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Zimbabwe farm expropriations 'unconstitutional', court hears

Yahoo News

36 minutes ago

WINDHOEK (AFP) - A tribunal began hearing an appeal Wednesday by 77 white
Zimbabweans against orders to expropriate their farms, but with the chief
plaintiff absent after an assault by suspected pro-government militias.

Jeffrey Gauntlett, who represented the Zimbabwean farmers at the hearing in
the Namibian capital Windhoek, told the five judges of the Southern African
Development Community tribunal the expropriations were unconstitutional,
discriminatory and contravened the 14-nation bloc's founding treaty.

"The treaty says that SADC member states shall not discriminate against any
person on grounds of gender, religion, political views, race, ethnic origin,
culture, ill-health or disability," Gauntlett said.

"My clients are not against land reform if done according to the law, but
what the Zimbabwean government did was to simply publish lists of the names
of farms and took the farms away the next day, giving them to government
officials, not even to deserving black farmers."

Gauntlett told the judges that several of his clients, including the
76-year-old chief applicant Michael Campbell, had been assaulted in violence
which has followed disputed elections in Zimbabwe.

Campbell was unable to travel to Namibia after he and his wife Angela were
severely beaten last month on his farm in Zimbabwe's Chegutu district.
Although police say the assaults were the work of common criminals, the
victims believe they were attacked by Mugabe supporters.

He was represented by his son-in-law Ben Freeth, who was injured in the same
attack and arrived in a wheelchair with his head bandaged.

"I am better now after a brain operation where a blood clot was removed," a
pale Freeth told AFP.

Zimbabwe's deputy attorney general Prince Machaya told the hearing that the
SADC treaty was merely "a set of guidelines for member states" and the
expropriations were necessary as almost half of the fertile land in the
former British colony was "in the hands of white settlers" at independence
in 1980.

He also denied that Mugabe's controversial land reforms, which have so far
seen around 4,000 farms taken over by the state, had only affected whites.

"It was unavoidable that some white farmers were affected, but also 21 black
farmers between 2000 and 2006, (who lost their farms)", Machaya stated.

Although the government has offered compensation for the farm buildings, the
landowners say the levels represent only a tiny fraction of their true

The hearing continues on Thursday.

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How Inflation May Topple Mugabe
By Roger Bate Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A version of this article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on July 7, 2008.

July 2008

Inflation in Zimbabwe has been steadily worsening for the past decade, and it now rivals the worst recorded inflations in history. "The only immediate hope for an end to this inflationary nightmare," the author says in this article, "is if the presses are turned off and the Mugabe government simply runs out of currency." If Zimbabwe keeps on its current course, it will soon resemble a medieval barter economy.

Amid Zimbabwe's political violence is an economic lesson for anyone who does not keep an eye on inflation. The country's dictator, Robert Mugabe, who was sworn in on June 29 to his sixth term as president, has killed a few hundred of his opponents in the past few months, but his country's inflation is killing far more than that. With food aid only trickling back into the country and hundreds of thousands without enough cash to buy food, the crisis is deepening.

Consumer prices have more than doubled every month this year, in some cases doubling every week. A conservative estimate provided by Robertson Economic Information Services, a southern African consultancy, says that prices are now 3 billionfold greater than seven years ago--that is right: billion. The exchange rate is currently an astronomical 90 billion Zimbabwe dollars to one U.S. dollar. Furthermore, three zeros were removed from the currency a few years ago when new limited-time bank notes were issued, so the inflation is actually even worse.

When I first went to Zimbabwe back in 1996, US$1 would buy you just Z$8--a depreciation of exchange rate of perhaps 10 billionfold over twelve years. A decade ago, Z$500,000 would have bought you a house; today, it cannot buy you anything. 

In Zimbabwe today, Z$50 billion will buy about two loaves of bread.

Incredibly, the situation on the ground is even worse than any available data can reflect. Inflation numbers are almost meaningless, with some reports showing that prices triple now on a daily basis, and for some food items, prices double hourly. Hyperinflation is now at or beyond the status of the post-World War I Weimar Republic and post-World War II Hungary, the worst recorded inflations in history.

Joshua Kipuru (not his real name because he is concerned about reprisals for criticizing the government) told me that he gave up trying to get cash at his bank in Harare last Wednesday because the lines were too long and moved too slowly. In the end, he bought groceries with his debit card, which remarkably still works. The card, he explained, maxes out at just under Z$10 billion. So he had to run it seventy-four times because his food bill was nearly Z$730 billion. Buying anything is a "bizarre experience," says Lucy Chimtengwende from Bulawayo, who spent US$12 on lunch yesterday, with the bill in local currency being an astonishing Z$1.1 trillion. The menu had no prices on it; prices are quoted and constantly changing. And if you want to pay by check, good luck. Most proprietors do not accept them, and those that do charge double the cash price because of the time it takes them to receive payment.

Chimtengwende was breaking the law by paying for her meal in U.S. currency (or "greens," as they are known locally), as was the owner of the restaurant by accepting it. But the economy is dollarizing as the local currency literally becomes worthless: "We are billionaires and can't buy anything," Kipuru moaned.

The only immediate hope for an end to this inflationary nightmare is if the presses are turned off and the Mugabe government simply runs out of currency. There are local indicators of this; the lines to get cash from Harare's banks are getting longer by the day, suggesting a restriction in the supply of banknotes.

And Mugabe's supplier has also reportedly cut off the printing press. In the weeks prior to the March 29 election, the German company Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) ran its printing presses at maximum capacity, delivering 432,000 sheets of banknotes to Mugabe's government each week. The money, equivalent to nearly Z$173 trillion (US$32 million at that time), was then dispersed among key constituencies, notably the security forces, as bribes.

After the March election, G&D kept the presses running, worsening the situation inside Zimbabwe. Thankfully, after a public protest outside its German headquarters, critical articles in the German and international press, and pressure from the German foreign ministry, G&D announced on July 1 that it would stop printing the bank notes. It is uncertain how much of a supply Mugabe's regime still has, but with the current inflation rate driving demand for cash skyward, it is possible the regime will run out of notes in weeks, unless another supplier, perhaps from China, steps in.

While the international community, the African Union, and Zimbabwe's neighbors may not be able to stop Mugabe, the economy might. With no means of exchange, a barter economy is already taking hold, with services being traded instead of cash. If Mugabe does not relinquish power soon, Zimbabwe will resemble a medieval economy--and a poor one at that--within weeks.

Roger Bate is a resident fellow at AEI.

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FACTBOX: Zimbabwe's economy in freefall


Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:53am EDT

(Reuters) - Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate, already the highest in the
world, has hit 2.2 million percent, central bank Governor Gideon Gono said
on Wednesday.
Here are some details on Zimbabwe's inflation milestones and government
efforts to control it.


-- Zimbabwe's annual inflation rose above 1,000 percent in April 2006.
Official statistics showed the annual inflation rate at a record 1,042.9
percent after 913.6 percent in March.

-- Annualized inflation stood at 3,713.9 percent in April 2007, a monthly
rate of increase of 100.7 percent, according to official government data.

-- Inflation slowed in August to 6,592.8 percent from 7,634.8 in July after
a price freeze was instituted, but leapt to a record 7,982.1 percent in

-- The December 2007 figure had risen to 66,212.3 percent, and by January
2008 it hit 100,586 percent but economic experts said the actual figure was

-- April 2008, the Central Statistics Office reported that in February 2008,
the figure stood at 164,900.3 percent.

-- In July 2008 the Central Bank Governor said it is now at 2.2 million
percent. Gono said that some independent economists say inflation is 7
million percent annually but the CSO (Central Statistical Office) says 2.2
million percent.


-- When inflation hit 1,000 in 2006, Zimbabwe was in its eighth year of
recession and had the fastest shrinking economy outside a war zone,
according to the World Bank. It also had the highest inflation rate in the

-- The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) ordered redenominated notes in July
2006 to combat black marketeering and hyperinflation, lopping three zeros
off the local dollar.

-- The government instituted a price freeze in June 2007, followed two
months later by wage freeze.

-- The RBZ introduced new higher value banknotes early in 2008 which,
however, failed to ease a cash shortage that has kept commercial banks busy
with long queues of desperate residents wanting to withdraw money.


-- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food
Program estimated in a report last month that 2.04 million Zimbabweans
risked hunger in the coming months, "peaking at about 5.1 million at the
height of the hungry season between January and March 2009".

-- The report saw maize output in 2008 falling 28 percent from 2007 to
575,000 tonnes and domestic cereal supply down 40 percent at 848,000 tonnes.

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No Talks Until Additional Mediator Appointed, Say MDC

SW Radio Africa (London)

16 July 2008
Posted to the web 16 July 2008

Violet Gonda

The signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the country's
rival political parties, failed to take place on Wednesday contrary to media

The ceremony would have marked the beginning of full-scale negotiations
between Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations.

But because of the veil of secrecy surrounding the 'talks about talks,' we
have not been able to confirm or obtain credible information on the process.
Reports said progress had been made, since the two MDC formations and ZANU
PF met in South Africa last week, but that they met a glitch on Wednesday
when the Tsvangira MDC refused to sign.

It's reported Tsvangirai said he was waiting for African Union Commission
Chairperson Jean Ping to appoint another facilitator to work with current
'middleman' Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

An official with the Tsvangirai MDC, speaking on condition of anonymity,
also said there was no fixed time frame for signing the pre-talks deal and
the party was taking time to hold internal consultations with its
structures. The National Executive Committee of the Tsvangirai MDC is
expected to be formally briefed about the MOU on Thursday.

The official said Tsvangirai is being put under pressure to sign the MOU to
give impetus to Mbeki's mediation.

The Tsvangirai MDC has called for an end to violence and release of
political prisoners before any dialogue could take place. An official from
the Mutambara MDC, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said all three
parties had agreed to sign the MOU, in principle, as it also included an
interim clause calling for an end to violence.

The fact that the discussions are being conducted in secret makes it
extremely difficult to inform Zimbabweans. 43 civil organizations met in
Harare on Tuesday and called for the political parties to be transparent and
to consult widely with other stakeholders.

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Talking about the talks about talks

Photo: Annie Mpalume/IRIN
What now?
BULAWAYO, 16 July 2008 (IRIN) - Once the talks between the ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) begin in earnest they are likely to mirror the current civil society debates on a solution to Zimbabwe's debilitating political and economic crises.

The talks about talks being mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria are draped in a veil of secrecy, although the MDC have made no secret of the fact that they believe Mbeki is not an impartial mediator, and for the talks to have any chance of real success an additional mediator is required.

South Africa's deputy foreign affairs minister, Aziz Pahad, dismissed reports of the MDC's unhappiness about Mbeki as a mediator as a "fake argument", while civil society in Zimbabwe is debating how to extricate the country from its economic and political morass, which has seen the annual inflation rate being measured in millions of percent and the death toll from political violence steadily rising.

A recent gathering of civil society organisations in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, heard divided opinions, with one camp backing a government of national unity (GNU), while the other favoured a transitional authority as the best way to re-establish the country's democratic credentials.

A transitional authority, also called a transitional government, is used to lower political temperatures and bring about the political space to draft a constitution acceptable to the majority of political parties and members of civil society. It should also create an environment that allows free and fair elections to be held. Transitional governments work to specific timeframes limiting their tenure in office.

A GNU versus a transitional authority

A GNU, on the other hand, is formed by an array of political parties in a power-sharing agreement and usually has no time limit.

Those arguing for a transitional authority envisage writing a new people-driven and democratic constitution, with reform of the electoral laws and depoliticisation of the army and police taking place during the process.

''There is no way any form of government can address an unresolved electoral process without creating a framework for free and fair elections because, ultimately, Zimbabwe will have to hold elections''
"The point of dispute in this country emanates from a disputed election, which was held in an inconducive environment on June 27," said Rodrick Fayayo, of the Bulawayo Agenda, a Zimbabwean political think-tank.

"There is no way any form of government can address an unresolved electoral process without creating a framework for free and fair elections because, ultimately, Zimbabwe will have to hold elections at some point in time. If that problem is not solved once and for all, it will recur in future and violence will rear its ugly head again, and Zimbabweans will have to go back to the table to form more GNUs," he said.

Another political analyst based in the city, Jethro Mpofu, said a transitional government would be unworkable because the perennial question as to who would lead it would create a political impasse.

"Legally speaking, President Mugabe is the elected leader of the country because he was sworn in according to the laws of the land, whether there was violence or no violence, Tsvangirai pulled out of an election he was supposed to contest, four days before it was held," Mpofu said. "So, in terms of the law, President Mugabe is the leader of the country and therefore a transitional authority will not work in Zimbabwe."

A GNU would be able to side-step this thorny issue by appointing Mugabe as president and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister, Mpofu said.

Mugabe has already insisted that the opposition accept him as the legitimate president before any formal talks can begin - undermining the idea of a transitional arrangement.

"If the talks are working towards creating a situation that will see President Mugabe out of the picture through a transitional authority, then that will not work because President Mugabe will not agree to a situation that eventually sees him cede power to anyone," Mpofu said.

Sindiso Mazibisa, a city lawyer and board member of Zimbabwe Newspaper Group (Zimpapers), said a GNU would pave the way for all political parties in the country to work together to find a solution to the crises.

"A transitional government will not solve the country's problems, because even if there are reforms they will not stop violence taking place, and currently Zimbabweans are avoiding anything that has to do with elections because of the violence associated with elections," he said.

"The MDC will be the worst losers if they want a transitional government to call early elections because people are still traumatised" by the recent political violence, in which more than 100 people have been killed since 29 March, Mazibisa said.

Mugabe here to stay

He said the talks between ZANU-PF and the MDC could not wish away Mugabe from the political scene, because he was still relevant as the "winner" of the second round of presidential elections on 27 June - even though he was the sole candidate.

Tsvangirai, who garnered more votes in the first round but failed to attain an outright win of 50 percent plus one vote, pulled out of the run-off ballot in protest against the political violence.

Liberman Bhebhe, a director of the National Youth Development Trust (NYDT), an international inter-organisational NGO focusing on career path development, told IRIN there was a need for a transitional authority to create a framework for new elections, while simultaneously reforming the security forces and justice system to restore faith in the election processes.

"This country needs a transitional government that will prepare ... [it] for fresh elections, because the problems facing this country all emanate from flawed elections ... the transitional government should be all-inclusive, so that everyone is involved in ... [the] process," Bhebhe said.

''What we want now is to have the sanctions removed and get food on the table, so whether the government is led by Tsvangirai or Mugabe we do not care, as long as we get food on the table''
The weaknesses of GNUs were that they were concerned with power-sharing rather than addressing the challenges Zimbabwe faced. "The GNU will not solve the country's problems; it will only help politicians to carve power among themselves. Mugabe will become president and Tsvangirai will become prime minister, and that is where it will all end," he commented.

Others at the gathering had little patience with the niceties of what form the political solution should take; they simply wanted a solution to be achieved with the utmost speed.

"We do not care what kind of government we get in this country," Mqhele Ncube told the participants. "What we want now is to have the sanctions removed and get food on the table, so whether the government is led by Tsvangirai or Mugabe we do not care, as long as we get food on the table and peace returns to the country."


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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UK FCO Written Ministerial Statement on Zimbabwe 15 July 2008 (Mugabe)

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David
Miliband): Since the sham election on 27 June, conditions in Zimbabwe have
deteriorated. International agencies estimate that 36,000 people have been
displaced internally since the first round in March, at least 103 have been
murdered and many thousands have received treatment for the injuries they
have been dealt by the security forces. In spite of the promise of the
authorities that the ban on their activities was temporary, aid agencies are
still denied access to large swathes of the country, a restriction that
means 1.5 million people are still unable to access food aid and vital
medicines that they need.

We have been clear that words are simply not enough and that the
international community as a whole must act. We have said openly that
Zimbabwe's crisis is one that the world had a responsibility to respond to.
That is why we supported the United States in their decision to table a
resolution at the Security Council and to take that resolution to a vote on
11 July. The draft resolution had the nine votes it needed to pass into law.
It was co-sponsored by two African states - Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Burkina Faso - an African member of the Council - also voted in favour of
it. All European and South American Council members and the USA were behind
it. That it was vetoed by Russia and China despite this clear and broad
majority is something that the ordinary people of Zimbabwe - the victims of
that violence and who are denied that food and medicine - will not be able
to understand.

I believe that it is right when you believe in a cause that you should push
others to be clear on their attitude to it. That Russia agreed to a G8
statement calling for further measures including precisely the targeted
sanctions we were advocating but then - the same week - chose to vote
against that resolution is now for them to explain. The terms of the draft
UN resolution were widely discussed within the Council. Sufficient
opportunity was given to explain reservations and to table amendments.
Russia chose not to engage in that debate. China's decision to veto was
deeply disappointing too. We will continue to work with both states to
persuade them to take a different course and to use their influence both in
Zimbabwe and in the wider region to resolve the crisis.

The draft resolution did not cut across negotiations that the African Union
had advocated in its own conclusions at its Summit in Sharm el Sheik. We
believe that dialogue between the parties can provide a way forward for
Zimbabwe's crisis. But we need to be clear about the basis on which dialogue
can be developed. At present we have one party that won a popular mandate in
the Parliamentary elections of 29 March but whose members and supporters
have been intimidated by the violence unleashed on them by the state and
ZANU-PF militia. And we have another party that have refused to cede power,
and that has used the full force of the state security apparatus to
intimidate its citizens and turn the Presidential run-off into a farce. To
turn this context into one in which credible negotiations might begin,
pressure is needed and the threat of an alternative approach that
demonstrates what is at stake, personally, for the very people who believe
they have least to gain from engaging in a process leading to democratic
reform. That is why we will continue to advocate further targeted sanctions
that focus on not just the 14 who would have been affected by the draft UN
resolution but those around them and those who depend on them.

The UN itself estimates that 5 million people will need food aid in Zimbabwe
by the end of 2008 if conditions do not improve. Given the humanitarian
situation on the ground, the incalculable hyper-inflation and the increasing
violence, the end of 2008 may bring a greater catastrophe still - for both
Zimbabwe and the region - if the international community does not act to
prevent it.

At the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council on 22 July we will
press for EU Foreign Ministers to agree to extend the number of persons on
the EU visa ban and asset freeze list, for the first time to target
companies and entities owned by such persons, and to tighten further the
exemptions which allow Zimbabweans on that list to travel to the EU. This
first wave of targeted measures will aim to act as a stimulus on the regime
to engage in meaningful dialogue with the opposition. The regime and some of
it sympathisers try to portray the "talks about talks" that have occurred in
South Africa last week as a breakthrough. We will not regard those talks as
a breakthrough until they lead not just to agreements on paper but
implemented changes on the ground, and in particular a transitional
government that reflects the will of the people as they voted on 29 March.
Meanwhile we shall work with like-minded partners to root out the sources of
the regime elite's foreign currency and target their personal wealth. With
our partners we shall work with banks and financial institutions to
underline the unacceptability of harbouring the cash of those who are
directing or profiting from Zimbabwe's meltdown.

The opposition MDC and their leader Morgan Tsvangirai have been clear that
basic preconditions must be met before any real negotiation can begin. Their
demands are reasonable: the cessation of violence; the release of political
prisoners; and the unfettered access of NGOs to the people who need them
most and who the regime has long since forgotten its responsibilities for.
The onus now is on the region - the Southern Africa Development Community -
and the African Union to demonstrate that they are serious about making
dialogue work. We will also continue to advocate the appointment of a UN
envoy to support President Mbeki's efforts to negotiate, and to investigate
and report on human rights abuses on the ground.

For the first time in the election on 27 June, we saw all three major
African election observer groups underline their public dissatisfaction with
the vote and the outcome. It is now for Africa and its leaders to show that
it will not accept the 27 June result as the basis for any future settlement
and that its commitment to democracy and to reform is real. We will support
them in that goal. But calls for space and for time for negotiation to work
can only be taken seriously when the conditions on the ground are conducive
to meaningful dialogue. The current violence makes that impossible. Newly
elected MDC MPs today are in hiding in Harare and elsewhere and are afraid
to take up their roles. They are right to be afraid, and Africa and its
leaders have a responsibility to respond to their concerns and to their
constituents' concerns and remove the causes of that fear.

Robert Mugabe described his election campaign as a war. Morgan Tsvangirai
was clear that the people of Zimbabwe did not want to join Mugabe's war.
Zimbabwe's independence has been won long ago. No-one is challenging its
sovereignty or its right to be a nation. Our concern is that its people
should have the right to choose who leads it and how it is governed, and
that their choice be respected. Our twin track approach of applying pressure
on the regime elite via targeted sanctions and keeping the ordinary people
of Zimbabwe alive through our contribution as the second largest bilateral
donor of aid will continue. We will continue to meet our responsibilities on
both, and we will press others to join us in that approach. The price of not
doing so - in terms of the dead and the dying in Zimbabwe - means we have no
option but to continue.

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ICC option for Mugabe regime under discussion

Published in: Legalbrief Today
Date: Wed 16 July 2008
Category: General
Issue No: 2111

Senior Zimbabwean government officials may be taken to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

According to a report in Beeld, several civil and legal organisations yesterday discussed the possibilities of action against President Robert Mugabe's regime at the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria. The Convention on Torture in the founding regulations of the ICC in particular may be used against the officials. The Southern African Litigation Centre began documenting proof of torture and intimidation in Zimbabwe by 18 senior government officials four months ago. This docket was handed to the NPA on 16 March. The ICC's founding regulations require member countries to begin prosecutions as soon as a charge is laid. The UN Security Council has to give permission for charges to be laid at the ICC.
Full Beeld report

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Zimtrade to open shops in Zambia

Times of  Zambia

ZIMTRADE, a Zimbabwean trade promotion body, is still pursuing plans to
establish shops in Zambia as part of its efforts to open avenues for
Zimbabwean companies to export to neighbouring countries, chief executive,
Herbert Chakanyuka, has said.

Last year, ZimTrade announced plans to open shops in Zambia targeted at
small-scale exporters who are unable to exploit export markets on their own.

The shops will be used as conduits through which companies will be provided
with the means to market and sell their products as part of ZimTrade's
broader regional trade promotion strategy.

Mr Chakanyuka said ZimTrade expected to set up the shops in Zambia by the
last quarter of the year.

"Tentatively, we should be dealing with the registration process
requirements during the Zambian Agricultural and Commercial Show,'' he said.

The Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show will take place from July 29 to
August 4 and over 30 Zimbabwean companies have registered to take part in
the event.

ZimTrade had initially targeted to open the shops in December last year but
could not manage because of a number of reasons.

Besides funding constraints, Mr Chakanyuka said Zimbabwean companies were
yet to improve on production which would also allow for supply of goods to
the shops.

Zambia has been targeted for establishment of the shops because it is a
traditional market for Zimbabwean goods. - ZANIS

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No rest, peace for MDC members


    July 16 2008 at 09:37AM

London - Mercenaries have joined so-called "war veterans" and
militiamen attacking opposition supporters in rural parts of Zimbabwe, human
rights workers have confirmed.

Eyewitnesses say the foreign soldiers are more vicious than their
Zimbabwean counterparts, with the marauding gangs attacking suspected
members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), forcing them to
renounce the party.

They dress in army fatigues, carry Russian-made guns and are
accompanied by interpreters when out with the militias.

Patrick Chitaka, the MDC chairperson in Manicaland province in the
east of the country, said the foreigners had been identified in the past two
to three weeks, supporting government-backed men.

Chitaka said: "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 tongue, removing eyes and genital parts. We
are not sure where they come from."

It is the first time reports of foreigners fighting alongside Zanu-PF
have surfaced. Since losing the presidential vote on March 29, Robert Mugabe
and an inner circle of military and intelligence chiefs have launched a
campaign of violence against opposition areas which voted against him and
his party.

More than 100 people have been killed, thousands injured and more than
200 000 displaced as gangs target one-time MDC strongholds.

The claims were supported by human rights workers in Manicaland. A
spokesperson for one group, who did not want to be named, said observers on
the ground had witnessed "tens, if not hundreds" of foreigners accompanying
government-backed militias.

He said the soldiers were not from neighbouring countries, but were
more probably from further north in Africa, possibly Rwanda, Kenya or

Local people claim the irregular forces are Hutus from Rwanda, but the
human rights representative said he could not say for sure.

There are an estimated 4 000 Hutu refugees living in Zimbabwe, some of
whom took part in the genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.

Many fled the country, seeking asylum after the killings, which
destabilised neighbouring countries, especially the DRC.

The human rights official said: "These men do not speak any local
languages and are extremely violent.

"They are attacking people in their homes and as they get off buses,
giving them terrible beatings. We do not know what these people are doing in

"There is a problem identifying these people. You cannot go to the
police, because they say it is political - they are not interested."

The spokesperson said observers in two constituencies - Makoni South
and Makoni West - west of Zimbabwe's third city of Mutare, had calculated
there were up to 200 foreigners spread across both areas.

"There are between six and ten foreigners in each base, and there are
20 Zanu bases in the two constituencies. They wear military uniform and
carry guns, especially shotguns, which we think are Russian.

"They are cruel and brutal. Each unit has an interpreter who tells
them what to do."

Chitaka added: "People are very scared of them because they know no
bounds. They go house-to-house in MDC areas and beat people and force them
to shout for Zanu-PF.

"The men then get their victims to beat their neighbours in the same
way. They have gang-raped women and abducted them.

"People are missing, but families are too afraid to look for them,"
the MDC chairperson said.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Times on July
16, 2008

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Byo MDC councillors sue Chombo

By Philip Mangena ⋅ © ⋅ July 16, 2008

An MDC councillor Nduna Dladla has taken to court Ignatius Chombo, the
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development to compel
him to conduct a swearing-in ceremony and allow them to choose a new mayor.
(Out-going mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube )
Job Sibanda, of Job Sibanda and Associates represented Dladla at the
Bulawayo High Court yesterday.
Dladla had approached the High Court seeking an order to compel the
Government to convene a meeting chaired by acting Town Clerk Khonzani Ncube,
a ZANU PF member, to set a date for the swearing-in ceremony to allow them
to conduct their duties immediately.

Eric Moyo, of the Attorney General’s Office represented the Provincial
Administrator for Bulawayo,Khonzani Ncube and Ignatius Chombo, the Minister
of Local Government he told the court that that a meeting of councillors had
been set for today.

Japhet Ndabeni Ncube is the out going Bulawayo mayor.

Harare City councillors have already been sworn into office and elected
businessman and lawyer, Muchadeyi Masunda as mayor.

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MDC's Hebson Makuvise on the struggle against Robert Mugabe

European Parliament
External relations - 16-07-2008 - 16:24 

Hebson Makuvise: "Robert Mugabe knows his days are numbered"

Once the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe now faces starvation and rampant inflation. Its people are living in fear and Robert Mugabe's regime is persecuting all opposition. Against this backdrop a recent one-candidate Presidential election has been condemned internationally. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leads the opposition. Its representative in Europe, Hebson Makuvise, met MEPs on the Development Committee on 15 July. Whilst in parliament, we put a few questions to him.

Do you think that the current problems of Zimbabwe can be blamed entirely on Mr Mugabe and his regime? Can they be tackled while he remains in any position of power?
The problems that we have in Zimbabwe today are largely a result of Robert Mugabe; it's a man-made disaster. There is no room for Robert Mugabe in the future. His expertise in violence is not good for Zimbabwe, it's not good for the region and it's not good for Africa.
During the meeting with MEPs you called Zanu-PF (the ruling party in Zimbabwe) a "mafia" and Mugabe "a leader of thieves and gangsters". How has he been able to hold on to power for so long when things have become so bad?
Mugabe has been assisted by the gang of so-called service chiefs - heads of the army, police, prisons and the air vice-Marshall who protect him. This is why he managed to stay in power even after the MDC was formed. These people are also beneficiaries of the policies of patronage. But that's just 5 individuals. The soldiers and police officers want to see change, but they have to vote in front of their bosses and cannot express their free will.
Is home-made repression harder to get rid of than foreign repression?
I don't think dictators are different. The tactics are the same - violence, politics of patronage, political rhetoric. If you look at all the dictatorships in the world, you will notice that they have a lot of similarities. Robert Mugabe knows his days are numbered and I believe we are slowly getting there. We are getting regional and international support, even though there are still a few regional leaders that still look upon Mugabe as a hero. Minds are changing in the region and in Africa.
Robert Mugabe is going to go whether he likes it or not, because Zimbabweans have decided that it is time and they voted for the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai. That election is what made Robert Mugabe brutalise, rape women, torture and kidnap. He realized that Zimbabweans had rejected him.
How can the Zimbabwean opposition manage to speak with one voice and avoid fragmentation? Are the Shona and Ndebele (two peoples of Zimbabwe) people united? How do you imagine the process of national reconciliation?
The MDC is a democratic party that does not function because of tribalism or colour. We are one peace loving people - white, black, Shona and Ndebele speaking - who have been betrayed by Robert Mugabe wanting to stay in power.
Before and after 29 March elections, if Robert Mugabe had considered defeat, people admitted they were going to forgive Mugabe and allow the country and the people to move on. But now some people think that maybe Mugabe and his regime need to go to the Hague. Nevertheless, Zimbabweans are a peace loving people, and MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai was always talking of the government of national healing. So I believe that he is going to give an amnesty to Robert Mugabe and his cronies and allow them to leave the country.
How can outside players - like South Africa, the African Union, the South African Development Community, the EU, USA and the UN - assist Zimbabwe in the transition process?
We need all their support. We value the support that the international community - especially the EU - has always given for Zimbabweans in the creation of the rule of law in their country. That is why the MDC managed to get where it is today. That support encourages Zimbabweans to fight a dictatorship. The African Union and the SADC are our brothers, with the exception of problems with some of the leaders. Minds are changing, many countries in Africa already admitted that Mugabe has to go and Morgan Tsvangirai won the elections.
The MDC has always said it will support South African President Thabo Mbeki and the mediation process. It is only now that we raise our concerns when we see he is not showing impartiality, after he kept quiet about Robert Mugabe's political rhetoric on not stepping down even if he looses the election.
We are saying to the UN and African Union that we need a permanent representative in Harare, so that he can assist in the mediation process.
MEPs call for tighter sanctions
On 10 July MEPs adopted a resolution calling for tighter sanctions against Harare, including an arms embargo and the freezing of assets held by the leadership. 

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Will foreign companies stay the course in Zimbabwe?

Mail and Guardian

PERCY ZVOMUYA - Jul 16 2008 11:01

British companies doing business in Zimbabwe must find the noise from their
government and the international community disconcerting.

British companies doing business in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s
initially blocked out the noises against the pariah state, but eventually
left when the pressure from their government and the international community
became unbearable.

Late last month, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged companies to stop
investing in Zimbabwe and said his government was preparing "intensified
sanctions" against individual members of Mugabe's regime. This followed news
that Anglo American was investing $400-million in a platinum mine in
Zimbabwe -- a decision whose announcement was described as unfortunate and

"Businesses and individuals who have any dealing with Zimbabwe must examine
their own responsibilities and must not make investments that prop up the
regime," Brown told the British House of Parliament where some Tory MPs hold
shares in Zimbabwe-based companies.

Brown's minister for Africa, Lord Malloch Brown, warned companies active in
Zimbabwe to "look very carefully at their investment portfolio".

An analyst working for a local bank says companies are taking a long-term
view and considering the cost of re-entry if they were to leave. He says
Barclays Bank moved out of South Africa in the 1980s and paid a hefty
R33-billion -- at the time the single biggest investment in South Africa -- 
for a majority stake in Absa in 2005.

Tristen Taylor, a reparations activist, says Barclays's loans to South
Africa between 1982 and 1984 amounted to $725,4-million; between 1972 and
1978, Barclays helped the apartheid government obtain almost $500-million in

Standard Chartered bank also left South Africa in the 1980s and tried to
re-enter the country by buying into a troubled online bank, 20Twenty, which
the British bank subsequently resold in 2005.

The analyst says that as long as no one pushes these companies out, they
will "stick around. No one will voluntarily leave."

He says the lengths that these companies are willing to go to is shown by
their negotiations with the Zimbabwean government over a law that forces
them to cede 51% of their companies. Most companies are arguing that they
should at least be allowed to retain majority shareholding, as it is their
brands that are creating value.

Companies are also wary of ceding their turf to rivals. French carmakers
Renault and Peugeot took advantage of the sanctions imposed on Rhodesia to
enter Zimbabwe in the 1960s and the 1970s. This explains the popularity of
these brands, unusually high for an Anglophone country.

If Western companies were to leave, Chinese, Russian and South African
companies would be certain to move in and fill the void. Already China is
active and has entered into partnerships with the Zimbabwean government in
manufacturing and mining businesses.

Percy Chiweshe, an analyst at Imara SP Reid, describes this as the "China
effect", saying: "If they get out, someone will get in, especially in the
resources sector." He cites the pullout of BHP from a platinum mine in the
Chegutu area in Zimbabwe in the late 1990s and how Impala Platinum was quick
to move in.

Also, says Chiweshe, there is no guarantee that new companies will respect
workers' rights -- some Chinese companies have been accused of exploiting
their workers at home, and may do the same elsewhere.

"Companies can voice their concerns through other means," as "pulling out
will cause more suffering to the people of Zimbabwe," he says.

The companies operating in Zimbabwe won't act in a political vacuum. They
will consider moving out if the United Nations imposes sanctions on
Zimbabwe -- a very unlikelyscenario as Zimbabwe's backers at the Security
Council, Russia, China and South Africa, will certainly resist such a

They could argue that the crisis, now in its ninth year, is closer to a
resolution than ever before and therefore it won't make sense to leave when
a solution is on the horizon.

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Weekly report from the Mbare Residents Trust

Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 11:59 PM
Subject: Mbare Weekly Report

Please find attached the Weekly report from the Mbare Residents Trust (MRT),
covering the past seven days. As part of the liberal Harare Residents'
Trust, the Mbare residents movement is excited to let you know that we
witnessed with genuine interest the Glen View Residents Trust (GVRT)
undertake its leadership development training seminar on Friday 11 July. The
GVRT has committed leaders who desire to engage all residents and
stakeholders in their area without reservation. They used their available
resources and facilitators to carry out the leadership training. We were
humbled by their commitment to their residents programme.

As we develop our programming for Mbare residents, we are also encouraged by
the response of the youths who have shown a desire to help achieve the
objectives and mission of the MRT. Artists and HIV/Aids activists have
become a vital partner in our programming.

We acknowledge the donations of box and flat files that we have received
from officials in various companies in the CBD.

Thank you for your continued support,

Sincerely yours,

David Samukange,


Mbare Residents Trust


Mbare Residents concerned with forex demands and new peoples' market

Rates and Services: The Mbare Residents' trust is saddened by reports
reaching us that some landlords in the suburb are capitalizing on the
socio-economic challenges facing the country to charge foreign currency for
their properties. Tenants are being asked to pay in South African Rands,
Botswana Pulas, United States of America Dollars, and in some cases
groceries. This has increased the burden on the suffering population of
Mbare. This is proving to be difficult for many people who are finding it
hard to earn the local currency to purchase basic food commodities like
cooking oil, sugar, maize meal, salt and vegetables.

The Trust sympathizes with land lords and the rest of the residents who are
not realizing the value of their properties through payment in local
currency but we stand together with the majority of residents who are
lodgers and earn local currency for survival. Irrespective of the economic
challenges facing the country it is not advisable for landlords to charge
rentals in foreign currency.   It is illegal. We urge landlords to settle
their disputes with lodgers in a peaceful and legal manner without violating
any Council By-laws and/or country housing instruments. The tenant/landlord
relationship remains vital for peaceful co-existence.

In other households it was also discovered that owners are exchanging basic
food commodities for accommodation.  Some land lords are said to be asking
their lodgers to give them 20Kg mealie meal, two litres cooking oil, one bar
washing soap as monthly rentals.

The MRT is working flat out to restore the situation to normal and is urging
all residents who are affected by any of the above to report such issues to
the Rent Board Offices at Makombe Building in Harare.  The affected should
also report such issues to the Police and is urging all residents affected
by this to let us know by writing to us on our email or phoning us on 0912
751 228.

Peoples' Market: A new peoples' market was opened in Mbare between Paget
House and Carter House, opposite Mai Musodzi Hall. Although this development
is welcome to some vendors, the majority of Mbare residents are concerned
about the health risk because there are no ablution facilities and no
running water. The MRT has tried to investigate the criteria used to
allocate the market stalls but has failed to get a clear pattern or system.
What has been established is that a loosing Zanu PF councillor Jim Kunaka
and loosing Zanu PF House of Assembly Candidate Onismo Gore are at the
forefront of allocating the market stalls. We do not know from whose
authority. The MRT would want a meeting of the key stakeholders, including
the City Health Department and the residents establish the truth on this
important matter. It would be tragic if the authorities fail to act on this
matter as it threatens to set a bad precedent in urban planning.

According to elders in Mbare, the site of the new market was originally
meant for the construction of a historical Hall of Fame which would capture
the history of Mbare, profiling and showcasing the great works done by
politicians, sports personalities, and artists, community leaders born and
bred in Mbare before and after independence.

The MRT will be holding a meeting with council officials to establish the
nature of the market and its legality. It is our recommendation that any
programmes and opportunities must be legal, transcends political party
affiliation, should target the poor, and should prioritise widows,
unemployed youths and HIV/Aids patients.


Contact us on email

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Open letter to George Charamba

New Zimbabwe

By Luke Tamborinyoka
Last updated: 07/17/2008 17:53:44

Dear George,

I HOPE I find you in good health, even though I appreciate that it must be
physically draining to play megaphone to a discredited dictator.

It is painstaking, I presume, to defend an octogenarian who suddenly has
very few friends in SADC, in Africa and the broader international community.

It must be infuriating to defend an unpopular tyrant, judging by the high
temperament you displayed during that abrasive "interview" you had with
Violet Gonda of SW Radio Africa. You lost your cool but I think that was
understandable in the circumstances, especially after a whole nation had
collectively decided to sell out by voting for that British puppet, Morgan
Richard Tsvangirai, on 29 March.

Your anti-British stance is legendary and I think it is a monumental factual
error to say you are an ex-Chevening scholar who acquired his media
education in London. Why would you have gone to London when there are
equally good educational opportunities in Russia, China and Uzbekistan?

I also appreciate that it is hard work to control what the ZBC and The
Herald spew out on a daily basis but even then, Nathaniel Manheru must
surely have time to read what comes from "The Other Side."

It is public knowledge that since its historic defeat on 29 March, the
regime has unleashed a reign of terror against the nation for exercising its
sovereign right to reject it and vote in a new leadership through democratic

The state media, which you control, played a large part in promoting hate
language against the MDC and its candidates and entrenching national
polarisation. The sordid tales of State sponsored violence which included
rape, murder and plunder against the people of Zimbabwe cannot be complete
without contextualising the inflammatory role played by the public media.

You may say these institutions, which fall under your ministry, were doing
it to defend national sovereignty. But national sovereignty means our
sovereign as a nation right to determine our future. It includes our right
to reject a dictatorship as we did on 29 March; our sovereignty to reject
the Zanu PF politics of corruption and patronage.

Indeed, our sovereignty also means our sovereign right to vote out a tyrant
and his small band of bootlickers who think that the whole nation is
beholden to them and their whims.

To say a whole nation is pursuing a British or an American agenda is
downright stupid and insulting. It presupposes that the entire nation which
voted for change; from Kazungula to Tamandayi, from Msampakaruma to
Mandidzudzure, is under the spell of the British or the Americans.

It in fact represents the latent inferiority complex that has afflicted
yourself and your boss. How can you honestly suggest that Zimbabweans can
only vote out this dictatorship at the instigation of London and Washington?
In short, it implies that the black people of Zimbabwe can only do the right
thing, which is to change this government, at the instigation of some white
people in Leicester, Los Angeles or Berlin. How condescending!

For you, a civil servant who moonlights as a politician, history will judge
you harshly. In the run-up to the 27 June one-man stand-up comedy show, you
told State media editors not to grant us equal coverage despite clear
provisions of the Electoral Act and the SADC guidelines on the conduct of
free and fair elections. You personally told the ZBC editors not to flight
our campaign launch rally on Saturday, 22 February 2008 because, you said,
the MDC crowd was too large to be shown on ZTV. You personally stopped the
flighting of our advertisements in the run-up to the run-off poll even
though we had paid both The Herald and the ZBC and both institutions had
initially approved the same adverts.

It defies logic why you would continue to insult your own kinsmen in your
rural home in Buhera by continuing to take a position which would find no
takers in your own village. You must pass the village test first, George.

It is now common cause that on 29 March, in the only credible poll held this
year, the people of ward 4 in Buhera West, where you come from, voted for an
MDC councillor, an MDC MP and an MDC Senator. They also joined the rest of
the nation in overwhelmingly voting for Morgan Tsvangirai. Indeed, your
position of being a tyrant's megaphone is out of rhythm with the general
feeling in your own village.

How could a regime, which lost an election, force the winners to seek refuge
in the mountains? How can the majority be forced to retreat into caves and
begin to live like hunters and gatherers in this digital age while the
losers roam freely, abusing State resources to terrorise the winners?

The stubborn fact is that the MDC is now the ruling party and "the
opposition" is a tag that now refers to Zanu PF. The nation is in an
irreversible transition and you must smell the coffee, George.

Mugabe may have declared himself winner in an election in which he contested
against himself, but the truth is that the Presidential run-off poll is an
unfinished national business. Africa, and indeed the world, will not bless a
one-man stand-up comedy show as a credible election.

The reports by the SADC observer team, the African Union and the Pan African
Parliament are clear that Mugabe is not legitimate. Africa will have to
allow Zimbabweans to have a second bite of the cherry. Yes, George, it may
not be tomorrow but Zimbabweans will do it again in a free and fair

Now as Zanu PF engages the MDC in a delicate dialogue process, the state
media, which religiously responds to your beck-and-call, has worsened
matters by continuing to throw spanners into an important national process.

How does Zanu PF hope to sincerely engage the MDC and its President in a
fruitful dialogue process when the State media continues to lampoon the
other party in the dialogue process? How do the public media help in
confidence-building in the whole dialogue process when they continue to
malign and soil the image of the MDC and President Morgan Tsvangirai?

Why do you wail loudly that the MDC is snubbing dialogue when the State
media has not changed its attitude to reflect the new era of national

How do you cobble up an anti-Tsvangirai documentary when you want the same
man on the negotiating table?

The point, George, is that you will not be taken seriously by your own
viewers who will be wondering why Zanu PF suddenly wants to talk to such a
sellout? The same viewers will be wondering why the man making such truthful
accusations against Tsvangirai is hiding his face from the cameras as if he
does not have the conviction of his conscience.

Your viewers will get the eerie feeling that your source in this fascinating
documentary, who is not prepared to be seen by the nation as his makes his
grand revelation against Tsvangirai, is himself doubting the chastity of his
own mission in this botched hatchet job?

So long, George. But the last time some people abused their media privilege
to promote hate language, terror and murder, during those horrific times in
Rwanda, they were later made to account for their actions. I hope it will
not come to that.

I equally hope that you will be able to stare history in the face and say
you were right.

Yours sincerely,

Luke Tamborinyoka,

Director of Information and Publicity, Movement for Democratic Change

P.S. I notice that the public media published with great gusto my arrest,
with seven others, on public violence charges on false allegations that I
had burnt a bus during the stay-away of 15 April 2008. May I inform you that
we were acquitted of the same charges on Monday, 14 July 2008 and there was
silence of the grave in the state media. I hope your high office will
communicate our acquittal to The Herald and the ZBC in the interest of
ethical journalism.

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Gideon Gono is a hypocrite

By Garikai Agenda Chimuka⋅ July 16, 2008

The long winding Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)Governor Gideon Gono
interview in the Herald of 10 July 2008 exposed Gideon Gono as a man in
serious denial and an outright hypocrite who is trying to exonerate himself
from the scorched earth policies he has been part of together with the
military junta now illegally running or ruining the country.

Gono tries to hide behind his finger by distancing himself from the violence
that he has planned and executed in a self serving attempt to play saint
.However, no matter what, the people of Zimbabwe and history will never
absolve Gono for his naked complicity in destroying our beautiful country
just to save his political master at all costs

Speaking in forked tongues, Gono is quoted as having said that, “Of course I
don’t defend anyone who murders another person, tortures another person or
anyone who perpetrates violence on another person or property of another
person for whatever reason. Such people must be punished and dealt with
through the law……regardless of who the perpetrators of that murder, torture
and violence are” Any innocent person uninitiated about the Zimbabwean
crisis would clap hands and say, “Well said Governor!”

However, it’s something to say good things during the day and do exactly the
opposite during the night. This is rank hypocrisy and an attempt to play the
angel for a man who is a Devil re-incarnate for he is part of the so called
JOC that has been systematically and methodically planning, implementing and
financing the violence that has created untold suffering to the innocent
people of Zimbabwe.Gono is clearly aware that his master holds distinctions
not only in murder, torture and violence but also in genocide and ethnic
cleansing, serious crimes against humanity.

Gono is clearly aware that his colleagues in the so called JOC have been at
the forefront of murder, torture, rape and violence from the time of the
armed struggle, the Gukurahundi in the 1980s, Operation Murambatsvina and
the post March 2008 Gukurahundi 2 currently underway in Zimbabwe. If he is
well meaning, he must simply resign from the gravy train so that perhaps
posterity maybe a little harsh when eventually the people of Zimbabwe
reclaim their country from the murderous regime currently foisting itself on
the people without their mandate

Gono must also avoid being overzealous. In the interview, he attacks British
Prime Minister Brown and President Bush of America claiming that they don’t
understand banking and economics. Gono, being handpicked to a central bank
Governor does not make you an economist. Everyone knows that Mr Gono holds a
CIS qualification and an MBA from the University of Zimbabwe and finally an
honorary gratuitous Doctorate which he awarded himself when he was Chairman
of the UZ Council .

This does not make Mr Gono an economist by whatever definition thus its
spurious for Mr Gono to try and pretend to be what he is not. There is a
world of difference between Economics and Gonomics.It is the Gonomics he has
been experimenting with for the past 5 years that has reduced the Zimbabwean
economy to its sorry state with the dubious record of being the worst
performing economy outside of a war zone in history. For someone with such a
record to then try to boast that he is an economist is a serious provocation
to those who sweated to get the legitimate honors and earn the title,

Gono continues with the blame game of his masters by claiming that the
record collapse of the Zimbabwean economy is due to non-existent
sanctions.Infact to expose his sheer self serving bias, Mr Gono was widely
quoted in 2006 after presenting a guest lecture at Midlands State University
when he said that corruption is at the root of the Zimbabwean crisis.

What has changed Mr Gono from the legendary lecture you gave and went on to
even observe that there are no “ sanctions in Marange” So what has happened
to the opaque hard looting of diamonds in Marange which could have been used
to the benefit of the ailing economy? The people of Zimbabwe are not blind
Mr Gono.They know that under the cover of darkness, you have also joined the
hard looting of diamonds in Marange thus you find it easy to blame
non-existent sanctions since you can no longer lift your now dirty fingers
and point at corruption.

Mr Gono has illusions that he has a public mandate when he says that, “I
stand ready to do what I believe and know is right given the public mandate
entrusted in me” Does Mr Gono really know what a public mandate is. Who gave
him that public mandate? Is it not that he was just handpicked? Was there
any interview held for him to be Governor? So how can he claim a public
mandate? Mr Mugabe is not the public Mr Gono.

The only people who are qualified to talk of public mandate are the
courageous councilors, Members of Parliament, Senators and President
Tsvangirai who were elected in a free and fair atmosphere on March 29,
2008.Any other person, including those that claim any mandate from the
circus of June 27, have clearly lost any legitimacy to even utter the word,

Beating his own drums on the still born so called people’s shops which are
clearly ZANU PF looting shops en route to the black market, Mr Gono hails
the so called shops saying, “The programme is going on very well and we have
no doubt on the sustainability of the programme since its based on good
economic sense” Even a grade 7 pupil from Kitsiyatota Primary school will
break ribs in laughter to such rank madness.

How can Gono claim that the one off stocks which were just a campaign
gimmick have been a success when the shops have already folded? Who bought
the little goods from the pathetic shops? If these are the kinds of
programmes which our learned “economist” say are a success, then the earlier
Mr Gono resigns, the better for his own conscience and for the country

To show that he has been involved in the senseless violence gripping the
country and has no remorse whatsoever, Mr Gono is quoted as saying that “The
disputed presidential elections has not triggered any unrest in the country
beyond press statements from aggrieved parties” On which planet are you
living Mr Gono?So the over 130 murders, 5000 missing MDC supporters and over
200 000 displaced villagers living in mountains not forgetting thousands of
innocent woman who are being gang raped under your watch and infected with
HIV/AIDS at militia bases you are sponsoring is just normal. So all these
horrific things happening are mere ‘press statements from aggrieved
 parties.” Wake up and smell the coffee, Mr Gono

Gono also has the audacity to blame drought for the poor harvest. So what
happened to the much hyped irrigation rehabilitation programme where
zillions of tax payers’ funds were looted under the guise of rehabilitating
irrigation infrastructure? What happened to the so called “grandmother of
all farming seasons” Its better Mr Gono to accept failure in life, it’s
actually a virtue because it enables you to learn in future but the moment
you continue with the proverbial ostrich mentality of burying your head in
the sand, the worse for the future of our country

Finally, Mr Gono, the people of the world do not hate you but they love
Zimbabwe more .You are still a young man and you can do yourself favor to
liberate your evidently troubled conscience and cleansing your chest by
doing the obvious, resigning. Everyone appreciates that you don’t have the
institutional memory of violence which your colleagues inherited in the bush
and at times their excesses become too much for you to bear. Just get out of
the circus before it is too late!!

Garikai Agenda Chimuka writes from the Netherlands

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Journey home ends in fear and anger


    July 16 2008 at 02:31PM

By Kate Douglas

Martin Mudze* fled Zimbabwe in 2001 after Zanu-PF members chased him
from his house in Chipinge in the eastern highlands, close to the Mozambican

Mudze says that as a supporter of the opposition MDC he had been
beaten by Zanu-PF members.

"There was also no food for my family and I decided I had to find work
in South Africa," he told the Cape Argus in an interview on Tuesday.

Mudze entered SA by illegally swimming across the Limpopo River and
filed for asylum with the Department of Home Affairs in Cape Town.

In 2004 he was granted asylum for a period of two months provided that
he did not leave the country during this time.

  Since then he has had to reapply every two months, often having to
appeal decisions that rejected his application. In June, for the first time,
he was granted asylum for a period of six months.

"I think the South African government is starting to realise how bad
it is in Zimbabwe after these last elections," said Mudze.

However, once a year Mudze returns to Zimbabwe, in violation of his
asylum grant.

"My family is hungry and there is no food in the shops for them," he

On June 4, Mudze returned to Zimbabwe for three weeks and with the
money he had saved from working as a gardener in Cape Town, he hired a truck
and drove to Mozambique to buy food for his family. He bought a large
quantity of maize to take home.

However, while returning home he was stopped by Zanu-PF members at a
roadblock in Zimbabwe and had all his maize confiscated.

"They told me that I must give them the maize because there was no-one
hungry in Zimbabwe," said Mudze.

Mudze said he was not the only person to have food taken because he
saw that they already had a truck full of confiscated food.

"I can't explain how angry I was," he said shaking his head.

The following night Mudze was visited by the Zanu-PF Youth League who
forced him to come to their base every night where he was made to sing songs
supporting Zanu-PF.

"If you didn't go to their base they would come and burn your house
down." he explained.

Mudze believes that he and his family are particularly vulnerable to
Zanu-PF harassment because Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National
Constitutional Assembly and a known Mugabe critic, lives in the area.
Madhuku's house was recently burned down.

"I miss Zimbabwe and my family," said Mudze, "but I cannot live there

Since 2000 a total of 66 587 Zimbabweans have applied for asylum and
only 710 have been granted full refugee status by the South African

* Not his real name

This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Argus on July
16, 2008

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Come in Zimbabwe, are you there?

Posted at 1:03 PM on July 16, 2008 by Sanden Totten
Zimbabwe has been having a lot of problems lately. A sketchy election,
violence and astronomical inflation. Along with all that, it has become pert
near impossible to get a call through to the country.

I've been trying to get someone in Zimbabwe on the line for our show and I
keep running into a wall of busy signals! I've dialed the country so many
times I feel like a telemarketer desperately trying to make quota. The few
times I have gotten through the conversation hasn't lasted long before the
connection goes dead.

So far this is what I've learned: the phones are failing for two reasons.
First, the infrastructure is shoddy and the government has no money to fix
it. When things are mended, they often fall back into disrepair in a matter
of hours!

Second, the government is clogging the whole system with their new "Chinese
equipment" (that's how one former Zimbabwean described it to me). Mugabe's
men have been blocking shortwave radio coming into the country (you know, as
part of their whole, preventing free access to news and information thing).
The "Chinese equipment" they bought to do it has gummed up cell phone
reception across the country.

To top it all off, the Zanu-PF folks have given themselves free rein to
check in on people's phone calls, e-mails . . . whatever they want. So when
people can use the phones, they have to avoid saying anything that might
draw the wrath of their government.

Just when Zimbabwe could use a life line the most, the call gets dropped.

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Blind on Zimbabwe

July 16, 2008

U.N. inaction morally indefensible

In refusing to impose even modest sanctions on the regime of Zimbabwe's
Robert Mugabe, the United Nations Security Council again has demonstrated it
is unwilling or unable to match the lofty rhetoric of its founding with
action in the modern world.

The U.S. plan called for an international travel ban and freezing of the
assets of the dictator and other top officials, and the appointment of a
U.N. special envoy for Zimbabwe. Opponents of the plan - vetoed last week by
Russia and China - argued sanctions would constitute unwarranted
interference in a nation that poses no threat to international order.

Really? The same could have been said of Yugoslavia or Rwanda in the 1990s,
or of Sudan today. Such objections do not satisfy the moral imperative to
take a stand in the face of serious, repeated, widespread violations of
human rights.

As prime minister, Mr. Mugabe oversaw the execution of thousands of
supporters of the rival Zimbabwe African People's Union. As president, he
has expropriated the holdings of white farmers, ruined the nation's economy,
intervened in Congo's civil war and, in the recent national elections, waged
a systematic campaign of terror that prompted his opponent to withdraw.

Zimbabwe today fulfils the nightmarish scenario laid out in Joseph Conrad's
"Heart of Darkness," only with a black nationalist leader rivaling the worst
excesses of European colonialism. The Security Council's refusal to take
even modest steps against Mugabe-style oppression illustrates how far the
U.N. has strayed from its founding ideals.

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comment from correspondent

I am delighted to read your articles on the situation in Zimbabwe but now is
crunch time for all concerned. While keeping us informed and we all know how
gloomy things are back home ,it seems certain parties are only involved in
trying to sort out the issues back home .
I would like to know how many of the Diaspora would like change in the
country because it seems a lot of them are coming overseas and praising the
present regime. How can there be change when so many are not for this
change. We must examine all these issues or else we will fall into the same
quagmire as we are in now. Should these sellouts return home they can
rightly say 'Well we did not support Mugabe' once he is out .There is always
a big picture and I strongly believe that if we are to move forward please
let us all try to stand united and not in separate camps as is the case at
the present time.

Re: comment from correspondent

I suppose you are right, but I think a lot of trash talking has been
going on without anything tangible. Since we are scattered in the
Diapora, we can only communicate through email and we should have a
network that gets information first hand.Now I do not know how other
people are feeling right now but I am sick of this progress. It is
very clear what mbeki is up to. This has happened before and MDC
still cannot get it. Now they are being lured to sign a memorundum
and I tell you they are going to do it. It appears now they trying to
allocate positions for themselves and not considering what the
ordinary Zimbabweans want and what they voted for.Mugabe was defeated
in March and everyone could see that in plain view.The votes were
kept for a month and I still hear this rethoric that Tsvangirai did
not get enough votes to avoid a runoff.This is BS.The killings are
being ignored and the whole situation facing the Zimbabwean citizen
is being ignored and someone comes out tosay mbeki is making
progress. Can you not see that he is ignoring the peoples interests
and trying to see to it that Mugabe stays in power.Wake UP mheni!!Why
do we have to accommodate Mugabe all the time yet you know he is
defeated old bull.Just remove him forcefully, simple as thatbut this
is crazy world, do not think these bodies will ever help us at
all.They are calling for something that they know is not possible - a
government of national unity -- what a shame.What a shame to Africa!!
Do you not see that Western countries are the ones trying to help the
poor Zimbabwean and African countries are pushing for something that
is complicated to achieve just to keep Mugabe.So finally I think we
are going nowhere with mbeki, just watch and you know it. Also what
we should do in the Diaspora is to press the US, UK, Australia and
other willing countries to shut the Zimbabwe Embassies and send these
guys home who are enjoying good living through the illegitimate
mugabe government, but for now forget any progress from mbeki, it is
a sheer waste of time and energy.

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