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Letter from South Africa

I returned exactly a week ago from a trip to Zimbabwe, and have been
gathering my thoughts and feelings in order to write this letter. Please
read it carefully to understand what is happening in this country.
Whilst in Zimbabwe I was shocked beyond belief (those of you who have
experienced this emotion will understand the feeling) by the situation in
this country. It is a totally failed State. Ninety per cent unemployment
with the serious ramifications of no jobs, no income and no food for the
overwhelming majority in this land, and seemingly no way out of the dire
situation there..
Government Schools mostly operated for twenty three days during 2008. No
final public exams were written at either Government Schools or at the
University in 2008. The salaries that Teachers and other wage earners for
that matter ( apart from Police and Army Personnel, who Mugabe looks after
for his own personal interests) are less than a Hawker can earn in the
informal sector, trying to sell wares on the street. Zim money devalues so
quickly that nobody deals it any more. Although it is illegal, the US Dollar
and the Rand rule on the streets.
There is very little or no water in the major towns, including Harare. The
situation in the high density areas is far more severe as open sewers run
through the streets due to the majority of water treatment works being non
functional. Contamination of water sources with Cholera-infected sewerage is
rife. Any water that one is able to obtain from boreholes or street vendors
has the potential of being infected with Cholera and needs to be treated as
such. I had the unfortunate experience of contracting this disease in
Chegutu. Luckily, through contacts, I was able to get hold of Doxycycline
(an anti-biotic ) when the symptoms presented, and went straight onto basic
re-hydration fluids of sugar and salt. It is relatively easy to treat the
disease but where there are no drugs for the vast majority in Zimbabwe,
particularly in the rural areas, it is a deadly disease. It has reached
pandemic proportions. The deaths from Cholera in Zimbabwe are grossly
understated, probably by four fold. On one day Mugabe is in denial about
this epidemic in Zimbabwe, and the very next day his Minister of Information
accuses Britain and America of Biological Warfare. Please through this
little episode, see the Zimbabwean crisis in its totality.
In a country riddled with Aids, those who become infected with Cholera have
little or no chance of survival. The vast majority of Government Hospitals
have closed throughout Zimbabwe. I spoke to a Nurse in Chigutu who tearfully
told me that if she went to work all she could do was to tell desperate
patients that there were no medicines available, and no Doctors to treat
them. That it was pointless her going to work to make sick people's lives
more miserable.
There is very little electricity supply. Where I was staying, we had a
period of eleven days with no power. The knock-on effect of this is that
there was no electricity to run the bore-hole pump. Fridges and Deep-freezes
cease to function and all perishable goods need to be thrown out. Toilet
cisterns do not re-fill. There is no water for bathing. One has to find a
friend who has a Generator to run a bore-hole, to get drinking water. PLEASE
try to imagine yourself in that situation every day.
Having outlined the scenario I will now come to the point of writing this
letter. Desmond Tutu, our Nobel Peace Prize Winner has openly stated that
Robert Mugabe needs to be brought before the International Court in the
Hague for Crimes against Humanity. This was no flippant remark, and he is
absolutely right. The situation in Zimbabwe is the result of the behavior of
one man, who over the last ten years or so, with his political cohorts, has
been driven by the evil of clinging onto political and financial power at
all costs, and for his own gain. Knob-kerrieing and the machetteing to death
of thousands who dared oppose him will still come to light. Here is a man
who has no compassion for his own people. Here is a man who together with
his political cohorts and ZANU PF Government Ministers (listed by the EU and
other civilized countries in the world, who will have nothing to do with
them) has grown super wealthy by raping  Zimbabwe of its natural resources
and wealth to the detriment of all  Zimbabweans.
It is all too evident when the United Nations Security Council meet that the
three Nations which help keep this failed dictator in power are China ,
Russia and South Africa . In Zimbabwe, right at this moment, virtually all
the Chrome Deposits are in the hands of the Chinese - pay-back for China
propping up Mugabe's illegal regime. China  is also primarily responsible
for the payment of all the fuel that crosses the border at Beit Bridge into
Zimbabwe , as well as paying Zambia , Mozambique and the DRC for electricity
supplies into Zimbabwe . China has, in the last two weeks, delivered some
fifty three tonnes of weapons and armaments to Zimbabwe . This will be used
against any opposition, particularly the MDC in intimidation and killings.
matter how many times South Africa mentions " targeted sanctions against
Zimbabwe ", this is simply not true. South African media houses work on the
assumption that the more often "sanctions against Zimbabwe by Western
Nations " is mentioned,  the more likely uninformed people will believe this
ELEMENT IN ZIMBABWE who are the Government Ministers in the illegal ZANU PF
Government. The fact that the IMF and WORLD BANK do not send funds into
Zimbabwe is because these self same Ministers would steal these incoming
funds for themselves. They will not used for humanitarian reasons. The
funding destined for needy Zimbabweans from these two bodies was CORRECTLY
FACT NO.  2  KALEMA MOTLANTE, the current interim President of South Africa
was the leader of the South African Observer Mission which declared that the
last set of elections in Zimbabwe was both free and fair, WHEN EVERY OTHER
the current mediator in Zimbabwe, TABO MBEKE was the then President of the
Republic of South Africa . I hope you begin to see the support that Mugabe
has in the current political structure in South Africa.
FACT NO. 3 Mugabe was a leader in the liberation struggle and had the
opportunity to be an international figurehead akin to Nelson Mandela.
However, he chose differently. It is fine for Liberation Heroes to support
each other when good governance in terms of African Union guide lines are
being observed in their respective countries. But why should Liberation
Leaders, especially the South Africans, choose to support Mugabe when he is
carrying out his own subtle HAULOCAUST IN ZIMBABWE ( and this is why he is
needed at the Hague ). Remember also, this illegal dictator  has lost the
latest National Election, and has been defeated in a Presidential Poll.
Thank goodness the Civilized World  has seen through Mugabe's criminal ways,
and understand the necessity to be rid of him.
Let me briefly elaborate on Mugabe's Holocaust. In the early 1980s' Mugabe
unleashed his notorious Fifth Brigade on the people of Southern
Matebeleland, killing over one hundred thousand MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN, for
his own political gain and terrorized Joshua Nkomo and the Matabele People
into an Alliance with him. (The Matabele have regained their courage and are
currently breaking away from this Alliance , the ZANU PF. ) Also, Zimbabwe,
once regarded as the Bread Basket of Africa, has been reduced to a country
where five million of its people  now require food aid to survive. Now, here
is the rub. Only ZANU PF supporters are allowed to distribute food aid in
Zimbabwe . Any person who is suspected of having ties with the MDC
opposition, is refused food and is hounded out of food distribution centers.
Mugabe is a man bent literally on starving to death those who are deemed not
to support him. If this does not equate to a HOLOCAUST, then I do not know
what does. When people lie down to die, knowing it is easier to go that way,
rather than being brutally savaged to death by showing resistance, then you
know a HOLOCAUST is taking place.
The supportive behavior by the leaders in South Africa for Mugabe defies all
common sense and the norms of fair play and practice. President Motlante
glibly states that " a solution must be found by the Zimbabwean People
themselves". Mugabe has total control of the Armed as well as the Police
Services in Zimbabwe (something he will not give up, as can be seen by his
current outbursts ). Morgan Tsvangarai and the MDC have no protection what
so ever from any law enforcement body in Zimbabwe. They are at the mercy of
an evil and bitter Dictator. Should there be a murmur of dissent against
Mugabe's illegal regime, the wrath of the CIO, the Military, the Police and
the Green Bombers is unleashed to deadly effect. Under these circumstances
who is the ANC kidding that a solution in Zimbabwe " must be found by
Zimbabwean People themselves" As I write this letter, some forty two MDC
supporters have disappeared, and Morgan Tsvangarai threatens to pull out of
the Unity Talks altogether if they are not released by Mugabe's illegal
regime. When can a fair and just solution be given to Zimbabwe by the world
at large. A Zimbabwean said to me " Tabo Mbeke has failed us, SADC has
failed us, the AU has Failed us, the UN has failed us and the World has
failed us. It is only God now who can save us." I hope we, collectively, can
prove him wrong.
I would like to believe that it is up to those nations in the world who
truly understand the plight of the Zimbabweans and believe that something
must be done to save the Zimbabwean people that must act. South Africa has
failed Zimbabwe for the past eight years and something must be done to apply
meaningful pressure against South Africa to bring about a change in mind set
of the ANC politicians which, in turn, will bring about meaningful change in
The civilized countries in the world need to be seen to withdraw support
from South Africa which is covertly supporting the SUBTLE HOLOCAUST IN
ZIMBABWE. What ever different South African Politicians may say, this is a
reality I have seen it with my own eyes. The Soccer World Cup is currently
the pride and joy of South Africa, and for Seb Blatter to be advised to ask
another country to host THE WORLD CUP in 2010 by pressure from civilized
countries, may well be the catalyst to make South Africa change tack and
bring meaningful change to Zimbabwe, and to once again bring hope to a
broken people.
The closure of the Beit Bridge Border Post between South Africa and Zimbabwe
will cause Mugabe's regime to fall WITHIN A WEEK. Some people say that by
cutting off resources would harm the poor people of Zimbabwe, yet from
personal experience, it is hard to imagine that they could be any worse off
than they are now.
Mugabe which will allow him a further two years to obliterate the MDC by
continuing with his current HOLOCAUST. The Opposition has won, against all
odds, both a National Election and a Presidential Election. This is now
being denied to them by Mugabe. Please do not give in to Mugabe's plans, and
allow him to obliterate the MDC for ever OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS.
I am tired now, and have probably written a rather poor grammatical letter,
but I do hope I have managed to convey a very important message. I ask
friends and family around the world to precis this letter and send it to
influential news papers in your respective countries. I ask you to forward
it on to your respective News Channels and Governments for action. Please
pass this letter on to anyone who you think may have influence. Please do
good for Zimbabwe this Christmas.
Yours in truth,
Peter Nupen

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How can we live looking over our shoulders every day as if we're all thieves?

Town was dead quiet today. Lots of shops still haven't opened. A friend who
runs a small business won't open his shop until February and it seems many
others plan to do the same. It costs US$20,000 to buy a forex licence, which
legally allows businesses to trade in foreign currency. However, most small
business can barely generate enough income to pay their staff at the end of
each month, never mind raise the funds required to buy that amount of forex
on the black market to put towards a licence.

The result is that small businesses 'legally' have to trade in Zim dollars -
of which there is a severe shortage - but pay for supplies and raw materials
in forex. It's impossible to do. To survive, many traders have started to
trade informally in foreign currency. Enter Gideon Gono's Reserve Bank
'forex police'. They drift into shops in plain clothes and posing as
customers they ask cashiers if they can pay for their goods in foreign
currency. If the unsuspecting cashier says yes, and quotes a Rand figure,
the forex police crack down and seize all the foreign currency earned that
day in the shop.

One shop I was in today lost over R2,000 in one raid, and over R300 in
another. He is in despair; the only way he can keep going is to trade in
forex but he can't afford the licence. Similarly, he simply cannot afford to
keep going if every now and then he loses days worth of takings in raids.

His predicament is mirrored everywhere. Many many businesses have adopted a
'wait and see' attitude, and decided to stay closed for much longer. Their
hope is that Gono will be forced to eventually recognise that the economy
can only function if people can trade in foreign currency. It's less risky
and less intimidating to 'wait and see' than it is to run the forex police
guantlet every day. As the guy I spoke to today said, "How can we live like
this? How can we live looking over our shoulder everyday as if we're all

The idea of having forex licence's in the first instance is downright
bizarre. If it is illegal for people to trade in forex then it follows that
employers cannot pay their employees in forex. If it is illegal to even have
forex in your possession, and you aren't able to earn forex, who on earth
does the government think is going to buy the goods in the licensed shops?

Another friend commented today that her domestic worker had tried all day to
find a shop where he could spend his Zim dollars but not one shop would take
them - everyone, formally or informally, is trading in forex.

I'm wondering how long it will be before Gono and the Zanu elite start
demanding that shops re-open, and how long it will be before they resume
their threats to 'take over' businesses. Maybe that's the whole plan behind
the stupidy.. to force all businesses to close so the elite can assume
control and start assest stripping this part of our economy too. They can
console themselves that before they take control of all business they can
send in their forex-squads to help themselves to real currency. Win-win?

Who knows what's going on in their heads.? Anything is possible and its
almost certainly disgustingly corrupt and not to the advantage of the
poorest in our society.

This entry was written by Hope on Monday, January 5th, 2009 at 9:44 pm

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Harare goes cuckoo

by Juma Donke Tuesday 06 January 2009

OPINION: Harare should perhaps be renamed "Varere" (they are asleep);
for how else can one explain the recent display of tomfoolery emanating from
Munhumutapa Building?

The dying ZANU PF administration, typified by its geriatric leader
President Robert Mugabe, is beginning to show worrying signs of dementia
that could lead to increased repression.

Not since 2003 - when slain Iraq leader Saddam Hussein's last
information minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf fondly rechristened "Comical
Ali" because of his colourful sound bites - has the world been treated to
bizarre antics of a similar magnitude.

In just over a week, Harare recently had the world gawking in
disbelief at its clear lack of perspective, and detachment from reality.
First, Mugabe, oblivious to the thousands of people who are dying of cholera
around him, claimed that the intestinal disease had been "arrested".

In his usual rambling style, Mugabe sneered at his arch critics United
States President George Bush and British Premier Gordon Brown for daring to
call for his ouster owing to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the

"Because of cholera, Mr Brown wants a military intervention. Bush
wants military intervention because of cholera. There is no cause for war
any more. The cholera cause doesn't exist anymore," Mugabe told a captive
audience at "national hero" Eliot Manyika's funeral.

Barely a fortnight later, the United Nations reported that the
spreading waterborne epidemic had claimed over 1 500 people and infected
nearly 30 000 others.

Also, more than 5.5 million people or half of the country's remaining
population are desperate for relief food to avoid starvation.

State hospitals have closed; only 23 days of teaching were recorded at
public schools the whole year, hence the 80 percent slump in attendance.
Just over 20 percent of the country has safe drinking water.

Inflation was last registered at 231 million percent; a tacit
admission that the economy has imploded.

Secondly, addressing his ZANU PF party's annual convention, Mugabe
threw the gauntlet at his colleagues on the continent, when he sniggered at
their spinelessness.

And at the funeral of yet another "national hero", Mugabe made the
shocking revelation that Zimbabwe was "mine", while labelling his detractors
"irrelevant, quite stupid and foolish".

"I will never, never sell my country. I will never, never, never
surrender. Zimbabwe is mine; I am a Zimbabwean, Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe never for the British. Britain for the British," he said in
response to sustained calls for his exit.

If Mugabe's perverted logic was not tragic, it would pass for
mirthless humour. But the depraved strongman's twisted reasoning should be
seen in its proper context: he is turning 85 next month; has prostate
cancer, and is evidently senile.

The word "senile", literary means, "mentally less acute in later life:
forgetful, confused, failing, absent-minded, doddering, especially in the
period after age of 65 years".

So, regardless of how well Mugabe's minders paper over his
increasingly grotesque facial features, there is precious little they can do
about his failing mental faculties.

Sadly, Mugabe's gradual deterioration is reminiscent of the
regrettable caricature that former Malawian President Hastings Kamuzu Banda
had become in the final years of his dictatorship.

While his cohorts pretended that the Ngwazi was still spry, everyone
else around them could see that the old tyrant was in great distress and in
need of a long rest.

But there was no denying Banda's declining health, when he sprawled on
the carpet at what was then The Sheraton Hotel in Harare in the early 1990s
after failing to clear a small fold on the floor covering.

Typically, the omnipresent "Mama" Cecilia Kadzamira was at hand to
lift the Ngwazi off the floor. At the time, Banda was officially said to be
in his 90s, although he was widely believed to have been over a 100 years

There is no argument about Mugabe's age though. And unlike Banda,
Mugabe at least is still able to hitch up his own trousers when they sag.

To his credit, Mugabe moved swiftly after the cholera faux pas to claw
back some ounces of dignity when he asked George Charamba, his acerbic spin
doctor to contain the damage. Charamba spun some yarn about Mugabe trying
his hand at sarcasm.

Evidently, only the gullible state media ingested Charamba's flawed
sophistry. Charamba told the government-controlled daily newsapaper - The
Herald - that Mugabe had been making "his argument through sarcasm, noting
that now that efforts deployed so far towards containing the outbreak were
beginning to yield positive results".

But perhaps even weirder was propaganda chief Sikhanyiso Ndlovu's
argument that MI6 and CIA agents had contaminated Harare and Chitungwiza's
water sources with bacterium vibrio cholerae; which causes cholera.

"After squeezing and strangling the country with sanctions and
contaminating it with cholera and anthrax, the West is seeking to use the
window of opportunity provided by the disaster to justify military
intervention," he said.

While these elite spy agencies are truly capable of pulling off such a
feat, it is highly unlikely that the Anglo-American alliance is so desperate
for Mugabe to meet his "political death" that it has resorted to Cold War
tactics to achieve this end.

The last time this "coalition of the willing" connived against a
villain; it did so in broad daylight. And not even the animated protests of
the Russians, the Chinese and the entire United Nations could hinder it.

The alliance later had Saddam hanged despite al-Sahaf's courageous
attempts to curse the "infidels" out of Bhagdad. Even as American tanks
rolled into Baghdad, al-Sahaf insisted, "There is no presence of American
infidels in the city of Baghdad. There is no presence of the American
columns in the city of Baghdad at all. We besieged them and we killed most
of them."

A few days later, Saddam went to ground, signalling the end of his

Nonetheless, African nationalism will suffer permanent damage if
Mugabe, who is still revered as a liberation icon on the continent,
stubbornly refuses to clearly see the choices before him.

The most compelling option is for him to conform to the mood of the
country after March 29 and give up power and end the spreading humanitarian

The other choice, and the one he seems to have decided on, is it to
remain at the helm of the collapsing regime and - with the support of his
terror apparatus and shielded from international scorn by the South
Africans - utterly destroy the country and thousands of lives.

But even more distressing is the thought of an unintelligible Mugabe,
shuffling along with the aid of a cane and a coterie of minders; collapsing
from time to time due to diminishing health, appearing at international
forums presumably to speak for Zimbabweans.

It is against this setting that one hopes that the tomfoolery
emanating from Harare is a sign of the endgame for the unconscionable junta
that is responsible for egregious humanitarian and international crimes; and
not merely a case of our rulers' going cuckoo. - ZimOnline

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A praise singer for Gideon Gono

Monday, 05 January 2009 20:29 Thomas Shumba

Gideon Gono, who has helped push the annual inflation in Zimbabwe to over a
trillion, has a small following of supporters scattered across. Not
surprisingly, these die hard Gono supporters are largely from from the foot
soldiers of ZANU-PF, who have benefited from Gono's illicit activities over
the years.

"Dr Gono's heroic attributes require a thundering applause and tribute from
poets and writers," Mbizo Chirasha, a native of Zvishavane, said in an
interview. "He has done everything in almost every sector, for instance, the
cholera outbreak, social rehabilitation of communities through Baccossi and
seed distribution and the mechanisation programme," added Chirasha.

Chirasha, a noted Zimbabwean poet, with his own blog, spoke days after he
had launched an anthology  of poems dedicated to praising the works by Gono
since he took over office as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Gono, whom the MDC has indicated it will prosecute someday in the future for
his sundry criminal activities, recently published his own book defending
his policies that has left the country a beggar.

Gono's failed polices are a matter of public record:

i) He funded ZANU-PF's election campaign in both the March and June 2008
elections last year. As part of his work for ZANU-PF, Gono also funded the
activities by ZANU-PF militia, in conjunction with the CIO, ZNA, War Vets,
that left more than 200 people dead and thousands displaced. In short, as
others have said, Gono has turned the RBZ into personal a bank for ZANU-PF,
Mugabe and his cronies.
ii) He has directed the RBZ to print money 24/7, and as a result, the
country's inflation rate now stands at over a 1 000 000 000 000 %. The money
he printed, he has also used it to buy foreign currency on the black market,
the foreign currency that he has then used to buy goodies for ZANU-PF
cronies. Some of the money has been used by Grace Mugabe in her numerous
shopping trips and vacations to the Far East.
iii) Gono has destroyed banks by hounding business leaders.
iv) He has funded the activities of ZANU-PF cronies on the farms that they
stole, providing them with free farm inputs, from diesel, seed, fertilizer

Chirasha has also praised Robert Mugabe in the past, claiming he was being
crucified by the west for his work uplifting Zimbabwe. "I understand how
Mandela is loved by the west and why my President is demonized. I praise
what Mandela does to sacrifice his life for blacks at Robben Island and I
hate his double standards of becoming a darling to people who reduced black
life to that of dogs in Africa. As for my president I don't have much to
say. He is a great statesman of Africa without favor or denial. Viva
Mugabe," Chirasha said in an interview in Ghana.

It is against this background that our Chirasha chooses to write a eulogy
for Gono. It is, therefore, safe to conclude that Chirasha has benefited
from some of Gono's activities, in case he is not a ZANU-PF cadre.

However, Mbizo Chirasha is a ZANU-PF cadre through and through, the Tribune
was told in central Harare Monday. As a ZANU-PF functionary, it didn't
trouble Chirasha's conscience to praise a thug like Gono.

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Mugabe shows no signs of losing grip on power

By KITSEPILE NYATHI, NATION Correspondent HARARE, MondayPosted Monday,
January 5 2009 at 18:28

As a power sharing agreement between Zimbabwe's rival political parties
teeters on the brink of collapse, desperation is becoming more evident in a
nation battling to rid it self of a brutal and calculating dictator.

For many, President Robert Mugabe who will this year complete 29 years at
the helm of what was Africa's most promising economy and now turned into a
basket case has remained an enigma.

Few dare dream of a political solution to Zimbabwe's vexing political
problems blamed on the 84 year-old former teacher. Those who do so remain
with more unanswered questions than answers.

After a severe economic meltdown and an electoral defeat to the opposition
failed to prize him off from power, many Zimbabweans are now openly calling
for divine intervention to remove Mr Mugabe.

This is why a statement by Africa's largest grouping of churches calling on
Christians to pray for an end to the Zimbabwean leader's "illegitimate
regime" found resonance in the battered country.

The 19th general assembly of the All African Conference of Churches meeting
in Maputo Mozambique set aside January 25 as a "special 'Africa day of
prayer and fasting for justice in Zimbabwe."

World famous South African Bishop Desmond Tutu has even called for violence
to topple Mr Mugabe while other clergymen openly say they are praying to God
to take him away.

Analysts say such sentiments are only natural because Zimbabweans know very
little about a man who has ruled them for so long. They wonder why their
liberator now appears so determined to hold onto to the reigns for eternity.

Mr Mugabe seldom gives interviews, the last with Ms Heidi Holland who wrote
''Dinner with Mugabe'' in 2007. The book says Mr Mugabe was moulded into the
monster he is by his tortured family background. Born Robert Gabriel
Karigamombe Mugabe in Matibiri Villager north east of Harare, he had two
older brothers and one of them, Michael was very popular in the village.

Both his older brothers died leaving Robert and his younger brother, Donato
and sister Sabina, 90.

His father, Gabriel Mugabe Matibiri, a carpenter abandoned the family in
1934 after Michael died in search of work in Bulawayo.

Mr Mugabe was raised as a Roman Catholic studying at Jesuit schools
including the exclusive Kutama College.

Those familiar with his early life, say Mr Mugabe spent most of his time
with the priests or his mother when he was not reading in the school's

They say the bitterness moulded Mr Mugabe into the complex man he is today.
They fear he does not trust any one and that is why he is reluctant to cede
power and will only do so to a close relative who will shield him from
prosecution and preserve his legacy. His defiant statement that "Zimbabwe is
mine" just said it. He clings to power because he believes that it his right
and that of his clan.

That is why before last year's elections four of his close relatives,
including his sister, Sabina and three nephews were railroaded into Zimbabwe's
national assembly as people's representatives.

Two nephews remain in the opposition dominated House of Assembly and this
has kept rumours alive that the veteran leader wants one of his relatives to
take over power when he finally leaves office.

Zimbabweans calling for divine intervention believe grooming a successor
will take long for Mr Mugabe since his children are still too young, the
oldest having just left high school. Yet others locate Mr Mugabe's
reluctance to leave office to the influence of his young wife, Grace - 41
years the president's junior.

Born in on 23 July 1965, Mrs Mugabe married the Zimbabwean leader in 1996
after the death of Mr Mugabe's first wife, Sally Hayfron.

As secretary to the president, she became his mistress and together they had
two children Bona and Robert Junior. In 1987, Mrs Mugabe gave birth to the
couple's third child Chatunga.

The fashion conscious first lady, has since her marriage to Zimbabwe's
strong man overseen the construction of two palaces.

The first palace commonly known as Gracelands for its opulence was sold to
President Muammar Gaddafi of Libya.

Another one completed in 2007, reportedly cost US$26 million to construct.

The first family was also at the forefront of Zimbabwe's vicious land grab
and now owns some of the most productive farms.

Annual holidays

Mr Mugabe also owns properties in Malaysia where he usually spends his
annual holidays. There is always speculation that the ageing dictator plans
to settle in Asia to escape the stress of leadership and to address fears
the first family faces assassination.

Grace spends more on a single shopping trip abroad than the impoverished
country spends on health services a month. Zimbabweans fear the taste of
power has corrupted her absolutely and she will do everything to keep her
husband in power even against his will.

"Pressures from a young wife and family will certainly play a big role in
Mugabe's decision to hold on to power," said Mr Ben Ndlovu who has published
essays on the president's psyche. "From the look of things Mugabe is not
going anywhere, he will die in office come what may."

Mr Mugabe has been written off many times and he often jokes that along
Jesus Christ, he is the only person who has risen from the dead.

In December, he told his supporters that his enemies had certified him dead
seven times. Indeed this is a man who will only go on his own terms and in
his own time.

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Case of alleged bombers further deferred

January 5, 2009

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Harare magistrate, Olivia Mariga has deferred to January 7, 2008,
the matter involving seven alleged bombers of two Harare police stations and
a railway line in Norton.

The state is seeking an order that the accused persons be formally placed on

The group involves MDC director of security, Chris Dlamini; freelance
photojournalist, Andrison Manyere;  Zacharia Nkomo, brother of human rights
lawyer, Harrison Nkomo; and Gandhi Mudzingwa, a former personal assistant to
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The group also includes Mapfumo Garutsa, Chinoto Zulu and Regis Mujeyi.

But the defence, led by Alec Muchadehama, asked for a deferment of the
matter pending the outcome of an urgent chamber application filed at the
High Court over the weekend where an order is being sought for all the 18
accused persons to be released to the Avenues Clinic for treatment.

This follows recommendations by private doctors who examined them in remand
prison last week that they be accorded full medical attention as remand
prison does not have the facilities that they require.

There were heated exchanges between the state and the defence counsel during
Monday's court session when Muchadehama accused the state of being
"collaborators" of the torture that was perpetrated on the accused persons
while in their secret detention.

The state is ardently resisting attempts by the defence to have the accused
persons released to a private medical institution for treatment, insisting
that they be treated in remand prison.

Muchadehama contends his clients are victims of abductions and it will not
be proper for the courts to deal with them in "their state".

"Anyone who seeks to perpetuate a crime of kidnapping is also an accused
person," Muchadehama charged, much to the chagrin of the state which
demanded he withdraws his accusations.

The defence contends the health of the accused persons should take
precedence over the state's desire to have the accused persons remanded in

After listening to both submissions by the state and the defence, Mariga
ruled that the matter be deferred to Wednesday pending the determination of
the High Court application.

Mariga also deferred to Tuesday, attempts to place on formal remand,
Zimbabwe Peace Project director, Jestina Mukoko and eight other alleged
plotters of acts of banditry in Zimbabwe.

The matter could not be heard on Monday after the state requested time to
look into another urgent High Court application by the defence seeking that
they be absolved of any charges.

The defence wants the accused persons to be treated as complainants as they
were admittedly victims of abductions

The defence contends the state did not appeal against a December 2008 order
by Justice Charles Hungwe who ruled that their continued detention by
whosoever was illegal.

Justice Hungwe also ordered that the police should proceed by way of summons
if they intended to place any charges against the accused persons.

Mariga however refused to hear a submission by the defence seeking the
release of Tawanda Bvumo and Pascal Gonzo who were released by the court
last week but were kept in custody after the state purportedly placed an
appeal against their release.

The defence contends the "attempted appeal" by the state was defective
because they did not seek permission with the High Court as required by the
law to appeal against such ruling.

"As things stand they are being illegally detained and should be released
forthwith," Andrew Makoni, one of the lawyers said.

"The court refused to hear it so we are going to write a letter to the clerk
of court directing the clerk of court to the particular section in the
Magistrates Court Act which clearly says the state needs to seek leave to
appeal against any ruling by the court."

The two face charges of defeating the course of justice after they allegedly
tried to protect some of their colleagues when they were being abducted,
charges which the defence says are shameful as the so-called arrests were in
themselves kidnappings.

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Give us our results, ZIMSEC told

Monday, 05 January 2009 21:41 Tawanda Takavarasha

Normally, the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) releases Grade 7
national examination results with plenty of time ahead of the schools
opening day in January each year. This year, with barely are week before
schools open on January 13, ZIMSEC, whose slogan is "For Performance
Measurement", is yet to release the results.

Happy Ndanga, ZIMSEC director for operations, said his agency had completed
marking the examination papers and was now engaged in the process of
"capturing" the results.

"Marking of the exams was completed weeks ago but we are currently capturing
the results," Ndanga assured the nation. Ndanga, under pressure from parents
who want him to release the results yesterday, however refused to divulge
when his agency would be ready to relinquish the results.

"We cannot give the day or date of release but hope that the results will be
made available as soon as possible given the importance of the public
examinations," Ndanga said.

Grade 7 pupils need the final examination results in order to secure Form 1
places across the country. In some cases, wealth schools like Peterhouse
Boys out in Marondera, selection of Form 1 pupils is based on in-house
examinations, not ZIMSEC results.

Observers agree that the Zimbabwe education sector is not a shadow of its
former self. Lack of funding by the ZANU-Pf govt. has seen standards at
schools across the country plummet, coupled with the shortage of teachers
who are leaving the country en masse.

"Marking of the exams was completed weeks ago but we are currently capturing
the results"
Happy Ndanga, ZIMSEC Director

The delay in the release of the results has been caused by a mulfunction of
the antiquated computers that ZIMSEC is using to mark the examinations.

"We have encountered problems with our data capturing machine and that has
delayed the release of the results," Ndanga said, and that  "It is our hope
that the results will be released before schools open."

The delay in the release of the results by ZIMSEC is likely to give
ammunition to teachears organization. led by Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe, who are calling for the postponement of the opening of schools
across the country.

UNICEF in recent days released a report in which it said less than 20% of
pupils in Zimbabwe will attend school, owing to the crisis gripping the

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Dollarization Puts School Fees Out Of Reach Of Many Zimbabwe Families

By Chris Gande
05 January 2009

The progressive dollarization of the hyperinflation-ridden Zimbabwean has
extended to school tuitions with private primary and secondary institutions
setting fees in U.S. dollars, putting child education out of reach of many
families given the collapse of the state system.

Concerned parents said the new fees are out of reach of the majority of
families. Ordinary Zimbabwean workers earn only around US$50 month.

The Chisipite Secondary School in Harare, the capital, has set its fee for
one term (there are three terms in the Zimbabwe scholastic year) at
US$1,200, and was asking pupils to bring fuel coupons worth US$300 with them
on their first day of the term as a deposit.

The Roxer Academy primary school in Harare has set its fees at US$800
dollars a term, while in Bulawayo the Masiyephambili Primary School is
requiring a fee of US$650.

National Coordinator Enock Paradzayi of the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe told reporter Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that even
private schools will be empty next week as teachers cannot afford to travel
to work and families can't afford fees.

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UNICEF appeals for help as asylum-seekers flee Zimbabwe

05 Jan 2009 20:41:18
Source: UNICEF

 By Shantha Bloemen

MUSINA BORDER, South Africa, 5 January 2008 - Women and children sit on a
patch of grass under one of a few leafy trees that lessens the heat from the
harsh midday sun. They are among the most recent asylum-seekers who are
flooding across the border from Zimbabwe.

The Musina showground, in South Africa's Limpopo province has been converted
to handle the influx and UNICEF and its partners are working to make sure
that the rights and health of children, especially those who are
unaccompanied, are protected.

Four Department of Home Affairs mobile trucks, equipped with computers and
are parked in the middle of the grounds. Inside, emigration officials are
processing papers for a three-month asylum permit. With the recent outbreak
of cholera in Zimbabwe, the Government of South Africa has suspended

In search of work

With a permit, Rutendo, who has brought her three-year-old daughter Lisa,
hopes to find work as a hairdresser in Johannesburg. Although unlikely to
get full refugee status, she wants to earn enough money to send back to her
other three children back in Zimbabwe.

She left home three days earlier with only a change of clothes for her and
her daughter. "I was desperate to find some type of job to feed my children.
They are hungry and I have no way to feed them," she said.

Most assessments indicate a dramatic increase in the numbers of
asylum-seekers in recent months as the crisis in Zimbabwe has worsened.

Among those fleeing are a growing number of unaccompanied children. Recent
estimates indicate it could be as high as 1,000 a month.

Unaccompanied children

A UNICEF report released last month - 'Immediate needs of women and children
affected by the cholera outbreak' - notes that a Save the Children report
found an estimated 2,800 unaccompanied children in the Musina area.
Approximately 92 per cent of these children are living on the street or in
dangerous places.

Many arrive alone, hoping to go to a city where they can find a job or
search for a relative. Young girls are often sexually exploited or taken in
to houses as domestic workers.

The majority of children interviewed for the Save the Children assessment
survive on small amounts of money gained through small jobs, begging, or
stealing. As they cross the border and stay illegally, they are at great
risk of harassment, sexual exploitation, arrest and illness.

In previous years, many of the children who were identified crossing the
border were deported to Zimbabwe, where the International Organization for
Migration and Save the Children, with UNICEF support, would attempt to
reunify the children with their families. For many children, though, the
reunification was short-lived. Faced with poverty and hunger they would
cross again.

Now, without enough social workers on both sides of the border to handle the
growing caseload and a proper tracing system to identify and track these
children, many are being left to fend for themselves.

Child-friendly spaces

In December, UNICEF and Save the Children child protection specialists from
Zimbabwe and South Africa met in Musina to discuss the growing crisis.

"Since many children are on their own, UNICEF's priority is to make sure
that they receive all the support they need and are well protected," said
UNICEF South Africa Deputy Representative Malathi Pillai.

Plans are underway to set up child-friendly spaces as well as to provide
educational and recreational activities for the children while waiting for
their asylum permits. To cope with the growing numbers of street children in
Musina, additional support will be provided to the drop-in centres, where
children come for a hot meal and a wash.

UNICEF appeal

Three 'Advice Service Centres' will be established in villages and farming
areas along the Zimbabwe border. Children will receive legal advice,
information on health and basic food and hygiene packages that can help them
to better cope in their new environment.

With the tide of people, including children, fleeing into South Africa
unlikely to end soon, UNICEF South Africa has just appealed for 1,400,000
dollars to better provide water, sanitation, hygiene, education and
protection for the women and children affected by the crisis.

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Zimbabwe launches cholera awareness campaign

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe on Monday launched a cholera awareness
campaign as the World Health Organisation (WHO) figures showed that nearly
2,000 new infections were recorded in the country since January 1.

The campaign, launched by Health minister David Parirenyatwa in the capital
Harare, aims to provide information on good hygiene to communities in the
face of the deadly cholera outbreak that has killed at least 1,671 people
since August last year.

The Zimbabwean government would partner with other stakeholders in the
awareness campaign.

According to statistics released by the WHO Monday a total of 33,579 cases
of cholera had been recorded by January 4 compared to 31,656 suspected cases
on New Year's Day.

The WHO figures also showed that about five percent of those infected
usually die from the infection.

Cholera, which causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration, has spread to all of
Zimbabwe's 10 provinces.

  JN/daj/APA 2009-01-05

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'Cholera may worsen as rainy season peaks'

by Own Correspondent Tuesday 06 January 2009

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe said on Monday a deadly cholera epidemic that has
claimed more than 1 600 lives in the southern African country could get
worse as the rainy season peaks.

"While the statistics seem to be stabilising, we are now approaching the
heavy rainy season and we may have more outbreaks," Health Minister David
Parirenyatwa said at the launch of an anti-cholera information campaign in

The World Health Organisation last week said cholera had killed 1 608 people
of 30 365 reported cases in Zimbabwe since August last year and the
infection rate showed no signs of slowing.

"Floods are a pre-disposing factor for cholera. We hope we don't get floods
this year," said Parirenyatwa, adding that heavy rains could hamper efforts
to stop the disease in a country whose rainy season peaks in January or
February and ends in late March.

Parirenyatwa said aid agencies and foreign governments had responded to
Zimbabwe's appeal for help in fighting the disease, bringing water treatment
chemicals, equipment, drugs and volunteers.

An intestinal infection that spreads through contaminated food or water,
cholera causes vomiting and acute diarrhoea, and can rapidly lead to death
from dehydration.

The disease spreads fastest in situations with poor sanitation such as those
found in Zimbabwe's cities where sewers have broken down while garbage piles
up in the streets and a shortage of clean water means residents have to rely
on unprotected shallow wells for water.

The preventable and treatable water-borne disease has spread to all of
Zimbabwe's 10 provinces because of the collapse of health and sanitation
systems in a country whose political leadership is deadlocked over a
power-sharing deal.

Zimbabweans - already suffering from hyper-inflation and severe food, fuel
and foreign currency shortages - had hoped a power-sharing agreement between
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara would help ease the political situation and allow their country to
focus on tackling a deepening humanitarian crisis. - ZimOnline

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Mutambara wants principals to discuss unity govt

      by Patricia Mpofu Tuesday 06 January 2009

HARARE - A Zimbabwean opposition leader has called for the country's three
main political leaders to meet to discuss nomination of ministers to a unity
government, as President Robert Mugabe prepares to form a new government
with or without the opposition.

Arthur Mutambara, who heads a faction of the opposition MDC party, wrote to
Mugabe requesting that the convening of a meeting of the principal
signatories to a September power-sharing deal to resolve a dispute over
nomination of Cabinet ministers.

Mutambara wrote to Mugabe in response to an invitation by the later to take
up the post of deputy prime minister as outlined under the unity government

Main MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is slated to become prime minister with
Mugabe, who turns 85 next month, retaining his job under the power-sharing

"While fully appreciating the utmost urgency of the matter, may I, your
Excellency, respectfully suggest and request that the matter of nomination
of individuals to ministerial positions be resolved by way of a meeting of
the principals so that the nominations may be reflected upon by the
principals," said Mutambara in a one-paragraph reply to Mugabe.

In a report on Monday, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported that Mugabe
was pressing ahead with plans to form a new all-inclusive government by end
of next month despite an unresolved dispute with the opposition over
ministerial appointments.

The paper quoted presidential press secretary George Charamba as saying that
Mugabe was keeping the Southern African Development Community (SADC) - which
brokered the power-sharing agreement between his ruling ZANU PF party and
the MDC - briefed about his plans to form a new government.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara agreed to form a power-sharing government
to end a political stalemate after inconclusive elections last March and
violence marred a presidential run-off election last June.

The pact sparked hope that Zimbabwe could finally emerge from a worsening
economic and humanitarian crisis but it soon hit a snag as Tsvangirai and
Mugabe wrangled over who should control key ministries and other top
government posts.

Tsvangirai, slated to become prime minister in the unity government, is
reported to have already declined an invitation by Mugabe to join the
government until all outstanding issues regarding power sharing have been

The opposition leader has threatened to suspend talks with Mugabe unless the
government acted to stop harassment and arrests of MDC and civic society

MDC national spokesperson Nelson Chamisa told ZimOnline at the weekend that
the opposition party's national council would meet to decide whether to pull
out of power-sharing talks in view of continued detention of its members.

"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. "What
the president (Tsvangirai) said still stands. We are still saying that these
people in detention must be released."

A Harare magistrate's court on Monday deferred to Tuesday the case against
prominent human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko and scores of MDC activists
who are accused of plotting to overthrow Mugabe's government.

The MDC and human rights groups say the charges against Mukoko and the
opposition activists are part of a well-orchestrated scheme by state agents
to persecute human rights defenders and government critics in a bid to scare
them from highlighting deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.

Once one of the most vibrant economies in Africa, Zimbabwe is in the grip of
an unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis marked by acute shortages
of food and basic commodities, amid outbreaks of killer diseases such as
cholera and anthrax.

In his letter to Mutambara and Tsvangirai, Mugabe emphasised the urgent need
for a new unity government to tackle the crisis giving the opposition
leaders up to December 23 to submit names of their respective nominees to

"In order to expedite the formation of the inclusive government, I wish to
request that you treat the above requirements with the utmost urgency, in
any event, I ask that I hear from you by not later than Tuesday, 23rd
December, 2008," Mugabe said in the letter.

Under the power-sharing agreement, Mugabe's ZANU PF will get 15 ministerial
posts, the Tsvangirai-led MDC 13 and Mutambara's faction three posts. Eight
deputy ministers will be appointed from ZANU PF, six from MDC-Tsvangirai and
one from MDC-Mutambara.

Tsvangirai's MDC which holds 100 seats in the 210-member House of Assembly
can easily block passage of a constitutional amendment Bill paving way for
the establishment of unity government. A two-thirds majority is required to
pass a constitutional Bill. - ZimOnline

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Stop Mugabe from taking Zimbabwe to the wall

The Editor, The Times Newspaper
Published:Jan 06, 2009

Our government remains mute despite promising signs late in 2008

EDITORIAL: ZIMBABWE has entered 2009 with little prospect of progress on

The decision by its president, Robert Mugabe, to leave town on an extended
holiday is confirmation of just how urgently he views the handover 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
being charged 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 willingness to take his country to the wall in order
to 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 ambivalence is not inspiring.

South Africa must stand up and take the lead in pushing Zimbabwe to reform.

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