HARARE, Jan 3 (AFP)
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is preparing to form a unity goverment
after firing a number of ministers from his ZANU-PF party who lost in the
March 2008 elections, state media said on Saturday.
"What I can tell you is that President Mugabe has already started preparing
an administration," George Charamba, state secretary for Information told
The Herald newspaper.
Charamba would not reveal further details about the makeup of the
power-sharing government and the exact date of its possible formation.
The US last month announced that an inclusive government in Zimbabwe was not
possible with Mugabe at the helm.
According to the paper, Mugabe earlier this week fired 12 ministers and
deputy ministers from his ZANU-PF party.
Among the ministers fired were Sikhanyiso Ndlovu who is in charge of
Information, Samuel Mumbengegwi for Finance and Oppah Muchinguri for Women's
Deputy ministers for health, and agriculture were among those who lost their
Last week Zimbabwean authorities issued prime-minister designate and
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai a new
passport to enable him to return home from Botswana.
Tsvangirai won a first round presidential vote in March 2008, but pulled out
of a June run-off, saying the violence had left more than 100 of his
Zimbabwe's three main political rivals signed an agreement in September to
form an all-inclusive government aimed at ending the country's ruinous
But the formation of the government has been delayed by disagreements over
the allocation of key cabinet ministries, such as the home affairs and local
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Efforts to form an all-inclusive Zimbabwe government
have hit a snag as the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has snubbed an invitation by President Robert Mugabe to be sworn
into office, APA learns here Saturday.
Mugabe had on Christmas Day sent an invitation to Tsvangirai asking the
opposition leader to avail himself for swearing in as Zimbabwe's Prime
Minister-designate as agreed in a power-sharing agreement signed in
An MDC spokesman confirmed that Tsvangirai had refused to join Mugabe's
coalition government, insisting that the power-sharing deal could only be
consummated once all outstanding issues were resolved.
"As we have said before, we will not be pushed into a marriage of
convenience in which we are not treated as equals," the spokesman told APA.
In a letter to Mugabe, Tsvangirai demanded a meeting between the two
Zimbabwean leaders and South African President Kgalema Motlanthe who chairs
the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
He insisted that the Zimbabwean parties would not proceed to form the unity
government on the basis of the resolutions of a SADC emergency summit held
in South Africa in November 2008.
The SADC summit recommended the co-chairing by Mugabe's ZANU PF and the MDC
of the disputed ministry of home affairs.
The MDC national council rejected the SADC resolution and insisted on sole
control of the ministry, which runs the police force and immigration
"I have written in the same vein to President Motlanthe suggesting he
convenes a confidential meeting in South Africa between you and me, under
his chairmanship, so that we can iron out these matters to the satisfaction
of all parties," Tsvangirai said.
Under the power-sharing agreement, ZANU PF will have 15 cabinet seats in the
new government, Tsvangirai's MDC 13 and three for a breakaway MDC group led
by Arthur Mutambara.
January 3, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it will
soon discuss whether to pull out or continue negotiations with Zanu-PF in
light of the continued detention of its members and other human rights
The MDC has signed an agreement with Zanu-PF and a smaller faction of the
MDC led by Arthur Mutambara to form a unity government.
The agreement followed talks, brokered by former South African president
The pact has, however, stalled as the parties fight over the allocation of
key cabinet and government posts, among other issues.
The MDC has threatened to quit the agreement following the abduction and
detention of its members, human rights activists and journalists. The
abducted people have since been brought to court.
It is unclear whether the public appearance of the activists was a result of
the threats by the MDC.
MDC national spokesperson Nelson Chamisa, told The Zimbabwe Times that his
party's supreme decision making body, the National Council, would meet soon
to decide on whether to pull out or continue to participate in the
"The national council is going to meet as soon as a date is set to make a
determination on whether MDC stays in the deal or not," said Chamisa.
The detained group of human rights, political activists includes a two
year-old child taken along with her parents. They have been in detention for
the past four weeks.
They were abducted by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), the
army and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
The activists, who include Jestina Mukoko, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP)
director, face charges of plotting to oust President Robert Mugabe.
Other MDC activists, who include Tsvangirai's former personal aide, Ghandi
Mudzingwa and a freelance journalist, are being separately charged of
bombing police stations, bridges and other key government institutions.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, currently in Botswana, has said he would
recommend termination of negotiations with Zanu-PF for the inclusive
government if the abducted persons were not freed or failed to appear in a
court of law by January 1.
"What the President (Tsvangirai) said still stands," said Chamisa. "We are
still saying that these people in detention must be released."
High Court Judge Yunus Omerjee issued an order last week compelling the
state to release the detained activists but State prosecutors have thwarted
the orders through counter court appeals.
The activists are currently in remand at the Chikurubi Maximum Security
Prison in Harare .
Lawyers representing the activists believe the government does not want to
release the activists though there seems to be no prima facie case against
"It appears they are just reluctant to release our clients though there is
clear evidence that they have no case to answer," said Harare lawyer, Alec
Muchadehama, who is part of a team of lawyers representing the activists.
"It is now a tendency that the government just chooses to defy court
Justice Omerjee had ordered that the activists be released into the Avenues
Clinic where they could be treated by doctors of their own choice, since
they had told the court that they had been tortured while in police
The mainstream MDC says it wants the police to identify the people who
brought the activists to court since the police had initially indicated they
were not aware of their whereabouts and were treating the case as
The party has also demanded that the names of the army and prison doctors
who were examining the activists be made public.
In late 2001, the local media covered a story claiming that a war veteran,
Cain Ncala had been murdered - the story was elaborate and carefully
constructed. The State claimed that he had been abducted by MDC operatives,
taken into the bush and strangled. His body was found in a shallow grave
some 40 kilometers from Bulawayo.
National television showed pictures of two MDC activists in shackles and
handcuffs showing the site of the grave to the Police. Several people were
arrested in the aftermath and eventually charged with the murder and
complicity with the murder. In front of a High Court Judge appointed by the
regime and known to be sympathetic to the regime, the State case collapsed
when the defence demonstrated that the whole case was a fabrication.
The Court dismissed the charges and all the accused were released - but only
after they had been subjected to six weeks of incarceration and
mistreatment. Below is the account of one of the co-accused in that case. It
is his personal recollection of what he was subjected to during the 35 days
he spent in Police custody and in Remand Prison.
This story is apt because this is exactly what Jestina Mukoko and others are
being subjected to right now in Zimbabwe. In late 2008, the regime decided
to concoct a story about the MDC training military insurgents in neighboring
Botswana. The objective was to discredit the Botswana Government and
strengthen a case for the declaration of a State of Emergency as a result of
which the State would ban the MDC, call off the talks and the formation of a
transitional government. In tandem with this elaborate hoax, they staged
bombings in Police Stations and at various strategic points and, although
there was no evidence, blamed elements linked to the MDC.
To support their story - distributed to SADC Heads of State by a team of
Zanu PF Ministers and security officials in the form of a 27 page dossier
with color photographs of young trainees in a camp in Botswana, State agents
(we now know they were police with CIO and others assisting and authorized
from the top) abducted at least 42 individuals and in three cases produced
film of confessions that they had participated in this training after being
recruited in Zimbabwe by MDC related individuals.
If you are going to construct such an elaborate plan why not hit more than
one target and that is how Jestina and her colleagues came it. Their crime
was to run a human rights organisation that was recording violations of
basic rights in Zimbabwe. They were picked up and were to be charged for
recruiting the people sent to Botswana for training. The main difficulty
since the plan was hatched has been the reaction of the region to all of
this. Botswana simply said to the SADC - please send a team to investigate
the allegations. They did and came up with nothing. Then, the President of
South Africa simply poured scorn on the story.
In order to carry out the scheme the regime had to violate its own laws -
and get the Courts to collude. This they have done without compunction. In
addition, to get those abducted to confess they had to torture them -
Jestina has confirmed this and in addition we know that the two year old
abducted with its mother was beaten in front of the mother to get her to
Now Morgan Tsvangirai has further compounded their problems by demanding
that those abducted be produced in Court and charged or released. South
African pressure led to them being eventually produced in Court and now the
State faces to unpleasant reality of going through Court proceedings in
public and being further embarrassed by the disclosures that are bound to
But what is also essential is for everyone to understand just what Jestina
and the others are going through and this true account of the 2001 incident
and its aftermath involving another elaborate scheme to implicate the MDC in
crimes against the State sets out that in graphic detail. I found it
difficult to read. In fact the conditions in our Prisons and Police holding
cells are much worse today than they were in 2001. Food conditions are worse
and many prisoners are dieing in Prison from hunger, disease and general
Bulawayo, 3rd January 2009
I am an MDC activist and a Zimbabwean Patriot who is committed to bringing
about true democracy in our country.
In early November 2001, I had just returned by car from a trip to Masvingo
to meet with other activists in the area in preparation for the upcoming
At 0830 hours, Monday 12th November 2001, 3 plain - clothes gentlemen
arrived at the Office and asked if I could accompany them to Central Police
Station to answer some questions. I asked them to produce identity and they
came from the notorious Law and Order Section of the ZRP, whose specific
responsibility was to use muscle in all its forms to enforce both the
archaic laws of the past and those more recently introduced, in the course
of the subversion of Justice. I knew at this time that, what I had
psychologically prepared for, and hoped would not come to pass, had
happened. I managed to quickly pass word to my assistant to urgently inform
the shadow Justice Minister for whom I work, of my predicament. I knew that
I would soon be focusing on mustering all the strength and discipline that I
would need to face what was in wait for me. My time had finally arrived.
On walking to the Central Station, I was informed that the questioning would
be in regard to the murder of two members of Zanu PF.
I was taken to the top of the building and told to sit and wait and I took
the opportunity to use my cell phone and managed to warn a work colleague of
my predicament, knowing precisely my fate. I focused my mind on all the
positives of my situation and immediately re-examined my likely timetable in
terms of the legal process - can't be held more than 48 hours without
appearing in Court, High Court application etc. The cell phone was snatched
from me and in about an hour's time, a young lawyer appeared on the scene
only to be physically forced from the room and told that he could see me at
1600 hours. The 'time factor' was already being brought into play, during
which time I was treated to the sight of scrofulous disheveled plain-clothes
Officers slopping over their food from the canteen. I was refused a glass of
Within minutes of their lunch, I was shackled by the wrist and had leg-irons
fitted and was promptly moved by armed escort to a waiting Land Rover. I
realised then that they would make every effort to deny me access to my
lawyer and various thoughts went through my mind. I suspected that I was
being taken out of Bulawayo to be hidden in an outlying Police cell, a
favourite strategy of the state thugs in control of the "law". An amateurish
attempt was made to confuse me by driving in zigzag fashion to Esigodini, 45
kilometers on the Johannesburg road.
I knew then what I faced. This station and its cells where notorious in the
genocide days of Gukurahundi when over 20 000 people were murdered by the
same regime that was attempting to put me out of action. I recall the
stories of screams from the cells where torture regularly took place.
Earlier, all my questions were refused and it was only when I was "logged
in" did I see the charge of "KIDNAPPING AND MURDER. Stripped to my trouser
and shirt, I was then moved to the cells which I could smell some 20 metres
Once my eyes had adjusted to the darkness, I counted 12 forms prostrate in
the cell which was indescribably filthy. The toilet in the corner (a hole in
the concrete floor) was overflowing with a mound of excrement over a foot
high with rivulets of fluid spreading across the floor as urine dissolved
There was only enough room for me to sit with my knees under my chin. Three
heavily fouled floor mats were available for the 13 inmates and 10 filthy
blankets stiffened with excrement and dirty bodies. There was neither toilet
paper nor water and due to the inevitable runny stomach, prisoners had to
use their hands when using the toilet and wipe them on the walls.
Opposition party graffiti scribbled with stone and cigarette stubs were in
evidence everywhere. The ceilings were polka-dotted with the blood of
engorged mosquitoes, millions of which swarmed the cell continuously. It was
like some unique wallpaper and the drone reminded me of old film footage of
bomber squadrons in a blitz.
Lunch was served ... a dirty bowl of sadza (maize meal), The prisoners were
forced to use their hands, finger nails of which were filthy for the reasons
referred to earlier. I refused the food, as I knew I probably had a long
stay in prison and that any food poisoning would deem me defenseless in
terms of contending with my situation and my captors. My fellow inmates, who
were petty criminals from the local tribal areas, greeted me warmly and
treated me with great respect and compassion, despite their lowly status.
Once they knew that I was MDC, the spirits of the group rose, as they were
all supporters of the opposition. The cell - wall graffiti testified to
this. Supper consisted of the same meal and again I declined, taking only
water from a sink, in an area adjoining the cells. It was eventually time to
bed down for the evening and an elderly tribesman offered to share his
blanket with me. The only floor space available was that alongside the
seepage of the "toilet". I had no choice but to eventually lie down on this
filthy floor and accepted the shared blanket gratefully. The mosquitoes were
so bad that the prisoners tried to cover their bodies as best as they could.
When I tried this, the stench of the blanket was simply too much, but this
was a choice between that kind of smell and that which emanated from the
oozing mass in the corner. I eventually covered my face with my shirt and
somehow slept through to the morning. When the first officer visited, I
appealed to him for more blankets and floor mats and indicated that I had
money, which I understood that I could use to buy in additional food and
cigarettes for my colleagues and me. A decision could not be made and was
referred to the Officer - In - Charge. Needless to say, he did not consent
or give any decision. Eventually, all the others were sent to Court and I
was left on my own. Lunchtime passed and no food was forthcoming, despite my
shouts in the direction of Officers coming and going from the offices some
20 metres away. They would pause, listen, turn and move on.
It was my intention to insist that I be able to phone my lawyer as was my
legal right and endeavor to buy some food. At this stage, I would have been
happy to be fed sadza if other dirty hands were not in evidence at mealtime.
I was completely ignored throughout the day and in the early evening
(suppertime) I began to realise that I was to be abandoned, at least for the
time being. At all times, I remained positive albeit in a disciplined sense
and knew that somehow, Justice would be done and that someone would find me,
before my captors realised that they would be able to deal with me in the
usual manner. It is a matter of fact that torture and brutality had become
the order of the day. Eventually I managed to attract the attention of a
cleaner as I was tall enough to peer out of a top window into a Courtyard,
where he was working.
He was obviously nervous but realised my predicament. At this stage, I was
now thirsty and although empty, was not hungry, as the stench was enough to
put one off one's food. I thought at the time that there is a reason for
everything and a good reason at that - filthy stench, no hunger pains. It
was now some 48 hours since the last time I had a proper meal other than a
very light breakfast at 0630 hours on Monday morning. I continued to try
and attract the attention of passing Officers, and they all ignored me.
Eventually, the cleaner "worked his way" towards me so that he was not
noticed and whispered "your friends are here. Two white men and a black man".
I had heard a car draw up to the station earlier. My spirits rose.
Earlier that morning, a young man who had been detained for 5 days without
trial had picked a piece of cement plaster with his finger nail from the
wall and used it to scratch my office telephone number on his shin bone
under his trousers. Had he been remanded out of custody he would have phoned
for help. Little did I know it, but the area was staked out by local MDC
activists monitoring and recording all activity and vehicles that came and
left the station. An hour and half passed. I heard nothing. For the first
time my spirits dropped. A car drove away and I did not know who the
occupants might have been.
After half an hour, and various further appeals to Police Officers, I heard
a jingle of keys and an Officer handcuffed me and took me through to the
Charge Office, where I found my lawyer seated. My wife had prepared a meat
and salad roll and a fruit juice and only after my lawyer pleaded, was I
allowed to eat. At this stage, there was still no Warrant for my Arrest and
I was illegally detained. My wife sat in the next office but was refused
access to me. The lawyer switched on his Dictaphone and asked whether I was
ill treated or physically harmed in any way. He was able to reassure me that
a High Court sitting had been sought to force the Police to confirm my
whereabouts and that they would be reminded that I was already becoming
overdue for court appearance in terms of the regulations.
It was obvious that the Senior Officer was hostile and had a political
motive. I was then moved back to my cell and later on joined by three other
petty criminals. This time we were able to share the blankets available and
position ourselves in the furthest point away from the cesspit in the
corner. Again, sleep was difficult due to mosquitoes, but we endured. Next
morning, no breakfast appeared and soon I was led to the Charge Office
dressed and greeted by Officer Ngwenya from Law and Order Bulawayo, who said
we were on our way. Again, auxiliary police armed with AK47's squeezed in
the Land Rover with me and I was taken to Central Police Station, Bulawayo.
Again, no food or drink was made available and I was delighted when a Senior
Advocate managed to speak to me although Officers refused to move out of
earshot though were continually asked to do so by the Legal Counsel. He did
his best to prepare me for Court and it was made abundantly clear that he
had overstayed his welcome.
When I arrived at the Magistrates Court, it was my first introduction to two
of the co-accused and we then proceeded to the dock, remanded in custody and
sent to cells below the Tredgold Building. These had not been swept or
cleaned, seemingly for years - broken toilets, no light bulbs and a bare
We were offered no lunch, or anything to drink and eventually placed in
leg-irons and handcuffs, herded into a vehicle and driven to Khami Maximum
On arrival there, we were documented and issued soiled prison clothing
consisting of khaki shorts and shirt. Finally, shackled, we were moved to
our respective cells, which were essentially concrete boxes, 4 metres x 1 ½
metres x 3 metres high. We were then stripped naked, as was the practice for
solitary confinement. The cell was furnished with a plastic dog bowl as a
toilet and 3, now familiar filthy blankets on a concrete floor.
The "bush telegraph" as we call it, had obviously been operating and somehow
the prisoners knew that MDC activists were arriving and the whole block of 3
floors of cells erupted into MDC Political Slogans and Chants. Eventually,
other prisoners on their way to exercise, passed scraps of toilet paper,
small pieces of soap and even a tooth brush and ballpoint pen through the
brass peep hole. The daily routine consisted of a wake-up bell at
approximately 0600 hours (we had no idea of time nor date as all contact
with the outside world was virtually denied) and then we were issued with a
cup of sweet tea and a piece of bread covered with margarine.
We were allowed to empty our dog bowls into one of six broken non-flushable
toilets for 120 inmates and return to cells. Some time before midday, we
were allowed out into a courtyard for one hour's exercise and approximately
½ hour in mid-afternoon. At the discretion of the Guard, MDC inmates were
usually separated and sent to cells considerably earlier than the convicted
criminals. At any time between 1120 and 1330 we were issued "lunch" which
consisted of a portion of rice, a third of an inch deep and four inches
across, which was soiled with brown filth from plates stacked above. There
were no cleaning materials and the risk of dysentery was high. A handful of
bitter cabbage was dished out as well and a cup of sweet tea. Anywhere
between 1430 and 1530 we had our supper, which was made up of the same size
portions but with red beans, substituting cabbage. From that time through to
approximately 0700 hours the next morning, there was no access to food and
It was evident from the facilities and information from long-serving
prisoners that excellent facilities once existed even for the Maximum
Security section. The Medical Officer's, Office and Store Room was virtually
empty of all drugs, which had to account for 1400 prisoners. One draw of
drugs was all that remained and empty shelves extended the length, breadth
and height of a room 6 metres x 6 metres. The libraries were all completely
empty and prisoners had no access to reading material. In the adjoining A
Block, 1200 prisoners shared the same space as the 120 in our solitary
Records show of the total number of approximately 470 at any one time being
on remand. Some of these have been in this situation since 1995. There were
reports of beatings and recriminations and the death rate from AIDS Related
TB and Pneumonia and Dysentery and general ailments was very high.
In A Block, there was so little room, that at night time, prisoners were
forced to sleep in shifts and those lucky enough for floor space had to
sleep on their sides, stacked like sardines all facing in one direction. On
the hour, when sore shoulders and hips could no longer withstand the
discomfort of the concrete floor, everyone stood and turned to lie on the
At nighttime, we often heard prisoners screaming from nightmares. It was
chilling experience. Somehow, despite being locked in a concrete block for
22 ½ hours per day, with no reading or writing material, we still considered
ourselves lucky. As remand prisoners, we were virtually denied every
privilege due to us, such as weekly visits from wives, additional food, and
reading and writing material. After much protestation, I personally managed
to eventually receive letters and some books but this was towards the end of
We were allowed two letters to be posted in a month. None of mine reached
their destinations. This was commonly understood by the prisoners who,
through this total lack of contact with friends and relatives, were
effectively denied legal representation. The tragedy of remand prisoners
appearing in Court with no one present to pay their bail was almost
sometimes too hard to bear. On each remand hearing we were shipped like
cattle, handcuffed with leg-irons to Bulawayo. Due to lack of transport any
form of vehicle was used and at one time, in a fully enclosed metal truck,
panic broke out, as we had been left in the hot sun for nearly an hour
waiting for the gun-toting auxiliaries who had to be present because MDC
prisoners were on board.
Fortunately, we were able to calm ourselves down and it was not long before
the escort arrived and we began to breathe freely again. In my own
situation, I witnessed the appalling treatment of my fellow prisoners, both
at the magistrates Court, where the cells were totally insufficient to cater
for the masses of wretched prisoners who were fed from a bag of poorly
cooked sadza with no eating instruments available. The filth and flies
simply meant that there were more victims of a variety of ailments, related
to these conditions.
At the High Court, where I was imprisoned for approximately one week during
my bail application, the cells were appalling. No lighting, no blankets or
floor mats and a broken toilet, choked and foul. The graffiti on the walls
was written in the medium of prisons ... excrement. A mere few feet above
us, judges reclined in wooden paneled Court Rooms, completely unaware of the
plight of those that stood in the stands before them. My own experience was
that Prison Officers refused offers of fruit juice from my own lawyer and
counsel and at times we would go for as long as 8 hours with anything to eat
If we were lucky, before leaving prison to travel to Court, we were able to
shovel dried sadza and beans into a dirty bag and carry that with us, to be
shared in the middle of the day. On arriving back in the evening at prison
after the day in Court, it was always too late for our "supper", which was
scheduled at no later than 1530 hours. On the one occasion, we were lucky,
as plastic plates of food had been left in the sun in the Courtyard for us
by some caring fellow prisoner. However, the food was blackened by blow
flies, the species which is renowned for its attraction to rotting fish and
My wife attempted day after day to visit me and spent hours at the external
boom gate waiting for permission to enter, which was her and my right (once
per week for 10 minutes). Of the 35 days in detention, she was able to visit
me twice at Khami Maximum as it was the habit of Senior Officers, who were
often politically appointed to deliberately delay the process of visitors
accessing their relatives. On the one occasion she spoke with me for 3
minutes and the second for 7 minutes.
When finally, my lawyer succeeded in a High Court application, ordering the
prison authorities to grant me my remand prisoner rights, I was present when
he served the order on the Officer Commanding and he gesticulated violently
several times and said "..... will get nothing. Nothing !! No toothbrush, no
food, no writing paper, no books, Nothing !!"
My lawyer had numerously, on occasions brought letters from my doctor
explaining the digestive problems from which I suffered and still special
food was denied. I suffer from a displaced spine and only after a good
number of attempts, was I finally allowed to wear a back brace. This is just
an indication of the deliberate political motive in dealing with what were
effectively political prisoners. Through my lawyer, and the help of friends,
I was able to arrange for a football to be delivered to the prison by my
lawyer, but in all four attempts, the prison authorities refused the offer.
Football is the only activity permitted and their ball had long exceeded its
Finally, after winning my release and after being re-detained after 17 hours
of freedom, due to a technicality, I won my appeal in the country's Supreme
Court and joined my family, 8 kgs the lighter. Subsequently, after other
vague chargers were laid against me, I finally was absolved of my crime
although there is still no acquittal as such. This allows the authorities to
find new evidence to re-detain me. It is on this basis that some of my
colleagues are still incarcerated and others due to stand trial in November.
This whole episode has been counter productive for the authorities as my
resolve has strengthened, my appreciation for my compatriot and colleagues
has grown tremendously, and my faith in the future of my country is stronger
(In the subsequent Court hearing all charges were dropped against all the
accused. The Judge found that the Police "diary" of events had been
fabricated and it was found that a policeman had actually been protecting
the site of the dead body for 24 hours before "discovery".)
The Star, 2.1.09
By Peta Thornycroft
If ever proof was needed that Zanu PF should no longer control the
police then last week's circus around Harare's courts should provide it.
Peace worker Jestina Mukoko and about 24 others, after being abducted
and held in secret locations for weeks were supposed to be sent to
hospital or freed on Christmas eve according to an order from High
Court judge Yunus Omerjee.
Instead they remained locked up. It is no use South African
presidential spokesman Thabo Masebe saying: "There are many issues
that need to be addressed by a unity government. This (Mukoko and co)
is one of them."
In a unity government as it stands now, Zanu PF would control justice
and Zanu PF and Movement for Democratic Change would jointly run the
home affairs ministry, which controls the police.
No country in the region has ever tried to co manage a ministry, so
imagine the first experiment within SADC, carried out with an
incompetent Zanu PF appointee.
If SADC believes that Robert Mugabe won't shift on allowing MDC sole
control of the police, and he already has the the armed forces and
intelligence, then South AFrica, will have to push him, hard, and
they have plenty of non military weapons.
It is not that the police haven't defied the courts before, starting
just after independence as human rights lawyer David Coltart reminds.
He spent years defending people loyal to the then opposition, Zapu
and other Ndebeles, locked up without trial, or held after the courts
ordered their freedom.
Zimbabwe had a state of emergency then, a handful of traitors in its
ranks, and hits from South African security forces, although its
efforts were, in retrospect, muted.
There is no record of a professional police force in Rhodesia or in
Zimbabwe although there were spasms of impartiality in both eras.
At least early Zimbabwe had a preponderance of professional judges.
Without control of the police, forget any unity government.
If Mbeki believes that giving Morgan Tsvangirai a passport is enough
to lure him into the prime minister's office, then he should think
again. Tsvangirai only got his passport because the South Africans
lent on Mugabe.
The charges nine of those who appeared in court again on Monday add
up to treason, with a death penalty. They are charged with recruiting
or trying to recruit people for military training in Botswana to
It was obvious Botswana would be accused of harbouring MDC insurgents
as soon as President Ian Khama spoke out against Mugabe.
Treason and similar charges are a favourite of Zanu PF, they have
done it to all political opponents.
Tsvangirai's secretary-general Tendai Biti is similarly charged.
His treason charges arise out of a document written in April by
military intelligence in a document littered with clichés of what
MI believes is Rhodesian-speak.
Biti is an intellectual, a lawyer, and could never, even if he tried,
write the childish, semi literate language of which he is accused.
The document, about the way forward under an MDC government,
attributed to Biti was first published in the wicked Herald newspaper
Biti laughed it off, issued a denial, and lo and behold it appeared a
few weeks later on a charge sheet, with treason attached.
They did similarly to Morgan Tsvangirai, then MDC secretary-general
Welshman Ncube, and the party's then agriculture spokesman Nelson
Gasela three weeks before the violent 2002 presidential election.
This time they had a Canadian crook, Ari Ben Menashe, paid him more
than US$1 million (admitted in court) to produce a video 'proving'
Tsvangirai plotted to kill Mugabe. Any half decent police force would
have refused to process the charges.
The CIO, which devised this plot didn't care whether or not it got a
conviction. The charges took two years of the accused' lives and
drained the MDC of funds.
Even if MDC gets home affairs Mugabe still has the right to appoint
the commissioner, and the Police Act has many ways he can
circumnavigate the law.
Nevertheless, for the morale of the police, at least, Zanu PF must be
removed from day to day control.
Nevertheless Morgan Tsvangirai is the people's choice as he easily
beat Mugabe in the first round. It is rough of the ANC to be snide
about Tsvangirai. .
Zimbabweans want Morgan Tsvangirai and he is brave enough to still
want to try fix his country and he has learned many hard lessons.
Without the MDC in control of home affairs the region will have to
find a solution other than a unity government to the catastrophe
north of Musina.
January 03 2009 at 10:24AM
Harare - Public hospitals in Zimbabwe will start accepting payment for
all medical services in foreign currency; a development which the government
hopes will improve the country's collapsed health service.
The state-owned daily Herald, in its Saturday edition, quotes
Zimbabwe's Health Minister David Parirenyatwa saying the hospitals would
give patients the option to pay in foreign currency if they "so wished."
"What we have said is that our patients should continue paying in
local currency, but in the event that they opt to pay in foreign currency,
we are to go by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe regulations," Parirenyatwa is
quoted by the Herald as saying.
Zimbabwe's currency has rapidly lost value over 2008.
Commodities, including basics such as milk and bread, are now priced
in foreign currency.
The Zimbabwean dollar, which has been devaluated repeatedly over the
past two years, is trading at more than six billion dollars against the US
dollar as of Saturday, the price of a loaf of bread.
Doctors and nurses have been on strike for more than two months,
demanding payment in foreign currency and modern equipment for hospitals.
That strike has compounded the problems in the battle against a raging
cholera epidemic, which has claimed more than 1 500 lives and affected more
than 20 000 people as the country fails to import adequate stocks of
chemicals to treat water, forcing people to resort to shallow wells and
rivers for drinking water. - Sapa-dpa
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Food availability has drastically improved in Zimbabwe
during the past few months on the back of the government's decision to
licence foreign currency shops and liberalise imports of basic commodities,
a famine early warning body said here Saturday.
The US-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) said while the
level of food insecurity was still high, the move by Zimbabwe to allow shops
to sell food in foreign currency has improved food availability,
particularly in urban areas.
"However, those without access to foreign currency and with only limited
access to the rapidly depreciating local currency face daily challenges
accessing adequate food," FEWSNET observed.
Zimbabwe has since September 2008 allowed selected shops to trade in foreign
currency, a move meant to restore the viability of local companies in the
face of world-record inflation last estimated at 231 million percent in
The move was also meant to improve liquidity in the market in the wake of
acute shortages of Zimbabwe dollars.
FEWSNET also noted that informal food imports plugged the gap left by the
inability of local business to bring in adequate commodities.
About five million Zimbabweans are estimated to require food aid until the
next agricultural harvest in March.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
BUSINESSES and service providers yesterday again went on a spree of price
hikes after workers started accessing the additional $10 billion cash
withdrawal approved by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last week.
There were shorter queues at a number of banking halls yesterday compared to
when the RBZ approved a similar cash withdrawal limit in December last year.
Bank clients without pay slips were also accessing the increased weekly
withdrawal limit of $5 billion, up from $500 million.
However, most people who spoke to The Herald took a swipe at foreign
currency dealers and unscrupulous businesspeople who they accused of
inflating rates and prices of goods after every review of the cash
"I went to the bank and managed to withdraw the $10 billion, but now I don't
know where to use it. If it was yesterday, I would have bought three pints
of beer but now beer is $9 billion.
"Even if these withdrawal limits are increased, they will not solve our
problems because of these foreign currency dealers," said Mr Shaun Mazarire
Mr Terrence Jari of Mbare echoed the same sentiments and appealed to the
central bank to consider the plight of students when reviewing cash limits.
"Why does the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe segment people? We understand in the
case of the informal sector, but what about the case of students whose
parents deposit money into their accounts?" he quizzed.
Commuters were not spared by the unjustified price increases as transport
operators hiked their fares with many charging anything between $5 billion
and $7 billion for a single trip, up from between $2 billion and $3 billion.
Others urged the RBZ to review the withdrawal conditions because they
negatively affected people in the informal sector who do not have pay-slips.
"The majority of the population are in the informal sector and a way should
be found to assist those with legitimate businesses.
"I cannot register my company because of the requirements, but there is no
denying that we in the informal sector are sustaining the livelihoods of
"Thus I urge the authorities to reconsider the issue as I used to pay my
employees their salaries through transfers. However, now they cannot access
their salaries," said Mr Simon Gwatimba, who runs a cellular phone repair
"I failed to access my December salary as our company is not fully
registered and was caught unawares by the stringent regulations put in place
by the central bank for one to access their December salaries.
"We urge the central bank to review their conditions to take us into
account," said Mr Brighton Chipurura, who operates a milling business in
Some members of the public decried the manner in which prices were rising in
relation to the cash they could access, pointing out that they would find it
impossible to meet their obligations in January when schools are scheduled
"The RBZ should closely monitor shops selling school uniforms and related
products," said Mr Leo Gwatimba.
By close of business yesterday, many banks had managed to clear their
January 2, 2009
By Mxolisi Ncube
JOHANNESBURG - Concerned Zimbabwean health professionals and businesspersons
based in the Diaspora have established an organisation to mobilise critical
resources, especially financial, to rehabilitate Zimbabwe's battered
The Zimbabwe Health Access Trust (ZiHAT), a non-profit organisation, is also
registered in Zimbabwe. It has already launched an appeal for support aimed
at both Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and the international community. The
organisation seeks to mobilise financial and human resources as well as
material support for a once flourishing health sector, which is now ravaged
by the world's worst ever economic meltdown.
ZiHAT has established chapters in Australia, Canada, South Africa, the
European continent, the United Kingdom and the United States. In Zimbabwe it
is represented by Dr Paul Chimedza and by Dr Michael Mbizvo and Dr Godfrey
Sikipa in Switzerland and the United States respectively. The trust has
opened offices in Washington DC and in Geneva, Switzerland, under its
Both offices are already mobilising resources on the continent.
Washington DC-based physician, Sikipa, who is the president of ZiHAT, says
the organisers were inspired by the difficulties faced, especially by
rural-based Zimbabweans, as they try to gain access to medical and health
"Every year an estimated 1 300 to 2 800 mothers die from causes associated
with pregnancy and childbirth and 12 000 people are estimated to die every
month in Zimbabwe from AIDS related illnesses," says Sikipa.
"Most of these deaths are due to lack of access to drugs and essential
equipment and other supplies in health facilities".
Sikipa said the trust, which he said will work closely with the Ministry of
Health and Public Welfare, will also seek to support and work with other
health care providers in Zimbabwe, including faith-based health care
institutions, local authorities, public facilities and private sector
entities to try and strengthen health care services in the country.
Sikipa said that ZiHAT would raise funds and material contributions directly
from both financially able Zimbabweans and members of the international
community. Such funds would be channeled to health care institutions in
Zimbabwe under a tight monitoring program.
Sikipa says vital needs (life-saving drugs and equipment) for Zimbabwe's
health care are currently estimated at around US$1 250 000, while essential
needs (basic priority drugs and equipment) are estimated at US$2 196 000
every four months.
"The urgency of the situation on the ground requires a united and concerted
effort to support health care for Zimbabwean people," he said. "ZiHAT will
use all the monies raised to purchase the needed health commodities and then
forward them to Zimbabwean health facilities."
He said ZIHAT was already appealing for donations in any amount from well
He invited Zimbabweans resident both at home and abroad to join the trust's
efforts to mobilise resources that are urgently needed for the refurbishment
of the country's health facilities, procurement of essential drugs and
equipment, as well as to support health workers.
The Zimbabwean health sector has suffered considerable damage as a result of
the country's economic meltdown, which is caused by a downward economic
spiral that began about a decade ago and is blamed on the failed economic
policies of President Robert Mugabe's government. In Zimbabwe's annual
budget more funds have invariably been channeled to the Ministry of Defence
at the expense of the Health Ministry.
As a result of this under-funding of the Ministry of Health, ordinary
Zimbabweans are now bearing the brunt, as the country's public health
institutions continue to collapse due to a lack of both drugs and the human
resources needed to cope with even curable ailments.
Industrial action by health professionals over very low salaries has often
affected the country's health delivery services, while a serious brain drain
is a contributory factor to the crippling of the sector.
Major government hospitals have closed their emergency referral units in
both Harare and Bulawayo, the country's capital and second biggest city,
A recent outbreak of Cholera, usually a curable disease, has killed more
than 1 500 people and infected over 20 000 others since August.
Donations to ZiHAT can be made by direct deposit or bank wire transfer to
the following account:
Bank of America
Account name: ZiHAT USA, INC
Account Number: 002260872665
Routing Number: 054001204
For bank wires use: 026009593
Donations can also be made through PayPal or by check. Please send donations
to firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks are payable to ZIHAT-USA Inc. Send checks
Dr Godfrey Sikipa,
President, ZIHAT USA
1250 Connecticut Ave,
Washington DC, 20036
Phone 202 - 261 6585
LOAD-SHEDDING by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has
brought a lot of suffering to the Tsholotsho community with the electric
motor of the district hospital mortuary having been damaged, Chronicle has
In an interview on Wednesday, the District Medical Officer (DMO), Dr
Claudius Verenga, said as a result of the damage to the electric motor
fitted to the mortuary compressor, the refrigeration system was not
"The motor was damaged early in November and we went on to replace it. No
sooner had we fitted a new one than it was damaged as a direct result of
"When the power is switched on it comes back with a high voltage and this
has resulted in the motor being damaged again. As a result our mortuary is
in a sorry state because bodies rot in this heat and we try to dispose of
the bodies as fast as we can," said Dr Verenga.
He said the hospital was trying its level best to try and keep the death
rate of inmates low.
The DMO said plans were at an advanced stage for pauper's burials for some
bodies that have been lying unclaimed at the hospital mortuary and are at an
advanced stage of decomposition.
"Plans to hold pauper's burials are at an advanced stage and a meeting of
all stakeholders is scheduled for 9 January. We have six bodies that need to
be given pauper's burials," he said.
Sources at the business centre said the number of bodies that lie unclaimed
at the hospital mortuary stands as high as 14.
Dr Verenga attributed the failure to collect bodies from the mortuary to
high costs of moving bodies to communal lands as injiva who own vehicles are
charging high fees.
He added that the other contributing factor was the breakdown of the family
tree, as it proves difficult to trace relatives of those who would have died
while admitted at the hospital.
Some people admitted to the hospital are also to blame as they give
insufficient details of their areas of residence and their next of kin, he
The vice-chairperson of the Tsholotsho Rural District Hospital Board, Cde
Musa Mathema, said this was the second electric motor to be damaged, adding
that they now needed to buy a new one.
She also attributed the damage to the electric motor to continued power
outages that are now a common occurrence in the area.
When Chronicle visited the centre on Wednesday residents of the growth point
said power had gone off on Saturday afternoon.
"We are now looking for money to buy a new electric motor. Although we could
avert the power outages by switching on to a generator, our main constraint
is a shortage of diesel. The generator has a capacity of 10 000 litres but
we even fail to source the commodity from the National Oil Company of
"We are appealing to well-wishers to assist by donating money towards the
purchase of a new electric motor and buying fuel for the generator," she
Cde Mathema was grateful to the local business community for donating fuel
for the engine that pumps water to the hospital when there are power
Once there is a power outage, the centre does not have any running water and
residents have to rely on boreholes scattered within and around the centre.
Meanwhile, the Tsholotsho business community has also cried foul over
incessant power outages that the area has had to stand for the past four
"There has been no meaningful business for the past four months due to power
outages. Butcheries are the worst affected because if you slaughter a beast
and it is not sold out then you have to see what is remaining rotting.
"We have sent an appeal to ZESA authorities for a resident electrician and
we are yet to receive a response from them. We are prepared as the business
community in the area to meet his salary and fuel bills," said Mr Austin
Bhule, who runs a butchery.
He said butchery owners are now forced to team up and share a beast as
taking the whole carcass at times proves to be a great loss as the meat
Saturday, January 03, 2009
ECONET subscribers were yesterday caught unawares when their mobile phones
could neither phone nor top up their accounts after the cellular service
provider switched them to the new foreign currency payment regime.
Subscribers to other networks face the same fate as NetOne and Telecel are
also charging in United States dollars after cellular service providers were
granted foreign currency licences by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe under the
Yesterday Econet subscribers on the Buddie, Libertie and Business Partna
packages briefly accessed the mobile phone services during lunchtime before
these were abruptly terminated.
In a survey conducted, subscribers who were battling to recharge their
mobile phones expressed dismay at the sudden loss of service.
"I have been trying to use my phone since yesterday evening, but the service
is just bad.
"I cannot get through to dialled numbers and no messages are going through,"
said one of the several subscriberrs who besieged the company's branch along
First Street in Harare.
Weston Kadya, another subscriber who was battling to recharge his phone
after buying a US$5 recharge card, said he was worried that the new payment
mode would be unaffordable for many subscribers.
"The new system would be a problem for many subscribers who, firstly, cannot
afford the new tariffs and, secondly, for the few who can afford, the new
charging regime is unfamiliar to many of us," he said.
Other subscribers said the new charging system was unfortunate because the
little foreign currency they come across was usually used for basic
"Mobile phones, which many of us believed were an essential and convenient
service, could end up being for the rich people only because ordinary people
would not be able to afford the services," Catherine Chawaguta of Mabvuku
Tinei Gede of Kambuzuma said mobile phones would now became ''nhare mbozha
(a preserve for the rich)".
A customer services officer at Econet Wireless in the city centre, however,
said the brief access to service by many subscribers was due a slight lag in
upgrading and subscribers be debited for using the service during that
"The system is currently down and that period was just a loophole and I
think most of the people who phoned during that period have had their
accounts debited," he said.
Econet Wireless corporate communications manager Mr Ranga Mberi on Wednesday
said the service provider was still upgrading its system and the system
would be back to normal today.
"We have been engaged in a major network updating since yesterday in the
evening and this has disrupted the whole system," he said.
Mr Mberi said while the upgrading had affected all networks, the exercise
would be complete by the date when the new charging system comes into
While most of the networks have told their customers that the new charging
system would start today, subscribers complained that airtime already in
their phones had been converted from Zimbabwe dollars to foreign currency
January 3rd, 2009
To all those "damn British" people out there . I would like to thank you.
Apparently the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) has
raised US$35.6 million towards fighting cholera in our country and
apparently nearly 40% (US$13.8 million) came from donations made by the
So. to all you "oppressors/ traitors/ racists/ colonisers", thank you for
letting our lunatic geriatric dictator's words of hate wash over your heads.
More than that, thank you for giving a damn about ordinary struggling
Zimbabweans when our grubby vitriol-spewing political elite quite clearly
doesn't give a damn at all.
Actions speak louder than words, a simple fact that the myopic Zanu PF junta
has yet to grasp.
Posted by Hope
By Patience Rusere
01 January 2009
The people of Zimbabwe are entering 2009 facing a plethora of problems -
many critical such as a cholera epidemic which has claimed some 1,600 lives
and severe food shortages on top of a political crisis that has intensified
despite a September pact for a unity government.
Then there's is the economy or what is left of it, ravaged by hyperinflation
measured not in double or triple digits but in the sextillions -
60,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 percent by the estimate of Harare economist
John Robertson in a recent interview with VOA.
For help looking into 2009, reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe turned to MacDonald Lewanika, chairman of the Crisis In Zimbabwe
Coalition, and commentator Jonah Nyoni of Bulawayo. Nyoni said said the
national crisis came to a head in 2008, predicting that Zimbabweans will
reach the limit of their patience in 2009.