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MDC awaits outcome of AU chief-Mbeki meeting

Zim Online

by Jameson Mombe Friday 18 July 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition said on Thursday it would decide whether to
sign an agreement for talks with the government after seeing the outcome of
today's meeting between South African President Thabo Mbeki and African
Union (AU) Commission chairman Jean Ping.

Mbeki is the Southern African Development Community (SADC)'s chief mediator
on Zimbabwe. But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
has accused the South African leader of bias in favour of President Robert

The MDC refused on Wednesday to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on
future talks with Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party, demanding that the
Zimbabwean leader acts to end political violence against the opposition
party's supporters and that the AU appoints an envoy to work with Mbeki.

An MDC spokesman Nqobizita Mlilo told the media: "We want to see the outcome
of the meeting between Mr Ping and President Mbeki tomorrow and then we will
take it from there."

The opposition party defeated ZANU PF in March parliamentary elections while
its leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a parallel presidential
ballot although he failed to secure the margin required to takeover power.

"We won't have people putting it on our heads that we have to sign an
agreement when our demands have not been met," Mlilo said.

Part of the MDC's demands is that Tsvangirai's victory in the first round
presidential election on March 29 be recognised, a demand unlikely to be
accepted by Mugabe who insists he is the legitimate leader after winning a
second round of voting on June 27.

Mugabe was sole candidate in the June ballot after Tsvangirai pulled out
saying a free and fair vote was impossible after at least 113 MDC supporters
were killed and about 200 000 others displaced in political violence during
the run-up to the poll.

Several African observers including those from the AU condemned the run-off
election as undemocratic, while Western nations and 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
Harare. Instead, an AU summit in Egypt last month to urged Mugabe to open
negotiations with the opposition for a government of national unity that
many on the continent say is the best way to resolve Zimbabwe's political
and economic crisis.

Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, is in the grip of a severe political
and economic crisis which critics blame on repression and wrong polices by
Mugabe such as his haphazard fast-track land reform exercise that displaced
established white commercial farmers and replaced them with either
incompetent or inadequately funded black farmers.

The economic crisis that the World Bank has described as the worst in the
world outside a war zone is seen in the world's highest inflation rate of
more than two million, severe shortages of food and every basic survival
commodity. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe-linked firms targeted in fresh EU sanctions

Zim Online

by Own Correspondent Friday 18 July 2008

JOHANNESBURG - The European Union (EU) will on Tuesday impose tougher
sanctions on Zimbabwe that will for the first time also target companies
deemed to be propping up President Robert Mugabe, EU diplomats said on

One diplomat said, "There is an agreement in principle on reinforcing
the sanctions. Ministers will approve it soon. The aim is to avoid anything
which would harm the population."

Another diplomat added that the measures would include for the first
time freezing the assets and banning the activities in Europe of companies
with links to Mugabe's leadership, adding that EU foreign ministers would
rubber-stamp the moves next Tuesday.

The EU has refused to recognise Mugabe's re-election in a June 27
presidential run-off vote that was boycotted by opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai who said a
state-orchestrated campaign of violence and terror against his supporters
made it impossible to hold a free and fair election.

Mugabe went on to score a landslide victory in the single-candidate
election that received worldwide condemnation even from observers from the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union.

The EU as well as the United States (US), Switzerland, Australia and
New Zealand have since 2002 maintained visa and financial sanctions on more
than 130 top officials of Mugabe's government as well as an arms embargo
against Zimbabwe.

The idea now, one diplomat said, would be to add "around 40 people" to
that list, some "from the security apparatus" of the regime identified as
being involved in the political violence and businesspersons helping prop it

As many as five companies could also be caught in the net, the
diplomats said.

Washington and close ally Britain suffered a diplomatic setback last
week when Russia and China vetoed a resolution to impose financial and
travel restrictions on Mugabe and 13 of his top officials as punishment for
committing political violence and their decision to go ahead with the June
election despite international calls not to do so.

The resolution that was also opposed by South Africa, Libya and
Vietnam sought to impose an UN-backed arms embargo on Zimbabwe.

Following the Security Council setback, Britain said it was going to
ask the EU to impose tougher sanctions while US President George Bush said
on Wednesday that Washington was considering more bilateral sanctions
against Mugabe's administration.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown said earlier this week
that Britain would also consider approaching the Security Council once more
if there was no progress in talks between Mugabe's government and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party that are being
mediated by neighbouring South Africa.

The talks are meant to reach a negotiated settlement that could pave
way for the formation of a government of national unity seen by many as the
best way to resolve Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis.

However uncertainty surrounds the future of the talks after the MDC
refused this week to sign a memorandum of understanding on future engagement
with Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party.

The MDC says it will decide whether to sign the agreement after seeing
the outcome of today's meeting between talks mediator, South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki and African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping. The
MDC accuses Mbeki of favouring Mugabe and wants Ping to appoint an envoy to
work with the South African leader - ZimOnline

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White farmers want Zimbabwe govt held in contempt

Yahoo News

By RODRICK MUKUMBIRA, Associated Press Writer 16 minutes ago

WINDHOEK, Namibia - White farmers asked a regional court Thursday to hold
the Zimbabwean government in contempt, saying government supporters were
beating and harassing plaintiffs in a suit challenging Zimbabwe's farm

Lawyers for Zimbabwe's government walked out of the hearing in response to
the contempt request.

The lawsuit filed with the Southern African Development Community's tribunal
by 78 white farmers asks that Zimbabwe's farm eviction laws be overturned.
The chaotic and often violent land reform program launched in 2000 forced
many white commercial farmers from prime farming land.

Critics say the program helped turn the country from a regional breadbasket
into a begging bowl. But the government says it was meant to benefit the
country's black majority.

The 10-person tribunal, based in Namibia, opened hearings in the case
Wednesday. It had ordered Zimbabwe in December not to expropriate farms
belonging to the applicants pending the outcome.

But farmers' lawyer Jeremy Gauntlett argued Thursday the order was broken
when ruling party militants attacked three of the farmers who filed the

He asked the court to refer the issue of contempt of court to a regional
summit in August in South Africa.

The court did not immediately rule on the contempt request or set a date for
a ruling on the larger issues in the case. The tribunal hears legal appeals
from citizens of the regional bloc's 14 members nations.

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Tsvangirai right not to sign MOU-Annan

By Staff ⋅ © ⋅ July 17, 2008 ⋅
Former UN Secretary general Kofi Annan has implied that Morgan Tsvangirai
was right not to sign the memorandum of understanding yesterday in Harare.

“Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai must be able to enter into a dialogue
on an equal footing, as two leaders,” the former UN Secretary-General said
during a speech last night at the University of South Africa, in Pretoria.
‘Progress can only be made when the conditions are right’, Annan told the

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World Parliamentarians Condemn Zimbabwe for Harassment of Legislators


By Lisa Schlein
17 July 2008

The Inter-Parliamentary Union condemns the imprisonment of several members
of Parliament in Zimbabwe who, it says, have suffered violence and
harassment and seen their basic rights violated. The cases of these
legislators are among hundreds examined by the IPUs Human Rights Committee,
which has just wrapped up a week-long session in Geneva from where Lisa
Schlein reports for VOA.

The IPU says another member of parliament, Oscar Lizcano is still being held
by the FARC. And, hundreds of other legislators around the world also have
been imprisoned, disappeared or threatened.

The IPU Human Rights Committee has spent a week reviewing the files of 282
imperiled legislators in 32 countries. It says the situation of
parliamentarians in Zimbabwe is among the most disturbing.

IPU is an organization aimed at fostering cooperation among the parliaments
of its 150 member countries.

Canadian Senator, Sharon Carstairs is President of the Committee. She
highlights the cases of two parliamentarians who she fears may be in
particular danger from the government of President Robert Mugabe.

One is that of Tendai Biti who belongs to the Movement for Democratic
Change. She says he was badly beaten in 2007 and has again been taken into

"As far as we know, he is being held without any contact whatsoever. The
other upon whom we have lost contact is Nelson Chamisa. Both of these were the most recent elections in Zimbabwe. We know that both of
them have been ill treated in the past. We know that the IPU has led the
denunciation of both the recent presidential election and the most recent
swearing in of the president, which we believe took place under totally
illegal situations," she said.

The opposition MDC won a majority of seats in parliament in the March
election. So far, President Mugabe has not called parliament into session.
And his Zanu PF party is questioning a number of election results.

Carstairs says she is afraid that Zanu PF will fiddle with the results and
Mugabe's Party will eventually end up with a majority of seats in

She says it is critically important that countries keep up the pressure on
Zimbabwe. It is particularly important, she says, that Zimbabwe's African
neighbors condemn Mugabe's actions. "It has always been our hope that South
Africa would be more aggressive in its condemnation of the activities in
Zimbabwe. But, as you know, that has not been the case. Mr. Mbeke has not
chosen to play that role. He has chosen to play a role which he believes is
more conciliatory," she said.

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ZANU-PF clueless on Economy-Makoni

By Robert Tshuma-Financial Editor ⋅ © ⋅ July 17, 2008

Simba Makoni, the former finance and econmic development minister has said
the current economic and political crises facing the country are due to the
failure of the ZANU-PF government leadership and said the ZANU PF has no
clue how to fix the economy.

Speaking to VOA’s stuio 7 Makoni said Zimbabwe has the capacity to be the
breadbasket not only to the Southern African region, but also to the entire
African continent and beyond. He added that the failure of leadership has
obliterated the country’s agricultural sector.
Makoni’s comments came after President Robert Mugabe unveiled a plan to give
“cheap food hampers” which the government claimed would be affordable to
poor households around the country.

“Firstly, that has been his (Mugabe’s) point for a long time that he views
the northwestern hemisphere are in for a regime change. I remain clear that
the problem confronting our country and the people primarily arise from
failure of leadership at the highest level in this country,” Makoni said.

He said the government’s new plan to provide cheap food for the poor would
not solve Zimbabwe’s problems.

“No, it will not help anything. Firstly, these goodies are all imported.
This country has the capacity to produce enough for itself and surplus. This
country does not need to be importing bars of soap and bottles of cooking
oil and baked beans. It is not the solution, it is for the only connected
who are in the patronage system,” he said.

Makoni said the ongoing economic crisis could force the country’s economy to
collapse after some economists said demand for food and basic amenities far
outweigh what the government can afford to provide.

“Yeah! I agree. Quite clearly what they have been able to import is a drop
in the ocean compared to the national demand. And that is why I’m saying
that the policy seems to appease those who are connected to the patronage
system. The large majority of ordinary Zimbabweans will not access any of
this so-called goodies,” Makoni pointed out.

He said Robert Mugabe knows that the only way out of the current economic
and political crisis facing the country is a complete change in Zimbabwe’s

“The solution to our problems is quite well known by all Zimbabweans,
including Robert Mugabe. It is that we need a change in leadership; we need
a change in policies; we need a commitment to working for the people rather
than working for self, and self-enrichment. We need to capacitate our own
institutions, industrial, agricultural, services institutions, which a short
five seven years ago were delivering not only full capacity, but also
world-class quality. That’s what will solve our problems,” he noted.

Additional reporting from VOA’s Studio 7

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Zim: Pressure mounts on Mbeki


    July 17 2008 at 07:21PM

Fiona Forde and Hans Pienaar

Pressure is mounting on Thabo Mbeki to negotiate a speedy settlement
in Zimbabwe with Kofi Annan calling on him to accept the Zanu-PF chief and
his MDC counterpart as equals, while church leaders from southern African
call for immediate sanctions.

"Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai must be able to enter into a
dialogue on an equal footing, as two leaders," the former UN
Secretary-General said during a speech last night at the University of South
Africa (Unisa), in Pretoria, where he was conferred with an honorary
doctorate in Literature and Philosophy. Progress can only be made when the
conditions are right, Annan told the gathering.

He said he was speaking on behalf of the Elders, the group that
comprises Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter, in calling "for a
speedy and robust mediation to resolve the political crisis" to put an end
to "this crisis of governance, for human lives and livelihoods are at

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SA Workers urged to boycott Zimbabwe bound goods

Thursday, 17 July 2008 14:59
Workers urged to boycott Zimbabwe bound goods

16 July 2008

Workers from around the world have been urged to refuse to handle
destined for Zimbabwe, as part of a policy of solidarity put forward
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
the people of both Zimbabwe and Swaziland in their struggle for
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
engagement to institutionalise solidarity as a permanent feature of
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
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
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
Zimbabwe".Craven said the federation would rather see a "grassroots
movement of
solidarity" and in this regard, it has called on workers in the region
world wide to refuse to handle goods destined for Zimbabwe, for an
period of one week. Craven said this week of action is merely an
attempt to
"accelerate progress towards democratic change" and added that COSATU
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
other regional trade unions already follow a policy "to refuse to
assist the
leaders of Zimbabwe's illegitimate government" to continue putting
on the Robert Mugabe regime. He said workers in South Africa, SADC,
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
Mugabe and his "government" is not served at airports, restaurants,
shops.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
programme and to organise rallies during July.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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SOUTH AFRICA: Police storm refugee camp

Photo: Guy Oliver/IRIN
Uneasy calm
JOHANNESBURG , 17 July 2008 (IRIN) - Police stormed a refugee camp today in southern Johannesburg to release four security guards held hostage by foreign nationals displaced by the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa.

The tented "safety camp" in Johannesburg's Glenanda suburb houses about 2,000 people from 16 African countries and was established in the wake of widespread xenophobic attacks that killed more than 60 people, injured hundreds more and displaced tens of thousands in May this year.

The residents have voluntarily divided the camp into sections according to nationality; people from the Democratic Republic of Congo, numbering about 700 people, are the dominant group.

Police spokesman Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini told IRIN that at about 9 a.m. on 17 July, police entered the camp to rescue four guards working for a private security company, contracted by local government to provide security, and fired rubber bullets in response to stones being thrown at them. Three women and seven men were arrested for public violence.

Thabo Masebe, spokesman for Gauteng local government, told IRIN that tensions rose on 16 July after "a group of people refused to be registered on a Home Affairs data base".

On the following day, those refusing registration "disrupted the process" and then took four security guards hostage. The guards were subsequently released by the police action, Masebe said, and the camp was sealed off by police.

The Home Affairs department has begun issuing victims of xenophobic violence with special identity documents, regardless of their status, to lessen their vulnerability as foreign nationals. The identity documents are valid for six months.

Camp residents told IRIN through the two-metre high chain-link perimeter fence that they believed the registration process was part of a strategy to forcibly reintegrate them back into South African society.

''If you leave here, it will be your last day, we will kill you''
Hussein Niyibigira, who fled Burundi in 1994, said South African nationals walking past the camp, which is close to a busy intersection, constantly taunted them, saying such things as: "If you leave here, it will be your last day, we will kill you."

Richard Assante, who arrived illegally in South Africa from Ghana in 2006, said he had received a special identity document but was afraid to return to the camp as "people want to kill me because I got a card [identity document]."

He said most people in the camp were hoping to be resettled in either Canada or Australia, so they were rejecting both reintegration in South Africa and repatriation to their country of origin.

The shelters established for victims of xenophobia have a two-month timeframe, and if foreign nationals refuse either reintegration into South African society or repatriation to their home countries, "we could have a dilemma" Masebe said. "We cannot force people to go back to their home countries and we cannot establish permanent shelters for foreign nationals."

Masebe said resettlement of the foreign nationals in the camps to a third country was not within the South African government's ambit.

Deeper causes for the violence

South African President Thabo Mbeki told a rally in Pretoria on 3 July, held to commemorate those who died in the xenophobic violence: "I heard it said insistently that my people have turned, or become xenophobic ... I wondered what the accusers knew about my people which I did not know.

"And this I must also say, none in our society has any right to encourage or incite xenophobia by trying to explain naked criminal activity by cloaking it in the garb of xenophobia."

The Centre for Development and Enterprise, a South African policy think-tank, on 17 July called for a commission of inquiry into the xenophobic violence to answer numerous questions, such as the impact of corruption, the effects of the crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe, the role of the media, and the government response to the attacks.

"The May violence was almost certainly much more complicated that it initially seemed," the statement said. "Causes of the violence run deeper than an alleged extraordinary South African hatred of foreigners."


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

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NGOs Move to Sideline Tsvangirai

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Morgan Tsvangirai insists he must head any transitional administration, but
opposition-aligned pressure groups say they want a more neutral figure.

By Jabu Shoko in Harare (ZCR No. 155, 17-Jul-08)

The announcement by several influential non-government groups in Zimbabwe
that they wanted a transitional administration headed by a neutral figure
has dealt a severe blow to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been
seeking support to take on the job himself.

In a surprise move, a group of civil society organisations said on July 15
they would reject a transitional government led by either Tsvangirai or
President Robert Mugabe. They included the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions - which gave birth to Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change,
MDC, in 1999, the Zimbabwe National Students' Union, Women of Zimbabwe
Arise, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and Christian groups.

As preliminary discussions take place in Pretoria to lay the groundwork for
talks on a power-sharing arrangement, the MDC has made it a precondition
that Tsvangirai should head any "government of national unity".

South African president Thabo Mbeki, appointed by the Southern African
Development Community, SADC, as negotiator in the Zimbabwe crisis, is
thought to be putting the final touches to a negotiated settlement between
ZANU-PF and the MDC. Those privy to the Pretoria talks say the deal would
see the establishment of a presidency with scaled-down powers and an
executive prime minister, and both factions of the MDC, of which Tsvangirai's
is the larger, would be awarded senior posts.

Following consultative meeting on July 15, Lovemore Madhuku said the
non-government organisations, NGOs, had agreed that a transitional
government would provide an appropriate vehicle for ushering in democratic
reform, but that "such an arrangement must not be headed by a person from
ZANU-PF or the MDC".

"We want a neutral person," said Madhuku, who heads the National
Constitutional Assembly, an influential body that presses for constitutional

The NGOs, he said, envisaged a transitional authority with a specific,
limited mandate to oversee the drafting of a new democratic constitution and
the installation of a legitimate government, leading to a fair presidential

"We wholeheartedly reject the suggestion of a power-sharing agreement that
fails to immediately address the inadequacy of the current constitutional
regime," he added.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first round of the presidential election on
March 29, although election officials said he failed to win the required
absolute majority. He boycotted the June 27 run-off vote, citing violence
against his supporters.

His demand to take charge of a caretaker government has been backed by the
European Union. the United States. Britain and several members of the
African Union and Southern African Development Community, SADC.

Outraged MDC officials said the civil society groups' plan to ditch
Tsvangirai, their ally of the past eight years, was tantamount to stabbing
him in the back.

"The problem with civic society is that they are not being realistic," said
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa. "Tsvangirai won the presidential elections,
based on the [March 29 poll] results. For all intents and purposes, he
should lead any transitional arrangement or whatever government you choose
to call it.

"Why would they need a neutral person, who was not voted for by the people,
to be in charge, when facts are that the people of Zimbabwe made a choice on
March 29 in a legitimate election?"

Useni Sibanda, coordinator of the Christian Alliance, a coalition of church
groups, accepted that the NGOs' announcement might be interpreted as meaning
Tsvangirai's allies had ditched him.

"Mugabe might use it for propaganda purposes to mean that Tsvangirai has
been abandoned by his allies," he explained.

At the same time, he said, "Tsvangirai must understand it's time to put
national interests first before personal interests".

Eldred Masunungure, a politics lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, said
the opposition leader should come to terms with his allies' decision.

"Tsvangirai might see it as a political blow that his allies want him out of
the transitional arrangement so that he concentrates on solving the
political crisis.. I think he must not feel ditched. It will give him time
to re-strategise," he said.

Masunungure noted that given the degree of political polarisation in
Zimbabwe, it would be very difficult to identify a neutral figure.

According to Madhuku, Zimbabwean NGOs believe a transitional government
should represent a wider segment of the population than just the political

"Individuals from a broad sector of Zimbabwean society should be
incorporated into the transitional government. This should include
representatives from labour organisations, women's and children's rights
groups, churches and various interests groups," he said.

He insisted that the NGOs' support for a power-sharing deal was conditional
on an end to political violence, the restoration of law and order, and the
resumption of humanitarian relief operations.

Jabu Shoko is the pseudonym of a reporter in Harare.

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CSO's Call for a Transitional Authority

Fahamu (Oxford)

17 July 2008
Posted to the web 17 July 2008

We, civil society organizations acting on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe,
today reassert our commitment to the struggle for a transition to democracy.
In doing so, we stand firmly by the principles of democratic
constitutionalism that are embodied in the People's Charter and which
represent the birthright of every Zimbabwean.

Given the present environment of fear and oppression, we declare that
democratic reform must be preceded by the cessation of violence, restoration
of law and order, and facilitation of humanitarian relief. If such
conditions are met, we are prepared to support the installation of a
transitional government created after consultation with all stakeholders.

We believe that a transitional government would provide an appropriate
vehicle for ushering democratic reform. The transitional authority would
have a specific, limited mandate to oversee the drafting of a new,
democratic and people-driven constitution and the installation of a
legitimate government. We wholeheartedly reject the suggestion of a
power-sharing agreement that fails to immediately address the inadequacy of
the current constitutional regime.

The transitional government must be established in line with the following:

1. Leadership by a neutral body. The transitional government should be
headed by an individual who is not a member of ZANU-PF or MDC.

2. Broad representation. Individuals from a broad sector of Zimbabwean
society should be incorporated into the transitional government. This should
include representatives from labor organizations, women's and children's
rights groups, churches, and various other interest groups.

3. Specific, limited mandate. The transitional government should be tasked
with facilitating the drafting and adoption of a new constitution and then
holding elections under the new constitutional framework. It should only
govern the country until such time as the government elected under the new
constitution is installed. The negotiating parties should provide a very
clear timeframe for this process, with no more than 18 months of rule by the
transitional government.

4. People-driven constitutional development. The process of drafting a new
constitution must include broad-based consultation with the public. Interest
groups such as women, labor, churches, and media should be given special
opportunities to provide input. The draft constitution should not be enacted
until it has been ratified by the public in a national referendum.

5. Restoration of good governance. State institutions such as the judiciary,
police, security services, and state welfare agencies should be
depoliticized and reformed. Steps should be taken to fight corruption and
promote accountability for public officials. Restrictions on press freedom
should be lifted and access to state media outlets should be opened.

6. Transitional justice initiatives. The transitional government should
design and implement a system to bring to justice the perpetrators of gross
human rights violations. This framework for transitional justice should be
embedded in the new constitution. In the event of the above conditions not
being met, civil society commits itself to continue in actions that increase
pressure on whosoever will be holding state power to embrace people-centered
democratic process.

*This press statement was issued by civil society following the national
civil society consultative meeting.

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Time for Dictators to Be Very Afraid

The Weekly Observer (Kampala)

16 July 2008
Posted to the web 17 July 2008

The once thick blanket of immunity for dictators and leaders who commit or
abet crimes against humanity and genocide is beginning to become threadbare.

The guilty must now be afraid and panicky.

The International Criminal Court prosecutor has asked for the arrest of
President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan for crimes against humanity and genocide
targeting the mainly black population of Darfur region.

About 300,000 have been killed by the Janjaweed militia that is allied to
Bashir's government. Women and girls have been raped and some 2 million
people rendered homeless.

As this goes on for about five years now, Khartoum is in denial, resisting
the United Nations entry and restricting humanitarian activities, as well as
media. Why has this been necessary if there is nothing to hide in Darfur?

While it is difficult to enforce the arrest of a sitting president, Bashir's
indictment is symbolically important as it sends a strong warning to
dictators who preside over atrocities against their own citizens, or even
fail to stop such when it is in their power to do so, that being head of
state will not offer them enough protection.

There are strong arguments about the impact this will have on the already
suffering people of Darfur and the general political situation in Sudan. But
this amounts to blackmail and holding the international community hostage.
It's similar to the Zimbabwean government pleading that sanctions that will
cause civil war in the country in a bid to fend off a blockade!

Closer to home, Lord's Resistance Army leader, Joseph Kony, is now a
fugitive thanks to the ICC's arrest warrant for him and his senior

Other war lords such as Jean Pierre Bemba of the DR Congo and Charles Taylor
of Liberia are also facing ICC charges at The Hague.

The message is very clear: Crimes against humanity are risky business
regardless of who you are, where you are. The only lingering problem is
selfish international interest that often rears its ugly head through double
standards and unprincipled positions.

Take Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, who in the 1980s supervised the slaughter of
his own people in Matebeleland because they were opposed to his rule.
Because he was still a darling of the West, he got away with it! Or the
absurd positions taken by China and Russia on Zimbabwe in the UN Security
Council last week; were these powers acting in the interest of the
Zimbabwean people, or in their own interest?

For international justice to be just, it must apply to all evenly, without
fear or favour.

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Mugabe Touched Africa's Weakest Point

The Weekly Observer (Kampala)

16 July 2008
Posted to the web 17 July 2008

Vincent Kiwanuka Kalimire

Before his flight to Egypt for the AU Summit, Zimbabwe President Robert
Gabriel Mugabe told journalists that he was prepared for any challenge to
his election and would tell whoever criticised him that they had no moral
authority to condemn his administration, since most of them had done worse

His response sounded like the Biblical story where the teachers of the Law
and the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman they caught committing adultery.
Ostensibly, they were seeking Jesus' opinion on what to do with her since
the old Law of Moses provided that such a person should be stoned to death.

Jesus represented a new covenant between God and His people. Looking at the
group which had arrested her, he told them that anyone without sin should be
the first person to cast the stone at the adulterous woman. Embarrassed,
they all vanished and the woman was left with no accuser.

Obviously, the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees were not without sin
and Jesus knew it. Probably, some of them were more evil than the poor woman
who, perhaps could have succumbed to temptation for the first time.

At the AU Summit, Mugabe presented himself as the Biblical adulterous woman
amongst the more sinful teachers of the Law and Pharisees.

It is not surprising therefore that the Summit declined to condemn President
Mugabe and instead passed a redundant resolution calling on both sides to
talk and establish a government of national unity.

This is a dangerous trend that is slowly but steadily frustrating Africa's
democratisation process.

The incumbents rig elections well knowing that nothing would be done against
them other than being advised to share power.

That is why I disagree with a number of commentators on Africa who think
that Africa is on a steady path to meaningful democratisation.

It is true that the number of coups d'etats has drastically reduced but this
does not mean that there has been a corresponding match with the promotion
of democratic values.

In short, Africa's politics has changed in form but not content. That is
why; instead of declaring themselves presidents for life, the way one of
Uganda's former presidents, the late Idi Amin did, Africa's presidents are
essentially creating conditions that effectively make them life presidents.
Elections are organised only if they are sure of victory and when this is
threatened, the process must be rigged in their favour.

This explains why only a handful of African delegates to the AU summit were
confident enough to criticise Mugabe for fixing his election.

For "how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of
your eye,' when you don't see the beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First
remove the beam from your own eye, and then you'll see clearly enough to
remove the speck from your brother's eye," Luke 6:42, International Standard
Version, 2008.

For those who closely followed the electoral process in Zimbabwe, some of
the violence was a replica of what happened on the streets of Kampala two
years ago. Remember the kiboko squads from Kampala Central Police Station
(CPS)? The same hoodlums were on Harare streets and other townships causing
mayhem and the security agencies were looking on the same way District
Police Commanders and senior military officers looked on in comfort as the
squads beat up people on the streets of Kampala.

For those who think these were isolated incidents, 2011 is not far to prove
that 2006 was just a dress rehearsal, for then, the stakes will be much
higher as the incumbent increasingly loses support.

Similar forms of violence will be meted against members of the opposition as
the levels of impunity intensify from one country to another. The call for
the establishment of governments of national unity is now a cushion for
leaders who rig elections. As long as violence is meted against members of
the opposition and results are upheld as legitimate, many other governments
in Africa would do the same.

No one is safe.

What happened in Zimbabwe and the failure by many African leaders to condemn
the violence reflects badly on Africa and was a betrayal of the African
people. Africa had the opportunity to redeem its image during the AU Summit
in Egypt but because the whole continent is composed of only the teachers of
the Law and the Pharisees, the adulterer walked away scot-free as there was
no one to cast the first stone. In Africa, there are no surprises.

Vincent Kiwanuka Kalimire, The author is an MA Student of Globalisation,
Development and Transition at the University of Westminster, London.

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Zimbabwe Opposition Buries One Slain Activist while Another Succumbs To Injuries


By Jonga Kandemiiri
17 July 2008

Senior officials and hundreds of members of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement
for Democratic Change gathered Thursday in Warren Hills Cemetery, Harare, to
bury slain party polling agent Gift Mutsvungunu, reported missing on July 5
and found murdered five days later.

Opposition sources said Mutsvungunu's body showed signs of extreme torture:
his eyes were gouged out and his backside was badly burned. MDC officials
charge that he was murdered by state agents as his injuries were consistent
with those sustained by other victims who were abducted and later killed by
members of the state security apparatus.

Secretary General Tendai Biti of the MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai
told mourners that continued killings and violence by alleged state
operatives obstruct the path to peace in the country. The dominant MDC
formation buried another activist, party driver Joshua Bakacheza in Banket,
Mashonaland West, on Tuesday.

Harare correspondent Thomas Chiripasi, at Mutsvungunu's burial, said the
post-mortem conducted on the slain activist showed that he met with a cruel

MDC officials meanwhile said they extracted four party members from Gokwe
General Hospital in Midlands province where they were being denied medical
attention despite severe injuries from post-runoff political violence, and
rushed them to the Avenues Clinic in Harare.

MDC sources said state security agents and police thwarted two previous
efforts to move the patients, seizing ambulances sent to remove them.

Opposition sources charged that the activists were tortured by suspected
ZANU-PF militia members following the presidential run-off election June 27
in which President Robert Mugabe claimed to have been re-elected amid
international condemnation of the process.

Sources familiar with the situation in Gokwe said violence continued there,
with a new torture base established in the local District Development Fund

MDC activist Jonah Muzira, who helped rescue the party members from the
Gokwe hospital, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that he and other activists moved the 12 injured opposition
supporters under the cover of night.

Elsewhere, Manicaland provincial spokesman Pishai Muchauraya of the
Tsvangirai MDC said abducted activist Reuben Muteke died Saturday from
injuries inflicted by ZANU-PF militia who abducted him from his home on June
30 in Muteve village, Buhera Central constituency, then set upon him with
machetes, axes and iron bars, eventually leaving him for dead.

Muteke was rushed to Murambinda hospital but died five days later.

Muchauraya said Buhera police took Muteke's body to Mutare General Hospital
where a post mortem found that he died from loss of blood, blood clots and
punctured lungs. Muteke's body was still being held at the Murambinda
hospital mortuary, Muchauraya said.

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Distributors Demand Release Of Newspapers As Zimra Pockets Refunds

16th July, 2008
The seizing of foreign newspapers, including The Zimbabwean, the Economist,
and the Weekly Telegraph, just before the run-off election on June 27 on
instructions from the military junta has cost the National Association of
Independent Newspaper Distributors eye-watering trillions in hard currency.

The battle by the distributors to get the newspapers released, or to get the
duty paid in forex refunded, continues. On July 10 Customs released the
documents for The Zimbabwean newspaper consignment of issue 24, June 19,
2008 - three weeks from the day we paid customs duty of more than SAR42,000
in foreign currency to satisfy the requirements of the punitive laws.

Earlier this week, the National Handling Services, in whose warehouse
customs hold consignments, demanded storage charges amounting to Z$10
trillion. Munn Marketing has not sought release of their consignments but
have now demanded their "duty" forex back.

The Economist magazines have been released but two issues of the Weekly
Telegraph and Sunday Times and other publications remain held by customs.
"After stealing our money, depriving our readers of the information and
depriving us of any revenue from the sale of our newspapers, they now want
to further cripple us with the type of storage charges meant to push us out
of business.

Our vendors were routinely harassed during the run up to the election
run-off of June 27. A number of
them were subjected to beatings and intimidation. Those newspapers which
managed to come through were not allowed to be freely distributed and sold.

This is illegal, cruel, vindictive and a desperate measure as well as being
unashamed daylight robbery," said the distributors in a statement this week.

"We strongly urge that this "luxury tax" be seen in the context of it being
an illegal amendment to the amended AIPPA which goes against the agreed
positions of the SA-brokered talks before the holding of the March 29
elections. It further illustrates how the Mugabe government cannot be

Information as a basic right and freedom of expression as a right enshrined
in country's constitution should both not be denied to the people of
Zimbabweans whether inside or outside the country," says the statement.

The distributors urged the SA mediators to demand that such legislation be
repealed as part of the initial demands for the talks, otherwise Zimbabwe
government will be negotiating in seriously bad faith. The illegal duties
levied from distributors under the pretext of this illegal "luxury tax"
should be returned in full in the currency of payment and full compensation
be granted for the loss of business.

They are urging MISA, ZLHR and other civic groups to take up this strong

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People in the Diaspora are the problem

July 17, 2008

By Tobias Mhashu

I CURRENTLY live in Zimbabwe and have chosen, unlike the rest of my family,
to remain here.

So going to the Diaspora was always a choice open to me but which I
declined. Needless to say I have paid the price economically as at present I
cannot even afford to buy a second hand car despite holding down a senior
role in the financial sector. I write because some of the madness I see in
these Diaspora forums where I read militant tones coming from people
criticizing and even calling for the death of individuals who differ with

Jonathan Moyo is no saint; that we all know, but at least he chose to stay
here. A lot of you people in the Diaspora shout, curse and wish death from
the comfort of adopted homes. You can blame Mugabe and his cronies for
forcing you into exile, but I don't think anyone can argue that our best
resources had they remained would have found a solution a long time ago.

It is the Diaspora people who is the most militant and views the unfolding
events in Zimbabwe from the prism of a fairy tale, where good and evil are
distinct. In life my friends there are few places where virtue shines
clearly. The problem with Zimbabweans is a failure to elucidate events and
competently isolate the problem and hence arrive at a solution. I dare say
that Mugabe is not the problem. Moyo unwittingly inferred to the problem in
his write up about the Quill club events.

Mugabe's tyranny has been allowed to flourish because of a flawed
constitution. We in 1980 failed to again isolate the problem, as we thought
that the white man was the problem and so by removing the white man, problem
was supposed to be solved. It was the white man oppression through
repressive laws that was the agony of the majority. This has nothing to do
with Mugabe, Tsvangirai or any other notable figure. This is about power and
how as a society we manage it.

A robust constitution would ensure none of the excesses that we have endured
should ever come back to haunt us. An inordinate amount of power can corrupt
even the most good natured of people. Mahatma Gandhi's choice to live among
his people was in as much about the people as it was about managing the
demons inside him once he had the power. It's amazing how people become high
priests when judging other people's contributions to society.

Those outside who furiously and emotionally type away aluta continua
messages what have you done lately for the Zimbabwean people outside
expending energy on the computer and reaching for a dictionary. I have a
cousin of mine who always ends his calls emotionally with " Ah bvisei mhondi
iyo mhani" (Please remove this tyrant.), blind to the irony and
contradiction of being so strongly moved by his conviction and yet finding
no problem sitting and working in the UK.

It is only those who either have a simplistic outlook on life or have an
ulterior motive who can call for the removal of Mugabe at all costs
strategy. Sadly, I fear for most Zimbabweans, it is the former.

Those who care about the suffering masses would want a swift conclusion to
this matter so Zimbabweans can try to live normally once again. That's why I
am extremely saddened by those who dismiss Moyo's frank and brilliant
contribution by merely shooting the messenger. His cerebral contributions
have always been of a very high quality. It's his moral compass that seems
to have suffered from severe malfunctioning.

The fact that he raises so much emotion is testament to his effectiveness.
History informs quite clearly and with no contradiction that a people only
thrives when a institutional conflict resolution mechanism works for all
concerned and as a collective pursue common goals. This embrace of
foreigners interfering in our affairs is akin to getting rid of the fox in
the hen house by letting loose a hyena.

Only those who are uninformed by history can clamour for the interference of
foreigners in our affairs. Countries are guided by self-interest and not
some universal moral code. What a lot Zimbabweans do is akin to a farmer who
feeling too lazy to till his land allows a neighbouring farmer access in the
hope that the neighbouring farmer from the goodness of his heart will give
him some of the harvest.

Gentleman it is no accident that we belong to the animal kingdom. Beneath
the civilities of all mankind lies a vicious fight that has no moral
framework. In the context of history the Mugabe rein is too small a matter
to sell our heritage for temporary relief.

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Sanctions split ZANU-PF


Clemence Manyukwe Senior Political Reporter
Mujuru, Msika exclusion sparks tensions
A UNITED NATIONS sanctions list forming part of a draft resolution on
Zimbabwe, which was vetoed during the world body's Security Council meeting
in Japan last week, has sparked conflict within ZANU-PF because of the
omission of key members of one of the party's factions, The Financial
Gazette can exclusively reveal.

The draft resolution that was vetoed by Zimbabwe's allies - China and
Russia - featured a sanctions list that includes President Robert Mugabe,
his spokesperson George Charamba, Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa,
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Labour Minister Nicholas Goche,
Agriculture Mechanisation Minister Joseph Made, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Governor Gideon Gono and State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, among
others, leaving out other key individuals in the Politburo, Presidium and
Interestingly, the draft targeted ZANU-PF officials and technocrats linked
to a faction headed by Mnangagwa and omits those aligned to retired army
general Solomon Mujuru's camp.
ZANU-PF insiders this week said there were strong suspicions within the
party that the exclusion from the list of influential members such as Vice
President Joice Mujuru, wife of retired army general Solomon Mujuru, Vice
President Joseph Msika as well as army general Phillip Valerio Sibanda was a
"sly attempt by Western powers to influence the party's internal dynamics
and incite further divisions".
Some of the faction's members now stand accused of working hand in hand with
Western countries and passing information on to them.
Worse still, it is suggested the anomaly will give the excluded faction a
chance to regain lost ground and eclipse the faction led by Mnangagwa that
was at the forefront of President Mugabe's re-election.
"The exclusion of high-ranking ZANU-PF cadres immediately draws suspicions
that the United States and Britain are clandestinely working with some
members in the ruling party to effect regime change within the party. There
are examples of this - the Makoni project," said a ruling party source.
"There is a view that the Western countries are hoping to set an example
that if you distance yourself from (President) Mugabe you stand a chance of
acceptability. That faction is bound to feel grateful for their exclusion
and continue to pursue a regime change agenda from ZANU-PF."
Former finance minister Simba Makoni was expelled from the party this year
after challenging President Mugabe in the March 29 poll, in which he came
third. Makoni was later joined by another politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa.
Retired general Mujuru was said to have been backing Makoni but President
Mugabe told the state media in the run up to the first round of voting that
the former army commander had distanced himself from Makoni, a former member
of the politburo.
Mujuru has never commented publicly over the claims.
Asked for a comment on the sanctions issue, a US embassy spokesperson said:
"The US is continually reviewing its list of sanctioned individuals. Because
of privacy laws we cannot comment on who is and who is not on our sanctions
It is also suspected within ZANU-PF that those pushing for tougher sanctions
are being fed with information by the Movement for Democratic Change and a
faction within ZANU-PF bent on destroying those whose stars were rising.
A source yesterday told The Financial Gazette that because of the exclusion
from the list of people from the Mujuru camp, the sanctions controversy had
all but settled the succession question in President Mugabe's eyes.
"According to President Mugabe, inclusion on the sanctions list is a badge
of honour. It distinguishes one as a true revolutionary fighting against
imperialism. The sanctions issue has all but settled the succession issue,"
a source said.
"There is a good reason for that. The President will want a successor who
will be protective of him rather than one who will be eager to please those
who wish to deal with him on the international stage."
These sentiments have gained currency in the wake of reports in the
international media.
This week a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was quoted
saying London would seek to add 36 individuals linked to President Mugabe
and two state-owned companies, to the blacklist.
British Foreign secretary David Miliband could not confirm that more
individuals would be blacklisted, saying: "There are lists circulating,"
which inevitably sparked more suspicions within ZANU-PF.
"Who is compiling the list? One would have understood it if they had put the
entire Cabinet, Presidium or Politburo on the sanctions list. But how does
one explain the fact that the list includes only those purportedly linked to
the Mnangagwa faction. An attempt to cause confusion within the defence
forces was also made by leaving out Phillip Valerio Sibanda," said a source.
Sibanda is the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army. His colleagues,
Paradzai Zimondi, Commissioner of Prisons; Constantine Chiwenga, Commander
of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces; Perence Shiri, Commander of the Air Force of
Zimbabwe; Happyton Bonyo-ngwe, Director General of the Central Intelligence
Organisation and Augustine Chihuri, Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe
Republic Police, were among the 13 officials targeted for more punitive
The list omits Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi.
"In a way, it is an attempt to get them out of the race," said a ZANU-PF
"The thinking is basically that if it took the ANC (African National
Congress) and Nelson Mandela 18 years to be removed from the blacklist as
terrorists then those who would have been targeted by the UN this time would
technically be excluded from the succession race and from being considered
for any future appointments since they would be more like wanted persons,"
said this paper's sources.
They said an element of duplicity in the application of sanctions against
President Mugabe's associates was quite evident when the children of some
ZANU-PF and government officials were deported from Australia while the
offspring of other party officials were allowed to stay.
Mutasa, who doubles up as the ZANU-PF secretary for administration, first
admitted that factions existed within the party last year, but said they had
"closed ranks", following President Mugabe's decision to stand in the March
29 elections.
Revelations by Makoni that the veteran politician's endorsement at the party's
special congress in Harare in December last year did not enjoy the support
of some ZANU-PF members destroyed the veneer of unity the party's leadership
had presented to the public.

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Sacked AG wants dismissal reversed


Clemence Manyukwe Senior Political Reporter

FORMER Attorney General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele has lashed out at a tribunal
that recommended his axing from the top legal job and has filed an
application in the High Court to have the decision set aside.

In the application in which he cited Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, the head of
the tribunal that recommended his dismissal to President Robert Mugabe as
repondent, Gula-Ndebele said the panel's decision defied logic.
President Mugabe announced in a notice in the Government Gazette of May 16
this year that Gula- Ndebele was no longer the attorney general following
the tribunal's finding that he had failed in his duties as a public officer
after he allegedly met banker James Mushore and assured him that he would
not be prosecuted even though he had a case to answer.
"I hereby bring this application for review of the report or decision of the
tribunal recommending that I be removed from office on the grounds that the
decision and recommendation of the tribunal was irrational, unreasonable and
utterly perverse in its defiance of logic and reason," the former AG said in
an affidavit.
Besides Justice Bhunu, other members of the tribunal were High Court judge
Samuel Kudya and lawyer Lloyd Mhishi of Harare law firm Dube, Manikai and
Hwacha. The tribunal held that Gula-Ndebele had favoured Mushore because
they were friends.
The tribunal said because of "the manner in which the former AG greeted
James Mushore and after the initial exchange of pleasantries they had a
second conversation, one cannot help but conclude that there was a strong
bond of friendship between the two."
But Gula-Ndebele described the tribunal's notion that Mushore was his friend
as fiction and argued that the panel had arrived at that conclusion because
it was biased and prejudiced against him.
He argued that opinion on the Mushore saga had been arrived at after perusal
of a court judgment dealing with a similar case involving Econet Wireless
bosses who had been found innocent.
The ex- AG submitted that contrary to claims that he had assured Mushore
that he would not be prosecuted there was communication from the AG's Office
that indicated that the matter could proceed by way of summons, if need be.
He said the law was not like mathematics where everyone reaches the same
conclusion, but what was important was that his conclusion had been reached
"My opinion was and remains an honest one. I held it then, I still hold it
now. There was never evidence led suggesting that my opinion was wrong. My
advocate argued forcefully that the opinion was correct," Gula-Ndebele said.
He further argued that the tribunal was wrong to say witnesses had
corroborated the state's case and that no evidence was provided to the
judges to the effect that Mushore had "bragged" to the police that he would
not be prosecuted.
In his evidence before the panel, Gula-Ndebele said the police posed a
threat to the independence of law officers in the AG's office.
He said officers were reluctant to make some decisions because they feared
they would be arrested.
He cited the example of a prosecutor who was assaulted by the police and
added that the Director of Public Prosecutions at the time, Florence
Ziyambi, had told him that she was afraid of the police.

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Suspected ZANU-PF members kidnap, assault lawyer


Staff Reporter

A HARARE lawyer sustained serious injuries more than a week ago when he was
kidnapped and assaulted by suspected ZANU-PF members at the party's Harare
provincial offices as violence spilled into the post election period.

Three of the suspected ZANU-PF members have appeared in court this week and
were remanded in custody, their lawyer Garikai Chadyiwa said.
Stewart Nyamushaya of Harare law firm Madanhi and Associates was kidnapped
and assaulted for instructing a Messenger of Court to serve a court order
evicting tenants at number 23 Chinhoyi Street.
A medical report says Nyamushaya suffered a fractured rib, swollen buttocks
and feet when tenants tried to block the court action by enlisting the help
of ruling party members.
In an interview with The Financial Gazette Chadyiwa said: "My clients said
they admitted the crime to the police because they did not understand the
charges. They are saying it was a mob but unfortunately politics was
smuggled into the matter."
The lawyer said when the trial begins, the accused persons would deny
kidnapping Nyamushaya.
"One is saying it was common assault, another is saying he was not there
while the third denies the charges," Chadyiwa said. Nyamushaya was kidnapped
and assaulted on July 1 and when some of his colleagues including Patrick
Chiremba went to the ruling party's offices to negotiate his release, they
were also threatened with assault.
Last year lawyers staged a demonstration to protest against state harassment
while carrying out their duties.
Police dispersed the demonstrators and assaulted some of the lawyers,
including Law Society of Zimbabwe president Beatrice Mtetwa and Chris Mhike.
Attorneys that have been either attacked or threatened while carrying out
their duties include Aleck Muchadehama, Andrew Makoni and Otto Saki.
Last year, Richard Chikosha, a prosecutor who was representing police in a
case brought against them by Muchade-hama and Makoni, partners in Harare law
firm, Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, was assaulted by
the law enforcement agents.
In Gutu, the resident magistrate Shortgame Musaiona fled his station after
his car was torched by party youths who accused him of passing inappropriate
sentences against their members.

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Forex usage now the in-thing


Nelson Chenga Senior Reporter

ZIMBABWEANS are now scrambling for foreign currencies for survival as
hyperinflation continues to shred Zimbabwe's economy.

The queues at money transfer agencies are getting longer by the day.
The queues start forming as early as 3am everyday except on Sunday when
money transfer agencies are not open.
This follows hard on the heels of a move by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe at
the end of April to liberalise the foreign currency market.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development has indicated that
foreign currency remittances from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are set to
double this year on last year's US$361 million.
But with a reduced foreign currency generation capacity owing to a slump in
industrial production and depressed volumes of exports, the remittances fall
far short of the country's requirements to shore up demand in hard currency
for raw materials, fuel and drug imports. Industrial capacity has slumped to
30 percent, wobbling efforts to boost hard currency coffers.
"We are virtually surviving on the generosity of our relatives and friends
abroad. What can you do my brother?
"This is the only way one can survive in this country because our own
currency is scarce and now so worthless that there is very little meaningful
you can do with it," said a Harare resident at the back of a 50-metre-long
queue at Western Union, Fourth Street branch.
Demand at this branch is now high that it is limiting the amount one can
receive from abroad to US$500 per day.
However, the increased demand seems to have exposed the hard currencies to
the vagaries of the country's runaway inflation with the US dollar and South
African rand, most common on the streets, taking nasty knocks.
The situation is now so crazy that, for instance, R100, which can buy at
least five chickens in South Africa, can only buy one bird in Zimbabwe.
Though illegal, transactions using foreign currency are on the increase.
While landlords were the first to demand rent payments in foreign currency
everyone else seems to have caught on with peddlers of scarce commodities
such as sugar, maize meal, chicken, rice and flour also demanding payment in
foreign currency.

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No place for traitors


Nelson Chenga Senior Reporter
. . . as rural livelihoods unravel
"ZIMBABWE has no place for sell-outs," proclaims a double-door size sign in
the veranda of a shop at Jembere Business Centre in rural Mutoko South in
Mashonaland East Province.

Several other post-ers wrapped round nearby trees echo the same theme: "This
is the final battle for total control"; "We did it in 1980. Let's do it
again"; "100% Empo-werment: Total Inde-pendence."
A number of men wearing ZANU-PF T-shirts, scarves and bandanas lazily hang
around the largely deserted business centre staring suspiciously at a
passing bus, ready to sniff out Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
supporters they invariably label sell-outs.
Satisfied that none of the passengers bears the mark of the "beast", the men
return to the veranda for more idle chatter.
With the patience of anglers waiting for the fish to bite, they mark their
time, waiting for the next bus or vehicle that goes by. But the waiting may
take a day or two depending on the availability of fuel, but that does not
seem to bother them.
Almost a month after the one-man presidential run-off election, the
atmosphere remains tense in many of the country's rural areas, which were
thought to be ZANU-PF strongholds until March 29.
The outcome of the March 29 polls changed that long-held perception.
In its place came a fresh concept prem-ised on a crude form of "guided
democracy" manifesting itself in rampant incidents of brutal beatings,
abdu-ctions and murders during the run-up to the presidential run-off so
that villagers could "correct" their mistake of voting for the MDC in March.
The gruesome beatings, abductions and murders have now eased but ZANU-PF
militias still cock their ears vigilantly to listen out for any dissenting
Once in a while impromptu gatherings are called just to re-assert that the
party is still in total control of the situation.
Despite the ongoing talks between ZANU-PF and the MDC on the future of the
country whose economy has been battered by an nine-year recession; the
picture in rural Zimbabwe is not one of dialogue being underway.
There is still "total intolerance" to any opposing views to the ZANU-PF
Having invested so much in the campaign, ZANU-PF militias and supporters
seem confused about the talks since the MDC was "routed" in the presidential
election re-run.
And if words could kill, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai would have died a
trillion times during the June 27 election campaign period.
But, as one villager from Mudzi put it, there is more apprehension,
dejection and despair than confusion.
Speaking in guarded tones from his dimly lit hut, the villager lamen-ted:
"These people still clearly remember what they did to us.
"They ate our chic-kens, goats and cows. They ."
As the fire in the hearth crackled, he stopped briefly to listen out for any
sounds of movement in the shadows outside.
Satisfied that all was fine, he continued: "They extorted money and food
from us. They force-marched us to their meetings, beat us if we resisted and
forced us to vote for (President Robert) Mugabe.
"We clearly remember and we are all waiting to see what happens now."
Since President Mugabe romped home to victory, the situation has continued
to deteriorate.
The effects of the crumbling economy are now more pronounced than ever
before, making, life much more nettling for the rural dwellers.
Many in the rural areas had hoped that the hardships would ease after the
But hope seems to be fast fading as the economic meltdown nudges them closer
to "total impoverishment".
Bus fares for rural folk to visit friends and relatives are no longer
affordable even in the event of bereavement and high charges at grinding
mills have forced a return to the primitive age of the mortar and pestle.
Villagers also spit hard and loud in frustration over their misfortunes when
they have to walk long distances to alternative grinding mills when those
nearest their homes run out of diesel or experience power outages.
Basic commodities such as soap and salt are scarce and too expensive when
they are available.
"We only hear about people's stores on the radio. You just cannot understand
it. Things could not be worse," villagers say.
Crop yields were poor but a majority of villagers still sold part of their
produce to pay school fees and buy basic commodities. Any remaining cash has
lost value because of hyperinflation.
The 10, 25 and 50 million dollar notes are the latest victims of note
Rural shop owners no longer accept these notes because wheelbarrows of them
are needed to buy anything.
One shop owner said: "It is quite sad to turn away old people who come here
to buy goods with wards of notes that are now useless.
"These old people and even the young cannot believe that all their heaps of
notes are now worthless."
During the run-up to the elections the ZANU-PF message to the people was
loud and clear: "Tsvangirai is responsible for the country's economic
"If he wins there will be war."
Tsvangirai did not contest the run-off. Targeted sanctions are still in
place and new ones are on the horizon. Economic anguish persists.
For the majority of the rural folk, one thing is now certain - without
government food handouts or donor funded humanitarian assistance, they are
game for the vultures.

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Good governance critical



RUSSIA and China flexed their muscles at the United Nations Security Council
Summit in Japan last week when they used their veto power to shut out
prospects of Zimbabwe going through a battery of tougher sanctions that
could have compounded the country's economic crisis.

A draft of the United States-sponsored sanctions consummated after it became
apparent that ZANU-PF was not going to stop at anything in its bid to
frustrate the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) from dislodging it from
power, had called for an assets freeze, an arms embargo and travel
restrictions on the incumbent and 13 of his associates.
The United States and Britain, which prior to the vote believed they had
Moscow on their side, were devastated by the sudden turn of events.
Beijing and Moscow's veto has not only shuttered their grand plan, but has
also caused a huge diplomatic embarrassment for the two countries that have
"distinguished" themselves as the most vocal critics of President Robert
Mugabe's administration.
Of course, ZANU-PF has emerged the biggest beneficiary of Russia and China's
"benevolence". But the victory might not last.
In voting against stiffer sanctions, Beijing says it wants to give more time
to dialogue before resorting to punitive measures against Harare. Russia,
says the UN Security Council would have overstepped its mandate had the
resolution been approved.
While the powers-that-be survived to see another day, they should desist
from making it a habit to push their luck.
It is extremely dangerous for the country to throw caution to the wind,
banking on the camaraderie of friendly states to fight in its corner.
It is bad politics to relinquish control of a country's destination to third
parties, as was the case last Friday. It should firmly be in Zimbabwe's
control. After all the camaraderie that existed during the cold war is long
gone, it has since been replaced with friendship bound by economic
As the world's fastest growing economy, China is taking Africa's resources
by storm, and its entrepreneurs - like vultures - are circling Zimbabwe's
skies, waiting for an opportunity to pounce on its cheaply priced assets. It
is pay back time.
South Africa is also benefiting from the Zimbabwe crisis given the influx
into that country of skilled personnel and trade, which is now heavily
tilted in its favour.
For the long-term sustainability of the country's politics, the
powers-that-be need to be advised that there is no substitute for good
governance that can guarantee the country's freedom of association and
freedom to trade without having to look over the shoulders for potential
By throwing caution to the wind, the country is at the threshold of losing
all these fundamental freedoms and getting addicted to dependence on the
misplaced goodwill of its "allies".
Britain, the US and their allies are likely to stop at nothing to ensure
their plan succeeds. What happened at the just-ended elections has given
them justification to push their cause, and unfortunately Zimbabwe has been
caught flat-footed.
As hosts of this year's Olympics and the 2010 World Cup, China and South
Africa might eventually yield to pressure.
Instead of pouring into the corridors of power to celebrate the fluke
victory in Japan last Friday, the powers-that-be need to move with speed to
take charge of their destiny, collectively and in their individual
capacities, by seizing opportunities that come their way.
From the events of last week, failure to reform either by way of buying into
a government of national unity or subscribing to a transitional arrangement,
will see the noose getting tighter around the neck.
In our opinion, the failure by the United States and its allies to push for
tougher sanctions at the UN Security Council is yet another gilt-edged
opportunity for President Mugabe and his administration to reform. It should
also awaken the MDC, which all along, had been under the impression that
support from Britain and the United States was enough to thrust it into
A platform to show to the world that Zimbabwe is willing to reform has
presented itself through the President Thabo Mbeki mediated dialogue. The
onus is now on both ZANU-PF and the MDC to negotiate in good faith.
What we have seen so far however, suggests that ZANU-PF might again miss the
boat. The rabid criticism of the MDC in government mouthpieces, notably The
Herald, Chronicle, The Sunday Mail and on radio and television exposes
ZANU-PF's hypocrisy.
Violence against supporters of the opposition has also continued unabated.
As the party in government, ZANU-PF should transmit unambiguous messages to
show its total commitment to dialogue.
With inflation at 9 million percent and unemployment touching 90 percent,
the economic genocide in Zimbabwe is bad enough. Sanctions alone, however
tight, will not help the country's situation.
Allowing the situation to slide beyond this point would be akin to pushing
God's patience beyond the limits. Mark 3 verse 24: "If a kingdom is divided
against itself, that kingdom cannot stand."

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Bakers resort to flour imports to remain afloat


Staff Reporter

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's troubled bakers have resorted to flour imports to
remain afloat after supplies from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) stopped
due to acute wheat shortages that have wreaked havoc on the country.

This comes after more than 80 percent of the bakers were last week reported
to have temporarily stopped operating due to the unavailability of flour.
National Bakers Association executive member and former chairman, Vincent
Mangoma told The Financial Gazette this week that most bakers in the country
had resorted to importing flour because of the critical wheat shortages.
"Our members have now started importing flour to stay in business as the GMB
has stopped supplying millers with wheat because of the critical shortages
in the country. At the same time importation is very expensive as a tonne of
imported flour can cost more than US$1 000, but we have no option because we
have to stay in business," said Mangoma.
Instead of baking bread from the flour, the bakers have resorted to making
confectionery so that they could earn reasonable profit. Bread making would
result in losses due to the controlled price imposed by government.
"Those importing flour are now specialising in baking confectionery as this
does not require a lot compared to bread. They also do that so that they can
at least make some little profit to enable them to continue importing and
stay in business," he said. The government controlled retail price of bread
is $440 million per loaf.
"Our products are used daily by most of the people and we have to keep the
baking industry running. Other industries can operate at their own pace
since they won't be under pressure," Mangoma said.

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Chinese mining giant invests in Zim


Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter

CHINESE mining giant China Jiangxi Corpo-ration for International Economic
and Techni-cal Cooperation (CJIC) has taken a keen interest in exploiting
Zimbabwe's rich but largely underutilised chrome resources.

The Financial Gazette this week obtained a "Confident-iality Agreement
Mem-orandum" in which CJIC undertook to develop two chrome mines in
partnership with a local company.
Government sources said the deal, which might see CJIC investing up to
U$$200 million, was concluded last month.
The chrome claims include the 1,002-hectare RA666 in the Midlands and
another one measuring 1,325 hectares in the Zambezi Valley.
The state-run Zimbabwe Mining Development Corpo-ration (ZMDC) owns both
"CJIC desires to have access to the chrome claims and enter into discussions
with the ZMDC regarding mining investment and development concerning the
said claims and any possible subsequent arrangements or transactions or
agreements that may be entered into by and between the parties hereto.
"The agreement shall be governed by the laws of the Republic of Zimba-bwe,"
read part of the document obtained by The Financial Gazette.
ZMDC and CJIC undertook to develop, exploit and export the chrome jointly.
Sources close to the deal said CJIC would use its leverage on the
international markets to fetch favourable prices for the chrome particularly
in China and other Asian countries where it commands considerable influence.
An inflow of foreign currency could also boost the country's fortunes, which
is going through chronic foreign currency shortages.
China has registered a robust demand for most minerals such as nickel,
copper, platinum and chrome to feed into its growing industrial base
especially the automotive industry.
High demand for copper in the Chinese market has resuscitated Zambia's
copper mining industry that was once the backbone of the southern African
country's economy but was killed by a slump in international prices in the
late 1990s.
In 2005, Chinese companies pledged to invest in excess of US$400 million in
Zimbabwe's mining industry in a short space of time.
Much of the investment has not been made, except for a few flea markets
selling cheap clothes.

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Zim resumes ethanol-from-sugar production as fuel squeeze bites

By: Barnabas Thondhlana
Published: 18 Jul 08 - 0:00
ZIMBABWE has resumed ethanol production from sugar cane to help ease an
acute short-age of fuel products, which has been worsened by a biting
shortage of foreign currency.

Triangle Limited, based in Zimbabwe's Lowveld region, has refurbishd its
plant, which had been lying idle for years - ethanol production ceased in
1992, when unblended petrol became cheaper than blended fuel. A ban on the
use of ben- zene in the extraction of ethanol from sugar cane also
contributed to the closure of the plant.

The resumption of ethanol production followed an agree-ment between the
Zimbabwe government, the State-owned National Oil Company of Zimbabw, Indian
technology company Praj Industries and Triangle - part of South Africa's
Tongaat-Hulett Sugar - to install a dehydration plant to kick-start ethanol
production. Praj Industries is providing technical assistance.

Installation of the dehydra-tion plant is said to have cost over

"Production started some weeks ago but the levels are still low, as we are
only producing ethanol on a trial basis. If the trials succeed, we will
increase production," says an official at Triangle. But we are optimistic
that the project will see the light of day."

The ethanol will be blended with petrol.

Zimbabwe revisited the idea of blending petrol with ethanol three years ago,
in line with the country's import-substitution and forex-saving strategy.

But commentators say government and other players should prioritise growing
the sugar-cane production base to ensure uninterrupted feedstocks.

"Cane production has gone down drastically in recent years," says one
commentator, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that the reduction
in cane production is a result of the land reform programme that government
embarked on in 2000.

The ethanol processing plant was built by Anglo at the height of
international sanctions on the then white supremacist gov-ernment of Ian
Smith, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia before it became independent Zimbabwe.
The plant produced ethanol from sugar cane grown on vast estates owned by
Anglo and other firms in Zimbabwe's hot south-eastern region.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu

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Zimbabwe politics could impede Kazungula-bridge progress

By: Terence Creamer
Published: 18 Jul 08 - 0:00
Expressions of interests for the $70-million Kazungula Bridge, development
of which would provide a much-needed alternative to ferry transport over the
natural boundary between Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, could be issued by
November or October. But the Nepad Business Foundation (NBF), which was a
keen supporter of the projects, given its potential economic benefits,
warned last week that efforts would have to be made to ensure that politics
did not stand in the way of progress.
Both Zambia and Botswana, which would be the main beneficiaries of the new
transport link, had openly criticised both the recently one-person election
as well as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's handling of the political
and economic crisis in that country.

In fact, earlier in the week, Botswana put out a statement describing the
June 27, 2008, run-off election as a violation of the core principles of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union and the
United Nations. Botswana urged SADC to take proactive steps to disallow
Zimbabwe's participation in SADC meetings "until such time that they
demonstrate their commitment to strictly adhere to the organisation's

Speaking at the Infrastructure Project Finance Conference, NBF senior
project manager John Rocha said that, while the African Development Bank was
funding the feasibility study, Zimbabwe, which had not initially
participated in the process, now wanted to make its own assessment.

"A small portion of the bridge actually goes past Zimbabwean territorial
waters, so they [the Zimbabwean authorities] have now requested that they do
their own feasibilities," Rocha reported, suggesting that this could present
a challenge to the schedule.

"I'm not too sure as to what the reasons are for the political bottleneck
that we are now seeing. What is clear is that to reduce the cost of business
in that region and in the rest of Africa, it is imperative that people have
options in order to trade," he added.

The NBF had been set up to facilitate dialogue between the private and
public sectors in Africa, with the objective of partnering with governments
to realise the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development,
or Nepad. It was also in the process of establishing a project management
office to ensure better dissemination of information on priority
infrastructure projects, such as the Kazungula Bridge, so as to assist in
moving some of these through to a "bankable phase".

Roche indicated that much might now hinge on how the project was presented
to Zimbabwe. "I think it should be presented in such as way as to show that
by improving on one particular route, you will not necessarily lose
business, because, by doing so, we will be increasing economic activity.

He referred to a recent World Bank report, which showed that there would be
an overwhelmingly positive impact on trade volumes if certain key trade
routes were strengthened in Africa.

"From the Botswana and Zambian government there is absolute commitment to
move ahead with this. And I think this is a project that offers tremendous
opportunities for the private sector."

In fact, the governments of Botswana and Zambia had agreed to promote free
and unobstructed movement of both cargo and people between the two
countries, and had argued that the Kazungula Bridge was key to meeting that

Rocha noted, too, that with the Walvis Bay expansion, the bridge could also
be used extensively for the transport of goods to and from that Namibian

The bridge was seen as particularly important to facilitate an expansion of
copper mining in the region, owing to the fact that ferries, which currently
transport people and vehicles cross the river, are battling to cope with the
increased volumes.

Should it proceed, the bridge would be constructed immediately downstream of
the confluence of the Zambezi and Chobe rivers, some 65 km upstream of the
Victoria Falls.

The project length of the bridge and approach roads would be 3 700 m,
comprising 720 m for the main bridge and 2 980 m for approach roads.

A prestressed concrete extra-dosed bridge had been recommended, with a
seven-metre carriageway, and one-metre-wide shoulders and sidewalks on each

A further $30,5-million would be needed for border-control facilities,
raising the estimated total cost to over $100-million.

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Comments from correspondents

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 10:39 PM
Subject: Re: Will foreign companies stay the course in Zimbabwe?
> Mail and Guardian
> Will foreign companies stay the course in Zimbabwe?
> 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. etc....

Investing in zimbabwe considering the present political enviroment,
is a definate no - no, because companies will be funding this
illigitimate goverments brutality towards innocent people. We can
clearly see that, top of the list on the agenda of Zanu PF right now
is, to stamp out any opposition to thier dictatorship.

Where do they get this money? as none of thier ministers have foreign
investments. of course the answer is through corruption and
redirection of international investments.

The message is simple. To stop fueling the rape, violence,
intimidation, hunger ,displancement and assasination from being
unleashed on innocent people. Do not invest in Zimbabwe. This has
been tried and tested it works thats what influenced arpathieds
surrender. Mugade must go.


Another correspondent has put his views here -

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