shrewd as he is he knows that the MDC will pay a heavy political price for
being his poodles in a government in which they will be mere spectators.
When they are sufficiently discredited and weakened he will spit them out
and call for an early election. At that point what can the MDC say to the
people of Zimbabwe disgusted by their unprincipled alliance with a regime
that has destroyed their lives?

A South African judge of the Constitutional Court once said that if you walk
into a lion's en an meet a lion you should not complain that you met a lion.
If the MDC joins Mugabe in government it should not complain when he savages
and humiliates as he will surely do. They will have nowhere and no one to
turn to. One has to be a blithering idiot to believe that the so-called
monitoring mechanism put in place will have any effect.

It is as worthless as SADC and AU guarantees.

This will be a government created in Mugabe's image. All the MDC will get
out of it are fat salaries and perks for a few in government. Once they are
in and the enormity of their error and its fatal political consequences
become obvious it will be too late. They would have lost the lifeblood of
their party - the support of Zimbabweans.

There are those who argue that the MDC has no alternative to joining this
government. What utter rubbish. The alternative is to continue the struggle
for freedom, justice and democracy.  If the MDC leadership no longer has the
stomach for the struggle it should say so. They should not tell people lies.
None of their demands were met or will ever be met. Joining under such
circumstances is capitulation.

No amount of spin or lies can cover that.

Nationalists who fought for Zimbabwe's independence including Mugabe
rejected solutions offered by successive white governments that fell far
short of their core demands. Nobody said then that they had no alternative
but to cave in. The alternative was to continue with the fight for African
self-rule until it was achieved.

Mugabe is holding a big noose for Tsvangirai to put his head and neck
through it. Then he will be throttled politically speaking. All for an empty
title and trinkets. The GPS as it stands is a fatal trap set for the MDC. It
will be incredible folly to walk right into it with eyes wide open. The
Mugabe regime is at its weakest. It is barely surviving. Any opposition
worth anything would hasten its quietus.

To throw it a lifeline while triggering your own demise would be an act of
unbelievable stupidity.

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He could go either way, but...

Why I say Tsvangirai will still say 'No!'

Commentators worldwide are trying to guess which way Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change, will jump. Will he
finally sign-up to the so-called power-sharing agreement with Robert Mugabe?
Or will he remain defiant, ignore the urging of the weak-minded SADC leaders
at the weekend, and hold out yet again for a genuinely democratic deal?

The international pressure on the embattled leader is tremendous. But my
sources tell me that, after the party meeting due to be held tomorrow,
Friday, Tsvangirai will reject the advice of some of his own senior party
members, and say 'No'.

He will be supported in this view by hardliners like Secretary-General
Tendai Biti, spokesman Nelson Chamisa and Blessing Chebundo, who believe
that the latest SADC deliberations solved none of the outstanding issues
between the two sides.

But others, including Election Secretary Ian Makone and Vice-President
Thokozani Khupe, will argue that the party should join the unity government,
and then "fight from within" - a plan that brings to mind the fate of Joshua
Nkomo's ZAPU, which was "merged" with Mugabe's Zanu-PF in 1987, only to lose
all power and credibility.

The MDC instead visualise that, with another rejection of the deal, the
issue will be discussed at the meeting of the African Union on Sunday. It is
anticipated that this meeting will probably echo the SADC meeting, but
hopefully the UN will then deliberate on the issue, perhaps calling for a
new round of elections in Zimbabwe. And the fight will continue.

This is what my sources tell me. They may be wrong. It remains possible that
Morgan Tsvangirai will sign up as Prime Minister in the shadow of Mugabe's
Presidency within the next two weeks. He will leave many of his supporters
surprised and disappointed if he does.

I prefer to repeat the well-chosen words of MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa,
who said on Tuesday: "The mistake that Zanu-PF is making is to imagine that
we are desperate to be in the government. We are not in a hurry to be
chauffeur-driven. We are a people-driven party."

Well said, Nelson.

Posted on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 at 17:39

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Death, one of the "few remaining growth markets left"

By Alex Bell
28 January 2009

As the world's attention has once again been focused on the ongoing
political battle in Zimbabwe, little attention is being paid to the single
fact that the man at the centre of the power struggle is the same man at the
centre of Zimbabwe's collapse.

The country is daily sinking deeper into the rubble of it's own destruction,
and while talks and summits aimed at forming a unity government have
continued, severe and violent human rights abuses are still taking place,
including torture and assault. In one of the few detailed reports about
Zimbabwe's desperate humanitarian disaster to make international news, ITV's
Martin Geissler in the UK, this week described the true nature of Zimbabwe's
devastation, explaining that death "is one of the few remaining growth
markets left in Zimbabwe." His report showed visual proof of living
skeletons in Zimbabwe's jails and children in villages across the country
with clear signs of severe malnutrition.

Experts on genocide recently declared that Robert Mugabe was guilty of
genocide 'by attrition', a label concretely backed up by the genocidal
numbers of people dead and dying in Zimbabwe. As a result of the cholera
epidemic alone, more than 3000 deaths have officially been reported, but the
figures are feared to be dramatically higher in a country that has no
medical system to speak of. New figures released on Wednesday by the World
Health Organisation show a dramatic rise of more than 1000 reported deaths
in the last fifteen days, and the 'worst-case-scenario' of 60 000 cholera
cases predicted, recently appears to be days away.

The organisation's spokesperson this week said the cholera crisis was "out
of control, and will remain so for the near future." With the infection rate
continuing to climb, there are fears the worst is yet to come, and that the
worst will reach unprecedented numbers of the country's remaining people.

Meanwhile, with no medical supplies, limited staff and a handful of
functioning clinics operating across the country, untold numbers are dying
from other illnesses that could be treated in a functioning society. At the
same time starvation is stalking at least 5 million people - well over half
the population in the country - with reports of families going days without
food, and there has been a dramatic increase in the number of hunger related
illnesses reported across the country. Last year the government cut off
international aid under the guise of a 'political motive' by the MDC, and
despite lifting the ban months later, the trickle of food aid entering the
country is still reaching only tiny minorities of the country's most

The nature of the crisis has seen millions of people fleeing the country,
and there is increasing concern that there will be no one left to rebuild,
when the political nightmare one day comes to and end.

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Diplomacy can triumph in Zimbabwe and the future belongs to us not Mugabe

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Diplomacy can triumph in Zimbabwe and the future belongs to us not Mugabe -
Rashweat Mukundu

On 28 January South Africa's e-TV showed pictures of emaciated Zimbabwean
prisoners and rural families, many sick and dying from lack of food and
medication. The pictures and accompanying news story were a stark reminder
of the dire situation in Zimbabwe at the time that Southern Africa leaders
had completed a meeting on finding a lasting solution to the crisis in

The e-TV story is particularly interesting as it shows in clearer terms the
issue(s) in Zimbabwe, that the crisis is about livelihoods and people. While
a lot has been written about how the crisis is man made, and Mugabe's
intransigence and his total disregard of any civilised political processes,
the issue in my view remains that the people of Zimbabwe have reached the
end of the tether and cannot hang on any longer. While the SADC summit was
concluded in South Africa, reports were already emerging on how the MDC has
not consented to the communiqué and how the breakthrough, is after all a
false one. This message of doom was conveyed mostly by the foreign media
with newspapers as the Telegraph in the UK carrying opinions supporting the
MDC not to join Mugabe in a unity government. This kind of news has a
chilling effect on the majority of Zimbabweans local or in the diaspora, for
its says only one message, that is more suffering and an increasingly
uncertain and dark and darker future. This brings back the question of what
these talks are really about. Despite my misgivings about the leadership of
South Africa in this process, I agree with Kgalema Motlanthe that we cannot
afford to go on talking and talking and that these talks should focus on
simply saving the lives of the people of Zimbabwe first and everything else
later. No one is fooled that the MDC received a raw deal from Mugabe and
SADC. The questions that remains to be answered is what options the MDC has,
what can the MDC do to overcome the support that SADC openly shows for
Mugabe. My view is that the MDC right now has no choice but to join the
unity government with its headlights on beam. The MDC now needs to go above
ZANU PF both morally and in political strategy and define itself as a party
of the future. I argue that the MDC now need to join the goverament and
simply help lives and restore some sort of dignity and normalcy to the lives
of Zimbabweans.

The MDC at the moment needs to go into the unity governments to salvage the
little of what is left of Zimbabwe, as well as work on a new constitution
that reverses the damage of the past eight years as well set a future course
guaranteeing our rights as well independent institutions for elections and
other pressing issues. This agenda does not need the MDC to have
Ambassadorial post among other issues. The MDC need to look at its role in
the unity government as transitional and not permanent. There is no way this
process, flawed as it is, can be seen as the ultimate solution to the crisis
in Zimbabwe but a process towards a final resolution addressing issues of
free and fair elections at some point. The transition in Zimbabwe, the MDC
should note, will be slow and painful but the journey has to be taken
nevertheless. For Christians the death of Christ on the cross was a painful
journey that had to be taken, but was certainly not the end of the process
but simply part of it and the final victory is coming. The MDC need to make
full and effective utilisation of the social service and economic ministries
it holds to stabilise Zimbabwe, gain experience in running a government and
prepare for the future. Joining the unity government, however painful, gives
the opposition a chance to carry out its political programmes in peace. One
thing is clear about ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe. Not only is he 84 years old
and therefore half way into being an ancestor and spirit medium for his
family and party, but Mugabe is and should not be seen as part of the future
of Zimbabwe. He unfortunately bestrides the door of transition and a way has
to be found to sidestep him and move forward. The success of the MDC in the
unity government is depended on what the party will do with that little
power and an acknowledgment that the unity governments is part of and not
the transition. The MDC still need a robust political programme that
guarantees its continued linkages with its grassroots support both urban and

A key stumbling block that the MDC needs to overcome is the pessimism that
come from western capitals. This pessimism is rooted in the understandable
loathing of Robert Mugabe. The MDC is however better counselled by history,
that sometimes what maters in the life of any given state are its interests.
Mugabe did not mutate into a dictator overnight. He was one in 1980 and did
commit heinous acts against the Ndebele community in the 1980s. Then there
was no talk of Mugabe quitting. The likes of Tiny Rowland even threatened to
fire editors of their newspapers in London who reported the atrocities in
Matabeleland. Any given state is better protected by its people, healthy and
without disease and hunger. Mugabe has weakened Zimbabwe and our abilities
to move forward as a people, the MDC cannot afford to maintain this path by
going for broke. The call by some media organisations that the MDC should
not join the unity government negates the suffering that the people of
Zimbabwe are going through. Another aspect that the MDC needs to remove from
its psyche is that the unity agreement as process will not succeed without
monetary support from the west. That in my view is neither true nor a
sustainable proposition noting how the west is now burdened with its own
economic challenges. The future of Zimbabwe lies not in generous aid but
normalising the economy, resuscitating agriculture, education health, and
more importantly taming corruption. History and present international crises
must counsel the MDC that the world is far less concerned about Zimbabwe in
comparison, say to Gaza. The geo-political significance of Zimbabwe is such
that we can all die and the world moves on as if nothing happened. One
million people died in Rwanda and the world moved on. Less that two thousand
died in Gaza and the world almost came to standstill from the UN,
Washington, London, Johannesburg, Lusaka to Paris. African governments, all
quite on Zimbabwe, had something to say about the deaths of the
Palestinians. Over 3000 have died in Zimbabwe and not many, except Raila
Odinga and Botswana, said anything. That is the painful reality of our own
world. It is good to then evaluate how far we can rely on outside to help to
get us out of the malaise that ZANU PF has thrown us in. Diplomacy then is
best placed to serve us and move us forward. The future belongs to us not
Mugabe. //End//
Posted by Southern Africa Media and Social Review at 01:44

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