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Zimbabwe's opposition wants new laws before vote


Wed 2 Jan 2008, 16:10 GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition leader said on
Wednesday his party might boycott March elections unless President Robert
Mugabe's government implements a new constitution to guarantee a fair vote.

Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the main faction of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), said talks with Mugabe's ZANU-PF to hammer out a new
constitution had ground to a halt because the ruling party wanted to delay
implementation until after the elections.

"There is already a deadlock," Tsvangirai told Reuters in an interview.

"What we know and what we believe is that a basis for a free and fair
contest is ... that there should be negotiations and those negotiations
should lead to all parties accepting that the conditions are free and fair.
Without that, it will be a unilateral position by Mugabe and not by us."

ZANU-PF and the MDC have been in talks on revamping the constitution since
June in an effort to end political and economic turmoil, and ensure future
election results are accepted by all parties.

The talks have so far yielded changes to electoral, media and security laws.
Officials from both sides say the new constitution, which has not been made
public, includes unspecified 'frameworks' to guarantee free and fair

"It is actually a contestable issue to have an election without a
transitional constitution because it is that constitution that creates the
institutions that run elections in a free and fair manner," Tsvangirai said.

Ruling party officials have said a draft constitution agreed with the MDC
could be made public this month and that Mugabe wants it to be implemented
after the elections. The MDC wants it adopted before the vote.

Mugabe has said presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in
March, but the MDC wants it pushed back to allow time to implement the new
constitution and the media, security and electoral changes agreed at the

Tsvangirai, who has accused Mugabe of rigging past elections, said that if
the deadlock can be overcome, the opposition was ready to face the veteran
Zimbabwe leader at the polls and that the fractured opposition would field a
single candidate for each contested seat.

The MDC has been severely weakened by infighting which resulted in a sharp
split in October 2005 and a crackdown by Mugabe's government that has
paralysed its structures.

Mugabe denies rigging past elections and says the MDC has lost support of
voters and fears a ZANU-PF landslide victory despite an economic crisis that
has seen inflation spiral and unemployment surge. (Editing by Phumza Macanda
and Caroline Drees)

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Zimbabwe banknote crisis spills into New Year


Wed 2 Jan 2008, 14:29 GMT

HARARE, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's banknote shortage spilled into the New
Year with desperate shoppers flocking to banks as most businesses re-opened
on Wednesday.

The southern African country is in the grips of a severe economic crisis,
blamed on President Robert Mugabe's policies and marked by the highest
inflation rate in the world, at nearly 8,000 percent.

Banknotes are just the latest addition to a long list of basics in short
supply. The country has grappled with scarcity of food, fuel, foreign
currency and electricity for years.

Central bank Governor Gideon Gono blames the cash crisis on black market
trade, especially in foreign currency.

On Monday, Gono said the economy had Z$100 trillion ($3.33 billion at the
official exchange rate but about $20 million on the black market) in
circulation after the central bank injected an additional Z$33 trillion in a
bid to ease the cash crisis.

The central bank also reversed its decision to phase out the Z$200,000 note,
which Gono says was mostly siphoned out of the banking system by black
market foreign currency dealers.

But, the move seemed to failed to ease the cash crisis as banks struggled to
cope with long queues.

"There is no improvement, contrary to assurances that this problem would go
away soon," said Patrick Shereni, adding he had been waiting for close to
four hours to withdraw some cash.

Economic analysts have said the banknote crisis could only be resolved
through sound economic policies, not piecemeal measures such as printing
more notes.

"Introducing and printing more higher-value notes will always fall short of
resolving the issue," Best Doroh, a senior economist at ZB Financial
Holdings, told Reuters.

"What's required are policies that ensure growth of the formal economy, as
opposed to the grey one, and to reduce inflation."

Gono admitted on Monday that the banknote shortage was a sign of an economy
in trouble.

"The cash situation should not be viewed as a money printing exercise," Gono

"When you see cash shortages, it is merely the end result of serious
misalignments that need to be addressed in the economy."

Critics blame the economic crisis on Mugabe's controversial policies, such
as the seizure of white-held farms to resettle landless blacks often lacking
in skills and financial resources.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis has coincided with the near-destruction of its
once vibrant commercial agriculture sector.

Mugabe, 83 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies
ruining one of Africa's promising economies and says it has been sabotaged
by western nations opposed to his land reforms. (Reporting by Nelson Banya)

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Zimbabwe Central Bank Changes Rules Again


02 January 2008

Zimbabwe's central bank has suddenly reversed some new rules it ordered before Christmas that cut depositor's access to their own money. Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA that commercial banks have received a directive withdrawing some regulations for electronic transfers.

Many analysts believe Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono is the most powerful man in Zimbabwe. He changes rules about privately-owned money without having to go to parliament, without consultation with the financial sector or commercial bankers.

State press reports indicate he does inform President Robert Mugabe and the group of security service chiefs known as the Joint Operational Command, who effectively run Zimbabwe.

Gono reveals rules changes by issuing a statement to the state-controlled media, commercial banks say they sometimes receive an e-mail that the rules have changed overnight.

The new 500,000 Zimbabwean dollar notes in Harare, 21 Dec 2007
The new 500,000 Zimbabwean dollar notes in Harare, 21 Dec 2007
He has changed the currency and rules almost continuously since he took office nearly four years ago, replacing bank notes with what he named bearer checks. The bearer checks have an expiration date, but many circulating in the economy expired more than two years ago.

Gono decides how much money depositors can withdraw and how much can be transferred electronically from accounts.

He refuses to allow the three commercial banks that have installed internet banking to extend the service to individuals. Only registered companies can do limited internet banking.

Shortly before Christmas Gono said electronic transfers needed an invoice stating for what the money was to be used. Individuals and companies were outraged and said the enormous build up of delays on electronic transfers grew until it was taking up to 10 days for them to clear.

Gono blamed the financial chaos on heavy summer rain. The central bank failed to deliver new higher value cash notes to the majority of the population who live in rural areas. It takes two of the highest-value notes of 750,000 Zimbabwe dollars to buy one loaf of bread.

Zimbabweans wait for cash outside a bank in Harare, 20 Dec 2007
Zimbabweans wait for cash outside a bank in Harare, 20 Dec 2007
Huge queues outside banks made Christmas a misery for most.

One man outside a building society in Harare, said he had queued all night and had only been allowed to withdraw 16 million Zimbabwe dollars, enough to buy a tube of toothpaste, or a small bag of rice.

Now bankers say the limit on electronic withdrawals has been increased by 300 percent, but the limit on checks remains. The central bank also says commercial banks can do electronic transfers without supporting documentation.

Many bank rules are unprecedented in Zimbabwe and apply nowhere else in the region.

Gono told the nation before Christmas that he was trying to stop the black market, accusing some people of fueling inflation and the devastating devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar. He said 63 trillion Zimbabwe dollars were unaccounted for and that he suspected some top political and business leaders of hoarding cash for black-market transactions.

But economists say the missing amount is probably in the pockets of the population, because it only amounts to about $1.5 per person.

Most of Zimbabwe's economy is in the informal market and it has become a cash economy. About 95 percent of the population does not have a bank account.

The central bank has long been one of the largest players on the black market and its officials regularly change enormous amounts of Zimbabwe dollars with international companies. This is known because the government provides receipts for the transactions.

A government commentator complained in the last issue of the state-controlled Sunday Mail that Gono had not done enough to control the wild and chaotic financial sector, which had caused misery throughout the nation. The commentator said the chaos was the result of a U.S. plot to destabilize Zimbabwe.

Human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa says banking controls imposed by the central bank as a violation of people's human and property rights.


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Air Zim told to raise standards or face deregistration

Zim Online

by Simplisio Chirinda  Thursday 03 January 2008

HARARE – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has given
Zimbabwe’s national airline up to the end of 2008 to raise standards or face
possible de-registration by the world air travel body.

De-registration would see Air Zimbabwe planes banned from Europe and other
flying zones that require IATA operational safety audit (IOSA) certification
for airlines plying their skies.

The IATA last month sanctioned an audit of operational management and
controls systems at the financially struggling Air Zimbabwe.

A German firm, Aviation Quality Services (AQS), that carried out the audit
on behalf of IATA agreed that the airline be given up to the end of this
year to address “shortcomings” in its systems, according to an internal Air
Zimbabwe document shown to ZimOnline on Wednesday.

“AQS found Air Zimbabwe personnel to be well prepared and committed, however
AQS found systematic shortcomings . . . the shortcomings require urgent
addressing of business culture on some areas,” read the document authored by
Air Zimbabwe chief executive Peter Chikumba.

Despite the shortcomings noted by auditors, Air Zimbabwe remains a member of
IATA for one year because last month’s audit was completed within the period
prescribed by the international body.

Chikumba, who expressed confidence his airline would meet the December 2008
deadline to achieve IOSA requirements, did not say what exactly were the
shortcomings identified by AQS but said the German firm would be back at Air
Zimbabwe on an initial pre-audit visit between March and April this year.

He said: “By June/July 2008 Air Zimbabwe will receive the final audit thus
allowing a good six months period for correcting any outstanding findings at
that time. This repeat audit process has been agreed with AQS as a more
effective means of achieving IOSA conformity before the end of 2008.”

ZimOnline was unable to get immediate comment on the matter from Chikumba or
the Ministry of Transport that oversees the wholly government owned airline.

The IOSA audit covers areas such as an airline’s safety and reliability
record, operational issues, engineering and cabin crew. It also covers fleet
management, qualifications of staff and many other technical issues.

Zimbabwe’s national carrier has since the country’s economic crisis started
in 2000 lost its position as one of the best airlines in Africa due to
mismanagement and interference by the government including by President
Robert Mugabe who often grabs planes to fly him on his countless foreign
trips leaving passengers stranded.

Starved of cash for re-equipment, Air Zimbabwe uses mostly obsolete
technology and equipment while nearly all its planes are between 16 and 20
years old. - ZimOnline

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White farmer gets 48-hour notice to vacate farm

Zim Online

by Lizwe Sebatha Thursday 03 January 2008

BULAWAYO – A Zimbabwean white farmer has been given a 48-hour notice to
vacate his farm or be dragged to court for resisting the eviction as chaos
on former white farms continues.

Michael Berry Jansen, who owns Xanphippe Farm in the Midlands town of
Kwekwe, has been ordered to move out of his property by Obert Mabhena, a
serving soldier, who argues that the farm was allocated to him last year.

The latest threat on the commercial farmer, one of the few remaining white
farmers in Zimbabwe, comes despite calls by Vice-President Joseph Msika late
last year to halt disturbances on former white farms.

Jansen confirmed yesterday that he had been ordered to vacate the property
or face being dragged to court for resisting the take-over of his farm.

“The soldier (Mabhena) has since moved his cattle and goats to my farm
saying he has been allocated the land. But I am contesting the take-over,”
said Jansen.

Mabhena yesterday insisted that he had been allocated the property by the
Ministry of Lands and Resettlement.

“I was offered sub-division three of the farm. I am not negotiating a
settlement with him. The courts will do their job should he resist the
take-over,” said Mabhena.

The Zimbabwean government has given conflicting signals on the state of the
remaining white farmers with Msika, for example, denouncing fresh farm
disturbances around the country.

But Lands Minister Didymus Mutasa has insisted that farm seizures will
continue until all Zimbabweans who are in need of land are fully satisfied.
Mutasa could not be reached for comment on the matter yesterday.

Last December, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal
ruled that a Zimbabwean white farmer, William Michael Campbell, should be
allowed to stay at his farm in Chegutu pending the final determination of an
appeal against the seizure of his farm by the government.

Campbell was challenging the legality of Harare’s land reforms which he said
violated the SADC Treaty.

About 600 white farmers are still on their properties after a controversial
land reform programme that saw President Robert Mugabe’s government parcel
out land to landless black villagers eight years ago.

The controversial land reforms plunged Zimbabwe into severe food shortages
with at least three million people requiring food aid from international
food relief agencies. - ZimOnline

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We will not take part in election ritual to legitimise Mugabe: Tsvangirai

Zim Online

by Morgan Tsvangirai Thursday 03 January 2008

HARARE - Fellow Zimbabweans, the situation in Zimbabwe today requires a
great deal of courage, endurance and our usual resilience.  We are stretched
to the limit.

Daily, we are fighting despondency, hopelessness and state-sanctioned
despair. I hope and pray that this is the last time our nation has to be
exposed to these trying times.

Our families have gone through the worst Christmas season ever imagined:
without food, without our own cash.

As we enter the New Year, the year of our Lord 2008, from such a severely
untenable position, I need to call on all my compatriots to make 2008 the
last post.

With schools opening in the next two weeks, the worst is still with us –
making the current cash shortages a serious humanitarian emergency and a
matter of national concern.

Our democratic struggle has cost us so much blood, directly and through
hidden human and material losses in what has become known as the social
costs of the dictatorship.

Our salvation rests in a free and fair election in 2008 under a new
Constitution. We shall vote in 2008 under a set of conditions acceptable to
all Zimbabweans.

Thousands have succumbed to an AIDS pandemic the state is unwilling to tone
down; thousands are dying of hunger and starvation; and thousands now have a
humiliatingly shorter live span, forced to depart from our soil for reasons
the Robert Mugabe regime cares less about.

The national payment system and the banking and finance sectors shall
continue to over-heat as long as our economy drifts further and further into
an artificial, haphazard and informal status.

The little that workers managed to scoop from the dwindling job market is
now locked up in banks and building societies.

The workers have had to endure an array of state regulations to claim what
is rightfully theirs: long queues, withdrawal limits and incessant threats
from the regime.

The entire nation has been criminalised. Chief executives of reputable
companies, community leaders, senior academics and members of the clergy,
together with ordinary people, have to wade through all kinds of
state-sponsored mischief and regulations to subsist.

Prices of basic goods, whenever these goods become available, are beyond
reach. Corruption has become a culture in all facets of our lives – and
nobody in authority either seems to care or have the power to do anything
about it.

Mugabe and ZANU PF are moving Zimbabwe into a Zairean situation with the
backing of a brutal and a parasitic bureaucracy as his main pillars of
support, until such time those pillars begin to give in to pressure.

By then the nation would be so weak and so confused that no one could be
held accountable for the loss of the soul of the nation.

We must stop the rot. We must deal with this situation as a matter of
urgency. We must save Zimbabwe. Into the New Year, I call upon all
Zimbabweans to mobilise for a lasting solution to the national crisis.

I urge Zimbabweans to focus on tomorrow. Mobutu kept the Zairean people
guessing about the future through constant cosmetic political changes.

What unfolded after that was chaos rather than order, peace and
tranquillity. That is why Zimbabweans must simply sit it out and refuse to

We want real change. Mugabe and ZANU PF want a false election and if we
become part of it, we become a danger to ourselves, a false hope.

We are ready to underwrite a smooth transition to end the national crisis.
That is why we support the SADC-brokered negotiations on Zimbabwe’s future.

But an unhelpful development has begun to creep in and we are deadlocked on
key issues that should enable us to cross the bridge into a new era.

In spite of the mess we are forced to live with today, ZANU PF has begun to
backtrack on some of these agreed points and is going it alone. The main
sticking points are a transitional Constitution and an election date.

We settled on the transitional Constitution following assurances that the
agreement would be implemented before the next election.

But ZANU PF is now against the spirit and content of that agreement,
insisting instead that the transitional Constitution can only be implemented
after the election. This is unacceptable.

The pace at which the transitional Constitution was to be implemented
determines the election date.

If we are serious about Zimbabwe’s future and an election whose process and
result are endorsed by all political players and the people of Zimbabwe,
then we have to follow right protocols and procedures.

The transitional Constitution already agreed to is essential in that it
helps us to set up the requisite infrastructure for a sound electoral
management system, codes for good governance and a human rights regimen
between now and the election date – key factors necessary to spur
confidence, redirect the people towards a national solution, regenerate hope
and to rally the nation to unite in handling our sensitive national crisis.

As things stand today, Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF are merely stringing along
with us, when on the ground they are already moving ahead with their plan:
selectively picking up points of agreement and shoving them onto Zimbabwe in
a piece-meal manner to present a picture of reform, at home and in SADC.

The intention is to mislead SADC into believing that a lasting political
solution was on the cards. They want to force an election in March with
cosmetic reforms and still rig the outcome through a flawed process.

That will not happen.

A lot of work is still pending to repair our voters’ roll and the
historically disputed electoral management system before any legitimate
election, with a legitimate result can take place.

We maintain that an election is impossible in the next 100 days, in March

We agreed on the need for an independent electoral commission whose task is
to register voters, delimit constituencies, bar the military and the police
from direct involvement in elections and to run the entire election.

But what is happening on the ground today defies logic.

ZANU PF has deployed the military, Tobaiwa Mudede and the CIO to mark
constituency boundaries and register voters, contrary to the letter and
spirit of the Pretoria negotiations.

We reject this form of deceit, the insincerity whose consequences are far
reaching for our bleeding nation. We refuse to engage in a ritual to
legitimise Mugabe through a flawed election.

To register our displeasure and to place our revulsion on the record, the
people are ready to express themselves for an immediate end to the cash

An exhibition of people-power shall see a speedy implementation of the
Pretoria agreement, in particular the resolution of sticky points
threatening to derail our progress.

Other options on the table, should the deadlock remain entrenched, include a
national shut-down and a series of lawful mass action activities to pull the
nation out of the deep hole.

The year 2008 provides us with abundant opportunities for a permanent
solution to the national crisis.

I thank you.

Morgan Tsvangirai


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Zim floods displace hundreds

Afrol News, Norway

afrol News, 2 January - Floods had forced 700 villagers in South-Eastern
regions of Zimbabwe to abandon their homes. The weekend floods resulted
after the Save River bursts its banks.

Helicopters have been used to deliver food supplies to the displaced
villagers of Chipinge and Middle Sabi areas who sought shelter in a
government farm.

At least 27 people reportedly drowned in what is described as Zimbabwe's
wettest December in history.

Earlier, the floods rendered 600 families homeless and killed one person and
several livestock in the Northern Zambezi Valley.

The floods have been declared a national disaster in some parts of Zimbabwe.
The government had warned people to avoid crossing flooded rivers and that
residents close to dams and lakes should monitor water levels at all times.

Floods caused by heavy rains had caused the demolition of walls in the
Zimbabwean capital Harare.

By staff writer

© afrol News

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UK supermarket embroiled in controversy over fish from Zimbabwe

By Lance Guma
02 January 2008

Waitrose supermarket in the United Kingdom could face a series of protests
from activists who are unhappy at its imports of fish from Zimbabwe. The
supermarket chain, which is part of the reputable John Lewis partnership, is
buying tilapia fillets from a company operating in Kariba. Campaigners say
the supermarket should not be flying fish for 5000 miles, from a country on
the brink of starvation. Dennis Benton from the ZimVigil in London says they
are planning to visit the headquarters of the company and hand in a petition
protesting the imports.

Other activists are threatening demonstrations at Waitrose outlets, which
stock the tilapia fillets from Zimbabwe. The company has been quick to
defend their purchases claiming the fish help meet demand for mild white
fish and spares endangered stocks of cod. They also claim to be supporting
‘native fishermen’ who are part of a co-operative in Kariba. Dara Grogan a
spokesperson for Waitrose says they source the fish from a ‘fair trade’
supplier known as Lake Harvest which pays its workers more than the minimum
wage, and provides pension schemes and medical insurance amongst other

Further investigations into Lake Harvest Aquaculture Pvt Ltd show that the
company has an office in Kariba, as well as the small European country of
Luxembourg. It remains unclear who owns the company. A UK Foreign Office
spokesman told journalists; ‘'There are no restrictions on a UK supermarket
stocking Zimbabwean produce.’

Newspaper editor Wilf Mbanga spoke to the UK Daily Mail newspaper saying;
'People are starving in Zimbabwe. There is no food in the shops, there is no
fish to be had there for the ordinary people. 'It's incredibly cruel taking
food out of the mouths of starving people. It is very ill advised of
Waitrose. It is morally wrong.’

Meanwhile Dennis Benton from the ZimVigil says the group will meet on
Saturday for the normal vigil at the Zimbabwe embassy and plan their
protests against Waitrose.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Tilapia from Kariba, Zimbabwe

Dear Sir,
It is undeniable that there are millions of starving people in Zimbabwe, and that food is scarce, but the problem is much deeper than that; the unemployment rate is around 85% which indicates that the bulk of the population is extremely poor. Even for those that are employed, the minimum wage is around US 50 cents per month at the more realistic un-official "parallel" rate. The export of the high grade fillets is beneficial to the local community of Kariba in that, as a by-product of the production of skinless and boneless fillets, the remainder of the fish is a highly sought after source of protein food that is available at an affordable price. Furthermore, without the export market, the fish farm would be unlikely to remain in viable production as the cost of whole fish is beyond the reach of the starving masses.
We, the people of Kariba, on the shores of Lake Kariba, where the fish are farmed, are grateful to Waitrose for their contribution to our well-being.
John Houghton
Executive Mayor, Kariba
Tel: + 263 61 2737
Fax: + 263 61 2933
Mobile: + 263 11 423372 or + 263 912 565163

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Democracy: Africa's elusive dream?

New Zimbabwe

By Dr Alex T. Magaisa
Last updated: 01/03/2008 04:24:39
THE year 2007 has passed on and with it, the hopes and dreams of a
continent. Like the relentless waves of the sea, each year comes and goes,
eating away the coastline, each time taking off a piece of the fragile land.
For Africa, the annual passage of time seems subtract the dreams and
expectations of a people who have known little peace.
For the best part of a decade now, there has been much preoccupation with
Zimbabwe and its escalating failures, as the antithesis of the democratic
movement seemingly sweeping across Africa. Yet, right across the continent,
the script remains familiar, disappointment and despair at the apparent
failures to measure up to the democratic standards and descent into chaos
and violence following such failures. When all is considered, it would
appear that the year 2007 was no more than the harbinger of pain, misery and
despair for the continent.

2007 witnessed a number of elections but four earned the greatest attention.
First, March saw a chaotic national election in Nigeria. Though condemned
for the violence and alleged cheating, the new President Yar Adua appears
now to be firmly in place.

Second, as the year drew to a close, Kenya held national elections – equally
chaotic, very violent and more allegations of cheating. The third, was the
smaller but equally significant election for the leadership of the ANC, the
major political party in South Africa. The other, was the election that
never was – the (non) contest for the leadership of Zimbabwe’s ruling
party – Zanu PF.

All four countries matter greatly to Africa. Until now Kenya has been
regarded as a relatively peaceful nation with the biggest economy in East
Africa. The 2002 election, which displaced KANU, then the ruling party,
appeared to have ushered a new wave of democratic spirit. If that was a
symbol of hope, the 2007 election represents despair. Hundreds of people
have perished from the violence unleashed in response in the wake of a
hotly-disputed election. The erstwhile messengers of democracy, feted in
2002, have become the ultimate villains merely five years later – an
indication, if any was needed, that democracy is not signified by the mere
event of the election but is a process whose success must be measured over
time. Too much celebration too soon over the event of the election as the
signal of democracy is a grave error that often leads to great despair.

Nigeria is a major economic power, being the biggest oil producer in Africa
housing Africa’s largest population . The previous eight years, commencing
with a major election that ushered transition from military dictatorship to
civilian rule had seemingly brought much hope for democracy. But the
disputed election in Africa’s most populous country has blighted its
democratic credentials. Yet, perhaps, because this is a great source of oil,
electoral irregularities have not affected the ‘international community’s’
view on the legitimacy of Nigeria’s new government. It is these
inconsistencies that blight the West’s interventions in African politics
when it attempts to lecture on democracy and human rights.

South Africa is the continent’s economic superpower. Touted optimistically
as the “Rainbow Nation”, it has represented enormous hope both politically
and economically. President Mbeki has presided over what is regarded as a
successful economy. His presidential term does not run out until 2009 but in
December 2007 he, humiliatingly, lost the presidency of the ruling ANC
Party, to his political nemesis, Jacob Zuma.

Zuma is a man who faces criminal charges centring on corruption and more
recently, faced the ignominy of being tried on charges of rape, during which
he testified that, in order to prevent HIV-infection, he had taken the
unlikely precaution of having a shower after intercourse. On the one hand,
the election demonstrates some measure of internal democracy within the ANC.
On the other hand, for sceptics who are suspicious of Zuma’s credentials and
capabilities, notwithstanding the favour he enjoys among the ordinary
people, it confirms their fears that, sometimes, even the ‘right’ democratic
structures can produce the ‘wrong’ result.

Zimbabwe is Africa’s formerly golden child, rich in promise but has more
recently fallen on severely hard times. The year 2007 is memorable for
stubborn continuity, for an election that never was. 2008 represents an
election that may only be significant to the extent that it represents yet
another wave that eats away the dream of democracy.

Unlike his South African counterpart, President Mugabe has presided over the
demise of an economic power. His presidential term runs out in 2008 and it
was hoped by most neutrals that he would pass on the baton for another to
try to revive the fortunes of an ailing nation. But in December 2007, he was
endorsed as the ruling Zanu PF party’s sole presidential candidate in the
2008 national elections.

Such is the nature of political structures and electoral politics – booting
out a president who has carried a successful economy in SA’s ANC but
retaining another who has presided over the downfall of an economy in
Zimbabwe’s Zanu PF.

The trouble is that democracy in Africa has centred squarely on the event of
the election. Elections matter, of course, because they represent the
legitimate forum of succession in political governance. But it is this very
event that has caused great despair because of the way it is managed, which
invariably tends to favour the incumbent and disadvantage the challenger, so
that in almost every election, the challenger cries foul over allegations of
rigging and cheating. No election on the continent has passed without
allegations of cheating.

The truth is that elections can and do produce unlikely results, depending
on the persons responsible for their management. A hundred years ago, very
few countries could boast of universal suffrage. By contrast, there are many
more countries today, that subscribe to the notion of universal suffrage.
But that is no guarantee that it advances or has advanced the notion and
values of democracy. If anything, there is evidence, especially in Africa,
of elections being used as means of legitimating the power of certain
sections of society, mainly those that are already in power. Notwithstanding
that they lack any democratic values, they claim, on the basis of holding
regular elections, as in Zimbabwe, that they are democratically elected and
therefore legitimate governments.

As a measure of democracy, elections in Africa are flawed. An election alone
is no signifier of democracy. More than that, it is important to develop and
uphold the liberal values that make up democracy. One here refers to the
values of fairness, equality, respect, freedom, justice, transparency, free
enterprise and liberal economic policy, etc.

These values are dependent on the development of a particular culture that
is informed by the history of the people, certain levels of education,
economic wherewithal and aspirations. It follows that there are many other
factors, beyond the event of an election that are necessary for the success
of democracy as it is understood in most of the Western polities.

Indeed, in the West itself, the type of democracy that exists there, emerged
from centuries of political development characterised by conflict and
blood-letting. That history is essential to the way people react and respond
to particular phenomena and their approach to politics. The election is
simply a part of a much bigger process, informed by values nurtured over
time. Yet, when transposed into new territory, democracy is measured by
ticking boxes – free elections, existence of certain institutions, etc.
Because of the fixation with elections, the result sometimes, is what might
be referred to as “illiberal democracy” - an apparently democratic system
but without the liberal values and problems arise when the so-called “right”
structures produce the wrong “result”.

There is a fundamental need to devise ways of dealing with such aspects of
democracy as elections. One great problem in African politics is the “winner
takes all” approach to electoral processes. Most African countries have
particular histories that influence the demographic make-up of voters. Tribe
is clearly still an important feature in most countries. Regionalism is
often allied to the tribal factor. Even if the disaffection with a
particular political party cuts across tribe and regions, when problems
arise, tribe is always a sensitive fault-line that is easily exploited.

It is necessary therefore, to create an electoral system, whose outcomes can
more closely represent the wishes of the diverse peoples who make up the
electorate. The winners take all approach favours the majority whilst
unfairly marginalising the minority, even if, as is often the case, the
minority is a large minority. Africans must seriously consider such systems
as proportional representation and consensus-building in politics.

The other key feature is the general poverty of the ordinary members of the
public, so that in times of trouble, they have little or nothing to protect
and instead find opportunities in the ensuing chaos to grab property from
those that have it. It follows therefore, that people must have property to
protect from violence and disorder, property here encompassing aspirations.
Because where the majority lack an incentive to protect property, they are
often driven to violent acts to express their anger and dismay at the
electoral system – such approaches affect, not just the opponents but the
country as a whole.

It is therefore important, if the values that underpin democracy are to
flourish, to enhance individual economic development. There is the need
here, for those with an interest in advancing the African cause, to develop
such models of individual economic emancipation. Perhaps, when the ordinary
African has some form of economic capacity to safeguard and promote, will he
be an agent for the advancement and protection of values that can sustain a
democracy. This might well take time but it has to be done.

Dr Magaisa can be contacted at

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The crisis in Kenya leaves a guilty stain on the west

Financial Times

Monday December 31

NAIROBI - As western leaders scramble to prevent Kenya’s descent into chaos
they should find time to consider their own failure to respond to a crisis
that has been long in the making.

    Seldom has an African tragedy been signalled so far in advance. And
seldom have western policymakers been so complicit in a crisis that is
turning into Kenya’s catastrophe. For the past three years the international
donor community, led by the World Bank and supported by the International
Monetary Fund, have ignored the warning signs and knowingly backed one of
Africa’s most corrupt regimes.

    For the outside world, Kenya has been the acceptable face of Africa: a
safe destination for a million tourists a year from Europe, Asia and North
America to the country of surf and safari; a reliable base, in a tough
neighbourhood, for a burgeoning aid industry; regional headquarters for the
United Nations; and – less well-known – a country whose military pacts with
the US and Britain have made it a crucial ally in the “war against terror”.

    Kenyan politics, however, has never been healthy. It has been dominated
by ethnic allegiances, stained by assassination, distorted by one-party rule
until 1991 and, above all, oiled by endemic corruption.

    When Mwai Kibaki swept into power in December 2002, ending Daniel arap
Moi’s kleptocratic era, he was regarded not primarily as a member of the
Kikuyu, Kenya’s largest tribe. Rather, he was seen as a reformer who led a
coalition that promised clean government.

    The euphoria that united the country was short-lived. On a mid-winter
day in London in early February 2005, John Githongo, the man whom Mr Kibaki
had appointed Kenya’s anti-corruption chief, and himself a Kikuyu, chose
exile in Britain rather than staying silent at home.

    For the first time in Africa’s post-independence history, an insider was
ready to reveal how corruption worked – with evidence that included secretly
taped conversations with cabinet ministers.

    Not only were Britain and other aid donors given an opportunity to
tackle corruption, using as leverage aid that exceeds $16bn since
independence in 1963. It was also a chance to ask some tough questions about
how that money has been spent.

    If aid has worked in Kenya, how do development agencies explain the
growing pauperisation of its people? In 1990 about 48 per cent of the
population was living below the poverty line. Today, more than four decades
after independence, nearly 55 per cent of Kenyans are subsisting on a couple
of dollars a day.

    And for all the 6 per cent annual gross domestic product growth achieved
in the past two years under Mr Kibaki, the gap between the haves and the
have-nots is widening. To see the crisis only in terms of tribal allegiances
and ethnic clashes is to miss a vital element in the Kenyan picture. The
population has doubled in 25 years to 31m. Unemployment is growing, and the
number without land is growing. For these people there is nothing to lose by
taking to the streets, driven by frustration and fury that transcend their

    Alas for Kenya, the bank, the fund and leading bilateral donors such as
Britain chose not to act on Mr Githongo’s evidence. Instead, it has been
business as usual. In the case of DFID, the UK development agency, aid flows
have in fact risen – from £30m in 2003-04 to £50m in 2005-06.

    So why did the donors duck away from this unique opportunity to tackle

    The truth is, they never had the stomach for a fight. They did not
believe it was ultimately in their interests to have a showdown with the
barons of corruption. They did not want to upset what they saw as a regional
“island of stability” from which the UN and other international relief
agencies, including hundreds of foreign non-governmental organisations,
operate – a thriving business that accounts for a fifth of Kenya’s annual
foreign exchange earnings.

    Weighing in the balance are the longstanding military agreements Kenya
has signed with the US and the UK, which have assumed particular importance
since President George W. Bush launched his war on terrorism.

    Not for the first time, an African country is paying a terrible price
for the tolerance of its corrupt government by its western partners.

     The writer, former Financial Times Africa editor, is author of Last
Orders at Harrods (Abacus), set in Kenya

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Fears of Rwanda and Zimbabwe propel pressure


By Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent BBC News website

The crisis in Kenya has prompted a wave of international pressure from
governments concerned at the risk of ethnic cleansing and a descent into
chaos of what was regarded as one of Africa's more stable political systems.

The twin examples of Rwanda and Zimbabwe provide diplomats with ample
incentive to do what they can to stop the spread of violence and resolve
doubts over the presidential election.

Strategic interests

The desire is not just humanitarian. The African Union, the US and the EU
all have an interest in the stability and development of Kenya. So does
China these days.

The AU is sending its chairman, Ghana's President John Kufuor, knowing that
Kenya as a model must survive.

The model is now in doubt.

Diplomats say that Mr Kufuor will take the lead role in trying to restore
peace and order.

He will, I understand, urge both the declared president Mwai Kibaki and the
opposition leader Raila Odinga to make calls for an end to violence by their
supporters and to enter a dialogue that could lead to a government of
national unity.

Such a government is favoured by Britain.

A joint statement by the UK and the US on 2 January calling for political
leaders to stop the violence and "engage in a spirit of compromise" was left
deliberately vague in order not to appear to be dictating terms (even though
on Tuesday, the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called openly for the
sides to discuss "whether they can come together in government"). But its
aim is to get a dialogue going.

The UK is the former colonial power with close ties and some influence
there. Kenya is a major destination for British tourists.

For the US, Kenya is one of the battlegrounds against al-Qaeda. The US
embassy there was bombed in 1998. Tourist hotels have been attacked and in
one incident, an Israeli airliner had missiles fired at it.

Query over election result

The question mark over the election led to a startling comment to the BBC
from the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Wednesday: "We don't
know who won."

The implications of that are huge. It means that Britain at least, and
therefore possibly the European Union, will not recognise the right of Mwai
Kibaki to the Kenyan presidency.

The United States went into a quick about-turn when the irregularities in
the election counting were revealed by the EU's monitoring team. It
initially congratulated Mr Kibaki on his victory, with the state department
spokesman saying: "We would call on the people of Kenya to accept the
results of the election..."

Then a White House spokesman said he "was not congratulating anybody". And
finally the US and UK issued their joint statement that pointedly avoids any
support for the declared result.

There have been calls for a recount, for example by the new leader of the
Liberal Democrats in Britain, Nick Clegg. Others want an investigation into
the election count, urged by the head of the EU team, German MEP Alexander
Graf Lambsdorff.

The EU has been slow in adopting a joint position, perhaps overtaken by
events and caught in the end of year change in the six monthly presidency
between Portugal and Slovenia.

The fact that the British government chose to issue a statement with US says
a lot about British priorities and the inability of the EU to respond
rapidly to an unexpected international crisis. The more powerful foreign
policy representative proposed under the EU treaty might help but even then
he or she will have to consult widely among member governments before

Targeted sanctions possible

If the crisis continues, it is probable that there will be calls within the
EU for targeted sanctions against Mr Kibaki and his ministers, such as
restrictions on travel to EU states.

It is far less likely that aid to Kenya will be slowed or stopped as aid is
designed to help the poorest.

The IMF did cut off loans to the Kenyan government in the 1990s because of
corruption in the Kenyan government but these were later reinstated.

Nor is military intervention likely unless law and order breaks down

The Commonwealth always has an option to suspend Kenya from its ministerial
meetings, as happened with Pakistan.

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Floods Maroon Villagers, Livestock in Chipinge

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

1 January 2008
Posted to the web 2 January 2008


FLOODS have marooned villagers and drowned livestock and wildlife in Middle
Sabi, Chipinge, as heavy rains continue to pound most parts of the country.

Acting Officer Commanding Police in Manicaland Assistant Commissioner Obert
Benge yesterday said rescue teams comprising security forces and members of
the Civil Protection Unit had since been deployed to the affected areas.

Thej worst affected areas include Masimbe Village in Chibuwe, Tongogara
Refugee Camp and some parts of Mahenye.

"Heavy raining upstream resulted in Save River bursting its banks in
low-lying areas of Chipinge. The flooding occurred over the weekend with
Dakate River that runs into Save River also bursting its banks resulting in
nearby homesteads in Masimbe Village being affected by the floods. People
fled homes and sought refuge on higher ground. The same situation is at the
Tongogara Refuge Camp where the floods have marooned inmates," he said.

Asst Comm Benge said most of the affected families were failing to access
food and the rescue teams were busy taking supplies to the affected areas.

"No casualties have been reported so far but the biggest problem is that
most of the marooned villagers are failing to access food. Our teams on the
ground are making frantic efforts to take food to the affected people. There
is one helicopter from the Air Force of Zimbabwe which is being very helpful
in reaching people who are trapped in areas that cannot be accessed by any
other means of communication," he said.

Meanwhile, Civil Protection Department director Mr Madzudzo Pawadyira
yesterday said floods were also experienced along Ruya River in the Dotito
area of Mashonaland Central on Saturday.

"Three adults were marooned on an island and were later rescued by a
helicopter," he said.

He, however, said the river has since subsided.

In Muzarabani, Mr Pawadyira said a visit to the area had shown that it is
now fairly manageable since there was a lull in the rainfall activity in the

He said there were problems with tributaries that cross Muzarabani and Hoya
and also between Hoya and Chadereka.

Mr Pawadyira said a feeder river, which flows into Musengezi River, was also
posing some problems.

He said there was now at least a single reliable route to the affected
areas, which is from Muzarabani to Hoya then to Chadereka.

"This is the road which we are working on, although it is bridged at
Manzoumbunda River," he said.

Mr Pawadyira said they would be sending some cement for minor bridge repairs
to improve access to the affected areas. He said stocks of food and other
relief material would be moved to Hoya Clinic and Hoya Primary School and
Chadereka Primary School using District Development Fund tractors and

"All the affected people from Kairezi, Chimoio and Chadereka will have to
access their supplies from the said places using scotchcarts," he said.

Mr Pawadyira appealed to people not to attempt crossing flooded rivers and
those on lower ground to move to higher ground to avoid being trapped.

He said those driving should respect flooded rivers.

In urban areas, he said people should inform police and the fire brigade so
that they can come and pump out water from their homes after floods.

He said they should also use sandbags to safeguard their houses and also to
listen consistently to weather bulletins.

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Zimbabwe at the crossroads - The privatisation of the state

By Mutumwa Mawere
Wednesday 02 January 2008

The role of the West in undermining post colonial democratic institutions is
a subject that requires its own debate but is not a new subject. Many post
colonial states have found in imperialism a convenient and potent defence
against their own bad governance and human and property rights abuses.

The spin doctors of bad leaders in many of these post colonial states now
make it a habit to use terms like “economic saboteurs” to describe any
behaviour that they deem to be contrary to the entrenchment and sustainance
of misguided policies and programs.

The reasons why Africa continues to blame colonialism and imperialism for
the poverty trap that it finds itself in are multiple but the underlying
agenda in the strategy is obvious and deliberate i.e. to divert attention
from the core problems that are humanly created.

With 53 countries, the African continent remains universally challenged to
live up to the expectations of the majority of its citizens for a better
life and its leaders appear to deliberately invest in confusion politics
with citizens bearing the brunt of the abuses as if to confirm the worst
fears of the colonialists whose protracted defence of an exclusive society
was premised on the fear of majority rule that could easily be manipulated
by the dangerously wise.

We have unfortunately allowed ourselves to be abused by the few who have
monopolised state power for personal aggrandisement. The post colonial
experience has now been converted into an environment where having state
power is synonymous with wisdom and integrity. The rights that the post
colonial constitution purports to vest in citizens have now been alienated
from citizens by a cabal of individuals who have made a significant
investment in making citizens afraid of what tomorrow may bring.

In 2007, the African continent stood as one in making it possible that
President Mugabe was invited to Lisbon and in doing so the continent was
sending a message that an injury to one is an injury to all.

The consensus among African leaders is that Africa continues to be poor
because of the machinations of the West and as long as the colonial injury
exists, no African state has found itself as a friend of post colonial
justice even in cases where it is evident that the victims are not only
white. It cannot be said that the victims of post colonial Zimbabwe are race
specific given the arguments that have been advanced in the recent past
suggesting that a list exists of enemies of the state even in the ranks of
the ruling party.

At the just ended congress of the ruling party, Gono in front of his
principal make the disclosure that national interest was being compromised
by the greed of a few senior members of the party. However, even President
Mugabe could not challenge Gono to name them or even risk arresting him
until he exposes the culprits. Instead, Gono chose to threaten to expose the
alleged criminals not to the law enforcement officers but to Parliament for
reasons that are well known.

The argument advanced and widely accepted by many Africans is that the West
is up to no good and any opposition to bad governance by African citizens is
necessarily driven by non-African interests and can never be owned by
Africans themselves.

Although President Mugabe may feel vindicated, enough for him to go on
annual leave outside the country at a time when citizens have no access to
their own cash resources, that Zimbabwe’s economic and political problems
are externally engineered with angry citizens being pawns of third parties,
it is evident that no matter how much external enemies are manufactured on a
crisis to crisis basis, the problems will not run away and in the final
analysis Zimbabweans will seize the moment and take the right steps to
restore their sovereignty where it belongs.

How long can rational people blame third parties for what is patently
obvious? Even Gono has accepted that the demonetisation project was ill
conceived and yet no one can dare challenge him for fear of being exposed.
It has been confirmed that Gono has a list (a long one for that matter) of
all the people he has compromised and who would not dare refuse to be used
like Butau attempted to do. Any person who operates on the basis of
blackmail will one day be the ultimate victim of his own actions.

Having successfully convinced the African constitutency including SADC
leaders that Zimbabwe is not a victim of post colonial bad governance, it is
now apparent that the spin doctors have been at work trying to convince the
Zimbabwean public that the West has planted evil seeds in selected African
minds who mascquerade as businessmen when in truth and fact (according to
official propaganda) they are agents of imperialism bent on destroying the

In the post-Lisbon summit period, Zimbabwe has been plunged into another
inevitable and predictable crisis in the form of cash. No one could have
imagined that something that never happened in the colonial state could
visit a proudly sovereign nation like Zimbabwe i.e. citizens being denied
access to their own cash assets and banks running out of cash.

To help explain this disaster just like has happened before, the Governor of
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe who is the most visible propagandist against
the targeted sanctions regime imposed by the West came up with the expected
explanation that the cash crisis was a creation of nameless and faceless
“cash barons” without knowing that the first casualty would be no other than
his conduit, Mr. Kadzura, for a donation of Z$500,000 he made secretly to
Mr. Edgar Tekere.

The relationship between Gono and Kadzura is well established as are the
financial dealings between them to confirm that in the case of Ms. Mutekede
that was before Magistrate Mr Mishrod Guvamombe in which the RBZ and the
Police were exposed as the real forces behind undermining the interests of
the state. It was evident that Kadzura knows more than he cared to say in
court and Chiremba, the blue eyed boy of Gono, exposed how unprofessional
the conduct of the RBZ and confirmed the worst fears that criminality may
have its source right where allegations emanate from.

Gono has challenged citizens to expose his criminal conduct fully knowing
that he is in charge of all the law enforcement authorities who in any event
would not dare act on him. Evidence is plenty and even Butau must have what
Gono does not want Zimbabweans to know. What is evident is that Gono is
running out of steam and enemies outside the state machinery are now
difficult to come up with.

What is significant about the cash crisis that is confronting the Zimbabwean
economy among many other governance issues is that the finger is pointed at
other people than the state itself. While Gono chose to blame the cash
barons and used the already financially comprised Butau as the vehicle for
diverting attention, Chiramba, the official spin doctor for the President
who seems to regard himself as holier than thou and the only genuine
revolutionary, conveniently stepped in using the now familiar argument that
the West was responsible for the cash crisis.

In any normal society, Charamba would have been referred to a psychiatrist
but it has now been accepted that his boss really expects to hear that
behind every crisis in Zimbabwe, the West must be involved. In a desperate
attempt to implicate the West in the cash crisis saga, it was expected that
given that Gono had run out of propaganda currency he needed the assistance
of Charamba who may afterall be also a beneficiary like Butau of the mafia
style dispensed goodies from the RBZ.

When Gono invited himself to a Parliamentary Committee chaired by Butau
those who know him very well would have known of the trap in which Butau was
going to be the sacrificial lamb. The facts of the case are that Butau like
many Zimbabweans did not know that by being a beneficiary of Gono’s
assistance he had become a convenient instrument to be used when conditions
called for it.

Even Charamba whose views and opinions represent the President has not dared
challenge Gono even in the face of monumental policy bankruptcy suggesting
that Butau may not have been alone in the Gono compromised individuals. To
what extent Gono has corrupted the state machinery using the various
so-called sanctions busting quasi-fiscal activities will remain a secret.

Given the manner in which Gono has been using the state media to whitewash
and bamboozle the public, it may not be inaccurate to say that the President
may not be fully aware of the true nature of Gono’s operations. Butau joins
the list of targeted individuals who may know who Gono is but are easily
silenced in the name of national security.

Anyone who stands in the way is easily labelled an economic saboteur. Does
Gono have a plan for Zimbabwe? This is a question that many enlightened
Zimbabweans have already answered but it is evident that the majority of the
citizens are in the dark when their future is being mortgaged and wasted by
the corrupt few.

In an unprecedented manner, Charamba was reported to have caused a stories
to be published by the Herald on Saturday entitled: “Govt raps West for
sheltering fugitives” and another one published on Tuesday, 1 January 2008,
entitled: “Zimbabweans outraged at UK’s harbouring of fugitives” in which he
attempts to blame the Western countries for the cash crisis. He makes the
outrageous allegation that the economic problems of Zimbabwe are being
manufactured in the West because the victims of Gono’s misguided policies
have been given sanctuary in Western countries.

The entry of Gono as Governor has seen the criminalisation of many honest
Zimbabweans for political expediency. New crimes have been invented and
victims have been selectively targeted so as to protect the President from
taking responsibility for the collapse of the state. Under Gono’s
stewardship, the informal sector has grown tremendously and is now more
efficient than the formal sector that the post colonial state proudly
inherited from the colonial state.

Charamba would want the world to accept that the collapse of the state is
being engineered by external forces and he has now turned his attention on
the very victims of Gono who like many black Zimbabweans had to flee
Rhodesia to the West. Charamba may not be aware that in as much as he would
like the gullible public to believe that the West is the problem, many
Zimbabweans were given sanctuary by the West during the UDI days including
President Mugabe’s late wife, Sally Mugabe.

The list of Zimbabweans who were educated in the West during the colonial
days is long and yet Charamba would want the victims of bad policies to seek
sanctuary in African states fully knowing that Mugabe’s policies have been
endorsed unanimously by the same states campaigned for the EU to invite him
to Lisbon summit.
The victims of the government of Zimbabwe are not only white in colour but
are also black like me. After the experiences of Kuruneri and Makamba who
were remanded in prison only to be acquitted after serving time (with no
judicial involvement), Butau was right to take the position that no justice
would be served if he remained in the country fully knowing that the
barbarians were at the gate with Gono leading the charge.

It was only James Mushore who naively thought that sanity had been restored
sufficiently for him to go back to the lions’ den. He not only became a
victim but also has affected the career of the Attorney General who has
since been suspended. If Butau chose a country in Africa, then the long arm
of the Zimbabwean injustice would have caught up with him. As he rightly
said, he would risk: “rotting in remand prison for a crime he did not
Who is this Charamba? Judging from what Charamba is reported to have said,
it is evident that he thinks he is the judge, jury and executioner. He is
quoted to have said: "The criminals follow the sponsor. Increasingly, it’s
becoming apparent that we are no longer talking about mere economic crime;
we are talking about economic subversion that has the blessings of foreign
interests. When you follow the footsteps of criminals and indicted persons
this suggests a new geography of crime which connects Zimbabwe to Britain,
Australia, the US and New Zealand. And it so happens that these are exactly
the same countries which take a negative stance against Zimbabwe’s politics
of land reform."

Charamba makes the allegation that persons like, Zimuto, Makoni, Makamba,
Chekeche, Muponda, Paradza, and others including myself are pawns of the
West and are, indeed, sponsored. He and his gang are the authentic
custodians of the state---what arrogance? We have seen this kind of
irresponsible nationalism and patriotism take a dangerous twist over the
last few years and it has now become necessary to respond to this abuse.

Surely, Charamba must be smart to know that Zimbabweans are smarter than
what he wants to reduce them to. The attempt to privatise the state must be
fought with the urgency it deserves lest Zimbabwe may soon become a den of
gangsters mascquerading as state agents. When Charamba speaks one must know
that the end is near but what we know is that like Prof Moyo who is alleged
to also be on Gono’s payroll, it is important that we critically examine
what is being said and for whose benefit.

 SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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"Allow Diaspora vote, or risk protests in all Zim embassies throughout the world"-US Forum

The Zimbabwean

 Wednesday, 02 January 2008 15:17

JOHANNESBURG, (South Africa)- THE Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum, a United
States-based pro-human rights group, is making a final push to have millions
of Zimbabweans based outside the country to participate in the crucial
general election scheduled for

Plans to pressure the Zimbabwean government to accord Zimbabweans in the
diaspora this right have gathered momentum with the organization planning to
petition to all SADC embassies in the United States as well as mobilising
people to protest in Washington in February if the Robert Mugabe government
does not accord them the right to vote. Zimbabweans participate in elections
in early 2008 in the back of worsening economic and political crises with
millions in the diaspora
highly unlikely to vote."No election can ever be free or fair if the
Zimbabweans in the diaspora are denied their right to vote," said
spokesperson, Professor Stanford Mukasa."The Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum has
begun a mass mobilization of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to CLAIM their
right to vote in the next elections," he added.The Zimbabwean government,
contrary to international electoral regulations, does not accord its
citizens based outside the country to
vote.There are about five million Zimbabweans believed to be living outside
the crisis-plagued country, most of whom have fled the political and
economic malaise rocking the country.This is about a third the Zimbabwean
population-CAJ News.

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Zim refugees flood into SA causing ‘national concern‘

The Herald, Port Elizabeth


CAPE TOWN – With more than three million Zimbabweans already living in South
Africa, the average 1 000 to 5 000 illegal entries from Zimbabwe each day is
of “national concern”.

And the department of home affairs said the backlog of 144 000 asylum
applications has been caused by economic refugees who fled Zimbabwe to get
work in South Africa.

George Kruys, a research associate for the Institute for Strategic Studies
at the University of Pretoria, said “further (illegal) migration from
Zimbabwe will cause even greater hardship for many South Africans”.

South Africa‘s extensive borders and lack of control at access points mean
there is a massive infux of illegal immigrants to the country.

Kruys said official statistics showed of the 245 294 people deported in
2006, 127 097 were from Zimbabwe. More than 117 000 Zimbabweans were
deported between January and July this year alone. The monthly average of
deportation is 16 000.

Some of these sought asylum to gain temporary legal residence in South
Africa. According to home affairs, of the 3 074 Zimbabweans who applied for
asylum in the first three months of this year, only 79 were granted, because
economic migrants were not deemed eligible for asylum. Conditions at offices
for asylum seekers are reportedly “extremely bad”.

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Endemic corruption now a significant and real threat to the nation's well being

The Zimbabwean

Tuesday, 01 January 2008 09:04

 Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has been following with
the recent reported case of a "cash baroness" Dorothy Mutekede who was
caught with Z$10 Billion in new notes even before they were in wide

The case raised the inescapable presumption that there was
corrupt practice at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in releasing the cash
a non-banking entity. This needed to be investigated and a full and
explanation given in order to restore the credibility of the RBZ and
banking sector in the eyes of the public. This is especially so given
the RBZ Governor Gideon Gono has seemingly been playing a blame game
the reasons for the cash shortages and the general but quite
loss of confidence in the banking system by the public.
As it has now turned out in the court proceedings of the trial of
Mutekede, the people who wield the greatest influence in driving the
criminal prosecution system and the RBZ have seemingly chosen to cover
for the actual corrupt people in high offices and sacrificed the
The remarks by provincial magistrate Mr Guvamombe are significant as
follows "Both the RBZ and the police are defeating the course of
justice... Why
are [the police] not keen to investigate the big fish.If [the police
and RBZ]
are after the cash barons why bring "runners" like this 24 year old
It is clear that there is no way this woman could have possessed the
without getting it from the RBZ. It is clear that the money came from
RBZ. The money is talking to everyone that it is coming from the RBZ".
The remarks by the magistrate are a serious indictment showing the
lack of
commitment of the RBZ and the police to restore confidence in the
sector. They show that there is absolutely no commitment on the part
the police and the RBZ to stem out corruption in our country. If
anything they
tend in the minds of ordinary people to implicate both the police and
RBZ in endemic corruption. Such levels of corruption have seen the
sector take a spectacular collapse.
ZLHR finds itself sympathetic with the views of onlookers who have
 note of the strong insinuation by the Magistrate that the possible
  suspects in this serious corruption case have conveniently been
 forward as state witnesses in order to protect them from prosecution.
This is aggravated by the apparent unbelievable destruction of
evidence by both
the police and the RBZ. Between them they disposed   of the bank notes
that stood as necessary exhibits in order to obliterate any prospects
of a
successful prosecution. In obvious exasperation at this morally
reprehensible practice, the magistrate lamented "they have taken away
exhibits and we are left with no work to do."
This case places in serious doubt the theatric public posturing by Dr.
Gideon Gono that he is worried about inflation, the collapse of the
Zimbabwean dollar against major currencies and the general loss of
confidence by the public in the banking sector.  If anything, it
reinforces the generally held perception that the RBZ as an
institution or
influential people in it are the main drivers of hyper-inflation and
the parallel
market activities that have paralysed our national economy and put
paid any
prospects of Zimbabweans living in dignity again any time soon.
how can the RBZ's and police's conduct of not only destroying evidence
also of using the law to subvert justice by bringing to court suspects
witnesses to prevent their future prosecution be explained.
ZLHR cannot help but take note that corruption stands out as a
threat to the national economic wellbeing of Zimbabwe. It is sad to
that the people who speak populist rhetoric of nationalism,
pan-Africanism, black economic empowerment are the ones who are
driving our country to its
knees through a system of corruption, patronage, national asset
and conversion of national resources into personal assets. They in
are at the forefront of attacking human rights defenders, legitimate
opponents and other countries and blame them as authors of the tragedy
that continues to unfold with catastrophic consequences on humanity in
country. Corruption can only be effectively fought in a credible and
transparent and not in a corrupt manner. ZLHR therefore reiterates its
view that it is only through effectively fighting all forms of
impunity, the
restoration of the rule of law, respect for human rights and good
governance that this country can get back to a path of sustainable
economic recovery.
Short cuts will not work!

The comments are the views of the poster and not The Zimbabwean.


Tuesday, 01 January 2008 12:08
This case should be the final nail in the coffin as many of us have for
sometime known/suspected the RBZ to be involved in corruption. This is an
example how Africa will struggle to shake off its corrupt image as our so
called leaders continue to steal from the people and act in such selfish
greedy ways. Do they forget thatthe day will come when you have to answer to
God for your actions.Your stolen money/assests will be of no use! begs to
beleif the ignorance we have to endure...roll on March we look forward to

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Zimbabwe Civic Group Embarks on a Voter Education Program


      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      02 January 2008

Though at odds of late with the political opposition, Zimbabwe's National
Constitutional Assembly says it has launched a voter education program for
rural residents to inform them why it is critical for them to register and
vote in the elections slated for March.

NCA officials say they are organizing beer-and-barbecue gatherings where
organizers can inform rural dwellers about what they say is the manipulation
of election rules by the ruling ZANU-PF party, and how voters can overcome
this by going to the polls.

NCA spokesman Maddock Chivasa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe that his organization has taken the campaign to Manicaland
and to the provinces of Mashonaland East and Central, traditionally ruling
party strongholds.

Chivasa added that the NCA also wants to counter "falsehoods" to the effect
that the organization opposes the elections because it vehemently opposed a
constitutional amendment allowing presidential and general elections both to
be held in 2008.

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Operation Against Foreign Currency Dealers Launched

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

1 January 2008
Posted to the web 2 January 2008


POLICE in Harare have launched an operation against foreign currency dealers
who were manning almost all the streets in the city centre.

They have since deployed more details at Roadport International bus terminus
to target the illegal foreign currency dealers.

Other police details were also targeting those who have resorted to
conducting their deals in some hotels and any other places believed to be
"black spots" in the city.

Both plain clothes and uniformed police details will be conducting 24-hour
patrols in the city, as police intensify their campaign to thwart any
illegal activities in the city. In addition to normal patrols, police
details will be manning Roadport bus terminus 24 hours a day.

For the past two weeks, motorists were not allowed to park their vehicles
along Fifth Street, especially opposite the bus stop. Plain clothes and
uniformed police officers have since been deployed to patrol the entire city
centre. These are the areas where most of the illegal foreign currency
dealers operate.

According to the police, the deployments are meant to eradicate the black
market activities and bring sanity in the city centre.

Stop and search operations are also being carried out on some of the
suspected cash barons and illegal foreign currency dealers.

Some of the officers in plain clothes are working in conjunction with
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials.

Other "black spots" also being

targeted are the Eastgate Shopping Mall and White House at the intersection
of Speke Avenue and Cameron Street. These are notorious for illegal

When The Herald visited Roadport, no vehicle was allowed to park opposite
the bus terminus. MOtorists who had bona fide business at the bus terminus
were asked to use the car park within the premises.

As a result of the blitz, some of the illegal dealers have relocated to
Ximex Mall and other places within and around the city.

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Election date remains sticking point between Zanu-PF and MDC

By Tichaona Sibanda
2 January 2008

Negotiators from Zanu-PF and the MDC involved in the mediated talks, are
expected to meet in Pretoria soon to try to settle their differences over
the election date.

Robert Mugabe has said elections will go ahead as scheduled in March, while
the opposition insists the date for the polls should be considered only
after all resolutions agreed to at the talks have been fully implemented.

The talks have failed to make progress on resolving this stalemate and a
meeting between President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and the negotiators is
being planned for next week.

All the officials involved in the search for a solution to the Zimbabwe
crisis, whether representing the negotiating teams or the mediators, have
remained tight-lipped over the precise issues under discussion.

But Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro, the MDC secretary for International
Affairs, said on Wednesday the opposition would never give in to Zanu-PF’s
demand that elections be held in March. The regime is adamant elections will
go ahead in March‘even if the opposition is not prepared.’

‘It is inconceivable that elections should go ahead in March. This is the
major sticking point yet to be resolved at the talks. We also need to
monitor the other reforms to see if they are being implemented fully. There
is little time between now and March to do all this, unless if Mugabe wants
another disputed election,’ Mukonoweshuro said.

He reiterated that the MDC still wants the regional bloc SADC to oversee the
remaining process of thrashing out a deal, as the negotiating parties have
failed to resolve differences particularly over the election date and the
implementation of some of the agreements.

While the negotiating teams have reached agreement on many of the issues,
several remain undecided. Chief among them, according to the MDC, is the
introduction of a new constitution before the elections. Zanu-PF insists the
constitution will only be implemented after the elections.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Bulilima MP in Rallying Call for MDC Factions to Unite

SW Radio Africa (London)

2 January 2008
Posted to the web 2 January 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

The Bulilima MP in Matebeleland South province, Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, on
Wednesday issued a rallying call to both factions of the MDC to forge a
united front against Zanu-PF in the forthcoming elections.

The legislator from the Mutambara faction urged fellow MPs from the two
factions to swallow their pride and accept that only a united opposition
party stands a good chance of defeating Zanu-PF at the polls.

'Speaking in my personal capacity, I want to say to everyone associated with
the MDC that let's put our differences aside because there is a greater
advantage in unity that the present scenario,' Mzila-Ndlovu said.

In the last month both sides have been issuing statements confirming that
they were having secret talks in an attempt to get the factions back

But the Bulilima MP urged them to speed up the dialogue as they were fast
running out of time, reiterating that it would be a tall order to contest
the elections as separate parties.

'Unity is achievable especially if you see how Zimbabweans are suffering
under this dictatorship. So I am saying if we achieve it (unity) we will
give Zimbabweans a present for 2008. This will also come as a major
motivation for the people to turn out and vote in their millions,' he said.

Analysts believe that by forging a united front the MDC will ensure that the
factions will not split votes by fielding two candidates in each

Both factions are speaking as one at the SADC led talks, being facilitated
by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

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