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Statement by Morgan Tsvangirai on the Resolutions made by the National Council

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele : 30 January 2009

"Therefore, in accordance with the party's constitution, the political agreement we signed on September 15th 2008, and in the best interests of the welfare of all Zimbabweans, the MDC has resolved to form an inclusive government with Zanu PF and MDC-M" - Morgan Tsvangirai, 30 January 2008

Today, the MDC's National Council met as we once again find ourselves at an historic crossroads in our decade-long struggle for democracy. Throughout this struggle, the MDC has been guided by the principles of democracy and by the will of the people. This campaign is neither easy nor straightforward and often we have had to change the fronts on which we wage the struggle in response to changing circumstances and conditions.

The MDC was established to bring about change through the ballot box. This we achieved despite overwhelming odds, culminating in our historic victories in the March 29th Parliamentary, Presidential and local government elections.

Then, the brutal campaign of violence unleashed against our supporters by Zanu PF, forced us to withdraw from the June 27th event. Thus it became obvious that we could no longer wage our struggle via the polling booth.

We looked to the region to support our position and the will of the people by acknowledging the results of March 29th as the basis on which a new government should be formed. Subsequently, we succeeded in forcing Zanu PF to the negotiating table which became the new frontline in our quest for a democratic Zimbabwe. It was for this reason that we signed the Global Political Agreement on September 15th, 2008.

I know that you are very familiar with the events from that date. We in the MDC have abided by the letter and spirit of both the Memorandum of Understanding and the GPA. Sadly, Zanu PF was not the type of constructive and positive partner that we envisaged when we signed the GPA and therefore, the consummation of the agreement has been subject to unnecessary delays.

Nonetheless, we have consistently tabled our outstanding issues to SADC and we have remained committed to finding a negotiated settlement to the political crisis in Zimbabwe. This process culminated in the SADC summit on Monday 26th January, where the Southern African leaders made the following resolutions:

  1. The parties shall endeavour to cause Parliament to pass the Constitutional Amendment 19 by 5 February 2009.
  2. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers shall be sworn in by 11 February 2009:
  3. The Ministers and Deputy Ministers shall be sworn in on 13 February 2009, which will conclude the process of the formation of the inclusive government.
  4. The Joint-Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), provided for in the Global Political Agreement, shall be activated immediately. The first meeting of JOMIC shall be convened by the facilitator on 30 January 2009 and shall, among other things, elect the chairpersons;
  5. The allocation of ministerial portfolios endorsed by the SADC Extraordinary Summit held on 9 November 2008 shall be reviewed six (6) months after the inauguration of the inclusive government.
  6. The appointments of the Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney General will be dealt with by the inclusive government after its formation
  7. The negotiators of the parties shall meet immediately to consider the National Security Bill submitted by the MDC-T as well as the formula for the distribution of governors: While we felt that these resolutions do not represent an acknowledgement of all our issues, they do represent significant concessions on the part of Zanu PF and a recognition by SADC that our demands are justified as a first step towards a sustainable solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.

Our National Council's meeting today was therefore convened to evaluate the party's position in relation to the inclusive government. The concessions made by Zanu PF incorporate four out of the five outstanding issues. These four issues are the allocation of Provincial Governors, the National Security Legislation, Constitutional Amendment 19 and the breaches to the Global Political Agreement.

Thus, the parties have agreed on the sharing of Provincial Governors portfolios and have already met to begin negotiations on the allocation formula. Similarly, with regard to the National Security Legislation, the negotiators have met to discuss the draft bill submitted by the MDC.

It is clear therefore that these two issues are subject to negotiation and therefore constitute work in progress. It is hoped that the work in progress will be concluded to the satisfaction of all the parties as soon as possible.

The third issue relates to Constitutional Amendment 19. The MDC has insisted that Constitutional Amendment 19 is enacted by parliament and signed into law prior to the swearing in of the Prime Minister and this has been agreed to by the parties as reflected in the SADC communiqué.

On the issue of the equitable allocation of ministerial portfolios, SADC reiterated its position from November 9th, 2008 and expanded its commitment to review the allocation of all ministries, not only Home Affairs, within six months of an inclusive government being formed.

On the breaches to the GPA and the MOU, SADC resolved that the Joint-Monitoring Implementation Committee (JOMIC), is established to review and reverse these breaches. This committee comprises four members from MDC-T, four members from MDC-M and four members from Zanu PF.

However, the MDC is concerned that the issue of the unwarranted and illegal abductions and detentions of MDC members and other democratic activists needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and to this effect, the MDC will ensure an end to the persecution of all Zimbabweans.

In light of these resolutions, todays's debate centred around two issues:

Firstly, what will allow us the best opportunity to continue to pursue our goal of achieving a free, democratic Zimbabwe in line with the roadmap from our Congress of March 2006? and;

Secondly, what is the best way of alleviating the suffering of the Zimbabwean people, stabilising the economy and restoring and retaining some semblance of a normal society?

Let us make no mistake, by joining an inclusive government, we are not saying that this is a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis, instead our participation signifies that we have chosen to continue the struggle for a democratic Zimbabwe in a new arena. This agreement is a significant milestone on our journey to democracy but it does not signify that we have arrived at our destination – we are committed to establishing a democratic Zimbabwe regardless of how long that struggle takes us.

We have the majority in parliament, we control all the main urban councils and many rural councils, we will have control of 13 ministries and a presence in the key decision-making bodies of the executive.

Throughout the course of our deliberations today we referred to, and were guided by, the road map that we established for ourselves in March 2006, namely - negotiations, a transitional authority, a people driven constitution and fresh, free and fair elections.

In this respect, the National Council resolved that through joining an inclusive government in line with the GPA and the SADC resolutions the party will be able to achieve the following:

Therefore, in accordance with the party's constitution, the political agreement we signed on September 15th 2008, and in the best interests of the welfare of all Zimbabweans the MDC has resolved to form an inclusive government with Zanu PF and MDC-M.

The success of this inclusive government is dependent on many factors including the goodwill of the parties involved, the support of the people of Zimbabwe and the continued engagement and vigilance of SADC, AU and the broader international community in ensurinhg that all parties are bound by the letter and spirit of the GPA and the commitments made at the last SADC summit. In this respect, the party shall continue to monitor the implementation of the agreement, in particular in shall assess and review its position in the inclusive government after 6 months in line with the SADC resolutions.

Now is the time for us to put aside our political differences , to prioritise the welfare of the people in both our policies and our actions and to focus on stabilisation, development, progress and democratization. In this I know that we have the support of the vast majority of Zimbabweans, both in Zanu PF and the MDC, in the civil service,the workers and the business community and we look forward to working with you to rebuild our great nation.

In conclusion, I would like to note that in this struggle we have not been alone. I wish to acknowledge the commitment and perseverance of SADC to finding a negotiated solution to the political crisis. In particular, we have had the unwavering support of our regional allies who have stood by us and our democratic ideals throughout this process and we are grateful for their solidarity.

We would like to acknowledge the support and solidarity that we have had from trade unions, civil society and democratic peoples' and governments all over the world. We appreciate this support and know that we could not have come this far without them.

Most importantly of all, we have had the support of the people. A people who have stood by their right to live in freedom, with access to jobs, health care, education and prosperity in such a principled and peaceful manner.

I would like to appeal to all these forces to continue to support us in whatever decision we take because the struggle is not over, our commitment is not lessened, our vision is not dulled and our resolve has not been weakened.

We will deliver a New Zimbabwe to the people.

The struggle continues.

I thank you

** Morgan Tsvangirai's statement on the Resolutions of the Party's National Council Meeting at Harvest House was circulated by Press Release on 30 January 2009


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Zimbabwe leaders form fragile coalition
Morgan Tsvangirai, the main opposition leader in Zimbabwe, addressing supporters outside his party's offices in Harare on Friday. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/The Associated Press)

JOHANNESBURG: After months of resisting intense pressure from leaders across southern Africa, Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, announced Friday that he would do as they have insisted and join a coalition government as prime minister with his nemesis, President Robert Mugabe.

The opposition party's decision to form a government with the ruling party, ZANU-PF, will usher in a new phase in its decade-long struggle against Mugabe, 84, and his despotic rule. "Zimbabwe is mine," Mugabe declared only recently - and so it has been since he took power in 1980 and so it has remained since June when he claimed victory in a bloody, discredited presidential runoff election against Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai now faces the daunting job of reviving Zimbabwe's moribund economy and rescuing an increasingly famished, sick and impoverished population with a partner whose security forces have viciously beaten him and thousands of his supporters over the past two years and abducted and allegedly tortured dozens more in the last few months.

Acknowledging the ambivalence of many in his Movement for Democratic Change about the choice made Friday, Tsvangirai said in a statement that the fight for democracy "is neither easy nor straightforward and often we have had to change the fronts on which we wage the struggle."

Political analysts said Tsvangirai risked the isolation and scorn of South Africa, the regional powerhouse, and other neighboring nations if he had pulled out of the deal they supported.

But the decision of the most influential leaders in southern Africa to push for a power-sharing arrangement in response to an election their own monitors concluded was neither free nor fair has stirred deep unease beyond Zimbabwe's borders.

The president of Botswana, Seretse Khama Ian Khama, said in a rare interview Monday - just hours before he entered marathon negotiations in Pretoria on the Zimbabwe crisis with heads of state from across the region - that allowing leaders to hang onto power through negotiated deals after fraud-ridden elections, as in Kenya last year and now in Zimbabwe, set a terrible precedent.

"These power-sharing agreements are not the way to go on the continent," said Khama, whose government is the only one in the region now openly and bluntly criticizing Mugabe's party for intimidating, attacking and killing its opponents. "You can't have a situation where a ruling party, when it senses it may lose an election, can then manipulate the outcome so they can stay on in power."

The hunger for change in Zimbabwe was manifest Friday in the throng of thousands that gathered outside Harvest House, headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change, as word spread that the party was deciding whether to work with Mugabe.

When Tsvangirai came out and stood on the bed of a pick-up truck, with a bullhorn in hand, the crowd fell silent waiting for word of his decision and a wave of cheers and screams rose from them when he said he would be prime minister, said his spokesman, Joseph Mungwari.

Tsvangirai had signed a deal with Mugabe in September to form a government, but then refused to join after Mugabe claimed all the ministries that control the repressive state security forces, including the police.

In the current deal, at the insistence of the Southern African Development Community, a 15-nation regional bloc, and against his earlier position, Tsvangirai has agreed to leave Mugabe in control of the army, the intelligence agency and to share with him control of the police. Mungwari said the party was confident that it would get legislation adopted that places the state security services under the supervision of all the parties, including a small breakaway faction of the opposition that holds the balance of power in Parliament.

He also predicted that by Feb. 11, when Tsvangirai is sworn in as prime minister, the authorities would release the dozens of opposition and human rights activists who have been abducted since October and are now languishing in filthy, overcrowded, cholera-ridden prisons.

But asked whether Tsvangirai would join the government even if the imprisoned are not freed and the legislation is not passed, Mungwari declined to comment.

Diplomats and opposition officials who have spoken with Tsvangirai said he felt a sense of urgency about joining the government because of the extremity of human suffering in the nation. It worsens by the day. A cholera epidemic is still out of control. More than 60,000 people have contracted the disease and more than 3,100 have died since August.

And the economic crisis has worsened so suddenly and sharply that the number of people needing food aid in the next two months has risen to seven million from five million of the country's 12 million people, the United Nations World Food Program said Thursday. The UN agency is cutting its monthly rations - already insufficient - in half to 5 kilograms, or 11 pounds, of corn a person, hoping the hungry can scavenge enough in wild fruits and other foods to survive until the next harvest.

"People will certainly be more malnourished and vulnerable to disease than if they were getting a full ration," said a spokesman for the food program, Richard Lee. The rations have been cut because of the increase in those needing food, he added.

The United States and Europe have for years prevented famines in Zimbabwe with huge infusions of food aid, but their willingness to lift sanctions on Mugabe and top members of his regime and to infuse substantial new aid for the reconstruction of the country will not come automatically with the formation of a coalition government, diplomats said.

British and U.S. officials said they would be awaiting evidence that democracy, human rights and the rule of law were being respected.

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US 'skeptical' about Zimbabwe power-sharing

23 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States said Friday it was "a bit skeptical"
about whether the Zimbabwean opposition and President Robert Mugabe would
finally carry out a power-sharing deal sealed in September.

"I've seen the reports about this agreement, but as you can understand, we
are a bit skeptical. These types of things have been announced before. The
key is always implementation," State Department acting spokesman Robert Wood

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Friday he will join a unity
government with Mugabe, more than four months after they agreed to do so in
a bid to end a crisis stemming from disputed elections nearly a year ago.

"What's important here is actions and not words, and we want to see real,
serious power-sharing by the Mugabe regime. So I think the jury is still out
on this one," Wood added.

He said the various sanctions imposed by the United States on members of the
Zimbabwean government should not be lifted immediately.

"One of the things we will continue to do is to try to help deal with the
humanitarian situation on the ground...," Wood said when asked if the US is
waiting for a power-sharing government to function properly before it
considers lifting sanctions or offering an economic recovery plan.

"But (President Barack Obama's) administration is going to be looking to
see, once there is, you know, a government in place that reflects the will
of the Zimbabwean people, to see what more we can do with regard to giving a
jump-start, a boost to the economy," he said.

"But let's wait and see what happens before we go forward," he said.

Heeding a call by southern African leaders, Tsvangirai told reporters after
a meeting of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that he will be sworn
in as prime minister on February 11.

During a crisis summit in South Africa early this week, the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), which has long been trying to persuade the MDC
to enter government with Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, urged the feuding parties
to implement the power-sharing agreement by mid-February.

The 15-nation bloc maintains that the accord signed last September remains
the best chance of pulling Zimbabwe out of a political and economic crisis
since disputed polls in March but it has been held up by disputes over key

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UN welcomes move for unity government in Zimbabwe

Africa News
Jan 30, 2009, 18:08 GMT

New York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed on Friday the decision
by Zimbabwe's main opposition party to join President Robert Mugabe's
government following five months of a political rift.

Ban said in a statement that Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader
Morgan Tsvangirai was complying with an agreement reached last September and
the recent demand by the Southern African Development Community heads of
state for a government of national unity in Zimbabwe.

'The secretary general calls on the new government to take all necessary
measures to address the humanitarian and economic crises in the country and
respect democratic freedoms,' the UN said.

The MDC voted Friday in 'full unanimity' to join Mugabe's Zanu-PF party,
ending its previous demand for a more equitable power-sharing deal with

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Miliband: Zimbabwe Government Will Be Judged On Its Actions

LONDON (AFP)--U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Friday that he
hoped a power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe could work, but warned the new
government would be "judged on its actions."

"We look forward to seeing the details of the agreement," Miliband said in a
statement. "The new government will be judged on its actions, above all by
the people of Zimbabwe."

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
said Friday that he would join a unity government with President Robert
Mugabe after nearly a year since a hotly disputed election in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai said he would be sworn in as prime minister Feb. 11.

The U.K., the former colonial power, has been highly critical of Mugabe's
policies in Zimbabwe, where 3,000 people have died of cholera and inflation
runs at 231 million percent.

Miliband said Zimbabweans had been "denied the government they deserve."

"The failure of Robert Mugabe to honor the will of the people for change has
been at the heart of Zimbabwe's crisis," he added. "Today's reports of a
power- sharing agreement need to be seen in this context."

He said that, as the new premier, Tsvangirai should be "given the chance to
lead change."

"It is our hope that the parties can make it work and it is their obligation
to deliver the change and reform that their people demanded last March,"
Miliband said.

"The international community will be looking for the government to
demonstrate, through its actions, a clear commitment to reform."

This includes the release of political prisoners, an end to political
violence and a "clear roadmap" to the next national elections, Miliband

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

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Zimbabweans celebrate as Morgan Tsvangirai joins Robert Mugabe's government Thousands of Zimbabweans celebrated in the streets of Harare on Friday when Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, formally announced that he will join President Robert Mugabe in a coalition government.
Zimbabweans celebrate as Morgan Tsvangirai joins Robert Mugabe's government
Morgan Tsvangira prior to addressing hundreds of people gathered outside the party's offices in Harare Photo: AP
Zimbabweans celebrate as Morgan Tsvangirai joins Robert Mugabe's governmen
Morgan Tsvangirai at a press conference in Harare Photo: AP
Zimbabweans celebrate as Morgan Tsvangirai joins Robert Mugabe's government
Morgan Tsvangirai prior to addressing hundreds of people gathered outside the party's offices in Harare Photo: AP

This landmark decision, first reported in The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, came after months of talks and could herald momentous change.

Mr Tsvangirai will become prime minister, in accordance with a power-sharing deal signed last September, and the Movement for Democratic Change's two factions will hold 16 of the 31 cabinet posts. Many of Mr Tsvangirai's supporters are genuinely hopeful and a crowd gathered outside the MDC's Harare headquarters to cheer their leader.

Riot police soon arrived, but instead of wielding their truncheons, the officers grinned as the opposition supporters gave them an open-handed salute – the MDC's official symbol.

"We are unequivocal, we will go into this government," said Mr Tsvangirai, ten months after he defeated Mr Mugabe in a presidential election and deprived the ruling Zanu-PF party of its parliamentary majority for the first time. "We are entering this government to save the country from its problems. Let's be committed and move together, let's unite as the people to save this country."

Mr Tsvangirai should be sworn in as prime minister on Feb 11, with a new cabinet formed two days later. But Mr Mugabe will stay on as president, despite his defeat in last year's election, and Zanu-PF's extensive power network will remain in place.

Mr Tsvangirai had refused to join a coalition unless one of his allies became home affairs minister, a job which controls the police. He did not win this concession. Instead, Zanu-PF and the MDC will share this post, according to a vague formula that may prove unworkable.

During the months of deadlock, Mr Mugabe seized the chance to reinforce his power. Last month, he reappointed Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank, for another five-year term.

Mr Gono, who one diplomat called the "destroyer of Zimbabwe's economy", has been a central figure in the country's collapse. Under his leadership, the Reserve Bank has printed money with abandon, helping to cause hyperinflation and wreck confidence in its decisions.

By keeping Mr Gono, Mr Mugabe may succeed in shutting the MDC out of economic policy and blocking reforms, even if an ally of Mr Tsvangirai becomes finance minister.

If Zimbabwe's economy is to recover, outside support will be indispensable. For as long as Mr Gono remains, however, Western donors will be deeply reluctant to fund the new government.

By drawing his opponent into the cabinet, Mr Mugabe will seek to neutralise and discredit him. Observers questioned the wisdom of Mr Tsvangirai's decision.

"It's a situation of trying to make the best out of a bad deal and in the absence of a sustainable Plan B," said Sydney Masamvu, from the International Crisis Group. "This situation has got two centres of power from the outset, it's not that Mugabe is a ceremonial president, Mugabe is an executive president and Morgan is an executive prime minister. It will be very difficult to make that government work. It will need compromise and I don't see this government having the capacity to implement far-reaching reforms. An inclusive government is just to lower down the boiling temperature in the country. At best the role of this government is to prepare for the gracious exit of Mugabe."

As well as the cholera epidemic, which has now claimed more than 3,000 lives, more than half of all Zimbabweans need food aid. Britain and other Western countries will be asked to recognise and fund the new administration. David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, said the government would be "judged on its actions".

A diplomat said: "Everyone knows the theory of this agreement, we're not quite sure how much Morgan has got out of Mugabe and we suspect it's less than he's letting on."

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DAVOS-INTERVIEW-S.Africa to help rebuild Zimbabwe - president

Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:41pm GMT

By Emma Thomasson

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 30 (Reuters) - South Africa will help rebuild
Zimbabwe once a unity government is formed there next month and hopes
investors will return quickly, President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Thursday.

"This stage is really critical in terms of achieving political stability and
the first step towards the economic recovery of that country," Motlanthe
told Reuters at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in the Swiss Alpine

"We could very well establish a (joint commission) so our ministeries could
cooperate in terms of that economic recovery plan," he said.

Regional leaders decided at a summit on Tuesday that a unity government
should be formed next month, finally implementing a September power-sharing
accord between Zimbabwe's rival parties that has been stalled over the
allocation of key cabinet posts.

Zimbabwe's economic meltdown has been worsened by a cholera outbreak which
has killed nearly 3,100 people and infected some 59,000 across the
country -- the worst death toll in Africa in 15 years from an outbreak of
the normally preventable disease.

The United Nations said on Thursday that unemployment in Zimbabwe was 94
percent. Food and fuel are in short supply. The last official inflation
rate, for July 2008, was 231 million percent.

Motlanthe said the first priority was to invest in infrastructure as the
cholera outbreak was largely the result of burst pipes.

He noted that remittances from Zimbabweans working in neighbouring South
Africa were keeping the country going, and said he was optimistic about
Zimbabwe's recovery because the country's people were among the best
educated in Africa.

"Once the political situation has stabilised, it will create an environment
in which investors can come back," he said.

The Davos meeting has focused on the global financial crisis and Motlanthe
said South Africa's economy had also been hit.

"We are already feeling the impact of shrinking demand," he said, adding the
plight of the world car industry was hitting demand for platinum, hurting
his country's mining industry.

Africa should invest more in infrastructure during the downturn so that
"when the global economy gets onto an upswing, Africa can participate more
meaningfully," he said.

Motlanthe said progress on the long-running Doha round on freeing up global
commerce was critical to head off fear of rising protectionism, but added:
"The devil is always in the detail."

Motlanthe, a former trade unionist, was appointed caretaker president after
the ruling African National Congress ousted Thabo Mbeki amid party
infighting in September last year. (Editing by Tim Pearce)

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Snap analysis - Zimbabwe faces major struggle, despite deal

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change decided on Friday to join a unity government with President Robert Mugabe, party leader Morgan Tsvangirai said.

Here is an indication of what could happen next in once prosperous Zimbabwe, suffering a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis.


Mugabe and Tsvangirai, due to become prime minister, could now face a new struggle -- reaching a compromise on economic policy to ease daily hardships and persuade Western donors that reforms are on the way so that they pump money into the country.

The battle lines are clear.

Mugabe has said he will stick to what critics say are policies that have ruined the once promising economy, such as his seizures of white-owned farms for black Zimbabweans, which decimated the agriculture sector. He plans to hand over control of foreign-owned firms, including banks and mines -- to locals, a move that worries investors.

Nationalisation is the last thing they want.

Tsvangirai is promising the world that he will usher in a "New Zimbabwe" with free-market policies to end massive hunger and jobs for a country with an 80 percent jobless rate.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF party introduced some reforms in a national budget unveiled on Thursday, including scrapping price controls and officially allowing the country to use multiple foreign currencies in place of its almost worthless Zimbabwe dollar.

The opposition says the budget falls far short of the radical measures needed to turn around the economy.


The long battle over who controls the most powerful ministries is one indication that hard days lay ahead.

Analysts say Mugabe's cryptic body language, sometimes relaxed, sometimes unyielding, belies a man permanently seeking to outfox opponents who seem far less confident.

Mugabe, in power since 1980, has been sending mixed signals on how far he is prepared to compromise.

Tsvangirai, who is untested in government, has appeared tense. He has been trying to drive a hard bargain for what he calls "a good deal with a bad guy", but he has failed to achieve some of what his party wanted and fears he could be stabbed in the back by Mugabe at any time.


Mugabe's Western foes will take a fresh look at Zimbabwe, maintaining caution while analysing his grip on the new government.

They want guarantees of democracy before committing the billions of dollars needed to get Zimbabwe on its feet again.

Economic reforms will also be vital in persuading Western powers to step in with assistance, particularly given the fact they are so stretched with their own problems.

Countries such as former colonial power Britain and the United States have called on Mugabe to step down and their long-held suspicions of the veteran leader may keep them away.

But if the money does not flow in, Mugabe might be able to portray that as a failure for Tsvangirai and the idea of sharing power.

Zimbabwe boasts the world's second biggest platinum reserves, an educated workforce and a population hungry for long-denied goods and service. Foreign companies, especially form neighbouring powerhouse South Africa, will be keen to invest, although not until they see clear signs of change.

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Kenya, Senegal leaders say Zimbabwe's Mugabe must go

By Emma Thomasson
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Leaders of Kenya and Senegal cast doubt on
Friday on whether a unity government will work in Zimbabwe and said
President Robert Mugabe must go.

Zimbabwe's opposition MDC executive has endorsed party leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's decision to join a unity government with Mugabe, Movement for
Democratic Change sources said on Friday.

But Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, a former opposition leader who
agreed to share power after post-election violence last year, questioned the

"It is the time for Mr. Mugabe to be shown the door. If he is to be given a
safe exit ... so be it," he told a meeting at the annual World Economic
Forum of businessmen and political leaders in this Swiss ski resort.

"If he needs a golden handshake, let's assure him of a golden handshake," he
said, referring to severance packages sometimes offered in the world of

Senegal's president, Abdoulaye Wade, said an impasse had been reached in

"If Mugabe does leave power... he could come to Senegal. We need to provide
a smooth exit for him," Wade said.

The decision by the MDC executive to back Tsvangirai on Friday increases the
chances of implementing a long-stalled power sharing deal seen as a way to
tackle the worsening economic and humanitarian crisis.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe defended the agreement reached by
southern African leaders on Tuesday that a unity government should be formed
next month.

"We are more keen to take our cue from the people of Zimbabwe themselves...
rather than try to impose on them our own solutions," he said.

"This time we have the political basis for a breakthrough in Zimbabwe ... If
we undo that and present no practical alternative it means we are
perpetuating the deterioration of that country."

But Odinga said an African Union summit next week should take a tougher
stance on Mugabe.

"The African Union has let the people of Zimbabwe down," he said. "Africa
needs to stand firm."

Motlanthe rejected Odinga's idea for a peacekeeping force to help bring in
humanitarian assistance and end a crisis in which more than 3,000 people
have been killed by a cholera outbreak and more than half the population
needs food aid.

"No two countries are exactly the same. We shouldn't generalise the
experience of Kenya," he said. "Peace is by far cheaper in terms of
resources and human lives than even the cheapest of wars."

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Committee set up to monitor power-sharing pact

By Tichaona Sibanda
30 January 2009

ZANU PF and the two MDC formations on Friday set up a body which will
monitor the parties' compliance with the Global Political Agreement, signed
on 15th September last year.

Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the deputy secretary general for the MDC-M,
told us the committee was inaugurated at a ceremony at the South African
High Commission in Harare.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the Joint Monitoring Implementation Committee
(JOMIC) would deal with issues of compliance and monitoring of the GPA, as
well as grievances and concerns relating to the unity deal.
JOMIC has 12 members, four from each of the three parties. It will be
co-chaired by all the parties.

On the committee will be:
MDC-T: Chairman, Elton Mangoma. Plus; Elias Mudzuri, Tabitha Khumalo and
Innocent Chagonda.
MDC-M: Chairman, Welshman Ncube. Plus; Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga,
Frank Chamunorwa and Edward Mkhosi.
ZANU PF: Chairman, Nicholas Goche. Plus; Emmerson Mnangagwa,  Patrick
Chinamasa and Oppah Muchinguri.
Speaking at the launch of the committee, Sydney Mufamadi, a member of the
South African mediation team that pushed the unity deal forward, said the
formation of JOMIC demonstrated the commitment of the parties to ensure that
what they agreed to does come to pass.
But observers have expressed much concern at the 'hard' men representing
ZANU PF on the committee, particularly Emmerson Mnangagwa. The United
Nations issued a report in 2001 that showed that Mnangagwa was the architect
of commercial activities for ZANU PF, controlling the illegal plunder of the
One veteran of Zimbabwe's independence war also said: "He's a very cruel
man, very cruel."

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Biti dismisses rift reports as madness

January 30, 2009

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary-general Tendai Biti
on Friday dismissed as "madness" reports linking him to a faction opposed to
veteran MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Several publications reported this week that Biti, Tsvangirai's third in
command was leading a faction that was opposed to joining Zanu-PF in a
coalition government, a decision which the party endorsed Friday.

The reports said an internal rift, which is alleged to have been in
existence since the party's boycott of the presidential election run-off
last year, had widened after Tsvangirai made concessions at the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) summit, which was held in Pretoria
early this week.

But a visibly angry Biti on Friday dismissed the allegations and reports of
bad blood between himself and the party's popular leader Tsvangirai saying
responding to such allegations would legitimize the claims of an internal

"I don't give legitimacy to madness," said Biti.

Defending his own publication of the story, Zimbabwe Times editor, Geoffrey
Nyarota, said the story about the rift, which was well sourced from within
the MDC was "sadly true".

"I personally have it on very high authority within the MDC that there was
serious division in the party over the issue of joining the GNU after
Tsvangirai indicated to the SADC that his party would join," Nyarota said.

"Leading the opposing camp was none other than Biti himself. My own highly
placed source said he was on Biti' side. It is strange that Mr Biti waited
for the outcome of Friday's meeting before making this statement. He should
have dismissed the story as madness soon after it was published on Tuesday."

On arrival back from Johannesburg on Wednesday Tsvangirai appealed for unity
within the MDC.

"It's a historic decision we have to make," Tsvangirai said referring to
Friday's meeting of the MDC national council , "and I hope that the party
will be united in insuring that we respond to the needs on the ground and to
the expectations of Zimbabweans."

Nyarota said, "Tsvangirai would not appeal for unity within the MDC if there
were no signs of disunity.

"Now is the time for all Zimbabweans to join hands in an effort to make the
GNU work, now that the MDC has decided to join government. This is not the
time to start looking for scapegoats for our errors of judgement yesterday.
We all make mistakes, even with the best of intentions."

Tsvangirai on Friday announced that the MDC had agreed unanimously after its
national council meeting to form a coalition government with President
Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Tsvangirai was mobbed by supporters outside Harvest House as he departed
after the meeting. He said the MDC would write a letter to SADC restating
its position on the equitable and fair distribution of ministerial
portfolios and demanding the unconditional release of all abducted party and
human rights activists before February 11, 2009.

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Mliswa urges last-minute farm invasions

January 30, 2009

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Fresh farm invasions have been witnessed in Mashonaland West
province as frustrated Zanu-PF supporters try to grab pieces of land before
the inception of an all inclusive government by Zanu PF and MDC in two weeks

The invasions are said to have been instigated by Themba Mliswa, the Zanu PF
secretary for Lands in Mashonaland West province at a provincial meeting for
A2 farmers in Chegutu on Wednesday.

Witnesses told The Zimbabwe Times that Mliswa openly told Zanu-PF supporters
who were still holding on to offer letters that they risked not owning any
farms in their lives if they did not forcibly take ownership of land before
February 11.

Mliswa, a staunch supporter of President Robert Mugabe, told the farmers
that it would be difficult to occupy their land when MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has been sworn in as Prime Minister.

A recent SADC Extra Ordinary Summit resolved that Tsvangirai shall take oath
of office on February 11.

"On Thursday there was a Zanu-PF meeting for A2 farmers in Chegutu," said
Collin Cloete, a commercial farmer in Chegutu.

"The A2 farmers were complaining that they could not obtain inputs from
government but the agenda immediately switched from that of trying to obtain
inputs to that of fresh farm invasions.

"Mliswa said if anyone had offer letters for any of the farms in the
province, they should hurry up and grab the farms before February 11 because
it would be difficult to do so when Tsvangirai takes up office.

"They were told to harass the farmers until they left.

"Also present at the meeting was the Chegutu District Administrator, one
Mariga and the Lands Committee, Clever Kunonga."

Witnesses say Mliswa openly threatened with dismissal any police officer who
dared stop the Zanu PF supporters from invading white owned farms.

There were some police officers who attended the meeting who did not mumble
any word of dissent.

Hardly a day after the order, Downs Farm, a dairy farm near Chegutu which
belongs to one Wayne Seamen, was invaded on Thursday by Tendai Chasauka, who
is Grain Marketing Board general manager in Chegutu.

Chasauka is said to have taken three trucks full of Zanu-PF youths to the
farm where he ordered the farmer's workers to remove the cattle from the
farm as he was now the new owner.

The owner of the farm, Seamen who is reportedly away in England where he is
attending to his sick wife, is among several white farmers who have court
orders protecting them against any interference.

The farm manager who tried to resist the invasion was reportedly assaulted.

Out going Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi denied any knowledge on fresh
farm invasions.

"I do not know anything like that," he said.

"If there is any such thing, my guys on the ground have not briefed me about

"Maybe the ministry of lands and resettlement may know something but I have
not received anything like that."

Commercial Farmers Union director, Hendrik Olivier confirmed the incident.

"We are very concerned about this and we hope this does not spread to the
rest of the country," said Olivier.

"We welcome the political settlement that has been reached by the political
leaders on the formation of an all inclusive government but that political
settlement is not helpful if it does not bring stability in the farms.

"We need farms to stabilize so that we can continue with our business."

Last month, the Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, said he was going to
proceed with the prosecution of all commercial farmers acting in breach of
government's order to vacate gazetted land.

This was in spite of a November, 2008 ruling by the SADC tribunal barring
government from continuing with its eviction of the commercial farmers.

"We wish to advise that the policy position taken by the government pursuant
to the judgement handed down by the SADC tribunal on the 28th of November,
2008 is that of prosecutions of defaulting farmers under the provisions of
the Gazetted Lands (Consequential Provisions) Act should now be resumed,"
Tomana said in a letter to Gollop and Blank law firm, dated December 18,

Tomana is an avowed "proud" supporters of the ruling Zanu PF, which
instigated the farm invasions in 2000.

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Exiled Roy Bennett returns to Zimbabwe

30 January 2007
By Violet Gonda

Three years ago in March, Roy Bennett left Zimbabwe under cover of darkness,
after he was accused of plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe. In 2004 he had
also spent eight months in jail for pushing ZANU PF's Patrick Chinamasa in
parliament. But on Friday Bennett flew into Zimbabwe from South Africa for
the crucial meeting of the MDC National Council, which made the decision to
finally form a unity government with ZANU PF and the second MDC formation.

Speaking on the eve of his departure Bennett told SW Radio Africa he was
very apprehensive. He said: "To tell you the truth I am scared because I don't
know what faces me on the other side." But Bennett felt he wanted to be part
of this important occasion and also 'test the sincerity and genuineness of
the Mugabe regime."

And early Friday morning the MDC's National Treasurer passed through airport
security without any hassle, with one of the security officers merely saying
to him: "Oh, it's you Mr Bennett."

He went straight to the meeting where the National Council committed itself
to the unity government. It is believed this decision came after serious
pressure from SADC, which had said it would guarantee and deliver the
process, with the government formed by mid February.

Bennett, who was a commercial farmer before he was violently driven off his
land in Chimanimani, said: "I find it as difficult as the next person to
even begin to trust these processes, but there has to be a starting point of
moving this forward on the basis that people are suffering and on the basis
that SADC has guaranteed this process."

He added that within SADC the MDC has friends, who believe a power sharing
government can be delivered

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Daily cholera update and alerts, 30 Jan 2009

 Full_Report (pdf* format - 107.4 Kbytes)

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

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

A. Highlights of the day:

- 451 cases and 17 deaths added today (in comparison 1493 cases and 69 deaths yesterday)

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

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

- Gweru City revised number of cases from 208 to 205

- Harare City BRIDH revised figures for 27.1.2009 (4450 cases were reported instead of 4350)

- Cumulative Institutional Case Fatality Rate 2.1%

- Daily Institutional Case Fatality Rate 2.03%

- New areas affected: Tigerrife in Kwekwe (59 cases and 4 deaths) a disused mine with no water and sanitary facilities.

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Drastic action needed as Zimbabwe cholera hits 60,000: WHO

by Peter Capella Peter Capella - 2 hrs 44 mins ago

GENEVA (AFP) - The World Health Organization on Friday called for drastic
national and international action to tackle Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak,
after the number of victims soared past the worst case threshold of 60,000.

The death toll in the outbreak since August 2008 reached 3,161, out of
60,401 recorded cases, according to the WHO's most recent update released
here on Friday.

Eric Laroche, a WHO assistant director-general, warned that the outbreak
would continue unabated unless "political differences are put aside,"
impoverished Zimbabwean health workers are paid, and the country's health
system is bolstered.

"The challenge ahead is enormous, unless we have an extraordinary reaction
we are not going to make it, and we are going to have to come back here to
explain to you why we are going to have than 60,000 people dying," Laroche
told journalists.

International and local partners were supporting Zimbabwe's health ministry
in tackling the disease, and the technical facilties were there, he

"But unless drastic action is taken by all players in this crisis, more
Zimbabweans will succumb to the outbreak, and other countries in the
southern African region will face the continued threat of spill over
epidemics," LAroche added.

Zimbabwe has been paralysed politically since disputed elections last March,
with President Robert Mugabe and the opposition failing to implement a
power-sharing deal amid a worsening humanitarian crisis.

However opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Friday his party will join
a unity government with Mugabe next month, heeding a call by Southern
African leaders.

The UN's health agency estimates that about half of Zimbabwe's population of
about 12 million are at risk from cholera because of poor living conditions.

When one percent of that vulnerable population is infected, like now, the
outbreak reaches the WHO's "worst case scenario."

Laroche told journalists: "We need money, that is the first thing."

The WHO wants to set up a five million dollar trust fund to help pay health
workers in Zimbabwe who are either unpaid or inadequately so with rampant

"How do you distribute the money when there are no more banknotes or access
to the banking system, This is the next challenge," Laroche added.

Zimbabwe's finance ministry scrapped foreign currency restrictions on
Thursday to prop up the ailing economy, which is in the grip of world-record
inflation last officially set at 231 million percent.

The move would allow Zimbabweans to legally use foreign money alongside the
local dollar.

The rainy season is expected to help nurture the waterborne disease,
especially in provincial areas that are struggling with rising death rates

After initially affecting mainly towns and cities, the disease is spreading
in the poor, underequipped rural areas that are also hard to cover,
explained Claire-Lise Chaignat, of the WHO's cholera task force.

A growing proportion of people falling ill and dying out of reach of health
care in rural areas.

Three times more deaths are being recorded in their communities rather than
within health facilities, according to the WHO.

Meanwhile, the overall fatality rate is about five percent instead of the
one percent the agency regards as "acceptable."

Meanwhile, the United Nations revealed that it had not received any
international funding yet for its overall 567 million dollar humanitarian
appeal for Zimbabwe this year.

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Mukoko bail hearing postponed again, as legal games continue

By Lance Guma
30 January 2009
Zimbabwe's political rivals agreed to a unity government on Friday, but for
abducted and detained activist Jestina Mukoko nothing changed for her as
Justice Anne-Marie Gowora postponed her bail hearing. The former ZBC
newsreader faces extremely dubious accusations that she attempted to recruit
MDC insurgents to train in neighbouring Botswana. The claims have been
widely discredited and dismissed by everyone as nothing more than an attempt
to justify a crackdown on any opposition to the regime. But with ZANU PF and
the MDC going into a power sharing deal it had been expected the lame
charges against Mukoko and over 30 other activists would at the very least
be dropped in a sign of goodwill.
The legal technicalities thrown up in all the cases have ensured the state
succeeds in holding the activists in custody for as long as possible. On
Friday Justice Gowora said the defence had to file a written response to the
issues raised by state in opposing bail for Mukoko. Almost 3 months into her
abduction and detention the Zimbabwe Peace Project Director is still to be
charged for the offences Mugabe's regime claims she committed. In a cruel
twist of events the state is claiming that a bail application cannot be
heard because Mukoko has not been charged yet. Defence lawyer Harrison Nkomo
said they would file the requested written response on the same Friday. The
case will now be heard on Monday.
With over 30 MDC and civil society activists facing a range of charges,
Mugabe's regime has ensured a messy legal game with applications and
counter-applications at the magistrates, High and Supreme Courts. Last
Friday the prison service failed to produce Chris Dhlamini and 6 others, for
a remand hearing at the magistrate's court. Defence lawyers said they were
given no explanation for the no show. Dhlamini, the MDC director of
Security, and Ghandi Mudzingwa, a former aide to Morgan Tsvangirai, also
face dubious allegations of bombing trains and police stations. Pascal Gonzo
who worked with fellow abductee, Jestina Mukoko at the Zimbabwe Peace
Project, is facing allegations of assisting some activists to evade arrest
by the police.

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Abductees Daily Update
Friday, 30 January 2009
•    High Court Judge Justice Anne-Marie Gowora on 30 January 2009 postponed the hearing of a bail application by Jestina Mukoko and Concillia Chinanzvavana and Five Others pending an appeal hearing at the High Court to 02 February 2009 saying the defence lawyers should first file a written response on issues raised by the State against the accused’s quest to be granted bail. Gowora requested defence lawyers to respond to preliminary arguments raised by the State questioning whether the High Court should entertain Mukoko and Concillia Chinanzvavana and Five Others’ bail application when they have not undergone remand proceedings.

•    Later in the day defence lawyers file their responses in compliance with Judge Gowora’s request. However, Gowora indicates that she might not be the one who will preside over Monday’s bail application hearings and another Judge could be allocated to attend to the bail applications.

•    At the Magistrates Court magistrate Gloria Takundwa remands Jestina Mukoko to 09 February 2009 at the request of defence lawyers as her Constitutional Court challenge is still pending at the Supreme Court.

•    Magistrate Takundwa orders that Fidelis Chiramba, Violet Mupfuranhewe and Collen Mutemagau be taken to the Avenues Clinic for examination and treatment and be returned to Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

•    Takundwa says if the police indicate that they don’t have fuel to facilitate the transportation of the three to Avenues Clinic defence lawyers must provide.

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Water management reverts back to local councils

By Tichaona Sibanda
30 January 2009

Robert Mugabe's regime decided Thursday to restore management of water
supplies to local authorities from next month, after the disastrous period
in which the government parastatal, Zinwa, failed to supply clean water to
many cities and towns resulting in the worst cholera outbreak in Africa for
15 years.

In a speech to parliament during presentation of the Budget in Harare,
acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the government had 'noted
Zinwa's incapacity to deal with the water crisis.

It was in 2005 that the government decided to hand over water management to

 'Zinwa and local authorities should begin the process of smooth handover
and takeover transfers. Given that water reticulation infrastructure in some
major urban centres has become obsolete, government will be working with the
respective local authorities in mobilising resources for the rehabilitation
of such infrastructure,' Chinamasa is quoted as saying.

In his budget Chinamasa said that in order to address the water and sewage
challenges, government will set aside US$31,2 million in both urban and
rural authorities. He said US$12, 9 million would go to Harare's City

There were also proposals to allocate US$4, 3 million to cater for upgrades
at Morton Jaffray Water Works, as well as US$1 million for pipe replacement.
A further US$135 000 would be allocated to the Bulawayo City Council for the
rehabilitation of boreholes and upgrading of the treatment works.

The government U-turn to give water management back to city councils will
come as a huge relief to millions of urban residents who have long been
critical of Zinwa's inefficiency to deal with the water crisis.

Where the millions of US dollars are supposed to come from is anybody's

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Thousands to fast Sunday, in solidarity with Zimbabwe

By Alex Bell
30 January 2009

As African leaders meet on Sunday for the 12th African Union summit taking
place in Ethiopia, thousands of people from across the world will be joined
together in solidarity with Zimbabwe's suffering people - by fasting for the

The global fast campaign has seen more than 26 000 people from 179 countries
across the world commit themselves to fasting on Sunday, including people
from 27 countries across the African continent and in countries as far away
as Argentina, Burma and Papua New Guinea. The campaign has been organised as
part of the Save Zimbabwe Now campaign that was launched to mobilise change
in crisis weary Zimbabwe. The campaign, which comprises a coalition of human
rights organisations and individual activists, has already seen several high
profile South African's pledge to a series of rolling hunger strikes.

Former anti-apartheid activist and honorary President of the World Alliance
for Citizen Participation, Kumi Naidoo, is almost two weeks into his 21 day
hunger strike, which he took over from Pastor Raymond Motsi from the
Bulawayo Baptist Church. Pastor Motsi swore off food earlier this year for
21 days in personal solidarity with Zimbabweans, a move which prompted this
wider action. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela's wife, Graca
Machel, have also sworn to hold off food one day a week, and on Sunday will
be joined by thousands of people in the planned global action.

Naidoo is expected to travel to Ethiopia this weekend to address the African
leaders congregating there for the AU summit, about the Zimbabwe crisis.
Naidoo and other member of the Save Zimbabwe Now campaign, have vowed to
continue the series of hunger strikes until tangible change is witnessed in
Zimbabwe, and have been putting pressure on African leaders to be
responsible for such change.

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Gono urges adoption of rand as currency

January 30, 2009

JOHANNESBURG (The Star) - In a moment of total and utter economic distress,
Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono has recommended that the rand
be informally adopted alongside the Zimbabwean dollar as inflation reaches
an all-time high and the local currency an all-time low.

Gono's recommendation is one of a litany of remedies he outlined in the form
of a 105-page recovery plan for the failed state, a document he claims he
has not authored but which experts say could only be the work of "the
worst central banker", as one wit put it, complete with the shallow depth of
analysis that has become Gono's hallmark. It's not uncommon for developing
or transitional economies to formally or informally adopt a second currency.
It happened during the years of the Great Depression in the US when the
scarcity of the greenback led to the emergence of barter organisations,
local groups of needy folk who issued their own "private money", or
bartering certificates, as a second currency.

It was a system replicated many years later in Argentina when locals tried
to stave off the crippling recession of 2002, the same year the US dollar
was also adopted as legal tender alongside the peso in an all-out bid to cap
inflation. Ecuador had adopted the dollar two years earlier, El Salvador in
2001. In fact, there are few markets in Latin America that are not
quasi-dollarised today.

In the former Soviet bloc, Ukraine and Kazakhstan allowed the US dollar to
circulate illegally alongside their failing currencies in the 1990s, much
like Zimbabwe has been doing in recent years when both the rand and the
dollar could be easily had for a quick nod in the right direction. Today
they are the preferred currencies over the valueless Zim dollar. And it's a
far cry from the time of independence in 1980 when there was near parity
between it and the greenback, a time when Z$1 was worth US$1,50.

Today the exchange rate between them is near unfathomable, with
Z$100-trillion equivalent to US$30, or about R300. The collapse of the
currency comes with hyperinflation, now the second highest in world history
according to November figures, although Harare-based economist John
Robertson suggests it has already broken all records. He calculates that it
is in the sextillions, a rate that forces prices to double in a matter of
hours and the cash in one's hand to devalue before the opportunity to spend
it presents itself.

"Against this backdrop, it is imperative that the economy informally adopts
the rand alongside the Zim dollar," the report reads. "The economic
relationship between Zimbabwe and South Africa makes the rand the naturally
obvious currency of choice to anchor the Zimbabwean dollar." Although the
offices of SA Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni and Finance Minister Trevor
Manuel say they have not been approached by their Harare counterparts to
grant permission to extend the rand northwards, neither man would say what
they might do if such a request is put to them in the future. But whether or
not this is the work of Gono, and "the thinking of the inner circle" as
Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Tendai Biti puts it, it
does make valid the question about the effect such a move would have on the
rand, a currency that devalued by 29 percent against the US dollar last year
and got off to a poor start this year amid global economic turmoil. "The
Zimbabwean economy has already been 'randified'," Robertson points out. "The
only difference is that they are now coming down from illegal to legal
circulation." So, the implications for South Africa will be negligible.

It is a view that's echoed by Steve Hanke, an applied economist with the
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and author of Zimbabwe: From
Hyperinflation to Growth, who adds that "if viewed in a narrow
profit-and-loss point of view, it is extremely profitable for South Africa",
through seigniorage, the revenue a central bank earns from issuing a
currency whose face value exceeds the cost of printing or minting each unit
of it. It is something that has worked very well for Washington, with 65
percent of all US dollars now circulating beyond their own borders without
it dragging down in value.

Victor Munyama, an economist with Standard Bank, also believes an informally
randified Zimbabwean economy could only be beneficial for South Africa, but
for different reasons. He feels that it would facilitate trade between the
two countries, echoing the view of the report that "South Africa is
largest trading partner". However, that presupposes a world in which
Zimbabwe returns to its healthy manufacturing levels of the 1990s.

This would require a workable political settlement, in the absence of which
Zimbabweans will continue to turn to South Africa for basic goods, of which
some have already been in short supply for the past few years. The shift in
South Africa's social classes in recent times, when more and more people
increased their spending power, led to such a demand on basic goods and food
items that things such as breakfast cereals, washing powders, pastas and
biscuits became critically scarce in 2006 and 2007, with the hangover
lasting through to 2008. It was also during 2007 that the country imported
less food and agricultural products than it exported, a year when more and
more Zimbabweans turned to our border towns to get by when their own
supermarkets ran dry. And if more rands are now set to continue chasing
somewhat scare goods, it could have an adverse effect on our own inflation
rates, of which food items are typically a big driver.

So it will ultimately put pressure on South Africa to adjust its
manufacturing levels accordingly. Beyond that, the only real adverse effects
for this country would come with the formal adoption of the rand in
Zimbabwe, which Gono says will never happen in his lifetime. "The Zimbabwean

dollar will not be overtaken by any other currency, formally or otherwise,
now or at any point in the future," he told The Star just a few days ago.

"But in an informal sense, it makes little difference, to South Africa or to
Zimbabwe, what you substitute the Zim dollar with right now," says Russell
Loubser, CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. "The problem is not
monetary, it's political, caused by a regime that has steadily closed down
the country's production lines, forcing them to print money as a substitute,
which has put inflation where it is today. And now that people no longer
want to use the Zim dollar because it devalues by the hour, they are turning
to hard currencies. So (President Robert) Mugabe is choosing the easy way
out, but it's not the right way out." Hence the flight of fancy, spelt out
in the report.

Robertson - born and bred in Zimbabwe and one of the country's most
outspoken yet respected economists - is also in receipt of the so-called
recovery recommendations and although he can't authenticate the document, he
believes it fits with the thinking of the governor whose work he has
monitored over the years. "They are basically struggling with the fact that
they can't pay the public sector the currency that they need," he says. So
the document is not so much a recovery plan to restore Zimbabwe to all its
former glory - "the jewel of Africa" as former Tanzanian president Julius
Nyerere once put it - but a last-ditch attempt to uphold the regime by
keeping the civil servants onside with a steady flow of hard currency.

According to the document, the Zimbabwean government requires about
R3,5-billion a month to pay public salaries, honour the imported fuel bill,
keep the health system in working order and buy the required fertiliser and
seed to pump into the critical agriculture sector, with one third of the
overall expenditure allocated for "Other Government Requirements" - code for
either a slush fund or the defence bill, of which there is no other mention
in the report.

The author of the report goes on to identify export duties and the country's
rich resources of diamonds, gold, platinum, iron ore and chrome as key
sources of revenue that would meet monthly expenditure, and more. Based on
alleged exports "of US$1,7-billion or R17-billion" over the past five years,
the government could raise "US$510-million per annum or R5,1-billion at a
tax rate of 30 percent" in export taxes, reads the report. In addition to
that, nearly 3-billion tons of platinum are lying in the Great Dyke, while
"gross revenues from the diamond mining can exceed US$1,2-billion per
it continues.

However, as economist and political commentator Moeletsi Mbeki points out,
these stones are not as precious today as they might have been yesterday
with the world in such a downward economic decline. And even if they were,
why didn't the regime tap into them before now? It is this aspect of the
report that worries Biti most - the convoluted thinking to maintain the
current status quo and steer clear of the hitherto agreed coalition
government with the MDC. "The message is a very simple one. We don't have to
worry about Morgan Tsvangirai. We don't have to worry about the West. We
will get our money from the diamonds and the commodities and forget about
the rest of them. This is Gono at his best. He is the mother and father of
this disastrous kind of engineering," Biti argues.

It is a sobering thought to think that if both the MDC and Zanu PF had had
the maturity in September to implement the power-sharing agreement, for all
its faults and failings, the world's superpowers and main international
donors would have part-funded a new Zimbabwe through the transition period.
The amounts that were on standby then make Gono's diamond royalty figures
pale in comparison. The sad fact is that there are few, if any, donors that
would fund Zimbabwe today, not just because they have lost trust in the
shenanigans of the political players, but because today they are bailing out
their own economies to stave off recession.

They are the kind of tales that have become typical of Zimbabwe: the lost
opportunities. One can't help but wonder how different southern Africa might
have looked today with a country as resource-rich as Zimbabwe feeding rather
than bleeding the region's growth.

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Nutty Bob's loony budget

Published:Jan 30, 2009

ZIMBABWE'S acting finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, yesterday laid bare
the shocking economic shambles his country is in when he tabled his national
budget in parliament.

Health, electricity and water supply, manufacturing, mining, agriculture and
education are all comatose.

Teachers, nurses, junior doctors and other workers are on strike.

Cholera has spread to all 10 provinces and killed as many as 3000 people .

"Production is below 30percent," said Chinamasa.

He noted that corruption was on the rise.

The acting minister said Zimbabwe's problems were compounded by
hyper-inflation, which had been fuelled in part by the government's

He implored members of parliament to applaud the central bank for finding a
way out: "Debts of Z1111-quintillion were liquidated by the central bank."
There was no response.

Chinamasa confirmed the demise of the Zimbabwe dollar when he conceded that
most transactions were taking place in foreign currencies.

"Government is now allowing the use of multiple foreign currencies for
business transactions, alongside the Zim dollar," he said.

Health services and water and electricity bills would all be payable in
foreign currency.

Civil servants would continue to be paid in local Zimbabwe dollars, but
would also be given foreign-currency coupons to buy groceries .

Amid boos from the opposition, Chinamasa claimed his government would bring
inflation down to "double digits".

Its revival plans would turn the country's eight-year recession into
2percent growth by the end of the year.

Inflation was last recorded in Zimbabwe in August - at more than 231 million

Chinamasa admitted that the excessive printing of money by the central bank
and unbudgeted government expenditure were largely to blame for runaway

He said the budget was to have been tabled in November last year, but was
delayed to allow the finalisation of a unity government.

Under the new government - expected to be formed next month should the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change agree - Morgan Tsvangirai's party
will control the ministry of finance.

But yesterday, opposition members paid little attention to what Chinamasa
had to say.

Fearing embarrassment, state television cancelled a live broadcast of the
budget speech at the last minute.

Last year, President Robert Mugabe was booed and heckled during his speech
at the opening of parliament.

Yesterday, the opposition was again in a spirited mood. Its MPs rattled
Chinamasa with relentless interjections.

Speaker Lovemore Moyo, a senior member of the MDC, made no effort to control
the noisy benches.

"Mr Speaker sir," pleaded Chinamasa as the laughter and heckling continued

There was some respite for the acting finance minister when he said water
authorities had failed to "deliver on their mandate".

"Now you have spoken," shouted an opposition MP.

When Chinamasa tried to blame sanctions for telecommunications problems and
other inadequacies there was a spontaneous roar of disapproval.

The former justice minister, with no known financial background, plodded
along gamely. But as the heckling grew, Chinamasa, seemingly unaware of
irony, told opposition MPs: "You are not economists."

He said the government would remove all price controls and continue to allow
foodstuffs to be imported duty-free.

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Poverty for a few dollars more

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Foreign currency has dominion
HARARE, 30 January 2009 (IRIN) - The redundancy of Zimbabwe's local currency and the officially sanctioned use of foreign currencies is increasing poverty levels in rural areas, where most of the population live.

Transactions for services and goods are mainly being conducted in foreign currency, particularly US dollars, South African rands or Botswana pulas, after the Zimbabwe dollar crumbled in the face of a trillion percent hyperinflation rate.

Although the Zimbabwe dollar remains in circulation - with the highest denomination a Z$100 trillion note - it is shunned by shops, transport services and consumers because of its constant devaluation, and providing change to complete a transaction is a challenge.

"Dollarisation has inevitably spread to rural communities, most of which have until recently been unable to tell the rand from the pula, and that is worsening poverty in those areas," Innocent Makwiramiti, an economist and former chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), told IRIN.

"Given that foreign currency was being used minimally in most rural areas, unlike in towns and cities, it is not easy for people from those communities to adjust. The majority of them are encountering problems sourcing the foreign currency to buy commodities and paying for essential services," he said.
In the last five years, an economy already in recession contracted by 45 percent and unemployment reached 94 percent, according to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The foreign currency available to most people is usually remitted by the estimated three million or more people who have left Zimbabwe in search of work in neighbouring states or further afield in Britain and even Australia.

John Robertson, an independent economist based in the capital, Harare, commented: "Rural populations have to depend largely on the money remitted to them by relatives and friends living outside Zimbabwe and, to some extent, breadwinners who can generate it in urban areas.

But, given the fact that the economies of most of the countries that Zimbabweans have gone to as economic refugees are in recession, the future is bleak," he told IRIN.

"Dollarising an economy that for about a decade has not had any foreign currency worth talking about in the formal financial sector, tends to make the population poorer, and the situation is going to be worse in rural areas, which have been more vulnerable than urban communities during the economic meltdown."

Those formally employed - about 480,000, down from 3.6 million in 2003, according to the OCHA report - were paid in the local currency, putting goods and services sold in foreign currency out of reach.

Stella Makore, 54, a widow from Chirumanzu, a rural district in Midlands Province, travelled about 360km to Harare to get foreign currency from her eldest son, Tichafa, after borrowing US$10 for the bus fare from a local shop owner.

''It is as if the Zimbabwean dollar no longer exists. Every commodity you intend to buy is now sold in foreign currency, and most of us just stare at items in the shops because we don't have the money to buy them with''

"It is as if the Zimbabwean dollar no longer exists. Every commodity you intend to buy is now sold in foreign currency, and most of us just stare at the items in the shops because we don't have the money to buy them with," she said. "Even those selling wild fruits picked from the forests by the roadside are demanding foreign currency."

Nearly seven million people are in need of food aid, and a shortfall in donor funding has seen rations for the recipients reduced to less than half the recommended monthly minimum.

"I bartered my goat for 50kg of maize grain but have been keeping it at home because the miller demands a payment of US$2 to grind it into mealie-meal [maize-meal], since I did not have the money," Makore told IRIN.

"Very soon, most villagers will be left without livestock, since they are being forced to sell their goats, sheep and cattle at give-away prices to the traders and shop owners who have foreign currency."

Makore's other son left their home in Chirumanzu to engage in illegal gold panning in Shurugwi district, also in Midlands. His absence, despite the possibility of quick riches, has created a quandary for her because she now has no-one to help her tend the fields. Her eldest son, Tichafa, 32, a car salesman in Harare, has little foreign currency to spare.

"I have just paid US$600 demanded at my children's school, leaving me completely dry," said Tichafa, who raised the foreign currency from sales commissions. "I don't even know when I will be able to get the money to send my mother back home."


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Minutes of a meeting held in Chegutu yesterday

Date: Thu, Jan 29 at 03:20 PM (GMT-2)

There was a meeting yesterday at GMB Chegutu. Present were the DA, Mr.
Mafa - the Provincial Chairman for ZANUPF Mashonaland West, Mr Kanaga the
lands officer and Temba Mliswa who appears to be in the capacity as
Secretary for Agriculture for Mashonaland West.

The meeting was about A2 farmers who were complaining that they were not
receiving seed, fertilizer etc. At the end of the meeting T Mliswa stood up
and the following was put forward:

1. All beneficiaries in possession of offer letters are to take
ownership of their land before the 11th of February because on this day
Morgan will be sworn in.

2. They are tired of the courts dragging their heels

3. If necessary use Zanu PF youth to harass the farmers, be a nuisance
but no theif and no violence

4. Police have been informed to sit back and not interfere

5. It was mentioned that only five farmers would be left the rest will
have to get off their farms in the next two weeks

A farm in Westheim was approached yesterday by settlers who are wanting to
claim cattle and proceeds from crops that have been planted.

This morning on a neighboring farm three vehicles arrived. We'll only know
this evening further details.



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Zimbabwe: Farm Invasions Must Stop

    Written by Phil Matibe
Thursday, 29 January 2009 23:40

Zimbabwe's prime agricultural land, the very same land that was in the
hands of "descendants of colonial settlers", is now firmly in the hands of
the ZANU PF bourgeoisie. So in other words, 3400 productive white farmers
have been replaced by 160 000 sycophantic ZANU PF supporters and their
families under the model A2 programme, while the chefs' A1 model, the modern
day shifting cultivation programme, continues to remove the last pillars of
organised agriculture.

In year 2000, Mugabe mendaciously announced to the whole world that
the fast-track land acquisition models consisted of two approaches: model
A1, to benefit 160,000 of the poor from the general landless population; and
model A2 aimed at creating 51,000 black commercial farmers.

Since then Zimbabwe has been on a fast track to hyperinflation,
cholera, electoral fraud and Mugabe has Satan on speed dial.

In the first wave of fast track farm takeovers, the political elite,
"our liberators", hired bogus war veterans, gullible peasants and the
disposable youth militia to invade selected farms. Each greedy chef
essentially targeted a farm close to his rural home, to remain connected
spiritually and attached physically to his local svikiro for political
counsel, and mhondoro for agronomic advice.

The second wave of takeovers involved violently occupying a productive
farm, preferably with plantation crops, tobacco, wheat, maize or soyabeans,
ready for harvest. These desired agricultural businesses were predominantly
in the natural regions one and two and were within a couple of hours driving
distance from Harare to make weekend braais easy. It is so absurd that some
ZANU PF officials swapped farms merely based on the availability of mobile
telephone signals.

The timing of evictions is critical; first, the farmer is assured his
farm is not for acquisition, this deceptive tactic encouraged the hapless
farmer to plant. When the crops were ready for harvest, the preplanned
invasion orchestrated by the same chef, is instigated. Waving a freshly
signed Section 5 or 8, the chef takes the farm, pays the occupiers for hire
and sells the crops as his own. The chefs even exported some of the
controlled crops such soyabeans, wheat and maize, denying the nations needs.
Together, with high-value, misappropriated horticultural produce for foreign
currency kept in offshore accounts, these few incompetent and greedy
individuals charted the course for Zimbabwe's man- made starvation.

The next planting season, the same chefs with no rudimentary
understanding of the science of agriculture, received cash handouts from
Gideon Gono, inputs and equipment from ZANU PF's Operation Maguta, which
they then sold on the parallel market while the farms lay fallow in spite of
adequate rainfall patterns. The once proud 600 000 farm worker families who
used to earn an honest living from these farms are now destitute and
elongate the lines of food relief agencies.

The chef soon realises that "it does not rain mealies", and he is
allocated yet another productive farm, having relinquished the now
"unproductive farm" to his mother-in-law's third cousin's uncle. In some
cases, the chefs favourite traditional healers have been allocated farms as
a reward for providing potions that ensured the particular chefs continued
inclusion in the bloated government and ZANU PF hierarchy.

Known ZANU PF acolytes, some of whom are still evicting farmers in
2009 for their fourth round of farm acquisitions, are the same persons who
blame sanctions, sabotage by monkeys, and the manipulation of the rainfall
patterns by the West, for the dismal failure of Zimbabwe's agricultural

The seven million Zimbabweans, facing severe food shortages and
experiencing the worst famine in our history, know who is to blame for their
misery - the "few ruling elite."

Competent Zimbabweans were never allocated farms; in fact they were
removed from farms. No one need die of starvation in Zimbabwe, what is
unfolding is passive genocide and ZANU PF is culpable.

These ZANU PF common thieves and thugs are NOT farmers; there is no
hope for Zimbabwe to grow, harvest and produce food for our nation's people
until real FARMERS, black and white, go back to the fields.

Phil Matibe - Author of the bestselling book, Madhinga Bucket Boy.

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Zimbabwe: "No Time to Wait-and-See"

by Donald Steinberg
30 January 2009
After nearly a year of post-electoral uncertainty, widespread violence,
mind-spinning levels of inflation and massive economic misery, Zimbabwe
finally has a political deal, to sighs of relief but also expressions of
skepticism around the world.

Many will be tempted to second-guess the decision of Morgan Tsvangirai to
become Prime Minister and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to join a
power-sharing government as of mid-February with arch-rival and bitter enemy
Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party.

Four months of bad-faith negotiations by Mugabe to implement the 11
September political accord provided no sign that he accepts this deal as a
step toward badly needed national reconciliation.  He continues his paranoid
ramblings against perceived enemies foreign and domestic, as well as his
repressive divide-and-rule tactics.  He repeatedly describes the new
arrangement as one in which ZANU-PF remains in the driver's seat.

Even now, the deal remains dangerously vague.  It establishes two centers of
power, with Mugabe as president and head of the cabinet, and Tsvangirai as
prime minister and head of a new "council of ministers".  One key
ministry -- home affairs, which oversees the police and the electoral
process -- will be "shared" by ZANU-PF and the MDC.  Other top issues,
including the fate of Mugabe's repressive Joint Operations Command and the
tenure of his crony Gideon Gono as head of the reserve bank, are in the
"to-be-determined" column.

Yet for all this uncertainty, the entry of Zimbabwe's major opposition party
into a governing role is an encouraging and even a landmark development.  It
has the potential to restore some kind of normality to this tortured country
if all sides now move quickly forward and take bold steps to transform
promises into reality.  Even if the MDC is only partially overseeing
developments, it represents more oversight than the country has enjoyed in
years.  For example, it is difficult -- although regrettably not
impossible -- to see how a security force overseen in part by the MDC could
continue the pattern of repression now in place.

Further, the political accord brings commitments to an inclusive process
with civil society to draft a new constitution, move toward new elections,
and address dire concerns over the disastrous humanitarian situation, land
distribution, political violence, and the free-falling economy.

The international community must show solidarity with this agreement and act
quickly to shore it up.  This is not the time for foot-dragging because we
do not like all aspects of the agreement and really would prefer to see
Mugabe get his rightful comeuppance.

The world's support should be whole-hearted, but with eyes wide open.
Targeted sanctions on ZANU-PF obstructionists and others should remain in
place for the foreseeable future to ensure that all are acting in good
faith. The disbursement of large-scale development assistance should be tied
to transparent projects and credible management.

But there should be no delay whatsoever for the extensive humanitarian aid.
Further, since it will take considerable time and tough measures -- 
including reducing subsidies and cutting government positions -- to squeeze
multi-million percent inflation out of Zimbabwe's economy, steps should be
taken now to address expectations of an immediate "peace dividend."

There should be international support for emergency projects to help move
literally millions of people affected by Mugabe's displacement campaigns,
repression, and the desperate economic conditions back to their homes. This
will permit young people to return to school, health programs to take root
and local economies to revitalize. These programs should include assistance
to rebuild houses, establish micro-enterprises and reconstruct basic

The international community should help fund these immediate programs to
create jobs -- paid in hard currency -- for the unemployed, especially young

Similarly, programs to rebuild civil society groups should be launched to
reverse Mugabe's divide-and-rule strategies that have polarized Zimbabwe
over the past years and destroyed the nation-wide character of religious,
press, labor, academic, women's and youth groups. Programs to resurrect
Zimbabwe's proud legal institutions and legislature neutered under of
Mugabe's pernicious abuse of executive power.

There is little doubt that Mugabe and his ZANU-PF hardliners will try to do
everything they can to pervert and distort the power-sharing agreement to
entrench their positions, marginalize the MDC, and blame it for the
country's failings. But the proper response is not for the world to stand
back and allow the government to fail, but to embrace it tightly -- faults
and uncertainties and all. As Tsvangirai himself has said, this deal belongs
not to Mugabe or Tsvangirai or their parties, but to the Zimbabwean people.
It is they who will benefit if there is a successful government, and they
who will suffer more violence, more displacement, more cholera, and more
isolation if it falls apart.

Donald Steinberg, deputy president for policy at International Crisis Group,
served as special assistant for African affairs to President Clinton.

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It's official: The MDC has sold out

In a statement issued following a meeting of the National Executive of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) today, Morgan Tsvangirai announced that
his party has agreed to form an inclusive government with Zanu PF and the
other MDC, led by Arthur Mutambara.

This agreement has felt increasingly inevitable since the SADC summit
communiqué earlier this week. If things go according to the SADC timetable,
Parliament will debate Constitutional Amendment 19 this coming week, and
Tsvangirai will be sworn in as Prime Minister 11 February.

The sky tonight is, fittingly, dark and stormy. As the finalisation of this
deal has crept inexorably closer this week, my emotions have also been dark
and depressed. It's hard to articulate how utterly disheartening this
agreement is. Reflecting tonight, I thought that my heart has just taken the
last break it can take.

This deal is entirely detestable. In its statement today the MDC said this
didn't mean it was giving up the struggle, just taking it to a different
arena. But it's hard to imagine that the party will have much success
fighting for true democracy inside a flawed government, when it has come to
such little effect outside it. A friend of mine yesterday said he'd heard
this deal likened to putting on a dirty shirt. I said it's more like putting
on a dirty condom - smelly, sticky, damp, diseased and distasteful.

Admittedly, I don't know what other the option the MDC had. A different
party - one which was more Movement than Party might well have had different
cards to play. But the MDC lacks the capacity to lead any sort of civil
disobedience or "make the country ungovernable" movement, which might have
resulted in a different outcome. Instead, the MDC has tended towards
negotiations and legal challenges and contesting undemocratic elections.
This strategy has left it high and dry at this most recent negotiating

Yesterday, Acting Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa, himself a snake of
a man, announced the 2009 Budget Proposal - which sees the Zimbabwe economy
increasingly dollarised. City councils, taxation, plus local goods are to be
sold in forex, not in Zimbabwe dollars. How are Zimbabweans meant to survive
the latest economic and political onslaught? The future is looking bleak.

This entry was posted on January 30th, 2009 at 8:24 pm by Amanda Atwood

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Why Robert Mugabe regime must go now

tony zakaria
Daily News; Friday,January 30, 2009 @21:15

No one enjoys the role of being the one to say the atmosphere is fouled
because an elder broke wind but sometimes it just has to say it. Some people
will grit their teeth and bear the smell day in day out.

Until the family dreads the very idea of sitting for dinner with the
wind-breaker, for fear of losing appetite for dinner. Why? Because too many
decent humans prefer to be nice. There is nothing wrong with passing gas. It
is a natural phenomenon, like breathing. It is the farting in the presence
of others that is downright rude.

So go ahead and tell off your neighbour, work colleague, relative or sibling
that in your presence, they should refrain from polluting the air with
smells of rotten egg or beans, thereby causing global warming through excess
methane emission. As my friend Mitkas once told me, it is sometimes
necessary to be harsh in order to be nice.

Africa has been generally nice - read quiet - about the situation in
Zimbabwe, just like Africans have mostly been nice about the situations in
Darfur and DRC. Why stir up the dust and risk being dirtied in the process?
Let sleeping dogs lie. Problem is, when your brother's house is on fire,
yours may be next.

Like this cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe spreading to South Africa and other
neighbouring countries. Apparently the cholera was made in UK and expressly
delivered to topple a legitimately elected regime of the people's hearts.
Seriously, this pronouncement was the most ridiculous utterance from a
sitting regime since the times of mind-boggling declarations of Iddi Amin.

Someone has run down the economy of the former Monomotapa kingdom to the
ground, literally. The land that was once the envy of former Northern
Rhodesia and Nyasaland, a gravy train of international repute has recently
become an economic graveyard. The former breadbasket of East and Central
Africa is perhaps a begging bowl now.

Authorities are turning to Libya, China and other friendly countries, hat in
hand as collection plates for any helping hand that may be extended to them.
In these times of global economic meltdown, few countries can afford to
adequately cover the needs of their own people, let alone the needs of
distant lands whose economic and social wounds are self-inflicted.

How else can one describe a situation in which the local currency is not
worth the paper it is printed on? In Zimbabwe twenty million dollars cannot
buy a bottle of beer. In Tanzania if the cost of beer became just a million
shillings, no sitting MP would dare to stand for re-election.

It would be next to impossible for voters to return to power, whoever would
be the sitting president. Surely economic mismanagement is a confirmed
ticket to political oblivion in any democracy. Judging by past reports of
the United Nations system, Zimbabweans have almost always been ahead in
education compared to many African countries.

Educational advancement means the ordinary and educated can add two and two
and not get five. Yet Zimbabwe voters seemed to defy simple logic and human
sanity. In the last few years, government expenditures have outstripped
production of goods and services leading to repeated cycles of rising
national debt. By 2006, domestic debt stood at a staggering 80% of GNP.

Government continued to artificially fix low exchange rates for official
transactions, fuelling parallel exchange rates that dealt serious blows to
businesses. At the same time authorities fixed prices of commodities at
levels that discouraged production. When the official price of maize is
lower than the cost of growing the crop for example, farmers are unlikely to
plant maize in the following season.

Meanwhile, some selected plantation farmers of tobacco, maize, wheat and
those keeping dairy and beef cattle herds lost their farms to fortunate
melanin-rich brand new breed of landlords. Without the background, the
management skills and experience needed to run large farms successfully, the
new owners could not keep the plantations and ranches operating efficiently,
if at all.

The land redistribution concept that looked noble and laudable on paper
became a failure as it did not lift any significant number of Zimbabweans of
both Shona and Ndebele ancestry to economic prosperity. Not too long ago,
the regime of comrade Mugabe demolished thousands of houses in Harare in a
campaign supposedly meant to clean up the city of illegal settlers.

That must have added tens of thousands of people to the ranks of extreme
poverty. Pleas from the UN, human rights groups and well-meaning nations
went unheeded. There were allegations of political motives directed at
certain sections of society. Those made homeless by the clean-up campaign
may not have found the shelter promised.

Result? The country experienced a serious breakdown of basic social
services, chronic fuel shortages, lack of food, and acquired media-friendly
but perennially-empty supermarket shelves. Half of the population depend on
food aid. Life expectancy in Zimbabwe dropped to 35 years, one of the lowest
in the world.

Yet Zim voters went to the polls seemingly willingly, voted in the same
government whose policies and practices brought them to the situation they
are in. That election was deemed by observers to have fallen short of the
basic requirements of free and fair. Since Mugabe declared himself the
elected president there has not been peace in Zimbabwe.

Success at mediation efforts aimed at bringing in a fair power-sharing deal,
agreeable to both the forever-ruling ZANU-PF and Movement for Democratic
Change has proved elusive. The latest SADC-sponsored agreement near the Cape
of Good Hope seems destined for the hopeless dust-bin of African history. As
Yankees say, the buck stops here. And that is with the President of the
Republic of Zimbabwe.

Africans prominent and ordinary must rise up and be counted. They must
proclaim from pulpits and political platforms, media and sports arenas that
Mugabe must go now. The regime Robert Mugabe has lost its legitimacy. Time
for regime change are long gone. To keep silent is to betray the belief that
all mankind is a brotherhood and Africa is one. Thousands of Zimbabweans
will continue to die for mistakes accidental or deliberate of present
leadership if we do not speak up loudly and forcefully.

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A letter from the diaspora

30th January 2009

Dear Friends.
Today's the day! This thirtieth day of January 2009 the National Executive
of the MDC will decide whether or not to join the so-called Government of
National Unity under Robert Mugabe's presidency. 'Political analysts' have
been very vocal on the subject all week. I've never quite understood what
qualifies someone to be called or to describe him/herself as a 'political
analyst' but they certainly have an awful lot to say for themselves! They
are ready to air their opinions on every aspect of the subject; supported by
unnamed sources these political analysts seek to sway public opinion one way
or the other depending on their own political affiliations no doubt.

Like many others in the diaspora - anxious about the future of our country -
I too have spent the week trying to analyse the decision that has to be made
by the MDC. Armed with a pencil and notepad I have attempted to use my own
knowledge and understanding of the situation to list what considerations
should be taken into account before making this crucial decision for
Zimbabwe's future. Before one can even start the process there are certain
facts that have to be acknowledged. In the eleven or so months that have
elapsed since the March elections Zimbabwe and the world have changed.
Cholera has killed over 3000 people in Zimbabwe, 94% of the population is
unemployed and on Zanu PF's own admission the country can no longer feed its
own people. " We cannot eat what we do not have" said the Acting Minister of
Finance in his Budget speech And in an acknowledgement that the Zimbabwean
currency is now worthless, Chinamasa announced that price controls will be
abandoned and the Zimbabwe dollar will "operate alongside the US dollar and
the SA rand. How that will actually work is not at all clear but what is
clear is that Zimbabwe is teetering on the edge of complete collapse. That
is the reality that the decision makers have to face. In the wider world too
the economic collapse means that the so-called developed world will look
very carefully at economic help for poorer nations, let alone those that
have collapsed through gross mismanagement. Those people who thought that a
GNU would bring immediate western aid for Zimbabwe now have to think very
carefully in the light of the changed situation before they make their
decision today.
For me there are two internal considerations that take absolute priority.
One, is it the right decision for the mass of the people, now and for the
foreseeable future? No one in their right mind can believe that joining the
government will bring about an immediate change in the desperate plight of
the people but maybe, just maybe, the presence of the MDC will moderate some
of the more extreme policies of Mugabe's government. Two, the release of the
activists rotting in gaol is non-negotiable. Jestina Mukoko and all the
other activists must be brought to court immediately and either tried in
open court or released. There can be no just settlement while fellow
Zimbabweans are unjustly detained. Those as I see it are absolute priorities
before the MDC can enter into this alliance with the Mugabe regime.
Making decisions is never easy but I have found it useful to list the
arguments For and Against and then decide which side carries more weight. In
addition to reasoned argument, there is the emotional aspect which cannot be
ignored. More than anything else, Zimbabweans need to feel hope for
themselves and for their children's futures. So, why should the MDC enter
this 'unholy alliance' The first point in its favour is that the people
appear to want it, presumably because they believe that their lives will be
improved once there is a settlement. By joining a GNU the MDC will gain
experience in government and finally this is the much vaunted 'African
solution'. Whatever we may think of SADC and the AU there is no doubt that
failure to join will bring down Africa's wrath on Tsvangirai's head and give
further weight to the notion that he and his party are no more than puppets
of the west.
On the other side, Against joining is the undeniable fact that Mugabe is not
to be trusted. Bitter experience has shown us that his word means nothing.
It is a power-sharing agreement with no real power for the MDC; even in the
matter of ministerial appointments we have absolutely no guarantee that
Robert Mugabe will play fair. To join such a government will severely damage
the MDC's image. Up until now they have held the moral high ground, how will
the world and the west in particular respond to an illegitimate government
that now contains those very same people they once believed were on the side
of democracy? If the MDC decides to join, it will be seen to be an
endorsement of Mugabe's policies. It will take the pressure off his regime,
leaving him unpunished for the destruction he has wreaked on the country.
Even the MDC's majority in the House cannot be relied on, knowing how Zanu
PF operates. There is a very real danger that the MDC will become no better
than puppets of the regime unable to exercise any autonomy. Mugabe is after
all the man who has blatantly ignored the will of the people as expressed in
the March elections. Can he now be trusted to abide by the rules? Will not
Morgan Tsvangirai and this party be swallowed up in just the same way as the
late Joshua Nkomo?
These questions and so many others must be going through the minds of every
thinking person as the MDC considers the options. What will happen if the
deal collapses in a few months, what might that mean for Zimbabwe? For me,
as a Zimbabwean in the UK diaspora and longing to go home, all I can do is
hope that their decisions are guided by what is best for the people, all the
people, and not by their own dreams of power, big motorcars, handsome
salaries and lucrative perks. Having considered the arguments For and
Against and although I can clearly see the latter is the stronger side, I
have very reluctantly come to the conclusion that the MDC must go along with
this flawed Agreement. There are some small signs that their presence in
government may well find sympathisers even within the ranks of Zanu PF. The
truth is that Mugabe needs the MDC as much as they need to be part of
government. It requires, in the words of the BBC correspondent, nothing less
than a leap of faith on the part of the MDC. I believe they will make that
Yours in the (continuing) struggle, PH.

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Southern African states hold the key to convincing Mugabe to step down

Washington - Zimbabwe's longtime ruler, Robert Mugabe, is not getting a reprieve from President Obama, who is actively continuing U.S. efforts to convince the international community, and particularly Zimbabwe's neighbors, that they must not stand by as the country's people continue to suffer from humanitarian and economic catastrophe and a lack of political freedom.

The United States increased targeted sanctions against leaders and supporters of Mugabe's regime in response to the country's sham presidential runoff election in June 2008 and the failure of Mugabe to negotiate with good faith in power-sharing talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). MDC won the March 2008 parliamentary elections and its presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, received the most presidential votes, but he was forced to withdraw from the runoff election as the result of violent attacks against his supporters.

Both the Obama and Bush administrations have recognized that although bilateral sanctions have had an impact, they have not convinced Mugabe to either step aside or share power in a meaningful way. Peaceful democratic change in the landlocked country is much more likely to occur when Zimbabwe's neighbors in the Southern African Development Community take action.

U.S. leaders, including Ambassador James McGee in Harare, have pointed out that the continued deterioration of Zimbabwe is presenting significant risks to its neighbors. (See "Zimbabwe Approaching 'Failed State' Status, U.S. Ambassador Says ( ).")

The country's cholera epidemic has begun to spread to neighboring South Africa. Zimbabwe's neighbors have been challenged to absorb millions of refugees who have fled disease, economic hardship and political repression.


In a January 27 telephone call to South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, President Obama emphasized Pretoria's role as a regional leader and one of Africa's strong democracies. According to a White House statement, the two leaders discussed the situation in Zimbabwe and Obama "noted that South Africa holds a key role in helping to find a resolution to the political crisis" there.

Likewise, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has spoken with South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping. According to acting State Department spokesman Robert Wood, Clinton "is very interested in what's going on in Zimbabwe."

"We are going to do what we can, working with countries in the region, to try to put additional pressure on Mugabe to basically ... negotiate seriously" in power-sharing talks with the MDC, Wood said January 28. But Mugabe "clearly is not interested in ... an equitable solution to the political crisis in the country, and we need to see further pressure coming from the region."

President Obama named Susan Rice as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Rice has an extensive background in the African region, having served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs during the Clinton administration.

At her January 15 confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate, Rice said the Obama administration would be pressuring Zimbabwe's neighbors. She added her belief that there is potential to work with both China and Russia, which previously vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions targeting Zimbabwe, by maximizing common bilateral interests.

There is no reason why Russia and China "are unable to separate themselves from the regime of Robert Mugabe. ... Their interests no longer, frankly, coincide," Rice said. (See "U.N. Ambassador-designate Urges Cooperation Against Autocrats ( ).")


Meanwhile, the United States is working with others in the international community to try to alleviate the cholera epidemic and provide assistance to those who have been affected. The epidemic began in August 2008 and has affected all of the country's provinces, with 48,000 reported cases and 2,755 deaths from the disease as of January 22.

On January 28, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said it is consigning nearly 440,000 bars of soap, valued at nearly $365,000, to the U.N. Children's Fund. Cholera is a preventable disease, and clean drinking water and improved hygiene can help prevent it from spreading. (See "Zimbabwe to Receive $6.2 Million from U.S. Aid Agency ( ).")

On January 29, the U.S. Ambassador visited the U.N. Children's Fund warehouse in Harare to officially hand over hygiene supplies funded by USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), including 400 metric tons of soap, 10 million water treatment tablets, 30,000 water containers, and 30,000 buckets.  Humanitarian organizations will distribute the soap as part of a hygiene education program, USAID said.

The cholera epidemic occurred on top of continued food shortages in Zimbabwe, which was once a major food exporter. According to the World Food Programme, 7 million Zimbabweans, or more than half of the population, will need food assistance to survive until the next harvest in April.

USAID said it has provided more than $264 million in food and health assistance to Zimbabwe since October 2007. The agency has also pledged $6.8 million in emergency water, sanitation, hygiene and health assistance since the cholera epidemic broke out.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.  Web site:

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