July 24, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Zanu-PF's powerful Politburo met Wednesday in Harare for a
brainstorming session on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), and
unanimously resolved to proceed with the inter-party talks, while insisting
that President Robert Mugabe retains his office.
It was the first Zanu-PF meeting after President Robert Mugabe and MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai put pen to paper Monday in signing a MoU setting
the framework for two weeks of dialogue centering on the establishment of an
The signatories, who included Prof Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway
MDC faction, committed themselves to "putting an end to the polarisation,
divisions, conflict and intolerance that have characterised our country's
politics", and to creating "a society free of violence, fear, intimidation,
hate, patronage and corruption".
Other items on the MoU agenda include issues to do with hate speech,
election violence, rule of law, freedom of assembly, a new constitution for
Zimbabwe, and the rebuilding the economy.
The Zanu-PF deputy secretary for information and publicity Ephraim Masawi
said all the 49-members of the party's politburo received feedback from
President Mugabe on the agenda of the MoU.
"We unanimously resolved to proceed with the talks," he said.
Immediately after the politburo meeting, Zanu-PF's emissaries to the talks,
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas
Goche together with Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya-Moyo,
who also sits on the Politburo, flew out to South Africa.
The substantive inter-party negotiations are expected to start in earnest
Thursday, amid reports representatives from both MDC factions are already in
Senior Zanu-PF members confirmed that the party's emissaries had been
briefed to accept nothing less than a government of national unity, in which
Zanu-PF and the MDC would govern together, with Mugabe, 84, retaining his
presidency and Tsvangirai being co-opted as a junior partner, possibly as
The politburo also resolved to reject outright suggestions for a
transitional authority mandated with overseeing free and fair elections.
The Zimbabwe Times heard that outrage was expressed in the meeting over the
expanded sanctions list issued in Brussels Wednesday, with the commissariat
reportedly complaining that it was a sign the MDC was negotiating in bad
faith. Zanu-PF accused the MDC of prevailing on Western nations to impose
economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The meeting resolved, however, that dialogue should be given a chance.
The party's negotiating team was tasked with ensuring that they come up with
a deal within two weeks that is acceptable to Zanu-PF.
"The MDC would have to accept Mukuru as the democratically elected Head of
State, otherwise these talks are going nowhere," said our source. The word
"mukuru", which is Shona for an elderly person, was used in reference to
The Zanu-PF politburo apparently also decided to press ahead with plans to
amend Zimbabwe's constitution to create a post for Tsvangirai.
The prospect of Mugabe stepping down from office had not even arisen at the
meeting, our source said.
July 24, 2008
By Our Correspondent
A GOVERNMENT-enforced price blitz on enterprises it accuses of working with
western nations to effect regime in the country seems to be backfiring, with
employment levels recently plunging by 12.2 percent.
The shrinkage in the employment levels was revealed by the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) on Wednesday at the launch of its manufacturing
The CZI reported that its survey which sampled 100 companies in six cities
had revealed that employment had drastically declined in 2007 owing to a
combination of problems in the country's manufacturing sector. Chief among
them was a government enforced price crackdown which forced manufacturers
and retailers to slash prices of commodities by 50 percent last June.
The survey covered the cities Bulawayo, Harare, Mutare, Kwekwe, Redcliff and
"Naturally employment levels continue to fall in tandem with reduced
business activity. Based on the sample surveyed, employment numbers declined
by 12.2 percent in 2007 from the sampled numbers," reads part of the CZI's
report which was launched at a breakfast meeting in the capital Wednesday.
The CZI said output in the manufacturing sector shrank by 28 percent in 2007
in comparison to a decline of 18 percent in 2006.
The CZI blamed the dysfunctional pricing policy, reduced demand as a result
of low disposable incomes, restricted access to foreign currency accounts
(FCAs), rising production costs and a highly demoralized workforce for the
plunge in industrial output.
"Given that the sector has dropped by 28 percent versus a decline of 12.2
percent in employment levels, it can be deduced that idle time at work has
increased significantly. Unfortunately, the combination of idleness and a
wage lower than a living wage can lead to higher levels of pilferage and
crime at work places," the CZI said.
Most manufacturers were forced to stop production after President Robert
Mugabe ordered them to cut prices of goods and services by half to make them
affordable to consumers. The government accused manufacturers and retailers
of unnecessarily hiking prices of commodities to make his Zanu-PF party,
which lost both the March parliamentary and the presidential elections,
unpopular with the electorate. However, the price controls resulted in the
emptying of supermarket shelves and most retailers have failed to restock
Manufacturers deny charges of profiteering and instead blame the government
for mismanaging the once vibrant economy.
Wednesday, 23 July 2008 16:02
As Britain pushes for tougher European Union sanctions, ZANU (PF)
apparatchiks are setting up new routes through Malaysia. Central to this new
arrangement is Mugabe business ally Enoch Kamushinda, who has been living in
Malaysia since 2004. Kamushinda recently sold 60% of his shareholding in
Metropolitan Bank to the wholly respectable Nairobi-based Loita Capital
Partner International. This allowed Kamushinda to open his financial
investment firm in Kuala Lumpur where Mugabe holidayed earlier this year.
He also which advises the President on his business portfolio.
There are several other companies involved. We hear, former Army Chief
General Solomon Mujuru uses a British-registered company to move money
through Parlovan Investments, a Harare-based money transfer agency he
Some of these cash exporting businesses are led by high profile
foreigners such Nicholas van Hoogstraten. In other cases, the foreigners
take on a purely functional role as accountants, private bankers or lawyers.
London-based barristers David Oliver QC and Benjamin Shaw instructed by
Reed Smith are working for a nominee-company representing President
Mugabe's government in Britain, but they are acting entirely within the
Earlier this month, a judge granted AMG Global Nominees an appeal
hearing for 3 November in its long-running fight to take control of the
London-listed Africa Resources Limited (ARL) and its asbestos mines, owned
by Zimbabwean businessman Mutumwa Mawere (AC Vol 49 No 12).
An article on 27 June in Zimbabwe's daily state mouthpiece The Herald
let slip that AMG Global Nominees 'represents Government [sic] interests'.
AMG Administrator Afaras Gwaradzimba, appointed by Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, said in an interview that AMG had received 'US$2 million from the
Reserve Bank' in a bid to force Mawere to divest control in ARL. Charles
Hewetson, a partner at Reed Smith, told AC that Gwaradzimba was
independently appointed and the government's relationship with AMG was as a
creditor to the asbestos mines. - Used with permission from Africa
By Daniel Howden and Tom Armitage in Zurich
Thursday, 24 July 2008
The Mugabe regime's final lifeline is a small Vienna-based software company
that helps it to keep printing the money it relies on for its survival, The
Independent can reveal.
Jura JSP, an Austro-Hungarian firm with just 50 employees, has been dealing
with the pariah government in Harare, enabling it to keep ahead of its
hyperinflation crisis. Officials at the company confirmed yesterday that it
supplied the licences and software used to design and print the Zimbabwe
dollar, but would review this position if required to do so by the EU.
Fresh EU sanctions announced yesterday do not cover all companies dealing
with the Mugabe regime, but other firms named and shamed for profiting from
the Zimbabwe crisis have cut all links. The software company enables the
regime to print the money it uses to pay the army, police and security
agents which keep Zanu PF in power. Without access to paper money, Mr Mugabe
would face an immediate crisis.
Inflation is running at nearly three million per cent and the country issued
a 100 billion dollar banknote this week, worth only about 7p. The economist
say John Robertson said inflation was the greatest threat to the ruling
party and the rate was likely to climb to 100 million per cent within the
next month. "If the software is withdrawn there is no language to describe
what would follow," he said.
Paper is running out at the state-run mint Fidelity Printers and Refiners
after the Bavarian company Giesecke and Devrient stopped deliveries last
week following pressure from the German government. Now Austria and Hungary
are expected to come under diplomatic pressure to follow Berlin's lead.
After withstanding years of intense international criticism, targeted
sanctions and domestic pressure, a move against the software supplier could
be a decisive blow against Mr Mugabe, analysts said. And with crucial
negotiations getting under way in South Africa today between the government
and the opposition, the timing could be critical. David Coltart, an
opposition senator, said: "If the company does stop supplying then that will
show the regime that there is no place to hide and that the game is up...
That may then even assist the negotiations."
In Harare, supplies of paper money are already running out. The embattled
Central Reserve Bank has capped daily withdrawals to 100 billion dollars per
person, but this is barely enough to buy a bus ticket or a loaf of bread.
Long queues appear from first light at banks throughout the country in a
daily battle to survive.
The regime's answer to economic meltdown - driven by its own looting of
state and private assets - has been to print more and more worthless money,
creating unprecedented hyperinflation and the prospect of trillion or
quadrillion dollar notes in the coming months.
While Mr Mugabe and his circle of cronies have proven deaf to international
calls to hold free and fair elections, his government continues to rely on
its control of the central bank and the Fidelity money presses which until
recently ran 24 hours a day to keep up with the crisis. Trades union leaders
appealed to the government yesterday to lift the cap on withdrawals of
Z$100bn, describing it as a "joke". As recently as 2006 the central bank was
still issuing a Z$50 note.
* A new list of Zimbabwean targets for sanctions, including asset freezes
and travel bans, by the European Union includes the central bank governor,
Gideon Gono, the attorney general Bharat Patel and the cricket chairman
Peter Chingoka. Most of the 37 targets posted on the EU website are security
officers, "directly involved in the terror campaign" waged around the
Mail and Guardian
ALEXANDRA LESIEUR | JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - Jul 24 2008 07:00
South Africa and the European Union hold their first-ever summit in the
French city of Bordeaux on Friday but divergent positions on ways of
tackling the political crisis in Zimbabwe have cast a pall over the event.
Africa's top economy and the EU, its biggest investor, want to take their
relationship to a "new level" at the summit, attended by French President
Nicolas Sarkozy -- whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU --
South Africa's Thabo Mbeki and European Commission chief Jose Manuel
"The Republic of South Africa is the main regional power in Africa and a
member of the group of emerging countries. It is one of the drivers of
growth in the continent and a success story that refutes Afro-pessimism,"
the EU said in a statement.
It said the summit aimed "at taking relations between the EU and South
Africa to the next level".
The South African government was equally upbeat, saying "one of the main
goals is to deepen relations between the European Union and South Africa".
But the diametrically opposed positions of the two sides on seeking an end
to the protracted political crisis in South Africa's northern neighbour,
Zimbabwe -- ruled since its 1980 independence from Britain by President
Robert Mugabe -- looms large.
The EU on Tuesday widened sanctions against Zimbabwe despite a deal between
hard-line President Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai aimed at
finding a solution.
EU foreign ministers added 37 more people to a list of individuals under a
visa ban and whose assets have been frozen, as well as four companies, and
threatened to take further action.
The list -- which had already included Mugabe, his wife and other senior
officials -- now totals 168 people and four companies, and sees the EU for
the first time target businesses and those who run them.
Mbeki, who has been widely criticised for treating Mugabe with kid gloves,
managed to broker a deal between Mugabe and the opposition on a framework
for talks on a future government.
Mugabe was re-elected in a run-off last month after Tsvangirai pulled out,
citing a campaign of intimidation and violence against his supporters that
had killed dozens and injured thousands.
The EU sees Mugabe as a tyrant who has stifled human rights and democracy
and led the once-model economy to ruin. The country has the world's highest
Mbeki, on the other hand has so far failed to publicly criticise Mugabe, and
appears vociferously opposed to any attempt to arm-twist the octogenarian
Although not on the agenda, the Zimbabwean impasse could mar the
proceedings, officials said.
"It's almost inevitable given that it's the key crisis in Southern Africa at
the moment," an EU official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"South Africa has quite an important role in resolving that," the official
said, describing South Africa as a "key protagonist".
A source at the European Commission said: "Zimbabwe is always on the agenda
during meetings with the South Africans but we are not expecting anything
But both sides said other key issues would include the situation in African
flashpoints in Chad and Sudan's violence-riven Darfur region, the ongoing
world trade talks and the establishment of a free trade area between the EU
and South Africa by 2012.
Bilateral trade has increased more than five-fold between 1994 and 2007 from
R56,5-billion to R313-billion, according to South African figures.
South African exports to the EU totalled R137-billion last year while
imports were worth R176-billion.
Friday's summit will be preceded by a ministerial meeting headed by South
African Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her French
counterpart, Bernard Kouchner.
There are two declarations due to be adopted at the ministerial meeting: a
common stand on climate change and another on the role of the private sector
in improving the fortunes of the world's poorest continent. -- Sapa-AFP
HARARE, July 24 2008 - A new European Union sanctions list agreed by
the grouping on Monday in Brussels includes two state media journalists.
The list which added 37 individuals and four companies to an already
existing list of 130 members of president Robert Mugabe's government, has on
its latest roll call two of President Mugabe's rabid backers within the
The two are Munyaradzi Huni the Political Editor of the weekly state
owned Sunday Mail and Caesar Zvayi the Political and Features Editor of the
state owned daily the Herald.
The two journalists are accused of propagating hate among the people
of Zimbabwe through their stories.
Also included on the list is an unnamed doctor who is accused of
having refused to treat victims of political violence, the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) Gideon Gono, Attorney General Bharat Patel, Zimbabwe Cricket
chairman Peter Chingoka and several other security forces chiefs who are
accused of having masterminded the terror campaign against innocent
July 24, 2008
By Our Correspondent
BULAWAYO - The government has abruptly stopped providing subsidized fuel to
public passenger transporters in Bulawayo, after the surprise launch of the
facility two weeks before the June 27 presidential election run-off.
Under the facility the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) provided
highly subsidised fuel to public passenger transporters in the city, while
enforcing the display of President Robert Mugabe's campaign posters on their
vehicles ahead of the controversial and violent election re-run. Mugabe's
arch-rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) later boycotted the poll.
The subsidy to bus operators was regarded as open abuse of public funds by
Zanu-PF to win support for Mugabe in Bulawayo, an MDC stronghold.
Strike Ndlovu, chairman of the Bulawayo United Public Transporters'
Association confirmed yesterday that the service had been discontinued with
no explanation being offered.
Bulawayo Governor, Cain Mathema, who spearheaded the initiative, has gone
silent about the fuel facility.
"They are saying nothing about the facility," said Ndlovu.
"The service was stopped shortly after the election. We have been trying to
speak to the governor, and he promised that we would get some fuel on
Tuesday this week, but the day passed without a word."
Ndlovu said during the period of the subsidy government officials from the
provincial governor's offices would visit bus terminuses and direct
transport operators to drive their buses to Mzilikazi Fuel Station where
they got the supplies.
"We used to get 30 litres per day for the small 18-seater buses and 40
litres for 30-seater buses," said Ndlovu.
"The facility helped us a lot, although the fuel was not enough to cover all
our requirements. As a result we would park our vehicles after doing a few
trips. Now, the situation is difficult for us because fuel is very expensive
and the price is also unstable."
Ndlovu said that following the termination of the fuel subsidy operators had
reverted to sourcing the commodity on the black market where five litres of
fuel cost $800 billion yesterday.
During the subsidy operators were able to reduce fares from $4 billion -
quite a significant amount of money then for an average commuter - to $500
In return the operators had to display President Mugabe's campaign posters,
featuring his photograph and his campaign theme; "100 percent empowerment:
Total Independence." They were required to display the posters in front of,
at the back, on the sides and inside their vehicles.
Commuters who spoke to The Zimbabwe Times were yesterday irate with the
government, accusing it of using public resources for the political gain of
Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
Melody Mathe, a resident of Luveve 5, said: "I am surprised that the supply
(of cheap fuel) has been stopped without explanation. The service helped us
a lot considering that bus fares increase nearly every five days yet our
wages do not rise like that. It is clear; they used NOCZIM to appear as if
they care very much about the commuting public."
Another commuter, Nomthandazo Ngwenya said Zanu-PF's unusual campaign
strategies whereby it appears to care for voters on the eve of elections
before forgetting about them after the polls would backfire at some point.
"It is not only fuel, but you will remember that Mathema was going around
the city with cheap maize meal, cooking oil and sugar just before the June
27 presidential election," she said. "He is nowhere to be seen now."
July 24, 2008
MUTARE - A junior government minister faces possible arrest after he defied
a High Court order to vacate a banana plantation in Burma Valley, south-east
of Mutare, which he invaded in September last year.
Hubert Nyanhongo, Deputy Minister of Transport and Communication, invaded
Eldorado of Gwindingwi Farm owned by John Vorster. He proceeded to harvest a
crop of bananas worth US$15 000.
Farming equipment and implements including six tractors and 45 tonnes of
fertilizer, all valued at US$1 million were stolen during the invasion.
Vorster's lawyer, Victor Mazengero of Mugadza, Mazengero and Dhliwayo Legal
Practitioners of Mutare, now wants the Deputy Minister arrested for defying
a High Court order to vacate and stop disrupting farming operations on the
"He is in contempt of the High Court and through our lawyers we now want him
arrested," Vorster said Wednesday.
The deputy minister invaded the farm on September 27, 2007, in the company
of about 60 Zanu-PF militants. They barricaded the road leading to the
property before they began to harvest the bananas. Nyanhongo was armed with
an offer letter signed by Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of National Security,
Lands Reform and Resettlement, Nyanhongo immediately ordered Vorster's
employees to vacate the farm.
The offer letter authorized him to take-over the entire farm measuring 472,
42 hectares of land.
Nyanhongo, who seized another farm in Mashonaland East, was recently
embroiled in a fierce row after he invaded yet another farm in Nyanga and
illegally harvested sweet potatoes before he was ordered out by the courts.
Vorster, 54, petitioned the High Court which ruled in his favour.
High Court judge, Justice November Mtshiya, on July 3 2008 issued an interim
relief order interdicting Nyanhongo from using Vorster's farming implements
and equipment and to stop barricading roads to the farm. The judge also
ruled that Nyanhongo should stop barring Vorster's' directors and employees
from entering the farm. He also ordered the junior minister to desist from
reaping bananas from the farm.
Nyanhongo has defied the order. Mazengero said he was worried about the
Deputy Minister's behavior as he was acting outside the confines of the law.
"Nyanhongo was ordered not to interfere with operations on the farm but he
has chosen to ignore the High Court interdict by continuing to harvest
bananas," said Mazengero.
Mazengero said he now wanted the police to arrest Nyanhongo for contempt of
court and to have him evicted from the farm.
Nyanhongo is said to be forcing about 100 workers on the farm to work for
him while paying them wages of around ZW$75 billion per month. A loaf of
bread costs ZW$100 billion as of Wednesday. Workers that resist or question
the poor remuneration risks assault, it is alleged. It is also alleged that
farm mechanic, Martin Karemba (55) was seriously assaulted.
Vorster says his family has been farming at Eldorado of Gwindingwi Farm
since 1918. He said his family had already surrendered another property
voluntarily to the government but was now surprised Nyanhongo wanted to
seize the only farm remaining.
In 2006 Nyanhongo invaded Nyanga Downs in Nyanga, about 100 kilometres north
of Mutare and harvested sweet potatoes valued at several thousands United
States Dollars. He was eventually evicted after a protracted dispute.
Wednesday, 23 July 2008 15:36
BULAWAYO - Robert Mugabe's regime has been handing over free bread to
police officers here, as a way of thanking them for supporting the geriatric
leader in the controversial June 27 one-man, presidential election.
"The bread is being collected by our district vehicles from the Zanu
(PF) headquarters at Davies Hall and taken to stations, where it is handed
over to each police officer using a nominal roll prepared by our
administration officers," a junior police officer said.
Bread, which costs Z$60 billion for a standard loaf, is one of the
basics that junior police officers, like other government workers, cannot
afford in Zimbabwe, even on their new salaries of Z$1,5 trillion. Subsidized
bread costs Z$20 billion at police canteens in the city.
"We do not survive on bread and the best that can be done by this
government is reviewing our useless salaries," a police inspector said.
"I cannot comment on that because I have not heard about it," Police
national spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, said.
By Jens F. Laurson & George A. Pieler
Published 7/24/2008 12:07:18 AM
China's morality-free pragmatism, Russia's habitual antagonism, South
Africa's shameful cowardice -- these are the three most appalling responses
to the British and U.S. attempts to place sanctions on Zimbabwe and its
president-cum-tyrant, Robert Mugabe. China and Russia vetoed a proposal that
would have barred Zimbabwe from receiving weapon shipments, frozen Robert
Mugabe's foreign assets, and restricted his travel. Also voting against that
resolution was the colorful dictatorial throng of Libya, Vietnam -- and
Even if Western morality comes to bear only when there is little to lose,
economically, or some other self-interest is involved, the British/American
action was and is the right thing to do, and it's the least that should be
done. The vetoes and no-votes raise many worrying questions. Less for
Vietnam, a peon of China's, or Libya -- whose self-interest in protecting
African dictators governs their behavior. China proves that even the
Olympics can't deter it in its stubbornly amoral pursuit of economic
interest in Africa. Troubling, but not unexpected.
Most perturbing are the stance of Russia and South Africa. The former for
showing the Janus-faced post-Putin regime. Dmitry Medvedev, who told Zalmay
Khalilzad at the G-8 summit in Japan that Russia could support sanctions,
turns out to be the pleasant, ambiguously pro-Western face of an
antagonistic Russia steered by Prime Minister Putin and stuck in its
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who has now brought Mugabe and Morgan
Tsvangirai into talks on "power sharing," is hardly an honest broker. Mbeki,
despite the woes his own country experiences because of the acute
humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, remains, somewhat inexplicably, a stalwart
supporter of Mugabe's. To ask him to negotiate between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) seems -- exaggeration
notwithstanding -- akin to asking Vidkun Quisling to negotiate between
Germany and Edvard Benes. In any case, political talk will prove largely
useless, because the symbiosis of Mugabe and the military is a power that
won't budge with just a few political concessions.
There is a more than a touch of deja vu in the situation, which seems ripped
from 1965: Marxist/leftist regimes feigning solidarity with the "legitimate
aspirations" of the African peoples against the fading Western "colonial
oppressors." It is as if the UK had not opposed the (white) unilateralists
in the former Rhodesia, or the U.S. had not (along with many multinationals
doing business in South Africa) seen the light and helped nudge apartheid
off the world stage. The last thing Africa needs is a revival of the Cold
War proxy battles between Marxism and Capitalism, which helped delay
Africa's postcolonial rebirth by a generation, or more.
The official excuse for blocking sanctions against "Mugabeism" is that the
Zimbabwean crisis is an internal one, and the UN is designed to resolve
cross-national problems. The former assertion is factually false, as
Zimbabwean refuges pour across the border into South Africa, which in turn
is increasingly hostile to its "guests" to the point of violence in some
cases. Further, the total collapse of Zimbabwe's economy has region-wide, if
not continent-wide, ramifications, none of them good. Finally, if another
reason is needed, Zimbabwe was nurtured into existence by Britain and the
Commonwealth to set an example for the continent: that racial domination was
a thing of the past, and the democratic principles and Anglo-American
political structures, not dictatorial thuggery, were the key to Africa's
If the Western model of freedom and representative government fails in
Zimbabwe (as it indeed has, until regime change occurs), and hangs by a
thread at times in South Africa, what African nation will retain the courage
to fight against tyranny, military or civilian, foreign or domestic?
The Zimbabwe crisis is the world's crisis. That is well known to Russia and
China, who shamelessly exploit it for short-term (and very minor)
geopolitical advantage. It is known too in South Africa, which wants the
exclusive right to choose which foreign interests it will obey, all the
while pretending to be "in charge" of the situation. Time to call the bluff:
public and private sanctions across the board, implemented by each nation in
turn if necessary, dramatizing in the process another sterling example of
the UN talking big and carrying the smallest of all sticks.
Jens F. Laurson is Editor-in-Chief of the International Affairs Forum.
George A. Pieler is Senior Fellow with the Institute for Policy Innovation.
July 24, 2008
(SW Radio Africa's Violet Gonda interviews Dr Simba Makoni, leader
Mavambo-Kusile-Dawn)(Broadcast July 18, 2008)
Violet Gonda: Dr Simba Makoni, one of the presidential candidates in
Zimbabwe's controversial March 29 election, is my guest on the programme Hot
Seat this week. Hello Dr Makoni.
Simba Makoni: Hello Violet, how are you?
Gonda: Fine thank you. What is your perception of the conditions on the
ground because Zanu PF, for example, has said there is no violence to the
extent that is being reported by the MDC? What can you say about this?
Makoni: It's not perception or perceptions Violet. We have a full grasp of
the real situation on the ground and it presents itself in many respects.
The condition of life of the people has worsened and is worsening literally
by the day. Food shortages are acute, medical services and medication are
unavailable - so unavailable that the victims of the violence that you
referred to earlier cannot get medical attention at anywhere - from primary
health care centres to the national central referral hospitals. The economy
is getting worse. Goods are less and less available everyday and the little
that is available is more and more expensive by several tens if not hundred
fold, the previous day or the previous morning.
The violence that you refer to - yes it continues but there has been a
slight abatement since June 27. But it continues. In some districts and in
some areas there hasn't been any lessening of it. And so in summary the
condition of life of the people of Zimbabwe worsens by the day in all
Gonda: I had an interview with George Charamba, the spokesperson in the
President's Office, and he was adamant that the violence is on both sides.
That Zanu PF people have also been brutalised by opposition or MDC
supporters. What can you say about this?
Makoni: It's farcical. The discussion is not about who has brutalised how
many people. The discussion is that Zimbabweans should not be brutalised by
other Zimbabweans. This tagging of labels - Zanu PF, MDC, youths or war
veterans - is farcical in my view. The bottom line is Zimbabweans should not
have to endure these hardships, this brutalisation, this violence, the
killings and so I don't believe we would be showing genuine authentic
leadership if we hide behind pointing fingers - "It's not me it's the other
person" - the bottom line is the violence should not take place by anyone.
Whether MDC or Zanu PF, whether young or old, whether ex-combatant or
civilians Zimbabweans should not be brutalising each other particularly on
the incitement of political leaders.
Gonda: What about the actual talks that is going on in Zimbabwe right now
between Zanu PF and the two MDCs. What are your thoughts first of all about
what is happening with this?
Makoni: Well first I must concede that I know very little about the actual
discussions because I personally, and colleagues in my movement, and other
national stakeholders outside Zanu PF and the MDC are not involved. And so
we are all depending on either public communications or indirect information
from either side. There is very little being communicated directly to the
population. We hear that there are talks about talks.
But what do I think? I think that we are on the right path. You will recall
that when I launched my campaign, my primary call was that the country needs
cooperation among its leaders, in spite of the outcome of the election. Even
if one party or the other had won an outright majority, it was then and
still is my view that to solve Zimbabwe's current crisis requires the full
cooperation of all leaders. Not just leaders in politics but even leaders
beyond politics. So from that point of view it is a positive development
that the two main protagonists are talking, the discussions are tentative,
they are slow. We need urgently - because the country is burning literally,
literally the country is burning - and we need to douse the fires out. There
is not only one fire there are many fires. So we need to engage urgently, we
need to engage purposefully and we need above all to be beyond factional,
parochial, partisan interests and be national.
Gonda: And you mentioned earlier on that you are not involved and you know
very little about what is being discussed, but as one of the Presidential
candidates are you supposed to be involved in this and if so why aren't you
Makoni: I am - not necessarily I personally, but the constituency that I
represent and the other constituencies beyond which I represent need to be
involved because we believe that an all inclusive - the broadened platform
of participation of Zimbabwean leadership is required to solve the problems
confronting our country because there are too big for any one entity or a
small number of entities. That is the answer to your first question, the
answer to the second question is I am not involved because I am not
convening the discussion but we have certainly indicated to all the parties
involved - the facilitator included - that we believe that those
negotiations need to be broader based than just the two protagonists at the
moment. We are not the only ones who hold this belief.
Gonda: At least 43 organisations from the civil society met in Harare and
actually called for broader consultation and the civil society is also
complaining that they are not being consulted about what is happening with
these talks. And also they have called for a Transitional Authority and not
a Government of National Unity. Do you favour a Government of National Unity
or a Transitional Authority?
Makoni: Well Violet the first comment to make is that I am delighted that
what we propositioned to Zimbabwe at the launch of my election campaign is
what everybody is now taking on board. That we need cooperation, we need
working together of national leaders. That we need to construct what we
formally called a National Authority others are calling it a Government of
National Unity. I am delighted about that but as I said earlier we need to
engage urgently into the process.
The second observation is that in a statement that I made after the
announcement of he Presidential results I advanced at that point the idea of
a Transitional National Authority - not a Government of National Unity.
Other discussions, including the media, then introduced the terminology of
the Government of National Unity. So I would say that we believe a
Transitional Authority is more appropriate to the circumstances in which we
are than just a straight Government of National Unity, which you might
equate to a Coalition Government in other jurisdictions - because the
country is in transition.
The country needs to be transited from this autocratic and oppressive
environment we are in to a democratic, open environment in which national
institutions serves the people as a whole than a particular organisation or
section. In which the playing field of politics is level for all those who
yearn to play politics without discrimination. In which there is no
violence. There is strict observance of the laws of the land by everyone and
That's where we must move to and that is why we suggest that a Transitional
Authority is more appropriate than a Government of National Unity.
Gonda: But Dr Makoni do you expect Robert Mugabe to actually give up power
from what you know of him? Because a Transitional Authority pre-supposes
that there is a need for a new constitution. How likely is it that Mugabe
would agree to a new constitution if there was a TA - a Transitional
Makoni: Well I think Mugabe can speak for himself. What I expect as a
patriotic serving Zimbabwean is that all genuine national leaders will not
play power games but will render service to the people and if rendering
service to the people is equal to giving up power then so be it.
Gonda: A government of National Unity retains the current constitution and
maybe you can correct us on this one - how can a Transitional Authority be
created under the current constitution? What would be required?
Makoni: Well I think those are the details that will be hammered out around
the table and it would be inappropriate for me to table a formula here. But
we certainly have ideas, we have thoughts that we have applied to this
matter but I don't believe that the current constitution by itself is a
constraint to constructing a Transitional National Authority. It would have
to be the starting point. But it would also have to be recognised that it is
only a transient. It is a starting point to another destination and that
other destination would be a new, better, more democratic constitution than
what we have. And one of the deliverables from that Transitional Authority
would be a new constitution for Zimbabwe.
Gonda: But how do you force that or enforce this? I am sorry I am going on
about this issue - because many people have called for a Transitional
Authority, especially members from the civil society. But with what we know
and how we have seen Mugabe dealing with the political issues in the
country - he has refused to have a new constitution. The National
Constitutional Assembly has tried for many years to have a new people driven
constitution and that hasn't worked. And the fact that only the political
parties are conducting or holding these talks doesn't it show that the
regime will not entertain such a scenario?
Makoni: Well Violet the circumstances have changed from March 29 compared to
the earlier years you are talking about. Mugabe is now a minority leader in
Zimbabwe. Zanu PF is no longer the ruling party. The conditions of life of
the population have worsened beyond description. Mugabe himself has
indicated publically including his so-called inauguration statement, that he
is willing and ready to discuss cooperation with other leaders. Before he
wasn't ready even to say that - whether he means it or not will be seen with
the passage of time. So we are not cast in concrete, we are not stuck in the
same place. Even Mugabe and Zanu PF are not stuck where they were in 2005
and 2007. Not even where they were on March 30 after the initial election
So the situation has moved and it is that movement in the situation, in
spite of all the arrogance, bravado that you may hear from people, which
presents the opportunity for moving away from the current to a better
Gonda: Now Morgan Tsvangirai has been stalling and has refused to sign the
document - the Memorandum of Understanding draft that has been agreed upon
by the 3 main political parties - until the African Union clarifies on the
issue of an additional mediator and an end to the violence that is going on.
Do you think he is being wise here - stalling?
Makoni: Well Violet I am somewhat limited to make a judgement of this call
because I don't know enough. I hear like you that those are the reasons he
has advanced but I would be very surprised if they are the full reasons.
Waiting for an indication of the African Union when the negotiators, mind
you, are Morgan's negotiators. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me so I
suspect there is a lot more than meets the eye on that and when I know it I
will make a clear judgement on his position.
Gonda: But what is your assessment of Thabo Mbeki's mediation because Morgan
Tsvangirai says he does not want Thabo Mbeki as the sole mediator?
Makoni: Look I don't believe that we can afford the luxury of throwing
stones from glass houses. Thabo Mbeki is who we have, who SADC gave us and
we are not going to get another mediator, facilitator from SADC than Thabo
Mbeki. And certainly if we get one it will not be from shouting from the
mountain tops and throwing abuse. It has to be worked at carefully and
correctly in the right forums. That there is a call for someone else to
assist President Mbeki is understandable. I believe that there is room to
accommodate such enhancement of facilitation, but it should not be at the
expense of progress. Let us keep running and the others will run faster to
join us where we will have gotten to.
Gonda: What about the issue of sanctions - you know that a draft resolution
had been tabled at the United Nations Security Council to impose targeted
sanctions on 14 members of the Mugabe regime, what are your thoughts on
Makoni: Well that is now a matter of history even if it is a few days
history. The resolution was not carried. The resolution had specific
objectives to assist, move the process forward, it wasn't carried and I
think we should move forward and address the situation on the ground in the
best manner possible. The international community will have another method
and platform of engagement than the sanctions the UN had carried.
Gonda: But the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and even George Bush has
warned that this is not a finished matter and that it could be re-tabled if
the negotiations don't go through. What are your thoughts on the issue of
Makoni: I think people must hold all options open that assist to advance the
process of national reconciliation, national accommodation and the emergence
of Zimbabwe as a country and Zimbabweans as people from this crisis. And I
don't believe we should foreclose any opportunities that assist that
Gonda: You have worked with Robert Mugabe before and when he says things
like he will never allow Morgan Tsvangirai to rule Zimbabwe, does he mean it
and if so what is the point of the MDC negotiating with people like that?
Makoni: Well Violet all I can say is that it's not everything that meets the
eye that is what it looks. Looks are quite misleading. Remember - and it's a
very pointed recollection - Ian Smith's "never in a thousand years" and the
thousand years became four years.
Gonda: What do you think is at the roots of the Zimbabwean problem? Is it an
old outdated dictatorship or is it trying to prevent colonialism?
Makoni: Violet at the risk of sounding like a broken record - I will repeat
the exact words I said on February 5. The crisis that this country and its
people find themselves in is a result of the failure of leadership at the
highest level. I just made reference to Ian Smith a while ago.
Robert Mugabe negotiated with Ian Smith. I don't believe that Morgan
Tsvangirai is a worse person compared to Ian Smith - even in Robert Mugabe's
eyes. I don't believe so. But we emerged from Rhodesia into Zimbabwe on the
table of negotiations. In the early 80s when we had what has since been
called the Gukurahundi era we emerged from that crisis through negotiations
and I am convinced we will emerge from this crisis through accommodation and
cooperation of leaders. Not withstanding whatever people may pronounce
publically as their public position.
Gonda: How would you respond to people who say Morgan Tsvangirai should not
negotiate with losers, should not negotiate with murderers and that by
negotiating he will be rewarding a loser and also excusing the bad behaviour
that we have seen in Zimbabwe in the last few years?
Makoni: Before I give you my view on that I would pose the question; what
alternative are these people giving Morgan Tsvangirai? I haven't heard
anyone advance an alternative. But even if they have I would suggest that
the path of accommodation, the path of cooperation, the path of working
together is better, more desirable, and more effective for Zimbabwe in the
situation it is currently than any other path of exclusion.
Gonda: And Dr Makoni can you give us your reaction to a report that appeared
in an online paper - The Zimbabwe Times - saying that you became an
independent candidate because it was part of a Zanu PF plot. The article was
entitled; "Exposed the Mnangagwa, Makoni plot." What can you say about that?
Makoni: Well first it's a lie but it's not a new lie. If you recall during
the course of the campaign there were allegations by various sources that
suggested I was a Zanu PF plant to confuse the opposition voters. It's the
same lie that is still being padded around.
Gonda: Now the report claims that your quest these days seems to be finding
a role for yourself after being rejected by the electorate and that is why
you are pushing for a Transitional Authority?
Makoni: Well again, if you remember in my launch statement - the statement
that I announced I was going to be a candidate - and in the launch of my
campaign I already advanced the concept of a National Authority, drawn from
all key constituencies of the country. And so how can people suggest I am
doing this only after the elections? That was my campaign platform!
Gonda: So what about other issues that have come up saying that you are
planning to rejoin Zanu PF?
Makoni: Everything in that story is a blatant lie! I don't know who created
those lies and for what purpose, and what is of interest is that the
publisher of that magazine, newspaper or whatever it is did not bother, as
is normal with journalism, to check the story before they went to print.
They must have had an ulterior motive right from the beginning.
Gonda: What do you think the motive is?
Makoni: I don't know. Probably to discredit me, to advance a particular
cause, I don't know whose it is, but that story is a complete fabrication.
Gonda: How would you respond to people who ask; what ever happened to the
Zanu PF bigwigs who were supposed to follow your group?
Makoni: Violet, remember we discussed this matter during the campaign?
Again, I didn't create the story of the bigwigs. It was you in the media -
not you personally but I mean the media. Even this story is claiming that I
announced there would be bigwigs; I want them to put out the evidence of
that. I did not make any statements nor issue any written material which
said I expected bigwigs. The bigwigs for me are the people of Zimbabwe, some
of them - 207 000 of them voted for me on March 29. A lot more of them are
out in all corners of Zimbabwe who support what I stand for. Those are the
bigwigs for me. This story is a creation of some mischief-maker.
Gonda: What about links to Emerson Mnangagwa or even Solomon Mujuru?
Makoni: Everything in that story is a lie. When I met Mr Robert Mugabe he
was President at that time - it was he and I, just the two of us. I did not
meet Emerson Mnangagwa at that time. I have since met Emerson Mnangagwa at
the beginning of June, as I have done with a number of other Zanu PF leaders
to urge them to work to stop the violence.
Gonda: What do they say when you do talk to them about the issue of the
Makoni: That they don't support it.
Gonda: So who is behind it then?
Makoni: Well nobody has admitted to being behind it to me.
Gonda: Thank you very much Dr Simba Makoni for agreeing to talk on the
programme Hot Seat.
Makoni: Thank you Violet.
GWERU, July 24 2008 - The National Association for Non-governmental
Organisations' Midlands chairman Peter Muchengeti, who has been in police
custody since Friday, was granted bail by a Gweru magistrate on Tuesday.
Muchengeti, who is also the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust's regional
manager, was not asked to plead when he appeared before magistrate Rosa
Takuva at the Gweru Magistrates' Court. He is being accused of publishing or
communicating to another person "a statement which is wholly or materially
false with the intention or realising that there is a real risk or
possibility of public violence or endangering public safety".
The charge arose from comments that Muchengeti allegedly made to
Studio 7 through its reporter Patience Rusere which, the State alleges, were
false that there had been a "discovery of six bodies at Matshekandumba
Village at the 30-km peg along the Gweru-Kwekwe Road ".
The State said it needed time to make further investigations and
acceded to the defence's request for bail. Muchengeti was granted $2
trillion bail with conditions to report twice per week to the Criminal
Investigations Department at the Gweru Central Police Station.
Muchengeti's lawyer Brian Dube of Gundu and Mawarire legal
Practitioners put it on record that his client was subjected to torture and
inhuman treatment while in detention.
Magistrate Takuva ordered the State to investigate the matter and
present its findings on the 25th of August when he is scheduled to reappear
Wednesday, 23 July 2008 16:00
HARARE - Jonathan Moyo has been revealed as having master minded
Robert Mugabe's campaign for the shame one-man presidential run-off.
According to a dossier given to The Zimbabwean by highly-placed sources,
Zanu (PF) chairman John Nkomo tasked by Mugabe to approach Moyo to assist in
designing messages, adverts, slogans and songs a few weeks before the run
"Nkomo was initially apprehensive to Mugabe's overtures, but after
relentless pressure, he met the spin doctor in Johannesburg in April 2008,"
says the dossier. Moyo reportedly accepted the offer without much
persuasion. "Thus, the adverts and messages used by Zanu (PF) in both print
and electronic media in the run off election were the brain-child of
Jonathan Moyo," it says.
Moyo then informed his supporters Tsholotsho Declaration had been
resuscitated, as Emmerson Mnangagwa was back in charge of Zanu (PF) and
would control the next government with Mugabe's blessing. He also met three
activists at the Holiday Inn in Bulawayo, whom he told he would be appointed
to the cabinet under a government of national unity. He asked them to
campaign for the GNU within civic society.
"The three were promised government posts as permanent secretaries in
return," says the dossier.
According to the dossier Moyo would be appointed the minister of
Education in a GNU led by Mugabe. "His main brief would be to design the
strategies for killing off the opposition in Zimbabwe."
Unbeknown to the MDC negotiators, Moyo is now the advisor to the Zanu
(PF) negotiating team of Nicholas Goche and Patrick Chinamasa
Moyo has assured chiefs, who were reportedly upset that he was once
again involved with Zanu (PF) from which he had been fired, that development
would flow to Tsholotsho during the next government as it did when he was
Mugabe's minister of information.
Recently, Moyo has become very critical of the MDC, despite the party
having withdrawn its candidate from Moyo's constituency during the March 29
election, so as not to split the anti-Zanu vote. Addressing the press club
in Bulawayo on 4 July, Moyo castigated MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai, for
withdrawing from the run-off. He further alleged that there was no violence
perpetrated against the MDC
MASVINGO, July 24 2008 - A Great Zimbabwe University (formerly
Masvingo State University ) student leader has been denied his final-year
results as punishment for championing students' rights at the institution.
George Makamure, a Social Sciences' major who was the Students'
Representative Council secretary for student affairs, says he has been
denied access to his results, almost five months after completing his degree
programme. Makamure was doing a Bachelor of Arts General degree in History.
In a letter written by GZU Vice Chancellor, Professor Obert
Maravanyika, Makamure has to undergo a disciplinary hearing in order to have
access to his results, yet he is no longer a student at the institution.
"This letter serves to inform that Makamure has to undergo before the
university's disciplinary committee so as to determine if he will be given
his results," reads part of the letter, dated 15 July and signed by the Dean
of Social Sciences, a Mrs. Bidi, on behalf of Maravanyika.
Makamure, however, is challenging the decision at the courts, through
his lawyer, Dumisani Hwacha of Hwacha and partners. In his defense, Makamure
argues that he was supposed to have attended the disciplinary hearing while
he was at the institution.
Makamure argues that this is an effort by the government to frustrate
him and other student leaders who challenge some infamous decisions made by
the university fathers.
Prof Maravanyika refused to comment on the matter.
Last year, another GZU student leader Gideon Chitanga, who is the
former Zimbabwe National Students' Union (ZINASU) vice president, only got
his results after a court action.
Times of Malta
Thursday, 24th July 2008
Malta has called on the French EU presidency to tighten existing sanctions
against Zimbabwe's "illegitimate government", Foreign Minister Tonio Borg
In view of Mr Mugabe's campaign of violence, involving the killing of
children, Malta decided to join other countries in extending the list of
individuals who are restricted from freely entering the European Union due
to having close ties with Mr Mugabe's regime, the government said. This list
of individuals, who require the unanimous consensus of EU member states
before being allowed entry, has been extended from 131 to 172 individuals.
Dr Borg also referred to the arrest of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic,
saying this was welcomed by the European Council of Ministers, deeming the
arrest an important step that proved the Serbian government's commitment to
Europe. This, Dr Borg said, will lead to the swift implementation of an
agreement on financial and economic assistance between Serbia and the EU.
Malta also expressed support for the Ukraine's request to form an
Association Agreement with the EU, thus forging closer ties with Brussels.
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
24 July 2008
Posted to the web 24 July 2008
IMBIBERS got a sobering mid-week shock yesterday when Delta Corporation
increased the prices of its drinks to unprecedented levels, just a week
after the last round of increases.
The retail price of Castle/Lion pint went up to $400 billion, up from $250
billion while a quart of the same brand now costs $800 billion.
The price of soft drinks also went up to $350 billion per 300ml, up from
last week's $100 billion with the price of a litre now pegged at $1,02
Those who frequent nightclubs will now have to fork out $1,5 trillion for a
quart while a pint costs between $700 and $800 billion. Some people now
prefer to drink imported brands, as they are cheaper than local brews.
On average, a 340ml bottle/can of imported beer costs 30 rand. Although
Ingwebu Breweries had not increased its prices, insiders said the price of
its opaque brew would "definitely go up today".
With the ever-escalating price of beer, most imbibers, including
professionals, have reportedly resorted to drinking home-brewed beer
popularly known as sigodokhaya.
A 2-litre container of the brew is reportedly selling for $185 billion,
compared to $200 billion for a Calabash.
Backyard drinking spots have mushroomed in most western suburbs of Bulawayo
as those with an appetite for the "wise waters" seek ways of quenching their
With such price increases, enterprising residents from suburbs such as Old
Luveve, Magwegwe, Old Pumula, Iminyela and Mabutweni, sensing that beer was
now beyond the reach of many, have established mini breweries in their
Leftover sadza or stale bread are being used to brew tototo/kachasu, a very
potent brew with a very high alcohol content. However, the backyard
breweries' speciality and customers' favourite is the "seven days", or
sigodokhaya, an opaque brew.
Wednesday, 23 July 2008 15:40
New report looks at options for holding President to account
BY SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court sent a
chilling message to war criminals around the world last week when he
requested an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his cronies are almost certainly
paying close attention.
A report released jointly today by the ENOUGH Project and Impunity
Watch examines the legal options available to hold Mugabe and others to
account for a list of crimes committed during his rule of nearly three
decades – from the massacre of 20,000 Ndebele civilians in the early 1980s
to the post-election crackdown against the political opposition.′
"Justice for Zimbabwe should be approached under the combined efforts
of a hybrid international tribunal, or a domestic court with international
assistance and support," says David M. Crane, co-author of the report,
Professor at Syracuse University College of Law, and former founding Chief
Prosecutor of The Special Court for Sierra Leone.
"The longer Mr Mugabe abuses the power of the state and thwarts the
legitimate and democratic will of the people of Zimbabwe to express their
rights, the more the question of accountability gains traction," says ENOUGH
Executive Director John Norris. "The question of justice in Zimbabwe should
ultimately be a question of when, not if." ′ ′
The report says: "There are numerous legal, political and diplomatic
options available to the international community which include doing nothing
to the creation of a justice mechanism by which Mugabe would be held
accountable for alleged domestic and international crimes committed while
President of Zimbabwe.
"Based on the extant facts and circumstances," the report continues,
"Mugabe could either be tried by a hybrid international war crimes tribunal
or an internationalized domestic court. The location should be in Harare or
within the region. The International Criminal Court has limited jurisdiction
as the gravamen of the offenses took place prior to July 2002.
"The mandate should be prosecuting either Mugabe himself alone or
those who bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes committed in
Zimbabwe, to include Mugabe and selected henchmen. The facts will bear out
who those possible indictees are."