International Herald Tribune
ReutersPublished: July 24, 2008
JOHANNESBURG: Senior negotiators from Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change and the governing ZANU-PF party began talks Thursday
and a report indicated they were close to reaching a deal on forming a unity
The talks were under way Thursday, said Mukoni Ratshitanga, a spokesman for
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. Senior officials of Movement for
Democratic Change and two Zimbabwean cabinet ministers were leading the
rival negotiating teams meeting at an undisclosed location near Pretoria,
the South African capital.
Preliminary talks began Tuesday after Mbeki secured a framework deal Monday
between President Robert Mugabe and the leader of Movement for Democratic
Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, for talks to end the deadlock over Mugabe's
re-election June 27. The election was boycotted by the opposition because of
Ratshitanga said that even if negotiators missed a two-week deadline set
under the framework agreement, that would not mean the end of talks.
"It does not mean if the talks are not done in two weeks, that the talks
will collapse," he said.
The main aim of the Pretoria talks will be the creation of a government of
national unity, but the two sides differ on who should lead it and how long
it should stay in power.
The South African financial daily Business Day reported Thursday that the
two sides were close to reaching a deal but still needed to resolve the
Business Day, citing sources in both parties and people familiar with the
talks, said a final settlement could be reached soon, as the parties had
already agreed on many issues.
"They have agreed on most of the issues, except mainly the framework for a
new government," Business Day quoted a source as saying. "The deal is
basically done, but what remains are a few issues of detail, implementation
Eldred Masunungure, a Zimbabwean political analyst, said a breakthrough in
talks was possible as the rival parties had been talking under mediation led
by Mbeki since March of last year.
"A breakthrough is a reasonable possibility, even in two weeks," Masunungure
Mbeki was appointed by a regional grouping, the Southern African Development
Community, to mediate between the Zimbabwean parties. He had been
increasingly criticized, especially by the Movement for Democratic Change,
which accused him of taking too soft a line with Mugabe.
As part of the framework deal, the rival parties agreed to a media blackout,
but Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper reported Thursday that the
Movement for Democratic Change and ZANU-PF negotiators flew to South Africa
on the same flight on Wednesday.
Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe,
said a major issue for the negotiators would be the form of a unity
government with a number of options mooted, including splitting the
executive to create a titular presidency for Mugabe and executive
premiership for Tsvangirai.
"The titular presidency for Mugabe does appear the more likely route,"
Masunungure said. "Given his age, Mugabe might be agreeable to easing out of
power, rather than being kicked out. He will not lose anything except
The Movement for Democratic Change says 120 of its supporters have been
killed since a first round of elections on March 29, in which Tsvangirai
beat Mugabe but without the majority to avoid a run-off. Mugabe blames the
opposition for the bloodshed.
Jul 24th 2008
From The Economist print edition
Morgan Tsvangirai is right to talk to Robert Mugabe-about the dictator's
IT STICKS in the gullet of the large majority of Zimbabwe's people yearning
to see the back of Robert Mugabe that the man who should have displaced him
four months ago by virtue of the ballot box has now been persuaded to engage
in talks with him, seemingly more as supplicant than rightful successor. But
Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader who won the first round of the
presidential election in March but was savagely intimidated into abandoning
the second round at the end of June, is right to agree to talks with the
usurper. The alternative, if Mr Tsvangirai were to dig his toes in and
refuse to parley until the incumbent simply bowed out, would be more
bloodshed and misery for the aggrieved majority and a still more ferocious
clinging to power by Mr Mugabe and his clique. By agreeing to talk, Mr
Tsvangirai is at least offering Mr Mugabe a gracious if necessarily gradual
exit. And if Mr Mugabe fails to negotiate in good faith, Mr Tsvangirai may
be forced to walk away, as Zimbabwe falls ever more deeply into lawlessness,
poverty and despair. So he must at least try (see article).
Mr Mugabe will, of course, seek to bamboozle Mr Tsvangirai, a brave man who
in the past has not been the cleverest of negotiators when tussling either
with Mr Mugabe's canny villains or with his own disputatious colleagues in
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mr Mugabe, abetted by South Africa's
bafflingly complaisant president, Thabo Mbeki, will try to engineer a
government of national unity, with his own people in the driving seat, while
co-opting and confusing as many of Mr Tsvangirai's party as possible. Mr
Mugabe's team take as its model Kenya, where, in an election late last year,
the incumbent president almost certainly lost at the polls but managed,
after weeks of bloodshed, to stay in power by giving the apparent winner the
post of prime minister and a bunch of other less powerful ministries.
Mr Tsvangirai will be right to resist such a compromise. Instead, he must
insist on a strictly transitional arrangement, with ministries allotted in
keeping with the results of the parliamentary poll, which even Mr Mugabe's
election officials agree was won by Mr Tsvangirai's party. A clutch of other
key conditions must also be met before the talks can seriously get under
way. For a start, the state-sponsored violence, in which more than 100 of Mr
Tsvangirai's people have been murdered and thousands beaten and tortured,
must stop; thousands more must be freed from prison; and scores of bogus
charges against newly elected members of parliament, MDC officials, and the
leader of an MDC splinter party must be dropped. A further host of
conditions, repeatedly laid down but wilfully ignored in the run-up to
elections by the southern African Development Community, an influential
regional group of countries, must be met. Among many other things, the press
should be freed. Foreign reporters, including from the BBC, should be let
back in. Just as important, foreign aid organisations, banned by Mr Mugabe
during the election campaign, should also again be able freely and directly
to disburse help. Most crucially, a transitional administration should
prepare for a fresh election, monitored by the UN, the EU and the African
Union, within a year or so of taking office.
All too starry-eyed?
Why should Mr Mugabe even consider meeting this array of conditions, when he
has so blatantly flouted or rejected them in the past? The answer is that
behind the defiance he appears to be under greater pressure than ever
before. His economy is reaching a new level of disaster, with inflation now
running at a rate of millions per cent a year. The latest harvest has been
dismal, bread may soon run out and famine is a real threat. African
governments, though many are still pusillanimous, are turning against him.
Mr Mbeki still waffles and wobbles, but opinion in his ruling African
National Congress is hardening against Mr Mugabe. Just as promisingly, the
UN and the African Union are now formally engaged in the negotiations too.
The world's financial institutions are poised to take remedial action, if a
decent settlement takes shape. Once Mr Mugabe is locked into proper talks,
it may no longer be so easy for him to have his way. And if he cheats and
filibusters, Mr Tsvangirai should simply walk out.
July 24, 2008
Jonathan Clayton, Africa Correspondent
Senior members of Robert Mugabe's ruling party today sat down for face to
face talks with Zimbabwe's bruised and battered opposition at a secret
location outside Pretoria, the capital of South Africa.
The negotiations Mr Mugabe once vowed would never take place finally kicked
off around midday after high-level delegations travelled separately to the
Such is the sensitivity around the talks that the host and main mediator
imposed a complete news blackout on the event, but local media reports
quoted well-informed sources as saying a deal could well be reached before
the end of a two-week deadline.
Mukoni Ratshitanga, President Thabo Mbeki's official spokesman, told
reporters: "Full on talks are underway." He said that the agenda and the
venue were secret, but expressed confidence they would be swiftly concluded.
He admitted they may run over the allotted time schedule agreed in a
Memorandum of Understanding signed on Monday in Harare.
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"It does not mean if the talks are not done in two weeks, that the talks
will collapse," he added.
Preliminary talks began on Tuesday after President Mbeki secured a framework
deal between Mr Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main
opposition the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a smaller breakaway
faction led by Arthur Mutumbara.
The MDC and much of the rest of the world does not recognise Mr Mugabe's
re-election in a June 27 presidential run-off poll, which was boycotted by
the opposition after Mr Mugabe's Zanu (PF) unleashed a campaign of
intimidation against opposition supporters. The MDC says 120 of its
supporters have been killed since the first round.
The main aim of the talks is the creation of a government of national unity
and an end to violence. The main sticking points are who should lead it.
Mr Tsvangirai wants his undisputed victory in the first round on March 29 to
be recognised as the true reflection of the will of the Zimbabwean people.
He opposes any moves to allow Mr Mugabe to stay on for two years ahead of
Sources close to the talks, however, say that since Britain and the United
States failed 10 days ago to obtain Security Council backing for much
tougher sanctions against Mr Mugabe's regime, Mr Tsvangirai has moderated
his tone, and looks set to accept the position of executive Prime Minister.
Mr Mbeki called in favours from China and Russia, which recently signed a
massive platinum mining deal with South Africa, to veto the proposal for
sanctions, which he argued would scupper his attempt to hold the current
talks. The issue is now who receives other key ministries.
"Mugabe wants to keep the Foreign Ministry, Internal Affairs and Security -
that is unacceptable to the MDC which sees itself as the real winner," said
a diplomatic source close to the talks.
Eldred Masunungure, a Zimbabwean political analyst, said a breakthrough in
talks is possible. Mr Mbeki, the official mediator of the Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC), wants to conclude a deal before his country
takes over the presidency of the regional grouping at a summit on August 16.
Mr Masunungure said: "A breakthrough is a reasonable possibility, even in
Zimbabwe's state-run newspaper, The Herald, reported today that ZANU-pf's
decision-making politburo met yesterday and gave party negotiators approval
to continue with the talks.
The Herald quoted the party's deputy information and publicity secretary,
Ephraim Masawi, as saying the politburo expressed satisfaction with the
Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice Minister, and Public Services Minister
Nicholas Goche are representing Zanu (PF) at the negotiations, while MDC
Secretary General Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma, the Deputy Treasurer, are
heading the opposition delegation.
Peolpe have already forgotten Zapu PF headed by Joshua Nkomo .Any government
formed with Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF will only seek to undermine a
competitive multi-party democracy in Zimababwe .I am shocked that The MDC or
Morgan Tsvangirai can even contemplate Power Sharing with Zanu PF.
marc, Birmingham, UK
If the MDC goes ahead with this Power Sharing they have signed their own
death warrants .Have they forgotten the Puma accidents of the 1980's that
clearly wiped out the Zapu Pf members of the Unity Government between Zanu
and Zapu.They are treading on thin ice .They should know their history.
marc, Birmingham, UK
The continent and the dates are different, but it's not much different than
when Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler at Munich.
Ed Ryder, greenlawn, usa
I agree. Any government with Mugabe in charge, or still pulling strings
behind the scenes, will lack any credibility and face further isolation on
the world stage. This man is now way beyond any proper respect.
Colin , Carmarthen, United Kingdom
If the MDC capitulate and Mugabe stays as leader, they would be real fools.
What world leader wants to do business with Mugabe? He can't organise
anything. He thinks running a government means denouncing and bad mouthing
other world leaders. The absolute minimum outcome must be departure of
Charan Muzaya, London, UK
Jul 24th 2008 | JOHANNESBURG
Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition are ready to negotiate. But does
Robert Mugabe have any intention of losing power?
FOUR months after the elections on March 29th, which were followed by a
campaign of ferocious violence meted out by pro-government militias,
President Robert Mugabe and the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, have
agreed to start talking. That is a big breakthrough. For the past 11 years,
Mr Mugabe has not deigned to meet Mr Tsvangirai, and has sworn never to let
him take over. Little wonder that there are still serious doubts whether Mr
Mugabe or the men around him have any intention of losing power.
On July 21st both sides, together with a small opposition splinter group led
by Arthur Mutambara, signed an agreement paving the way for negotiations
over the country's future. Messrs Mugabe and Tsvangirai, bitter rivals since
the former trade unionist started challenging the veteran liberator's rule
in the late 1990s, actually shook hands. Mr Tsvangirai pointed out that it
was quite an occasion "for the leader of the ruling party and the leader of
the winning party" to be sitting down together in an effort to end the
Mr Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF lost its majority in the legislative assembly for
the first time since he came to power in 1980, and it was officially
acknowledged that Mr Tsvangirai, as the candidate of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), won the first round of the presidential poll. But,
after thousands of his supporters had been beaten up and tortured during the
second round of the presidential campaign, Mr Tsvangirai withdrew his
candidacy a few days before the run-off, held on June 27th. So Mr Mugabe was
re-elected in a one-man race which most African election observers were
forced to admit was a sham.
One reason for the negotiations is that the UN, the African Union (AU) and
the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a regional group of 14
countries, have become more involved-and seem less willing to give Mr Mugabe
a free ride. South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, remains the chief
mediator under a previous SADC mandate, but the appointment of a "reference
group" of representatives from the three organisations is another
breakthrough. It meets a pressing demand of the MDC, which has accused Mr
Mbeki of bias in favour of Mr Mugabe and has called for broader mediation.
The MDC says that the talks will get nowhere unless a bunch of other
conditions is met: political violence must stop; detained MDC people must be
freed; those displaced by the violence must be able to return home; and all
humanitarian help must resume. During the run-off campaign, Mr Mugabe barred
most foreign organisations from distributing aid.
The new agreement sets out a broad political and economic agenda, with a
deadline for reaching agreement of two weeks. A comprehensive power-sharing
agreement is most unlikely to be sealed in so short a time, but the talks
may be extended if progress is made and both sides participate in good
faith. Substantive negotiations, to be held in South Africa, were due to
start on July 24th. Meanwhile, no new government is to be appointed and the
parliament that was elected in March may not be convened.
Both sides will have to stomach unpalatable compromises if an agreement is
to be reached. Mr Mugabe insists he has won the election and must be
recognised as president. The security chiefs, who now run Zimbabwe but are
not formally on the negotiating team, are unlikely to bow out unless they
get a guarantee that they will not be prosecuted.
The MDC, for its part, says it does not want a government of national unity
like the one in Kenya, where the president, Mwai Kibaki, who is widely
thought to have lost an election last December until it was rigged back in
his favour, kept his job and the aggrieved probable winner, Raila Odinga,
became prime minister. Mr Tsvangirai has called for a transitional authority
to be formed, based on the results of the March elections. This authority
would then lead the country to a fresh vote.
"We sit here in order for us to chart a new way, a new way of political
interaction," said Mr Mugabe at the signing ceremony. But years of
repression, culminating in the last few months' atrocities, will not be easy
to forget. According to the MDC, more than 120 of its people have been
killed and thousands arrested since March and some 200,000 people have fled
the violence. The lead negotiator for Mr Tsvangirai's side, Tendai Biti, who
is the MDC's secretary-general, is on bail, still facing treason charges. Mr
Tsvangirai himself was detained repeatedly during the campaign; the
authorities have failed so far to replace his passport, which is full, so he
cannot travel abroad. Mr Mutambara, leader of the small MDC splinter group,
is also on bail. He is facing charges for writing "falsehoods" in a
newspaper editorial criticising Mr Mugabe.
Building trust will be hard. Previous attempts at negotiations, including
months of sessions that were meant to ensure a fair election, failed after
the ruling ZANU-PF reneged on a slew of commitments. Those talks collapsed
earlier this year when Mr Mugabe decided unilaterally to set a date for the
poll before a new constitution was in place and before changes in repressive
security and media laws were implemented. In the 1980s, a rival liberation
movement, ZAPU, was lured into a unity government after a ruthless campaign
of violence that left many thousands dead in Matabeleland; it was eventually
neutered by absorption into ZANU-PF.
Is the ruling party now genuinely interested in sharing power and finding a
lasting solution? Or is it buying time in a bid to outwit its rivals yet
again? The circumstances have changed in Mr Mugabe's disfavour. For the
first time, several African leaders condemned the violence and rejected the
results of the run-off. Regional observers said Mr Mugabe's re-election was
illegitimate. Kenya's Mr Odinga this week said the talks should lead to Mr
Mugabe's "safe exit". The European Union is to expand its targeted sanctions
against Mr Mugabe and his ruling circle, where in-fighting is getting more
Trick or treat?
Regional leaders sound keener to find a solution. The disruptive exodus of
Zimbabweans, mainly to South Africa but also to other neighbouring
countries, is unabated. Indeed, Zimbabwe's economy is now reaching a new
stage in its meltdown, with inflation officially running at 2.2m% a year but
in reality at least four times higher. The harvest has been bad; even bread
may start to run out.
Still, it is South Africa's government that has the most influence from
outside, and for reasons of his own Mr Mbeki continues to appear reluctant
to pull the plug on Mr Mugabe. The pressure is undoubtedly beginning to
hurt. But it is unlikely that the Zimbabwean leader intends to bow out soon,
or that his neighbours are determined enough yet to force him out.
By Joe DeCapua
24 July 2008
While powering sharing talks between the ruling and opposition parties
continue in Zimbabwe, an effort is underway to bring President Mugabe before
the International Criminal Court. The ENOUGH Project has issued a report
outlining the legal options that could be taken against Mr. Mugabe.
One of the authors of the report is Syracuse University law professor David
Crane, who is the former chief prosecutor for the UN-backed Special Court
for Sierra Leone. He spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De
Capua, who asked whether it's feasible to take legal action against
President Mugabe while political talks continue.
"Yes, absolutely. President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe can and should be
prosecuted for the crimes against humanity perpetrated against his people
since 1981. And we're looking at over tens of thousands of his own citizens,
which he has allegedly murdered. This is a very important time for Africa.
We see (Sudanese President) Bashir possibly indicted and we see the example
of (former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan) Karadzic being found after well over
10 years being on the run. Robert Mugabe is seeing all this.. He sees former
president Taylor of Liberia sitting in the dock for being tried for war
crimes and crimes against humanity and he's beginning to hear footsteps," he
Crane says the Zimbabwean leader realizes he needs to take action to avoid
being on trial himself. "So, not surprisingly, he's willing to sit down with
the very opposition that he was trying to kill just five weeks ago," he
The law professor says there are a number of charges that could be filed
against Mr. Mugabe: "Certainly, Article 7 of the Rome Statute, related to
crimes against humanity, is illustrative of the types of crimes that he has
perpetrated against his own people. And these are the areas that we would
certainly be considering when we were investigating and possibly drafting
charges against him. Things like persecution, imprisonment and other severe
deprivation of personal liberty, as well as inhumane acts that intentionally
cause great suffering, all pursuant to a state policy," he says.
The legal case against President Mugabe is laid out in a paper from the
ENOUGH Project and Impunity Watch called Justice for Zimbabwe, which Crane
co-authored. It's available at www.enoughproject.org or
Asked whether he thinks the international community could unite to take such
strong action against the Zimbabwean leader, he says, "It boils down to a
political decision. The justice part, the legal part is manifest and can be
done. But it all boils down to that bright red threat in all of this called
politics. It'll be a political decision, particularly by the African Union,
particularly by regional leaders, such as Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, to
realize that African leaders who destroy their own citizens have to be held
The white paper says, "It is realistic to consider an amnesty or a type of
immunity arrangement (under threat of indictment) is Mugabe agrees to step
aside and leave Zimbabwe for good." Crane explains, "You have to be
realistic related to his age. He is well into his 80s. The probability of
him living to be not only indicted and prosecuted, you know, there's an
actuarial issue there.. Realistically, I'm not sure if President Mugabe
would live long enough to actually see the end of his trial."
He says one the issue of how to deal with Mr. Mugabe is addressed, new
elections could be held. After that, it would be time to look into
prosecuting those he calls Mugabe's "henchmen."
Amnesty International (AI)
Date: 24 Jul 2008
Climate of fear persists despite deal; violence must not be pardoned
As the Zimbabwean government and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) prepare to enter power-sharing talks, Amnesty International
called on both parties to ensure there are no pardons for those who
committed human rights violations in the post-election period.
'There can be no lasting political solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe
without addressing past human rights violations. While human rights
violations must end immediately, investigations must be carried out and
alleged perpetrators brought to justice,' said Amnesty International.
Amnesty International continues to receive reports of ongoing political
violence and harassment, particularly in rural areas. Even since the signing
of Monday's 'memorandum of understanding' by the ruling party and
opposition, victims of political violence have had to seek medical treatment
for injuries sustained in attacks.
On 22 July, an MDC official from a rural constituency south of Harare who
had been in hiding was allegedly attacked while he walked to work with a
youth in the early hours of the morning. They were both abducted by
suspected supporters of the ruling party and thoroughly beaten on the
buttocks, arms, legs and feet. According to reports, their abductors said
they had been looking for the MDC official, and that nowhere was safe. Both
the MDC official and the youth had to seek medical treatment as a result of
Though some bases from which 'war veterans' and other ZANU-PF supporters
launched attacks against opposition supporters have been dismantled, some in
rural areas including in Mashonaland West, Central and East provinces, still
'The attacks that have killed as many as 150, injured thousands and
displaced tens of thousands over the last several months -- and which
continue to take place - must not be swept under the carpet in the interest
of finding a short-term political solution,' said Amnesty International.
'This would store up problems for further down the road.'
While attempts are being made by all Zimbabwean political parties -- and the
Southern African Development Community, African Union and United Nations --
to address the political and economic crisis, Amnesty International said
that important questions of justice and impunity were not explicitly tackled
in the 'memorandum of understanding' signed on Monday.
'Any future deal between the parties should not include amnesties, pardons
or any other measures that would prevent the emergence of the truth, a final
judicial determination of guilt or non-guilt, and full reparations to
victims and their families.'
In signing the memorandum, the ruling party and opposition committed
themselves to condemning the promotion and use of violence and to taking all
measures necessary to ensure that the structures and institutions it
controls are not engaged in acts of violence.
Despite the latest political developments, Amnesty International remains
concerned that Zimbabwe is still blanketed in a climate of fear. The
government must put an immediate end to all acts of intimidation, arbitrary
arrest and torture perpetrated state and non-state actors against human
rights defenders and political activists, particularly in rural areas. All
bases from which torture and ill-treatment is being carried out must be
closed immediately and alleged perpetrators of human rights violations must
be brought to justice.
Note to editors:
Protection of freedom expression, as well as freedom association and
assembly is provided for under section 20 and 21 of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe as state a party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples'
Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has an
obligation to respect and protect these rights.
SW Radio Africa (London)
24 July 2008
Posted to the web 24 July 2008
Soldiers and Zanu-PF militia in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central province,
forced MDC activists to drink Paraquat, a highly toxic herbicide used for
One of those forced to drink the poison was Hilton Chironga, from Howard in
Chiweshe. On 20th June he suffered horrific facial injuries, described as
corrosive burns, caused by the Chinese made herbicide when he, together with
his mother, his sister and a neighbour were forced to drink it at a militia
base at Tetra farm in the area.
Shingi Nyoni, an investigator into human rights abuses, told us Hilton's
brother Gibson was shot dead by the militia the same day he was forced to
consume poison. Two other people died in the same attack.
'Hilton and his mother are currently admitted at a hospital in Harare. One
other person identified as Madamombe died from the poison. To date he only
takes liquids, milk and soup and is in constant pain,' Nyoni said.
Paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. It has had
a tarnished reputation because of its acute oral toxicity and ill-health
associated with operators - particularly in the plantation sectors of many
It is highly toxic if swallowed and as little as one teaspoonful of the
active ingredient is fatal. Death occurs up to 30 days after ingestion.
Apart from forcing people to drink the herbicide, the militia and soldiers
inflicted serious injuries on others by dipping their knobkerries and sticks
into paraquat, before beating their victims. This has caused serious wounds
that will not heal.
One of these victims is Patience Mapombere from Chaona, Chiweshe. She was
assaulted on 5th May, in an attack in which 6 men died. Attempts to apply
skin grafts to her serious open wounds have failed. Patience remains
'To make matters worse, most of these victims are not getting any help from
the government to deal with their injuries. They need specialized medicines
and doses for their wounds and treatment,' Nyoni added.
The injuries to his face are corrosive burns caused by a poison, Chinese
made herbicide - paraquat, which he and his mother, and sister, and a
neighbour were forced to drink by ZANU PF militia at a base at Tetra Farm,
in Chiweshe, on Friday, June 20. His brother was shot dead by the militia,
who also killed 2 other people.
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
Zimbabwe police is now editing and censoring all stories related
to political violence that are published or broadcast by the state-owned
media, writes Gugu Ziyaphapha.
Journalists and editors from the public media told
www.journalism.co.za that since the controversial June 27 one man
presidential run-off, stories concerning political violence are only
published once they have been vetted and approved by the police
spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena.
The Herald news editor, Isdore Guvamombe, told journalists
meeting in the country's oldest city, Masvingo, that stories are sent from
newsrooms to Bvudzijena who then "edits" them and gives clearance for their
Guvamombe, an 80s liberation war veteran, said the Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP) instructed public media houses to hand over material
to them on the grounds of "national security ".
He said although Bvudzijena, a trained journalist, could not
write good copy, they have had to publish the version he approved.
The move to censor and edit stories and give them a "politically
correct" make-over is viewed by media analysts as Zanu PF's way of trying to
persuade the public to believe that biggest perpetrators of violence are not
Zanu PF but the MDC.
Meanwhile, the publishers and distributors of the UK-based The
Zimbabwean and other publications are demanding the release of the
publications and a refund of the foreign currency they paid as luxury goods
The publishers and the National Association of Independent
Newspaper Distributors argue that the confiscated publications are now stale
as they have stayed more than a month in government warehouses despite the
prohibitive duty being paid for them in hard forex.
The Zimbabwean's 19 June 2008 issue and other foreign
publications were seized by government just before the June 27 run-off
election when it imposed customs duty on foreign publications, which is only
payable in hard forex.
On July 10, three weeks after The Zimbabwean publishers paid R42
000 as duty for the June 19 issue, government says it still will not release
the newspaper until storage charges amounting to Z$10 trillion (R1000) are
fully paid to the National Handling Services, the state's warehouse.
A statement from the distributors said: "After stealing our
money, depriving our readers of the information and depriving us of any
revenue from the sale of our newspapers, they now want to further cripple us
with the type of storage charges meant to push us out of business."
Munn Marketing is also demanding their forex back because only
The Economist magazines have been released but two issues of the British
Weekly Telegraph and Sunday Times are still being held by customs.
"Our vendors were routinely harassed during the run up to the
election run-off of June 27. A number of them were subjected to beatings and
intimidation. Those newspapers which managed to come through were not
allowed to be freely distributed and sold. This is illegal, cruel,
vindictive and a desperate measure as well as being blatant daylight
robbery" said the statement from the distributors.
Meanwhile, SA-based Globecast Satellite, whose two employees
were arrested in March for practicing journalism without accreditation, is
now being charged with the illegal importation of broadcasting equipment.
The company has pleaded not guilty on the basis that it was
invited to provide a satellite uplink during the controversial March 29
elections. The acting CEO of the government-owned signal carrier, Transmedia
Corporation, Cloud Nyamundanda confirmed to the court that Transmedia
invited Globecast to provide satellite uplink services during the elections.
Nyamundanda conceded that in terms of the contract signed
between Transmedia and Globecast, it was Transmedia's duty to apply for the
two-day operating licence.
Two days before the March 29 poll, Globecast's two engineers
Sipho Maseko and Abdulla Gaibee who were not accredited as journalist
interviewed Information Minister, Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and the interview was
also used by CNN without Transmedia's knowledge, which the state says was
also a violation the contract between Globecast and Transmedia.
Maseko and Gaibee were acquitted by a Harare magistrate,
immediately and dramatically rearrested outside the court because government
thought that the ruling was not "proper".
The pair was later released in April and immediately fled to
seek refugee at the South African embassy fearing they might be re arrested
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 July 2008 )
SW Radio Africa (London)
24 July 2008
Posted to the web 24 July 2008
The government is reported to have run out of paper to print money and is
believed to be panicking over how to pay salaries for civil servants,
especially soldiers and police who are the backbone of the Mugabe
Giesecke & Devrient, the European company that was providing the paper, was
last month pressured to cut supplies by the German government, after
protests were threatened. In addition, a company that provides the software
licences for the design and printing of the banknotes, is reported to be
considering withdrawing their contract.
The military has helped run the country for some years now and the Mugabe
regime needs to sustain military and police operations in order to maintain
political control. There is much consensus among observers that Mugabe's
recent decision to sign the Memorandum of Agreement with the two MDC
formations was clearly based on increased economic pressure. One English
pound this week is trading at Z$1.3 trillion.
The software for the notes, which is supplied by a Hungarian-Austrian
company called Jura JSP, is reportedly very technical. The UK Guardian
newspaper quoted a 'knowledgeable source' at the Zimbabwe government's
Fidelity Printers, who said the software issue was a major problem and had
created an air of panic. "They are in a panic because without the software
they can't print anything," the source added.
Helmoed-Romer Heitman, the South Africa correspondent for Jane's Defence
Weekly (a global military security publication) said the situation faced by
the regime is quite typical of many African countries that are falling
apart. He said the result tends to be at least violent demonstrations, if
not a mutiny by the military.
"Given the current situation in Zimbabwe, I am inclined to think that a lot
of the military, certainly middle ranking officers and some seniors, are not
all that enamoured of the party that is running the show", said Heitman.
He said that for a long time now their income has not been keeping pace with
the cost of living. They are also watching soldiers being misused
politically, and a failure to pay them would seriously undermine the ability
of the government to use the military to keep itself in place.
With experts estimating that the inflation rate is currently at 15 million
per cent, and pressure on those doing business with the Mugabe regime
increasing, the economy has proved to be the straw that finally broke the
Thu 24 Jul 2008, 14:17 GMT
By Nelson Banya
HARARE, July 24 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's central bank on Thursday said it
would soon implement reforms to ease the effects of hyperinflation as
consumers, retailers and banks struggle to make even simple transactions
with a virtually worthless currency.
Once the beacon of southern Africa, Zimbabwe now has the world's highest
inflation rate -- officially above two million percent but widely seen much
Critics blame this and other economic woes -- including chronic shortages of
food and other basic commodities -- on mismanagement by President Robert
The country's largest bank note, a 100 billion Zimbabwe dollar bill
introduced on Monday, cannot buy a loaf of bread and retailers and banks
have said it has become difficult to deal with an ever-increasing string of
zeros on the currency.
"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe wishes to advise ... that appropriate measures
are being put in place to address the current setbacks being faced on the
currency front, as well as on financial and accounting systems," said
central bank Governor Gideon Gono.
"Accordingly, therefore, the next few days will see the Reserve Bank
unveiling measures that would address concerns on the current minimum cash
withdrawal limits, as well as with the IT systems digit handling
Zimbabwe lopped off three zeros from its currency in August 2006, and
financial accounts and prices were adjusted according, but hyperinflation
has since forced the central bank to keep issuing higher-denomination notes,
piling back the zeros.
At the beginning of the year, the largest bank note was worth Z$10 million,
but it has now lost its value and is commonly found strewn on the capital
Harare's streets, rejected by both street vendors and beggars alike.
On Thursday, one U.S. dollar fetched 45 billion Zimbabwe dollars on the
official market, but was worth as much as 100 billion Zimbabwe dollars on a
thriving black market fuelled by acute foreign currency shortages.
On Wednesday, Zimbabwe's trade union federation ZCTU wrote a letter to Gono,
asking him to relax limits on cash withdrawals from bank accounts.
The ZCTU said the existing maximum cash withdrawal limit of 100 billion
Zimbabwe dollars was not enough for urban workers whose daily public
transport costs alone amount to about 150 billion Zimbabwe dollars. (Editing
by Malcolm Whittaker)
Jura JSP have released a statement on their website that reads: Official Press Statement on media reports concerning the business
relations of JURA JSP with the Republic of Zimbabwe 1. JURA JSP Entwicklung und Vertrieb von Wertpapierdrucksystemen GmbH
(„JURA JSP“), a part of the Jura Group, sells software applications for
high-security printing (e.g. banknotes, passports) worldwide. 2. In 2001, JURA JSP concluded a contract with Fidelity Printers and
Refiners (PVT) Ltd. for the delivery of software for the graphical design of
banknotes. 3. The software delivered in 2001 in accordance with the contract allows
only for the graphic design of banknotes, and serves in particular for applying
forgery-proof security features on banknotes. It is stressed here that the
production of banknotes using the software of JURA JSP can be ruled out for
technical reasons. Therefore, the Mugabe regime can produce banknotes anytime
without the software by JURA JSP – by loosing the high security features. 4. It is de facto impossible to prevent Fidelity Printers and Refiners
(PVT) Ltd. from using the software, since the software was installed locally and
cannot be removed by JURA JSP. 5. As in the past, JURA JSP shall by no means violate any national or
international sanctions introduced against the Mugabe regime. Vienna, on July 24, 200 Original action text continues
below An article that appeared in The Guardian yesterday pointed to
serious concerns within the Zanu PF government that Jura JSP, a
Hungarian-Austrian company, might withdraw a special licence to use software
critical to security printing: … the government feared that the licence for the specialist software supplied
by another European firm would be withdrawn as part of the boycott of Robert
Mugabe’s regime. The software is supplied by Jura JSP, a Hungarian-Austrian company that
specialises in security printing. A knowledgeable source inside Fidelity
Printers said the software issue had created an air of panic. “It’s a major problem. They are very concerned that the licence will be
withdrawn or not renewed. They are trying to find ways around it, looking at the
software, but it’s very technical. They are in a panic because without the
software they can’t print anything,” he said. An article in The Independent today has further information: 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. Last month we asked you to support a campaign calling on Giesecke
& Devrient to stop supplying the Zanu PF regime with banknotes. We
argued that the steady flow of money to Zimbabwe was funding the Zanu PF terror
regime who were relying on it to pay the militia and soldiers to intimidate,
torture, and murder civilians. Gieseck & Devrient have stopped supplying
banknotes and soldiers are now waiting to be paid. Yesterday we published a letter sent by the ZCTU to
Gideon Gono, asking that ordinary people in Zimbabwe were given increased
access to their own money. The
letter highlighted the fact that the military get preferential treatment when it
comes to withdrawing cash: soldiers are allowed to withdraw Z$1.5 trillion and
above per day, while ordinary civilians were only allowed to withdraw Z$100
billion. ACTION: We are calling on all our supporters and subscribers
today to phone, email and write to Jura JSP and ask them to
withdraw the software licence from the Zimbabwean government on the grounds that
the cash they print has been used to primarily support a campaign of terror, and
on the grounds that preferential treatment is given to the armed forces when it
comes to accessing cash. Both these facts show that the Zanu PF regime is using
money to buy the loyality and support of the armed forces. It clearly shows that
this is a government that prioritises power and control over the people, more
than it is concerned with the fact that ordinary people are struggling to
survive. We need to keep up the pressure. Jura JSP is a small company so if we can accumulate as many contact details
as possible we can contact individuals directly. Please seek out details and
submit them via our form here and we will add them to our database. This post contains a variety of information which will be updated as the
campaign evolves. The recent updates section highlight information that has
changed. We have provided a set of jumplinks at the top to help you navigate to
the different sections. Please read through it and take action! As always, your
comments and suggestion are very welcome.
Jura JSP have released a statement on their website that reads:
Official Press Statement on media reports concerning the business relations of JURA JSP with the Republic of Zimbabwe
1. JURA JSP Entwicklung und Vertrieb von Wertpapierdrucksystemen GmbH („JURA JSP“), a part of the Jura Group, sells software applications for high-security printing (e.g. banknotes, passports) worldwide.
2. In 2001, JURA JSP concluded a contract with Fidelity Printers and Refiners (PVT) Ltd. for the delivery of software for the graphical design of banknotes.
3. The software delivered in 2001 in accordance with the contract allows only for the graphic design of banknotes, and serves in particular for applying forgery-proof security features on banknotes. It is stressed here that the production of banknotes using the software of JURA JSP can be ruled out for technical reasons. Therefore, the Mugabe regime can produce banknotes anytime without the software by JURA JSP – by loosing the high security features.
4. It is de facto impossible to prevent Fidelity Printers and Refiners (PVT) Ltd. from using the software, since the software was installed locally and cannot be removed by JURA JSP.
5. As in the past, JURA JSP shall by no means violate any national or international sanctions introduced against the Mugabe regime.
Vienna, on July 24, 200
Original action text continues below
An article that appeared in The Guardian yesterday pointed to serious concerns within the Zanu PF government that Jura JSP, a Hungarian-Austrian company, might withdraw a special licence to use software critical to security printing:
… the government feared that the licence for the specialist software supplied by another European firm would be withdrawn as part of the boycott of Robert Mugabe’s regime.
The software is supplied by Jura JSP, a Hungarian-Austrian company that specialises in security printing. A knowledgeable source inside Fidelity Printers said the software issue had created an air of panic.
“It’s a major problem. They are very concerned that the licence will be withdrawn or not renewed. They are trying to find ways around it, looking at the software, but it’s very technical. They are in a panic because without the software they can’t print anything,” he said.
An article in The Independent today has further information:
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.
Last month we asked you to support a campaign calling on Giesecke & Devrient to stop supplying the Zanu PF regime with banknotes. We argued that the steady flow of money to Zimbabwe was funding the Zanu PF terror regime who were relying on it to pay the militia and soldiers to intimidate, torture, and murder civilians. Gieseck & Devrient have stopped supplying banknotes and soldiers are now waiting to be paid.
Yesterday we published a letter sent by the ZCTU to Gideon Gono, asking that ordinary people in Zimbabwe were given increased access to their own money. The letter highlighted the fact that the military get preferential treatment when it comes to withdrawing cash: soldiers are allowed to withdraw Z$1.5 trillion and above per day, while ordinary civilians were only allowed to withdraw Z$100 billion.
ACTION: We are calling on all our supporters and subscribers today to phone, email and write to Jura JSP and ask them to withdraw the software licence from the Zimbabwean government on the grounds that the cash they print has been used to primarily support a campaign of terror, and on the grounds that preferential treatment is given to the armed forces when it comes to accessing cash. Both these facts show that the Zanu PF regime is using money to buy the loyality and support of the armed forces. It clearly shows that this is a government that prioritises power and control over the people, more than it is concerned with the fact that ordinary people are struggling to survive.
We need to keep up the pressure.
Jura JSP is a small company so if we can accumulate as many contact details as possible we can contact individuals directly. Please seek out details and submit them via our form here and we will add them to our database.
This post contains a variety of information which will be updated as the campaign evolves. The recent updates section highlight information that has changed. We have provided a set of jumplinks at the top to help you navigate to the different sections. Please read through it and take action! As always, your comments and suggestion are very welcome.
By Gerald Harper ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ July 24, 2008 ⋅
The MDC has beefed up its negotiating team to include two extra observers of
the power-sharing talks between the ruling ZANU-PF and the two formations of
the Movement for Democratic Change. A move Political analysts say is meant
to facilitate quick decision making by the representatives.
The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai will be represented at the talks by its
Secretary General Tendai Biti,MDC-Harare East., and Deputy Treasurer Elton
Mangoma,MDC-Makoni East.,Its Women’s Assembly Chairwoman Theresa
Makone,Harare North and Chairman Lovemore Moyo,MDC-Matobo South will be on
hand as observers.All newly elected parliamentarians on March 29.
A smaller MDC faction which holds crucial 10 seats in parliament is
represented by its Secretary General Welshman Ncube and his deputy Priscilla
Mushonga both lost their seats on the March 29 parliamentary election to the
MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, appointed mediator for the SADC, had
pushed for talks to get going on Tuesday immediately following the signing
Monday of a memorandum of understanding setting the framework for the talks
but were delayed due to last-minute ZANU PF consultations.
David Coltart | July 25, 2008
WITH talks between the Movement for Democratic Change and ZANU-PF set to
determine the future of Zimbabwe, it is incumbent on all to refer to the
vision of Zimbabwe held by its most important stakeholders: Zimbabweans.
That vision reaches out to gather in the desires and hopes most ordinary
Zimbabweans carry for peace, freedom and justice in their country. The
coming weeks are not a time for empty leadership, nor is it time for a
process of arranging the chairs of power to comfort the padded fundaments of
power-brokers. Zimbabwe has seen enough of this. We need leaders who listen
to human-scale policies.
Such a process won South Africa its much-deserved freedom. Then, the
towering figure of Nelson Mandela constructed and maintained a process that
was politically sound and broadly integrated. Mandela is the first to admit
that his leadership was reliant upon the leadership of others, of people
such as F.W. de Klerk, Cyril Ramaphosa and Roelf Meyer. It was a culture of
leadership that won out.
Zimbabweans know too well the implications of a drastic and fatal failure in
leadership. The agreement between the MDC and ZANU-PF to discuss a
transitional arrangement is a step forward, but Zimbabweans have too often
seen the moral bankruptcy in our leaders to hold their hopes too high.
The political leadership of Zimbabwe has been soaked in violence and
recrimination for decades. The most concerted and avowed efforts have been
in tight circles of self-interest, spinning enduringly in power's tiny
These leadership dysfunctions have reached across all Africa and indeed,
across the globe. World and regional leaders, along with Zimbabwe's, have
rarely failed in one area: to disappoint.
While leaders talk, we might cast our minds back to the 1987 Unity Accord
between Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF and Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU, to fully appreciate
the moment we are in. Then, political comforts were top of the agenda.
Policy reforms and economic development were relegated.
The cause of democracy in Zimbabwe is still struggling to recover from this
self-satisfying arrangement which created a personal vehicle of rampant
power that Mugabe still drives to
This is the historical context for the talks between the MDC and ZANU-PF.
You can see why there is many a jaundiced eye being cast on it from the
direction of Zimbabwe.
However, if politics is an art, then compromise is surely one of its
instruments. As a lawyer myself, compromise on certain issues is hard to
accept. But, short of a willingness to countenance an even higher body
count, today there are no alternatives.
This being so, how might our leaders fulfil the destiny of a nation and
seize this vital moment in the lives and futures of not only all
Zimbabweans, but of all those with hope and a will for freedom?
For one, there should be no consideration of a permanent government of
national unity. Such a joint arrangement, possibly with Mugabe retaining the
presidency indefinitely and with Morgan Tsvangirai becoming the prime
minister, would simply make a mockery of the decision of Zimbabwe's voters,
which has already been recorded following the March 29 poll.
There can be no other consideration beyond the establishment of a
A formal transitional body renders an emphasis on something new, not on a
few shifted seats at the top in Harare. Its composition will need to reflect
the will of the people expressed on March 29 and will need to incorporate
the much-undervalued yet utterly vital forces of civil society.
An authority so constructed will need to quickly enter a period of
power-sharing, working to a finite mandate. A period of 18-24 months should
be sufficient during which to address the issues most pressing in
post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. Broadly, these issues are: the economic crisis, the
constitutional crisis, the need for fresh elections and the humanitarian
Like all Zimbabweans, I see the coming weeks as a test for leadership. But,
all tests are opportunities. We are now looking upon a rare, if not unique,
chance to arrest the plummeting decline of one of Africa's brightest stars.
All Africa has a stake in what happens and in the ability of our leaders to
lead with justice, peace and equality uppermost. I prefer to side with the
optimists who see hope instead of bitterness, a new future instead of a past
repeated and, a new dawn in Zimbabwe, where the beauty, intelligence and
potential of our people is fully realised.
This is my Zimbabwe. It is our Zimbabwe. It must be our leaders' Zimbabwe
too. Failure is not an option.
David Coltart is a member of the Movement for Democratic Change and was
re-elected as a senator in elections held this year.
for the politicians
President Robert Mugabe's government suspended the work of all humanitarian organisations on 28 May, after accusing them of engaging in political activities.
The ban remains in place, even after a Memorandum of Understanding providing a framework for talks between rival political parties to establish a new constitution and a government of national unity was signed on 21 July by Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, the leaders of both wings of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Talks are scheduled to begin in Pretoria, South Africa, on 24 July.
Humanitarian operations were suspended in the window period between the 29 March elections - in which the ruling ZANU-PF lost its majority in parliament for the first time since independence from Britain in 1980, and Mugabe come second in the presidential poll - and the 27 June run-off vote for the presidency, called after the challenger, Tsvangirai, narrowly missed winning the first round by the required 50 percent plus one vote.
Tsvangirai withdrew from the second round of voting in protest against widespread political violence that claimed more than 60 lives and caused the displacement of tens of thousands of people.
"The hopes are that the humanitarian restrictions will be lifted, but I fear that they will not be lifted in full ... and we are worried about that," Tadonki said.
According to the memorandum, "The Parties agree that, in the interim, they will work together to ensure the safety of any displaced persons and their safe return home, and that humanitarian and social welfare organisations are enabled to render such assistance as might be required."
A lot of our members say they
have placed their staff on leave until the situation becomes much
On 18 June the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) published its crop assessment, which forecast that more than five million Zimbabweans would suffer food insecurity in the next nine months, a million people more than the previous year.
"The [crop assessment] Mission estimates that 2.04 million people in rural and urban areas will be food insecure between July and September 2008, rising to 3.8 million people between October [and December], and peaking to about 5.1 million at the height of the hungry season between January and March 2009," FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) to Zimbabwe said.
Tadonki said some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had resumed unofficial operations, but were "negotiating at field level" for access. Such an approach was not sustainable and was setting "a dangerous precedent".
He said humanitarian organisations operated on the principles of being impartial and neutral, and any actions that called those principles into question would be a problem.
NGOs operate in confusion
Fambai Ngirande, the policy and communications manager for the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO), an umbrella body for more than 1,000 organisations, said there was a lot of uncertainty about the future of NGOs.
"A lot of our members say they have placed their staff on leave until the situation becomes much clearer," he told IRIN.
Those NGOs operating in the fields of HIV/AIDS and child feeding schemes had been excluded from the ban, but the initial blanket ban had created confusion.
"The problem with the lifting of that ban is that it was not effectively communicated to the local structures, especially in rural areas, where the security of field workers can no longer be guaranteed," Ngirande said.
Our appeal now is that the
government should allow the United Nations to conduct a fresh audit of the
humanitarian situation in the country, to assess the impact that the
election-related political violence has had on the people
Ngirande told IRIN that the government food packs being distributed were not adequate to address the humanitarian crisis.
"Activities conducted by NGOs are designed to be sustainable, like empowering communities to improve their livelihoods by producing their own food, and not the welfarist distribution of food, which is just a stop-gap measure," he commented.
"Already, Zimbabwe does not enjoy the status of a favourable operating environment: the hyperinflationary environment and the high costs of fuel, goods and services, together with the uncertain environment, could see donor organisations pulling out and going to other countries within the region, which have similar challenges such as ours."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
July 24, 2008, 14:45
President Thabo Mbeki is expected to urge the European
Union (EU) to drop sanctions against Zimbabwe and allow settlement of the
political crisis through negotiations. Mbeki will hold talks with the EU's
top leadership led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and EU Commission
President Jose Manuel Barraso in Bordeaux, France, tomorrow.
South Africa's Ambassador to Brussels Anil Sooklal says
the signing of the framework for talks by President Robert Mugabe and the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is an indication of progress towards
resolving the crisis in that country.
Mbeki is also expected to discuss with the EU leadership
the implication of the indictment of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir by
the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Bashir has been charged by the ICC for genocide and war
crimes arising from the ongoing conflict in Darfur. Ambassador Sooklal says
the Darfur crisis can only be resolved through a peaceful political
settlement and cooperation with the African Union.
24 July 2008
A survey recently carried out by CHRA
reveals that accommodation in most of the low to medium density suburbs is now
being charged in
Although the economic crisis is the immediate force behind the charging of rentals in forex, CHRA notes that Operation Murambatsvina/Restore order left more residents homeless, as most of their homes were demolished. The operation also destroyed backyard structures, which for long time had been accommodating thousands of residents who are now homeless. The Government is still failing to provide accommodation for the survivors of this notorious operation. The increased demand for accommodation, boosted by the state sponsored Operation Murambatsvina, has exacerbated the plight of the lodgers and low income earners. CHRA calls upon the state to come up with immediate measures that cushion the residents against the disastrous effects of Operation Murambatsvina. The Ministry of Local Government must provide direct loans to Local Authorities ear marked for housing development. CHRA demands that the state must be responsible for its irresponsible yet cruel actions like Operation Murambatsvina.
Chief Executive Officer
Exploration House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4- 705114
Monsters and Critics
Jul 24, 2008, 15:30 GMT
Harare - Output by Zimbabwe's crippled manufacturing sector fell 27 per cent
last year as the country's factories operated at less than 20 per cent of
capacity, according to figures issued Wednesday by the Confederation of
The dramatic slump occurred in a year in which President Robert Mugabe's
regime introduced price controls that forced manufacturers to sell goods at
roughly half the price it cost them to produce.
Capacity utilization by the country's manufacturers, until recently the most
productive in Africa outside South Africa fell to 19 per cent last year,
against 34 per cent last year. Three out of four companies were running at
below 50 per cent of capacity.
Besides price controls, the survey found that shortages of hard currency,
electricity and water cuts, the absence of external credit lines, skills
shortages, rampant inflation and collapsed demand were contributing to the
Zimbabwe is in the grips of a devastating economic crisis inflation,
characterized by hyperinflation, officially put at 2.2 million per cent but
estimated by independent economists to exceed 15 million per cent.
The value of the Zimbabwe dollar has hurtled from 1 US to 5,300 Zimbabwean
at the beginning of the year to 120 billion Zimbabwean for a single
On Wednesday, bars were selling a single quart of beer for 1.4 trillion
Zimbabwe dollars (12 zeroes).
Businesses are increasingly refusing to deal in the increasingly worthless
local currency. The biggest available banknote, the 100- billion-dollar note
launched at the weekend, does not even buy a loaf of bread.
'We've stopped trading in Zim dollars,' said one businessman who asked not
to be named. 'By the time you get your cash, it's worth half of what it was
when you made delivery.'
'We have been operating on crisis management, business level and labour
level,' said CZI president Callisto Jokonya. 'We don't want to operate like
that any more.'
Economists say the crash began in earnest in 2000 when Mugabe gave the nod
for the illegal seizure of white-owned farms, precipitating the collapse of
the all-important agricultural industry.
The decline has been accelerated by the Reserve Bank's policy of reckless
printing of money to cover uncontrolled government spending.
On Thursday South Africa's The Star newspaper reported that an Austrian
company was supplying the bank with materials used in the design and
printing of the near-worthless banknotes.
Despite pressure on European companies to halt dealing with the government
of controversial President Robert Mugabe, Vienna-based Jura JSP is supplying
the Reserve Bank with licenses and software to print money, the paper
Jura officials told the paper they would consider revising the relationship
if required to do so by the European Union.
The EU does not automatically ban companies from dealing with Mugabe's
government but European companies are under growing pressure not to be in
the pocket of the 84-year-old leader's regime.
Earlier this month German company Giesecke & Devrient, after being leaned on
by the German government, announced it would cease supplying the Reserve
Bank with banknote paper.
July 24, 2008 Edition 1
Hans Pienaar and Jean-Jacques Cornish
Still basking in the success of mediating an official dialogue in the
Zimbabwe crisis, President Thabo Mbeki is set to preside over another first
tomorrow, the European Union and South Africa summit in Bordeaux, France.
Mbeki is expected to report on the progress in the dialogue, which begins
today, followed by the EU's explanation for expanding targeted sanctions
against the Robert Mugabe regime this week.
Mbeki is expected to tell the European leaders that tightening sanctions at
this delicate stage is particularly unhelpful.
He has already expressed his displeasure at the EU specifying that it wants
to see Tsvangirai play the senior role in a government of national unity.
The EU delegation for tomorrow's summit in France, which is chairing the EU
until December 31, will be led by French President Nicolas Sar-kozy and will
include EU council secretary-general Javier Solana and the president of the
European Commission, José Manuel Barroso.
Another burning issue, the design of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)
to replace preferential deals between the EU and some Af-rican countries,
will also be discussed but not be resolved, say sources.
South Africa is acting on behalf of members of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), who are under pressure to turn interim EPAs
signed last year into permanent arrangements.
The EU says the EPAs will be designed to continue preferential trade
agreements between some SADC members and Europe which have expired, while
critics say the EU is using them to smuggle in measures that would be to the
poorer countries' detriment in the future.
Food securit; the Doha Development Round in World Trade Organisation
negotiations; and African and global security issues are being listed as
topics to be discussed.
The summit is also expected to consider developments in Sudan, Chad, the
Central African Republic and the Middle East . Other topics include climate
change, migration, developing a European defence policy and developing an
action plan for the EU.
The summit will be preceded by the 7th SA-EU Ministerial Troika meeting.The
SA delegation to the troika will be led by Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana
July 24 2008 at 09:12AM
Talks to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis were due to open near Pretoria
on Thursday after the representatives of all three parties involved landed
in South Africa on Wednesday.
But Zimbabwean civic groups were seething with anger about their
exclusion from the dialogue mediated by President Thabo Mbeki.
The civic groups said they would regard any outcome of the talks as
illegitimate because it would not reflect the will of the people but that of
the few representatives delegated by three political parties.
Morgan Tsvangirai's main wing of the Movement for Democratic Change
added its vice-president Thokozani Khupe and chairperson Lovemore Moyo to
its chief representatives Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma.
Khupe and Moyo would not sit in during the talks but would be
available for "consultations and back-up", said an authoritative opposition
The MDC had wanted to send its technical team to help in the actual
dialogue too but this was rejected by the mediator and his emissaries.
Mbeki was due to meet the participants before flying off to France on
Thursday to attend the inaugural European Union-SA summit.
Zanu-PF's representatives Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and
Labour Minister Nicholas Goche as well as representatives of the smaller
faction of the MDC, Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi, also arrived
While many around the world have pinned their hopes on the talks as
the only viable option to ending the Zimbabwe crisis, civic groups in
Zimbabwe are not impressed.
National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore Madhuku, whose
body represents a coalition of civic groups including churches, students'
organisations and trade unions, said the groups were disappointed with the
MDC and accused the two factions of the opposition party of not learning any
lessons from their past mistakes.
"This all signals what the MDC is capable of doing as a governing
party. We will have the same autocratic tendencies as we have seen under
Zanu-PF," said an angry Madhuku, hitherto a key ally of Tsvangirai's.
He blasted the "continuing arrogance" of the two factions of the MDC
in endorsing the exclusion of civic society groups from the talks.
"We would have thought that the MDC have learnt many lessons from
their mistakes but they have not," said Madhuku.
He was particularly scathing about Tsvangirai, who most civic groups
endorsed for the presidency during the March 29 first round of the
elections, which the MDC leader won.
Madhuku said civic society had been excluded even from the signing
ceremony of a memorandum of understanding to launch the formal talks on
"None of us knew that the signing was on Monday. I am speaking for
all, including trade unions. We only read about it in the press.
"They should not expect us to support whatever they come up with in
Pretoria. It will be rejected by the people. It's all illegitimate.
The future of Zimbabwe cannot be determined by a few people to the
exclusion of other key stakeholders," Madhuku added.
This article was originally published on page 6 of The Star on July
Thursday, 24 July 2008 09:05 UK
She describes how she had to leave her two-month-old son behind when she fled her homeland.
That was eight years ago and Beverley has not seen him since.
Her eyes well up as she talks about her heartbreak but Beverley told BBC East she cannot go home because of her membership of the Zimbabwean opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and her brother's position within the party.
Adding to her problems is that she cannot officially work in the UK because she is a failed asylum seeker.
"I do private jobs. I've got my mother here with me who is in the same predicament.
"We are always living in fear that the UK Border Agency is going to come after us", she said.
Beverley is in a church hall in Southend for a regular meeting of local MDC activists.
They are part of a large community of Zimbabweans living in Essex and they gather once a month to share stories, catch up on news and continue their opposition 4,500 miles from home.
The meeting begins with a prayer and everyone sings "Ishe Komborai Africa" - God Bless Africa.
A collection is taken and the branch treasurer gathers the subs, explaining how the money will fund the party's activities and even buy coffins for members who have been killed in Zimbabwe.
Stories of murder, torture and intimidation are told.
One man describes how the families of exiled MDC activists are targeted back home.
Another claims that the children of party supporters are being refused entry to schools.
Margaret Chipandambira used to own a string of off-licenses: "I used to have my own place where I lived in Kadoma and two weeks ago my house was destroyed. They've taken everything from my shops."
According to latest Home Office figures, around 80% of Zimbabweans who come to the UK seeking asylum are refused, but deportations are on hold at the moment pending a test case going through the courts.
They are also the third largest nationality group seeking refugee status in the UK.
Only Iraq and Afghanistan provide more applicants.
The people gathered speak of the hardship and poor living conditions they have to endure because of the restrictions on working.
More than one person explains how those in work end up supporting friends and family in both countries.
They also say the system in which failed asylum seekers have to report to the police can compound their misery.
Stanford Biti is the local MDC branch chairman: "We have somebody staying in Southend but he's reporting in Birmingham... we have some people who stay here in Southend and they go as far as Edinburgh to go and report."
Many of the exiles in the church hall are well educated professionals.
Beverley had just completed her A-levels when she fled, Stanford is a school teacher, and they want to rebuild their country.
According to Washington Ali, a former UK chairman of the MDC: "When things change in Zimbabwe believe you me, people would like to go back."
Thu, 24 Jul 2008 16:09
The current dialogue between Zimbabwe's political parties should include
labour, business and civil society in Zimbabwe, the National Economic
Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) said on Thursday.
"Nedlac has previously expressed its serious concern about the political
crisis and violence in Zimbabwe and has urged that the political and
socio-economic challenges facing that country be resolved through the
democratic process and political negotiation," Nedlac said in a statement.
Stability, equity and growth should be restored in Zimbabwe as soon as
possible in the interests of both that country and the Southern African
region, it added.
The right decisions about Zimbabwe's political and economic future could
only be taken if they were driven by "democratic processes and legitimate
structures in that country".
Institute for Security Studies (ISS)
Date: 24 Jul 2008
The protagonists in the Zimbabwe political crisis finally met this week and
signed a framework that outlines the key issues that will drive the
negotiation process towards a possible political settlement. The signing of
the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the leaders of the ruling ZANU-PF
and the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) marked an
important step towards negotiations and progress in the long facilitation
process led by President Thabo Mbeki, mediator of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC).
Obviously, the signing of the MoU only signals the first step and a
commitment by all the parties to resolve the crisis through dialogue. It
also reflects an agreement on key agenda issues that will form the basis for
the negotiations. Full-blown negotiations on substantive matters will now
follow. Meanwhile, how should we read and understand the issues contained in
the MoU? Most importantly, what does the signing of the MoU portend for the
possible resolution of the political crisis?
Firstly, some of the key concerns and areas of contention between ZANU-PF
and the MDC-faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai that had threatened to
undermine the prospects for a peaceful settlement to the Zimbabwe crisis
have been addressed. ForZANU-PF, the key issues relating to sanctions, the
land question and external interference have been included as agenda points.
More importantly, the issue of the current status of the head of state and
the outcome of the recent run-off elections are currently not included in
the agenda points. For the MDC, the issue of security of its members, the
prevention of violence, calls for the stop of hate speech, as well as the
role of SADC and the African Union (AU) as underwriters and guarantors of
the global political agreement seem to have allayed their major concerns.
The second issue relates to the recognition and acknowledgement of the need
by all protagonists to engage in dialogue. Reference to dialogue as the
agency for brokering a political settlement to the crisis clearly indicates
a realisation that both parties need to work together. This signifies that
neither ZANU-PF nor the MDC can resolve the crisis on its own.
Thirdly, the MoU does not specify the type or form the unity government will
take. This will be determined by the substantive negotiations and ultimately
by a global political agreement. The single most important development
arising from the signing of the MoU, is the recognition of a necessity to
form a 'new government' or 'an inclusive government'. The reference to
'working together in an inclusive government' further strengthens the
imperative to have some form of unity government that will comprise both
ZANU-PF and the two MDC factions.
In view of the above, what does the MoU deal portend for a possible peaceful
and negotiated political settlement in Zimbabwe? The signing of the MoU
reflects the first breakthrough towards achieving a negotiated political
settlement since the crisis first broke out in 2000. The deal brokered
through the facilitation of President Mbeki provides both the facilitator
and the regional body SADC with breathing space after mounting international
criticism and pressure. The MoU could not come at a better time for SADC, as
South Africa is expected to take over chairmanship of the organization from
Zambia in August this year. This is important given the emerging divisions
within the regional body.
Challenges towards reaching a global political agreement remain. One of the
possible stumbling blocks is the form or type of government that will be
established through the negotiations. Will both parties insist on their
conception of unity government, either a transitional form or government of
national unity? There have been calls for a government of national unity
such as the call made by the AU at its 11th Ordinary Session in Sharm El
Sheik, Egypt recently. Others, including the MDC, supported by Kenyan Prime
Minister Raila Odinga, have called for a transitional government with a
limited time frame and with responsibilities such as drafting a new
constitution, security reforms, and holding elections.
Another potential stumbling block is who will lead the new entity? Will the
MDC-Tsvangirai insist on their leader Morgan Tsvangirai heading up the unity
government or will ZANU-PF insist that it should be led by President Robert
Mugabe? These two issues are likely to be the most contentious during the
dialogue and have the potential of stalling the progress if the two leading
protagonists cannot find common ground or compromise.
Other contentious issues relate to the role of external parties - especially
those that continue to threaten pressure such as imposition of sanctions or
make statements that may be interpreted as undermining a compromise, e.g.
threatening not to recognize any deal that includes President Mugabe.
Another issue is the ability of protagonists to control their supporters,
especially the militants and alleged perpetrators of political violence.
Incidents of violence have the potential of being used by political players
in the crisis as a political tool or strategy if things do not go their way.
A related point is whether the hardliners and potential spoilers in both
parties are brought on board and whether they will support an outcome that
does not address all their fears or demands. In this regard, what is the
position of the security apparatus relating to any deal struck by the
political leaders and what assurances are they likely to be offered? The
latter point further speaks to a critical issue of amnesty, impunity and
justice relating to abuses that have been perpetrated by the actors in the
crisis, especially the security organs. Ultimately, the signing of the MoU
and the dialogue that is under way in South Africa are positive developments
but many issues and stumbling blocks remain.
Saki Mpanyane, Senior Researcher, African Security Analysis Programme, ISS
PRETORIA, 24 July 2008 - Sharp differences between Zanu PF and MDC are
reportedly threatening the talks aimed at establishing a government of
national unity in Zimbabwe.
The talks kicked off on Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa.
Close sources say the parties are clashing on the issues of land
redistribution, sanctions and the security of Robert Mugabe's henchmen who
helped him to violently clinch victory in the June 27 one man presidential
Zanu PF and MDC are also at loggerheads over the structure of the
unity government, which is expected to be the finality of the talks.
The talks followed the historic signing of Monday's Memorandum of
Understanding, (MoU) between Mugabe and the leaders of the two MDC factions
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
The two parties had agreed on a raft of issues that formed part of the
current agenda except on the land question and sanctions, prior to the
signing of the MoU.
The sources have warned that the talks could face a premature birth if
the issues are not tackled in a satisfactory manner.
The current agenda for negotiations includes talks on objectives and
priorities of a new government, a new constitution, the restoration of
economic stability and growth, sanctions and the land reform programme.
Mugabe is reportedly pushing for an undertaking from the MDC that the
land reform exercise is irreversible, while the MDC has dismissed
accusations from Mugabe's government that it is bent on returning farms
forcibly acquired under the land reform exercise in 2000 to former white
Instead the MDC is insisting on carrying out a land audit to identify
those who grabbed more than one farm and those not fully utilising the land.
Mugabe is also pushing for the MDC to ask the United States of America
and the European Union to lift sanctions slapped on the regime.
Sources say that this week's decision by the EU to widen sanctions,
adding 37 more people and companies to the list, had infuriated Mugabe.
Mugabe is also interested in retaining his executive powers while
offering Tsvangirai the post of prime minister or vice president. However,
Tsvangirai has rebuffed such a move and wants to become executive prime
minister with Mugabe as ceremonial president until the lapse of 24 months,
when fresh elections are expected which will be supervised by the SADC
community and the African Union.
The major headache however has been the fate of members of the Joint
Operations Command, state security agents and Zanu PF militia who unleashed
an orgy of violence against the population after Mugabe lost the March
JOC designed Mugabe's violent campaign, which saw over 100 people lose
their lives while 10 000 were injured and an estimated 200 000 displaced.
The MDC is insisting that those behind the violent campaign should be
brought to book and incarcerated with sentences commensurate with the degree
of the crimes that they committed.
Mugabe is said to have suggested through his representatives that he
was interested in declaring an amnesty for them if they are arrested.
However Tsvangirai's policy chief Eddie Cross, has already said in a
statement that the fate of the alleged Zanu PF perpetrators would loom
during the talks despite the matter not having been mentioned in the MoU.
Cross said the perpetrators had no role to play in the new
transitional government which is being discussed.
Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR)
Date: 24 Jul 2008
The general mood is one of cautious optimism rather than expectation of
swift, radical change.
By Joseph Nhlanhla in Bulawayo (ZCR No. 156, 24-Jul-08)
Not all Zimbabweans have greeted the signing of a deal between the country's
rival political forces with unalloyed joy. While many welcome the agreement
to engage in dialogue, they warn that real change will only come if the
outcome is a system where they can choose their leaders through a truly free
and fair electoral process.
After protracted efforts by the chief mediator, South African president
Thabo Mbeki, to bring President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader
of the main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, to the
negotiating table, the two men, together with Arthur Mutambara, leader of
the smaller MDC faction, met and shook hands for the first time in a decade.
The July 21 signing was hailed by some as a landmark step that could lead to
the rebuilding of the country's battered economy, the mood on the streets
was one of guarded optimism. As one local resident put it, the people's
power to decide their political future has long been usurped by Mugabe, and
must be restored in any political settlement.
Typical of the view of many involved in economic affairs was the statement
issued on July 22 by Imara Capital Zimbabwe, an asset management firm. While
welcoming the development, the statement said, Imara remained 'fairly
"The key issue remains the economy and the recovery thereof. In pre-election
discussions, our high-road scenario envisaged a government with a mandate
from the electorate to tackle the hard decisions required to sort out the
economy, and backed by this legitimacy able to quickly tap into investor
confidence and donor sympathy,' it said. 'A government of national unity
does not, by definition, have this legitimacy, which slows recovery
The memorandum of understanding sets out a framework of an agenda for
negotiations, expected to last two weeks, on an 'inclusive government',
political rights, a new constitution and economic recovery.
The dialogue is intended to overcome the tensions created by the June 27
presidential run-off in which Mugabe ended up running alone, and winning.
Despite winning more votes in the first round on March 29, Tsvangirai
withdrew from the race a few days before the violence, citing the mounting
violence targeting his supporters.
Alex Moyo, a Harare businessman, dismissed the signing as a non-event,
saying it could only have worked if the agenda had been mainly to set a date
for another election through which the will of the people could be properly
"What is important is that the inalienable right of the people to elect who
should govern them must be restored before people can talk about economic
recovery," he said. "The MoU [memorandum of understanding] and the
subsequent talks do not guarantee that this happens."
On the streets, many people said the very fact the political opponents had
met and signed an agreement held out hope of a new beginning.
"We will just wait and see how it goes,' said high school teacher Thabani
Moyo. 'For now all we want is a return to normality. We cannot continue like
this. We can only hope for the best."
Simon Makanza, a 30-year-old unemployed man, was surprised that Mugabe had
agreed to meet Tsvangirai at all.
"Mugabe has said some nasty things about the MDC, but I hope that the very
fact that they met to sign the MoU could mean better things ahead," he said.
"People are fed up with the political bickering and want to get on with
Mugabe, who blames the West rather than his own policies for the country's
economic decline, last week launched a programme intended to bring cheap
basic commodities to the people in the form of subsidised food hampers. But
there are already many complaints that the local officials and chiefs in
charge of distribution ensure that only ZANU-PF supporters receive the
Shop shelves are still empty a year after a controversial government edict
that retailers must slash their prices, The bulk of basic commodities are
now sold only on the thriving parallel market, where prices are beyond the
reach of many Zimbabweans.
The latest statistics from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe show the
year-on-year inflation rate at more than 2.2 million per cent, but
independent economists put the figure at about five times that.
Fanuel Gama, an analyst with a local rights group, says people are right to
be guarded in their optimism about the chances of rapid economic recovery.
"It has already been said the country's woes will not be solved overnight;
that the economy will spring to its feet only with the exit of Mugabe.
Zimbabweans have lost faith in politics and they can only sit and wait,"
Gama said. "But we should give it a chance and see how it goes. The people
have no choice.'
Joseph Nhlanhla is the pseudonym of a reporter in Zimbabwe.
24 July, 2008 10:03:00 Collen Madziva
There is nothing wrong with unity, peace and stability but if the unjust are
the ones leading the way we have a problem.
It seems Zimbabwe is heading to another unity accord judging from the recent
events. There is nothing wrong with unity, peace and stability but if the
unjust are the ones leading the way we have a problem. National healing is
required for the country to move forward but this band-aid solution is not a
The Zimbabwean situation is not only affecting MDC and ZANU-PF, how come
they are the only two players in resolving this issue? We watched them
signing the Ammendment 18 and nothing came out of it. Of course politics is
part of the problem but not the entire problem. Zimbabwe got into this
situation with the so-called elected officials in place. Where were those
politicians? How are they going to figure out the solution to the problem
that they seem not to understand? In Zimbabwean politics, politicians are
not held accountable for bad policies they make so what will change this
time around? We might applaud the signing of the so-called MOU but does that
really solve the problem? The same political parties started talks more than
six years ago and nothing came out of it. Their talks seem to be endless
because they are not getting to the bottom of the problem. Right now there
are key issues missing in that MOU.. Were those key issues overlooked or
they were deliberately ommitted? Some might wonder what am I talking about,
let me give you examples. There are known people who tortured and killed
during the campaign what is going to happen to those people? Is that issue
on the list? Just persuading MDC and ZANU-PFsupporters does not really solve
the problem because what we need is protection. There are some people who do
not belong to either MDC or ZANU-PF does that mean they can go ahead with
the killings? Just mentioning tolerance without enforcing the law that is
already there leaves me to wonder what are they really talking about? I am
110% positive that the some independents involved because there are some
Makonis and Moyos somewhere are they allowed to kill because their
independent leaders did not sign the MOU? The evidence of those crimes is
there, is justice going to prevail? The MOU was signed but the situation on
the ground is still the same no demand was met. Opposition MPs are still on
Both parties acknowledged that lives were lost but nothing was said about
those who lost their lives during the political season. Is there any kind
of compensation for those killed because these people were fathers, mothers
who left children who needs care, what is the government going to do to
provide for those children? How is the government going to ensure violence
is under control? Look I did not say ZANU-PF or MDC but the Zimbabwean
government. Is it not true that these political parties are fighting on
behalf of the people?
This is not the first time Zimbabwe is heading in the unity direction. We
had this kind of problem in the early 1980s. The unity accord of 1987 was
trying to resolve a problem of this kind and nothing changed. What is really
sad is expecting different results from an experiment carried out under the
same conditions by the same people. The difference this time would be the
size of the government I guess. Small as Zimbabwe is, we are about to have
the biggest government. Right now we have three presidents, which are the
first president and two vice presidents. Each province has a governor; we
have MPs, Senators, councilors and chiefs for what? With all these people in
place look where we are? Do you ever ask yourself why? Now with the so
called talks the number is going to be much bigger and guess what, all these
people are to be paid by your tax-dollars but unfortunately you do not have
to even hear what they are saying during their talks. If the talks are to
resolve Zimbabwean issues why are they a secret? These politicians are
taking Zimbabweans for a spin yet again. The bad part is we are riding down
the hill with a sleeping driver that lost control of the bus about decade
Talk about unity and inclusive government with inflation in millions what is
that? A government cannot sustain itself by only taxing its government
employees so how does the Zimbabwean government think they are going to do
it? Unemployment rate is said to be above 80%, thank God this rate cannot
excede 100, so who is really working? It is a known fact that a government
does not generate money like businesses do so where does the money they are
pouring into the army and payment of governtment officials come from?
No wonder why they don't want people to be involved. The reason why they do
not need you the civic society to be involved is simple, they know there
will be an uprising Once people gets involved in the decision-making they
will lose control so everybody in Zimbabwe is assumed to be either ZANU-PF
or MDC that way your representation is not going to be questioned. Their
best line is they have you (who they don't care about) at heart.
If people were ever going to take part in something I think this is the
time. It is critical to have this dialogue now. We cannot afford to let the
same people who failed us all these years sit down and decide on our behalf.
Going to work in Zimbabwe today is soon to be considered a luxury. Imagine
engineers, teachers, nurses and doctors resorted to gold panning? They could
not afford to do something they are trained to do because they have families
to feed. The best an individual can be in Zimbabwe is a dealer. No one is
spared by the situation; even politicians who have made the situation
miserable can't afford to live off their salary. When it comes to shady
deals it is the same politicians who are on the lead. They are the ones who
are dealing with gold, diamonds, emerald you name it. What kind of a society
Talented and ambitious people have been reduced to beggars. Running the
street has been turned into a profession. Can we really afford to be on the
sidelines while a few clueless individuals draw up the rules of the game
they don't know how to play? When are we as a nation going to be involved in
the process? Beatings during the political campaign season is not being
involved; that is being abused, harassed and victimized. Zimbabwe this is
the time that we have to restore our dignity and claim our right to be free.
If one does not want to vote it is his or her right to reserve that vote and
nobody has the right to force anybody to go to the polls. If one feels like
they don't share the same values with any of the candidates who might be
running for office, it is that individual's right to stay home without the
fear of Operation Show me the Finger. This issue is not going to be
addressed by neither ZANU-PF nor MDC during theirs talks because to them it
does not exist. The ones who do not belong to their groups are the ones to
bring up those issues not politicians because they only see black or white
and nothing grey. The society is being left out of the talks but
surprisingly these talks are about the members of the society. Let
politicians have their talks but I would like to make it crystally clear
that without us (people) there would be no politics therefore leaving us out
creates another problem. After following politics, world events I think I
can safely say, politicians do not solve problems. What they do best is to
act like they are doing something. Is it not a shame that after the blood
bath politicians are now on the table? What happened to the power of the gun
over the pen? What role does a pen play now? We lost precious lives because
of political blunders and if we don't get involved we are about to make yet
another mistake. It is us who are going to suffer because of their different
political idiologies. Can you imagine people will be butchered again for
supporting or not supporting what they are talking about in secrecy? These
politicians do not know where the problem is so why do we have to let them
Zimbabwean solution lies within the Zimbabwean people so leaving the
Zimbabwean people out is not resolving the Zimbabwean crisis, right? Every
Zimbabwean should be involved in solving this problem. Everybody should be
represented from students, teachers, headmen, chiefs, community leaders,
church leaders, trade unionists, businessmen, economists, engineers,
bankers, farmers, and civic organizations all the way to politicians. I was
once taught analogies like this; if a farmer is to crops, an engineer is to
machines. If a teacher is to education, a politician is to know-it-all? I
think people in their respective profession know whats missing and changes
that are required to make things work not ZANU-PFor MDC. We all have to come
together and only and only then can we talk about a new constitution.
Zimbabwe does not have a shortage of smart people. Zimbabwe has a problem
with people who have a one solution fits all mentality. This approach should
not be tolerated now and forever.
Collen Madziva, Dzidzai Foundation
24 July, 2008 10:00:00 Farai Maguwu
Tsvangirai signs the MoU paving way for an GNU
Whilst I salute ZANU PF and the two MDC formations for their commitment to
enter talks to resolve the national crisis that has rocked the
Whilst I salute ZANU PF and the two MDC formations for their commitment to
enter talks to resolve the national crisis that has rocked the nation for
close to a decade, I fear that another false start could be on the horizon.
Zimbabwe has had two false starts inside three decades. The first false
start was in 1979 when the Patriotic Front negotiated the Lancaster House
peace deal that laid the foundation for the current constitutional crises
and the on going third chimurenga. The Lancaster House agreement was
shrouded in secrecy and remained a mystery to the majority of Zimbabweans.
It was attended by representatives of the Patriotic Front (ZAPU & ZANU) and
the Zimbabwe Rhodesia government, led by Bishop Muzorewa and Ian Smith. The
agreement covered up a lot of atrocities and war crimes that had been
committed by both sides during the guerrilla warfare. A tight lid was put on
the liberation war and thus denying Zimbabweans the chance to tell their
stories, grieve over their losses, forgive one another and triumph in true
national unity. Consequently Black and White Zimbabweans remained strangers
to each other because there was no effort on the part of Zimbabwe's
politicians to allow debate on crucial issues that had divided us. The deep
division between ZAPU and ZANU, swept under the carpet when signing the
political deal, resurfaced with horror and anguish barely two years after
independence. This led to the second false start.
The second false start was the 1987 Unity Accord that imposed peace without
reconciliation. As with the first false start, the Unity Accord covered up a
lot of things that are still a major cause of disaffection among
Zimbabweans. The Unity Accord was made under an illusion that once
politicians from Matebeleland appeared on TV joining hands with ZANU PF
leaders, then the nation is healed. Predictably, this did not change
anything despite many attemps to pretend nothing ever happened. The accord
did not bring to the surface what had gone wrong and how best to prevent it
from recurring. I am not sure if the majority of Zimbabweans in Matebeleland
will demand that the perpetrators of Gukurahundi be prosecuted. I can't
predict what the victims will demand but I am convinced they have a more
positive solution to their suffering than being forced to pretend that
everything is alright. Similarly the continuous episodes of violence that we
have experienced since 2000 have left our national conscience bleeding for a
cure. But why is healing so difficult dispite many wounds calling for
healing in Zimbabwe?
Governance in Zimbabwe is exclussive to politcians. There is virtually no
room for citizens outside politics to play a significant role in national
healing. This weakness of excluding citizens in national debate is not
confined to ZANU PF alone; it is shared by the MDC as well. In the very
recent past the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has consistently threatened
never to get involved in talks with ZANU PF unless the mediation team is
widened to include envoys from the AU and SADC. He never set as a
precondition the inclussion of Zimbabwean civil society in the mediation
process. The absence of civil society means the resultant political
agreement will go only as far as sharing power and will do little to
completely overhaul Zimbabwe's political infrastructure. The impending
agreement will mirror the Lancaster House agreement that gave our
politicians power without giving us freedom and the 1987 Unity Accord that
imposed unity without reconciliation. It is not addressing the causes of the
problems and doing nothing to ensure the crisis will not recur again. There
is no acknowledgement that something has gone terribly wrong with the manner
in which we handle our politics. Neither is there any determination towards
a major paradigm shift in politics and governance.
Whilst in Europe recently, I had the chance to visit Mauthausen
Concentration Camp that was set up in Austria by the Nazi regime in 1940.
The death toll in the Mauthausen complex is estimated at somewhere between
123 000 and 320 000. Touring Mauthausen is like reliving the horrors of the
Holocaust. Many people are depressed when they tour Mauthausen and many
other similar concentration camps dotted around Eastern Europe. What is
refreshng, however, is the proclamation issued by Presidents Truman of the
USA, Churchill of Britain and Stalin of Russia at the end of WW2. There is
an inscription with the signatures of the three leaders at Mauthausen where
they declared that such despicable atrocities should never happen again
anywhere in the world. Following the war, European leaders sought practical
ways of avoiding another political tragedy. In 1951, the European Coal and
Steel Community was formed which became the European Economic Community in
1957. The EEC became the European Union in 1993 and it keeps growing from
strength to strength. The result is a united and peaceful Europe to where
many Africans are dying to go. It started with a conscious acknowledgement
by their leaders that there was an urgent need to break with the past and
build a new political and economic dispensation based on respecting human
dignity. They opened space for civil society and ensured that democratic
governance ought to be the pride of Europe.
As for Zimbabwe we are moving in circles. The chief reason why Zimbabwe
moves in circles is the fact that politicians in our country make deals for
political survival and not for the good of the people. We have had short
term solutions with far reaching consequences. Now is the time for Mugabe
and Tsvangirai to declare that the violence that we have seen in Zimbabwe
shall never be allowed to recur again. Now is the time for Zimbabwe's church
leaders to declare that the 'Egyptians' that we see today we shall never see
them again. Now is the time for Zimbabwe to hear God saying 'You have dwelt
on this mountain long enough, turn, set your journey.'
There is a high likelihood of a return to violence and polarization in the
near future. The talks should have focused on building institutions that
safeguard democracy. Already there are talks of further constitutional
ammendments to enhance the power-sharing deal. Had the NCA been part of the
deal then we could be talking of a new democratic and people driven
constitutional process within a set timeframe. We have a repeat of the
Lancaster House agreement when the constituion was written by politicians
for the people. These talks offer Zimbabweans with a great opportunity to
start a process that will lead us to a very bright and prosperous future. It
is however sad that the chance is being squandered by denying Zimbabweans
room at the negotiating table to heal old wounds and chat a way forward. The
inclusion of civil society in talks is the surest sign that Zimbabwe is
heading towards a new democratic dispensation. In the face of the continued
exclusson of civil society in crucial talks, we remain skeptical of what is
being discussed and the possible outcome.
We call upon Zimbabweans and friends of Zimbabwe to support the Center for
Research and Development in its civic education program that aims at taking
the message of human rights, democracy and good governance to rural
Zimbabwe. Through civic education, Zimbabweans are inspired to build a
democratic future together. Despite the political hurdles, the CRD has
consistently carried out civic education workshops in rural Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is our country, let's build it together
Farai Maguwu works with the Center for Research and Development in Mutare.
He can be contacted at email@example.com.
We're hungry, angry, and depending on a sovereign God.
By a Zimbabwean pastor-scholar | posted 7/24/2008 08:24AM
How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out
to you, "Violence!" but you do not save? Why do you make me look at
injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before
me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice
is perverted. (Hab. 1:2-4)
Over the last five years, I have preached often from Habakkuk. I stress the
fallenness of our world and the need to be realistic about human wickedness.
But Habakkuk also stresses that history demands a judgment. If God is just,
there must be a judgment one day - maybe not in this life but certainly in
the life to come. God's answer to our struggles with evil and evil men and
women in this world is, "The righteous will live by faith - our loyalty to
God in spite of the godlessness of others." We're getting lots of practice.
Daily life in Zimbabwe is the painful reality of starvation, AIDS, and
violence. Most families are fortunate if they can have one solid meal a day.
There is no food on the shelves, there are no medicines in hospitals, and no
one can afford to buy from the drugstores.
The last few months have therefore been a total nightmare for my family (me,
my wife, our two daughters, our parents, and my HIV-positive brother's
family), especially as the shortage of basic and essential commodities has
reached critical levels. When you can find such staples as sugar, maize
meal, cooking oil, flour, rice, and salt, the price is ridiculously
unaffordable. When we get financial assistance, we cross over the border to
buy supplies and withdraw cash.
Zimbabwe has become a nation of beggars who spend more time looking for food
than working. Most employees' monthly stipends would not be enough to meet
their transportation budget to get to and from work. The majority of people
who still work walk long distances because public transportation is too
State schools have lost almost all qualified teachers. Most factories that
had already scaled down operations at the beginning of the year have not
opened since the March elections. Those that have opened, often under threat
from the ruling party supporters, have kept a skeleton staff.
Since the spring election, we have noticed a dramatic increase in the number
of elderly destitutes and children living on the street. Retirees are the
most affected because over the last 10 years they have lost all their
savings and pension benefits.
According to the United Nations food survey conducted in April and May by
the World Food Program, an estimated 2 million people in Zimbabwe need food
assistance. This number is expected to rise to 3.1 million by October and
will shoot up to 5.1 million between January and March 2009. But the
government has banned NGOs from distributing critical food and medical aid.
The few who seem able to survive this food crisis are mostly receiving
financial assistance from the Zimbabwean diaspora. To date, there are more
than 2 million Zimbabweans in South Africa, most of them illegal immigrants.
People do not know where to turn. In the last few weeks, we have seen a
dramatic increase in the number of Zimbabweans illegally crossing borders
into neighboring countries in search of employment and food. If by the end
of the year the situation does not change, we might see the final exodus of
the remaining skilled and professional labor force in the country.
But a lack of food isn't the only danger: More and more people are getting
killed and beaten up in both rural and urban areas. The culprits are members
of the ruling ZANU-PF party; the victims are mostly supporters of the
Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The general population
has become hopelessly fearful. This terror campaign by ZANU-PF is already
estimated to have claimed 500 lives. David Coltart, the opposition senator
and a human-rights lawyer, has described this as a deliberate and systematic
attempt to wipe out an entire political group in order to permanently
cripple the MDC. This has prompted the international monitors Genocide Watch
to give Zimbabwe a "Stage 6" listing - the final stage before political mass
To say that most Zimbabweans are angry, frustrated, and hopeless is an
understatement. People are tired of politics. They feel betrayed, lied to,
and taken for granted. They have lost the energy to fight. At the election,
they had painfully gathered all their remaining energy to clearly signal
their rejection of a status quo characterized by political repression and
economic decay, but once again all their hopes were dashed. All they want is
genuine political change that will give them back their dignity as a people.
In one sense, Christians are just as hungry and angry as everybody else. In
another sense, churches have risen up to the mission challenge and have
become feeding centers for the poor and a refuge for victims of political
violence. In Bulawayo, the second largest city, a number of churches have
pulled their resources together to provide health care to thousands of
residents who otherwise would go without medical assistance.
We have some church leaders who are known supporters of Robert Mugabe and
ZANU-PF, his political party. Such leaders have obviously been isolated from
other church leaders, but they don't seem to care.
Their support of Mugabe is perhaps because they have also benefited from the
crisis, especially from the fast-tracts land reform initiative of 2000. Many
of us agree that land reform was inevitable. There was an urgent need to
correct colonial imbalances, where 95 percent of the arable land was in the
hands of 5 percent of the population. Our economy is agrarian and for that
reason, land reform had to be handled sensitively and decisively so that the
majority of Zimbabweans would have received the maximum economic and social
benefit. But Mugabe went about doing this for personal political gain.
In the recent past, Mugabe targeted pastors and the organizations of
pastors. He hosted "spiritual rallies" that endorsed his party and made
veiled threats. The rallies promoted a general spirituality in which Mugabe
is both a political and a spiritual figure - the kind of spirituality
promoted by a notorious, ousted Harare Anglican bishop who claimed Mugabe
was like Jesus Christ.
This has not continued, but there are some pastors who continue to be used
to legitimize Mugabe's presidency. For as long as Mugabe holds onto power he
will use any means possible to achieve this objective.
Church leaders who support Mugabe and ZANU-PF have tended to discourage
people from speaking against the president by referring to Romans 13.
However, most Christians believe that Romans 13 is about leadership that
upholds God's law or is at least sympathetic to it - not leaders who murder,
starve, and steal from those they are meant to serve.
Leaders who have gone bad need to be rebuked for abuse of power, authority,
and the trust of the people, instead of being celebrated and praised for
bringing peace when there is no peace. Christians are called to fear God and
not man, to penetrate and expose darkness by allowing the light of Christ to
shine. That is why Christians cannot be popular with unjust governments.
Pastors are preaching a lot about the sovereignty of God as they try to help
their members make sense of the economic and political crisis. The failure
of the people's vote to bring about change has helped the church to strongly
believe that the sovereign Lord is the only one who can bring change. It's
our duty to, among other things, pray as he works.
We are very hopeful that the mediation efforts of the African Union and the
Southern African Development Community will yield a positive result. The
church is praying for a process that will bring together all the key
players, not only political parties but also the church and civic society.
The Zimbabwean church needs to play the prophetic, priestly, and kingly role
with both wisdom and gentleness. A divided church is no good when it comes
to speaking against injustices and corruption. We need a united voice that
upholds God's standard of peace and justice. The church in Zimbabwe must
come out of this crisis with its faith intact, purified, and reflecting the
glory of Christ Jesus. It will very unfortunate if the church in Zimbabwe
comes out of this crisis not believing better, not deeper in theological
reflection, and not sharpened for service in any way.
The author is president of a private college in Zimbabwe and John Stott
Ministries-Langham scholar. To protect him, we have withheld his name.
SW Radio Africa (London)
24 July 2008
Posted to the web 24 July 2008
As members of Zimbabwe's political elite finally sat down for talks in South
Africa on Thursday, many of their fellow citizens who sought refuge in the
country are facing deportation back to the homes they fled as a result of
Hundreds of immigrants, including a vast number of Zimbabweans were forcibly
removed from the Glenada refugee centre in Johannesburg on Tuesday, after
failing to meet Monday's deadline to register for temporary South African ID
cards. The group was sheltering at the camp after a spate of xenophobic
violence swept through the country earlier this year, leaving more than 60
foreign nationals dead and tens of thousands displaced.
The temporary ID cards were set up as a precautionary measure by South
Africa's Home Affairs department to allow victims of the xenophobic violence
another 6 months stay in the country - with warnings that deportations would
be the next measure if people failed to register.
But the registration process at the Glenada shelter was interrupted last
Wednesday by an outbreak of violence when four men, believed to be security
guards, were held hostage by the camp's residents. 23 foreigners were
injured after the police, called in to diffuse the situation, fired rounds
of rubber bullets at protesting refugees. 700 foreigners were forcibly
removed from the shelter on Tuesday and taken to a repatriation centre where
they are facing deportation.
Anna Moyo from the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum told Newsreel on Thursday that many
refugees have not registered because they feel "they cannot trust the South
African government to deliver after 6 months in getting them permanent
status". She added that some of the foreigners already hold asylum seeker
cards and refugee status and were afraid "the ID cards would force them to
forfeit that status".
Amnesty International has now accused the South African Government of
violating its obligations under international law and has called for a full
investigation into what it has called "excessive force" by the police who
orchestrated Tuesday's mass removal. The organisation also condemned the way
officials had "denied access to adequate food" to those who failed to go
through the registration process at Glenada. It also called on the
government to uphold its human rights obligations and not forcibly return
asylum seekers, and others in need of international protection, to the
countries they had fled.
The Zimbabwe Refugees Forum has also condemned the removal of the refugees
from the Glenada shelter and the South African's government's treatment of
xenophobic attack victims. The forum has now appealed to Home Affairs
Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to immediately halt the deportation of
Zimbabweans and other victims of the attacks.
Moyo said the government has previously established a moratorium on
deportations and the deporting of foreigners, particularly Zimbabweans,
would not only be "contrary to what has previously been declared" but also
"in violation of the constitution and the country's refugee laws".
Meanwhile as the outcry over the treatment of the refugees continues, a
recent survey done by South Africa's TNS Research Survey group revealed on
Thursday that the majority of South Africans do not want refugees in the
country. The views of two thousand South African adults from across the
country were recorded last month about President Thabo Mbeki's role as
mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis and the impact it has had on South African
life. The question of whether Zimbabweans should be allowed to stay in the
country was also posed, but almost three out of every four respondents felt
they should not, while only 29 percent said they should.
Moyo said the survey is clearly reflective of "the situation on the ground
where South Africans feel foreigners are imposing on their own rights". She
added that "when the government is deporting foreign nationals it is echoing
the sentiments of many South Africans".