The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

US imposes financial sanctions for undermining democracy in Zimbabwe

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: January 30, 2008

WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday imposed financial sanctions on
Zimbabwe's intelligence chief, President Robert Mugabe's nephew as well as
two companies accused of undermining democracy in the southern African

The Treasury Department's action means that any bank accounts or other
financial assets found in the United States that belong to those designated
must be frozen. Americans also are forbidden from doing business with them.

It marks the government's latest move to apply more financial pressure on
Mugabe, who over the years has become increasingly authoritarian,
spearheading media controls and takeovers of white-owned farms.

The United States recently criticized Mugabe for abruptly setting
presidential and parliamentary elections for March 29, earlier than
expected. That was viewed as a way to avert political conciliation. The
opposition Movement for Democratic Change had demanded constitutional and
electoral reforms before the election and said polling should be delayed
until June to allow for its demands to be met.

"The U.S. financial system is closed to Robert Mugabe, his cohorts and their
businesses," said Adam Szubin, director of Treasury's Office of Foreign
Assets Control, the agency that administers and enforces financial
sanctions. "Today's designations are part of an increased effort to pressure
those who are aiding Mugabe's efforts to cripple Zimbabwe, including through
violence and intimidation."

The U.S. order on Wednesday covers two people — Happyton Bonyongwe, director
of Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organization, considered the country's
spy chief, and Leo Mugabe, the president's nephew and a member of the
Zimbabwe Parliament.
Also covered are two businesses — ZIDCO Holdings and Jongwe Printing and
Publishing Co. The department alleges that both entities are owned or
controlled by "key components of the Mugabe regime" that have previously
been put on the United States financial sanctions list. The department
provided no further details.

In economic meltdown, Zimbabwe has the world's highest official inflation at
an estimated 24,000 per cent. But the International Monetary Fund and
independent financial institutions say real inflation is closer to 150,000

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mbeki's Mediation in Zimbabwe Falters


By Peta Thornycroft
30 January 2008

South African President Thabo Mbeki is expected to tell southern Africa
leaders at the AU summit in Ethiopia this week that his attempt to resolve
the Zimbabwe crisis has failed.  Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA that
President Mbeki has been trying to continue negotiations for free and fair
elections this week, even after President Robert Mugabe had issued a
proclamation that polls would take place on March 29.

President Mbeki had informed colleagues in the region that he was hopeful a
meeting would take place between President Mugabe and the two leaders of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur

The South African leader was hoping that a face-to-face meeting between the
political opponents would lead to a breakthrough after he failed in four
hours of talks with President Mugabe on January 16.  He tried to persuade
the 84-year-old Zimbabwe leader to stick to an earlier agreement for a new
constitution and other changes before elections next month.

Since then, senior South African negotiators have been working tirelessly in
Harare in an attempt to arrange talks between President Mugabe and his
opponents.  But, diplomats in Harare say President Mugabe kept President
Mbeki and his negotiators on the run until it became clear, earlier this
week, that he would not agree to the talks under any circumstances.

President Mbeki is now at the African Union summit without the deal that the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) asked him to facilitate,free
and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

MDC insiders say they warned the South Africans that President Mugabe would
not play straight and would, as one said, "play games with Mbeki" and
"double cross him all the time."

One African diplomat told VOA that for some reason, which few close to the
talks understood, Mbeki seems "frightened of Mugabe."

One of the two MDC negotiators, founding MDC secretary-general Welshman
Ncube, told VOA "the dialogue is as dead as a dodo."  He added that all that
remains is for Mr. Mbeki to decide where to bury it.

He said some might want to pretend that the talks were indefinite.  He said
the MDC's position had been clear from the start, that the purpose of the
talks was to find common ground so that the next elections would be free,
fair and undisputed.

Ncube and his colleague in the negotiations, the MDC's Tendai Biti, are on
record that only free and fair elections could solve the present political
and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

Ncube said Zimbabweans now face the same kind of elections on March 29 as
all those since 2000, which many observers found neither free nor fair, and
which have all been disputed.

This weekend the two MDC factions, still struggling to come to a unity
agreement before nomination court day on February 8, will hold meetings of
their national executive councils.

Top of the agenda will be whether to boycott the polls and allow Mr. Mugabe
and ZANU-PF into power for a further five years without having to fight any
elections.  They say their other option is to give it another go, knowing
that the political playing fields are as unequal now as they ever were.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Face-to-Face Talks Between Tsvangirai And Mugabe Scuttled

SW Radio Africa (London)

30 January 2008
Posted to the web 30 January 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

A face-to-face meeting between Mugabe and Tsvangirai to try to resolve the
talks has been scuttled - by Angola and Mozambique. The meeting was due to
take place on Friday but the two countries blocked South African President
Thabo Mbeki's initiative that was to see the two protagonists under the same
roof in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

A highly placed source told us Mbeki had suggested to the SADC Heads of
State that Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai come together under one roof
to attempt to thrash out a workable solution to the deadlocked crisis talks.
Since all SADC leaders would be assembling in Ethiopia for the annual
African Union summit that starts on Thursday, Mbeki had wanted to use the
opportunity to brief SADC leaders on the progress of the talks. The SADC
talks are expected to be held on the sidelines of the AU summit.

'This was going to be the first ever meeting between Mugabe and Tsvangirai
and Mbeki had sought to have both in his Troika briefing, so that they could
present their case to the regional grouping that initiated the
negotiations,' said the source.

The rest of the SADC Heads of State felt comfortable with the idea but
Angola and Mozambique, the two countries whose leaders stand firmly behind
Mugabe, vetoed the idea.

'Mugabe did his homework and realised his party would almost certainly be
blamed for the impasse. By calling on his friends to block Mbeki's
initiative was a drawback for the South African leader,' the source added.

The SADC briefing will go ahead as scheduled with Mugabe in attendance, but
with no-one presenting facts from the opposition. Tsvangirai has been in
Johannesburg waiting for the call to fly to Ethiopia for the crunch talks,
but has now shelved the plans following the veto by Angola and Mozambique.

A political analyst in Johannesburg who asked not to be named said it was
high time people wrote an obituary of the crisis talks because they were

'Lets not pretend about who is to blame for the crisis, the SADC leaders
know the source of the problems, the international community is well updated
and no one seems to have an idea how to deal with it. I think its time
Zimbabweans reflected on this and not rely on other people to sort out their
problems,' said the analyst.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Flood victims denied aid for backing MDC

Zim Online

by Prince Nyathi Thursday 31 January 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s opposition on Wednesday said government officials were
refusing aid to hundreds of its supporters affected by floods as punishment
for not backing President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party.

Floods have since late last year hit parts of southern Africa, killing at
least 21 people in Zimbabwe where the ravaging waters have also swept away
homes, crops and livestock in low-lying areas.

The government has declared the floods a national disaster.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and the
smaller ZANU Ndonga parties said a top official of the governing party,
Enock Porunsingazi, had instructed pro-Mugabe youth militia in the eastern
Chipinge rural district and one of the areas worst affected by the floods to
block all known opposition supporters from receiving aid.

“We are shocked that Porusingazi is taking advantage of a disaster of such a
magnitude to gain political mileage,” said Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC
spokesman in Manicaland province under which Chipinge falls.

The aid that includes clothing, tents and food was donated by the government
and charitable organizations but is being distributed to beneficiaries by
officials from the state Civil Protection Unit (CPU), district administrator’s
office while traditional leaders are also involved in drawing up lists of

Civil servants such as those from the CPU and district administration
officials are susceptible to manipulation by powerful ZANU PF and government
officials while traditional chiefs are largely sympathetic to Mugabe’s party
which has rewarded them with vehicles, salaries and other perks.

Zanu Ndonga national organising secretary Gondai Vutuza said the party had
received several reports from their supporters that ZANU PF youths were
inspecting lists of beneficiaries and erasing names of people perceived as
sympathetic to the opposition.

He said: “There are some overzealous youths who were denying our supporters
assistance . . . our supporters are saying ZANU PF youths were refusing to
write their names down so that they would also benefit.”

Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche, who oversees distribution of aid,
was not immediately available for comment on the matter. But Porusingazi
dismissed charges that opposition supporters were being denied aid as
baseless and mere politicking by the opposition ahead of elections.

“No one was left out. This is election time and they are out to tarnish my
name,” said Porusingazi.

Zimbabwe holds presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in
March, which are expected to be a close contest between the MDC and Mugabe’s

Floods have been a double-edged sword for long-suffering Zimbabweans,
destroying crops and life in their wake, while agricultural experts say too
much rain will mean reduced crop yields and more food shortages for the
southern African country. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe begins voters’ roll inspection exercise

Zim Online

by Cuthbert Nzou  Thursday 31 January 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwean authorities on Wednesday said inspection of the
voters’ roll for the March presidential and general elections begins
tomorrow as the government forges ahead with preparations for polls that the
opposition had wanted postponed.

Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, an ally of President Robert Mugabe
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party says should be
stopped from managing the voters’ roll, said the inspection exercise will
run until February 7.

"Location and information on inspection centres will be published in
the newspapers and will also be obtainable at the offices of the district
registrar, provincial registrar or the registrar general of voters in
Harare," said Mudede, who the MDC accuses of manipulating the voters’ roll
to ensure victory for Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.

The MDC, which is still to formally announce its participation in the
polls, had wanted the elections postponed to allow implementation of a new
constitution agreed with ZANU PF during negotiations brokered by South
African President Thabo Mbeki.

The opposition party also wanted the elections postponed to allow time
for re-demarcation of voting constituencies and for a fresh voter
registration exercise to be conducted in order to clean up the current
voters’ register that is said to contain massive distortions, including
hundreds of thousands of names of voters who died or left the country years

The government has said it is prepared to consider a new constitution
for the country only after the elections and insists the voters’ roll is in
good order.

Mudede said his department had deployed teams of officials throughout
the country to receive complaints from voters who find their names missing
or wrongly entered on the roll.

"People who have changed residence (since the 2005 senate elections)
must complete transfer forms at the nearest inspection centre," said Mudede.

More than 5.6 million Zimbabweans registered to vote this year.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on Tuesday said
voters would be issued with four ballot papers with distinct colours when
entering the polling booth to vote for the president, members of the house
of assembly, senators and councillors.

ZEC spokesperson Shupikai Mashereni said the commission would launch a
voter education programme before the end of the week to enlighten
Zimbabweans on the voting process.

He said: "There will be four ballot papers with distinct colours that
will be issued on polling day and this will be part of the voter education
programme which will be starting this week. Voter education will, however,
continue even after the close of inspection of the voters’ roll.

Political analysts predict that the election would be a close contest
between ZANU PF and the opposition MDC whose two factions reportedly formed
a loose coalition to fight the ruling party as a united front.

The MDC, according to sources, will contest the elections under
protest after the government threw out its demands for a fresh
constitution. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

* Tsvangirai sole presidential candidate  *Safe seat for Mutambara

The Zimbabwean

 Wednesday, 30 January 2008 11:27

The two wings of the MDC have agreed to form an alliance to fight the
upcoming general elections in a bid to unseat President Robert Mugabe and
his ruling Zanu (PF) party.
The Zimbabwean understands that the unity deal between Morgan Tsvangirai and
Arthur Mutambara was hammered out in Pretoria on Saturday.
The two parties have agreed that Tsvangirai will contest the presidential
election as the sole MDC candidate while a "safe parliamentary seat" has
been reserved for Mutambara.
The unity pact was reportedly facilitated by leading academic, Professor
Brian Raftopolous, a programme manager with policy think-tank, the Institute
for Justice and Reconciliation based in South Africa.
The unity pact was finally sealed by the Standing Committees of both MDC
factions on Saturday. While senior officials in both MDCs confirmed the
unity deal this week, they are keeping the details private.
"We have united to put an end to the uncontrolled and irresponsible rule of
the current regime," said one of the leaders of the new alliance.
Under the pact, sitting MPs cannot be challenged by candidates from the
rival MDC. However, every candidate will have to be confirmed through
primary elections, set to be held before the Nomination Court sits on
February 8.
The two MDCs will address joint rallies, starting with the election campaign
launch at Ascot Stadium in Gweru this Saturday.
The breakthrough comes more than two years after the MDC splintered over the
issue of participation in elections for the Senate. Following this initial
split, the two were polarised by differences in policy and strategy.
Some senior officials in the Tsvangirai group in Bulawayo feel betrayed by
the unity pact and will have to be persuaded to embrace it in the national
interest. They say the Mutambara faction has realised its electoral
weakness, plans to use the unity to get elected and will then dump
Tsvangirai afterwards.
A final decision on whether to participate or boycott the elections is yet
to be announced.
But a senior MDC official who attended the meeting in SA said, "There is a
position we can never compromise on, and it is that we will not contest an
election without a new constitution and electoral reforms. However, as part
of our political strategy, we shall continue pushing for this through
various means and Mbeki says he is not giving up on his efforts to pressure
Mugabe and Zanu (PF).  Therefore we shall register for the elections and
move countrywide telling the electorate our clear position.  An announcement
will be made on the eve of elections depending on what will be prevailing
regarding our demands."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mbeki Dispatches Envoy to Harare to Rescue Talks

SW Radio Africa (London)

29 January 2008
Posted to the web 29 January 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

South African President Thabo Mbeki has sent his chief negotiator Sydney
Mufamadi to Harare in last-ditch attempts to rescue the stalled talks before
he declares a deadlock to SADC and the African Union.

It is believed Mbeki has confided to close aides he is ready to call 'a
spade a spade' and brief SADC on who is reneging on the agreed concessions.
He's facing intense pressure from within his country and the international
community to officially declare the talks deadlocked and inform the SADC
troika of the difficulties he is facing to get Zanu-PF to honour its
commitments made during the negotiations.

A source told us Mufamadi met MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in South Africa
on Monday before flying to Harare where he was expected to meet the
negotiating teams from both the MDC and Zanu-PF. The Zimbabwean government
on Monday heightened the crisis by refusing opposition demands for a new
constitution to be adopted before the March general election. The government
said it would put the issue to a referendum after the polls.

Speaking to Newsreel from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia the MDC secretary for
International Affairs Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro agreed Mbeki had no
other choice but brief the SADC troika on the impasse.

Mukonoweshuro said, "There is a deadlock after several months of
negotiations where Zanu-PF and the MDC agreed to work around five key issues
identified as a way of promoting an enabling an environment for the holding
of free and fair elections. It is clear Zanu-PF has failed to honour its
commitment and this should be easy work for Mbeki when he reports to the

There is growing pressure from the international community for the SADC
Troika to take the Zimbabwean issue to the African Summit that begins in
Ethiopia this week.

The crisis talks in the country are centred on five key issues, including
demands by the MDC for amendments to security, media and electoral laws, a
new constitution and cessation of political violence.

Zanu PF has made concessions on media and security laws, but has ruled out a
new constitution before elections in March.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SADC to be briefed on Mbeki mediation

Business Day

30 January 2008

PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki was to brief southern African leaders on his
facilitation of the political talks in Zimbabwe, the foreign affairs
department said yesterday.

Mbeki would brief the heads of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) countries on the fringes of the African Union (AU) summit taking
place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

At a media briefing yesterday at the Union Buildings, Deputy Foreign Affairs
Minister Aziz Pahad did not want to be drawn on SA’s view of the Zimbabwean
situation: “The facilitation is of such a sensitive nature that I would
prefer the president talk about it.”

President Robert Mugabe has called an election on March 29, a move that has
angered the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

“Mugabe has dealt a slap to the SADC’s commitment and President Thabo Mbeki’s
efforts to try to amicably solve the crisis. Mugabe has jumped the gun,”
said MDC main faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

Mbeki was tasked by his fellow southern African leaders last year with
mediating between Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party and the main opposition

Pahad also said the mandate of about 1000 South African soldiers deployed in
Burundi under an AU mandate was to be extended as efforts to get the last
rebel group to rejoin the peace process gained momentum .

He said Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula, who is the facilitator
of the Burundi peace process, was to meet regional leaders on the fringes of
the AU summit .

“The discussion will focus on the renewal of the South African mandate as
the facilitating country, as well as a renewal of the mandate of minister
Nqakula as facilitator,” Pahad said.

He said the mandate of the AU special task force, manned solely by SA, would
also be on the agenda of the regional leaders.

“We are concerned that it has taken so long but hope these discussions will
move the process forward,” Pahad said.

The Palipehutu-FNL is the last remaining rebel group in the central African
country. It signed a cease-fire agreement with the government in September
2006 but implementation was halted when the FNL pulled out of talks in July
last year.

It had rejected Nqakula as facilitator in Burundi’s peace process, accusing
him of bias in favour of Burundi’s government.

The first South African National Defence Force deployment of troops to
Burundi was in November 2001, to provide a small VIP protection force for
parliamentarians, while the rest of the battalion served as support in case
of fresh hostilities. Sapa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'Wily Mugabe deceives Mbeki'


    January 30 2008 at 12:23PM

By Peta Thornycroft

President Thabo Mbeki was still trying to save the Zimbabwe dialogue
this week even after President Robert Mugabe deceived him by proclaiming the
elections will place on March 29.

Mbeki believed he had been given assurances by Mugabe that he would
meet the two leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.

Instead, Mugabe kept Mbeki and his negotiators on the run for the past
two weeks and he now has to go to the African Union summit without the deal
that the SADC asked him to facilitate - free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

In Pretoria this week, details leaked out of Mbeki's desperate
attempts to save the negotiations.

Mbeki believed that he had succeeded in getting Mugabe's agreement for
a meeting between Tsvangirai and Mutambara.

Mbeki hoped the face-to-face meeting would unblock the deadlock in the
talks which arose in early December.

The MDC was told that a new constitution, already negotiated between
themselves and the ruling Zanu-PF, would be in place ahead of the elections.

Then Mugabe refused to honour his word to Mbeki and said any new
constitution had to come after the elections.

He also refused to delay the elections beyond March.

Mbeki then went to see Mugabe on January 16 and, after more than four
hours, emerged from his meeting without any concession from Mugabe.

He then began playing his last card, which he hoped would buy him time
at least, ahead of his report-back to SADC on the fringes the AU summit.

He suggested to Mugabe that it might be helpful, to resolve the
deadlock, for the Zimbabwean leader to meet Tsvangirai and Mutambara.

Mugabe did not turn the suggestion down, but said he would arrange the
meeting himself.

The MDC warned Mbeki that Mugabe would never do that and they were
proved right.

Mugabe kept Mbeki and his aides on the run for days on end, as he
danced around the South Africans, placing obstacles in their way and asking
for certain conditions to be met first.

He said the MDC had to recognise him as president before he could
agree to meet Tsvangirai and Mutambara.

Negotiators from the MDC said that was not a problem as they had
already recognised him by negotiating for eight months with members of
Mugabe's cabinet.

Mugabe then stepped in - as the MDC had warned the South Africans he
would - and proclaimed the elections, killing off any hope of the SADC
mediation effort being concluded.

Even after that, Provincial and Local Government Minister Sidney
Mufamadi delivered a letter from Mbeki to Mugabe via labour minister
Nicholas Goche last week, pleading for the meeting and claiming that the
"content" of the dialogue, such as amendments to election, media and
sec-urity laws and even a new constitution, had been agreed upon.

An African diplomat in Pretoria who has been monitoring the
negotiations says: "(Mbeki) has to go to see SADC now, empty handed, he has
got nothing."

The MDC's Welshman Ncube, one of two negotiators to the dialogue, said
on Tuesday: "The dialogue is as dead as a dodo. The only thing is that this
dodo is not yet buried and President Mbeki is only involved now in so far as
where to bury this dodo."

This article was originally published on page 12 of Cape Argus on
January 30, 2008

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

South Africa: A Spent Force Standing in the Path of Democracy

Business Day (Johannesburg)

30 January 2008
Posted to the web 30 January 2008


THE Sunday Times captured the government's mishandling of the energy
challenge aptly in its recent front-page headline: "Guilty: The bright
sparks behind our plunge into darkness."

President Thabo Mbeki's wilful disregard for expert knowledge is now
legendary. His legacy is now of gargantuan failure, abuse of office and
betrayal; be it HIV/AIDS, Zimbabwe, crime or misleading the nation with
regard to national police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

Having ignored expert advice, Mbeki's sudden search for wisdom from
Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille is opportunistic and smacks of
desperation. After all, this is a man who has routinely castigated members
of the tripartite alliance every time they found common cause with the

Mbeki's belated acknowledgement is a pre-emptive strategy. The effects of
power shortages and the disastrous effect on the economy cannot be wished or
explained away.

However, Mbeki's confession should not replace the need to account. The
decision by Patricia de Lille, the leader of the Independent Democrats, to
call for a motion of no confidence in Mbeki's government should be seen in
this light.

De Lille's call for Mbeki's head follows Mbeki's humiliating drubbing by
Jacob Zuma at the African National Congress (ANC) conference in December.
The repudiation of Mbeki and some of his cabinet members was nothing short
of a motion of no confidence. Faced with such a defeat, many a democrat
would have resigned as a show of respect for the people. Unfortunately,
Mbeki continually fails to appreciate that leadership is a privilege, not a

We now have a situation where those who lead are rejects from their party.
When Mbeki declared that the people had spoken following the outcome of
national elections, he was affirming the democratic principle that those who
govern must enjoy the confidence of their party. He seems to have forgotten
his own words.

In the same way as Mbeki refuses to understand the notion of political
legitimacy, we are confronted with a strange phenomenon, in which the leader
gets rejected by his party, but the very same leader gets embraced
enthusiastically by the opposition which he has held no regard for in the
past. The accumulative effect of this is the bastardisation and denigration
of the concept of democracy.

Following the outcome of the ANC conference, the opposition parties and the
beneficiaries of the Mbeki regime have launched a concerted campaign to
discredit the new ANC leadership. For these people, democracy is only useful
if it delivers who they want. This crass opportunism by the opposition and
Mbeki's hangers-on is a threat to democracy.

Polokwane marked a turning point in post-1994 political history. It
represents new confidence among the masses to elect leaders of their choice.
It was a show of force and a showcase of democracy in action. Delegates
sought to remind all and sundry that all ANC members have a role to play.

The fact that the chairman and secretary-general of the South African
Communist Party (SACP) serve on the national working committee of the ANC is
unprecedented. It underscores the centrality of the SACP and the Congress of
South African Trade Unions in the tripartite alliance. It is a rejection of
efforts of those who have sought to divide the alliance. The lesson of
history is that leadership cannot be imposed. The new leadership is rooted
in community struggles and historical battles.

Yet the new ANC leadership needs to take greater cognisance of the
implications of the return to democracy. The retention of those in the
government who were resoundingly rejected in Polokwane goes against the
time-tested notion of political legitimacy. They are not mandated to rule
and are a spent force .

The new leadership cannot afford to fail the delegates to Polokwane, who
went there to deliver a message of change. They refused to be hoodwinked by
those who spread the message of doom. They sought to disabuse the conference
of the fear-mongering that was opportunistically perpetuated by some among
the so-called leaders of the revolution. The international community and
business leaders have expressed confidence in our democracy. We have a
historic opportunity to deepen it. We dare not fail.

Prof Seepe is president of the South African Institute of Race Relations.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe's gold production falls by more than a third

Resource Investor

 By Jane Louis
30 Jan 2008 at 11:25 AM
Zimbabwe’s total gold output fell by 37% last year due to power outages and
foreign currency problems.

The country produced 7 tonnes of gold in 2007, down by more than a third
from its production of 11 tonnes in 2006. Chamber of Mines President Jack
Murehwa said the drop in output was the result of widespread power

In addition, mining operations were hampered by a lack of foreign currency
in Zimbabwe. The country’s central bank cannot afford to pay miners in 65%
U.S. dollars as had been agreed.

The Chamber, however, noted that platinum production gained 13% to 5,665.32
kilograms in 2007.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Controversial Mines Bill dead in the water

Zim Online

by Cuthbert Nzou  Wednesday 30 January 2008

HARARE – A draft government Bill forcing mining firms to transfer majority
stake to local blacks will no longer become law after Parliament adjourned
without passing the proposed legislation.

Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma told ZimOnline on Tuesday that under
parliamentary procedures and regulations, the controversial Bill that was
tabled in Parliament last December naturally lapsed after the House stopped
sitting a fortnight ago.

Parliament will resume sitting after the presidential, parliamentary and
local government elections on March 29 and the new government will have an
option to reintroduce the Mines and Minerals Act Amendment Bill.

"The Bill is no longer of any effect at all," Zvoma said. "Parliament will
start sitting after the polls and this means the Bill has lapsed. It will be
up to the new government whether or not to reintroduce it into a new

The controversial mining law that analysts have warned could deliver a
killer-punch to an economy on the verge of total collapse proposes to force
foreign-owned mining firms to transfer majority shareholding to indigenous
Zimbabweans. This includes giving the government a free 25 percent stake.

President Robert Mugabe, whose ruling ZANU PF party is widely expected to
retain absolute majority in Parliament, has defended the draft Bill as
necessary to ensure blacks also have a share of the country’s lucrative
mineral wealth.

Mines Minister Amos Midzi was not immediately available to shed light on
whether the government would resume attempts to pass the law if it is
re-elected in March.

Under the proposed law, the government will take over 51 percent of firms
mining strategic minerals such as coal and coal-bed methane, with the state
taking 25 percent of that stake free.

The government will also take 25 percent shareholding in precious minerals
such as gold, diamond and platinum while another 26 percent will go to local

Some foreign-controlled mining firms have threatened to scale down
operations or withdraw from the country altogether if Harare goes ahead with
plans to force them to transfer shareholding to locals.

Zimbabwe is grappling with a severe economic crisis blamed on Mugabe's
controversial policies, such as the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle
landless blacks.

The veteran ruler, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies
mismanaging the economy and says it has been sabotaged by foreign firms and
western nations plotting to undermine his rule. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF presidium to decide fate of war veterans’ chief

Zim Online

by Cuthbert Nzou  Wednesday 30 January 2008

HARARE – ZANU PF’s ruling politburo has tasked the party’s presidium to
decide the fate of controversial war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda who
was fired but later surreptitiously re-admitted into the party, ZimOnline
has learnt.

Sources within ZANU PF said the politburo, the party’s highest decision
making body outside congress, met last Wednesday in Harare where a decision
to deal once and for all with the Sibanda issue was adopted.

The sources said President Robert Mugabe, his two deputies, Joice Mujuru and
Joseph Msika and ZANU PF national chairman, John Nkomo, who make up the
party’s presidium, had been asked to come up with a decision on Sibanda’s
fate in the party before the next meeting next month.

“The decision for the presidium to decide Sibanda’s fate was proposed by
Msika after he said the case to him was personal and could not be discussed
openly in the politburo," a senior member of the body told ZimOnline.

“Msika’s remarks came after Dumiso Dabengwa (a politburo member) had accused
Sibanda of fanning divisions in the party, especially against former senior
ZIPRA (Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army, the military wing of ZAPU
during Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation war) cadres."

Sibanda, who is the chairman of the powerful and influential Zimbabwe
National War Veterans Association, was expelled from ZANU PF in 2004
together with six other top officials for attempting to block the rise of
Mujuru to the party’s vice-presidency.

The war veterans’ chief last year made a spectacular comeback onto the
political scene amid reports that he had been personally invited by Mugabe
to drum up support for the Zimbabwean leader who was facing resistance from
his own party to stand for another presidential term next March.

Sibanda last year organized several marches around the country to drum up
support for Mugabe. The war veterans’ chief also attacked former ZIPRA and
ZAPU leaders like Msika, Nkomo and Dabengwa accusing them of being opposed
to Mugabe’s continued rule.

ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira yesterday confirmed that the politburo
had discussed Sibanda’s issue at length but declined to give further

“The position of the party will only be announced when the issue has been
exhausted. We will see what action will be taken against him, if any," said

Sibanda caused a stir at the ZANU PF extra-ordinary congress in Harare last
December when he attempted to address delegates without first seeking
permission from senior party officials.

Msika and Nkomo almost walked out of the congress prompting Mugabe to spring
to his feet and grabbing the microphone to restore order adding that Sibanda
had no mandate to address the congress until the party had conclusively
dealt with his case. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Ahead Of African Union Summit, Zimbabweans Lobby For Pressure On Mugabe


By Ntungamili Nkomo
Washington DC
29 January 2008

Zimbabwean human rights activists working on the sidelines of an African
Union summit set to open Thursday have submitted a petition urging the
African leadership to prevail upon President Robert Mugabe to implement
broad political reforms before pressing forward with the elections he has
called for March 29.

The activists want the AU to complement efforts by the Southern African
Development Community to bring about a resolution of Zimbabwe's longrunning
political crisis.

Opposition officials said Mr. Mugabe’s setting of the election date late
last week dealt a blow to the so-called SADC process launched by the
regional organization in March 2007 following an upsurge of political
violence in Zimbabwe. Opposition officials noted there has been no final
accord in the talks, let alone implementation of terms.

Free Zimbabwe Youth Coordinator Aluis Mbawaro told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo
of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his group hope the AU will convince Mr.
Mugabe to postpone the elections and embrace reforms agreed by both parties
in the talks.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe court rules Briton can be extradited


Wed 30 Jan 2008, 19:24 GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's High Court ruled on Wednesday that a
former British special forces officer could be extradited to Equatorial
Guinea to face coup plot charges, rejecting arguments that he might be

Simon Mann was jailed in 2004 and was briefly released after serving his
sentence in May last year. However, he was again arrested on an immigration
warrant while awaiting deportation.

Mann, 55, was convicted of trying to buy weapons without a licence as part
of a plot against Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

His lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, told Reuters on Wednesday he would appeal
against Wednesday's ruling.

"We are appealing the first thing tomorrow (Thursday) but we have not had
full sight of the whole judgment as it was only delivered this evening,"
Samkange said.

Mann was alleged to be at the centre of a plot against oil producer
Equatorial Guinea, one of the continent's richest countries and one of its
most repressive.

On Wednesday, the High Court dismissed Mann's argument that he would not
receive a fair trial and would be tortured if he were deported to Equatorial

Authorities in Equatorial Guinea authorities have assured Zimbabwe that
Mann -- believed by his government to be the "intellectual head" of the coup
plot -- would receive justice.

He was arrested in March 2004 when he met a plane carrying dozens of men and
military equipment which landed in Harare on what officials said was the
first stop on their way to launching a coup against Obiang.

Eleven other men, including several foreigners, are serving sentences of
between 13 and 34 years in Equatorial Guinea in connection with the alleged

Mark Thatcher, the son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher,
was accused of helping to finance the coup attempt and admitted taking part.
He avoided jail in a deal with prosecutors in South Africa, where he lived.
(Editing by Michael Georgy and Andrew Dobbie)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Government Orders Universities to Remain Closed Till After Elections

SW Radio Africa (London)

30 January 2008
Posted to the web 30 January 2008

Tererai Karimakwenda

In a move described by students as a sign of increased paranoia, the
government has ordered all state run universities and colleges to stay
closed until after elections on March 29th. Our Harare correspondent Simon
Muchemwa spoke to several lecturers and student leaders in Harare and
Bulawayo who confirmed that the order had come from the Ministry of Higher
and Tertiary Education. He said the authorities had not provided any
alternative date for opening.

This means the University of Zimbabwe, the Midlands State University, the
National University of Science and Technology and all state run colleges
will not be starting lectures in February as usual.

Muchemwa said students from the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu)
immediately criticised the authorities for continually disrupting their
education. They believe the government fears that if the schools open before
elections, students will gather on campuses and mobilise support for the

Meanwhile police disrupted a Student Representative Council meeting at the
Bulawayo Polytech Institute on Wednesday and briefly detained 2 student
leaders. Zinasu secretary for information and publicity Blessing Vava, and
treasurer Blessing Mapenduka, were taken by police who had burst into the
general meeting as it was about to start.

Zinasu representative Maureen Mapenzauka said police claimed the meeting was
illegal because the students had not sought permission from them. But she
explained that University and College campuses are exempt from the Public
Order and Security Act, which requires police notification before any public

Mapenzauka said it is worrisome that government has continued to show
intolerance over basic individual rights, such as freedom of association and
freedom of assembly, just before an election that is supposed to be free and

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Voters Kept in the Dark Over New Constituency Boundaries

SW Radio Africa (London)

30 January 2008
Posted to the web 30 January 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

Voters in most rural areas in the country still don't know were to go and
cast their votes after the redrawing of new constituency boundaries.

Prosper Mutseyami, a senior official of the MDC in Manicaland said there
will be a lot confusion on election day as thousands of people have
criss-crossed wards and constituencies. He said people badly affected by
this are those mainly in rural areas.

The Zimbabwe Election Commission completed the delimitation of new
boundaries in December but new maps and information on the new
constituencies have not been made available to the public.

'We have a general election in less than eight weeks time but the ZEC is so
under financed they can't print new boundaries or leaflets. All our aspiring
MPs, senators and councillors have failed to get all that information,'
Mutseyami said. The MDC head of elections, Ian Makone, has described the
delimitation exercise as a farce because it is seriously flawed.

The number of parliamentary seats has been increased from 120 to 210. The
government claims that over 5,6 million people have been registered to vote
and the 210 parliamentary seats will get an average of over 26 000 voters a

Following the new demarcations, the ZEC announced that Bulawayo province now
has 12 constituencies, up from 7. Matabeleland North Province now has 13
constituencies also up from 7, the same as Matabeleland South.

Mashonaland West constituencies jumped from 9 to 22, Midlands from 19 to 28,
Manicaland 15 to 26, Mashonaland East 11 to 26, Mashonaland Central 10 to
18, Masvingo 14 to 26 and Harare and Chitungwiza 18 to 29.

On Monday government announced Friday February 8th as the deadline for voter
registration and for altering details such as addresses or names. This is
also the closing date for the nomination court for all candidates seeking to
run in the elections. Centres will be open this weekend.

Those who have already registered should go and inspect the voters' roll to
make sure their details are correct. Any discrepancies discovered on the day
of the poll will mean they will not be allowed to vote.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Open letter to Gideon Gono: RBZ Governor

Nehanda Radio

30 January 2008

TO:            DR. GIDEON GONO

If you get hold of this letter, please distribute it as wildly and widely as

In pursuit of the truth, reality check, intelligent application of
knowledge, systems thinking/approach, respect of God, and mathematics-His
language. Ask Noah.

It is fortunate enough you can not separate those ideas/concepts. You can
not run away from the truth and you can not take cover from God.

Systems thinking/approach-the Creator’s approach dictates that systems that
do not merely survive but triumph are those that always sample their
outputs, compare with set references, and use the error produced to adjust
inputs, modify processing techniques or re-examine objectives and standards.

Systems that make it in the naturally hostile and chaotic environment learn,
face the truth, respect God and his language-mathematics, honestly asses the
variable and non-variable parameters of the environment, do not waste time
and resources wrestling non-variables, manipulate variables to the best
advantage, and evaluate output not after fifty years, twenty seven years,
five years, one month or day but always and make adjustments/corrections

I apologize to you, the nation and humankind for not coming up with this
idea in time. I’m very sorry. I was busy assembling the facts and summoning
up enough courage. Anyway, it is never too late or too dangerous for the

The truth touches every creation. Whether you belong to this or that party,
church, gang or club you can never shine if you do not face the truth,
believe in logic, and shun magic.

You may wonder why I am targeting you. You have got the key to our
lifeline-the economy and its blood-money. The buck stops with you.

Forget about politics and all the –isms. Politics sucks from and licks the
economy. Theirs is a symbiotic relationship but politics needs economics to
the point of total and complete dependence. It is not possible to forever
suck from an ailing economy. Let us stop the blame game. To hell with
breakfast meetings and expensive talk shows. Taneta kurova imbwa takaviga

Some four years ago you said that if a turnaround strategist fails to cause
a noticeable change in ninety days he/she will become part of the problem.
Now, almost five years down the line you have dragged the economy,
everything that, and everyone who depends on it through the mud to the
doldrums, courtesy of the absence of truth.

I challenge you and your advisers, on behalf of prosperity and posterity to
resign forthwith. If you do not face the truth within seven days from today
I will take you to the highest court in the country. If it refuses to face
the truth I will try SADC then AU, UN, and all Human rights groups. If all
that fails, the HAGUE.

You lied to the nation and your appointer, His Excellency.

You should have told everyone that sanctions cause poverty and not
inflation. Balance of payments support is a soft loan from friendly
entities. Diplomatic isolation and withholding of love(ly) offerings does
not cause inflation. Low production levels cause poverty and not inflation.
High consumption in excess of production causes wealth deprivation and not
inflation. Increased production does not reduce inflation but simply
mitigates its effects. Inflation can be reduced to 0%.

Subsidies and fixed exchange rates/price controls do not fix inflation but
create loopholes for those bent on siphoning.

Baccossi, Aspef, and related projects. Who takes stock?

Sometimes I even shudder to imagine why you fellas at the conical tower
deserve salaries.

If the truth fails to touch you we are all doomed, from Zim 1 to Zim

Textbooks and borrowed notes aside, the truth is:-

For you to understand the causes of inflation and its effects you must first
of all understand the origins of paper money and its relationship to value
and/or wealth.

By the way, when you mobilize resources and knowledge and convert them into
something that satisfies other people’s needs you would have created value.
Wealth is the accumulation of such value. You can exchange your value for
other people’s value which they would have created elsewhere. That is the
basis of fair trade and commerce anyway.

By the way there was no inflation before the advent of paper money. Trade
was by barter. With the advancement of civilization and expansion of
markets, spatially and temporally, it became increasingly difficult to trade
by barter. People, being innovative as they have always been, began to look
for something portable, durable, divisible, and with all the other
attributes of a good media of exchange that you can think of.

History is replete with all sorts of things which were tried, from coffee
beans, beads, precious stones, sea shells, and finally to silver and gold.
Silver was finally beaten by gold.

Those who could amass and/or produce- create value in large quantities soon
found it difficult to securely keep their large amounts of gold. This
created a new breed of business people called gold keepers who would charge
some scrapings or few ounces of gold as a return on their investments in the
form of vaults, safes, and strong rooms.

The gold keepers would issue the gold owners certificates stating the
amounts of gold deposited with them. With time, people began to accept the
certificates from trusted keepers as legal tender confident that the
certificates were redeemable whenever real solid gold was required. In time
such certificates were issued without names and their authenticity was based
on the goodwill of the issuers.

When it became fashionable to break down the certificates into various sizes
of denominations for convenience of trade, paper money was born. Of course,
fake papers were tried here and there with limited success and, in some
cases, dire consequences.

Only an insane keeper would issue a certificate not backed by real gold
because it would sooner or later backfire when the certificate comes back
for redemption and the gold is not there.

Then baby monsters called governments were born out of need when it was
realized that there was need to poll resources and appoint a group of people
to oversee welfare and development.

Grown-up governments soon realized that in a big economy, if they owned and
controlled a central reserve bank which controls the issuance of the above
mentioned certificates which we now call money, they can possibly issue
themselves “money” when they do not have gold-value-wealth deposited with
that bank. This is plain theft, made possible by the fact that the crime can
be obliterated by other variable economic parameters which cause very
difficult to measure fluctuations.

The best way to illustrate or examine inflation is to freeze all the other
variables that cause the red mist and deal with it bare bones. To simplify
the discussion, let’s assume the government is an individual like you and
me. If the government has got 10 units of wealth and the citizens of the
country 90 units the total wealth or GDP of the nation is 100 units. If
these units of wealth are represented by a certain currency for illustration
purposes, 10 000 zudas per unit of wealth. Then, our national wealth in
monetary terms becomes 100 multiply by 10 000 zudas which equals 1 000 000

If nobody injects fake money into the system, and we do not create/produce
or consume some then, our wealth remains at 100 units valued at 1 000 000
zudas. If we allow exchange and transfer within borders the wealth remains

If the government uses up its share as it should and, within borders, at the
end it will have zero units and the people 100 units – wealth gone back to
the people. If the government now decides to impress a certain constituency
for reasons best known to the policy makers and its coffers are empty, it
goes to the printing press colluding with the reserve bank to lie that it
has wealth deposited with it.

For argument’s sake let’s say it chooses to steal 20 units to the value of
200 000 zudas. That is 20% of total national wealth.

If  1 000  000 zudas are circulating in the country representing 100 units
of  wealth and as a result of printing, 200 000 zudas are injected into the
system, 1 200 000 zudas now represent 100 units of wealth.

The effect of this rather stupid action now causes each unit of wealth to be
represented by 12 000 zudas which means in other words that 1 unit now costs
or is valued at 20% more than before the printing. Because of the government
folly we say the currency has been inflated by 20%.

All the prices go up by 20%. The currency loses against other stable
currencies by 20%. All those who have their wealth stored in the form of
cash or bank balance denominated in the unfortunate currency loose 20% of
their wealth. In other words the government has 20% from each and every
innocent and unfortunate soul who happened to have his/her wealth in liquid
form or tried to trade using and keeping for a while the damaged currency.

I hope that the long and winding illustration has enlightened you and
realize that a bottle of  Mazoe is nothing but just a part of the total
wealth we been discussing.

For example if, for argument’s sake the bottle of Mazoe was costing X zudas
before the theft, it will now cost X+0,2X zudas after the inflation caused
by the theft. It is not the price of Mazoe that has gone up by 20% but the
national currency that has lost 20% of its value. We now  have 20% more
money representing the same national wealth.

The government now has got 20 units of wealth equal to 200 000 un-inflated
zudas or 240 000 inflated zudas. Because the government has stolen from the
people, they now have 80 units of wealth equal to 800 000 un-inflated zudas
or 960 000 inflated zudas. The total wealth of the nation is still 100 units
at 1 000 000 un-inflated zudas or 1 200 000 inflated zudas.

However, in reality things do not seem to operate
systemically/systematically. In our example above, if all the variable
economic parameters/factors that we froze to simplify analysis are let
loose, figures are altered but fundamentals stand firm. For example
production mitigates and consumption aggravates the outlook.

I hope you can now look around and see where you and the bottle of Mazoe
stand. If the smallest denomination was 1 un-inflated zuda it should now
become 1,2 inflated zudas and the biggest of say 100 un-inflated becomes 120
inflated zudas. Interest – the cost of  using other peoples wealth, fares,
fees, prices, cost of living and even the cost of dying will reflect what
would have been caused.

Trying to undervalue or overvalue a currency is the most stupid human
endeavor one can ever undertake worse than experimenting with your own life
and trying to defy creation, resulting in a seething cauldron of, hot ice
and cold fire.

Vagaries of nature such as famine, earthquakes, floods, sanctions, war, or
even sabotage can only devastate or diminish a nation’s wealth but, can
never be able to devalue/inflate it’s currency. Only a sovereign government
in full participation with a willing reserve bank governor can do it.

The fact that almost everyone, revolutionaries, liberators, academics,
intellectuals, technocrats, human rights activists, trade unionists, civic
leaders, clerics, scribes, and world leaders seem to condone, tolerate, and
accept such a heinous crime that should be more severely be punishable than
genocide demonstrates how money matters are least understood.

It is ghastly to contemplate for how long this subtle crime is going to be
tolerated in world affairs.

Although the formula for calculating inflation should be MONEY PRINTED OVER
MONEY IN CIRCULATION for political reasons or lack of economic expertise
governments and crooked economic advisers prefer Consumer Price Index which
is de-facto very easy to doctor.

I have tried in this presentation to show that nothing or not a soul except
government in collusion with the Central Bank can cause inflation.
Inflation causes price increases, poverty, and devaluation of currency and
not vice versa.

I have tried rigorously to avoid the discussion of personalities and the
reasons that may cause governments to “print” and cause inflation because of
the controversy associated with such topics.

When inflation, or the long arm of government reaches out it devastates all
and sundry. It squeezes value out of every creature in Zimbabwe that
transacts in the devalued/overvalued currency.

The grip is class insensitive. From those who drive the so-called mapango,
Hammers, and Lexuses to those physiologically and socially incapacitated who
crawl on their palms and eke out a living from eating or selling junk. This
is even made worse by the stubborn fact that, the government, as a consumer
and investor, its corrupt offshoots and all the innocent souls, and even the
intended beneficiaries of the subsidies or the printing process are crushed
under the created load.

As long as you do not appreciate or understand how printing causes
inflation, printing forces you to print more, and more printing compels you
to print big time causing hyperinflation. Those chosen few who are blessed
with the revelation know that the only way out of the spiraling vicious
circle/cycle is through sacrifice. You have to stop printing gradually or
abruptly and strategically.

What has made me strongly believe that many people do not understand
politics and economics, and the fruits from their relationships, is the
apparent absence of agitation that should come from the instinct of self
preservation in the prevalent hyperinflationary environment.

Devaluation, overvaluation, for convenience issuance of bigger
denominations-very soon we will be using the 1 million or 10 million bearer,
is a de-facto and subtle way of admitting that the monetary value of our
currency has gone somewhere. The largest denomination of  $200 000 is now
not enough to buy a freez-it that we used to call penny or centicooler.

 Are all the people not supposed to know? Is it a crime if they know?
Shouldn’t they be empowered with this knowledge? Isn’t it nice to all share
this liberating knowledge?

I think the determination we have demonstrated over the years fighting other
enemies of the state and adversaries of our nation should now come handy in
tackling this muddling.

If you or anyone knows better truth than this, please respond publicly
and/or privately.




Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Makumbe says MDC shot itself in the foot

Nehanda Radio

30 January 2008

Harare: Political commentator John Makumbe says the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) might have shot itself in the foot by agreeing to
sign amendments to the country’s constitution acting in concert with
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

Makumbe, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe who is
the former chairman of Transparency International-Zimbabwe, said yesterday
that there was no way the MDC could now rescue itself from the effects of
negotiation with Zanu-PF which all but collapsed last week.

South African president, Thabo Mbeki, was mandated by SADC to oversee the

Speaking at a Zimbabwe Lecture Series public meeting in the capital, Makumbe
said the MDC had been naive to think that the SADC mediation talks would
bring about a solution to the stand-off between Zanu-PF and the MDC. He said
the opposition party had fooled itself into taking part in the talks.

Makumbe said it was rather late now for the MDC to withdraw from the talks,
cry foul, or call for a postponement of the forthcoming elections, given
that civic society had warned the MDC to guard against being led down the
garden path by Zanu-PF.

In the middle of calls for the postponement of the polls, President Robert
Mugabe last week went ahead and officially proclaimed March 29 as the date
for the landmark elections. Presidential, parliamentary and local government
elections were harmonised through Constitutional Amendment Number18 to take
place simultaneously for the first time.

“The collapse of the SADC mediated talks was a foregone conclusion to those
who analysed the whole process,” Makumbe said. “The deception of Mugabe in
painting a picture that he was negotiating with the MDC in good faith was
clear enough for everyone to see.

“It is only the naivety of the MDC that led them to sit down to negotiate
with Zanu-PF in the hope that there would be an outcome from a process that
was flawed from the onset.”

He said that he was astounded that the MDC hoped that Mugabe would, in the
process of the negotiation allow his foot-soldiers at the talks, Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister, Patrick Chinamasa and Public
Service, Labour, and Social Welfare, Nicholas Goche, to negotiate his own
exit from power.

“It is astounding to say the least that learned people like Welshman Ncube
(secretary general of Arthur Mutambara’s break-away faction) and Tendai Biti
(secretary general of the mainstream MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai) would sit
down and hope that through a mere negotiation process Mugabe would negotiate
his way out of the office.

“It was clear from the onset that the MDC was going on a nasty ride through
Harare’s potholed roads and that it was leading itself to a disastrous
ending of the ride,” Makumbe declared.

Clearly showing anger Makumbe said that it was very likely that the MDC had
written “the final piece of its political epitaph that would be stuck to its
deathbed come March 29, 2008”. He predicted that the MDC was in for a
deafening loss that would render it irrelevant to Zimbabwe’s political
landscape as a result of a lack of proper decision-making structures in the

“The MDC is stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Makumbe said. “This is
to say they are in a dilemma whether to participate in the March elections
or not. Participating in the elections places them at the risk of a
resounding defeat in the elections while boycotting the elections altogether
puts them in a precarious position that could easily make them irrelevant to
the country’s political landscape.”

He said it was necessary for the MDC to mobilize the electorate to boycott
the elections altogether, “leaving the 50 000 hoodlums who marched in Harare
in support of Mugabe to cast their votes in the elections”.-The Zimbabwe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chiefs Fine Villagers Who Do not Attend Zanu (PF) Political Meetings

The Zimbabwean

 Wednesday, 30 January 2008 15:33

HONDE VALLEY, (Zimbabwe)- VILLAGERS of Chief Mparutsa in Mutasa North are up
in arms with their chief over fines they are made to pay for failing to
attend Zanu PF political meeting she calls.

Chief Eunice Mparutsa is allegedly calling for political meetings in the
area on behalf of the ruling Zanu PF officials and fines people who fail to
attend the meetings.
A villager in the area Paul Mareyangepo of Ward 8 in Honde Valleys said the
chief asked him to pay a goat as a fine for failing to attend one of the
Zanu (PF) political meetings she had called for that was to be addressed by
retired army Lieutenant Colonel, Mike Nyambuya.
"I did not attend another rally the chief had called where Energy Minister
Mike Nyambuya addressed and was asked to pay a fine of a goat. I refused to
pay the fine," Mareyangepo said.
Chief Mparutsa allegedly threatened Mareyangepo that he would never benefit
from cheap grain that is sourced from the Grain Marketing Board, (GMB) by
the government.
"She said I was not going to access the grain since I had refused to pay the
Mareyangepo claimed that since he was a member of the opposition MDC led by
Morgan Tsvangirai it was of no use to attend ruling Zanu (PF) functions."I
cannot be forced to attend a meeting of party that I don't
support."Constance Chikanya another resident of Honde Valley says she was
forced to pay a fine of a chicken after failing to attend one of the
meetings chief Mparutsa had called for.                             "I
was summoned to her court and was tried and found guilty of not attending
the meeting and was fined a chicken. I have not paid the fine to date," she
She said local headmen write names of people who do not attend the Zanu (PF)
functions and hand them over to the chief who then fines the culprits.
She said "offenders' are also fined in cash varying amounts depending on the
gravity of the "offence".   Ward 8 councillor Aaron Kavhungira of the MDC
grouping led by Tsvangirai confirmed opposition members were being
victimized for not attending political meetings organized by Zanu (PF).
He said most of them were being denied a chance to buy maize grain from the
GMB sold at an affordable price of Z$1 750 000 (about R5) for a 50kg bag. On
the parallel market the same cost over Z$7million (about R12).Kavhungira
said he had approached the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, ZLHR for
advise over the fines."The lawyers have advised us not to pay the fines to
the chief as what she is doing is illegal. We were told to wait until the
chief writes to us a letter of demand and we take it up from there," the
councilor said.Chief Mparutsa was unavailable for a comment when CAJ News
visited her homestead on Wednesday morning.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

British tycoon van Hoogstraaten in mass pornography charges

Monsters and Critics

Jan 29, 2008, 20:01 GMT

Harare(dpa) ­ Prosecutors Tuesday implicated British rack-renting tycoon
Nicholas van Hoogstraaten in pornography charges involving scores of young
Zimbabwean women and gave evidence of how he had been trapped in illegal
black-market currency dealing.

Papers in the Harare magistrate's court said a police raid on his home in an
exclusive Harare suburb had uncovered 150 photographs 'of young local
Zimbabwean women photographed in nude and semi-nude states in the accused's
bedroom' and some in compromising sexy positions.

Attempts to keep the convicted gangster in custody without bail failed
because fraud police in Harare had detained him illegally for four of the
six days after his arrest on Thursday.

He and three co-accused were allowed to go free late Tuesday on his lawyers
won an order from the Harare high court for his immediate release.

Van Hoogstraaten, 63, made his first millions renting slum tenements in
London and Brighton in the 60s, was jailed for four years for ordering a
firebomb attack on a rabbi who owed him money and in 1999 was convicted of
manslaughter after two of his henchmen murdered Mahommed Raja, a London
business opponent.

The murder conviction was quashed on appeal. The property magnate moved his
money offshore in the 1990s after British tax officials began invetigating
his earnings. His holdings include major investments in Zimbabwe in banking,
property, agriculture, tourism and mining.

Van Hoogstraaten professes to be a friend of President Robert Mugabe whome
he describes as '100 percent decent and incorruptible.'

Court papers the fraud detectives had lured him into a trap last week where
he demanded and accepted 4,600 US dollars from a state agent agent for rent.
He was also trapped into buying 2,000 dollars from a state agent around the
same time in an illegal black-market currency deal.

Zimbabwean law forbids payment for goods and services inside the country in
any currency but the Zimbabwe dollar.

Van Hoogstraaten said in a statement on Monday that he was the victim of 'a
deliberate and malicious entrapment' and denied the charges. Police said
they also found large sums of hard currency at his home and 600 South
African rands in fake notes.

Nude photographs of his secretary, Nyasha Gora, 22, in the dock with him
were found at his home, the court papers said, and she was to face
pornography charges because she had 'posed in a nude position.'

Two other employees faced charges of illegal possession of 'unauthorized'
large sums of Zimbabwe dollars found in their car parked at van
Hoogstraaten's home.

Prosecutors were appealing to the magistrate to have him detained without
bail because he was 'a foreigner with big investments' in Britain, the
Bahamas, South Africa, Zambia and Kenya, and could flee.

But magistrate Mirshrod Guvamombe overruled detention without bail because
police were hours late in releasing the four, in violation of the high
court's order for 'immediate' release.

'They had all the time to bring the accused to court. They chose not to
bring them to court,' he said. 'I have no jurisdiction. All the four accused
are not properly before the court.'

Van Hoogstraaten emerged soon after from the cells in the basement of the
building with a jacket over his head, pushed past a crowd of waiting
photographers, was bundled into a silver Mercedes Benz convertible coupe and
sped away.

His lawyer, George Chikumuburike, said police now would only be able to
summons him to court to face the charges.

© 2008 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe rejects Bush’s criticism on lack of freedom

Zim Online

by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Wednesday 30 January 2008

HARARE – The Zimbabwe government on Tuesday rejected as misplaced
criticism by United States (US) President George W Bush that there was no
freedom in the country.

In his state of the nation address on Monday, Bush said Washington was
concerned with the state of affairs in Zimbabwe, Cuba, Burma, Belarus and
the Sudan.

“Our foreign policy is based on a clear premise: we trust that people,
when given the chance will choose a future of freedom and peace.

“America opposes genocide in Sudan. We support freedom in countries
from Cuba and Zimbabwe to Belarus and Burma,” said Bush.

Ruling ZANU PF party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said Bush’s comments
were out of touch with the reality in Zimbabwe.

”I am not sure how many times we have to tell the US and Britain that
they have no role to play in Zimbabwe’s politics. Zimbabweans know what is
right and wrong and what is freedom and what is not freedom,” said

Relations between Harare and Washington have been strained over the
past eight years after the US imposed targeted sanctions on President Robert
Mugabe and his senior officials in protest over Harare’s human rights

Washington also accuses Mugabe of repression against his political
opponents, a charge the veteran Zimbabwean leader denies.

Mugabe in turn accuses the US of vigorously seeking to oust his
government as punishment for seizing white farms for redistribution to
landless blacks.

Civil rights activist, Lovemore Madhuku, who has been arrested and
beaten up by Mugabe’s state security agents for demanding political reforms,
said he was not surprised that Zimbabwe had been lumped together with
repressive regimes such as Burma.

”I am not surprised at all by the classification of Zimbabwe together
with a military junta like Burma, because Mugabe behaves just like the junta
in Burma,” said Madhuku. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwean Civic Group Says Violence By Police, Army On The Rise


By Jonga Kandemiiri
30 January 2008

A leading Zimbabwean nongovernmental organization has voiced concern over
what it says is a rising level of violence by police officers and members of
the army against the population with national elections coming up in just
nine weeks.

The National Constitutional Assembly issued a statement charging that the
Zimbabwe Republic Police and the army are increasingly resorting to violence
when dealing with unarmed demonstrators. It said even court-approved
protests are being crushed.

The group noted, however, that policemen brutalising civilians face the same
problems as their victims, including widespread shortages of water,
electricity and cash.

NCA spokesman Maddock Chivasa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe that the NCA is urging people to resist unlawful police

The group's warning of rising official violence comes despite a recent
amendment of the Public Order and Security Act which on the face of it eased
the bill's draconian restrictions on public gatherings and demonstrations

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Opposition Courts African Union Leadership As Summit Opens


By Patience Rusere
30 January 2008

Representatives of the Zimbabwean opposition have been engaging
representatives of a number of African countries ahead of the African Union
summit opening Thursday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, urging the continental
body to exert its influence to break a deadlock in crisis resolution talks
between the opposition and ruling party.

International Affairs Secretary Eliphias Mukonoweshuro of the Movement for
Democratic Change grouping led by Morgan Tsvangirai said he and others have
engaged African delegations to explain the MDC position on the deadlock.

Mukonweshuro declined to name the countries, but said he is satisfied that
he and his colleagues have informed AU member states on the “real” situation
in Zimbabwe.

Sources in the Ethiopian capital said that the Tsvangirai delegation were
expecting to meet shortly with senior political figures in the African

Mukonoweshuro told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that his delegation has generated strong interest in the Zimbabwean

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Students demonstrate in Bulawayo

The Zimbabwean

 Wednesday, 30 January 2008 15:26

Students at Bulawayo Polytechnic today demonstrated over the continued
decline of educational standards in the country,   lack of the rule of law
and demand for a  free and a fair election. Students from other tertiary
institutions in Bulawayo were part of the demonstrators under the banner of
Zimbabwe National Students Union.The general meeting which had been
scheduled for 10 a.m failed to take place because of heavy armed riot police
officers who intimidated students and forced everyone to disperse.This also
resulted in the CID Law and Order officers briefly arresting the treasurer
of ZINASU Themba Maphenduka and the Information and publicity secretary
Blessing Vava who were however released on condition that they  should leave
Bulawayo as a matter of urgency. The two were labeled terrorists who want to
cause mayhem in colleges in the city.The general meeting was the scheduled
for 1330hours at the college dining hall were the two Vava and Maphenduka
addressed about 1500 students who later on boycotted the food being served
in the dining hall referring to it as ‘dog menu.’Students chanted
revolutionary songs and proceeded to converge at the administration block
demanding an urgent address by the college Principal Petros Themba
Ndlovu.The principal locked himself in his office and this prompted  the
riot police to disperse the crowd.Several students were injured during the
Maphenduka was then dramatically re-arrested and accused of inciting
students.Maphenduka was arrested together with the secretary general of the
National University of Science and Technology and four other students from
the Bulawayo polytechnic. Police have since launched a manhunt for the
ZINASU spokesperson Blessing Vava,whom, they are keen to interview. Students
at Bulawayo polytechnic accused the government of neglecting its socio
economic and political responsibility.Victimization has reached alarming
levels at the institution as the principal addressed students yesterday
forcing them not to attend todays meeting.The SRC President Emmanuel Mabuda
was forced to sign a resignation letter in the presence of 5 CID Law and
Order officers who were wielding guns and threatened him with death..In
another related issue which  Zinasu view as a demobilizing strategy the
college is accommodating about a hundred soldiers and police officers in
Visser  halls of residence at the expense of hundreds of students who have
no accommodation and are currently living in squalid conditions.The college
also recruited about 400 graduates from the notorious Border Gezi camp.The
police still maintain a heavy presence on campus with dogs, guns and teargas
canisters.The students have vowed to continue with such peaceful protests
until their demands are met.Zinasu condemns the continued arrests of our
academic freedoms by the government of the day Education for all and not for
the elite,we demand free and fair election not flee and fear election.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Church files contempt charges against pro-Mugabe bishop

Zim Online

by Cuthbert Nzou  Thursday 31 January 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwe Anglican church authorities have filed contempt of court
charges against ousted bishop Nolbert Kunonga for defying a High Court
ruling ordering him not to interfere with church services.

The application comes two weeks after High Court Judge Rita Makarau ordered
Kunonga not to interfere with church services conducted by acting bishop
Sebastian Bakare at the church’s Cathedral of Saint Mary and All Saints in

In an affidavit filed at the High Court, Reverend Christopher Tapera, the
secretary of Harare diocese, alleged that on January 20 Kunonga, who was in
the company of one Reverend Munyanyi, disrupted services at the cathedral in
flagrant violation of Makarau’s order.

In a supporting affidavit, cathedral sub-deacon Stanislaus Tsingo, said
Kunonga barred Bakare from celebrating mass with parishioners and openly
boasted that he did not care about the court order prohibiting him from
interfering with services conducted by Bakare.

“As we entered the church in the traditional ceremony with Bishop Bakare, I
noticed the 1st respondent (Kunonga) had now removed all the altar coverings
leaving the altar bare," Tsingo said in the affidavit.

Kunonga, leader of Harare diocese until he was removed by the Church of the
Province of Central Africa (CPCA) to which the diocese belongs, allegedly
told Bakare that he (Kunonga) was still legitimate leader of the church and
that he was not going to let a situation where there were two leaders in the
troubled diocese.

Tsingo said at one point he feared that Kunonga was going to assault Bakare
after he grabbed the altar missal from the later and violently threw it to
the ground in full view of parishioners.

The High Court is set to hear the matter tomorrow.

Zimbabwean police have in the past been called to quell violent skirmishes
blamed on Kunonga’s supporters.

The clergyman, a strong supporter of President Robert Mugabe’s controversial
policies particularly his seizure of white farms for redistribution to
landless blacks, has tried to defend the Zimbabwean leader’s policies from
the pulpit.

The CPCA says Kunonga, a recipient of land seized from a white farmer, was
deemed to have resigned last September after he unilaterally attempted to
withdraw Harare diocese from the CPCA ostensibly because the regional church
authority was too soft towards gays. – ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwean Clerics Suggest Protest Vote In Controversial March Balloting


By Carole Gombakomba and Jonga Kandemiiri

30 January 2008

Zimbabwe's Christian Alliance of religious leaders has expressed concern
about the timetable for national elections set for March and resolved to
draft a pastoral letter to the country suggesting among other points the
voters cast protest ballots.

The group, which emerged in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo in 2005 to
provide humanitarian relief to the many thousands of people dislocated by
the government's forced eviction and demolition program that year, said
conditions in the country are "adverse" for elections to be held on that
relatively tight schedule.

The church group has been accused in the past by President Robert Mugabe and
the ruling ZANU-PF party of plotting with the opposition to overthrow the

But members said this week that it is crucial for them to highlight their
concerns before the elections as the government has decided to proceed with
presidential, general and local ballots before reaching agreement with the
opposition on key issues. Crisis talks mediated by South Africa are
generally considered to have hit a dead end.

Christian Alliance spokesman Reverend Ray Motsi told reporter Carole
Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the organization wants to
tell Zimbabweans they can cast a protest vote to tell political parties that
they "should have done better."

Another group of clerics which published a document titled “The Zimbabwe We
Want” in 2006 and met then with President Mugabe, gathered Wednesday at a
Harare hotel to relaunch their efforts to engage the president an his
government in the wake of failed crisis resolution talks between the ruling
party and opposition.

The church leaders, considered by many to be overly accommodating to Mr.
Mugabe and the government, say they have canvassed most of the country’s 10
provinces to solicit the views of political parties, business groups and
ordinary citizens.

Bishop Trevor Manhanga of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, a leader
of the group, said it seeks a solution to the country’s eight-year political

Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition told
reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he believes
the church leaders will again fail because the ruling party is not ready to
lend them an ear.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Fears grow: Zimbabwe farmers caught between two floods

International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies

Date: 30 Jan 2008

By Mark South

Unprecedented floods in Zimbabwe are set to worsen with flood waters now
unable to drain into reservoirs and dams that are already at capacity.

Agricultural communities in the north west of the country, at the confluence
of the Musengezi, Hoya and Mukumbura rivers, have already been ravaged by
the worst floods in two decades, fuelled by torrential rains in the
up-stream highlands. Now flood waters have begun flowing back into the
region from the already overflowing Cahora Bassa reservoir down-stream in
Mozambique, and are not expected to subside until mid-March at the earliest.

Ejina Chirindo, vice chair of the Muzarabani rural district council, was
part of a team ferrying people to safety from the flooded village of
Chaderika in Muzarabani district. "We had made several trips to pick people
up and every time we went back we could see the flooding was getting worse
coming from downstream," she said. "The bridge across the river is now
flooded, we can't get to the village by road anymore and the people there
are marooned.

"When we saw it the water had already reached waist deep in places but if
the rains and back flow continue it will get even deeper."

Back flow from the Capora Bassa reservoir is not unusual in itself with the
lowland Muzarabani district often experiencing mild floods around
mid-February. But flooding this early in the year is virtually unheard of,
and authorities now fear the combination of floods from both up stream and
down will exacerbate an already disastrous situation. According to the
district council, the rains which began in mid-December – three months
earlier than usual – have already left almost 10,000 people without food and
washed away around 500 homes.

Leon Cheuseni, 43, lost his home when floods poured through his village,
demolishing huts and sweeping away possessions and precious food stores. He
is now sheltering in a government run Agricultural Rural Development
Authority farm along with approximately 85 other families.

"At around six in the morning I was helping friends who had been affected by
the floods. When I returned home to check on my own property the water was
almost a metre deep in both my huts," he said. "To begin with the water came
very slowly so we didn't realize how serious the situation was, and then
very suddenly the water was overwhelming. We managed to retrieve a few items
but the flood has left me and my family with basically nothing."

One of the first humanitarian agencies on the ground, the Zimbabwe Red Cross
Society, was able to issue Cheuseni and his family with a tent as well as a
jerry can for water, a kitchen set of pots, plates, cups and spoons, and a
mosquito net. "Without that help I really don't now what we would have
done – the Red Cross put a roof over our heads and made sure we were safe,
without them I don't want to think about what could have happened," he

As the waters continue to rise, as well as coordinating ongoing evacuation
and emergency aid efforts, agencies are growing increasingly concerned about
the longer-term impacts of the disaster. "We haven't seen floods like this
for 20 years and from what we can tell it's going to get worse before it
gets better, both in terms of the rising flood waters and the humanitarian
crisis," said Calvine Matsinde, Zimbabwe Red Cross' national programme

"The volume of water is likely to become greater and we are also going to
see an increasing secondary threat of disease. The sanitation systems have
been completely washed out, which means dirty water has contaminated clean
water supplies, affecting drinking water and increasing the threat of water
borne diseases like cholera.

"At the same time the stagnant pools of water in this warm area provide an
ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, which increases the threat of
malaria…we have already seen a spike in cases of malaria and diarrhea
related to the floods."

Food supplies could also become a major issue, said Matsinde, with farmers
having lost their entire summer crop and unlikely to be able to grow enough
food for themselves for another six months.

"We were prepared for this disaster, which is why we were able to get vital
aid to people so quickly," said Matsinde. "With the support of the
government, other aid agencies and our partner Red Cross societies we need
to make sure we can continue to deliver the lifesaving supplies and
education which are desperately needed."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC’s Position Short on Clarity

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

As the opposition agonises over tactics, the Zimbabwean president pre-empts
any compromise by setting an election date.

By Marvelous Chigora in Harare (AR No. 153, 30-Jan-08)

The Zimbabwean opposition seems to have been caught off balance by the
announcement that joint presidential and parliamentary elections will go
ahead on March 29.

When President Robert Mugabe announced the poll date on January 25, he
demolished all hope that the election might be delayed until a new
constitution was agreed.

The postponement was a key demand that the opposition had been pressing for
in the negotiating process mediated by the South African Development
Community, SADC, aimed at ending the country’s political and economic
crisis. The mediation effort is being led by South African president Thabo

The decision came as the divided opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
MDC, already appeared to be struggling to find a clear strategy.

Shortly before the election date was announced, the party had decided to
devote its energies to organising mass action to push for a new
constitution. It announced a “freedom march” through the streets of Harare
to press for a constitution that would guarantee free and fair elections,
and for a postponement of the election.

Police refused permission for the march, and waded in with riot gear to
break it up when supporters assembled on January 23. Morgan Tsvangirai, who
leads the bigger of two MDC factions, was detained briefly to stop him
taking part, but he and others were able to attend a large rally in a Harare
stadium later the same day.

The MDC decided to resort to mass mobilisation because it felt the ruling
ZANU-PF was backtracking on agreements reached during the SADC-brokered

Since this new approach came only two months before what was already
anticipated as a likely poll date, some observers asked why the MDC had
waited so long before identifying this as their strategy.

After Mugabe’s announcement, everything changed again. The MDC said it would
make a formal decision later this week on whether to take part in the ballot
or stage a boycott. Earlier this month, Tsvangirai said his faction would
not run in the election if ZANU-PF refused to accede to its demands at the

The two factions have also indicated that they are getting closer to a
position where they might reunite. The groups led by Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara divided in late 2005 over the issue of participating in an
election to a newly-reconstituted upper house of parliament.

Watching the opposition parties, it has been hard to discern a sense of
urgency ahead of these crucial elections.

Lovemore Madhuku, who chairs the National Constitutional Assembly, a
non-government group that has consistently pressed for an all-new
constitution, has accused the MDC of opportunism, arguing that the document
it had drafted had been seen only by the two MDC leaders, the SADC
negotiators and a few others – but not by members of the public who were
being asked to go on marches.

In any case, he said, the MDC had undercut its own position by tactically
aligning itself with ZANU-PF on some issues, notably when its members of
parliaments supported a controversial constitutional amendment in September,
and subsequent changes to repressive security legislation.

“They are not serious on these issues. They are not even targeting ZANU-PF
but civil society, whose support they lost after they endorsed
Constitutional Amendment No. 18 and agreed to cosmetic changes to the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Public Order and Security
Act,” said Madhuku.

“They are just opportunists. What they are calling for is a new constitution
that is not people-driven. How can they ask people to press for a document
that they have not seen? This shows they are not serious. What would people
be supporting? Even civic society has not seen that document.”

Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the Tsvangirai faction, has said the
“transitional constitution” agreed with ZANU-PF during the talks was drafted
is only intended to ensure fair elections, after which a genuinely
“people-driven constitution” will become possible.

Non-partisan observers have accused the MDC of vacillating between reaching
an accommodation with the Mugabe government over the constitution, and
calling for mass protests and possibly boycotting the election altogether.
According to these critics, the MDC’s position is neither focused nor

“The reason the MDC wants the elections postponed, we are told, is because
they want the transitional constitution to take root. In other words this is
not about a referendum to give the people of Zimbabwe a chance to craft
their constitution. It is all about swapping horses to State House,” said a
recent editorial in the Zimbabwe Independent.

“How can a make-or-break document about the future of Zimbabwe be drawn in
secrecy and we are expected to merely endorse it?”

A journalist who writes for an international media outlet added that the MDC
should tell people what it really stands for and focus on those issues. As
the journalist, who did not want to be named, told IWPR, “victory will not
be given on a silver platter”.

“The MDC needs to accept that there is no way that ZANU-PF will level the
playing field so that the MDC can take over. It has to come up with
strategies that can work in this environment,” he said. “Opposition parties
have won in worse environments, even in a war situation, and boycotts are
not the solution.”

As the Zimbabwe Independent put it, “Given the dithering and prevarication
in opposition ranks, one gets the impression that it is the Americans who
are voting in March and Zimbabweans in November.”

Marvelous Chigora is the pseudonym of a journalist in Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Gukurahundi Ghost Haunts Matabeleland

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Zimbabwean leaders still refuse to talk about the mass killings designed to
destroy support for President Robert Mugabe’s political opponents.

By Yamikani Mwando in Bulawayo (AR No. 153, 30-Jan-08)

Almost a quarter of a century on, the ghost of Gukurahundi continues to
stalk Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland region.

Gukurahundi – a Shona term meaning “the rain that washes away the chaff” –
was a military crackdown in rural Matabeleland and the Midlands in the early
Eighties in which an estimated 20,000 people were killed, most of them

Pressure groups in Zimbabwe continue to campaign to persuade President
Robert Mugabe’s administration to finally make public what happened during
the offensive, which they say amounted to a government-sponsored genocide.

They are calling for a truth and reconciliation commission to be
established, similar to the one set up to help South Africans come to terms
with the human rights abuses perpetrated under apartheid.

However, the Zimbabwean authorities are resisting pressure both from
activists and from families of victims, who have demanded compensation for
relatives who were killed or disappeared without trace.

Mugabe, who is on record as saying the massacres were a “moment of madness”,
has refused to offer a public apology for what many regard as a policy of
ethnic cleansing that targeted the Ndebele people .

In 1983-84, Mugabe, then prime minister of the newly-independent Zimbabwe,
dispatched the Fifth Brigade - an elite unit trained by the North Koreans -
to the Midlands and Matabeleland to quash what he said were insurgents bent
on overthrowing him. He accused Joshua Nkomo, his main political rival at
the time and leader of the ZAPU party, of supporting the insurgents and
vowed to crush those he termed “dissidents”.

The ensuing offensive left unarmed villagers at the mercy of the military.
Survivors said the killings were systematic and targeted ZAPU officials and
also leading community figures such as teachers, nurses and village headmen.
Many of the dead were buried in unmarked graves or thrown down disused

ZAPU leaders were expelled from government and incarcerated.

Nkomo accepted a deal with Mugabe in 1987 in an effort to end the
hostilities. He became one of the country’s two vice-presidents, and his
party was subsumed into the ruling ZANU party, which was renamed ZANU-PF
with the added letters standing for “Patriotic Front”.

Ibhetshu Likazulu, a human rights group based in Matabeleland, commemorates
the Gukurahundi killings on January 20 each year. Its leader Qhubekani Dube
is demanding that Mugabe be brought to account for the campaign.

“Nothing has ever been officially made public, despite Mugabe himself having
set up commissions of inquiry in the 1980s to investigate the Gukurahundi
massacres,” Dube told IWPR.

“What we only have are eyewitness accounts, and many of the people who
suffered are now dead. What is Robert Mugabe hiding? We will never rest as
long as the truth is not told about why this terrible thing happened.”

The only comprehensive report on the Gukurahundi campaign was published in
1989 by the Legal Resources Foundation and the Catholic Commission for
Justice and Peace. The latter group tried to present the report to the
authorities when it came out, but the government has refused to accept its

A documentary about Gukurahundi made by a Bulawayo-based filmmaker was
launched in South Africa last year, but has yet to be shown inside Zimbabwe.
The producers say plans are afoot to showcase it this year despite concerns
that authorities will not allow a public viewing.

“It is time the nation was told about Gukurahundi. This cannot be allowed
die a natural death just like that,” Zenzele Ndebele, who produced the
documentary, told IWPR.

“We had to be extremely careful when we were making this documentary, for
fear of reprisals from the authorities.”

“A lot of mystery surrounds the Gukurahundi era, and the resistance by the
government to discuss the issue is probably because the people who committed
the crimes are still alive. Therefore… trying to make something which would
expose them was obviously going to be resisted.”

One source of resistance to attempts to shed more light on the atrocities
comes from former ZAPU leaders who were persecuted by Mugabe during the
Gukurahundi campaign but who have since become senior figures in government
and ZANU-PF.

Some activists in Matabeleland say the province should declare itself a
federal state, accusing Mugabe of deliberately failing to invest there in
the years since Gukurahundi. But such calls have failed to win significant
support in the region, and political parties that placed devolution on their
agendas have fallen by the wayside in past elections.

Ibhetshu Likazulu remains committed to talking about the ghost of
Gukurahundi, whatever happens in the joint presidential and parliamentary
elections scheduled for March 29.

“Even if Mugabe loses in the coming polls, that will not stop the push to
have those who committed the crimes against humanity prosecuted,” said Dube.

Yamikani Mwando is the pseudonym of a journalist in Zimbabwe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Statement on Ongoing and Looming Strikes

The Zimbabwean

 Wednesday, 30 January 2008 14:54

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions is concerned about business and
government’s lack of interest and reluctance in addressing salary concerns
of workers.

Currently teachers under the auspices of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of
Zimbabwe (PTUZ) have downed tools to force government to award meaningful
salaries to teachers. Salary adjustments that have been made by government
for teachers and all civil servants, including the army and police fall far
below the Poverty Datum Line. The lowest paid teacher is earning $141
million, which in our view as labour, is a mockery to the teaching
profession. The education system has been hard hit by teacher exodus.
Government has failed to put in place better incentives to retain these
necessary skills and this has left our children to suffer. The exodus of
teachers spells more disaster for the education system whose standards have
already deteriorated. We demand that government puts in place better
packages for all civil servants to avert industrial unrests. If press
reports that National Railways of Zimbabwe workers are on a go-slow are
anything to go by, it certainly is clear that we are headed for tough times.
All workers across all sectors need a living wage and if this contentious
issue is not addressed, the country will be rocked by more strikes as the
year progresses. Business and government continue to exploit workers for
their own gains.The ZCTU, therefore, as a matter of urgency, urges
government and employers to address the issue of salaries for all workers,
civil servants, teachers included, by awarding them PDL linked salaries. If
government and employers do not move swiftly to address this matter, the
workers are left with no option but to pursue other means of forcing them to
address their demands. We demand a living wage for all workers.
 G. Shoko


Back to the Top
Back to Index