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Deal expected as Zimbabwe begins talks on unity government

Irish Examiner

25 July 2008

By Marius Bosch, Johannesburg
Senior negotiators from Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and the ruling ZANU-PF party began talks yesterday
and a report indicated they were close to reaching a deal on forming a unity

The talks were underway yesterday, South African President Thabo Mbeki's
spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, said.

Senior MDC officials and two Zimbabwean cabinet ministers were leading
the rival negotiating teams, meeting at an undisclosed venue around the
South African capital Pretoria.

Preliminary talks began on Tuesday after Mbeki secured a framework
deal between President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai for
talks to end the deadlock over Mugabe's re-election on June 27 in a poll
boycotted by the opposition because of violence.

Ratshitanga said even if negotiators missed a two-week deadline set
under the framework agreement, it did not mean the end of talks.

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.

South African newspaper Business Day reported yesterday that both
sides are close to reaching a deal but still need to iron out details. The
paper said a final settlement can be reached soon, as the sides had agreed
on many issues: "They have agreed on most of the issues, except mainly the
framework for a new government. The deal is basically done, but what remains
are a few issues of detail, implementation and logistics."

Zimbabwean political analyst Eldred Masunungure said a breakthrough
was possible as the rival parties had been talking under mediation led by
the South African president since March last year.

"A breakthrough is a reasonable possibility, even in two weeks.

"This is essentially the second phase of the SADC-mediated process,
the first phase having started in March 2007," Masunungure said.

Mbeki was appointed by regional grouping the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to mediate between the Zimbabwean parties. He
had been increasingly criticised, especially by the MDC, 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 MDC and
ZANU-PF's negotiators flew to South Africa on the same flight on Wednesday.

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Official Optimism, General Caution As Zimbabwe Crisis Talks Open In Pretoria


By Blessing Zulu
24 July 2008

Ending 48 hours of delays, Zimbabwean power-sharing talks between the
country's ruling ZANU-PF party and both formations of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change got under way Thursday at an undisclosed
location in the South African capital of Pretoria.

Spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga of the office of South African President Thabo
Mbeki, who is mediating the negotiations, said the talks had started and
expressed confidence they would quickly conclude. But he said this might not
necessarily happen in two weeks as stated in the memorandum of understanding
signed Monday setting broad terms for the discussions.

Mr. Mbeki, in France for a South Africa-European Union summit, was expected
to urge EU officials to drop sanctions against top Harare officials
including President Robert Mugabe and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono in
the interest of encouraging an agreement.

Sources in Pretoria and Harare say a deal could be reached soon as these
talks pick up from an earlier round launched in March 2007 which hit a
dead-end in January of this year. These sources say the parties had agreed
on issues including Western sanctions, land reform and a new constitution
before Mr. Mugabe refused to make some key compromises.

But political observers say the very nature of the power-sharing arrangement
contemplated in the talks agenda presents a formidable challenge. The
ZANU-PF politburo resolved this week that it will insist on a full-term
government of national unity, while many in the opposition want a
transitional authority which would set up new elections within two years.

Political analyst John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe told reporter
Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that accord on such fundamental
points has been elusive.

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No new dawn

Mail and Guardian

Jul 25 2008 06:00

The secret talks in progress between Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe are
not a "new dawn" for Zimbabwe, as some South African media seem to imagine.
And they have very little to do with President Thabo Mbeki's diplomacy.

Mugabe has been forced to the negotiating table by Zimbabwe's visibly
disintegrating economy and his growing isolation in Africa and the region.
He has few remaining friends, no legitimacy and no answer to the profound
crises he has precipitated.

With famine knocking on the door and inflation now estimated at 2,2-million
percent, it will not help him to jail the business executives he accuses of
conspiring against him or hand over Western companies to the Chinese, as he
has wildly threatened to do. He can use violence to decimate the opposition
and steal an election, but his thugs cannot feed the Zimbabwean masses. If
he saw any way of avoiding negotiations, he would surely have gone for it.

As the endless parleys between Israel and the Palestinians bear out, the
talks will not necessarily bring a meaningful settlement. Given Mugabe's
addiction to power, his aim is almost certainly to incorporate opposition
elements into a government he continues to dominate, as a ploy to buy
legitimacy and economic aid.

Power-sharing on its own will solve nothing -- the first step must be to
strip him and his securocrats of executive power and place management of the
economy in different hands. There must be agreement about the immediate
repeal of oppressive laws, the dismantling of Zanu-PF's apparatus of violent
repression and the drafting of a new Constitution that will entrench human
rights, including property rights, and the rule of law.

It is almost impossible to envisage Mugabe agreeing to such measures. But
anything short of them will not permit the outside world to recognise a new
Zimbabwean government and weigh in with the economic assistance the country
so desperately needs.

There should be no illusions: whatever the shape of any settlement it will
be years before the country regains economic and political health. This is
the main charge against Mbeki: through years of appeasement -- let's call
"quiet diplomacy" by its correct name -- he has been complicit in the
systematic destruction of Zimbabwe's democratic institutions and an economy
that once fed much of the region. The South African argument against harsher
inducements has always been that ordinary Zimbabweans would suffer. Could
their suffering have been worse?

The hope is that the leaders of the MDC will not be seduced by the promise
of government employment into an "elite pact" that betrays the interests of
the Zimbabwean people. Mbeki no doubt wishes to parade a quick settlement
before the world as a vindication of his diplomacy. One can expect him also
to be less than scrupulous about the democratic substance of what is agreed.
He has always been more interested in shoring up Zanu-PF, albeit with more
moderate policies, than in the wishes of ordinary Zimbabweans.

Whether the talks yield an agreement within the scheduled two weeks is not
the issue. If they fail to lay the foundations for meaningful change, they
are not worth the candle.

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Government of National Unity? Ignore the lessons of history at your peril

25 July 2008

By Catherine Makoni

We often like to say that history holds important lessons for us, but as it
turns out we are seldom willing to learn. In recent years one of the most
horrific periods in Africa's history was the genocide in Rwanda. With the
true horror of those hundred days having been revealed, the world, its
collective conscience stricken with remorse and guilt, swore-"never again".

How soon we forget. A few years on and the world is once again confronted
with the extermination of hundreds of thousands of people in another part of
Africa-Darfur. It is being called upon to act and act decisively. As before,
there is still haggling over whether what is happening in Darfur is
genocide. There is not end to the excuses that have been used in the years
since the conflict first came to light. The world is doing it again.

The point of this paper is not to talk about Darfur or Rwanda, but to talk
about learning from the lessons that history holds for us in Zimbabwe. The
report of the Legal Resources Foundation and the Catholic Commission for
Justice and Peace should be mandatory reading for every Zimbabwean. It
details what has been euphemistically described as the "Matabeleland
Disturbances". But "disturbances" doesn't begin to cover the deaths of over
20 000 people.

A disturbance is when a dog barks in the night, waking you up form your
sleep. It's annoying, but hardly fatal. It could even be when two neighbours
exchange words over the cutting down of a tree on a common border. At worst,
in these days of accommodation shortages, it might your landlord telling you
he now wants his rentals paid in hard currency resulting in an argument. It's
nasty, it's uncomfortable, it's inconvenient (when you get evicted) but it
is rarely life threatening. It is not a "disturbance" when 62 people are
lined up and shot-execution style as happened at Cwele River in Lupane. It
is not a disturbance when a government to flush out less than 200 so-called
dissidents, brings nearly 400 000 people to the brink of starvation by
banning all food relief activities and imposing a strict curfew on the
movement of food supplies. All this in the third successive year of a severe
drought where people had no food apart from drought relief from donors and
what they could buy in stores.

A comparison of the events of those years to the events of the weeks leading
up to the June 27th election shows some startling similarities. It is clear
that the ruling party has drawn numerous lessons from history. I will
highlight just a few. Banning of independent media? That's nothing new.
During the period 1983-1987, journalists were banned from certain areas of
Matabeleland and the Midlands. No news on the crisis was getting out to the
rest of the country except government. For a lot of us in the country, we
swallowed hook, line and sinker the propaganda that we were fed, that the
government was fighting a legitimate war against some dissidents bent on
destabilising the country, never realising that at the same time, the
government was also waging a brutal war against its own unarmed people.

The ban on food relief and other humanitarian activities as was done by the
Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, before the run off? That too is
nothing new. In January 1984, the deployment of the Fifth Brigade coincided
with a strict curfew being imposed on stores in Mat South and a ban on all
food relief activity. Food is a useful tool to ensure compliance, especially
when people have few or no options.

What about disappearances and kidnappings? During the run up to the run off,
there were increased incidents of kidnappings. This too is nothing new. At
one time it was the modus operandi of choice of the Fifth Brigade. The CCJP
report notes that throughout the conflict, "there were cases of people who
disappeared. These became more common from mid-1983 onwards, and were at
their worst during 1985. This was an election year, and in early 1985,
possibly hundreds of people were detained under mysterious circumstances in
the middle of the night. Some of these were later released, but others have
never been seen again to this day.

These people are believed to have been taken mainly by CIO and PISI." It is
clear that kidnapping, torture and murder were lessons well learnt by those
responsible for crafting the re-election strategy of the ruling party. This
strategy has been employed consistently in all the election periods from
1985 to date. When there is fear of being kidnapped and murdered, you learn
not to participate in anything that might put you at risk.

How about the militia/ war vets/youth brigade? Well, no prizes for guessing
that this too was a lesson well learnt from the ruling party's history. CCJP
reports that "from late 1984, there was an increase in violence in urban
centres as well as in rural areas. This was related to the upcoming election
(1985), and was once more aimed at ZAPU supporters rather than at
dissidents. The ZANU-PF Youth Brigades were responsible for much of this
violence..ZANU-PF Youth were modelled on the Chinese Red Guard, and were
groups of young men who forced people to attend ZANU-PF rallies, buy ZANU-PF
cards, and who beat anyone who stood in their way.

Between June 1984 and August 1985, they caused extensive damage ..This left
around 4000 homeless, hundreds injured and scores of people dead." Sounds
chillingly similar to what we saw happen in the period leading up to the
June 27th run off. How many people were frog marched to attend
†"re-education" and reorientation camps? How many people were forced to buy
party cards and how many still were forced to wear or display ZANU PF

What about the torture methods that were employed? Nothing new there in
terms of the underlying thinking behind the torture. The point has been made
about the Gukurahundi that "all the techniques were calculated to maximise
terror, pain, grief and humiliation. The soldiers [ read CIO, youth militia,
war vets, hit squads]..set out to injure and mutilate human beings, to kill
them, but to do so in such evil cruel ways that the scars would be indelibly
etched in memories for generations to come. ..intended to leave this
civilian population with fear for the rest of their lives, for the horror to
be so great that they would pass the fear down to subsequent generations.

This is how he believed he would manage discontent in the region, and hold
onto power indefinitely." I would argue that this was the same thinking that
informed the horrific acts of torture that were inflicted on people
suspected of being MDC sympathisers after March 29, 2008 including gouging
out the eyes, cutting off the hands, burning people alive, cutting out
people's tongues and genitals and burning people's hands.

On December 22 1987, PF ZAPU and ZANU PF signed a unity agreement which
signalled the end of the violence. ZAPU and ZANU merged and the formation
became known as ZANU PF. Given the almost one sided violence that had
preceded the agreement, it appears to me that ZAPU was bludgeoned into
submission and so a government of national unity was forged. That Unity
Accord created a one-party state and that one party? ZANU PF. It therefore
marked the end of ZAPU as an opposition party. Therein lies the first
pitfall. A GNU does not mean we all start belonging to one political party.
There can be unity in diversity. We must put an end to political intolerance
which believes that unless you belong to my party, you do not have a right
to live.

Pitfall two; a government of national unity as defined by the ruling party
is one in which the ruling party calls the shots. It is a method of
co-opting members of the opposition and thereby compromising them. Offer
them a few cabinet posts and neutralise them. There goes the opposition. Yet
if there is one thing Zimbabwe needs, it is a viable opposition. Even if,
dare l say it, the identities of the parties were reversed?

The third lesson lies in the popularly acknowledged meaning of the word
"peace", being not the absence of war, but the presence of justice. The CCJP
report notes that "many people say that true national unity was not
achieved, that only a few leaders have benefited, and not the ordinary
people who suffered through these years. People have said that true unity
cannot take place until the Government is prepared to admit what happened
and to discuss it openly." A great disservice was done to the long term
recovery of Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans in the interest of short term, short
sighted "peace". The peace that was achieved was never going to be
sustainable because no one ever bothered to ensure that conditions were
created that would ensure that the 5 year "moment of madness" would never
happen again.

Amnesty was granted in 1988 to all and sundry including those people who
were guilty of gross violations of human rights. At the time of writing, the
authors of the report made the important point that "it is important that
those responsible for human rights violations be removed from positions
which may enable them to violate human rights again in the future.." That
was never done, indeed those who were responsible for human rights
violations then are the same people who have been implicated in human rights
violations now. So we have come full circle now. Will the proposed GNU put
an end to impunity? There can be no lasting peace unless the State terror
machinery is dismantled. Mr Welshman Ncube must surely understand demands
for reform of the judiciary.

I want the court to be a forum for enforcing my constitutionally guaranteed
rights as a citizen of this country not a partisan forum used to hand out
extra-judicially determined judgments. That is not what you taught me
Professor; back when you used to teach Constitutional Law. Ms Priscilla
Misihairambwi-Mushonga, must get me when l say I want every woman to feel
they can go the police and get protection and not expect the police to be
the perpetrators of violence. Isn't that what we used to fight for madam?
Back in the days when you used to fight for women's human rights? Now Mr.
Mangoma, I have not heard you speak but would like to think you are man who
is measured in his speech. The public broadcaster should never be an
instrument of hatred, spewing racist, tribalist and xenophobic hate language
in the partisan service of a few individuals.

Now l am sure there are those in the MDC (both formations), for whom being
an MP is their means of earning a living. Now a nice, plum token cabinet
post would be very welcome right about now, thank you. So who cares about a
little detail such as the 105 people who died as a result of holding
different political views? I mean 20 000 people have died before and there
has been no justice for them either has there? This proposed political
settlement had better not be aimed at benefiting a few people high in the
MDC party structures. This is why l am all for having the negotiated
settlement be a transitional arrangement that is time-bound. At the end of
that period, not more than 12 -18 months, we should have conditions for free
and fair elections. In the fullest sense.

The authors of the CCJP report make the important point that "unity is a
good thing to aim for, to try and truly bring together people from different
regions of the country. This is for the sake of all our children who may
otherwise face violence in the future. Such unity only seems likely if all
Zimbabweans face up to what happened ..and take steps to prevent government
soldiers (read to also mean JOC, CIO, militias, war vets and youth brigades)
from ever torturing civilians again in Zimbabwe."

The violence we have experienced in the years since 1987 has been a result
of the failure at that time, to take steps to prevent the use of those
institutions of the State to inflict torture on unarmed civilians, all in
the service of a few individuals. ZAPU failed to demand a reform of State
Institutions. Perhaps that was because once they got a taste of power and
all the perks that came with it, calls for democracy soon became an
irritating inconvenience. Perhaps that is why we have people who were once
at the receiving end of persecution for their political beliefs, now being
worse perpetrators. The MDC (both formations) should not make that mistake
again. We should reign in those who would make deals motivated by self

A reform of institutions should ensure a return of the culture of
accountability and an end to impunity. Mr Tendai Biti, this can start with
scrapping all laws that have been used to perpetuate abuse of people's human
rights and freedoms. Please make sure that the violence preceding the June
29 election farce is properly investigated and the perpetrators punished.
Give victims of violence a voice. Amnesties and Presidential pardons have
been abused in this country and this has bred a culture of impunity. I will
again reiterate the demands made by CCJP and Legal Resources Foundation all
those years ago. Those found guilty of human rights abuses should never be
put/or remain in positions where they can again at some future point murder,
rape and plunder. Ever. That mistake was made once. It should not be made

A simple and yet profound statement is made by the authors of the
Gukurahundi report who state that "This story is not just about the past,
but about how the past affects the present. There are many problems that
remain in communities as a result of what happened..." Mr. Arthur Mutambara,
it is a false peace that does not acknowledge that there are many whose
loved ones disappeared and have not been seen since and whose souls cry out
everyday for closure and healing. It is a false peace that ignores the
demands for recompense of those who have been mutilated and who now must
live with disability. It is a false peace which ignores the cries of a four
year old child whose mother was murdered in front of his very eyes. We want
a society which upholds the sanctity of life, not leaders who refer to
fellow human beings as "tsvina" (dirt) (as in Operation Murambatsvina) or
"hundi" (chaff) (as in Gukurahundi)

Finally, Mr Tsvangirai "peace is not an absence of war; it is a virtue, a
state of mind, a disposition for benevolence (kindness, compassion),
confidence (belief or trust in somebody to act in a proper, trustworthy or
reliable manner), justice (fairness especially in the way people are
treated)" Don't make all those people who voted for you and who died in
pursuit of democratic ideals regret ever placing their trust in you.

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Sanctions could strangle Zimbabwe 'baby' at birth

New Zimbabwe

By Alex T. Magaisa
Last updated: 07/25/2008 23:53:26
THERE is a sense, after the so-called 'Historic Handshake' between Morgan
Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe on 21 July 2008, that Zimbabwe has reached an
'oasis moment'.

It is that point in a long and treacherous trip in the Sahara when, thirsty
and weary, one suddenly sees a canopy of palm trees in the distant horizon,
a sign that, perhaps, finally you have come across an oasis, a source of

Such moments invoke an eclectic mixture of emotions - hopes, dreams and
also, fears. One is energised by the thought of salvation from the torture
of the desert elements. But there is also the fear that the oasis may be no
more than a mirage; that fatigue may be the great impediment to reaching the
oasis. That is why, in the language of the desert, they talk of dying of
thirst when the palm trees appear in the horizon.

And so it is that for the first time in ten years, a troubled journey of few
highs and many lows, Zimbabweans can see the palm trees in the horizon. But
their reaction to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for
negotiations between the country's political rivals is laced with cautious
optimism or to put it more bluntly, scepticism.

That is not surprising. For a people failed so many times before by
politicians, scepticism is the best insurance policy against likely
disappointment. You do not raise your hopes too high. You always leave room
in your heart to say, 'Anyway, I knew it would never work'. Zimbabweans have
been mentally scarred too many times before; they have seen lofty dreams
turn into nightmares. So, now, they say, simply, 'tege-e tichiona' (we will
wait and see).

But beyond questions over the sincerity and genuine will of the politicians,
there is something else that is not obvious in the equation of Zimbabwe's
future that will determine the success or failure of this current endeavour.

It is the fact that Zimbabwean politicians, let alone the Zimbabwean
citizens generally, no longer hold the country's economic fate in their own
hands. One of the consequences of Zanu PF's failures is that it has so
impoverished the people and made them so powerless and left the country ever
more vulnerable to the whims of external forces.

There is the circumstance, therefore, that a political deal between
Zimbabweans will, ultimately, depend on whether it is deemed acceptable by
the international community and in particular, the economically powerful
West. And there is no guarantee that it will. Zimbabweans thus face a
scenario where their politicians might agree to do a deal but find,
ultimately, that it will not be deemed acceptable by some members of the
community of nations. Africa is likely to take any deal that ensures some
stability. It is not clear that the West would take the same position.

Zimbabwe's economic collapse has resulted largely from poor policies,
incompetence and corruption on the part of government. But it also suffered
heavily from financial and economic ostracisation in the community of

Although the mantra is that Zimbabwe is subjected only to targeted travel
and financial sanctions against select members of the Zimbabwe government,
the reality is that Zimbabwe as a country has largely been ostracised by the
international financial institutions and multi-lateral development banks.

By September 2000, international financial institutions and multi-lateral
development banks, including the IMF, had effectively shut avenues for
financial support and credit to Zimbabwe, except, perhaps for humanitarian
purposes. They certainly had their good reasons for taking those measures
but this exclusion combined with local incompetence and corruption to cause
a brutally slow and painful demise of the Zimbabwean economy.

A closer look at one of the key legislative instruments that provide a
backdrop to the financial ostracisation, namely the US Congress' Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), gives some indication as to
why the outcome of the talks is, ultimately, dependent on the goodwill and
support of the international community.

ZIDERA effectively blocks, through the executive directors representing the
US in international financial institutions, "support that is intended to
promote Zimbabwe's economic recovery and development, the stabilisation of
the Zimbabwe dollar, and the viability of Zimbabwe's democratic

This is, it must be emphasised, a separate set of measures from the targeted
travel sanctions against individuals as provided for under Section 6 of
ZIDERA and which this article does not specifically address.

Any change to the US policy in respect of economic support from the
international financial institutions under this law ultimately rests on the
certification by the US President that certain conditions have been
satisfied in Zimbabwe. These conditions include:

. restoration of the rule of law, which includes respect for property rights
and the cessation of Government-backed violence;
. that there is an internationally-monitored and recognised free and fair
presidential election in accordance with international standards;
. equitable, legal and transparent land reform program consistent with
agreements of the 1998 Donors' Conference;
. End to involvement in the DRC war;
. Demilitarisation of the civil arms of government and subordination of the
military to the civilian government.

It follows, therefore, that, unless these conditions are satisfied, there
remains the possibility that US policy would not change. In this particular
case, it is unlikely that an internationally monitored and acceptable
presidential election will be held in the short term and may, at best, only
come at the end of a transitional period.

If the US were to insist that this condition must be fulfilled to the letter
before dispensing with the financial/economic restrictions towards Zimbabwe,
that might well strangle the new baby at birth. If the transitional
authority remains cut-off from the channels of support from international
financial institutions, and multi-lateral development banks, its stability
and prospects of economic recovery will be severely limited.

The trouble is neither Zanu PF nor the MDC have the capacity to determine
the policy decisions of the US and the EU in these matters. They have their
own reasons for imposing the sanctions and they also have their own domestic
constituencies to account to for their actions. For this reason, the
situation is that talks will have to address the issues raised not simply by
Zimbabweans but also those issues that may be raised by the West. The
possibility of clashes is not insignificant.

Yet the threat of sanctions requires careful treatment. It remains a potent
tool for the MDC in the negotiations, a dagger above the head of Zanu PF
which impels them to negotiate and find common ground. That's because the
sanctions regime effectively strengthens the hand of Zanu PF's greatest
challenger - the economy.

Mugabe can fight his human foes. He has shown that. But he knows also that
there is one foe; one dogged challenger who won't give up - he knows the
economy is the hardest of punchers. In boxing parlance, they would probably
say the economy is now throwing a series of combinations and Mugabe is
hanging on the ropes, unable to defend, let alone fight back, waiting
desperately for the bell, a bell that will give him a breather. That bell
will energise him to, perhaps, make another remarkable comeback. That is why
talks are important to him and Zanu PF. The talks are to Mugabe what the
bell is to the beleaguered boxer.

But will the transitional arrangement survive the vagaries of the two-year
dry economic season, if the West does not accept the deal? The conception of
the talks paraded amid smiles and handshakes; the birth and immediate
aftermath could be a more sombre affair; a lot, perhaps, like the millions
of African babies who appear only briefly to catch a glimpse of the world
and then are seen no more. But, as always, we wait in hope, cautious hope.

Alex Magaisa is based at Kent Law School, The University of Kent, UK and can
be contacted at

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Thinking beyond the political settlement

July 24, 2008

By Arthur G.O. Mutambara

THE signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among the key political
parties in Zimbabwe on July 21, 2008, presented a unique and historic
occasion where national leaders showed political maturity by committing
themselves to a dialogue process. It is important to make a few observations
that will enable all of us to put everything into perspective and context.
There is always the danger of missing the forest for the trees.

The MoU we signed in Zimbabwe is a very important document as it allowed us
to begin negotiations on matters affecting our people. There is a political,
economic and humanitarian crisis of immense proportion in our country. More
importantly, there is an unprecedented political stalemate. The process we
have started will result in a political settlement to this impasse, thus
allowing Zimbabweans to collectively fashion a new beginning.

Key activities will include addressing the humanitarian aspects of the
crisis, and adopting mechanisms to salvage, recover and stabilize the
economy. These dialogue outcomes we are determined to accomplish within two
weeks from the July 21. Let me emphasize that the political agreement and
the redemptive socio-economic plan we seek to achieve in these negotiations
constitute a short-term measure in pursuit of the resolution of our national
challenges. This stop-gap effort is neither the sustainable answer nor the
long-term solution to our dire circumstances.

Beyond the political agreement and adoption of a collective plan of action,
we need to execute a program of national healing and rehabilitation for our
people. This cannot be done in two weeks. What happened in our country in
the past four months has traumatized our citizens. Our people have been
brutalized and dehumanized. The culture and practice of our country's
politics have been taken back twenty years. There is need for public
meetings such as the one we had in Harare on July 21, 2008, throughout the
country in every city, and in every village.

The Zimbabwean political leaders we had on that hotel stage, Robert Mugabe,
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, must address rallies together and
say jointly to the people of Zimbabwe: "It is okay to belong to different
political parties. It is okay to vote for whomsoever you wish, and yes the
will of the people shall be supreme, respected, and sovereign." This has to
be the jointly presented message from these political leaders to all
citizens. Only then can the national healing process start.

The political settlement we seek to achieve in the current dialogue process
is just the beginning of an arduous journey. We need a longer and more
inclusive conversation among Zimbabweans. In addition to agreeing on the
borders of our country, and agreeing on the name of the country, why can't
we have a constitution that we all defend and revere? A people driven
democratic constitution should be the basis of a sustainable solution to our
national problems. With this foundational legal framework in place, the
journey towards a peaceful, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe can then
begin. Such a constitution cannot be achieved in two weeks, only a
commitment to the requisite processes and timeframes of its development is

Furthermore, why can't we have a shared economic vision, a 20-30 year
economic vision for our country? This, the Promised Land, must be developed,
discussed and agreed upon by all political parties, civic society
organizations, the business community, and the general population at large.
There must be total buy in and ownership of this uniquely Zimbabwean
economic vision by all national stakeholders.

However, the conception of the vision must be buttressed by creative and
intelligent borrowing and learning from other successful economies and
cultures. Beyond economic stabilization and recovery, why can't we envisage
economic transformation of Zimbabwe into a globally competitive economy, in
twenty years time, in terms of GDP, per capita income, entrepreneurship,
business growth, exports, productivity, competitiveness, financial literacy,
and quality of life? We can then disagree and compete on strategies and
tactics of achieving that common vision. The envisioning process cannot be
done in two weeks. The most we can do is commit to the concept and
principle, while defining the necessary processes.

In conclusion, the pursuit of a short-term socio-economic-political solution
we are currently engaged in, and the efforts to address the long-term issues
I have outlined above, must be driven by the national interest. This is not
about Arthur Mutambara and his small political party. It is not about Morgan
Tsvangirai and his party. It is not about Robert Mugabe and his party. It is
about the people of Zimbabwe.

As we negotiate and discuss amongst ourselves, we must put the national
interest first, before self-interest and petty political party ambitions. We
must be driven by what is good for the people of Zimbabwe. The best
interests of our current and future citizens should be at the core of our
value system. We must start thinking in terms of a cross-party generational
agenda where we subordinate partisan interests to the national interest.

Resolving both the short- and long-term problems affecting our country
constitutes our generational mandate.

We shall rise to the challenge.

(Arthur G.O. Mutambara is the president of his faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change)

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Zim talks: Negotiators face tricky hurdles

††††††by Cuthbert Nzou Friday 25 July 2008

HARARE - More hurdles, among them Western sanctions and the security of
President Robert Mugabe's henchmen who oversaw his violent re-election in
June, are expected to hobble talks between Zimbabwe's ruling and opposition
parties that began in earnest in neighbouring South Africa on Thursday.

Political analysts had predicted the greatest threat to the power-sharing
talks between Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's MDC party to come from the issue of who will lead a new
government of national unity.

But sources from within the two feuding parties said they were as equally
divided over Western sanctions - imposed on Mugabe and his top officials
five years ago and further tightened this week - farm seizures and the fate
of ZANU PF hardliners accused of murdering at least 120 MDC supporters and
displacing 200 000 others since March.

"Prior to the signing of the MOU (memorandum of understanding on talks), the
negotiators had agreed on a wide range of issues that forms part of the
current agenda, except on sanctions and the land question," one of the
sources said.

"The other issue, surprisingly not on the agenda, is the fate of
perpetrators of political violence," said our source, who spoke on condition
he was not named because all parties to the dialogue are under oath not to
discuss the talks with the media.

In a statement released on the eve of the signing of the MOU, the MDC's
policy coordinator Eddie Cross summed up the party's position regarding
senior ZANU PF and government officials as well as military commanders
accused of committing violence.

"Clearly there is no place for these men and women of violence and
corruption in any transitional administration. That is a key subject that
the mediators will have to attend to and resolve," wrote Cross.

The agenda for the inter-party talks include setting out the objectives and
priorities of a new government, a new constitution, restoration of economic
stability and growth, land reform and sanctions.

Mugabe accuses Tsvangirai - who he labels a puppet of the West - of calling
on the United States and the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions on his
government and has in the past repeatedly urged the MDC leader to tell
Washington and Brussels to lift the sanctions.

The MDC denies campaigning for sanctions and says only the Western
governments have the power to scrap the visa and financial bans imposed on
Mugabe and his top officials.

In a hint of how critical the issue of sanctions was to the success or
failure of dialogue, Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo on Wednesday accused
the EU of seeking to foil talks after the bloc this week announced it was
imposing further sanctions on more individuals and businesses close to

Angola, a close ally of Mugabe's administration, also this week called on
the West to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe's leadership to aid the dialogue

Disagreement over land reform centred on whether ZANU PF officials who
grabbed most of the best farms seized from whites will be able to keep these
lucrative properties under the unity government or even under a possible MDC
administration in the future.

ZANU PF and the MDC agree in principle on the need for land reform but the
two parties differ sharply on the methodology of farm redistribution.

The MDC says Mugabe's land reforms have been chaotic, corrupt and have
benefited greedy top government, ZANU PF and military officials some of whom
ended up with as many as six farms each regardless of the government's
stated one-man-one-farm policy.

The opposition party has promised, if it wins power, to carry out a thorough
audit of the farming sector to identify those who grabbed more than one farm
and were not fully utlising the land.

ZANU PF says the land audit is merely a ploy by the MDC to retake farms and
hand them over to their former white owners.

"At the talks, Mugabe wants the MDC to make an undertaking that the land
reform programme is irreversible," a ZANU PF politburo member said.
"Tsvangirai should also ask his Western backers to lift the sanctions. We
expect him to do so even before an agreement is in place."

However, the biggest obstacle in the way of talks remained the issue of how
to structure the government of national unity and what roles Mugabe and
Tsvangirai would play in the administration.

ZANU PF reportedly wanted Mugabe to remain as executive president, while
Tsvangirai becomes Prime Minister or a vice-president.

But sources said Tsvangirai wanted to be appointed executive prime minister
with Mugabe as a titular president in a 24-month transitional arrangement
that would culminate in an election supervised by the Southern African
Development Community and the African Union (AU).

The sources said little differences were expected on the need for a new
constitution as the protagonists had agreed to a draft supreme law in
January after eight month of talks, which collapsed after Mugabe
unilaterally announced the date of the March 29 harmonised elections.

South African President Thabo Mbeki is chief facilitator of the talks but
will work closely with a reference group comprising AU and United Nations
officials. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe's central bank to address cash shortages

††††††by Nokuthula Sibanda Friday 25 July 2008

HARARE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono said on
Thursday he would soon announce new cash withdrawal limits as well as put in
place new measures to assist banks and the public grappling with cash
shortages for the past the past three months.

Zimbabwe - also short of foreign currency - frequently runs out of cash
because of runaway inflation, the highest in the world at more than two
million percent and which has consumers requiring billions of dollars to
purchase simple household goods such as bread or cooking oil.

"As monetary authorities, we wish, to underscore that this
pre-implementation announcement is being done in the interest of re-assuring
stakeholders that definitely something is being done on the concerns that
come our way from the public," Gono said.

Gono, who only last week unveiled a new 100 billion note in a bid to make
life easier for the public, was not mum on what the new measures might

Under the central the bank's regulations, people are only able to withdraw
100 billion dollars a day, which is too little in a country where an average
family is said to require nearly Z$14 trillion for basic goods and services
per month.

The RBZ introduced new 10 million, 50 million 100 million and 250 million
dollar notes during the first quarter of this year.

However, the notes are now worthless after annual inflation soared to 2.2
million percent as Zimbabwe reels under an economic crisis that President
Robert Mugabe blames on sanctions imposed by Western countries in a bid to
end his iron grip on power.

Critics blame the economic meltdown on repression and wrong polices by
Mugabe, such as his haphazard fast-track land reform exercise that displaced
established white commercial farmers and replaced them with either
incompetent or inadequately funded black farmers.

In addition to hyperinflation, the economic meltdown is also dramatised by
shortages of food, fuel, electricity essential medicines and unemployment
above 80 percent. - ZimOnline

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In for a penny, in for a billion dollars

The Times
July 25, 2008

Here's a brilliant money-making plan for Zimbabwe
Hugo Rifkind
I have a plan. I think I can save Zimbabwe. I'm not saying I can do it
single-handedly. Certainly, the groundwork has been done by Thabo Mbeki,
inserting himself into the middle of that slightly gruesome hypocrisy
sandwich on Monday, as Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai shook hands, and
smiled at each other only with their mouths. That meeting could bring peace.
It could bring stability. But it's not going to bring prosperity. They need
another plan for that. And, like I said, I think I have one.

At almost the exact moment that the meeting was taking place, Zimbabwe's
Reserve Bank issued its first $100 billion note. It's not as much as it
sounds. The Zimbabwean shopper will need four to buy a dozen eggs, and
another for his bus fare. On paper, it's worth only slightly more than it is
as paper, that's to say about 7p. But consider - on eBay, it's worth about

Think about that. If Zimbabweans can only get to a computer to auction their
notes, they can turn their $100 billion into, I think, nearly $57 trillion.
Do it again, just the once, and they are into the realms of quadrillions.
Then quintillions, sextillions, and all the others your calculator can't
cope with. Septillions, octillions and vaudevillian rapscallion scullions.
Suddenly they're the new Russians. Notaphily to the rescue. Obviously, this
is not an endless supply of cash. The world only contains so many $100
billion notes and indeed, so many potential notaphilists prepared to buy
them. Still, for a time it could work a dream. Monopoly money leaves the
economy, real money comes in. That's good, isn't it? Anyone? Anatole?

For all I know, Robert Mugabe clicked on this months ago. Maybe that's how
he keeps himself in shiny marble bathrooms and grim shirts. A cyberspace
Nero, fiddling on his laptop as Zimbabwe burns. It's a complicated business.
Some $50 billion notes actually sell for more than $100 billion notes, and
some $5billion notes sell for even more than them. What do you call it, when
little notes are worth more than big ones? It makes my brain feel like a
water balloon squashed in a fist. Economics with motion sickness. In another
generation, Zimbabweans could be the best mathematicians in the world.

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Gono to slash six zeros next week

By Robert Tshuma-Financial Editor ⋅ © ⋅ July 24, 2008 ⋅
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) will early next week slash at least six
zeros from the local currency as it grapples to fight hyperinflation,sources
have revealed.

Gono hinted on the new move on Thursday when he said he 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

The largest bank note a $100 billion dollar bill introduced on Monday,
cannot buy a loaf of bread and retailers and banks have said it has become
difficult to deal with the 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
Governor Gideon Gono.

“Accordingly, 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 constraints.”

The RBZ deleted three zeros from the currency in August 2006 but
hyperinflation has since forced the central bank to keep issuing
higher-denomination notes.

Almost all banking software applications in Zimbabwe cannot support a $100
000 000 000 (12 digits) figure and fail at $1 trillion that has 15 digits.

Vienna company comes under pressure,issues a statement

A Vienna-based software company Jura JSP yesterday issued a statement on its
website distancing itself from the RBZ money printing contract.

“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

… 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”,reads part of the statement.

Contact the writer of this story,Robert at finance[@]

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Zimbabwe - A Day in a Life of Mr. Average

By Rejoice Ngwenya,
Feature Article | Thu, 24 Jul 2008

Humans of the civilized world cannot fathom how on earth an average citizen
survives in Zimbabwe. What with an inflation rate of more than ten million
percent, a completely worthless currency and empty supermarket shelves,
Darwinian adventure, Cesarean courage and Bonapartean arrogance can be the
only vital ingredients in my daily survival kit.

My day starts with a fire in the gazebo to warm a bucket of bathing water.
Electricity is usually down and with a water system that collapsed six
months ago, running water is a thing of the past. Zimbabwe National Water
Authority has a repertoire of excuses why the precious liquid deserted my
home. I have stopped asking. Water bills do come, but there are no penalties
for ignoring them. In fact, deliberately ignoring water bills has become to
me, an act of satisfying sweet revenge! Electricity does appear once in a
while, but the risk of relying on stove-heated water is much too high, if I
have to guarantee getting to a meeting on time. Forget eggs and a cup of
tea. They are not on my menu if the preceding day I had no access to at
least six United States dollars. My breakfast is therefore limited to a bowl
of corn meal porridge with peanut butter, and boiled sweet potatoes!

Back in the bathroom, I'll be lucky to find a piece of scented soap tablet.
UniLever, one of the few companies that manufactured soap long closed their
doors. We survive mostly on cross border traders who sell toiletries from
Botswana and Mozambique. If I am lucky to find a piece of soap at the
Greek-run Spar, it will probably take all my day's local
currency allocation of one hundred billion dollars.

After a few minutes of watching France 24 news beamed via a free-to-air
decoder, I reassure myself that the streets are still safe from an uprising,
then drive around the block to pick a couple of neigbhours. Nobody watches
the government controlled ZTV news nowadays. After firing an entire staff
accused of being opposition party sympathizers in the days preceding the 29
March Parliamentary Elections, the only television station is stuck with a
Mugabe crony named Happison Muchechetere who has effectively reduced the
broadcaster to a ZANUpf [ruling party] community station.

I cannot leave my neigbhours, because public transport has completely
collapsed. Mini bus operators change their fares everyday, claiming to be
motivated by a local dollar that is resented and rejected by petrol
suppliers who prefer the greenback. One litre of gasoline sells for USD1.50,
while a single return trip ranges anything from one hundred to one hundred
and fifty billion Zimbabwe dollars. Motor vehicle fares are pegged against
the US dollar, hence most mini bus operators have either folded, or switched
to the more lucrative private hire market.

My trip to the city is interrupted by at least four police road blocks. They
are not very hostile, since over the long period that these points have
operated I have grown to know some of the officers by name. It takes about
five minutes to persuade them that my boot is empty - no weapons of human
mass destruction like axes, knob carries and catapults. Careless jokes about
AK47s and grenades can land one in prison. These poor chaps are really
hungry. Mini bus operators are not spared either. They have become somewhat
a reliable source of money. Traffic police call them 'ATMs'. My four
passengers will always volunteer to pay me something at the end of the
journey, though not enough even to buy one bottle of coke. This is
philanthropy. Before driving off to the office, I join a bank queue for my
day's 'allocation' of one hundred billion dollars, in case I have to
purchase a few buns for lunch. If I get a late call from my wife to pick a
few vegetables from the supermarket, I would have to use a
locally-denominated Visa Card - a system that has become more reliable than
even a cheque leaf, provided telephony is working that day!

For big transactions like motor vehicle service, my life is a nightmare. It
costs around forty trillion Zimbabwe dollars for light service. The garage
want their payment in advance, so I generally cannot write a cheque because
Reserve Bank regulations banned figures of more than nine hundred billion on
cheque leafs per day. Governor Gideon Gono concocted a system called RTGS -
an interbank electronic transfer system that has long collapsed due to being
overwhelmed by shear volumes and unprecedented zeroes. More often than not,
it takes almost ten days for the money to show in my garage's account and by
then, the cost of service has changed. This means I now have to 'supplement'
with cash sought from the black market, since the bank can only give me one
hundred billion!

Back at the office I have another heart ache - a paralysed Internet system.
If I am lucky that the office driver found petrol for the generator, I will
have to labour through a dead-slow dial-up system, or a broad band
struggling due to lack of electricity at base stations or poor support
service since most telecoms technicians have escaped to South Africa! Making
calls through cell phones requires extra ordinary patience. The networks can
no longer cope because of congestion.
Telecel, NetOne and ECONET are the only three players, but government
imposes a tariff control on them. As a result, the companies have not been
able to inject sufficient capital for expansion, while consumers take
advantage of low tariffs to literary 'sleep' on the phones. Of late, Strive
Masiyiwa's ECONET have introduced an advanced payment billing system to
cover themselves against inflation. What they do is to simply double the
figure on my current bill! Net One, the government controlled network is
struggling to supply customers with refill cards due to a lack of foreign
currency to run the system. Telecel has not had it easy either. Its former
owner, James Makamba escaped to London when government accused him of
sympathising with opposition MDC in flighting interviews on his 'private'
television station. The company has since been taken over by a consortium of
ZANUpf cronies.

My day ends with another drive back home. I no longer have any social life
because not a single point of 'pleasure' accepts local currency. In short,
Zimbabwe's economy has been truly and effectively dollarised. Gono is still
in a state of denial, but as for me, Mr Average, I will have to live to
fight another day. But before I settle for another dose of France 24, I
bundle a few jerry cans into the wheelbarrow in search of water at the
nearest well, a water well in the centre of
a middle-income, urban residence. Truly, Mugabe has reduced us into a bunch
of rural urbanites!

Rejoice Ngwenya is a regular columnist for He is a
Zimbabwean Freemarket Activist and Political Analyst based in Harare.

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ZW$0.7 trillion = US$1

24 July, 2008 11:13:00 Trymore Magomana

The economy of Zimbabwe, or whatever remains of it, has broken all previous

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has issued a Z$100 billion dollar note in
response to the country's huge rise in inflation - on 21 July, one British
pound was the equivalent to around Z$1.2 trillion. That has already changed.

It is like that in Zimbabwe these days. The price goods and services change,
by the minute. Zimbabweans have horror stories of wating in line to buy
goods, only to be told that the price has changed while they were in line.

The RBZ has listed the country's inflation rate, year-on-year, as being
100,580.2% in January 2008, when inflation was already rife.

The current rate of inflation - hyperinflation - stands at 2.2 million %,
while unemployment in the country has reached more than 80%. Analyst contend
that the real values are 10.5 million percent and 95% respectively.

Ultimately, it wasn't the international outcry nor the suffering of the
Zimbabwean people that has defeated ZANU-PF. Rather, it is the wayward
economy, couple with international sanctions that compelled ZANU-PF to sign
the MoU with the MDC on Juny 21 this week.

It is hoped, within ZANU-PF circles, that by agreeing to an government of
national unity, they would kill two birds with one stone. The GNU, in
addition to securing the assets of ZANU-PF cronies, is also expected to make
ZANU-PF militia killer immune from future prosecution.

Gideon Gono, the RBZ chief, neglecting his duty, has spent the last few
months printing money to fund most if not all ZANU-PF illegal activities in
the country. --Harare Tribune News

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Zimbabwe NGOs Hope Pretoria Talks Focus On Humanitarian Needs


By Carole Gombakomba
24 July 2008

As Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition came to the negotiating table
Thursday in Pretoria to to grapple with the vexed question of power-sharing,
non-governmental organizations at home voiced the hope that the negotiators
might first stipulate the lifting of a ban imposed by the Harare government
in June on NGO distribution of food and other humanitarian aid.

United Nations food agencies are targeting some 300,000 Zimbabweans for food
aid but are now reaching only about half that number, a WFP spokesman told
VOA recently, mainly due to government restrictions on NGO distribution
partners in the country. The U.N. says the number of Zimbabweans needing
food aid could soar to 5 million by early next year.

The government through the central bank, recently started distributing food
hampers under a so-called Basic Commodities Supply Enhancement Initiative,
also referrred to as Bacossi.

However, National Director Forbes Matonga of Christian Care, a leading WFP
implementing partner in the country, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that program lacks the scope to relieve all of
the hungry in urban and rural areas

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Diamond dealer on trial for possession of huge haul

July 25, 2008

HARARE - A leading illegal diamond dealer in the city of Mutare, who is
alleged to be closely associated with one of Zimbabwe's wealthiest and most
powerful families was arrested after he was found in possession of the
largest single haul since the discovery of precious stones in the Marange
District of Manicaland over two years ago.

The 262 pieces of diamonds are estimated by industry experts to be valued at
close to US$1, 3 million although the Minerals Marketing Corporation of
Zimbabwe valued them at a mere ZW$52 trillion (US$520).

Misheck Muhwehwesa, a Mutare resident was nabbed at the Chiadzwa diamond
fields in Marange two weeks ago after the police stopped him at a road

The diamonds, weighing 668 carats, were recovered from the air cleaner of
his vehicle, where they were concealed. One carat can fetch as much as
US$2000, depending on the clarity of the stone.

Muhwehwesa, 38, of Number 8 Pike Place in Mutare's medium-density suburb of
Yeovil, has since appeared in court and is out on ZW$25 trillion (US$250)
bail. Senior Magistrate Billiard Musakwa presided over the bail hearing.

Muhwehwesa's lawyer, Chris Ndlovu has applied for the discharge of his
client arguing that the State does not have solid evidence to link
Muhwehwesa to the diamonds.

The connection of Muhwehwesa, a known diamond dealer, to one of Zimbabwe's
richest and most post powerful and influential families first came to light
after he allegedly sought the assistance of the family secure the
prosecution of a Zanu-PF politician in Mutare.

Sherrington Dumbura, the losing Zanu-PF candidate for Mutasa South
constituency in the March 29 parliamentary election, allegedly swindled
Muhwehwesa of an unknown amount of diamonds which were valued at millions of
United States Dollars. Dumbura is allegedly also involved in the illegal
diamond trade.

Muhwehwesa is reported to have approached the head of the wealthy family for
assistance in seeking the arrest and prosecution of Dumbura. Dumbura, a
lightweight Zanu-PF politician in the eastern border city, is alleged to
have surrendered five vehicles to Muhwehwesa to secure his immediate

The illegal diamonds were found in one of the vehicles, A Hyundai Santa Fe.
While several sources confirmed the intervention of the head of the wealthy
family in the case it was not possible for practical reasons to obtain
comment from him. When working on certain assignments journalists working
for online publications such as the Zimbabwe Times can only reveal their
identity at great personal risk.

Over 2000 people have been arrested over the past two months and sentenced
to jail terms of up to two years each. Muhwehwesa was arrested amid growing
concern that police operations to quell illegal diamond mining and trading
are focusing only the small players.

The Muhwehwesa case has generated much excitement in legal circles in

"This case will be very interesting because we have never seen any of the
big dealers being sent to jail," said one court official. "It will be a
precedent if Muhwehwesa convicted."

The diamond dealers have formed cartels which have become immune to both
arrest and prosecution.

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The JOC (Joint Operations Command)–Zimbabwe’s de facto sovereign authority
image The top brass of the police, army, & CIO form the shadowy-mafia-like JOC

Talk of forming a Government of National Unity (GNU) with 84-year-old Robert Mugabe as a ceremonial head of state is akin to appointing a goat as a gardener. Mugabe, a mere figurehead, is already the cosmetic ceremonial president for JOC. The MDC now possesses popular electoral support while the JOC does not. JOC’s support is coerced from hardliner ex-ZANLA army officers and tormented sycophantic ZANU (PF) devotees.†

JOC is now the de facto sovereign authority in Zimbabwe, the real power behind the throne, the epicenter of tyranny. A GNU with these electoral terrorists and murderers is a mockery to the rule of law, a derision of our strong African values and deep-rooted cultural norms.

The JOC, now unlawfully ruling Zimbabwe, is the precursor to the Rhodesian military command organisation by the same name, whose origins are ironically directly linked to the racist architects of Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). JOC has dangerously transformed from its designed purpose of efficiently coordinating Rhodesian armed forces counterinsurgency operations (COIN), into the high command of terror for an illegitimate junta subverting the will of the people of Zimbabwe.

ZANU (PF)’s wartime command and control organisation, the Zimbabwe National Liberation Army (ZANLA) high command, has morphed into the present day JOC. The communist style politburo declared before the official results of the March elections were announced, that Mugabe would be ZANU (PF)’s sole presidential candidate for the runoff elections in June 2008. It ordered the alteration of the template for the presidential campaign strategy from that of a peaceful civilian election to a vicious Maoist guerilla warfare-like stratagem. The ZANLA high command structures and all its illegal subordinate militia units were immediately reactivated, redeployed, and effectively mounted a constitutional coup under JOC, installing Mugabe as its ceremonial President on June 29, 2008.

ZANU (PF) has retained intact its pre-independence Para-military units against the provisions of the Constitution, Lancaster House, 1987 Unity Accord and other agreements that it has signed in the past.The other parties to these agreements dismantled and demobilised their forces i.e. ZAPU’s ZIPRA, ZANU Ndonga, UANC’s Pfumo reVanhu and Rhodesia Army units.

Zimbabwe’s JOC is a dysfunctional Frankenstein with Mugabe’s head, a ZANU (PF) heart, war veteran’s limbs, youth militia’s organs, Interahamwe torso and other body parts donated by willing accomplices. The inter-dependency of all these body parts is also the JOC’s inherent design flaw. Separate one from the other and the entire tyranny apparatus crumbles. Mugabe is a lame duck without JOC.

JOC Rhodesia is described as follows: “a JOC was a combined operations (COMOPS) center containing representatives of the army, the air force, the police and Internal Affairs (INTAF). Sometimes present were the Special Branch personnel, the government’s intelligence service. The army commander was the senior commander of the JOC.”

Below is the JOC, ZANU (PF)’s “dream team” of terror and oppression, the 1st IV for crimes against humanity. This unlawful gang of criminals to all intents and purposes illicitly governs Zimbabwe by decree:†††††††††††††††††††††††††

1. Emmerson Mnangagwa††††††††††††† ††††††-†††††Chairman (ZANU PF)† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † ††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††

2.General Constantine Chiwenga†††††† ††-†††††Commander, Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) † † † † † †† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††

3.Augustine Chihuri†††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††-†††† Commissioner, Zimbabwe Republic Police(ZRP)††† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † †

4.Air-Marshal Perence Shiri†††††††††† -†††††Commander, Airforce of Zimbabwe(AFZ)††††††††††††††† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † †

5.Lieutenant-General Valerio Sibanda ††††††-†††††Commander, Zimbabwe National Army(ZNA)†††††††††††††††††††††††† † † † † † † †

6.Major-General Paradzai Zimhondi†††† ††††††-†††††Commissioner, Zimbabwe Prison Service(ZPS)††† † † † † † † † †† ††††††††††††††††††††††††

7.Brigadier Happytone Bonyongwe†††† †††††† - †††††Director, Central Intelligence Organisation(CIO)††† † † † † † † † † † † ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

8.Gideon Gono††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††-†††††Governor, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe(RBZ)†† † † † † † † † † † † † † † ††††††††††††††††††††††††††

9.Didymus Mutasa††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††- †††††Minister of State Security(MSS)††† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † †††††††††††††††††††††

10.Kembo Mohadi††††††††††††††††††† †† † † -Minister of Home Affairs(MHO) †††† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † †† †††††††††††††††††††††††††

11.Sidney Sekeramayi†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† -††††††Minister of Defence(MOD)

Trust ZANU (PF)/ZANLA/JOC at your own peril. Individual members of JOC are amongst the most barbaric, ruthless and vile psychopaths to have ever occupied high office in Zimbabwe. JOC is a law unto itself.Collectively these evil men and JOC are responsible for Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina and other heinous human rights violations since Zimbabwe attained her independence in 1980.

Phil Matibe†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††† † † † †† Anti-Tyranny Taskforce

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Slap in the face for Chombo

July 25, 2008

Own Correspondent/SW Radio Africa

MUTARE - History was made yesterday when the newly elected council elected
the city's only white councillor as the new Mayor of Mutare.

Brian James was unanimously elected, taking the eastern border city a full
circle back to the day in 1980 when Mutare's first black Mayor, Davidson
Jahwi, was sworn in amid unprecedented pomp and ceremony.

The election of James, 57, a prominent businessman, as Mayor was the first
official function of the all-MDC council elected on March 29 but sworn-in
only yesterday, almost four months later. Thursday's swearing-in of James as
Mayor is a slap in the face of Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo,
who has been fighting a losing battle to keep local government in Zanu-PF

A member of the MDC provincial executive, James was arraigned before the
courts in 2006 on allegation that he was part of a conspiracy to stage an
insurrection and assassinate President Robert Mugabe during a visit to the
Manicaland provincial capital.

James and several fellow MDC officials and supporters were arrested
following farcical allegations about the discovery of an arms cache in
Mutare, which the then ruling Zanu-PF played up as a conspiracy by the
opposition to mount an insurrection.

Reports in official media said the suspects had planned to set up "terrorism
cells" in Zimbabwe to be used by the MDC in attempts to destabilise the
country. The arrests came after police raided the home of Mutare resident
Michael Peter Hitschmann and allegedly uncovered an assortment of rifles,
machine guns, ammunition, radios and teargas. Hitschmann's family, in fact,
runs a security company in the city.

The state dropped charges against the accused following a ruling by the High
Court that the accused, who included James and Mutare North legislator Giles
Mutsekwa were being held unlawfully by the police after the case was thrown
out by a magistrate for lack of evidence.

The new Mutare Council, which consists exclusively of MDC councillors, was
sworn in on Thursday and immediately elected as Mayor, a man who has been
ruthlessly victimised by the regime of President Robert Mugabe. It was at
the height of this case that MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett, allegedly one of the
conspirators, fled to South Africa, where he has remained in exile.

James runs several businesses in Mutare, including Manicaland Welders, an
engineering company, and Crest Distribution a major distributor of frozen
chicken and fish in the province. A commercial farm at Old Mutare was
invaded and seized in 2003.

Speaking at his inauguration the new Mayor of Mutare said; "We have an
overwhelming mandate, the mood on the ground is positive. The international
recognition of what's happening in the country is gelling into something
positive. The talks in South Africa we hope will yield something positive so
that urban areas can deliver."

The MDC won all 19 council wards that were contested in Mutare, thereby
regaining control of a council that had been taken over by Chombo. In 2005
Chombo illegally removed the elected executive Mayor, Misheck Kagurabaza,
along with his MDC-led council. Chombo appointed a caretaker commission
comprising those Zanu-PF candidates who had failed to win in the council
elections held in 2003.

Chombo had also interfered in the operations of the Harare Council where he
removed elected executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri in 2003 and Misheck Shoko of
Chitungwiza. The minister's relentless campaign also frustrated the Mayors
and councillors of Bulawayo, Masvingo, Gweru, Kwekwe and Kariba, accusing
them of misconduct and maladministration.

Over the years Zanu-PF has caused the steep decline in the delivery of
council services as a result of the appointment of commissions that were not
accountable to the ratepayers. Cities across the country are now plagued by
constant power and water delivery failures, burst sewage pipes and
uncollected garbage.

James said: "Certainly we don't underestimate the problems we face and our
endeavours will be a lot easier if central government was sympathetic to our
problems and that is why we are hoping that these talks in South Africa
yield something positive. But we have to deal with what we've got."

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Story of Charamba's many chickens

July 25, 2008

THE issue of the Manica Post of the week ending July 19 featured a long and
fascinating article on the poultry project of ministry of Information
permanent secretary and presidential spokesman, George Charamba.

The poultry project launched by Charamba in 2006 in his rural district of
Buhera was said by the Mutare weekly newspaper to be so thriving that it now
boasts a grinding meal for processing chicken food, apart from "providing
offal to preschools".

The reporter claims to have travelled to Buhera to see his boss's project
for himself. Unfortunately, instead of shooting pictures of the chickens,
the enterprising reporter only asked Charamba to pose for pictures for

The whole purpose of this assignment was apparently to put to rest issues
that certain diligent taxpayers had raised about the funding of Charamba's
project by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, whose governor Gideon Gono hails
from the same rural part of Zimbabwe as Charamba. A leading supplier of
stock-feeds in the nearby town of Chivhu is said to have virtually closed
its doors to the public while diverting its entire stock to the chicken
projects of the governor of the Reserve Bank and the President's spokesman.

Unfortunately, while the Manica Post article attempted to justify the
initial funding of Charamba's project by the RBZ it fell far short of
addressing the many other questions raised by the patriotic taxpayers. The
article generated even more questions instead.

Readers were told about Charamba's harvest of 300 tonnes of maize at his
farm. However, it was the funding of this crop (seed, fertiiliser,
herbicides etc) while using BACCOSSI funds at the end of last year that was
in question. The funds were deposited into Charamba's account at the Sam
Nujoma branch of CBZ. It is the justification of Charamba's accessing of
these funds that is in question.

Charamba did not provide the answer. In the article he also did not mention
the funding.

In the same article Charamba told us that his brother Callisto Munatsi
Charamba had left his former employment in order to run the chicken project.
The taxpayers' question is why Callisto Charamba was allocated one of the
brand new Toyota Hilux trucks received by the Ministry of Information from
the RBZ, while he worked on his brother's chicken project. The trucks were
intended for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's election campaign

Callisto has been allocated the vehicle full-time since April. Interestingly
(could it be coincidence?) in the Herald of July 21 it was reported that
this Callisto Charamba and two others were seriously injured in a road
accident in Goromonzi when the vehicle fell over a bridge. Callisto was
driving the vehicle and in the report he is said to be an employee of the
Ministry of Information.

Is he now on the Ministry of Information payroll when only a week ago we
were told by the Manica Post that he has been selling chickens for Charamba
at the Cold Storage Commission since 2007?

Callisto has drawn fuel using coupons from CMED depots all over - in Mutare,
Buhera, Chivhu, Kadoma, Harare etc, in some cases filling his tank daily.
Can someone explain this? The ministry's Human Resources department has no
record of such an employee. Neither does the CMED have a record of issuing
him with a Government Authority to drive their vehicles.

He reportedly obtained his driving licence in March/ April 2008 although the
issuing authorities do not have records of his competency testing. The
Goromonzi accident was the second following a roll-over while he was driving
in Kadoma last month.

More questions for Charamba. The use of vehicles in the ministry has
remained thorny as some drivers are deprived of the vehicles while people
who are not authorised have unlimited access. Charamba's secretary is one of
those who drive these vehicles and has damaged one in an accident.

Offenders are not reprimanded as they are likely to expose Charamba.

Goromonzi police were investigating the accident. We hope they provide the
public with their results.

Concerned Ministry Employee

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Weird Professors and Opportunism in Zimbabwe

25 July 2008

By Dr Paul Mutuzu

Tsvangirai and Mugabe signed. Forget about their looks (or lack thereof,
because some think they urgently need a makeover) but their outlook on how
they are going to disentangle us from the socio-economic and political
horrors of our time constitutes the fierce urgency of now.

The 'historic' event that occurred over the past two days culminating in the
signing of an 'MOU' by Mugabe and Tsvangirai must also bring the whole
nation on the same page with these politicians, going forward.

A vast array of uncharted universe of emotions greeted the landmark event
leaving the blood pressure of all concerned citizens and friends of Zimbabwe
across the globe critically high. It is definitely a time of intense
suspense yet for us, cautious optimism is the overarching theme. We have
serious questions for both of them in the next article.

Equally intriguing was the presence of some Professors. At Zimbabwe State
House, before the signing of MOU, the opportunistic face of Professor Arthur
Mutambara was unfortunately beamed again. To our surprise, he was grinning
eccentrically like a Cheshire cat, at the wrong time and wrong place.

I have come across people who have raised questions about his undercover
status. After all he is the same man that I revered for so long until he
appeared out of thin air to declare himself MDC -2 president, sowing seeds
of pandemonium that almost killed the MDC. How can a rocket scientist make
such a huge miscalculation at a time Zimbabweans were in dire need of
political fortitude? Simply put, he made such a disingenuous, philistine and
barbarous move that almost ruptured the entire MDC establishment.

To this very day his credibility and motivations are highly questionable
especially given his recent Nicodemus-like appearance at the State House to
see Mugabe in the absence of Tsvangirai, the man with the people's mandate.
Arthur Mutambra went there conspicuously flanked by Professor Welshman
Ncube, a co-conspirator and an ally in the breakaway party who is also an
equally mysterious man. The pictures of these men with Mugabe on their
side(never mind the real MDC was not there) caused massive outrage as people
denounced their posturing and opportunism since they represent such an 'iota'
of a constituency.

As if passing a vote of no confidence, Welshman Ncube, earlier on lost his
parliamentary seat to a little-known MDC (the real MDC) candidate in a
region that is overwhelmingly an opposition stronghold. These are the same
men who have crisscrossed our border numerous times into South Africa to
meet Mbeki about the unity government sometimes without the knowledge of the
real MDC. It is Mutambara and Ncube's closeness to Mbeki (therefore Mugabe)
that raises suspicions about the future. Tsvangirai has to be very wary of
these men and what role they are going to play (if any) in the power-sharing

Zimbabwean politics is never short of these hideous professors who
masquerade as champions of our freedoms and civil liberties but quickly
switch sides when it becomes expedient. Remember infamous Professor Jonathan
Moyo, the 'Dr Joseph Goebbels' of Zimbabwe and architect of draconian media
laws that gagged free speech ? The man churned out stressful propaganda on
the airwaves incessantly.

The nation will never forget how on January 28, 2001 the printing press of
the independent Daily News was bombed military-style , yet five days
earlier, Professor Jonathan Moyo, the then Minister of Information and
government's chief propagandist, publicly stated that the independent daily
would be silenced because it posed a serious risk to the nation therefore it
had to be silences "once and for all". On denying the Daily News a license,
in October 2003 after his sponsored new laws, Jonathan Moyo stated, "I have
always had a nagging feeling that for all their propensity to liberal values
and civilised norms, these people are dirty. In fact, they are filthy and
recklessly uncouth and actually barbaric".

I fled Zimbabwe because of this man only to visit years later after Mugabe
fired him. To those that might recall the events, there was a ridiculous
court case involving Jonathan Moyo, Job Sikhala and myself for allegedly
threatening 'to kill the Minister'. That was immediately following the
announcement that Bulawayo mayoral post was won by MDC. Sikhala used my
phone to call Moyo, who in turn unleashed his 'employees' to pursue where I
stayed and where I worked.

The judge wasted no time in throwing the case out because the concoctions
were not only bizarre but retarded. What followed after that is a personal
story of agony, similar to what many other Zimbabweans have gone through.
Two reasons exacerbated my situation 1.) As past President of the Student
Representative Council (NUST), I posed a threat given my association with
fellow activists like Sikhala and Learnmore Judah Jongwe who had become such
a national icon until his untimely death. 2.) I was a manager working for
Strive Masiyiwa's Econet Wireless when at the time we launched 'this'
brilliant product we branded 'Liberty' at a time when repression had gone
past adolescence. All the marketing material to include billboards was
banned though they he was having difficulties with law to ban 'Liberty'.

It is important to mention that Masiyiwa (a man I totally salute) has always
been regarded as enemy of state (imaginary though), no wonder they even
denied him a license to operate his behemoth Wireless Network until the
Supreme Court overturned partisan High court rulings. Little did the
government know that the man was unstoppable, to this present day. Instead
of embracing such an entrepreneurial icon who has created employment for
thousands of Zimbabweans and fast-tracked us into modernity because of his
technologies, the man is still being vilified.

It is no surprise that last week we all heard the conspiracy theories by
Jonathan Moyo attacking Masiyiwa and Roy Bennett for bankrolling MDC (as if
it is a bad thing if they do) among other things. Masiyiwa was also a
shareholder in the Daily News company that was flattened. Jonathan Moyo can
go to Tsholotsho and fool the rural folk over there to win a seat in
Parliament by giving them handouts and promises of 'heaven' but we know his
fraudulence and we know that he belongs to the dustbins of history unless he
is rehired for underperformance by Mugabe again. Remember this the same man
Mugabe branded a 'double-headed monster' and enemy 'number one' at the time
of his dismissal. These men are a shame to the University of Zimbabwe's
legacy. People are becoming smarter and actively taking part in issues of
governance making it difficult to fool them anymore.

When it comes to this cabal of creepy Professors, we should be vigilant! The
nation deserves to know what is happening especially considering the
premises of this treacherous marriage of convenience. We should embrace the
concept of a government of national unity with all the caution it deserves
because for the first time in all these years, there has never been such an
opportunity for potential to turnaround socio-economic and political
landscape in order to improve the lives of fellow citizens.

Dr Paul Mutuzu is the CEO of the National Vision Institute: An independent
economic and political strategy think tank focusing on Zimbabwe and the
Southern Africa Region. You can visit his blog on

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Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum Press Release
Thursday, 24 July 2008 14:21

†From left to right is Dr Alex Magaisa, Mr Chaora, Mr Soko (chair) and Mr Mutasa.

The Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum UK held its second meeting on 19th July, 2008 at Barking in London under the theme: Zimbabwe at the Cross Roads: Towards Re-Construction-Every Voice Matters!†

The guest speakers were Dr Alex Magaisa a Senior Lecturer - Corporate & Financial Services Law, University of Kent at Canterbury and columnist for the Zimbabwe Standard and; Mr Jonathan Chawora the current Chairman of the MDC UK & Northern Ireland; and Mr Alfred Mutasa, a Zanu Pf supporter and an excombatant. Dr Nkosana Moyo and Mr Itayi Garande who were meant to address the Forum could make it due to last minute circumstances which required them to be out of the country at the time.

Mr Chawora admitted MDC and ZANU PF were engaged in preliminary talks towards comprehensive dialogue which will hopefully lead to a lasting solution to the crisis. He however expressed serious concerns about continuing violence being visited on members of his party in Zimbabwe as one of the impediments to serious dialogue to resolve the Zimbabwean conflict resulting from the hotly disputed Presidential run off election of June 27. However, Mr Chawora told the Forum that, “Negotiations, by nature demand a process of give and take. Successful negotiations usually result in all sides to a dispute shifting positions that they originally bring to the negotiating table.” Mr Chawora promised to support progressive ideas that would come out of the meeting and lobby his party to consider them.

Mr Alfred Mutasa led the discussion on Bridging the Political Divide. He identified what he called some useful approaches that can inform the current talks. Mr Mutasa took the view that the Zimbabwean political actors and civil society should be informed by the nature of imperialism which has two tendencies namely militarisation and neo-liberal globalisation. He said that the calls for peace keepers in Zimbabwe by Bishop Desmond Tutu, Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga and President Khama is the manifestation militarisation of the neo-liberal agenda by Britain and America under the guise of advancing democracy. Mr Mutasa urged the gathering that they should not under-estimate their ideas because they will have far reaching impact as was the case with the Diasporas before 1980.

"Dr Magaisa urged Zimbabweans to desist from engaging in what he called “cry baby politics” and start seeing the opportunities that can and should be exploited. He said that while more sustainable Diaspora resources can only begin when the political environment improves and trust and confidence restored between the government and its citizens the Diaspora should be proactive and more organised. Dr Magaisa stressed the need for the Diaspora to devise ways through which it can make more substantive impact and have a stake in their own country’s economic assets beyond individual remittances.

Magaisa went on to suggest that a future progressive government in Zimbabwe could follow the examples set in countries like Ghana and the Phillipines which have put in place policies for constructive engagement with the Diaspora, such as establishing a Ministry responsible for Diaspora affairs. Instead of seeing migration and the Diaspora as a problem, the government could create conditions for a mutually beneficial relationship but the Diaspora needs to represent itself otherwise it will remain on the periphery"

Informal and passionate discussions continued well after meeting and it was an opportunity for networking. Prior to the Forum a group of passionate Zimbabweans from diverse professional backgrounds through networking sought audience with the Chair Mr Peter Soko and constituted themselves into a Think Tank for the Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum UK which the Forum adopted at the end of the session. This was significant development, and a sign that Zimbabweans are not waiting to be invited. The Think Tank is expected to report on its progress at the next public whose date will be fixed in due course.† The need for some representative for the Diaspora in the Zimbabwean government dedicated to the Diaspora affairs is another idea that was well received and the Forum intends is lobby for it. The Think Tank is expected to liaise with the relevant stake holders to consider mechanisms of how ideas can be carried forward in respect of both Economic and Social Investment.

Msekiwa Makwanya the interim Co-ordinator of the Forum remarked that the call for the Diaspora to be organised as Diasporas cannot be over emphasised and the Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum UK remains committed to giving space for a non-partisan participation of Zimbabweans in the UK. He said that the Forum is impressed by the ideas expressed at the Forum and the greater vision and aspirations expressed in the discussion will also inform the work of the Think Tank because every voice matters!

By Claudious Madembo,
Programme Advisor
Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum UK

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MISA-Zimbabwe Alert: Globecast Satellite Acquitted

Alert Update
24 July 2008

Globecast Satellite Acquitted

There was a dramatic end to the Globecast Satellite trial on 24 July 2008
when Harare Magistrate Archie Wochiunga refused to place the company on
further remand after the state had applied for a postponement of the matter.

Prosecutor Florence Ziyambi had applied to have the matter postponed arguing
that her witness had failed to turn up because of transport problems.

However, defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, opposed the application saying the
state had the obligation to bring its witnesses on time. Mtetwa said the
trial had proceeded painfully slowly as the prosecutor had chosen which
witnesses to call and when. She said the court could not be held at ransom
by a disorganised prosecution and urged the court to dismiss the

Magistrate Wochiunga dismissed the application for postponement and decided
to remove the accused company from remand. The effect of a removal from
remand of an accused who would have pleaded amounts to an acquittal of the

Globecast Satellite whose representative during the trial was Thabani Mpofu,
pleaded not guilty to charges of contravening Section 7 (1) as read with
Section 7 (4) and 7 (5) of Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) which outlaws the
provision of broadcasting services or operating a signal carrier without a

Mtetwa is currently working on an application for the release of the vehicle
belonging to Globecast.

MISA-Zimbabwe Position
MISA-Zimbabwe welcomes the acquittal of the company and reiterates its
position that the Broadcasting Services Act is unnecessarily repressive. It
is hoped that the current talks between Zimbabwe's political leaders will
deal decisively with laws such as the BSA, Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act as well as the Public Order and Security Act with
the view of repealing them.

The case against Globecast stemmed from the broadcast of an interview by CNN
of Zimbabwe's Minister of Information and Publicity Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu on
27 March 2008. The uplink for the interview was dispatched by Globecast

The court heard evidence from six witnesses, among them, Cloud Nyamundanda
who is the acting Chief Executive Officer of Transmedia Corporation and
Obert Muganyura, the Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Authority
of Zimbabwe.


For any questions, queries or comments, please contact:

Nyasha Nyakunu
Research and Information Officer
84 McChlery Drive
Box HR 8113
Telefax: 263 4 77 61 65/ 74 68 38
Cell: 263 11 602 448/00 263 11 639 682

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Global ecumenical leaders speak out on the Zimbabwe political parties' pact

Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Thu, 24 Jul 2008 09:25:05 -0700

World Alliance of Reformed Churches
News Release
24 July 2008

A coalition of church organizations that includes the World
Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) has congratulated the
signatories of an agreement that paves the way for the sharing of
power in Zimbabwe but also raised concerns about continuing
violence and human rights violations.

Leaders of the World Council of Churches, the World Student
Christian Federation, WARC, the World Alliance of† YWCAs and the
World Alliance of YMCAs congratulated both the ZANU PF party and
the Movement for Democratic Change on signing the Memorandum on
21 July.

‚??We greet the beginning of this critical round of negotiations
with fervent hope for a new beginning for all Zimbabweans,
restoration of peace, prosperity, dignity and the rule of law,‚??
the letter dated 24 July, states.

However the letter also reminds the parties of the concern of
churches, civil society and the people of Zimbabwe for a lasting
and viable solution to the crisis. ‚??We pray for all the
negotiators so that they are guided by the best interests and
deeper aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe.‚??

The church leaders state that violence and human rights abuses
continue, that millions face starvation and thousands have lost
homes and property.

‚??We are appalled by reports of continuing violence in many
parts of the country, particularly in the rural areas. All forms
of violence, harassment, intimidation and torture must cease
immediately in order to provide an environment truly conducive
for peaceful negotiations.‚??

The church groups also called for a lifting of the ban that has
prevented humanitarian aid agencies
and non-governmental organizations from working in the country.

‚??We further urge the parties to remain committed to a genuine
restoration of the rule of law that rejects impunity but allows
true reconciliation and healing.‚??

The coalition letter states that it is ‚??most regrettable‚??
that none of the negotiating parties include civil society or
women as called for a place at the table for Zimbabwe civil
society representatives so that the aspirations of grassroots
communities will not go unheard.

And the church groups urged the signatories to restore faith in
the Zimbabwe electoral system: ‚??We would like to reaffirm the
need to protect the integrity of elections as the most legitimate
and democratic way to express the sovereign will of the people,
not only in Zimbabwe but throughout Africa.‚??

The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) brings together
75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries -
united in their commitment to making a difference in a troubled
world. The WARC general secretary is Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi of the
Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. WARC's secretariat is
based in Geneva, Switzerland.

John P. Asling
Executive Secretary, Communications
World Alliance of Reformed Churches
150 Route de Ferney
P.O. Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
tel.† +41.22 791 6243
fax: +41.22 791 6505

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Damning verdict on quiet diplomacy


††††July 24 2008 at 11:36AM

By Fiona Forde

As Zimbabwe's crisis talks get underway outside Pretoria on Thursday,
South Africans have issued a damning verdict on President Thabo Mbeki's
so-called "quiet diplomacy", with every other one suggesting it was not the
right road to pursue, while an equal number raise the issue of poor
leadership in dealing with the consequences of it.

In a survey carried out by TNS Research Surveys and made available to
Independent Newspapers, the views of 2 000 South African adults from the
country's seven metropolitan areas were recorded last month about the
years-long facilitation efforts of Mbeki and the impact they have had on
South African life.

Exactly 50 percent of those surveyed disagreed with the view that "The
government's policy of quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe has been the right
way to handle the issue", while only one-third of all those polled supported
the facilitation efforts of the president. Just over 21 percent responded
"don't know".

When the information was extrapolated across the country's four race
groups, 38 percent of black respondents agreed with the statement, while
only 14 percent of white, 19 percent of coloured and 17 percent of
Indians/Asians shared that view.

With quiet diplomacy now in its eighth year and Thursday's talks the
first sign of any real progress, although they too have yet to bear fruit,
it is the slow pace of the policy that contributes most to the prevailing
negative views, the pollsters argue.

Since Mbeki adopted the diplomatic channel in 2000 to deal with Robert
Mugabe's wayward style of governance, inflation has soared from 60 percent
then to the incalculable rate of 2,3-million percent.

"The Zimbabwe meltdown, economic and socio-political, adding to both
massive poverty and violence, has been in pro-gress for some time and has
led to a major influx of refugees into South Africa," says the survey's
director, Neill Higgs.

With that in mind, the pollsters posed the question of whether
Zimbabwean refugees ought to be allowed to stay here. Almost three out of
every four respondents nationwide felt they should not, with only 29 percent
saying that they should.

When examined geographically, residents of the Johannesburg metropole
(excluding Soweto) appeared most tolerant with almost half (42 percent)
expressing tolerance for Zimbabwean refugees in their midst.

Just over a third, or 34 percent, of Capetonians shared that view
while only a quarter of all Durbanites did. However, folk in Bloemfontein
responded with a resounding no, with only 15 percent agreeable to Zimbabwean
ref-ugees remaining in the country.

Higgs said the study revealed "the vast majority of people don't want
these refugees in South Africa and that sensitivities towards them are

He said the findings suggest that people feel the government does not
have the situation under control and the situation will "probably get

A stark reminder of the so-called xenophobic violence in May.

He says government needs to look at the "potentially very serious
consequences" that another flood of refugees into SA might have.

This article was originally published on page 3 of Cape Argus on July
24, 2008

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Don't hold your breath for Zimbabwe talks

ABC Australia

By Peter Nhamo

Posted 6 hours 19 minutes ago

The leaders of Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change, and the leader of the ZANU-PF, Robert Mugabe, have signed a
"historic" and unprecedented deal which is expected to pave the way for
power-sharing talks between the two parties.

While news of the agreement has been welcomed in many capitals and the
mediator President Thabo Mbeki showered with praise for his efforts, I
believe nothing substantive will result from the talks and the people of
Zimbabwe will be the biggest losers in this process.

Many Zimbabweans do not believe Mugabe was sincere yesterday when he signed
the agreement setting the agenda for talks in Harare. The man still
ridiculed his opposition as puppets of the west and went even further to
claim the presidency he won through hook and crook was legitimate. His
demeanour and obvious arrogance were of a man who was not in the mood to
share power let alone honour his agreement. We need not go into how Mugabe
has shown contempt for the talks by sending junior members of his party to
negotiate on his behalf. Had the man been serious he would have sent
negotiators from his inner circle to negotiate on his behalf.

Mugabe just wants to get the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
monkey off his back. Faced with the real threat of being suspended from the
SADC summit in a few weeks, Mugabe wants to go to the summit and claim to be
talking to the opposition. He will claim the two-week deadline in which they
agreed to hold talks was not adequate and more consultation between him and
the opposition is required.

I also foresee a situation in which Mugabe will throw the whole process into
disarray and unilaterally appoint a government with elements of the
opposition that he can buy off with his elaborate policy of patronage. When
Morgan Tsvangirai and like-minded people raise voices of disapproval, Mugabe
will accuse them of not having their own minds and being puppets of the west
and of throwing spanners in the works - therefore forcing him to take action
to "save" the country.

The fact of the matter is that African heads of state and government, by
asking Mugabe to set a government of national unity, have set a dangerous
precedent for the rest of the continent. They have cleared the way for
African heads of state, when threatened with the possibility of losing
power, to engage in heinous crimes against their own people. They endeavour
to shield each other from the international courts by claiming that the
arrest would destabilise their regions, as is the case with Sudan today! How

As we await the outcome of the "talks", due in two weeks, I strongly urge
the world not to hold its breath in anticipation of a resolution of
Zimbabwe's problems. Mugabe and Mbeki are just waiting for the Zimbabwean
issue to blow away from the world's attention and then continue abusing the
Zimbabwean people's rights. I certainly believe that Zimbabwe should remain
on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council and the African Union
until another round of genuinely free and fair elections are held.

The world's progressive forces should continue to keep the world attention
on Zimbabwe until the people of Zimbabwe have genuine democratic freedoms
and which will be a launch pad for economic prosperity. An economic rescue
package for Zimbabwe's devastated economy which now employs less that 15 per
cent of its population should be cobbled up as a matter of urgency. It
should be made clear that this package will be availed only after Mugabe
gives up the reigns of power.

Mugabe and his allies on the other hand should continue feeling the pinch.
The issue of targeted sanctions on the regime should continue. Their
children should be sent back from western countries where they are studying
and instead come face to face to the devastation their fathers have brought
upon Zimbabwean people. Assets stolen and pillaged from the Zimbabwean
people must be frozen and the attendance of these despicable people at any
world forum must be met with the most outspoken criticism and protest.

Peter Nhamo is a pseudonym. The author, who lives in Zimbabwe, has requested

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