Sat 19 Jul 2008, 8:45 GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's central bank will introduce new higher-value
100 billion Zimbabwe dollar notes on Monday as part of a desperate fight
against spiralling hyperinflation, the bank said.
Zimbabweans are suffering chronic shortages of meat, maize, fuel and other
basic commodities due to the collapse of the once prosperous economy, which
critics blame on President Robert Mugabe's policies, including his violent
seizure of white-owned farms.
Central bank Governor Gideon Gono announced on Wednesday that inflation had
surpassed 2.2 million percent, though some economists put it much higher.
In a notice in the official Herald newspaper on Saturday, Gono said the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would introduce 100 billion dollar special
agro-cheques (notes), to help consumers who currently need to carry large
wads of cash even for simple transactions.
"This new $100 billion (2,214 pound) special agro-cheque will go into
circulation on Monday," the notice said.
The central bank has been printing higher denomination banknotes to keep
pace with soaring prices. The most valuable bank note currently in
circulation is worth Z$50 billion.
Gono said he was also considering raising the amount of cash people could
withdraw daily from their bank accounts. The central bank has imposed a
withdrawal limit of Z$100 billion, but this is only enough for two trips on
an urban commuter bus or two loaves of bread -- if one can find it.
The Zimbabwe dollar, which had been officially pegged at 30,000 to the U.S.
dollar before exchange rules were relaxed recently, now trades at about 800
million to the greenback.
Besides struggling with shortages of basic goods and services, Zimbabweans
also spend long hours in bank queues trying to withdraw their money.
The central bank says the limits on cash withdrawals are designed to curtail
a thriving black market in foreign exchange and basic commodities.
The worsening economy could add to pressure on the ruling ZANU-PF party to
make concessions to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which has
refused to recognise Mugabe's overwhelming victory in a June 27 presidential
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round vote on March 29 but failed
to get the absolute majority needed to avoid a second ballot. Tsvangirai
pulled out of that poll, citing violence by pro-Mugabe militia.
Two weeks ago a German firm, Giesecke and Devrient, stopped deliveries of
banknote paper to Zimbabwe following pressure from the German government
amid international criticism of Mugabe's widely condemned re-election. Gono
said Zimbabwe had made alternative arrangements.
(Reporting by Cris Chinaka; Editing by Ian Jones)
By DONNA BRYSON, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 56 minutes ago
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Zimbabwe's beaten down opposition may end up
being forced to accept what it swears is unacceptable - a power-sharing deal
with President Robert Mugabe.
Some say it would only prolong Zimbabwe's agony, while others see a
coalition - perhaps with Mugabe as president and opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai as prime minister or vice president - as the only way to lead the
nation out of the impasse and begin reversing its economic collapse.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, appointed by the main regional bloc to
mediate between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, has said some form of coalition is
the goal of talks that got off to a tentative start in South Africa on July
On Friday, the opposition applauded plans announced for Mbeki to work
closely with the U.N. and the African Union as he attempts to mediate,
saying that this satisfies its demand that Mbeki be joined by another
mediator. The opposition had accused Mbeki of favoring Mugabe.
George Sibotshiwe, a spokesman for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change, said Friday's announcement could open the way to agreement in coming
days on a framework for power-sharing talks.
A partnership with Mugabe may be the best hope remaining for Tsvangirai's
Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party remain adamant that he is Zimbabwe's duly
elected leader, even if most of the rest of the world says a June 27 runoff
in which he claimed overwhelming victory over Tsvangirai was a sham.
More ominously, Mugabe's military chiefs say their allegiance is only to
Any dramatic intervention by the outside world looks unlikely. On July 11
Russia and China delivered a rare twin veto of a U.S.-sponsored U.N.
Security Council resolution that would have imposed sanctions on Mugabe and
his top aides. The aim was to punish them for allegedly overseeing political
violence and fraud, and to force them to negotiate.
ZANU-PF has said it's open to power-sharing - as long as Mugabe heads any
coalition. The opposition says publicly it's open to what it calls a
"government of national healing," but only with moderate ZANU-PF members,
Nqobizitha Mlilo, spokesman for Tsvangirai's party, told The Associated
Press this week that its position on Mugabe had not changed.
But Davie Malungisa, director of the Institute for a Democratic Alternative
for Zimbabwe, an independent Harare-based group, described Tsvangirai's
objection to Mugabe as a negotiating position.
"When you are getting into bargaining ... you start from very high,"
Malungisa said in a telephone interview from Zimbabwe. "It's a matter of who
A political marriage of convenience to avert bloodshed is not unprecedented.
Both Mugabe and Nelson Mandela in South Africa included whites in their
governments after toppling white rule.
A more recent model is Kenya, where rival factions agreed to share power
after a disputed presidential election in December led to violence. The
agreement left incumbent Mwai Kibaki, accused of stealing the vote, as
president, with his rival, Raila Odinga as prime minister.
Zimbabwe's violence, though not on the scale or ethnic fury of Kenya's, has
been devastating to Tsvangirai's party. It estimates more than 120 of its
activists have been killed by Mugabe's police, soldiers and party militants
since the first round of the presidential election was held in March.
Deaths, arrests and threats that have sent surviving activists underground
have robbed the party of organizational and negotiating skills at a crucial
With the international community increasingly eager to prosecute dictators,
Mugabe may see hanging onto power as his only protection from trial.
Tsvangirai has sought to allay Mugabe's concern by saying he would not
pursue human-rights or war-crimes trials against him or his lieutenants,
because these would distract Zimbabweans from the task of rebuilding the
Geraldine Mattioli, a specialist on international justice with Human Rights
Watch, challenges that approach.
"It might be tempting to give immunity to someone like Mugabe," she said.
But "in our view, trading justice for what is perceived as peace often has
very negative consequences in the long term."
Malungisa says agreeing to govern alongside a man accused of torturing and
killing dissidents "would be suicidal," because Mugabe could betray
But he also said the opposition has little room to maneuver - that while
Mugabe's forces are regrouping, Tsvangirai's are being weakened.
"They've been tortured into negotiations," he said.
July 19, 2008
By Rose Maindiseka
A STORY I read recently about a community in the United Kingdom that is
being terrorized by a generation of youths said to be angry about the way
they were raised turned my thoughts to a similar "land mine" that President
Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF are depositing on the national landscape,
inevitably to explode in the future when the octogenarian is no longer
The British youths referred to in the article that caught my eye as "feral
children" are said to be on a murderous rampage in Warrington near
Manchester . The youths, described as being in a violent rage because they
grew up in loveless homes where parental violence and alcoholism were the
order of the day, are reported to be venting their pent-up anger by
terrorizing the community. Their anti-social antics include beating up
innocent people to death, causing havoc on buses and trains and generally
being such a menace that adults freely admit being terrified of them. The
youths, some reported to be as young as 13, also abuse drugs, indulge in
promiscuous sex and show total disrespect for adults and disregard for the
The difference between this overseas problem and the time bomb being seeded
in Zimbabwe is that in Britain the anti-social and criminal behaviour of
"yobs" as the unruly youngsters are known, is not officially tolerated while
in the Mugabe scenario it is the establishment that is actively encouraging
anarchy, disregard for the sanctity of human life and for the rights of
others, all in the name of supporting Zanu Pf.
While British authorities are doing everything possible to show the
misguided youths that crime and anti-social behaviour do not pay, young
people recruited as militias by Zanu PF have been indoctrinated to believe
that raping, beating, torturing, abducting , and disregarding the rights of
fellow citizens on behalf of Robert Mugabe's unpopular party is a patriotic
and acceptable way of earning a living. Like Islamic suicide bombers who are
promised paradise for killing themselves along with innocent victims, the
Zimbabwean youths are lured by the promise of handsome rewards when this
murderous "work ethic" is instilled in them.
And in a country where the unemployment rate is more than 80 percent and the
overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans live below the poverty datum line,
these exploited youths who have no hope of getting decent jobs after leaving
school, are easy prey for crooked and power-hungry politicians .
But these young people soon become disillusioned when they are confronted
with Zanu PF's callous cynicism with regard to using people to do its dirty
work and then discarding them. Youths hired to perpetrate retributive
atrocities against the electorate after the March 29 elections are being
rounded up under an umpteenth Mugabe "operation" code named "Operation
Watumwa nani". The move is Zanu PF's cynically malevolent way of trying to
exonerate itself of unleashing retributive violence following Mugabe's
defeat in March and in the run-up to the debacle of June 27 when he claimed
victory after contesting the presidential run-off as the sole candidate
The regime is now resorting to this subterfuge because the run-off has been
globally condemned as not having been free and fair and therefore not
representing the will of the people. Most importantly, the sham victory has
not conferred on Mugabe the one thing he wants most :legitimacy. He has been
regarded as an imposter since the disputed 2002 presidential poll which was
also marred by violence and persecution of opposition politicians and their
In the on-going terror campaign, the youth militias say they were deployed
by Zanu-PF bigwigs to instill fear in the electorate through intimidation,
beatings, abductions, arson, torture and killings. During these violent
rampages, the militias also resorted to seizing food, chickens and livestock
from villagers to feast on at their bases and torture camps. Villagers are
bitter. Zanu-PF did not lift a finger over the last three months while this
murderous anarchy raged because it hoped the carnage would do the trick for
the unpopular Mugabe.
Zanu Pf's attempts to pull wool over everyone's eyes will not alter the fact
that Mugabe's sham victory on June 27 has been roundly rejected and
condemned and his illegitimacy as head of state continues to haunt him.
Tragically, however, one thing that has changed is that Zimbabwe now has a
big segment of the young generation that believes that torturing, maiming
and killing fellow citizens on behalf of a rejected regime is something
patriotic for which they should be rewarded.
Mugabe has created a dangerous subculture of misfits who take pride in
exhibiting a total lack of conscience and regard for the truth.
Like the British "feral children" referred to above, these misguided
militias are like unexploded ordnance littering countries like Vietnam and
Laos, the lethal remnants of America 's wars with these nations more than 30
years ago. Just as the United States has been accused of failing to take
responsibility for the clearing of cluster bombs and landmines that continue
to wreak havoc on the populations of the Asian countries cited above, Mugabe
is bequeathing a pernicious legacy of raging bitterness, disease, death,
trauma and mental derangement among youths who have been forced to commit
During these anarchic rampages the militias not only brutally raped innocent
women and girls but committed other sexual abuses as election campaign
methods. This violent debauchery is deplorable enough under normal
circumstances but in the age of AIDS/ HIV it is a deadly cocktail for which
society will pay the cost in a resurgence of infections and deaths not only
among the perpetrators but their victims as well. Mugabe, as many have
remarked, is determined to take the country down to the grave with him.
Sat 19 Jul 2008, 16:15 GMT
(Recasts with Tsvangirai possible agreement)
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE, July 19 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition party could sign an
agreement as early as Monday to begin substantive talks with President
Robert Mugabe's party on ending a political impasse that has worsened the
country's already severe economic crisis, opposition officials said on
The apparent breakthrough came after South African President Thabo Mbeki
proposed forming a team drawn from African regional bodies and the United
Nations to help him mediate the worsening crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
A statement seen by Reuters on Saturday said Mbeki had proposed during a
meeting on Friday creating a team representing the African Union, the
Southern African Development Community and the United Nations, with which he
would liaise in efforts to foster dialogue between Zimbabwe's warring
The Movement for Democratic Change has refused to recognise Mugabe's
overwhelming victory in a June 27 vote held after MDC candidate Morgan
Tsvangirai pulled out, citing violence by ruling party militia.
The resulting impasse has dampened hopes of halting an economic meltdown
that has forced the central bank to introduce a 100 billion Zimbabwe dollar
note -- enough to buy two loaves of bread -- in a desperate fight against
In a public letter to his supporters, Tsvangirai -- who has previously
demanded that an AU envoy join the mediation before his MDC will agree to
more substantial talks -- said setting up the new team was a positive step.
"We welcome (the) appointment of a reference group of eminent Africans who
will work with President Mbeki and the main parties in Zimbabwe to find a
peaceful negotiated solution to the Zimbabwean crisis," he said.
Opposition officials said Tsvangirai indicated to AU commission Chairman
Jean Ping, who he met in Harare on Saturday, that he would be ready to sign
a draft memorandum of understanding in the next few days.
The memorandum sets out guidelines on substantive negotiations between
Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the opposition and as late as Thursday Tsvangirai had
refused to sign it.
"Our understanding is that he (Tsvangirai) indicated to the AU guy that he
is now ready to come on board, and that the MoU is likely to be signed on
Monday," an official, who declined to be identified because of the
sensitivity of the talks, said.
"The MDC wanted a direct AU involvement in the mediation, and we have that
now ... and unless something major crops up, the signing should happen on
Monday or Tuesday," he added.
There was no immediate word from Mugabe, the ruling ZANU-PF or Ping, but
Ping was expected to meet with the Zimbabwean leader for discussions later.
Mbeki has been mediating preliminary talks between ZANU-PF and the MDC to
resolve the stand-off but critics say he has not made progress and has
favoured Mugabe with his soft approach.
Tsvangirai won the first round presidential vote on March 29 but official
figures showed he failed to get the absolute majority needed to avoid a
second ballot. The MDC insists Tsvangirai won outright the first time.
Zimbabweans are suffering chronic shortages of meat, maize, fuel and other
basic goods because of the collapse of the once prosperous economy, which
the MDC and other critics blame on Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms and
Central bank Governor Gideon Gono said on Wednesday inflation had surpassed
2.2 million percent, but some economists say it is actually much higher.
In a notice in the official Herald newspaper on Saturday, Gono said the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would introduce Z$100 billion special agro-cheques
(notes) to help consumers forced to carry large wads of cash even for simple
The Zimbabwe dollar, officially pegged at 30,000 to the U.S. dollar before
exchange rules were relaxed recently, now trades at about 800 million to the
U.S. unit. (Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa and Mary Gabriel) (For full
Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit:
††††July 19 2008 at 11:17AM
By Fiona Forde and Angela Quintal
Morgan Tsvangirai has agreed to enter power sharing talks with Robert
Mugabe, saying Zimbabweans have suffered enough and it is time for that
country's crisis to come to an end.
This was the upshot of Friday's decision by President Thabo Mbeki, who
is mediating between the various Zimbabwean parties, to appoint a reference
group to assist in negotiations.
Independent Newspapers understands that power-sharing talks could
begin as early as next week.
The breakthrough comes as SADC foreign, defence and security ministers
were warned in Durban on Friday, that the region's unity and peace, was
being threatened by member states' differences over Zimbabwe.
Reached for comment on Friday night, Tsvangirai, the leader of the
majority faction in the Movement for Democratic Change, said: "I think we do
have to co-operate with the group and expedite the second phase which is to
start substantive negotiations."
"I am advised that the reference group with Mbeki is coming to Harare
on Monday to sign the memorandum of understanding and we will obviously sign
"It is a positive step and we look forward to finding the solution we
were looking for. Zimbabweans had suffered enough and its time for this (the
crisis) to come to an end."
The three man group, comprising special representatives from the
African Union, the United Nations, and SADC, was agreed upon on Friday at a
meeting attended by Mbeki, AU Commisioner Dr Jean Ping, UN envoy Haile
Menkerios and Angola's deputy foreign minister George Chikote, as well as
the South African facilitators.
Speaking on their behalf, Minister Sydney Mufumadi, described the
group as a "support mechanism".
He said Mbeki had "invited" the three men "to constitute a reference
group which will interact with the mediator on an ongoing basis in order to
ensure that we get through the mediator systematic support to continue with
the process of executing the task given to him by the SADC".
Tsvangirai has previously resisted entering into power sharing talks,
demanding that a second mediator be appointed to assist Mbeki, whom he
believes is not impartial.
Mufamadi said "we think it is important for the facilitators to have
the benefit of such input".
He said the group would be kept informed on an ongoing basis at a
strategic level and he said they would appoint people on the ground in the
country wherever the negotiations take place and that those appointees would
get "briefings on a daily basis from the facilitation team".
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon had accepted the move.
Speaking on his behalf, Menkerios said the UN security council had
supported Mbeki and SADC's efforts and that this new reference group allowed
this support "to find expression".
Angolan foreign minister Dr Joao Bernardo de Miranda on Friday told
his regional colleagues in Durban that regional differences over Zimbabwe
could threaten peace and unity.
Among those who have been openly critical of Mugabe, include Levy
Mwanawasa and Botswana's President Ian Khama, as opposed to the Zimbabwean
leader's traditional allies such as Angolan president Eduardo dos Santos.
Miranda, who chairs the SADC organ on politics, peace and security,
was speaking at the opening of its ministerial committee meeting, and warned
that the region was faced with an "unprecedented situation".
The organ is the body that mandated Mbeki to become the Zimbabwean
The Durban meeting was delayed by more than four hours to allow
Mbeki's talks in Pretoria to set up the reference group to conclude.
Speaking in Portuguese, which was translated into English and French,
Miranda referred to the "many interpretations" about last month's Zimbabwean
presidential run-off election.
"As a result the unity and cohesion of SADC is somehow fragilised
(sic). Such a fact... is a very dangerous precedent, a very worrying
situation because in fact it touches on the fundamental principles of our
organisation and which could constitute an obstacle to regional peace."
He warned that it could also scupper the implementation of steps
already taken for political integration, as well as social and economic
integration of our region.
"The situation in Zimbabwe is regrettably very complex, but should
lead us to a deep analysis about the principles provided in the Treaty of
SADC, in order to preserve our unity, as well as safeguard our gains,"
He told the minister present that it was their duty to defend and
fight for the organisaiton?s unity, irrespective of "the political positions
that we feel or even religious convictions which characterize our region".
Solidarity had always been the pillar of SADC's unity, Miranda said.
Sapa reports that a small group of Zimbabweans staged a protest near
Durban's International Convention Centre where the organ's meeting was
The small group held up a number of posters, including a banner which
read: "A Brave Africa can Save Zimbabwe."
All the protesters were wearing white shirts splattered with red ink.
July 19, 2008, 21:30
African Union Commission chairperson Jean Ping has arrived in Zimbabwe ahead
of the anticipated adoption of a memorandum of understanding, which is
expected to pave the way for talks between Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF and the
Ping has met with opposition leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube
who are representatives of the two MDC factions. It's widely speculated that
President Thabo Mbeki will be in Harare tomorrow for the signing ceremony.
Mbeki has been mediating preliminary talks between officials of Mugabe's
ruling Zanu-PF and the MDC to resolve the stand-off but some critics say he
has failed to make any progress and has favoured Mugabe with his soft
July 19, 2008
By Our Correspondent
BULAWAYO - WAR veterans have threatened to hold marches before taking over
foreign owned companies operating in Zimbabwe which they accuse of
increasing prices or indexing prices of basic goods to the foreign exchange
rate in an alleged bid to incite people to revolt against President Robert
Zimbabweans have experienced a surge in the prices of basic goods and
services as the local currency continues to tumble daily against major
currencies following President Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election in
a one candidate run-off election held on June 27.
The country's inflation rate - the highest in the world at over 2 million
percent, has continued to push the prices of basics goods and services
beyond the reach of struggling Zimbabweans who are battling the worst ever
Most businesses are also now pricing their goods and services according to
the foreign exchange rate or in some cases in foreign currency in yet
another sign of lack of confidence in the now worthless Zimbabwe currency.
The war veterans, however, say this is all meant to incite people to revolt
Jabulani Sibanda, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association
(ZNLWVA) chairman, yesterday warned businesspeople at a Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) meeting in Bulawayo that the ex-combatants were
angry with the business community and would take-over their operations to
"protect Zimbabweans against illegal price hikes".
Sibanda accused most companies of being used by the United Kingdom and the
United States of America to push for an illegal regime change agenda in the
country following the condemned run-off poll.
He said ex-combatants would take a lead, before the government, to
nationalize foreign owned companies by launching demonstrations against the
companies, accused of increasing prices, in the next few weeks before taking
over their operations.
"The government has delayed indigenization of foreign owned companies,"
Sibanda said. "War veterans have lost patience with companies who are
increasing prices daily or are charging in foreign currency and we will not
just watch while Zimbabweans are put through suffering.
"Foreign owned companies are being used by the Americans and the British to
remove President Mugabe illegally. Time has come for such companies to stop
price hikes or charging in foreign currency before the war veterans launch
widespread demonstrations against them. We will take-over their operations
to liberate Zimbabweans from the bondage of such colonialism."
Sibanda, who bounced back to Zanu-PF from a suspension through the back
door, last year orchestrated marches by war veterans to push for Mugabe's
endorsement as the sole ruling party candidate for the March 29 elections.
He lost the election to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The result was reversed in an election run-off on June 27. Tsvangirai
boycotted the election leaving Mugabe as the only candidate in an election
which officials say he won by a landslide.
The Zanu-PF leadership was intimidated by the marches and endorsed Mugabe as
candidate despite muffled protests.
"The police have failed to deal with unscrupulous businesses that are
increasing prices daily but as war veterans, we will not fail, as we are
trained to fight counter-revolutionists," Sibanda said.
"Let me warn those who are also charging in foreign currency that we are
coming. It is a warning and we do not want to hear you complaining when we
pounce on you.
"We know some have got money to hire the most brilliant lawyers but you must
know that when we come there will be no time for that and we will not be
deterred, we did it during the land reform and why would we fail Zimbabweans
War veterans, many of them too young to have participated in Zimbabwe's war
of liberation, are feared supporters of President Mugabe. They led a violent
pro-Mugabe campaign in the run up to the March 29 general election and the
June 27 run-off poll resulting in the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai pulling
out in protest.
President Mugabe, who blames businesses of conniving with the west to create
a crisis in a bid to incite Zimbabweans to revolt, last year, reacted to
ever-rising inflation by launching a crackdown on business to reverse their
prices by more than half.
The government has threatened to take over foreign owned companies in terms
of the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act, 2007. The bill has drawn
criticism from the opposition, economists and the business community amid
fears that it will scare away foreign investors at a time when the country
desperately needs support from the international community.
Saturday July 19 2008
Age has very few advantages but one of them undoubtedly is that every
morning I wake up I can at least be thankful that I am not God. I do not
have responsibility for who should live or die on this planet.
Three decades working with GOAL in the Third World would have taught me that
grand pronouncement and weighty judgments tend to return to bite you on the
behind. The recent article in these pages by Kevin Myers was surprising. Mr
Myers knows, like all columnists, that a little bit of incendiary comment
will keep the mailbags full, and may cause the airwaves to crackle a little.
All harmless stuff?
Sadly not in this case. Mr Myers didn't so much as cross some fine
humanitarian line, he took a bulldozer to it and dug it up, either oblivious
or indifferent to the damage he might do. Today, 26,000 children will die in
the Third World. They are human beings complete with all the capacity to
feel the unique tortures and Earth agonies that starvation brings.
They do not belong to some second division of humanity. They die not because
there is not enough food in the world to feed them, nor because they are too
poor; but because there is not the international will to save them. The
slender thread that can make the difference between saving lives in Africa
is that which connects them to the compassionate on this planet. It is
surprisingly strong and has saved the lives of millions but will never be
strong enough to save the lives of nearly one billion poor.
That is why taking a chainsaw to this thread is not the answer; a little
generosity has a disproportionate impact. Loose talk can also have a grossly
distorting effect. GOAL and other agencies in the NGO/Missionary sector have
literally taken children out of the sewers of Calcutta and put them into
university. Today's street child can be tomorrow's computer programmer if we
have the courage and vision to invest in them. It is difficult to get the
message through because we cannot compete in the media maelstrom. People are
bewildered by conflicting signals.
There is one useful rule to keep in mind, though. What is right is right,
and what is wrong is wrong. Can one imagine the furore that would develop,
God forbid, were it discovered that children had starved to death in the
heart of Dublin 4?
Yet when their suffering proves too much and they are forced to lie down and
close their eyes for the last time on the parched earth of Africa, there is
scarcely a murmur.
People do not need to be given reasons not to care, the opposite is the
case. The pace of modern living, the compulsions and pressures that drive us
make it very hard to make any space in our cluttered world for those who do
not fall immediately into our circle of contact.
But there is a wider world family that is called humanity, and if we succumb
to the school of thought that holds that we leave them all to allow the most
efficacious forms of population control now operating -- malaria -- what
kind of a world are we leaving for our children? We are debasing all our
humanities. There is no doubt that we will always bury more than we save,
but are the lifeboats to be all called ashore because the screams of the
drowning are too painful to listen to?
There is a massive imbalance between the world's resources, and no one ever
said that life was fair. But there is no shame in trying to improve the odds
of the destitute and the sick. Yes, there is much pain and suffering but
there are many committed to overcoming it; and however much the flame
flickers, we have to keep it burning.
Corruption is undeniably a huge impediment to our efforts. Mr Myers is right
to give this attention. Far too much aid is wasted by being given government
to government. Countries like Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania have benefited
by hundreds of millions from the Irish Government, despite the fact that
they have appalling records on graft, human rights abuses and, in the case
of Ethiopia, even genocide. Malawi was recently given €3m to be spent on
elections and a census -- a census! -- while the country is crippled with
the problems of poverty and rampant AIDS. The NGO/Missionary approach is
very different. We ask the people on the ground what we can do for you, and
we do what we can. We control spending and manage projects to the best
standards in business. Waste and theft are not issues for us.
Of course, it is to be greatly regretted that there is a lack of backbone
amongst Africans to stand up to robber barons like Robert Mugabe, bullies
like Yoweri Musevenis of Uganda and war mongers like Meles Zenawi of
It is equally valid to attack the cowardice and moral failure of the
international community. Where are the troops committed to protect the
people of Darfur? Some 300,000 deaths later, there is no evidence of them.
At a stroke, the lives of some three million people could be protected; but
pledges are one thing, meeting them quite another. Instead of hand-wringing
about Zimbabwe, we should be sending in international troops to guarantee
that fair elections can take place. But again there seems to be a collective
paralysis in the face of difficulties. At a time when our own Government has
just seen fit to cut €45m from this country's aid budget, it is especially
unfortunate to be making a case against helping Africa. Of course, there is
always the option of walking away, as favoured by your columnist and letting
the millions die their slow deaths. This happened, after all, at the heart
of Europe, and the name we gave to that obscenity was the Holocaust. The
difference then was that we didn't know. So the 'do-nothing' response is not
The thesis that it is better to let them starve or die from some preventable
disease rather than prolong their suffering is disturbing.
Which of us knows what the fates have in store for us? Which of us can
comfortably pronounce on who should thrive and who should die? Thankfully,
that weighty duty is beyond my meagre abilities. We seldom do enough and are
grateful for what we are able to give.
We don't have all the answers; but if we have any consolation it is that we
never walk away.
John O'Shea is CEO of GOAL, an international humanitarian organisation which
has been involved in helping the poor of Africa for 30 years
United Nations News Service
Date: 18 Jul 2008
Senior United Nations political official Haile Menkerios is in Pretoria,
South Africa, to further Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's efforts to help
resolve the political crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe, a spokesman for the
world body announced today.
Mr. Menkerios, who is Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, has
been in meetings with South African President Thabo Mbeki and with the
African Union Chairperson Jean Ping, Marie Okabe told reporters.
He was expected to be briefed on the state of the mediation efforts aimed at
resolving the ongoing dispute between President Robert Mugabe, who was sworn
in for another term after being declared the winner of the 27 June
presidential run-off, and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The Southern African nation has been plagued by deadly violence and a
worsening humanitarian situation since the first round of elections was held
on 29 March.
The mediation efforts are being led by South Africa at the request of the
South African Development Community (SADC).
Jul 19 2008 by Hannah Davies, The Journal
Hannah Davies speaks to Rev David Bedford whose recent visit to a church in
Zimbabwe has left him convinced Mugabe must go.
"IN my opinion Mugabe is an evil dictator. I'd put him in the same category
as Hitler in terms of how he's operating."
Strong words - but the experiences of Rev David Bedford, who last month
returned from a trip to Zimbabwe, have left him in no doubt as to what needs
to happen in the devastated country.
"Mugabe needs to go no matter what. Hopefully it will be peacefully but he
is an evil man and I don't think force could be ruled out."
David, 57, is a vicar at the Trinity Church on Gosforth High Street,
Newcastle. He first went to Nkulumane, Zimbabwe in 1992 to see the efforts
of the local people to build a church.
Following the £3.25m redevelopment of Trinity Church it was decided the
church should spread their good fortune with others.
"We wanted in the light of our good fortune to help another church in its
"As I had been out to Nkulumane and experienced their efforts to establish a
church, we decided it would be ideal to help them in creating their
"When you say a 'church' in Zimbabwe you mean a gathering of people, not
necessarily a building and we wanted to help them get that building." So far
over £5,000 has been raised for the Nkulumane church which is being put into
a new building.
The close links between Trinity and the Nkulumane church led to David and
church council member David Lowry flying out to Zimbabwe in June to visit
the church, but also to show their support to the community in difficult
David is married to Lorna, who also works at Trinity Church, Gosforth, they
have two children aged 23 and 21.
He says: "In 1992, it was a positive experience going to visit. The country
was starting to suffer under Mugabe but they didn't have the horrific
inflation and the roads were still OK. It was still a reasonable and an
exciting place to be. I was taken to Nkulumane, a township of about 500,000
people. It is a poor area, people there don't have many of the things we
take for granted.
"But given that last visit was 16 years ago, it was important we establish
the link with the church in person and stand with them in a very difficult
time. And we wanted to see how the money we gave was being used."
The Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel, and the
pair admit they were a little scared of what might happen during their trip.
David adds: "We were aware of the risk we were taking, the Foreign Office
advised essential travel only we were advised by the United Reformed Church
that officially we shouldn't go but unofficially we were given the choice
and encouraged to go.
"We had also had a lot of emails from the place we were visiting saying the
difficulties were mainly in rural areas not the urban areas. We did get
stopped by the police on a number of occasions. Perhaps if we had gone on
our own it would have been a different story but as it was we were
accompanied by Zimbabwean countrymen and we had no problems."
On arrival David was unprepared for quite how dramatically Zimbabwe had
"From the start the difference was obvious, we arrived by a small charter
plane instead of the Boeing I'd arrived in previously. Into a temporary
terminal which looked like it was going to be permanent."
The two Trinity Church members' journey to Nkulumane was in a decrepit car
along devastated roads.
"We had to stop twice to give the car a rest before we continued on our way.
It was in a sad state of repair."
They also stopped to buy petrol on their way, a vivid illustration of the
dire effects of hyper inflation on the country.
David Lowry, 52, a retired Northern Rock worker, explains: "At the time we
were there, petrol was $1.1bn a litre, it's since gone up to $20bn.
"When we were there it took us 20 minutes to count out the money to buy the
petrol and the person who was selling it to us another half an hour to check
it was all there."
The hyper inflation has also affected the donation of money towards building
the church in Nkulumane.
Trinity Church in Gosforth send out the money to Zimbabwe via Western Union
and as soon as it is received, it needs to be spent on materials and labour
to beat the inflation.
Despite the difficulties the church community in Nkulumane are facing, they
are managing to build the church thanks to the enthusiasm of the community
and the financial support of Trinity.
David says: "We attended services which were amazingly passionate. They went
on for hours and were full of the love of god.
"The community hopeful about their situation and that of Zimbabwe."
He says: "One thing which is not fading is the hope the people have that
Mugabe will be taken out of power.
"Everybody wants him gone, not one single person I spoke to was in support
"Compared to my last visit in 1992 Zimbabwe is a country in meltdown. That's
as a direct consequence of Mugabe's 28-year rule, there's no doubt at all
about that in my mind."
David comments: "We heard many stories about what was happening in rural
areas where there are less observers to the situation."
During the first round of the recent elections, which have been discounted
by international observers, David explains there are many accounts of people
being "persuaded" to vote for Mugabe using heavy-handed tactics.
He adds: "We heard plenty of stories about people being marched into polling
stations and ordered to vote for Mugabe, of thousands of votes from people
in the army being counted who didn't exist.
"Whole villages ordered to vote for Mugabe yet spoiling their ballot papers
or just refusing to vote for him."
It's a pretty harrowing account, and one which understandably outrages
Supermarkets, the equivalent of Sainsbury's or Tesco, are left with barely a
handful of items to stock on the shelves.
Their hosts decided to take them on a trip to the world-famous Victoria
Falls, a place David had visited on his previous trip in 1992.
"There was only a handful of tourists there, and this is one of the great
sights of the world," he remembers.
"We also went to the Huwangi National Park where we saw no one else, and at
the Chipangalli Wildlife we were the only visitors and saw animals in a
Despite the troubles of the Zimbabwean people, both Davids say the hope for
the county lies with the people who live there.
Rev Bedford said: "To say the people were welcoming would be an
"They embraced us as friends, sang songs to and for us, showered us with
rich hospitality and gave us gifts personally and for Trinity Church.
"They were delighted we'd come over and stood side-by-side with them in a
difficult and testing time as brothers and sisters in Christ in solidarity
and given them hope at a time when hope was a scarce commodity.
"To be with them was a privilege hard to explain.
"There is a huge faith there that god will out and things will change. In
beginning of June there were great hopes for the re run of the election, of
course they didn't get that ultimately but the faith remains strong."
If you would like to make a contribution to the Zimbabwe church, contact
David Bedford on email@example.com, or call (0191) 285-5130.
July 18, 2008
We often like to say that history holds important lessons for us, but as it
turns out we are seldom willing to learn. In recent years one of the most
horrific periods in Africa's history was the genocide in Rwanda. With the
true horror of those hundred days having been revealed, the world, its
collective conscience stricken with remorse and guilt, swore-"never again".
How soon we forget. A few years on and the world is once again confronted
with the extermination of hundreds of thousands of people in another part of
Africa-Darfur. It is being called upon to act and act decisively. As before,
there is still haggling over whether what is happening in Darfur is
genocide. There is not end to the excuses that have been used in the years
since the conflict first came to light. The world is doing it again.
The point of this paper is not to talk about Darfur or Rwanda, but to talk
about learning from the lessons that history holds for us in Zimbabwe. The
report of the Legal Resources Foundation and the Catholic Commission for
Justice and Peace should be mandatory reading for every Zimbabwean. It
details what has been euphemistically described as the "Matabeleland
Disturbances". But "disturbances" doesn't begin to cover the deaths of over
20 000 people. A disturbance is when a dog barks in the night, waking you up
form your sleep. It's annoying, but hardly fatal. It could even be when two
neighbours exchange words over the cutting down of a tree on a common
border. At worst, in these days of accommodation shortages, it might your
landlord telling you he now wants his rentals paid in hard currency
resulting in an argument. It's nasty, it's uncomfortable, it's inconvenient
(when you get evicted) but it is rarely life threatening. It is not a
"disturbance" when 62 people are lined up and shot-execution style as
happened at Cwele River in Lupane. It is not a disturbance when a government
to flush out less than 200 so-called dissidents, brings nearly 400 000
people to the brink of starvation by banning all food relief activities and
imposing a strict curfew on the movement of food supplies. All this in the
third successive year of a severe drought where people had no food apart
from drought relief from donors and what they could buy in stores.
A comparison of the events of those years to the events of the weeks leading
up to the June 27th election shows some startling similarities. It is clear
that the ruling party has drawn numerous lessons from history. I will
highlight just a few. Banning of independent media? That's nothing new.
During the period 1983-1987, journalists were banned from certain areas of
Matabeleland and the Midlands. No news on the crisis was getting out to the
rest of the country except government. For a lot of us in the country, we
swallowed hook, line and sinker the propaganda that we were fed, that the
government was fighting a legitimate war against some dissidents bent on
destabilising the country, never realising that at the same time, the
government was also waging a brutal war against its own unarmed people.
The ban on food relief and other humanitarian activities as was done by the
Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, before the run off? That too is
nothing new. In January 1984, the deployment of the Fifth Brigade coincided
with a strict curfew being imposed on stores in Mat South and a ban on all
food relief activity. Food is a useful tool to ensure compliance, especially
when people have few or no options.
What about disappearances and kidnappings? During the run up to the run off,
there were increased incidents of kidnappings. This too is nothing new. At
one time it was the modus operandi of choice of the Fifth Brigade. The CCJP
report notes that throughout the conflict, "there were cases of people who
disappeared. These became more common from mid-1983 onwards, and were at
their worst during 1985. This was an election year, and in early 1985,
possibly hundreds of people were detained under mysterious circumstances in
the middle of the night. Some of these were later released, but others have
never been seen again to this day. These people are believed to have been
taken mainly by CIO and PISI." It is clear that kidnapping, torture and
murder were lessons well learnt by those responsible for crafting the
re-election strategy of the ruling party. This strategy has been employed
consistently in all the election periods from 1985 to date. When there is
fear of being kidnapped and murdered, you learn not to participate in
anything that might put you at risk.
How about the militia/ war vets/youth brigade? Well, no prizes for guessing
that this too was a lesson well learnt from the ruling party's history. CCJP
reports that "from late 1984, there was an increase in violence in urban
centres as well as in rural areas. This was related to the upcoming election
(1985), and was once more aimed at ZAPU supporters rather than at
dissidents. The ZANU-PF Youth Brigades were responsible for much of this
violence..ZANU-PF Youth were modelled on the Chinese Red Guard, and were
groups of young men who forced people to attend ZANU-PF rallies, buy ZANU-PF
cards, and who beat anyone who stood in their way. Between June 1984 and
August 1985, they caused extensive damage ..This left around 4000 homeless,
hundreds injured and scores of people dead." Sounds chillingly similar to
what we saw happen in the period leading up to the June 27th run off. How
many people were frog marched to attend "re-education" and reorientation
camps? How many people were forced to buy party cards and how many still
were forced to wear or display ZANU PF regalia?
What about the torture methods that were employed? Nothing new there in
terms of the underlying thinking behind the torture. The point has been made
about the Gukurahundi that "all the techniques were calculated to maximise
terror, pain, grief and humiliation. The soldiers [ read CIO, youth militia,
war vets, hit squads]..set out to injure and mutilate human beings, to kill
them, but to do so in such evil cruel ways that the scars would be indelibly
etched in memories for generations to come. ..intended to leave this
civilian population with fear for the rest of their lives, for the horror to
be so great that they would pass the fear down to subsequent generations.
This is how he believed he would manage discontent in the region, and hold
onto power indefinitely." I would argue that this was the same thinking that
informed the horrific acts of torture that were inflicted on people
suspected of being MDC sympathisers after March 29, 2008 including gouging
out the eyes, cutting off the hands, burning people alive, cutting out
people's tongues and genitals and burning people's hands.
On December 22 1987, PF ZAPU and ZANU PF signed a unity agreement which
signalled the end of the violence. ZAPU and ZANU merged and the formation
became known as ZANU PF. Given the almost one sided violence that had
preceded the agreement, it appears to me that ZAPU was bludgeoned into
submission and so a government of national unity was forged. That Unity
Accord created a one-party state and that one party? ZANU PF. It therefore
marked the end of ZAPU as an opposition party. Therein lies the first
pitfall. A GNU does not mean we all start belonging to one political party.
There can be unity in diversity. We must put an end to political intolerance
which believes that unless you belong to my party, you do not have a right
Pitfall two; a government of national unity as defined by the ruling party
is one in which the ruling party calls the shots. It is a method of
co-opting members of the opposition and thereby compromising them. Offer
them a few cabinet posts and neutralise them. There goes the opposition. Yet
if there is one thing Zimbabwe needs, it is a viable opposition. Even if,
dare l say it, the identities of the parties were reversed?
The third lesson lies in the popularly acknowledged meaning of the word
"peace", being not the absence of war, but the presence of justice. The CCJP
report notes that "many people say that true national unity was not
achieved, that only a few leaders have benefited, and not the ordinary
people who suffered through these years. People have said that true unity
cannot take place until the Government is prepared to admit what happened
and to discuss it openly." A great disservice was done to the long term
recovery of Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans in the interest of short term, short
sighted "peace". The peace that was achieved was never going to be
sustainable because no one ever bothered to ensure that conditions were
created that would ensure that the 5 year "moment of madness" would never
happen again. Amnesty was granted in 1988 to all and sundry including those
people who were guilty of gross violations of human rights. At the time of
writing, the authors of the report made the important point that "it is
important that those responsible for human rights violations be removed from
positions which may enable them to violate human rights again in the
future.." That was never done, indeed those who were responsible for human
rights violations then are the same people who have been implicated in human
rights violations now. So we have come full circle now. Will the proposed
GNU put an end to impunity? There can be no lasting peace unless the State
terror machinery is dismantled. Mr Welshman Ncube must surely understand
demands for reform of the judiciary. I want the court to be a forum for
enforcing my constitutionally guaranteed rights as a citizen of this country
not a partisan forum used to hand out extra-judicially determined judgments.
That is not what you taught me Professor; back when you used to teach
Constitutional Law. Ms Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, must get me when l
say I want every woman to feel they can go the police and get protection and
not expect the police to be the perpetrators of violence. Isn't that what we
used to fight for madam? Back in the days when you used to fight for women's
human rights? Now Mr. Mangoma, I have not heard you speak but would like to
think you are man who is measured in his speech. The public broadcaster
should never be an instrument of hatred, spewing racist, tribalist and
xenophobic hate language in the partisan service of a few individuals.
Now l am sure there are those in the MDC (both formations), for whom being
an MP is their means of earning a living. Now a nice, plum token cabinet
post would be very welcome right about now, thank you. So who cares about a
little detail such as the 105 people who died as a result of holding
different political views? I mean 20 000 people have died before and there
has been no justice for them either has there? This proposed political
settlement had better not be aimed at benefiting a few people high in the
MDC party structures. This is why l am all for having the negotiated
settlement be a transitional arrangement that is time-bound. At the end of
that period, not more than 12 -18 months, we should have conditions for free
and fair elections. In the fullest sense.
The authors of the CCJP report make the important point that "unity is a
good thing to aim for, to try and truly bring together people from different
regions of the country. This is for the sake of all our children who may
otherwise face violence in the future. Such unity only seems likely if all
Zimbabweans face up to what happened ..and take steps to prevent government
soldiers (read to also mean JOC, CIO, militias, war vets and youth brigades)
from ever torturing civilians again in Zimbabwe." The violence we have
experienced in the years since 1987 has been a result of the failure at that
time, to take steps to prevent the use of those institutions of the State to
inflict torture on unarmed civilians, all in the service of a few
individuals. ZAPU failed to demand a reform of State Institutions. Perhaps
that was because once they got a taste of power and all the perks that came
with it, calls for democracy soon became an irritating inconvenience.
Perhaps that is why we have people who were once at the receiving end of
persecution for their political beliefs, now being worse perpetrators. The
MDC (both formations) should not make that mistake again. We should reign in
those who would make deals motivated by self interest.
A reform of institutions should ensure a return of the culture of
accountability and an end to impunity. Mr Tendai Biti, this can start with
scrapping all laws that have been used to perpetuate abuse of people's human
rights and freedoms. Please make sure that the violence preceding the June
29 election farce is properly investigated and the perpetrators punished.
Give victims of violence a voice. Amnesties and Presidential pardons have
been abused in this country and this has bred a culture of impunity. I will
again reiterate the demands made by CCJP and Legal Resources Foundation all
those years ago. Those found guilty of human rights abuses should never be
put/or remain in positions where they can again at some future point murder,
rape and plunder. Ever. That mistake was made once. It should not be made
A simple and yet profound statement is made by the authors of the
Gukurahundi report who state that "This story is not just about the past,
but about how the past affects the present. There are many problems that
remain in communities as a result of what happened..." Mr. Arthur Mutambara,
it is a false peace that does not acknowledge that there are many whose
loved ones disappeared and have not been seen since and whose souls cry out
everyday for closure and healing. It is a false peace that ignores the
demands for recompense of those who have been mutilated and who now must
live with disability. It is a false peace which ignores the cries of a four
year old child whose mother was murdered in front of his very eyes. We want
a society which upholds the sanctity of life, not leaders who refer to
fellow human beings as "tsvina" (dirt) (as in Operation Murambatsvina) or
"hundi" (chaff) (as in Gukurahundi)
Finally, Mr Tsvangirai "peace is not an absence of war; it is a virtue, a
state of mind, a disposition for benevolence (kindness, compassion),
confidence (belief or trust in somebody to act in a proper, trustworthy or
reliable manner), justice (fairness especially in the way people are
treated)" Baruch Spinoza (Definitions added). Don't make all those people
who voted for you and who died in pursuit of democratic ideals regret ever
placing their trust in you.
HARARE, July 19, 2008 - Zimbabwe's Registrar general has increased
passport fees by more than 2000 percent with effect from last Thursday.
An ordinary passport for an adult now costs Z$1 trillion up from Z$500
million while an ordinary passport for children under 12 years now costs
Z$500 billion from the previous fee of Z$300 million.
An adult executive passport processed within 24-hours now costs Z$5
trillion, up from Z$1 billion in April this yea while a similar one for a
child now costs Z$2,5 trillion from Z$800 million.
The cost of urgent passports also went up with effect from July 17,
2008. An urgent passport processed within three working days now costs Z$3
trillion from Z$800 million for an adult and Z$1,5 trillion for children
under 12 years.
MASVINGO, July 19 2008 - More than 5000 tonnes of sugar is being
illegally smuggled out of Zimbabwe on a weekly basis, leaving the domestic
market with a heavy deficit and prejudicing the State of the much-needed
foreign currency, the sugar milling industry has revealed.
Sugar has a ready market in neighbouring countries after finding its
way across the country's borders through undesignated exit points where it
will fetch higher prices in foreign currency. Some of it may end being
imported back into Zimbabwe.
Addressing journalists this week, Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry
Workers' Union (ZISMIWU) secretary-general Ardmore Hwarare said a lot of the
scarce commodity is being exported to neighboring Mozambique via the
Chikwalakwala border post, where security is said to be lax.
"A lot of sugar is being illegally exported to neighboring countries
through secluded exit points by large syndicates who sell the commodity in
foreign currency, thus creating artificial shortages in the country," he
Hwarare said the weekly production of 250 000 tonnes of sugar is
enough to service the domestic market, but the rampant illegal exports of
the commodity, coupled with the malfunctioning of some milling plants,
create artificial shortages of the product.
"The weekly production is sufficient for the nation, but the problem
is that some dealers exploit the high demand of sugar outside the country
and thus create artificial shortages on the local market," said Hwarare.
The sugar shortages being experienced in the country and that has also
seen the product fetching exorbitant prices on the parallel market, will
persist if the scam is not stopped, Hwarare added. Currently, a 2-kg of
brown sugar is now charged in the South African currency, costing R20.
Annually, Triangle and Hippo Valley Estates, the country's top sugar
millers and refineries in the Lowveld, produce more than 80 billion tones of
sugar which should be enough to supply the whole country. But economic
analysts have warned the rampant sugar scam will not end for as long as a
realistic pricing mechanism is not put in place in Zimbabwe.
10:30 - 19 July 2008
I share completely the feeling of the Zimbabwean Conrad Nyamutata when he
says that his country has been stolen and betrayed (First Person, July 12).
As an Indian who was born in Uganda, my blood boils when I see the
sufferings of the people of Zimbabwe.
When the world is trying to end the cruel regime in Harare, the betrayal
from South Africa is upsetting. Mr Mbeki says there is no crisis when there
is a crisis. His mediation is laughable.
Now Russia and China have betrayed the Zimbabwean people by vetoing the
United Nations resolution on sanctions. These countries are governed by self
Where is humanity when we see suffering of people of Zimbabwe and Darfur and
in other countries where innocent people are being driven back to the Stone
All people now should campaign for proper democracy everywhere so that
people can live in peace and harmony.
I would agree with President Bush on one point when he said that democracy
and freedom are the key to peace and prosperity. I have never agreed with
President Bush's disastrous foreign policy but his point on democracy is
Shining examples of democracy include India, Singapore and Botswana, but
Britain has the best democracy which no country can beat.
Kishor Raja, Leicester.
By Ephraim Nsingo
HARARE, Jul 19 (IPS) - There is a general consensus in Zimbabwe that the
only way out of the current crisis is dialogue between the two main
political parties, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the Zimbabwe
African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF).
But there appear to be vast differences over what that dialogue should lead
to. Some believe the dialogue should lead to a Kenya-style government of
national unity (GNU) involving ZANU PF and the two MDC formations - one led
by Morgan Tsvangirai and the other by Arthur Mutambara. Others argue the
negotiations should lead to the writing of a new constitution, which and
eventually to fresh elections.
However, substantive talks between the parties have not resumed as the two
parties have each submitted a list of pre-conditions. The MDC has demanded
an end to the ongoing violence in areas such as Manicaland, where villagers
are being victimised for supporting the opposition. The party has also
proposed that all engagements be on the basis of Tsvangirai's performance in
presidential poll of March 29. On its part, Zanu PF insists that the MDC
should recognise Mugabe as the duly elected leader of Zimbabwe.
On July 15, over 200 leaders of civil society organisations met in the
capital, Harare, and agreed that there was need for a transitional
leadership for Zimbabwe. The civil society organisations, led by
constitutional reform activist and lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, said the
transitional government should be led by a neutral person.
"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," said Madhuku.
In a later interview with IPS, Madhuku said a power-sharing agreement
between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations "fails to immediately address the
inadequacy of the current constitutional regime."
"We believe the best alternative is to have a transitional authority led by
a person who is not a member of ZANU PF or the MDC. At the moment, I do not
have a name in mind, but there are certainly many Zimbabweans who have such
credentials. This is not a permanent arrangement, a transition is just for a
specific time frame and has a specific mandate, to lead us to fresh
elections under a new, people-driven, democratic constitution," said
This proposal was however rejected by MDC spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, who
said civil society leaders "are not being realistic."
Said Chamisa: "President Tsvangirai won the presidential elections, based on
the March 29 results. For all intents and purposes, he should lead any
transitional arrangement. 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?"
Chamisa received the backing of Clever Bere, leader of the Zimbabwe National
Students Union. "With all due respect, Tsvangirai should lead whatever
arrangement is there, or else there is disengagement. He won the last
credible election held on March 29," he said.
But Madhuku accused the MDC, which has in the past received serious backing
from civil society, of taking people for granted by not making their agenda
"Even as they go into those negotiations, it is still not clear what they
want. They agenda is not clear at all. MDC came at a time when people were
frustrated thus they managed to gain massive support without much effort.
They never learnt how to gain respect from the people, that is why many
politicians in the MDC are reckless in the way they deal with certain
The former Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo believes "there is no way
forward for Zimbabwe outside a GNU."
"The major reason that makes negotiations on a GNU necessary is because
there is no single party in the House of Assembly that has the required
minimum number of seats to either control Parliament or form a government...
What remains to be seen is who will be what in the government of national
unity," said Moyo.
In terms of the Zimbabwean Constitution, a party should have at least two
thirds of the 210 seats in the house to be able to pass legislation.
(Tsvangirai's wing of the MDC won 100 seats in the March elections against
99 for ZANU PF. the Mutambara faction of the MDC took 10 seats and there is
also one independent MP.)
Although this would still not give them an absolute voting majority, Moyo
called on the two MDC formations to formalise their agreement to function as
Said Moyo: "One clear failure of the MDC Tsvangirai is that to this day it
does not have a binding or functional agreement with the MDC Mutambara to
cooperate in Parliament. In fact, the MDC Mutambara formation is continuing
to participate in the SADC dialogue as a fully fledged opposition party with
all of its rights still reserved. Tsvangirai would have been strategic had
he succeeded in ensuring that the two MDCs participated in the dialogue as
one voice. He has lost that opportunity and with it he may have lost the
opportunity to control Parliament, having already lost the presidency."
In the run up to the March elections, Moyo forged an alliance with the MDC
Tsvangirai that the party would not field a candidate against him, so that
he could also back Tsvangirai's bid for the presidency.
Acclaimed University of Zimbabwe political science professor, Eldred
Masunungure, said the MDC's unclear position on the talks was because
incoherent views among senior members of the party.
"These contradictions confuse the electorate, the party's stakeholders and
those who are supposed to mediate, and other players in the process. There
is need for the party to streamline their line of communication and have one
party spokesperson, and a clear party position," said Masunungure.
On the proposal that a neutral figure be chosen to lead a transitional
dispensation, Masunungure said "given the current polarization of our
politics, it may be difficult to get a neutral figure to independently carry
out his/her mandate."
"The parties have to swallow their pride and come up with practical
solutions for the nation. Of course, there would be some risks and
casualties here and there, but that is the only way out. The nature of the
transition: that is the detail of the dialogue, that is what the talks have
to tackle," said Masunungure.
Enter women activists. Rita Nyamuranga, from the Women's Coalition of
Zimbabwe (WCoZ) -- a grouping of women's organisations in Zimbabwe -- said
women were "not adequately represented in the negotiations".
"As long as there are no women in those talks, there is no way they can
succeed. Women form the largest constituency of this country, and should
play a key role in the negotiations," she said.
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga is the only woman participating the talks
being brokered by South African president Thabo Mbeki.
Morgan Tsvangirai's home is in Strathaven, Harare.
There are two cars parked on a daily basis either side of his road - about
500m to 1 km away, distance varies. His security guards are aware of these
The drivers are aggressive and rude and monitor Mr. Tsvangirai's and his
visitor's every movement.
Registration Nos. AAM 4531 - ABD 3803 - AAW 6286 - AAR 6537
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Steve H. Hanke, CATO
Institute July 25, 2008
Steve H. Hanke, CATO
Institute July 25, 2008
July 25, 2008
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The hallmark of Zimbabwe's economic collapse is hyperinflation. The most recent official inflation figure is for February 2008: a whopping 165,000 percent year-over-year. At present (early June 2008), inflation is unofficially about 2.5 million percent a year. Not surprisingly, the Zimbabwe dollar has lost more than 99.9 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar during the past year.
Zimbabwe's hyperinflation is destroying the economy, pushing more of its inhabitants into poverty, and forcing millions of Zimbabweans to emigrate. Between 1997 and 2007, cumulative inflation was nearly 3.8 billion percent, while living standards fell by 38 percent.
The source of Zimbabwe's hyperinflation is the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's money machine. The government spends, and the RBZ finances the spending by printing money. The RBZ has no ability in practice to resist the government's demands for cash. Accordingly, the RBZ cannot hope to regain credibility anytime soon. To stop hyperinflation, Zimbabwe needs to immediately adopt a different monetary system.
Any one of three options can rapidly slash the inflation rate and restore stability and growth to the Zimbabwean economy. First is "dollarization." This option would replace the discredited Zimbabwe dollar with a foreign currency, such as the U.S. dollar or the South African rand. Second is a currency board. Under that system, the Zimbabwe dollar would be credible because it would be fully backed by a foreign reserve currency and would be freely convertible into the reserve currency at a fixed rate on demand. Third is free banking. This option would allow commercial banks to issue their own private notes and other liabilities with minimum government regulation.
Central banking is the only monetary system that has ever created hyperinflation and instability in Zimbabwe. Prior to central banking, Zimbabwe had a rich monetary experience in which a free banking system and a currency board system performed well. It is time for Zimbabwe to adopt one of these proven monetary systems and discard its failed experiment with central banking.
*Steve H. Hanke is a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
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HARARE, July 19 2008 - There were shocks and surprises, when the
Zimbabwe Olympic team was officially unveiled on Friday night, with Cara
Black's husband Brett Stephens, (47) being appointed the international
tennis icon's manager and coach at the Games.
The 31-year-old Black tied the knot with her long-time boyfriend,
Australian mental and fitness trainer Brett Stephens in August 2005.
According to his curriculum vitae the 47 year-old Stephens is a former
footballer. Stephens was a key position player originally from Croydon, and
had stints at Essendon, North Hobart and Sydney, before moving from East
Perth Football Club to the VFL's Fitzroy Football Club in Australia.
He retired in 1993 with 133 games and 54 goals under his belt.
Women's tennis doubles specialist Cara Black will be travelling to
Beijing after she received a wildcard to represent Zimbabwe in the women's
Kirst Coventry, the icon of Zimbabwean swimming, will once again lead
the country's medal hunt at this year's Olympic Games, when the world's
biggest sporting showcase explodes into life in Beijing, China, next month.
Coventry, the current world women's 200m backstroke record holder,
became Zimbabwe's sporting heroine when she grabbed three memorable medals -
one gold, one silver and one bronze - at the last Olympic Games in Athens,
Greece, in 2004.
Another surprise inclusion was suspended United States based Brian
Dzingai, who was largely expected to be axed after being slapped with a one
year ban by the National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (NAAZ).
Dzingai was suspended for insulting athletics association president,
Joseph Mungwari. Zimbabwe Olympic Committee official, Robert Mutsauki, said
they had invested heavily in Dzingai and could not just slam the door on the
The Zimbabwe Olympic Games Team
Young Talkmore Nyongani, Brian Dzingai, Lewis Banda, Cutbert Nyasango,
Ngonidzashe Makusha, Mike Fokorani, Tabitha Tsatsa. Coach/manager: Tendai
Kirsty Coventry, Heather Brand. Coach: Kim Brackney. Manager - Kathy
Cara Black. Coach/manager: Brett Stephens.
Chris Felgate. Manager: Kathy Lobb.
Antipas Kwari. Coach/manager: Wayne Davidson.
Elana Susan Hill. Coach/manager: Kerrie Mackie.
Chef de mission - Thabani Gonye. Medical team - Munhamo Chipandu (team
doctor), Gillian Mudzengi (physiotherapist), Gareth Ziyambi
Youth Team manager and administration manager - Stanley Mutoya. Press
attache - Lovemore Banda.