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Zimbabwe rights activist's case postponed

HARARE (AFP) - A Zimbabwe court on Monday postponed for 24 hours a case
involving leading human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and eight others
accused of trying to overthrow President Robert Mugabe's regime.

The case was postponed to Tuesday pending the outcome of their application
to be released to hospital.

In a different ruling, the magistrates court also deferred until Wednesday
the case of seven opposition activists accused of banditry after their
lawyers launched a high court appeal to have them seen by doctors.

"The accused are remanded to January 7 pending the outcome of the high court
application," magistrate Olivia Mariga ruled.

Mukoko, seized from her home on December 3 by armed men who identified
themselves as police, is accused of recruiting people to undergo military
training in neighbouring Botswana aimed at toppling Mugabe's government.

Botswana and the activists have denied the charge.

Last week Mukoko, a former broadcaster, made her first court appearance
after being detained at an unknown location for weeks.

Her arrest has sparked widespread outcry from international rights
organisations lamenting the declining rule of law in the crisis-torn

Local press report said on Sunday that she was being poisoned in custody.

The widespread human rights abuse cases in Zimbabwe highlight the country's
deepening political crisis more than three months after Mugabe signed a
power-sharing deal with the opposition MDC.

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Zim judge rules activist must see doctor

    January 05 2009 at 02:31PM

Harare - A Zimbabwean judge has ordered that a prominent peace activist
accused of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe must receive
medical attention before the case proceeds.

Judge Gloria Takunda says police must comply with an earlier court order
that Jestina Mukoko be taken to a hospital so allegations of torture can be

Mukoko and 31 other activists appeared in the Harare magistrate on Monday.
The case has been postponed to Tuesday.

Mukoko had been missing for three weeks before she appeared in court in late

She and the other activists claim they have been tortured while in police

The opposition has dismissed the plot as fabricated amid an increasing
clampdown on dissent. - Sapa-A

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Zimbabwe: Daily cholera update, 05 Jan 2009

 Full_Report (pdf* format - 102.2 Kbytes)

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

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

1 - Highlights of the day:

- 751 cases and 59 deaths added today (in comparison 379 cases and 32 deaths yesterday)

- 40 % of the districts affected have reported today (22 out of 55 affected districts)

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

- All 10 of the country's provinces are affected

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Zimbabwe State Press: New Government by February

By Peta Thornycroft
05 January 2009

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is pressing ahead with plans to form a new
government next month with the consent of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), according the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

SADC mediated a September political agreement between his ZANU- PF and
Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).  Efforts to
implement the agreement have been unsuccessful.

According to the Herald, a new government would likely be in place by the
end of February. The newspaper speculates the factions led by Mr. Tsvangirai
and Mr. Mugabe will by then have joined forces in parliament to pass a
constitutional amendment that needs a two-thirds majority to become law.

The Herald says one of the ZANU-PF negotiators and a member of the SADC
facilitation team met Saturday in the South African border town, Musina.

In addition, Mr. Mugabe has reportedly met with Arthur Mutambara, the leader
of the smaller MDC faction, who is a signatory to the September political

Mutambara has previously said he would not go into a government without Mr.
Tsvangirai, who has been in exile in Botswana for the past two months.

Mr. Tsvangirai says there is a continuing dispute with ZANU-PF over the
allocation of ministries. According to the Herald, he has written to Mr.
Mugabe explaining why he is not yet prepared to return to take up his post
of prime minister.

Presidential spokesman George Charamba said President Mugabe is determined
to have a government in place and is keeping the Southern African
Development Community appraised of the situation.

Mr. Tsvangirai said recently that he has no plans to become prime minister
in a unity government until political disagreements are settled.

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Hunt on for rogue soldiers after New Years Day rampage

By Alex Bell
05 January 2009

A manhunt has been launched by police in Masvingo for a group of soldiers
who went on a violent rampage through the high density suburb of Rujeko on
New Years Day.

A group of about 10 soldiers clad in full military gear, deserted from their
headquarters outside Masvingo last week and launched door to door attacks on
residents in Rujeko. The rampaging group viciously assaulted residents,
leaving at least five people, including a three year-old child injured. The
group also looted many shops in the area while demanding that foreign
currency be handed over to them. It's understood the soldiers told those
they assaulted that they were tired of working without being paid and had
'every right' to take the money from the public. One of the soldiers was
arrested while an estimated nine others are believed to have crossed the
border into neighbouring South Africa.

The attacks come a month after another group of rogue soldiers went on the
rampage in Harare and looted goods before seizing cash in both foreign and
local currency from members of the public. The Harare soldiers' rampage was
the first sign that the loyal armed services were beginning to turn their
backs on the regime, but the group was quickly paid off by the government
with cash bonuses to dampen the tension at the time.

Analysts had warned that the incident would not be the last of its kind
because of the country's daily worsening economic crisis, which has seen the
total collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar and the American dollarisation of the
economy. Tension has therefore reportedly been growing among the armed
forces that are still being paid in local, worthless money.

Meanwhile, as Robert Mugabe's power base continues to appear weakened,
paranoia that a coup against the government is being plotted is at an all
time high. This after a heavily armed group of armed security agents swooped
down on an outdoor training camp outside Harare last week, under the pretext
that training of insurgents was underway there.

The Kudu Creek camp site, which trains boy scouts, tourists and others in
the art of outdoor living, became the site of a full military invasion last
Friday night, when security agents raided the grounds. It's understood the
area was cordoned off by four teams made up of about 40 people, with some
agents arriving in helicopters.

The four teams comprised of heavily armed officers from the Zimbabwe
Republic Police, the military police, Central Intelligence Organisation and
the Air Force. According to media reports the operation was led by two
senior air force officers, Air Vice Marshals Henry Muchena and Martin
Chedondo, who arrived at the place in a helicopter.

They alleged that the camp owners, Angus Thompson and Gary Nestead, are
former members of the Rhodesian Security Forces 'Selous Scouts' (a
controversial special-forces regiment of the Rhodesian Army which operated
from 1973 until independence in 1980). The pair, who have run the Kudu Creek
camp for five years, are believed to still be behind bars.

The Mugabe government is said to be preparing to present evidence to the
SADC security organ, that the MDC is orchestrating a coup. SADC last month
sent investigators to Botswana to investigate this claim.

Critics have queried why SADC is prepared to investigate what is generally
regarded as a completely fictious allegation, but are not prepared to
investigate the illegal abductions that the Zimbabwe security forces
continue to be involved in.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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MDC leadership to meet for crucial indaba

By Tichaona Sibanda
5 January 2009

There are reports that the top leadership of the MDC, including its
transition team and party strategists, will meet in Johannesburg for three
days this week to decide whether to continue or back-off from talks to join
a unity government.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is now in South Africa, is assembling his
standing committee that includes his deputy, Thokozani Khupe, Tendai Biti
the secretary-general and party chairman Lovemore Moyo. Tsvangirai has been
holed up in Botswana for close to two months but travelled to Johannesburg
at the end of last year.

Others expected at the meeting include Elias Mudzuri the organising
secretary, national spokesman Nelson Chamisa and the chairpersons of the
Women's assembly and Youth league Theresa Makone and Thamsanqa Mahlangu. The
indaba in Johannesburg is expected to run from Wednesday to Friday.

A highly placed source told us the consensus among the top leadership of the
party was that Robert Mugabe has not made enough concessions for the MDC to
join an inclusive government under the Global Political Agreement signed
last year.

'The MDC needs additional concessions from ZANU PF. Until Mugabe complies
with Tsvangirai's demands, I dont think you will see an inclusive government
soon,' our source said.

Other sources said the MDC has whittled down its demands to just four, from
about eight last year. One of the remaining issues is for the regime to
legally define the composition of the National Security Council which will
replace the Joint Operations Command (JOC), made up of the country military
and security commanders, all Mugabe henchmen.

The MDC also insists the issue of ministerial portfolios is still up for
negotiation, as they do not recognise the unilateral grabbing of all top
ministries by Mugabe. Thirdly, the MDC want the issue of governors to be
resolved as they want officials from their party to fill some of these
posts. Mugabe violated the GPA when he appointed all 10 governors from ZANU
PF. The MDC contends that five governors should be appointed from their
party, while four should come from ZANU PF and one from the MDC formation
led by Arthur Mutambara. During the 29th March elections, the MDC swept to
victory in five provinces, ZANU PF won in four and the Mutambara MDC won the
Matebeleland South province.

Then lastly the MDC is demanding that all detained political activists be
released or charged in a court of law. But only 30 of the 42 people believed
held in police custody have been produced in court, on trumped up charges.
Many of them have been in custody for months after they were abducted by
state security agents for allegedly training and aiding MDC activists in

Tsvangirai has meanwhile urged South African President Kgalema Motlanthe,
currently chairman of SADC, to call for a meeting between Mugabe and himself
to iron out some of the remaining issues.

The MDC wants Motlanthe to expand his role in the stalled power-sharing
process and take over from Thabo Mbeki, the former South African President,
as mediator.

Already Tsvangirai has sought Motlanthe's intervention to restart
negotiations, ahead of the proposed two day SADC summit on Zimbabwe next
week in Johannesburg. Motlanthe announced just before the end of last year
that he would convene a full SADC summit from January 13-15 to try and push
all sides in Zimbabwe to form a unity government.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Let it crash and burn!

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 4th January 2009

When I hear people talking about putting pressure on the regime in Harare
they often express concern about the impact on the ordinary men and women
living in the country. No such sentiments are in fact heard as grass roots
level - in fact quite the opposite, ordinary people are the most vociferous
in their view that the MDC must not enter into any sort of deal with Zanu PF
as a junior partner.

A good friend in Harare called me just after Christmas and said that in his
conversations with people in the capital, he was hearing the view that we
should let the country crash and burn and then pick up the pieces. People
are very perceptive in what they think and say about sometimes complex and
difficult issues. Take for example the use of street traders of the word
"burn" to describe changing money from hard currency to the local paper. It
aptly describes the otherwise complex process that simply destroys the real
value of the currency once it in local form.

So what is outstanding? We have got a decent draft of the amendments
required for the constitution to give effect to the Global Political
Agreement, now all that remains are four issues - the legal basis for the
National Security Council, which will replace the Joint Operations Command,
the equitable allocation of Ministerial portfolios, the rescinding of the
appointment of the 10 provincial governors and their replacement with 10 new
ones agreed with the MDC as required by the GPA and now a new condition -
the production in safe and sound condition of the 42 people abducted by the
regime in recent weeks.

Mr. Tsvangirai has received his passport - that was finally extracted from
the Registrar Generals hands and taken to Gaborone by the South African
Ambassador and handed to him by the Ambassador on Christmas day. They have
also "found" 30 of the abductees and produced them in Court to be formally
charged. 12 still; to be produced. A number will be in Court on Monday and
we will then learn what the State intends and what case they will try to
make against them.

This leaves the question of the Ministerial portfolios, the governors and
the Security Council. South Africa is still trying to persuade the MDC to go
into the transitional government without these issues being resolved. What
they fail to understand is that we will not get on the bus until the
steering wheel and the accelerator and the gear lever are in our hands. Last
time someone did that they ended up in the bush, dumped on the side of the
road and having to walk back to civilization - they are still walking.

So the stage is set - Parliament will sit on the 20th of January and is
ready to debate and vote on the amendments and the new legislation to set up
the Security Council - but we will not do so if the outstanding issues are
not agreed and in place. It is not grandstanding, because of the way the GPA
was agreed, largely at the behest of the South African mediation team; this
bus is a peculiar one in design.

In the front of the bus - up against the windscreen, is a large sitting area
that will be empty most of the time until we have to decide which direction
to go next. Then the President will get on the bus and meet the driver and
passengers and hear their views and together with the driver, will map out
the next stage in this journey. He will then get off the bus and the driver
and his passengers will move to the divers seat, take charge and actually
drive the bus to its next destination. Clumsy, but workable if there is no
doubt about who the driver is and how he will operate. The Prime Minister
and the Council of Ministers is clearly designed to take this role but the
bus hasn't been built yet.

Since this machine was designed in South Africa we expect them to deliver a
completed vehicle into our care. To do this, the South African President has
to return to the factory and give final instructions to the factory staff on
the completion of the bus. Then, if we are satisfied it's to specification,
we will take delivery and be prepared to drive the bus to its destination.

Spectators underestimate the MDC. In March 2006, when 22 000 delegates and
guests crowded the National Sport Stadium in Harare for the MDC Congress,
the Congress resolved to adopt a road map - first the democratic resistance
campaign, then negotiations, a transitional government, new constitution,
then free and fair elections - and only then, a genuine MDC Government. I do
not recall any commentator saying that this was a brilliant plan or
commenting at the time on the prospects for the MDC achieving its stated

Yet two years later, stage one is complete, stage two is about to be
completed and we are shortly to start work on stage three. What people also
need to know is that we have a detailed road map of how to traverse the
ground ahead of us. A road map exists already and is agreed with Zanu PF, as
to how and when we are going to complete a new national, people driven
constitution to guide us into the future. It even has a timetable and the
next elections will be in mid 2011.

We also have a detailed understanding of the territory we must traverse in
the next two years. The shambles in education and health, the collapsed
economy with closed mines and factories, the deserted farms. The absence of
the rule of law, freedom of association and information, the destruction of
our own currency by stupid, myopic bad management. We know what the
obstacles are and how rough the road will be - we think we will have to fuel
for the bus and we certainly know how to steer us back to sanity.

But you cannot drive a bus with two drivers trying to do so at the same
time. The GPA says the MDC is in charge of the bus and MT is the driver. We
just need to make sure, absolutely sure that there are no dual controls in
the front of the bus - they remain where they were designed to be - further
back in the hands of the Prime Minister.

What the people at the bus stop are saying is "we will not get on the bus
until we are satisfied that the driver is our man and not Mugabe". And that
is not negotiable. If Mugabe is anywhere near the wheel, we would rather let
the bus crash and burn.

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ACDP condemns detention of human rights activists in Zim

Rev Kenneth Meshoe, MP and President of the ACDP

African Christian Democratic Party.

5th January, 2009

Rev KRJ Meshoe and ACDP President today commented on the detention of human
rights activists in Zimbabwe:

"The ACDP is disturbed by the silence of the SA Government and former
political activists at a time when their fellow activists in Zimbabwe are
kidnapped, tortured and poisoned by the Mugabe security agents.

If the SA government finds the kidnapping, torture and poisoning of Jestina
Mukoko acceptable for whatever reason, then we ask why they still chose to
remain silent when a two year old boy, Nigel Mpfuranhehwe was also tortured
simply because his mother opposes the Zimbabwe's cruel dictator.

SADC leadership (except for the brave Botswana President), and the SA
government in particular, have dismally failed the people of Zimbabwe, and
have brought shame to our continent by their defense and protection of a man
who should be in prison for crimes against humanity.

Their deafening silence when their comrade Mugabe and his illegitimate
government continue to arrogantly defy court orders, is fast destroying the
integrity of African political leadership. That is why the ACDP has
consistently called for the emergence of a new breed of leadership that has
a vision for a better and prosperous Africa.

This new breed of leadership must replace the current crop that is bound by
demonic covenants and agreements they cannot free themselves from.

The ACDP calls on the SA government to speak out against the kidnappings,
torture, poisoning and abuses of Zimbabweans who are tired of oppression by
their illegitimate government."

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South Africans’ anger grows over Zimbabwe

By Richard Lapper in Johannesburg

Published: January 5 2009 18:46 | Last updated: January 5 2009 18:46

Bishop Paul Verryn is about to lose his temper and it easy to see why.
Hundreds of desperate, often traumatised refugees, who have fled hunger,
cholera and political repression, are camping in every inch of hallway and
staircase at his Methodist Mission – including the narrow steps themselves.

Two thousand or so people are staking out floor space in the building in a
grim corner of central Johannesburg compared with about 1,300 a year ago,
the vast majority of them from Zimbabwe, with another 500 on the streets
outside. The waves of new arrivals are looking to join their more than 1m
compatriots who already live in South Africa.

“We are flooded. [The numbers] have gone through the moon,” said the
56-year-old Mr Verryn, who added that pressure was growing on what was
already strained infrastructure. “Even before the refugees came I spoke more
about sewage than Jesus.”
But there is also a broader context to Mr Verryn’s frustration. Like many
socially concerned South Africans he is increasingly frustrated by the lack
of urgency in his government’s response. That has been all the more
disappointing in light of the talk of a more active approach in Pretoria
after then-president Thabo Mbeki was forced to resign in September. His
so-called quiet diplomacy towards the country’s political crisis was widely
seen as being too soft on President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Mbeki was the architect of a September peace deal that saw Mr Mugabe
agree to form a government of national unity with the Movement for
Democratic Change, the opposition party that won elections last March, but
then withdrew from a second round in June after many of its activists were
killed in a spate of violence.

Jacob Zuma, the leader of South Africa’s governing African National Congress
and the country’s likely next president, has been more outspoken. He told
the nation last week that the situation in Zimbabwe was “untenable”.

But with negotiations over a new Zimbabwean government at an impasse, there
has been little sign as yet that the government is prepared to become more
aggressive with Mr Mugabe or even to consider initiatives outside the
confines of the Southern African Development Community, the regional body
made up of 15 regional governments, in which the Zimbabwean leader has a
number of allies. Critics say African leaders are still looking to the MDC
to make concessions, rather than to 85-year-old Mr Mugabe.

Shortly before Christmas, the government quietly approved a R300m ($32m,
€23m, £22m) agricultural aid package, which had been dependent on political
progress, without that condition being met.

South Africa’s position has seemed all the more controversial as Zimbabwe’s
humanitarian crisis deepens. “As the stories get more heart-wrenching the
government position is incomprehensible to me,” says Kumi Naidoo, a former
ANC activist and the honorary president of Civicus, an international
umbrella group of non-governmental organisations. The country’s most famous
churchman, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been a particularly outspoken critic,
arguing that his country’s stance has lost it the moral high ground that it
won during the struggle against apartheid.

Meanwhile, Mr Verryn draws a connection between the policy and widespread
popular sentiment against immigrants. Three times last year, mobs of local
residents angry about the extra pressure on local hospitals and other
services attacked the mission, he says.

Tensions have lessened since but “there is a lot of anger among common South
Africans. Xenophobia bubbles beneath the surface [and has been the] nexus of
the [government’s] policy. It is almost as if foreign nationals are
dispensable and disposable,” he said.

Even so, that is no excuse for the lack of urgency, he said. There is a
reluctance “to name the thing for what it is: a crisis that is creating a
deluge of poverty”.

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Bob holidays while country sinks

January 05, 2009 Edition 2

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has taken a month's leave and is to spend
part of it on holiday outside the country, reports the state-owned Sunday

The report quoted Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba as saying: "This is
more of a retreat than an annual leave. The president is very busy
reflecting on the new structures that are needed to deal with the economic
sanctions against Zimbabwe, as well as working on structures of an inclusive
government which must come soon," he said.

Mugabe's time-out comes amid Zimbabwe's worse economic and humanitarian

The country has been without a new cabinet since the June 2008 presidential
run-off in which Mugabe was the sole candidate after his opposition rival
Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out, citing violence against his supporters.

In mid-September, Mugabe and Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), signed a power-sharing deal and began negotiations
for a unity government.

But negotiations broke down as the two sides failed to agree on the
implementation of the pact. Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of wanting all the key
ministries, such as defence, in-formation, home affairs, finance and foreign

Political commentator Lovemore Madhuku criticised Mug-abe for deciding to
"spend the little left of foreign currency (in Zimbabwe)" during his leave.

"It shows that he is not concerned about the suffering people. One can only
afford to go on leave if one has done something tangible. Honestly, Mugabe
has done nothing that deserves a rest," Madhuku said.

"Cholera is killing people, the economy is bleeding and someone decides to
abandon ship and rest. For what?"

Inflation in Zimbabwe is the highest on the world, officially at 231 million
percent. The prices of the few available goods change every day as a result.
More than five million people are in need of food aid, says the UN.

Since August a cholera epidemic has claimed more than 1 500 lives and more
than 20 000 people have been infected. Residents in many cities and towns
have to depend on shallow wells and rivers for their drinking water. -

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It’s now or never

Now seems to be the word of the moment. Kubatana subscriber, Sophie Zvapera, wrote to Kubatana sharing a short story about her sister and a new year resolution . . .

I phoned my sister’s seventeen-year-old daughter to wish her a merry christmas and a prosperous new year since they were visiting the rural areas and I was not going to be able to talk to her till after new year. She was excited to go and see her nana and I asked her whether she had already made her new year resolution. I wish I had not asked! She said all she wanted was to study hard and pass her A levels this year and find herself a place in some university somewhere outside Zimbabwe where she can do her studies.

Then I cried!

I cried because my sister’s daughter was going to this mission boarding school and at the end of last year she was sent back home before schools closed because there were no teachers, no food, the school fees that we were paying in zim dollars were not even enough to buy a loaf of bread. Therefore there was nothing that the school could do except to send all the students back. I started thinking of all the other children who have the same resolution as my sister’s daughter and who cannot go to school as the term starts because they cannot afford to pay private college fees in foreign currency. Here is a whole generation whose hopes and aspirations have been shattered by a group of Mugabe’s thugs. They are thugs because they have stolen our children’s future yet they claim to be governing or whatever they call it because the people voted them into office. Which people I ask? How many of all these school and tertiary going students’ future have these politicians quashed, trampled upon and thrown into the dust bin all for the sake of political power? What happened to the concept of investing in the youth for they are tomorrow’s future leaders? What legacy are we leaving for our children?

So while I am still wiping my tears I will put my request to the political leaders for the new year. This political bickering, grandstanding and media statements will not bring back the lost years for our children neither will it arrest or correct all the things that are wrong in this country. So for the sake of Zimbabwe please put people’s interests first and foremost and rescue the global political agreement from wherever it is and come up with a government that will take the country forward. This does not require Monthlante, SADC, AU, UN, Britain or America just us Zimbabweans can do it if there is the political will to do so. How long can we continue to have all these abductions, murders, cholera, starvation, HIV/AIDS and all the deaths before all you politicians say the people have suffered enough?

It is now or never.

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Govt using seized Sky vehicle

From ZWNEWS, 5 January

The Zimbabwe government has been using a vehicle seized from a Sky News crew
to transport abducted civil society activists to and from court. The
vehicle, a red VW minibus, together with television broadcasting equipment,
laptops, computers, disks, and videotape was confiscated in May last year in
Bulawayo, and three Sky employees were detained. Bernet Hasani Sono,
Resemate Chauke and Simon Musimani were subsequently each sentenced to six
months in jail. In July 2008 a High Court judge reduced the sentences to
fines of Z$50 billion and they were deported. There had been speculation as
to why a red VW minibus, with Gauteng registration plates HNL 223 GP, had
been used so openly by the state to transfer the activists, some of whom
allege that they have been tortured and beaten while in custody. Gauteng
vehicle records show the vehicle to be the property of Kebone Tours and
Transport, a tourism company based in Vorna Valley between Johannesburg and
Pretoria, although as Phetole Ramatseba of Kebone Tours said: "We haven't
really owned that vehicle since it was taken by the Zimbabwean state."

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Zimbabwe government extends price controls

From Sapa, 5 January

The Zimbabwean government has extended the period for monitoring prices of
basic goods and services to June 30 this year, the state-controlled Herald
reported today. This was so profiteering by some elements in the business
sector could be curbed, the newspaper said. The price monitoring also
included schools, many of which have embarked on large fee hikes ahead of
the first term, which begins on January 13. According to a Statutory
Instrument in an Extra-ordinary Government Gazette published last Friday by
the Minister of Industry and International Trade, Cde Obert Mpofu,
"monitoring of goods and services will continue until the end of June this
year." According to the Herald, some of the products that were monitored
included bread, maize-meal, cooking oil, salt and sugar. The move meant that
businesses and schools had to apply to the National Incomes and Pricing
Commission for any price and fee adjustments, the newspaper said. The
effectiveness of the regulations remained to be seen since most businesses
were now charging their goods and services in foreign currency, the Herald
said. Recently, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe granted licences to more than
1,000 wholesalers, retailers and filling stations to trade in hard currency.
Other businesses and institutions have followed suit even though they did
not have central bank approval, the newspaper said.

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Motlanthe's silence on Mugabe is disturbing

5 January 2009, 16:40 GMT + 2
ZIMBABWE has entered 2009 with little prospect of progress on democracy.
The decision by its president, Robert Mugabe, to leave town on an extended
holiday is confirmation of just how urgently he views the hand-over of power
to a new multi-party government.
Worse than that, he appears intent on forming a government of national
disunity which excludes the man who beat him in presidential elections last
Morgan Tsvangirai has refused to proceed with a power-sharing government
because opposition activists have been abducted and are being held without
charges by Mugabe's thugs.
He has quite rightly insisted that they be released and that abductions
cease before talks continue.
Mugabe's failure to acknowledge the legitimacy of the opposition comes as no
What is shocking is his preparedness to take his country to the wall so he
can hold on to power until the bitter end.
The Zimbabwean economy is in ruins. The US dollar has become the default
currency and it won't be long before Mugabe runs out of cash to pay his
security forces.
There are already signs that the military might toss aside the rule of law
and take to the streets.
This is a dangerous development which seriously threatens the security of
the sub-continent.
Through all of this, South Africa's government remains strangely mute
despite promising signs that a tougher line was being taken towards the end
of 2008.
President Kgalema Motlanthe appears as unable as his predecessor, Thabo
Mbeki, to publicly chastise Mugabe for his shocking leadership.
This moral equivalence is not inspiring.
South Africa must stand up and take the lead in pushing Zimbabwe to reform.

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Churches maintain pressure on Mugabe in Zimbabwe

By Agencies
5 Jan 2009

Anglican bishops and other church leaders in Southern African have been
maintaining pressure on dictator Robert Mugabe over the past week, calling
for action against the disputed president of Zimbabwe.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Laureate, renewed his attack
on South Africa for its lack of action against Mr Mugabe, and repeated his
call to the international community to remove him forcibly if he refuses to
step down voluntarily.

A "new doctrine of responsibility to protect" had to be invoked, Tutu told
BBC Radio 4 in an interview last week. Mr Mugabe "needs to be warned, and
his cronies must be warned that the world is not just going to sit by and do
nothing," he declared.

Meanwhile the Anglican Bishop of Pretoria, the Rt Rev Dr Jo Seoka has called
upon President Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa to act against Mugabe.

"Looking at the situation in Zimbabwe, one cannot help but challenge the
government of South Africa to consider seriously the humanitarian crisis
faced by the Zimbabwean people in Musina and act decisively on it," the
bishop said.

He added that he had previously called upon both the government and the
Southern African Development Community to take tougher action against
Mugabe. "However, no action has been taken by the political leaders of our
country to protect the Zimbabwean nationals within our borders. Yet people
continue to be detained without trial, and to die of diseases of
impoverishment such as cholera."

The conditions under which the Zimbabweans found themselves could no longer
be tolerated, Seoka said.

He continued: "As a spiritual leader and the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese
of Pretoria, I challenge my own government first, to send a delegation on a
fact-finding mission that will inform and empower us to act decisively to
rescue the innocent nationals of Zimbabwe, both in their country, and in
such places as Musina, where they are being treated to a fate worse than

The bishop said it was tragic to learn that one of the observers in the area
noted that even his dogs did not live under the conditions to which the
Zimbabwean nationals were being subjected. The bishop added that South
Africa had to now consider sending a peacekeeping force to Zimbabwe, to
protect civilians, "particularly those who are human rights advocates, such
as Jestina Mukoko, who was abducted and molested".

He also called on South Africa to stop supplying electricity and water to
Zimbabwe, "simply because these amenities have become accessible only to
Mugabe and his cronies, and not the poor who are evidently dying of
starvation and thirst".

Seoka said it was the right of South African citizens to speak out on such
matters, "as it is our tax which subsidises the supply of these amenities".
He added that should peacekeeping fail, "we must, as a country, call upon
our President Kgalema Motlanthe, to exercise his responsibility as the chair
of Southern African Development Community, to mobilise SADC forces to go to
Zimbabwe as peacemakers".

In his Christmas pastoral letter to Zimbabwean Anglicans, the Bishop of
Harare, Dr Sebastian Bakare, said there was "a litany of challenges" of
problems that are destroying Zimbabwe.

He wrote: "Cholera, hunger, HIV/AIDs, lack of health care, homelessness,
unemployment, poverty, corruption, kidnappings, callousness, harassment, you
name it. . . All these challenges rob us of an opportunity to have a
meaningful and purposeful life. As I write, some families are nursing their
relatives who are suffering from the effects of cholera expecting them to
die any time, others stay indoors, unable to come out from their houses
because of the unbearable stench of sewage flowing in front of their
doorsteps, while still others are burying their dead. We hear of a horrific
case where one family lost five children in 36 hours."

Dr Bakare described it as "an ugly and horrendous situation". Such feelings
of hopelessness and dejection can challenge faith in God, he said, but "can
also lead us to deeper understanding of the helplessness, powerlessness,
dejection, and pain that Jesus had to bear on our behalf". God has not
abandoned Zimbabwe, and the Lord does not fail his chosen, he assured his

Catholic and Methodist leaders have also spoken out in New Year

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Now nothing works

Monday, January 5th, 2009 by Michael Laban
Zanu PF has one objective - to remain in power. Everything else is subject
to that caveat. The apparatus of state (power apparatus, army, police, tax
office, civil service, currency, central bank, other economic tools, etc)
are to be used to that effect. The population of Zimbabwe, and the services
they require (education, health, infrastructure - roads, water, refuse
disposal) are to be used to that effect. The economy, and the economic
basics, all primary, secondary and tertiary portions, are to be used to that
effect. The 'war veterans' are to be used to that effect. Race is to be used
to that effect.

The members of the ruling party are in power to make money. I am not a
Marxist for nothing - Karl Marx believed, and I agree with him, that
economics/money is at the root of EVERYTHING; he said it went right down to
marriage - to create a better economic unit. So Zanu PF is a business, as is
all politics. It is a job, a method of employment, a wage earner, and if you
are good (or good at it), a very good 'wage' earner. A method of getting

Zanu PF discovered that it was possible to buy power - that is, purchase
people to keep them in power. This is known as patronage. And the army -
civil servants with guns - were the most important ones to by bought.

Zanu PF discovered that there was no need to balance the budget. Feel free
to spend more than you earn, because so long as you can print money, you can
cover the gap. So long as there is no free press, or anyone to ask prying
questions (eg a civil service that answers to Zimbabwe and not Zanu PF),
they do not have to be bought off.

Civil service jobs (right up to the ministers) were the traditional method
(as most socialist/labour/left wing governments are accused of) of buying
power/patronage. Then Zanu PF made unbudgeted payouts for the war vererans.
Then all the Ministerial permanent secretaries' jobs went to 'retired'
soldiers. Then farms for everyone the rank of major and above, and most
politicians as well.

However, the farms 'redistribution' was a last step. (And why did Zanu PF
stop land redistribution in 1985?); a) they failed to put farmers on farms -
which is a crucial mistake when your economy is based on agriculture to the
extent that ours was. (This incidentally is why land redistribution before
1985 was successful - you had to have a Master Farmers Certificate to be
awarded a land grant). b) those given farms discovered that you actually had
to farm the land to make money. Simply owning a farm did not make one

This meant that, the long term plan, to take the mines and businesses,
encountered problems. Bith the potntial givers and takers realised that just
handing them out would not be enough, so there was little point in stealing
them. Unfortunately, the means of buying patronage was running out.

Remember how a government is supposed to work in an economy? A budget is
needed, where income = expenditure. Income is from taxes. Taxes are those
levied on the economy. If the economy has collapsed and no economic activity
is occurring, your tax will be less (or nothing) and therefore, your
expenditure will be/should be less. Expenditure is how you buy power/make

But if you can print money, what do you need to balance a budget for?  Print
more money to cover the gap. And talk fast (made easy by a lack of a free
press) and convince people that there is some other reason for inflation (or
cholera for that matter). However there is a physical limit to how much you
can print and talk. Eventually it runs out. Even the stupidist people begin
to think for themselves. Again, the means of buying patronage was running

Patronage jobs are given to people who are loyal to the giver of the job.
Not based on any ability to do that job. Hence, rising to the top of any
'official' organisation have been those loyal to Zanu PF. The abilty to
manage, get things accomplished, achieve goals, motivate staff and get the
maximum work out of them, make machines and other apparatus continue to
function, vehicle fleets continue to drive, service to be provided - that is

So, when you now go to any 'government' body, and find that nothing has been
done; a) they want a bribe - because there is no 'real' (government) pay,
and the only reason to stay in that position is for what you can take home
to feed your family (and since we are not paying them via the tax routeÉ) b)
there is no one of any competence (or if there is, they are in some menial
job at the back of the outer office down that corridor on the left out of
the way of the public who might actually pay them) to do anything.

So now, nothing works. No education, no health services, no refuse
collection, no water, no electricty, no fuel, no food. Everyone with any
competence has a job. In the UK of South Africa. But not to worry, cholera
is under control.

This 'failure to separate' also leads to a new problem. Now that the 'ruling'
party is the official opposition, the civil service (right down to rural and
municipal levels) is out of step with (new) ruling party policy. They are no
longer able to 'make' ruling party policy, which kept them making money from
their position. Therefore, they have a serious 'disinterest' in seeing a
change of ruling party, or listening to new orders from new bosses (who are
really just the representatives of their real, old bosses, the population of
Zimbabwe). Their patronage post is in jeopardy.

There most definately has been a coup. It has certainly not been overt, nor
has it happened at any partcular point. It was hidden, and it crept up. But
compare today to ten of fifteen years ago. Who conducted the coup? That is
another reason that it has not been noticed. It has not really been the army
(the ZNA, ZDF, Z Air Force, etc) It has been conducted by what I call the
the Zanla High. Remember that stretching back to liberation war days, Zanu
was the political side, a front for, Zanla. One of the liberation armies,
the one that won the war.

They are the military establishment. Despite the fact that the Mujurus
retired, Mutasa and Mnangagwa are 'civilians', Chinamasa is a lawyer, one is
a party Chairman, one's a policeman, one a prison officer, Shiri flits from
army to air force, and a few others are also inside this group - they are
the 'militant' core of Zanu PF/ZANLA (or the new one). They are not
currently, or possibly ever have been, part of the classic Zimbabwean
military, but they are part of a junta that has taken control of Zimbabwe,
often using the classic military. They maintain their theory of
military/militant takeover. Hence the concern with martial law, Botswana
bases, arms shipments, the JOC, etc. It is what they know (and how they did

Post liberation-struggle, they have maintained 'alternatives' as layers of
cover. ZAPU was absorbed a a cover. The political party, Zanu PF was formed
as a cover (with possibly the party chairman as cover for, or controling
from within, the junta), SADC and the AU were useful curtains to be worked
on from within, etc.

These layers of cover are slipping away. Zapu is leaving, for example. In
addition there is the Makoni factor. Simply by surviving, even if he failed
to win, he has demonstrated that the former ruling party does not have to be
slavishly followed. You can make you own voice be heard, say different
things, suggest different paths, all away from that dictated by the Zanla
high command.

And the former ruling party is fracturing. Some want to use power to retain
power. Some want to reform the party and its policies, to regain mass
support (and that power). Some want to vut and run with the money they have
already made. Some want to (need to) retain power, even if there is no more
money to be made, in order to retain that which they have already stolen.
Real heart attack material!

They are bombing each other. Killing each other. (Quite convinced now that
they do have 'degrees in violence'). Party elections are fired upon by the
riot squad. The civil service with guns are beating up bank tellers, and
openly stealing from forex dealers.

So now what? So now what? How can they hold on? And it is my opinion that
change is happening. I will not say to what, or when it will be finished,
but it is happening. They have to do something new, because the old ways are
bankrupt (like the country). Former friends are gone, former enemies are
still enemies, and are no longer crying for the implementation of the unity
agreement, but the removal of the regime, and the civil service are on a go
slow, mainly because they are waiting to see who their new bosses are going
to be.

They cannot dollarise. a) this would be an admission of failure. Too serious
to contemplate or cover up, expecially after the party chairman ranted on at
length about our 'sovereignty'. (Which they have done what with? And was an
excuse for what?) It is fine to 'licence' forex shops (it provides an income
to steal), or charge forex earners in dollars for their electricity (or to
licence their generators), but they cannot overtly simply move to dollars.
b) they would have to balance a dollar budget. There could be no printing to
paper over those gaps. And with no economy to provide income, there could be
no expenditure. And if they cannot pay the civil service with guns, who will
protect them from the civil service with guns?

Cholera. This cannot be hidden. It is our only export at the moment. And it
cannot be solved with the current system. Either the system must be changed
(impossible), or force/power/guns must somehow solve it (dismiss the

Hence, my feeling that change is happening. A more naked, open, junta
control, with no facade of democracy, (with no patronage to offer). Or a
shakedown to more democratic control, stable economy (one you can plan
within), health and education, roads, public transport, etc.

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A new trade: Selling snakes

Sunday, 04 January 2009 19:11

Hunger and desperation have driven a Mutasa district orphan to hunt for
snakes and sell them in Mozambique.
Stung by hunger, no money to pay his school fees and being constantly
overlooked at periodic food rations, Tendekai Mucheki* has resorted to an
unorthodox survival tactic.

Mucheki started his self taught art after he learnt from his friends that he
could make money by selling snakes to sanctuaries in neigbouring Mozambique.

He started out on this dangerous expedition three months ago and now keeps a
cage full of snakes at his Vhumbunu homestead.

When RadioVOP visited his homestead he was not at home and was said to have
left for Mozambique where he smuggles his snakes through numerous
undesignated entry points. According to his close friends, he has a ready
market in Mozambique's Manica Province. Some sanctuary owners have
reportedly given him equipment to harvest snakes.

"When he started out he was not even afraid of snakes because he was used to
killing them with his hands, and when he heard of buyers in Mozambique - he
started keeping them at home and it has now become his occupation," said a
friend, who identified himself as Hardlife.

Hardlife also claims to have killed a puff adder with his bare hands.

"I was just walking next to our compound and I heard a screeching sound, I
then saw a snake in a tree and it was about to attack me but it missed me
and was dangling from a branch. I gripped it with my hands - close to its
head and stoned it with my other hand," said the 19-year-old Hardlife who
said he has gone on to kill a couple more snakes with his bare hands.

Hardlife says Mucheki now goes to the mountains to look for snakes which he
catches alive and does not remove their 'teeth' because his buyers in
Mozambique want them in their natural state.

"I plan to join him because he is doing well and can afford to buy himself a
few goats. He now walks around with US$ in his pocket," said Hardlife.

*Not real name

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Confusion reigns over validity of US$ notes

Business Reporter

THE increase in transactions in United States dollars has brought confusion
over the validity of some notes, Business Chronicle has established.
Businesses in Bulawayo trading in foreign currency are rejecting United
States dollars printed in some years claiming they were no longer valid.
Confusion over the validity of certain notes intensified over the past few
days with some businesses refusing to take notes that have since "stopped"
being in circulation.
The affected notes were those printed in the 1996 series. The US$100 has
series ranging from 1996, 2001, 2003 and 2006 whose security features are
based on notes introduced in 1996.
Members of the public called Business Chronicle narrating how their money
was being rejected at some shops because it was no longer "valid".
"This has happened several times to me and I was told that my US$100 is not
legal tender anymore, I think the Reserve Bank should explain to members of
the public which foreign currency notes can be used," said Mr Herbert Mbizo
of Hillcrest.
Moneychangers also known as Osiphatheleni located along Fort Street at the
infamous 'World Bank' also revealed that they did not accept the 1996 series
"We don't take it, even where we do accept it as form of payment usually we
knock off a bit of its value and don't change it at the prevailing market
rates", said a woman identified only as Janet.
However, investigations by Business Chronicle reveal that the 1996 series
US$100 is still legal tender and is in use in its country and in
neighbouring countries such as Botswana and South Africa.
According to United States law, any bill that is 50 percent intact is still
legal tender.
The introduction of foreign currency shops has seen an increase in
counterfeit currency in circulation resulting in a leading security company
urging businesses to invest in fake note detector machines to reduce losses.
Outlets licensed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to sell in foreign currency
are supposed to have note detection machines as a prerequisite of getting a
licence but most workers use visual inspection to check authenticity of

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Time ripe to topple Mugabe

By Mansoor Ladha, For The Calgary Herald
December 30, 2008

Shame on Africa's leaders that they have waited this long and have done
nothing in Zimbabwe while Robert Mugabe goes ahead with his tyrannical
regime, ignoring the plight of his people. How long are they and the
international community going to wait?

I remember the days when the Organization for African Unity used to vocalize
about white minority domination, apartheid and racism. But now in the case
of Zimbabwe, with few exceptions, Africa has remained silent. It's a
shameful lesson in African history that African leaders, usually vocal in
their denunciation of apartheid, are noticeably quiet in the case of Mugabe.

As everyone knows, the situation in Zimbabwe is worsening day by day. It
should be clear by now that after being in office since 1980, Mugabe has no
desire to give up power. Even if he loses an election, he will not yield.
The only solution there is to either assassinate him from within or to
topple him.

As far as the first solution is concerned, it would be impossible to do so
as the army is in Mugabe's pockets so there is very little that can be
expected from within. Somehow dictators always know that if they want to
cling to power, they should keep the colonels happy by supplying them with
enough lucrative goodies.

A few African leaders have criticized Mugabe openly. Among them are Kenya's
Prime Minister Raila Odinga and South African Desmond Tutu, the retired
Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, who stated that Mugabe should step down
from office. He made a lot of sense when he suggested that African nations
should even resort to military force if necessary to remove Mugabe from
office, during an interview with Dutch TV program Nova.

Another option to force Mugabe to step down, Tutu said, is to threaten him
with prosecution at the International Criminal Court. Mugabe "is destroying
a wonderful country," Tutu lamented. "A country that used to be a bread
basket . . . has now become a basket case itself needing help."

The ZANU-PF and MDC power-sharing agreement for all intents and purposes
appears to be dead. To add fuel to the political pyre, Zimbabwe's cholera
epidemic continues to spread and has now claimed more than 1,000 lives among
20,581 cases since August. The easily preventable disease has spread because
of the collapse of health services and water sanitation in Zimbabwe.

The UN World Health Organization has said the total number of cases could
reach 60,000 unless the epidemic is stopped and yet Mugabe won't allow
physicians from other neighbouring African countries the visa to enter
Zimbabwe with medicines.

The only solution, therefore, is for Zimbabwe's neighbours to get together
and invade the country. The time for discussions and debates is over. South
African ruling ANC leader Jacob Zuma has already said in a radio interview
there was no reason for sending troops to Zimbabwe. "Why military
intervention when there is no war?" he told South Africa's 702 Talk Radio.
"We should be pressurizing them to see the light."

Where are the courageous African leaders like the late president Julius
Nyerere of Tanzania, who ousted Idi Amin after recognizing that his
neighbour had become a tyrant and invaded Uganda to bring an end to the
tyrannical regime? Nyerere has set an excellent precedent for African
leaders to follow, but I see that they lack the courage that is required to
do so.

Mind you, Amin was brutal, but his regime was even better than Mugabe's as
people in Uganda were beaten, tortured, abused and hundreds were murdered,
but never did they starve to death or see the level of suffering which is to
be found in today's Zimbabwe, and yet there is no action from African

There is still a ray of hope that some country like, Botswana, though not as
powerful as South Africa, may take the lead to invade Zimbabwe, or maybe
Zuma may be persuaded to change his mind. But the clock is ticking and
Zimbabweans are suffering and dying. Something must be done to stop that

If Africa doesn't act, then as a last resort the international community
should take matters into its own hands. Many may not like this suggestion
but a mercenary or an international force should invade Zimbabwe and capture
Mugabe and his closest allies. An example comes to mind when in 1976,
Israeli commandos rescued 100 hostages, mostly Israelis or Jews, held by
pro-Palestinian hijackers at Entebbe airport in Uganda.

Ugandan soldiers and the hijackers were taken completely by surprise when
three Hercules transport planes landed after a 4,000-kilometre trip from
Israel. About 200 elite troops ran out and stormed the airport building.

If this is not acceptable, then the United States, saviour of all
democracies, should be persuaded when Barack Obama takes office next month
to invade Zimbabwe.

Bush invaded Iraq so why can't President Obama, the first African-American
president of the United States, authorize the invasion of an African country
(Zimbabwe) and topple Mugabe's regime? The idea doesn't seem that

After Zimbabwe is invaded, Mugabe and his henchmen should be brought to The
Hague to stand trail for their crimes against the people of Zimbabwe. His
regime has not only brought destruction, but cholera, poverty, runaway
inflation, destitution and starvation--reducing the country into one of the
failed and mismanaged states. If we don't act now, history will blame us for

As Martin Luther said: "We will have to repent in this generation not merely
for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling
silence of the good people."

Mansoor Ladha Is A Journalist Based In Calgary. He Is Author Of The Book
Entitled, A Portrait In Pluralism: Aga Khan's Shia Ismaili Muslims,
Published By Detselig.

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A case for intervention

John Kraemer and Larry Gostin,
Monday 5 January 2009 10.00 GMT

By any reasonable measure, Zimbabwe's president has committed crimes against
humanity justifying an international response

If the Bush doctrine justified the use of armed force to prevent harm to
westerners, then the Obama doctrine should be to use the force of
international law to stop crimes against humanity or grave, man-made
humanitarian disasters. No place cries out for intervention like Zimbabwe,
where Robert Mugabe has been responsible for countless deaths and epidemic
disease. His actions - particularly systematic violence against opponents
and the deprivation of humanitarian aid - should be viewed as a crime
against humanity, which would justify humanitarian intervention without the
government's consent.

The UN Charter allows the security council to authorise force when a country
poses a "threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression".
Precedent exists for using this device to intervene in humanitarian
emergencies. In 1992, the security council found that famine and
deteriorating stability in Somalia posed a "threat to international peace
and security" and sanctioned a US-led military force to restore peace and
provide aid. Unfortunately, Russia and China have blocked security council
sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Humanitarian intervention without security council authorisation is
controversial but legally defensible. The UN Charter prohibits intervention
by one country "in matters which are essentially within the domestic
jurisdiction" of another. However, the Charter's purpose, in addition to
preserving peace, is to prevent grievous violations of human rights.
Sovereignty should inhere in the people and not the government, so
governments forfeit sovereignty when they commit crimes against humanity.

Under this view, international law recognises a right to intervene to stop
crimes against humanity. This would give the US, ideally in support of the
African Union, room to intervene, at least for the limited purpose of
preventing systematic violence by Mugabe's forces and ensuring the delivery
of food and health assistance that Mugabe shows little interest in.

Crimes against humanity have usually been thought to apply to widespread
torture, disappearances, and persecution on the basis of cultural or
political group. But international law also defines crimes against humanity
to apply equally to widespread or systematic inhumane acts that
intentionally cause "great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental
or physical health".

Mugabe has made easy his own prosecution. His redistribution of land from
large-scale colonial hold-overs to political allies and the calculated
destruction of fields, livestock, and granaries have wrecked the country's
food production, once one of Africa's most abundant agricultural economies.
Roughly half of the country is malnourished and more than 5m people are
dependent on international food aid. Need is expanding so quickly that the
World Food Programme cannot keep up and may have to cut rations to
already-starving Zimbabweans.

As economic and social conditions have deteriorated in Zimbabwe, Mugabe
responded by expelling international aid workers - leaving millions without
adequate access to food and essential medicines. Life expectancy has fallen
by more than two decades in the last 20 years.

And now comes cholera. Cholera is an acute and rapidly fatal
gastrointestinal disease, but it is relatively easy to prevent through
proper sanitation and water purification, and fairly straightforward to
treat with rehydration salts. Zimbabwe never used to have large epidemics of
cholera - it once had one of the best public health and medical systems in
Africa. But Mugabe's calculated neglect of urban population centres now
means that infectious sewage flows into the streets and water is not
purified. No functioning hospital remains in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital and
largest city. The epidemic - which has now infected more than 30,000 and
killed more than 1,600 - will only grow as the rainy season intensifies,
making sewage and drinking water exceedingly difficult to keep separate. The
World Health Organisation projects that up to 60,000 people may become
infected, and cases have been reported in neighbouring Zambia, Botswana,
Mozambique, and South Africa.

By any reasonable measure, Mugabe has committed crimes against humanity
justifying an international response. The United States should propose that
the UN security council use its authority under the Rome Statute to
authorise International Criminal Court claims of crimes against humanity.

An indictment would have two major effects. First it would further
de-legitimise Mugabe, conferring on him the status of hostis humani generis
and providing a powerful bargaining chip for his resignation. Second, if he
did not resign, it strengthens the legal case for humanitarian intervention
with food, medicines and sanitary measures to safeguard the health and lives
of Zimbabweans. The alternative is to stand by while innocent people
continue to die from manmade violence, hunger, and disease.

Larry Gostin is a professor at Georgetown Law and the Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public Health. John Kraemer is a fellow of the O'Neill
Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University.

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Hot Spots: Zimbabwe

JANUARY 5, 2009, 9:40 A.M. ET

A South African leader might pressure disastrous Mugabe
Like a twisted fairy tale whose pages never seem to end, Zimbabwe seems
incapable of reaching bottom. Last month, a cholera epidemic swept the
country, killing at least 700 people thus far -- and probably far more,
since most Zimbabweans prefer to die at home than in their country's
decrepit hospital rooms, bare of supplies or workers.

The outbreak caps off a disastrous year, one of repeated shocks that might
finally bring down longtime leader Robert Mugabe -- or might just as easily
launch all-out civil war. In March, Zimbabweans voted decisively for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change in a national election, sparking
hope among the population. Yet the opposition party did not win an outright
majority. With a re-vote looming, Mr. Mugabe outmaneuvered the MDC, using
his thugs to intimidate the opposition until they pulled out of the
election, making Mr. Mugabe the victor.

Since then, Mr. Mugabe and the MDC have tried to negotiate a power-sharing
deal, but Mr. Mugabe grabbed the most important government ministries,
leaving him the upper hand and the talks deadlocked. Meanwhile, average
Zimbabweans starve, their farms decimated by years of predatory government
policies, their salaries worthless, their grocery stores and schools closed.
One analysis of the country's exchange rate by the Cato Institute think-tank
found Zimbabwe now boasts the second-worst hyperinflation in the history of
the world.

In 2009, the conflict between Mr. Mugabe and the MDC will only deteriorate.
In the last round of talks on a government of national unity, held in
November, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangarai admitted any deal "appears
increasingly unlikely," while Mr. Mugabe recently declared the country was
his "forever." Days later, army soldiers, dissatisfied they could not get
their wages out of the wrecked banking system, rioted across Harare, looting
stores and robbing people. The army protests only hardened Mr. Mugabe's
thinking. Maintaining the loyalty of the army is, for him, critical to
remaining in power; inking a deal with the MDC, which might try to dilute
the security forces who have been beating and killing MDC supporters for
years, would cost Mr. Mugabe that hard-won military backing.
In fact, any decision Mr. Mugabe makes will spark more unrest next year. If
he gives an inch, expect more protests by army officers worried about MDC
rule; if he holds a tough line, expect a tougher MDC response-many young MDC
members want to take the fight back to the government. Most likely, Mr.
Mugabe will claim the opposition refused to join the government and then
name the cabinet himself, setting off a new cycle of protest by opposition
supporters, an even more vicious crackdown by the government, and a possible
descent into complete anarchy, causing a regional crisis as the country
empties even further of its people.

As in several other countries where the United States has imposed tough
sanctions-North Korea and Burma, for example-Washington has sharply
curtailed its own influence in Zimbabwe. The U.S. has interests in Zimbabwe,
besides simply promoting human rights. The country's meltdown has sent
millions of migrants abroad, undermining stability across southern Africa,
and serving as a vector for the spread of HIV/AIDS on the continent, which
the White House has invested over $60 billion in fighting. Yet American
officials have virtually no interaction with top members of Mr. Mugabe's
circle, and Mr. Mugabe frequently blames Washington for his country's
poverty and food crisis. So, as in Burma, where the U.S. must lean on China
to do the heavy lifting, in Zimbabwe the international community relies on
South Africa to take the lead.

Until recently, under former president Thabo Mbeki, Johannesburg refused to
play along, working to broker an MDC-Mugabe deal but never putting real
pressure on the longtime autocrat, even though South Africa remains
Zimbabwe's economic lifeline. In 2009, that, too, may change. Unlike Mr.
Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, the populist probable next president of South Africa,
relies on his country's powerful trade unions for political support. The
unions, sympathetic to former union leader Tsvangarai, have pushed for a
tougher line against Mr. Mugabe, and Mr. Zuma already has called Zimbabwe's
crisis "unacceptable," language Mr. Mbeki would never have used.

Rather than simply launching new UN sanctions, sure to be vetoed by China,
or condemning Mr. Mugabe, the international community needs to take
advantage of the rise of Mr. Zuma, still mistrusted by many Western nations
for his populist leanings. The international community should push Mr. Mbeki
to step aside as mediator in Zimbabwe (he remains in the post despite
exiting the South African presidency) and have him replaced with Mr. Zuma,
who'd be much more likely to pressure Mr. Mugabe.

For its part, Zimbabwe's opposition should swallow its pride and join the
government, even if it remains dissatisfied by the government posts it gets.
By staying outside government this year, it has allowed Mr. Mugabe to fool
it time and again. And only by joining government can the MDC finally help
close the book on Zimbabwe's poisoned fairy tale.

Joshua Kurlantzick is a Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace and author of "Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power
is Transforming the World."

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Comment from a correspondent

This is a reply to Dr. Maweres  article posted on[]

Robert hating white people--------------the biggest con ever !

       Dr. Mawere,

                         Thank you very much for the article attached. It touched me and I am sure it has started a debate with many others, which is well and good. Somehow I think Mugabe has duped you and many others when you assume and accept the notion that he has a hatred of white people. One thing you will agree with me is, I hope, the man is a genius,[evil genius at that]. Somehow, everyone tends to listen when the man opens his mouth-----friend or foe.  A great attribute, I would say.

       The whole background of the liberation struggles, especially in Southern Africa, has been dominated by leaders like, Mandela, Mbeki, Mugabe, Kaunda, Banda, Nyerere and many many others, all Western educated. Many of these leaders did not actually hold a gun during the struggle but like Bush or Blair managed to persuade someone else’s son or daughter to go to the front while they were in a hideout or bunker.[part of modern day leadership and warfare ,unlike yester-year.][Bush rushed into a bunker as over 350 firemen filed into the twin towers before they collapsed---all perished].

        Thus, when independence was attained most of these chaps found themselves in charge of vast wealth,  --------kutuma bete kumukaka,----------[sending a cockroach to a bowl of milk], some were bound to fall in. Remember, all this time they were telling the world it was nothing to do with skin colour but the system. When the people’s patience with the looting started running out that’s when it became a “white” issue or as I call it tissue!. Politically, Mugabe has played it brilliantly in the last 8 years. The older generation in the main have been more susceptible to these tissues of lies  Meanwhile, Mugabe had accepted a knighthood from the queen [1994] and several “ doctorates] from several establishments in the west. I can’t think of any titles he received from the nations who actually helped in the struggle, namely Russia and China. His holiday destinations were always Paris, London or New York-------not Mombasa, Moscow, Beijing, Dubai or even Victoria Falls. Actions of a man who has this venom against white people? I don’t think so!

       Tanzania’s  Julius Nyerere  had his on vision which did not take off for one reason or other. But, what amazes me is, he never thought of building one first class hospital in Tanzania. Instead,sadly, he spent  the last 3-6 months of his life in a coma in a London Hospital. What chance the ordinary citizen of Tanzania? Similarly, today the British government says they have frozen all the assets of the looters in Zimbabwe but are not prepared to tell Zimbabwean people what these assets are.[banking confidentiality, they say-------tosh!]. Zimbabweans should be pushing hard to find out what?, where?  when? and why?. I have a different take on this. The so called looters will always come “Home”-----Kensington----London, where their assets are safe. [it might be stretching  it too far, but don’t be surprised to hear Mugabe has been granted asylum at a future date They can always say ,he is an old man now.--------- alas, they are still looking for Nazis in South America, 65 years after German surrendered!]. Remember Gowon, Dikho and many many others who have slipped quietly back “Home”.

 These guys plunder the resources of the countries they govern but can’t trust to leave the loot in their own local banks. Rather, they prefer to ship it back “Home”, for the former masters to look after it. Who says British diplomacy is not the best in the world?. Cecil John Rhodes had a  dream. He envisaged a road, “Cape to Cairo”. The idea was to exploit the interior of Africa and send the proceeds to London. No road of his dream exists yet, but I can hear him turn and laugh in his grave at Matopo Hills because later-day Robin Hoods are robbing their own poor to send the proceeds “Home” to London. It is amazing and shocking to see Nigeria exporting 2 million barrels a day of oil over the last 20 years yet its people live in abject poverty. All the money still goes up NORTH. Kenya got it’s independence the same year as Malaysia [early 60’s],yet the average income for Malaysia is nearly $40 000 per annum while Kenya stands at $180 a month. They were both rural economies at independence.

ON being African:

            “No matter how long a log stays in water it can never turn into a crocodile”------------this statement or saying, to me says it all!

AFRICAN:   a native of Africa: a Negro or other person of black race, esp. one whose people live now, or lived recently in Africa.---------The Wordsworth Concise Dictionary.

EUROPEAN: belonging to Europe;  a member of the white race  of man characteristic of Europe.----------The Wordsworth Concise Dictionary.

Dr. Mawere, what you discussed in your article on this issue of “who is African” is  mainly Nationality and World economics issues. I will touch on both. A white person born in Africa can either be Kenyan, Zimbabwean, Nigerian, Somali, South African and so forth. A white person born in Natal cannot be Zulu [it will be a biological mistake] .Similarly, a black person born in London will be British---not English,[that will be a biological mistake too!]. If born in Scotland---------- British:  France—French: Germany----German and so forth because these are nationalities. [in other words, which passport one might hold.] To my knowledge, there is no English passport or for that matter an African passport. Suppose a pregnant  African lady goes on a trip to the ARCTIC circle and gives birth while there, are we seriously saying the child is Eskimo or Innuit ? If so, we might as well conclude, some would argue, Jesus, born in a stable was either a horse or an ass! [hope religious people will forgive].

     The debate is made more complicated when it comes to sport. In the United Kingdom for example, there are 4 “national” teams in football, namely, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland,but only one team in Athletics.[team GB]. All these groups use BRITISH passports to travel abroad when in competitions. I, like you, was born in Zimbabwe and used to worship Brazil [still do] in football, thought and still believe Mohammed Ali [Cassius Clay], was/is the greatest boxer ever. In cricket it was the West Indies, although this was later in my life since none was played by the blacks during Smith’s  Rhodesia.

 Living in England I have been accused of not being patriotic whenever England plays football. This, besides  the overwhelming evidence that they are not very good at it. [they still insist they invented the game]. However, a Scot born and raised in England considers it a “fatwa” if one was to call him English. The English would not dare ask a Scot for support in any sport. For many Scots it’s always been-------support ANYBODY but ENGLAND. [they actually cheer and celebrate whenever England is knocked out of any tournament].

Like I pointed out earlier,politically, our dear leader has used this black/white issue brilliantly.  For the majority of blacks, whether from the West Indies or Africa or the Americas, Mugabe was a hero until events of the last 12 months which exposed him as a classic despot. They don’t buy it anymore. Thus, white people, like any other group of the human race, can choose to be part of a nation state including being Zimbabwean. To actually say a white person born in Africa is an African is “political correctness” gone nuts ! The reverse is true for a an African born in England.[English? Nope]

   Here is a teaser. If one said I met an African last night. What comes first to mind ? Was he or she blonde or ginger?  WEIRD !

 There is another angle which I look at when discussing black and white issues, i.e, the economy. At this point in time in our history the “west” holds the economic power over every country on the planet. I prefer the terms  North and South, the South being predominantly the so-called “developing nations”, who are predominantly  black but will include Chinese, Indians and most Asia Pacific. To me, the North is White, the South is Black. In order for the North to function well they need resources from the South and I assume that’s why the founders of the former British colonies decided on the name  Commonwealth. They may be common but we got the wealth !

    Rather than play cheap and divisive politics  our dear leader would have served us well had he retired early and fought like he does on the imbalances the SOUTH faces with the NORTH on economic issues.

He also needs to be reminded that the 2 main reasons why Zimbabweans went to war were, 1] land which is the major cause of wars the world over

    And most important,  2] the right to choose who governs you. I emphasize  the 2nd  because everything falls into place the moment the citizens have a say in their  heritage and destiny..

          On both counts he has failed miserably. So, if like you state the rest of Africa  considers him as very patriotic I  and many others would like to know what  treachery is ?

                  THANK YOU, 

                                       SIMON. (neither blonde or ginger)

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