By Delia Robertson
16 July 2008
Zimbabwe's Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono says the country's official
inflation rate is now 2.2 million percent. VOA's Delia Robertson reports
from our southern Africa bureau in Johannesburg.
Gideon Gono told a gathering in Harare that the figure is the latest
released by the country's Central Statistical Office. The last official
inflation rate, released in February, was 165,000 percent.
The World Food Program and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
reported last month that more than two million Zimbabweans will face hunger
in the coming months. That figure is expected to peak at more than five
million in the first quarter of next year.
WFP southern Africa spokesperson, Richard Lee, says the skyrocketing
inflation will greatly impact Zimbabweans who are struggling to take care of
their families and that this is particularly the case for vulnerable
"They are going to struggle even more to be able to stretch their scarce
resources to get enough food for themselves and their families - and
obviously for vulnerable poor people in urban areas, this sort of inflation
is going to make it more difficult for them to fend for themselves, and
could well mean that more people are going to require food assistance in the
months ahead," said Lee.
Zimbabwe is experiencing its 10th consecutive year of recession, after being
described by the World Bank in 2006 as the world's fastest declining
economy. It has the highest inflation rate in the world.
Once the breadbasket of sub-Saharan Africa, the country's flourishing
commercial agricultural industry rapidly shrunk as a consequence of
President Robert Mugabe's chaotic land reform program.
And the country's highly effective subsistence farmers, who up until the
mid-1990s contributed more maize and grains to the economy than commercial
farmers, were also soon affected. As the economy rapidly declined, inputs
such as seeds were soon unavailable and now most cannot feed their own
President Robert Mugabe, who was re-elected last month in a widely
discredited presidential runoff election, blames his country's economic woes
on the United States and Great Britain. All attempts by his government,
including currency revaluation and price freezes have failed to rein in
By VOA News
16 July 2008
Zimbabwe's ruling party and the opposition are expected to sign an agreement
soon that could lead to substantial talks on ending the country's ongoing
Officials from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said
Wednesday the agreement would outline terms for talks. Opposition officials
have not released details on the agreement or when it may be signed.
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the MDC met last week to discuss
conditions for the talks.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has insisted that conditions include an
end to violence against his political supporters and the release of
Both Zimbabwe's ruling and opposition parties are under international
pressure to resolve the country's political problems.
Mr. Mugabe was re-elected last month in a widely condemned runoff vote in
which he was the only candidate.
Mr. Tsvangirai dropped out a few days before the election after many of his
supporters were killed in violence he said was state-sponsored.
This week a court in Zimbabwe released 14 opposition activists charged with
committing political violence.
MDC officials said the activists were freed after the state failed to
produce its key witness.
The MDC says more than 1,000 other activists and officials remain jailed on
what party officials term "trumped up" charges alleging political violence.
By Joe De Capua
16 July 2008
Despite reports that the ruling and opposition parties in Zimbabwe were
expected to issue a memorandum of understanding (MOU) Wednesday, that is not
likely to happen.
The ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition MDC are trying to negotiate,
following the recent disputed and controversial presidential run-off
election. In the meantime, the United States and other countries are
considering further sanctions against the government of President Robert
Mugabe. The election has been widely criticized as being a sham.
VOA reporter Delia Robertson is following the story. From Johannesburg, she
spoke with English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about why a
memorandum of understanding would not be issued Wednesday.
"I think essentially because the MDC is still undecided about what it wants
to be included in the MOU. I think it's also undecided about whether in fact
it really wants an MOU or not and how that will affect its status in terms
of talks," she says.
Currently, MDC members are discussing the issue. "The MDC has been meeting
for a couple of days now and they continue in meetings today about the MOU
and how to proceed from here. I think there's some disagreement within the
MDC itself, particularly the Morgan Tsvangirai formation of the MDC, which
is the largest formation of that party, about what the MOU should include;
and also about who should be playing what role in negotiations. There may be
some dissatisfaction with how they've been handled up till now by the
(party's) secretary-general Tendai Biti," she says.
Since Mr. Mugabe claimed victory in the disputed runoff and was sworn in to
a sixth term in office, what leverage does the MDC really have? Robertson
says, "I think the leverage that they have is essentially that in order to
be able to govern - because the MDC won the most votes in parliament and
almost a majority in the senate - that the ruling party would need the MDC
in order to proceed further. And also because Mr. Mugabe is very anxious
that sanctions are not increased against him and senior people in his party.
And so, in order to prevent that from happening he needs some sort of
The last time MDC and ZANU-PF officials met was last week in South Africa.
"They met in preliminary talks to determine how the talks would proceed,"
South African President Thabo Mbeki had been appointed by SADC, the Southern
African Development Community, to mediate Zimbabwe's political crisis. Many
have criticized his quiet diplomacy for failing to bring political change.
"He (Mbeki) convened the talks last week. Those talks continue to be
facilitated by senior members of his government. And it is my understanding
that be popped in a few times to meet with the delegates. So, yes, indeed he
continues to play a role. And in fact some of the objections expressed by
Mr. Tsvangirai and others as a reason for delaying the signing of an MOU
until a second mediator has been appointed to work along side of him may in
fact be somewhat of a cover by the MDC to disguise it's own uncertainties
within its own ranks," she says.
Robertson says that the MDC would like a second mediator to come from the
African Union (AU), thus expanding mediation efforts beyond SADC. "However,
as we know, when the AU met they essentially handed the ball back to SADC
and said SADC will continue with its efforts to resolve the situation in
Zimbabwe, the crisis there," she says.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
July 16, 2008
The court case in which Zimbabwean farmer Mike Campbell and 77 other
commercial farmers are challenging the government's land policies was
finally due to be heard by the SADC Tribunal in Windhoek, Namibia on
Wednesday. Again the Zimbabwe authorities attempted to cause a delay by
muddying issues. This time they wanted to bring a further application,
claiming that about 300,000 settlers on the farms in the case would be
adversely affected by any decisions made by the SADC Tribunal, so their
voices needed to be heard as well.
According to John Worsley Worswick of Justice for Agriculture, the Tribunal
threw out the government's application. He said: "We heard today that the
application for a 'joinder' has been dismissed, that they haven't met the
requirements in terms of the paper work and timing." The hearing of the main
case is now expected to proceed.
Campbell took his case to the regional Tribunal after failing to get justice
in Zimbabwe due to endless delays by the government. The first hearing in
Namibia was in December, 2007, when an interim relief order was granted. The
Land Reform Minister Didymus Mutasa agreed that the government would abide
by the ruling, which meant there would be no evictions or harassment. But
according to Worswick, at least 6 of the farmers in the SADC case have been
evicted since then, many of them violently. The government caused another
hearing delay in May, when they told the court that they needed more time to
Campbell and the other farmers who joined the case later are challenging the
government's so-called "land reform" programme, which violates the SADC
Treaty and the African Union Charter to which Zimbabwe is signatory. Racial
discrimination and illegal eviction without compensation are some of the
issues in the case. Another serious issue is Constitutional Amendment #17,
which took away the farmers' legal rights to challenge eviction from their
Worswick criticised the government for attempting to join A1 settlers onto
the Campbell case, saying they have not considered the thousands of farm
workers represented in the Campbell case. The farm workers lose their jobs
and houses when farms are taken over, and their families are being beaten
and evicted while their houses are set on fire.
Mike Campbell, his wife Angela and their son-in-law Ben Freeth were abducted
and brutally tortured by government sponsored thugs at the end of June. This
was despite the interim order granted by the Tribunal and agreed to by the
government back in December, which stipulated that the government should not
evict farmers involved in the case, or interfere with their operations until
the full case is heard.
Worswick said in addition to the main case, the farmers are now also seeking
an urgent order declaring the government of Zimbabwe in breach of the
interim protection order granted in December. They want the breach referred
to the SADC secretariat so that appropriate measures can be taken. They are
also considering referring the case to the United Nations General Assembly
and or to the Security Council.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
ZIMBABWE'S opposition party leadership was yester day locked in talks with a
special negotiations task force to discuss whether to enter fully-fledged
talks with President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF .
The discussions come a day after Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
representatives met their Zanu-PF counterparts in Harare to discuss a
framework agreement to allow the start of substantive negotiations .
Negotiators from the rival political parties met in Pretoria last week under
the mediation of South Africa to cut a deal on how to proceed with talks on
the Zimbabwean political crisis.
While South African media had suggested that the fully-fledged talks could
begin in Harare as early as tomorrow , MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said
such a timetable was unrealistic.
"We will not sign until the conditions are met," he said .
The MDC had laid down a series of conditions before it entered the talks,
including a complete cessation of violence and the release of hundreds of
its jailed supporters .
Another opposition source said there was pressure from the South African
mediators to start the substantive talks before Jean Ping, the head of the
African Union (AU) Commission, visits Pretoria later this week.
A recent AU summit in Egypt ended with a call for dialogue between the
parties and a national unity government.
There had also been calls to bolster mediation efforts by President Thabo
Mbeki, who has come under heavy criticism over his refusal to publicly
l Civil rights group Zimbabwean Exiles Forum said yesterday that approaching
the International Criminal Court was the "only way" to resolve the climate
of violence in the country.
The director for the Southern African Litigation Centre, Nicole Fritz, said
she was confident that she would receive a response from the National
Prosecuting Authority after a dossier was handed to it requesting that
several Zimbabwean nationals be prosecuted for cases relating to torture. -
DDC and Sapa
Wed 16 Jul 2008, 16:00 GMT
WASHINGTON, July 16 (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush said on
Wednesday he wanted a peaceful end to political turmoil in Zimbabwe and was
examining more U.S. sanctions after a U.N. resolution was blocked by Russia
The U.N. sanctions that failed last week would have imposed an arms embargo
on Zimbabwe as well as financial and travel restrictions on President Robert
Mugabe and 13 other senior Zimbabwean officials.
Mugabe won a landslide victory last month in a vote boycotted by opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who cited government-sponsored violence and
intimidation. Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a March 29 election but failed
to win the absolute majority needed to avoid the second ballot.
"We deeply care about the plight of the citizens of Zimbabwe, and we hope
there's a peaceful resolution soon," Bush told reporters after a meeting
with Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore.
"I told the president in the meantime our government is looking at ...
sanctions beyond that which would have been levied out of the U.N. Security
Council," Bush said.
Burkina Faso backed the U.N. resolution for sanctions against Zimbabwe last
Compaore said through a translator that he and Bush discussed "the urgent
need for a true rule of law in Zimbabwe."
More than 100 opposition activists died in election-related violence after
the voting in March, according to Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change party, which withdrew from the run-off poll citing attacks by
pro-Mugabe militia. (Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, editing by David
by Susan Njanji Wed Jul 16, 10:01 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is beginning to breathe more
easily as a Western diplomatic campaign against his re-election falters,
leaving mediation efforts in the hands of his old ally Thabo Mbeki.
With neither the United Nations or the African Union showing much appetite
for getting involved in the country's post-election crisis, the opposition's
hope that the South African president could be sidelined are fading fast.
Despite their failure to secure backing from the UN Security Council for a
package of measures against Mugabe, the United States and former colonial
power Britain are both threatening a tightening of already existing
"I think we need to... analyze whether or not we can have more bilateral
sanctions on the regime leaders," US President George W. Bush told reporters
But analysts say the vetoing of sanctions in a Security Council vote last
Friday and the African Union's refusal to get tough with the continent's
oldest leader at a summit last month shows Mugabe's enemies are losing
The Western-backed "approach to Zimbabwe has lost steam and it will be
difficult to recover," said Mugabe's former information minister Jonathan
Moyo who is now an outspoken independent lawmaker.
"It's the MDC (opposition Movement for Democratic Change) which has been
damaged by the double veto because theirs was an external strategy. Now they
will have to engage Mugabe."
The MDC, whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai pushed Mugabe into second place in
the first round of voting but boycotted a run-off last month, has been
pushing for greater UN and AU involvement in the mediation process.
Tsvangirai has previously called for Mbeki's removal as mediator and more
recently asked for both AU and UN mediators to get involved in a
thinly-disguised bid to sideline the South African.
But with SADC, a 14-nation regional bloc, continuing to put its faith in
Mbeki's efforts, the MDC has had no option but to participate in preliminary
talks with Mugabe's ZANU-PF party under the South African-led mediation.
South Africa's deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad dismissed the idea of
anyone else taking over from Mbeki, and called US criticism of the South
African's kid gloves approach to Mugabe "unacceptable".
"Our view has always been, and I am stressing it, we are being diverted by a
fake argument about the expansion of the SADC facilitation," Pahad told
"I don't believe that at this very crucial moment, adding new bodies, simply
to sit in the same room, is what is required," he added.
Mugabe's camp meanwhile has shown it is more than happy for any mediation
process to be led by Mbeki, with Zimbabean Information Minister Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu praising him as an African leader "par excellence as he has not
yielded to international pressure and to the machinations of the West".
Lovemore Madhuku, a pro-opposition commentator, acknowledged that Mugabe was
emerging as the winner of the recent diplomatic challenges.
"The international community is actually not succeeding against Mugabe and
has created so many opportunities for Mugabe to be seen as if he scoring
some sort of victory," said Madhuku.
With the Mbeki mediation the only show in town, Madhuku said that it gave
Mugabe the ideal opportunity to offer the MDC a token role in government
which he knows they would the reject and thus enable him to stay in power.
"I think he is going to make offers to the MDC, which the MDC is going to
reject," said Madhuku.
"And if that happens Mugabe might win more friends (by making the MDC
appear) unreasonable, unrealistic".
Moyo said pressure would now increase on the MDC to cut some kind of deal
with Mugabe, despite its insistence that it should hold the reins of power
given that it fell just short of an absolute majority in March's election.
"It has put pressure on the MDC to take the negotiations more seriously," he
Wednesday, July 16, 2008, 16:37
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe today accused Britain of trying to seize
control of resources in the devastated African nation, as his government
announced inflation had risen to 2.2 million per cent.
Re-elected last month in a widely condemned vote boycotted by the
opposition, Mr Mugabe regularly blames his country's economic collapse on
former colonial ruler Britain and accuses it of plotting to overthrow his
The 84-year-old leader, in power for 28 years, has branded the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change a British and American puppet.
"What is Zimbabwe to Britain? The answer has not been provided, but we know
what they want. It's regime change, so the resources of our country can come
under their control," Mr Mugabe said at the televised launch of a food
Zimbabweans are suffering chronic shortages of meat, maize, fuel and other
basic commodities due to the collapse of the once prosperous economy, which
critics blame on Mr Mugabe's policies, including his violent seizure of
Central bank governor Gideon Gono announced today that inflation had
surpassed 2 million per cent, a figure already calculated by economists,
some of whom now put it much higher. Officials in February calculated
Zimbabwe inflation at 164,900 per cent, already the highest in the world.
The worsening economy could add to pressure on the ruling Zanu-PF party to
make concessions to the MDC, which refused to recognize Mr Mugabe's victory
in the June 27th presidential run-off.
Mr Mugabe's efforts to prevent the devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar have
been a dismal failure.
His government imposed a draconian price freeze last year in a bid to ease
the plight of consumers, prompting stores to stop restocking their shelves.
The move worsened shortages of basic items for millions of Zimbabweans.
The central bank also introduced a new dollar, forcing people to exchange
their old notes in a process rife with corruption. The currency trades at
300 billion to the US dollar on the black market, over 10 times the official
Mr Mugabe said today a new food subsidy program, which will issue coupons to
buy food, was part of a renewed bid to tackle inflation and control pricing
"Government is broadening its fight against the inflation dragon, as well as
amply demonstrating to the private sector that those who do not cooperate
risk pricing themselves completely out of the market," he said. "It was "a
strong message to the corporate sector that the era of unjust price
increases has come to an end".
Monsters and Critics
Jul 16, 2008, 16:38 GMT
Harare/Johannesburg - President Robert Mugabe launched new 'cheap food
hampers' Wednesday while maintaining a total ban on famine relief by aid
agencies in a year in which the country is expected to undergo its worst
famine since independence in 1980.
State radio said the 'basic commodities accessibility programme' would sell
hampers of basic goods like maize meal, cooking oil, flour and soap 'to all
households around the country at affordable prices.'
It quoted Mugabe as saying at the launch that the hampers would 'bring
relief to the people' who were suffering from 'the effect of illegal
sanctions imposed by Western countries.'
Earlier, central bank governor Gideon Gono said that the programme would
'show manufacturers that goods can be produced and sold to people at
affordable prices and still make a profit.'
State media reports gave no indication as to where the goods came from or
how the programme was financed.
The hamper plan follows the introduction shortly before the
universally-condemned June 27 run-off presidential election, of 'people's
shops' - state-owned stores where goods were sold at low prices.
Huge queues formed outside the stores, where people bought as much as they
could and then sold them on the streets outside at inflated black market
Economists say that Zimbabwe's economy is heading for a crash, as inflation
soars to new heights. Gono said Wednesday inflation was now at 2.2 million
per cent, although analysts estimate it at ten times that - and the Zimbabwe
dollar is plunging to new lows.
A single US dollar bill was trading Wednesday at 70 billion Zimbabwe
dollars, down (from the Zimbabwe perspective), from 45 billion late last
Mugabe, 84, blames 'illegal Western sanctions' for the country's hardships,
although critics point out that he, his family and cronies are the only ones
targeted by sanctions banning them from travelling to most Western countries
and from holding assets there.
Despite the state offer of cheap food, hundreds of NGOs remain banned by the
regime from distributing food to the millions of Zimbabweans thought to
require relief aid.
Mugabe ordered the NGOs to suspend their field work after accusing them of
using food to persuade people to vote for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change in March elections.
The MDC won the parliamentary elections and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
topped the poll in the presidential vote but withdrew from the June run-off
against Mugabe over a spate of militia attacks on his supporters. The two
parties have been holding what the MDC calls 'talks about talks' on a
powersharing government, as called for by the African Union, since last
According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation, the last
summer harvest yielded only 575,000 tonnes of maize, the national staple,
against demand of about 1.8 million tonnes.
According to the UN, 29 per cent of the population is 'chronically
'Mugabe is fiddling while Rome burns,' an aid agency official, speaking on
condition of anonymity, said about the food hampers.
'They have nowhere near the finance nor the goods to begin to meet demand.
Everything will end up on the black market and the fat-cats will benefit.'
Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)
16 July 2008
Posted to the web 16 July 2008
Business has never been this bad, said Nomathemba Nkomo.
A few years ago, the 37-year-old businesswoman laid down projections for her
business. Increasing the number of staff members was one pointer that she
used as an indicator of success. She wanted to create employment for school
leavers at a time when the country's troubled economy is failing to absorb
them into the formal sector.
Independent economists estimate that the Zimbabwean economy has shrunk by up
to 70 percent since 2000 when President Robert Mugabe's supporters embarked
on the violent expropriation of white-owned commercial farms.
"I run two fleamarket stalls in what used to be one of the most lucrative
business sites in the city. But it has increasingly become difficult to stay
afloat. I have had to ask some of the young women who worked for me to stay
home," Nkomo told IPS.
While struggling, she remains one of a few women who have been able to
soldier on during these trying times, even moving across borders to bring in
goods from neighbouring countries.
"Some have closed shop altogether and, as you can seen, some of the stalls
are stocked with only a few clothing items. People cannot manage anymore,"
Tabeth Muronza (33) has to wake up early each day and walk about 10
kilometres to a vegetable market. The present crisis makes the daily grind
worse, leaving her fatigued.
The visibly tired mother of two admitted to IPS, "I have now taught myself
to expect each day to be worse than the previous one".
In this city of more than two million people, she is one of many women who
sell vegetables. Her sales point is outside a local beer hall. One tomato
goes for up to 10 billion Zimbabwean dollars (about 0.25 euros).
Muronza purchases her wares from vegetable markets in the city centre. Few
of these markets have remained after white farmers fled from veterans of the
country's war of liberation at the height of the farm invasions.
The once productive land now lies fallow in most of the southern parts of
country, throwing the lives of vendors like Muronza into increased hardships
with no source of income.
In the past, her earnings paid for basics like milk, bread and meat for her
two school-going children. Now, she laments, these basic commodities have
"The kids now know we cannot afford these things though in the past they
would demand a decent breakfast before they left for school," she said.
This is another example of the plight of millions of children in a country
where the World Food Programme (WFP) and other humanitarian agencies
estimate that up to half the population will need food assistance this year
alone. Muronza's children now have to settle for cold leftovers from the
Health workers at local council clinics say they are seeing an increase in
the number of children under five suffering from nutrition-rated illnesses.
"There are a lot of underweight children coming here," Greater Basuthu, a
nurse working at a local government clinic, told IPS.
"While we do have a feeding programme for children under five run by one of
the few remaining non-governmental organisations in the city, (the onus
remains on) mothers to feed their babies at home where they are supposed to
get better food," she said. However, especially single women without
alternative sources of income are struggling to do this.
Their plight was worsened by a government ban on non-governmental
organisations' distribution of food aid before the disputed June 27
presidential run-off election.
Zimbabwean authorities accused these organisations of working with the
political party the Movement for Democratic Change to cause disaffection
among voters and turn them against Mugabe.
In the past Muronza purchased foreign currency, especially the South African
rand, to try and beat the country's rampant inflation rate where the price
of food commodities increases almost daily.
But now, she explained, this has become virtually impossible as the local
currency has been on free fall against major currencies, making it hard to
buy foreign exchange from her earnings as a vegetable vendor.
"The exchange rates are just crazy nowadays. Planning for anything has
virtually become impossible. You cannot keep the Zimbabwean dollar, yet you
still cannot purchase foreign currency," she said.
Even for more astute aspiring entrepreneurs who make regular trips to
Botswana and South Africa for their supplies, like Nomathemba Nkomo, the
volatile Zimbabwean dollar has made planning a Herculean task: "We do not
know when it will all end.".
The Zimbabwean authorities have touted the informal sector as that which
would sustain the economy. But the country's hyperinflation has destroyed
all hope for millions here who are eking out livelihoods from
Others are shunning employment, with more than 80 percent of the labour
force jobless, according to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
"This is not at all surprising," Howard Thuso, a labour expert with a local
employment recruitment agency, told IPS.
"In Zimbabwe the wages cannot keep up with inflation. The major motivator to
work, becomes the wages themselves -- not necessarily working conditions. If
the wages are very poor, young people will simply stay home even if they
have no other sources of income."
Zimbabwe cash crunch hits new low as regime can't get enough paper to print
its bank notes
Jul 16, 2008 04:30 AM
Los Angeles Times
HARARE-It has come to this: Zimbabwe is about to run out of the paper to
print money on.
Fidelity Printers & Refiners, the state-owned company that tirelessly churns
out bank notes for the Robert Mugabe regime, was thrown into a crisis early
this month after a German company stopped supplying bank-note paper because
of concerns over Zimbabwe's recent violent presidential election, widely
seen as fraudulent by international observers.
The printing operation drastically slowed. Two-thirds of the 1,000-strong
workforce was ordered to take leave, and two of the three money-printing
shifts were cancelled.
The result on the streets was an immediate cash crunch.
"If you think this currency shortage is bad, wait two weeks. By then it will
be a disaster," said a senior Fidelity staffer, who spoke to the Los Angeles
Times on condition of anonymity. The paper will run out in two weeks, he
Fidelity Printers is Mugabe's lifeline. It prints the money to pay the
police, soldiers and intelligence organs that keep the regime in power.
Lately, the money has been used to set up a network of command bases around
the country staffed by liberation war veterans and youth militias, paid
muscle to terrify the population into voting for Mugabe in the June 27
If the regime can't pay the security forces on which it relies, it would
face economic paralysis - and potential collapse.
Zimbabwe's economic meltdown harks back to the collapse of its major export
industry, commercial farming, after Mugabe's controversial land reform
program early in the decade. That left the nation starved of foreign
exchange, but government spending went on.
How did it do that? It printed money. But printing more and more money
without an increase in productivity fuelled rampant hyperinflation.
As hyperinflation spiralled last year, Fidelity printed million-dollar
notes, then 5-million, 10-million, 25-million, 50-million. This year, it has
been forced to print 100-million, 250-million and 500-million bills in rapid
succession, all now practically worthless. The highest denomination is now
50 billion Zimbabwean dollars (worth about one Canadian dollar on the
Despite the recent currency shortage, the Zimbabwe dollar has continued to
slide and shopkeepers are increasing their prices steeply.
The price of the state-owned Herald newspaper leaped from 200,000 Zimbabwean
dollars early this month to 25 billion now.
Before the crunch, a beer at a bar in Harare, the capital, cost 15 billion
At 5 p.m. on July 4, it cost 100 billion (worth $4 at the time) in the same
bar. An hour later, the price had gone up to 150 billion ($6).
Apart from the paper crisis, the real fear inside Fidelity is that its
software licence for the European bank note design technology that it uses
could be withdrawn because of new sanctions threatened against the Mugabe
regime, the staffer said. The design department is crucial: it must
constantly conceive new notes as those on the streets are rendered worthless
"If that happened, that would be it," the staffer said.
The internal workings of Fidelity Printers have been one of the Mugabe
regime's best-kept secrets for years. But as the government looks
increasingly tenuous, institutions that were once impossible to penetrate
are starting to show cracks.
Fidelity might be the beating heart of the regime, but the staffer revealed
an institution under severe pressure.
The place pulsates with sound and smells of ink. The printing machines are
old and frequently break down, requiring spare parts from Germany, which
will no longer come. Workers are unhappy about salaries and fear for their
jobs because of the paper shortage.
"When the machines were operating 24 hours a day, there was so much pressure
on the employees," he said. "You couldn't take time off. Even weekends,
people had to come in."
For most Zimbabweans, the economic crisis boils down to one thing: how to
put food on the table. It's a difficult trick when you have no job, or if
the bus fare costs more than your pay, and the prices in shops keep going
Tony Hawkins, an independent economist, said Zimbabwe's economy was
imploding so fast, some major factories were reporting they had only weeks
to go before they would be forced to shut down.
"The beer and Coke guys are saying they have only six to eight weeks before
they will have to close," Hawkins said.
"Some of the smaller banks are screaming. It's accelerating downhill. It's
got its own momentum now. Just sit back and watch."
By Violet Gonda
16 JULY 2008
One of the main demands by the Tsvangirai MDC is an end to violence before
any substantive inter party talks can begin, but state sponsored brutality
against perceived opponents is continuing.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition reported that MDC supporters in Village 4C
Chiendambuya in Headlands, Manicaland were forced to flee their homes on
Tuesday by violent ZANU PF thugs. We were not able to find out how many
people have fled but the pressure group said 14 opposition supporters were
The group said: "Two were critically injured and are currently at a hospital
in Harare whilst others are seeking refuge in the bush without any food. The
victims also lost their possessions, including livestock, as a result of the
A regional newspaper claimed this week that foreign mercenaries had been
hired by the Mugabe regime to conduct some of the horrific murders that have
left scores of people dead in the last three months.
MDC chairperson in Manicaland province Patrick Chitaka is quoted in the
report saying: "We have observed that some of the people leading the
violence are foreigners because they speak a different language and they do
not understand our local languages.
"Also, the tactics they are using are not peculiar with Zimbabweans, because
they are cutting out the tongues, removing eyes and genital parts. We are
not sure where they come from."
However some observers believe the Mugabe regime is capable of using
Zimbabweans to commit such brutal acts, as was seen in the mid 80s when 20
000 ethnic Ndebele people were killed in the Matabeleland region.
Meanwhile in Harare's Mbare area ZANU PF thugs reportedly turned against
each other. The Crisis Coalition said about 60 Zanu PF youths and 20 War
Veterans clashed over illegal flea markets on Saturday
It is alleged the youths had been promised compensation by two losing Zanu
PF candidates, Onismo Gore and Jimmy Kunaka, but went berserk when they
found out that some war veterans had also been offered the same markets.
Crisis said: "The two groups clashed resulting in the injury of 6 war
veterans. However those injured were not able to visit any hospitals as the
police were after them."
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Alex Bell
16 July 2008
Workers from around the world have been urged to refuse to handle goods
destined for Zimbabwe, as part of a policy of solidarity put forward by
South Africa's trade union federation, COSATU.
COSATU leaders, as well as leaders from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions and the Swaziland Federation of Labour, met in South Africa on
Tuesday to prepare for an international conference to be held in
Johannesburg next month. The conference is set to mobilise solidarity with
the people of both Zimbabwe and Swaziland in their struggle for democracy
and human rights.
According to a COSATU statement, Tuesday's meeting "agreed on the need to
build the capacity of the trade union movement into a neatly weaved
programme of action" and as such "the Southern African Trade Union
Co-ordinating Council and individual affiliates in the region need deeper
engagement to institutionalise solidarity as a permanent feature of the
regional trade union movement".
COSATU's Patrick Craven told Newsreel on Wednesday that the meeting
"supported calls for an interim government to be set up in Zimbabwe until
such a time that free and fair elections can be held". Craven added that the
meeting agreed to oppose "Western powers initiated sanctions" in favour of a
"united workers movement in forms of demonstrations at Zimbabwe's borders".
Craven said this move is "preferable to Western imposed sanctions because we
suspect they have their own agenda that will not benefit the people of
Craven said the federation would rather see a "grassroots movement of
solidarity" and in this regard, it has called on workers in the region and
world wide to refuse to handle goods destined for Zimbabwe, for an initial
period of one week. Craven said this week of action is merely an attempt to
"accelerate progress towards democratic change" and added that COSATU "has
no interest in bringing the people of Zimbabwe into more abject poverty than
they already find themselves in".
Craven said the plan for a world wide workers' boycott will be approved at
next month's solidarity conference in Johannesburg. He added that COSATU and
other regional trade unions already follow a policy "to refuse to assist the
leaders of Zimbabwe's illegitimate government" to continue putting pressure
on the Robert Mugabe regime. He said workers in South Africa, SADC, Africa
and the world over, as well as all progressive citizens, have been urged to
work towards a total isolation of Mugabe and his government by ensuring
Mugabe and his "government" is not served at airports, restaurants, and
Tuesday's meeting also agreed to work with the rest of civil society to
stage a mass protest and rally when the SADC heads of states summit is
convened in South Africa next month. COSATU has also called on its
affiliates and civil society organisations, to commit to a human rights
programme and to organise rallies during July.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
by Lizwe Sebatha Wednesday 16 July 2008
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's opposition on Wednesday accused war veterans of
forcing villagers in Matabeleland South province to donate food and cash
towards hosting a victory celebration for President Robert Mugabe after his
controversial win in last month's presidential run-off election.
Mugabe was sole candidate in the June 27 run-off election after opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out saying free and fair vote was impossible
after 86 of his supporters were killed and about 200 000 others displaced in
political violence during the run-up to the poll.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said ex-combatants were forcing
every household in the districts of Lushongwe, Matshetsheni, Wenlock and
Nyandeni to donate 5kg of mealie-meal and a sum of $200 billion for the
victory celebration regardless of whether or not they supported Mugabe.
The former fighters of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war and who are
hardline supporters of Mugabe were also said to have asked schools to
collect money from pupils for the victory celebrations.
Mqabuko Ndlovu, the spokesman for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC, said:
"Traumatised villagers in Gwanda North face daily threats of beatings if
they do not donate money and food to the celebrations for Mugabe's
An official of the smaller faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara
described it as sad that after "terrorising" villagers to vote for Mugabe,
war veterans would return to intimidate people to donate food so that they
could celebrate the outcome of the roundly discredited June election.
However the chairman of Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party in the province, Rido
Mpofu, denied that villagers were being forced to donate, insisting that
those that had given cash or food had done so of their free will.
"The villagers are willingly fundraising for Mugabe's re-election victory
celebrations after we asked for donations," Mpofu said.
Several African observers including those from the African Union (AU)
condemned Zimbabwe's run-off election as undemocratic, while a handful of
African countries have said they will not recognise Mugabe's government.
However, the AU has resisted calls by Western nations for sanctions against
Mugabe and instead used its summit in Egypt last month to urge the
Zimbabwean leader to open negotiations with the opposition for a government
of national unity. - ZimOnline
Wednesday, 16 July 2008 10:12
Zimbabweans are facing a future of increasing hunger with dwindling stocks
of banknote paper leading to a very real possibility of money running out in
Fidelity Printers, the state-owned company that churns out banknotes for the
Robert Mugabe regime, was thrown into a crisis early this month after
German company stopped supplying banknote paper because of concerns over
Zimbabwe's recent violent presidential election. Two-thirds of the
1,000-strong workforce was ordered to go on leave, and two of the three
money-printing shifts were canceled.
Fidelity Printers is regarded as Mugabe's lifeline because it prints the
money he uses to pay the police, soldiers and intelligence organs that keep
the regime in power. But what would happen if the regime can't pay the
security forces on which it relies to keep up its brutal campaign?
On the streets there has been an immediate cash crunch, with the prices of
all items from bread to beer skyrocketing, since the German company pulled
the plug on its relationship with the country.
Independent economic analyst in Harare, John Robertson, told Newsreel on
Tuesday that people's basic spending is far higher than their daily cash
withdrawal limit from the banks. He said for people to make "useful
purchases, they have to queue every day for a week" to have enough money.
But he said "by that point the prices would have gone up anyway, so people
can't keep up".
Robertson said the few remaining companies in the country are facing closure
and have already shrunk in size in an effort to stay open. But he said that
all stock is imported, and because local suppliers are constrained by price
controls "they can't make a profit, as controlled prices are far below the
cost of production".
Robertson added that the government is considering approaching Chinese firms
to import banknote paper, but he says it is likely the country will run out
of currency before then.
The question for Zimbabweans now is how they can keep food on the table,
when there is no money to pay for basic food that already costs more than
the average Zimbabwean earns - that is if they can find it.
Robertson said people have already changed their lifestyles to deal with out
of control inflation. He said "dietary habits have changed and people are
surviving on basics, so malnutrition is already setting in". He added that
"a great many more people will be suffering in the future", because the
reality is, that with Zimbabwe's poor agricultural turnover, people will
have to resort to importing food. But he said "prices are beyond the means
of average Zimbabweans, so many more people will go hungry".
The New Times (Kigali)
15 July 2008
Posted to the web 16 July 2008
Rwandan refugees living in Zimbabwe have been accused of being behind the
violence that has rocked Zimbabwe, especially in the run up to the recent
rerun of the presidential elections.
Inter Press Service news agency (IPS) reported Tuesday that the refugees
were allegedly hired by Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF to spread terror in
the hearts of supporters for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
"Eyewitnesses say the men are more vicious than their Zimbabwean
counterparts . They dress in army fatigues, carry Russian-made guns and are
accompanied by interpreters when out with the militias," reports IPS.
Even more worrying for Zimbabwean opposition are further reports of active
movements of Interahamwe and FDLR members from refugee camps in Zambia to go
and join the attackers in Zimbabwe.
Patrick Chitaka, the MDC chairman in Manicaland province was quoted by IPS
that the foreigners had been identified supporting government-backed men.
"We have observed that some of the people leading the violence are
foreigners because they speak a different language and they do not
understand our local languages," Chitaka said.
Reports reveal that some of the Rwandans are members of the Interahamwe
militia and the ex- FAR (defeated former government army) who spearheaded
the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis in which an estimated one million people died.
"Also the tactics they are using are not peculiar with Zimbabweans because
they are cutting out the tongue, removing eyes and genital parts.
"They are cruel and brutal. Each unit has an interpreter who tells them what
to do. People here live close to several borders and they know Portuguese
from Mozambique and languages from Malawi and Zambia. They don't speak any
of those or English," Chitaka continued.
IPS continued that among the Rwandans living in Zimbabwe is Protais
Mpiranya, the former commander of the presidential Guards in Rwanda who is
wanted by the ICTR for Genocide.
A UK weekly, The Sunday Times, reported last month that Mpiranya was holed
up in Zimbabwe where he enjoys the protection of senior government
"He is one of a handful of top leaders of the Genocide to have got away.
After hunting down, sexually assaulting and murdering Agathe Uwilingiyimana,
the prime minister, on April 7, 1994, troops under his command hacked to
death the 10 Belgian UN paratroops who had been ordered to protect her," the
It quoted UN officials saying that Mpiranya, one of the leaders of the rebel
FDLR, had established business links with the army officers during the
Democratic Republic of Congo war in 1998 when he had allied his forces with
the 11,000 Zimbabwean soldiers sent there.
Wed 16 Jul 2008, 15:34 GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's largest trade union federation on Wednesday
condemned President Robert Mugabe's re-election and called on the African
Union to appoint a high-profile envoy to help mediate talks with the
Mugabe won a landslide victory last month in a vote that was boycotted by
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and denounced by Western nations as
violent and unfree. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change has refused
to recognise the result.
"The 27 July, 2008 elections were not free and fair and did not represent
the will of the people of Zimbabwe," the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) said in a press release.
The ZCTU, an ally of Tsvangirai's MDC, said mediation of preliminary talks
between the MDC and Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF should be expanded beyond South
African President Thabo Mbeki, who is overseeing the negotiations.
The federation suggested that a retired African president should enter the
process as a full-time mediator.
The ZCTU has in the past staged nationwide strikes and job walkouts to
protest the government's policies. But Wednesday's statement made no mention
of industrial action.
CHRA continues to deplore the (former)
Government’s decision to give ZINWA the mandate to manage the water supply
CHRA reminds ZINWA that it is not a privilege for residents to get clean water, but rather it is a right.
Meanwhile, residents at Shingai court in
the Avenues area are now entering their third week without electricity. ZESA has
not been able to clarify to the residents why there is no electricity and when
the service will be restored. CHRA urges ZESA to take their work seriously and
urgently restore electricity supply. Shingai court residents and indeed all the
Chief Executive Officer
Exploration House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4- 705114
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
16 July 2008
Posted to the web 16 July 2008
MOST southern and western suburbs of Harare and Norton have been without
water for the past three days after three pumps feeding the
Lochnivar-Marimba water pipeline broke down on Monday morning.
The technical fault has left Glen Norah, Glen View, Budiriro, Mufakose,
parts of Highfield and the whole of Norton without water.
Under the Zimbabwe National Water Authority's water demand management supply
mechanism, supplies to high and medium-density suburbs should not be cut to
minimise disease outbreaks.
These areas, together with parts of Avondale, Mt Pleasant, Gunhill,
Borrowdale, Hatcliffe, Chisipite, Mandara, Zimre Park in Ruwa and Highlands,
among others, have not been receiving water for some time.
According to the Zinwa water status report, most of Harare's reservoirs are
at critical levels except Borrowdale Brooke and Hatfield.
Of the 19 reservoirs, half of them are less than 10 percent full, a
situation that sources at the water authority say is not common as demand
for water is usually low during the winter season. Residents in Glen Norah,
Glen View, Budiriro and Mufakose were yesterday seen fetching water from
shallow wells and storm drains, risking contracting waterborne diseases like
Most residents said they had been without water for the last three days and
expressed dismay that Zinwa had remained silent over the matter.
"We have been without water since Sunday evening and it is surprising that
Zinwa did not give us prior notice. This has forced us to fetch water from
shallow wells," said one Glen Norah resident.
The situation has also affected schools and hospitals in these areas.
Authorities at Zuvarabuda Primary School have asked pupils to bring water to
"The school has been without water since Monday and we have asked pupils to
bring water from home in bottles for their own use and for use in the
toilets," said Mrs Gladys Mandizadza, a senior teacher at the school.
"On Monday we had an Open Day with parents. We have alerted them about the
situation and we have also alerted our district office."
Mrs Mandizadza said the situation was likely to disrupt lessons if it is not
urgently addressed because the school does not have a borehole. Toilets at
Glen View Two High School were closed with officials saying the school has
also been badly affected by water cut.
"We have shut down our toilets and advised pupils to use those at their
homes. We have nowhere to get water. There is no drinking water and the
situation is pathetic," said an official.
Glen View Polyclinic has been without water since Monday. A sister in charge
at the clinic referred questions to the Harare City Council.
Zinwa spokesperson Mrs Marjorie Munyonga said the authority was battling to
restore supplies in the suburbs.
"We lost three of our medium pumps that feed the Lochinvar line yesterday
(Monday) to a technical fault and that has affected water supplies to
Harare's western suburbs and Norton. Our engineers are on site where they
are de-watering the pipes and pumps to enable maintenance work to commence.
"We expect normal supplies to the suburbs to be restored by end of the
week," she said.
Mrs Munyonga said it was unfortunate pumps broke down at a time the
authority was battling to increase water production for the city which has
been badly affected by the shortage of funds to replace the ageing water
infrastructure and source water treatment chemicals.
"Water production had slightly increased to more than 450 megalitres but has
again dropped by nearly half because of the quality of aluminum sulphate we
are getting from Zimphos. The weak sulphate is not commensurate with our
plant that is meant for stronger solutions and to which adjustments can no
longer be made as the system is now obsolete," she said.
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
16 July 2008
Posted to the web 16 July 2008
RECURRENT breakdowns at Hwange Colliery Company have affected coal supplies
to Hwange Power Station, resulting in a steep fall in power generation at
the country's largest thermal plant.
The small thermal stations - Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati - with a combined
generating capacity of about 400MW have also stopped operations due to
erratic coal supplies.
Breakdowns on the conveyor belt that links HPS and the coal mine have seen a
drastic decline in coal supplies to the Hwange Power Station.
No coal deliveries were also made to the thermal juniors for the past week,
a development that has triggered increased power cuts countywide.
Hwange station requires at least 7 000 tonnes of coal daily but it is
currently getting 2 000 tonnes.
Sources said: "Zesa could be forced to stop operations at the power station"
if problems affecting the coal mine were not addressed.
The sources said Hwange Power Station was running "without reserves" after
it exhausted the little it had on Sunday.
HCCL did not make any supplies on the day.
Zesa Holdings chief executive Engineer Ben Rafemoyo said coal shortages have
prompted Hwange Power Station to run two small machines and completely shut
down the three small thermals.
But he hoped the situation would normalise before end of this week.
"We are running two small machines at Hwange but we are hoping to fire up
big machines once coal deliveries improve," he said.
"We are also expecting coal deliveries to resume at small power stations
Some senior Government officials yesterday toured the power plant and the
coal mine to obtain notes on the actual situation on the ground.
The delegation was led by the Secretary for Energy and Power Development Mr
Justin Mpamhanga. His phone went on unanswered when the Herald Business
wanted his comment.
Hwange coal mine says it requires about US$15 million to rehabilitate the
It said the money would be used for the refurbishment of the dragline at the
open cast mine and purchase of underground equipment.
Production at Hwange has been negatively affected by recurrent breakdowns.
Foreign currency shortages for importation of spares has been a major
challenge while the company has not been spared by high staff turnover,
mostly its critical technical staff.
HCCL managing director Mr Fred Moyo had promised to issue a comment but had
not done so by the time of going to press.
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
16 July 2008
Posted to the web 16 July 2008
TEACHERS are demanding a net salary of more than $8 trillion to cushion them
from the prevailing hyper-inflationary environment.
Sources say representations have since been made to the Ministry of
Education, Sport and Culture as well as their employer, the Public Service
Commission, for determination.
Last month, the lowest paid teacher got a minimum salary of $120 billion,
but the amount has
since been eroded by inflation which is pegged at well over 160 000 percent.
Although she could not be drawn into revealing the amount being sought,
Zimbabwe Teachers' Asso-ciation president Mrs Tendai Chiko-wore said they
were still negotiating.
"I cannot reveal exactly how much we are asking from the employer but we
feel the package should be comparative to what is being paid elsewhere in
"We hope the negotiations will be concluded before the end of next week.
"Our teachers are failing to attend classes and we fear if the situation is
not quickly addressed it might lead to the collapse of the education system.
Hence, it is in best interests of both the employer and its employees to
resolve the matter urgently," she said.
The Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe has since asked the Government
to pay teachers in United States dollar-denominated salaries.
According to a letter sent to the PSC, the union is asking for US$797 which
they say is in line with calculations based on the breadbasket used to
determine the poverty datum line.
"Under this scenario, the monthly salary would be the value of the US dollar
pegged in the local currency at the interbank rate obtaining on the last
working day of the first week of the month in which the salary is paid,"
read the letter.
It said pegging the salaries at US dollar equivalent would remove the burden
of salary negotiations on a monthly basis.
Mrs Chikowore said salary problems were not peculiar to civil servants but
were common in all sectors of the economy and thus required the co-operation
of all stakeholders.
Meanwhile, some teachers from Harare are attending a three-day workshop
aimed at equipping them with counselling skills to enable them to
effectively deal with cases of child abuse in schools.
The workshop, organised by the Justice for Children Trust and Connect, began
Counsellor Mrs Sithokozile Sibanda of Connect said the teachers would be
trained in counselling formats, techniques and many other courses to enable
them to detect and tackle problems faced by children in schools.
"This kind of training will help the teachers from various schools in Harare
to help their students when they face problems," she said.
JCT member Miss Olivia Mashava said children were going through several
forms of abuse at home and school like rape.
She noted that most victims of the abuse were children living with
Miss Mashava said abuse has negative effects on children psychologically
causing some to sleep during lessons while others were withdrawn from
"It is not enough to just train children on their rights and
responsibilities while ignoring those indirectly affected (teachers) who
will help the abused, so it goes back to an effective counsellor," she said.
Wednesday, 16 July 2008 10:16
Civil servants in Zimbabwe are calling on the responsible authorities
to urgently intervene and adjust their salaries which have been severely
eroded by run-away inflation.
A number of civil servants interviewed by the Zimbabwean expressed
that it was now very difficult for them to survive due to inflation and
escalating prices of commodities.It is reliably understood that most civil
servants are currently earning an average salary of Z$50 billion which can
only buy a loaf of bread. This has made the lives of most of the civil
servants miserable. A number of them are now relying on vending or crossing
the border into South Africa to realize extra income for survival. One civil
servant said that the last salary adjustments they had were before the
elections and now the government seems to have forgotten them and they are
struggling to survive. He said before the elections, civil servants were
even being paid twice a month, but now a salary increase is long overdue to
make them cope with the inflationary environment.Some teachers are doing
extra lessons with their pupils were parents are sometimes requested to pay
in cash or kind services rendered. For instance one teacher at a certain
school is reported to have asked each of the pupils to bring two candles as
payment for extra lessons conducted with them. A candle is currently costing
about Z$30 billion and the class has an enrolment of almost 40 pupils. These
are some of the strategies which are being undertaken by some of the civil
servants to survive in the harsh economic environment.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 16 Jul 2008
MAPUTO, July 16, 2008 (AFP) - Mozambique is considering setting up temporary
refugee screening centres for thousands of Zimbabweans who have fled across
into its territory, a report Wednesday quoted a government official as
Goncalves Sengo, the head of the national refugee assistance institution
ACNUR told Canal de Mozambique, an independent online news service, that
transit centres would be set up for screening purposes.
"Details of the asylum seekers would be taken to see if their claims fit
with international refugee statutes," he said, adding that the camps would
be set up in the north and central provinces of Mozambique which share a
border with Zimbabwe.
The move, according to Sengo, would help improve assistance rendered by the
government to the refugees.
While the number of Zimbabweans who have fled into Mozambique is not
officially documented, it is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.
Most of them work in the informal sectors and live in towns in Tete and
Manica provinces, close to the northeastern border of Zimbabwe.
Currently, Mozambique has 7,000 registered refugees mostly from the Great
Lakes region, most of whom live in Marratane refugee centres in the northern
province of Nampula and in the capital, Maputo.
Mozambican President Armando Guebuza was quoted in April by the local media
as saying that his country was willing to accommodate Zimbabwean refugees in
the event of post-election violence in the country.
"We are thinking of the good of the people of Zimbabwe," he was quoted as
telling reporters on the margins of Women's Day celebrations in Maputo.
Zimbabwe has been hit by growing political violence since a disputed first
round of presidential elections in March.
Its President Robert Mugabe was re-elected last month in a second round,
boycotted by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai after a wave of deadly
attacks on his supporters.
July 16, 2008, 18:30
The problem of displaced Zimbabwean children loitering on the streets of
Musina has grown so much that the local police have now decided to do
something about it.
The children cannot be deported because the South African Department of
Welfare must first contact its counterpart in Zimbabwe to trace the parents
and in some cases the parents cannot be found. Some of the children are as
young as nine years old.
Police have received 20 beds and a number of blankets from the UK-based Save
Our Children Organisation. They are also turning an old house into a home
for the children. The police's Women Network Organisation will buy groceries
and provide two meals a day.
A group of Zimbabwean businessmen based in Johannesburg have offered to pay
the salary of a Shona and Ndebele speaking teacher, who will teach the
children in one of the rooms in the house. The children cannot attend local
schools because they cannot understand the languages.
July 16 2008 at 09:45AM
By Barry Bateman and Sapa
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is considering the content of
the "torture docket", which implicates 18 Zanu-PF officials in crimes
Representatives at an Institute for Security Studies (ISS) discussion
on civil society's role in holding governments accountable, on Tuesday heard
that if the NPA declined to investigate the matter, it would be accountable
to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Lawyers from several organisations also backed a move to urge the UN
Security Council to refer Zimbabwe to the ICC to investigate crimes against
Max du Plessis, an associate professor of law at the University of
KwaZulu-Natal and senior researcher in the ISS International Crime in Africa
Programme (Icap), said the Southern African Litigation Centre (Salc)
submitted the "torture docket" to the NPA on March 16.
He said the charges related to a police raid on Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) offices on March 28, 2008. Du Plessis said MDC
officials were detained for days and subjected to torture, including mock
executions, waterboarding and electric shocks.
"There has been no response from the NPA," Du Plessis.
He said because of the Rome Statute, South Africa had the capacity and
jurisdiction to prosecute alleged international criminals who were in the
country for crimes committed elsewhere.
Du Plessis hoped for a decision from the NPA soon, but if it was
delayed for longer than was reasonable, they would consider legal options to
compel the NPA to make a decision.
He said if the NPA declined to investigate, it was obligated, as laid
out in the ICC Act, to submit a reason to the justice director-general, who
would then have to send a report to the ICC for review.
The Zanu-PF officials implicated in the dossier have been known to
travel to South Africa.
Salc director Nicole Fritz said there had not been an unreasonable
delay in announcing a decision.
"It's not as though the NPA is not dealing with the case, but it is
sensitive to the political process."
NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali confirmed they had received the dossier.
"We are considering its content to see if it makes a case. I can't say if a
decision has been made it is difficult to say how long it would take to make
Tlali said he would update the media on developments on Wednesday.
Icap head Anton du Plessis said Tuesday's discussion was the first of
a series aimed at establishing a civil society network to provide legal
He said their hope was to hold governments accountable when they
failed and to generate sufficient donor funding to support initiatives.
Zimbabwe Exile Forum director Gabriel Shumba said there was
considerable evidence implicating the Zanu-PF government in the
He questioned the logic of statements that sanctions would cause a
civil war. "Those who commit atrocities hold a nation to ransom by threats
of more violence. They force countries and regional blocks to set up
structures that have nothing to do with the will of the people," he said,
referring to the push to establish a government of national unity.
Shumba said President Robert Mugabe would support that move because
even if he was reduced to occupying a ceremonial post, he would enjoy
immunity from prosecution. "As long as (Thabo) Mbeki is president, Mugabe's
war on Zimbabwe's citizens won't be waged alone."
Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad on Tuesday said
an additional mediator to facilitate the discussions in Zimbabwe was a "fake
He said the talks were continuing and there had been no indication
that an additional mediator was needed, allegedly because Mbeki was taking
This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on
July 16, 2008
The Nation (Nairobi)
16 July 2008
Posted to the web 16 July 2008
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF is facing fresh divisions over the
distribution of Cabinet posts in a new government amid growing pressure for
the veteran leader to include a sizeable number of opposition members, his
deputy has said.
Vice President Joseph Msika, who is also the most senior official of the PF
Zapu, told a recent public meeting that senior leaders from his former
liberation movement were backstabbing each other as they tried to gain
favour with Mr Mugabe.
PF Zapu and Zanu PF merged with Zanu PF in 1987.
Since the signing of the accord, Mr Mugabe has struggled to do a balancing
act to accommodate the former members of PF Zapu in his successive
Most of the PF Zapu officials in his previous cabinets come from the
opposition strongholds in Matabeleland provinces, which are dominated by the
minority Ndebele tribe.
The ruling Zanu PF has performed dismally in the region since 2000, forcing
Mr Mugabe to appoint officials who would have lost in elections as a way of
trying to keep the unity accord in intact.
But following an amendment to the constitution that ensured the veteran
leader will only handpick five senators without constituencies for
appointment to parliament, the competition for seats in his cabinet has
"There are leaders in this region who think they will be ministers through
gossiping about others with leaders who are based in Harare," Mr Msika said.
"To those unscrupulous party leaders in Harare, do not think I cannot see
you trying to put your stooges in the region."
Observers said the outbursts by Mr Msika betrayed serious divisions in the
Zanu PF was thrown into turmoil weeks before the March 29 elections, when a
senior member of the party's decision making body, Dr Simba Makoni broke
ranks to challenge Mr Mugabe for the presidency.
He was openly backed by Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, a senior member of PF Zapu and a
number of politicians from the Matabeleland region who were not happy with
the way the accord was being implemented.
Mr Msika maintained that PF Zapu was still alive, lending credence to recent
reports that some disgruntled officials wanted to pull out of Zanu PF.