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Signature, handshake raise hopes of end to Zimbabwe crisis

Yahoo News

by Susan Njanji Sun Jul 27, 3:19 PM ET

HARARE (AFP) - A signature, some handshakes and four days of talks have
raised hopes for an end to Zimbabwe's political crisis, but it is uncertain
that President Robert Mugabe's regime will cede power in the end.

With a shattered economy, and regional and international pressure piling up,
Zimbabwe's arch rivals -- president Mugabe and opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai -- on Monday committed
themselves to settlement through dialogue.

"Seeing those two shake hands for the first time in 10 years, I am
optimistic something will come out of those talks. Our prayers are being
answered," said Rayman Phiri, a Pentecostal church minister in Harare.

The same optimism is shared by Joseph Kurebga, head of political science
department at the University of Zimbabwe.

"Overally the mood is very optimistic. People have high hopes for a
settlement resolving both the political and economic challenges the country
is facing," he said.

But the difficulty of talks on a new political order, which began in earnest
Thursday in an undisclosed location in South Africa, could soon emerge as
they approach a decisive stage, political analysts in the region said.

"In reality, as far back as 2002-2003, talks between ZANU-PF and the MDC
were going on ... The most fruitful period of talks took place in 2007 which
led to no less than about 18 constitutional amendments," said Chris Maroleng
of the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria.

"But what had derailed the previous talks was a lack of political will to
find an agreement on power-sharing."

Advocates of softly-softly diplomacy, as opposed to those who opted for a
more hardline stance to exert pressure on Mugabe, are celebrating.

"This has shown that quiet diplomacy works wonders. It has been effective in
persuading both sides to negotiations, nothwithstanding the reservations the
MDC had about Mbeki," Kurebga said.

But more outspoken critics of Mugabe have nevertheless kept tighten the
screws on his increasingly isolated government, with the European Union and
the United States last week broadening sanctions.

Laurence Caromba, an analyst at Pretoria's Centre for International Policy
Studies, draws parallels with the global campaign against apartheid in South

"Comprehensive trade sanctions against South Africa took many years before
their effect was felt in full, but when the South African government finally
sat down to negotiate, it was willing to make sweeping concessions rather
than piecemeal reforms," Caromba said.

For many, it appears Mugabe has been weakened politically, with his party
having lost for the first time in history its parliamentary majority in the
March legislative elections.

But nothing so far suggests that Mugabe, 84, in office since Zimbabwe's
independence from Britain in 1980, was ready to share executive power.

Tsvangirai maintains he won the first round of elections on March 29, while
Mugabe says his re-election in the June 27 run-off -- a one-man affair after
the MDC leader withdrew -- was non-negotiable.

"There is a real problem because these are entrenched positions. That logjam
has to be broken," said Bornwell Chakaodza, media consultant and political
commentator in Harare.

"The difficulty remains about the modalities on how the government will be
formed, that is the crux of the discussions."

The most widely touted scenario has Mugabe becoming a titular head of state,
with Tsvangirai becoming prime minister with executive powers.

But given the stance of powerful security chiefs, who have vowed they will
never salute Tsvangirai, it remains doubtful such an arrangement could be

"My only worry is with the military chiefs. That could be a sticking point,"
Phiti said.

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Can Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara Survive Handshake of Robert Mugabe?

The situation in Zimbabwe remains bleak but recently a new and dramatic
change took place, this was the sudden agreement between Robert Mugabe and
Morgan Tsvangirai. However, for many shocked Zimbabweans they do not trust
Mugabe because people remember what happened to Zapu and they fear that the
MDC will also be swallowed up by Zanu (PF). So can Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara survive the deeds of Mugabe and the ruling Zanu (PF)?

If we take a step back into history and remember the situation in the 1980s,
then it is clear that Mugabe and his ruling party know how to deal with
complex and bloody situations. After all, the late Joshua Nkomo, who led the
Ndebele people, caved in after major intimidation and Zapu became history.
The same methods were used, for example around 20,000 people were killed and
mass persecution took place. However, Mugabe managed to salvage the
situation by out-foxing Zapu and a unity government became a one-party
state, in all but name, under the power and control of Mugabe.

Therefore, the supporters of Tsvangirai and Mutambara have been beaten,
abused, killed, persecuted, and marginalized. However, both opposition
leaders were tenacious and they refused to give up the ghost and instead
they challenged Mugabe. Yet by entering power-sharing talks and shaking
hands with Mugabe, then clearly Mugabe appears to holding all the aces.
After all, this could lead to divisions within the MDC who don`t agree with
Tsvangirai and Mutambara. More important, it is clear that Mugabe can use
all the state apparatus he needs in order to manipulate the situation.

For people on the ground they must be shattered by this outcome because many
remained loyal to the MDC. Yet now the leaders of the MDC may become tainted
by sharing power with Mugabe. After all, the grass root supporters of the
MDC are on the frontline because many reside in grinding poverty or have
been forced to flee Zimbabwe.

Also, other Zimbabweans are worried about the role of South Africa within
the internal affairs of Zimbabwe. This is due to President Mbeki, the leader
of South Africa, who supports a national unity government. For many
Zimbabwean people, South Africa is a negative factor within the environment
of Zimbabwe because Mbeki is more concerned about maintaining the status

However, could it just be that Tsvangirai and Mutambara are playing their
cards well? After all, the Mugabe of the 1980s was strong and many people
were still behind Mugabe in this period. However, today the economy is in
complete crisis and inflation is a nightmare. Also, age is catching up with
Mugabe and despite him pulling the strings, it is clear that the strings
have been weakened because of the negative economic situation in Zimbabwe.
So maybe Tsvangirai and Mutambara are looking to the future and the natural
demise of Mugabe?

Overall, it is clear that Tsvangirai and Mutambara are playing a dangerous
game and the MDC could follow the Zapu route? However, it is also true that
the ruling party is much weaker and Zapu did not have the overall appeal
like the MDC does. Therefore, all sides may be trying to out-fox each other
but it is clear that Mugabe is a dogged leader and he does know how to
maintain power and control. Given this, the next six months will be crucial
for Zimbabwe and Tsvangirai and Mutambara must be strong in order to prevent
another "political coup" via deception.

Lee Jay Walker Dip BA MA

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Why the talks are heading for deadlock

The gap between the MDC and Zanu-PF shows no sign of narrowing

The much-heralded talks between Mugabe's men and the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) got underway in Pretoria on Thursday, but it became
increasingly clear over the weekend that there remains a seemingly
unbridgeable divide between Morgan Tsvangirai and the President.

According to my sources in South Africa, a range of issues exists over which
the two sides are a million miles from reaching agreement. Specifically, it
is the following demands of both that divide them.

Mugabe insists that in any new government he must remain as executive
president, though he is prepared to agree to Tsvangirai becoming either
vice-president, or Prime Minister under him.

He insists that all sanctions imposed by the United States and the European
Union be lifted before meaningful agreement can be reached. And he wants an
undertaking that the so-called Land Reform Programme, which observers agree
began Zimbabwe's economic collapse, be deemed irreversible.

Tsvangirai, in contrast, insists that, in a transitional government, Mugabe,
although remaining President, must lose all his executive powers. He wants
new elections to be scheduled for two years' time, to be supervised by the
African Union and SADC.

His representatives at the talks will also tell the Zanu-PF delegation that
Tsvangirai plans a land audit, which will lead to compensation to be paid to
dispossessed white farmers, and for action to be taken against Mugabe's men
who grabbed more than one farm.

But the major stumbling block between the two sides comes down to one thing:
immunity or otherwise for Mugabe's associates, particuarly those who
initiated and organised the murderous violence that has rocked the country
since the elections.

Mugabe insists that his henchman escape prosecution, and are granted amnesty
if a newly formed government of national unity attempts to arrest them.

Tsvangirai insists that the guilty men must answer for the deaths of more
than 100 MDC activists, the wounding of thousands, and the displacement of
tens of thousands.

His policy chief Eddie Cross said in Pretoria that the fate of the Mugabe
perpetrators would top the agenda in the talks, despite the fact that it was
not mentioned in the Memorandum of Understanding signed last week.

It is these issues, these huge divides, that currently separate the two
parties. Many believe that there is no realistic chance of any true
agreement being reached. They say that the only result can be either
Tsvangirai's ultimate failure to save the country or the complete
humiliation of Robert Mugabe.

But at least they're still talking.

Posted on Sunday, 27 July 2008 at 21:54

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Zimbabwe at crossroads


by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 28 July 2008

OPINION: Zimbabwe is at a defining moment in its history and the importance
of locating sustainable and credible exit avenues to the current crisis
cannot be overstated.

There is no doubt that nature, content, character and causes of the
political and economic crisis will continue to be a subject of discussion
for a long time to come.

President Mugabe genuinely believes that he bears absolutely no
responsibility for causing the crisis and instead would like to be
remembered for being the last defender of sovereignty.

He is not alone in framing the crisis as a consequence of the manipulation
of the West. It appears that the majority of the African leaders subscribe
to the same values, beliefs and principles that are held by Mugabe.

Having framed the Zimbabwe problem as an externally generated one, it is not
surprising that ZANU PF's politburo has put its own litmus test on what is
to be negotiated by the SADC-mediated talks in Pretoria.

Notwithstanding the support of the African Union, and the Chinese and
Russian veto; a proper reading of the memorandum of understanding (MOU)
between the ruling ZANU PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) reveals that all the contesting parties are at one in holding
the view that sanctions, however construed, do present a stumbling block to
the turnaround of the economy.

It is also evident that the AU, China and Russia have no alternative
economic rescue plan for Zimbabwe.

Equally, in as much as President Thabo Mbeki may be useful in the resolution
of the political crisis, there is no evidence that South Africa will be
relevant in resolving the economic crisis other than being an intermediary
between the very forces that Mugabe is denigrating and the potentially
post-Pretoria unified Zimbabwean constituency.

The mere fact that the agenda for the talks includes the sanctions issue,
confirms that the views of the Eurpean Union and the United States will be
material in moving the country forward.

Accordingly, it is would not be right to seek to argue that the solution to
the crisis must come from Zimbabweans.

Although Mugabe has sought to argue that opposition leaders Morgan
Tsvangirai is an agent of the West, it cannot be correct to hold the view
that the targeted sanctions were imposed solely to assert the political
rights of Tsvangirai and that all is well in Zimbabwe were it not for the
imposition of targeted sanctions.

It must be accepted that the West must have its own reservations about the
sensibility and rationality of any outcome that will leave Mugabe at the
helm while accepting that his views of the rule of law and respect for
property rights are not at the core of the crisis.

Even after the signing of the MOU, it is evident that Mugabe is still
unrepentant and continues to hold the view that his own view on property
rights and rule of law must prevail.

What he is expecting from the West after using Mbeki to co-opt the
opposition into some government of national unity (GNU) framework is the
sanctions to be lifted and the good times to roll back.

He does not believe that a change in policies like what Frelimo had to do to
remain relevant is required.

By emphasising the sovereignty and national questions, it is obvious that by
boxing the MDC factions into a corner, ZANU PF hopes that a new consensus
may emerge from the negotiations that sanctions must be removed with no
significant change in economic policies.

However, it appears that the EU and the US are quite clear about what kind
of Zimbabwe they expect to see hence the imposition of further sanctions
while the negotiations are under way just to demonstrate to the negotiators
that a lot more than a political settlement is expected and urgently

If the negotiations produce an absurd outcome in which Mugabe can continue
to use the state to undermine the rule of law and property rights, there is
no doubt that sanctions will not be lifted notwithstanding any political
accommodation that may be reached between the parties.

The future of the country is now squarely in the hands of five men and one
woman in a secret location in South Africa. We now know that ZANU PF is
already preparing the world for a predictable outcome of the negotiations.

A careful reading of Charamba's opinion piece that was published by the
Herald on Saturday, 26 July 2008, entitled: "Dining Tsvangirai, Deigning the
British" will reveal that an investment is being made to alienate Tsvangirai
from his so-called sponsors.

The world now knows that Mugabe had lunch with Tsvangirai after the signing
of the MOU and that there may be more personal engagements to come between
the two.

Mugabe has previously and consistently characterised Tsvangirai as a puppet
and, therefore, lacking any Zimbabwean values and principles as defined by

There may be many in ZANU PF including Charamba who may not be happy with
the rapprochement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai because they have invested
in building a fortress of lies and conspiracy theories around Mugabe's

Charamba makes the point in his article that Tsvangirai received swapped
briefcases just before the signing and states as fact that he was a
beneficiary of a speech from third parties who can only be British or

By making this kind of allegation, there is no doubt that the real audience
for such speculative journalism is Mugabe.

Charamba fully knows that the most reliable source of information and
intelligence for Mugabe is the Herald and sister papers under the control of
the state.

There can be no doubt that Charamba uses the media to shape Mugabe's world
view and by providing manipulated evidence, the intention is to continue to
condemn Mugabe to ignorance while the country is burning and the economy

In a predictable manner, the Zimbabwean public including Mugabe is now told
by Charamba that there were two white men who tried to gate crash the
signing ceremony. Messrs Armin Rabitsch and Keith Scott were identified as
the two white persons.

We are then told that Rabitsch gave the game away by exclaiming: "They
signed the wrong document! Representatives of negotiating parties should
have been five, not two."

Charamba knows his principal's appetite for conspiracy theories and by
suggesting that Tsvangirai was a mere pawn in the game, an impression is
then created in the mind of Mugabe that he should not take Tsvangirai as a
serious interlocutor in the resolution of the crisis.

By suggesting and providing self-serving evidence that Tsvangirai has no
mind of his own, a position strongly held by Mugabe, the propaganda
machinery is then expected to gather its own momentum and effectively make
sure that negotiations are steered in a predictable manner.

Even the suggestion by Tsvangirai to expand the mediation team given the
complexity of the issues involved was easily dismissed as a demonstration of
foreign influence. In other words, the agenda should be monopolised by ZANU

Charamba also makes the case that there are fractures within the MDC-T as if
to suggest that any views that Tsvangirai may have should not be taken as
representative of the party he leads. He laments the fact that the media has
failed to report such fractures without explaining for whose benefit such
reporting would be.

According to Charamba, Zimbabweans through the negotiating parties must
affirm the correctness and irrevocability of land reforms as well as British
obligations to the resolution of this politically manipulated issue.

While Charamba accepts that ZANU PF was not ready for the March 29
elections, he still holds the view that MDC won because of the external help
that it allegedly received. No mention is made of the role of the state in
assisting ZANU PF in its election campaign as well as Charamba's own role in
using the state machinery and time to propagate partisan views.

Charamba makes the point that the lunch between Tsvangirai and Mugabe was
only possible because the British were prevented from attending the meeting.

Why would it be wrong for the British to have a say if they are expected to
pay for the land reform programme?

Equally, it is not apparent from Charamba how he expects sanctions to be
lifted without engaging the parties who have imposed them?

The risks of recidivism in Tsvangirai are described by Charamba as
significant given the characterisation of him as a mere surrogate of the

Tsvangirai is on record as saying that he is committed to a political
settlement but what is evident is that he is increasingly being boxed into a
corner with people like Charamba acting like icons of political and
revolutionary morality.

We know that to Charamba, Zimbabwe is less secure without Mugabe and he
makes no effort to explain how a Zimbabwean solution mediated by Mbeki in
camera that will only deal with who is in and out of the GNU will bring a
brighter and better day to Zimbabwe.

Mugabe had 28 years to create a better and prosperous Zimbabwe less blinded
by race but challenged by its future.

Regrettably, it must be accepted that the Zimbabwe of today is not what the
independence deal was supposed to bring into existence but reflects a bitter
and poisonous harvest. It would, therefore, be absurd to accept any outcome
that will fortify the status quo ante.

Evidence is available confirming that the intended results of the land
reform programme have not been realised.

If evicted white farmers have helped to change the Zambian agricultural
landscape to the extent that in less than a generation, the country is now a
net exporter, it is important that the assumptions that Charamba uses to
arrive at conclusions meant to perpetuate the ignorance of Mugabe be openly

The West should have no disability in asserting its views on the Zimbabwean
question if Zimbabweans themselves by putting sanctions removal as a core
objective of the talks have accepted the need for the West's buy-in on the

It is apparent in the aftermath of the Security Council veto on the
sanctions resolution; we have not seen any evidence of the Chinese, Russian
and African economic rescue package in the making.

Mbeki will not come to the economic rescue of Zimbabwe notwithstanding the
fact that people of Zimbabwean origin are financing the South African
government through taxes.

An argument has been made that Mugabe is the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe
and Tsvangirai chose to withdraw from the run-off elections because he was
afraid of the inevitable.

There is no doubt that Mugabe has been sufficiently fed with propaganda that
there was no violence, if anything, the reported violence was being inspired
by former Rhodesians. By feeding Mugabe with such propaganda, the
consequences are predictable.

To the extent that Tsvangirai has now a direct line to Mugabe, he needs to
act quickly before the likes of Charamba and the forces that managed the
run-off elections quickly regroup.

The mere fact that Mugabe could not even get an opportunity to meet with
Tsvangirai for a decade demonstrates that Mugabe may in reality be a
prisoner of the state that he purports to be in charge of.

It is evident that Mugabe has been convinced by his own colleagues that he
should have a residual interest in remaining in power precisely to protect
his legacy as a liberator.

As an astute politician who fully knows the risks of relinquishing power
while US President George Bush is still in office, there is no way that he
would accept an outcome that will leave him with significantly reduced

Obviously being oblivious of the abuse of state power by various
individuals, Mugabe holds the view that he is still popular and the people
of Zimbabwe have no interest in the rule of law and respect for property

The opposition has failed to exploit the evidence that shows that Mugabe's
regime has also been brutal to blacks particularly on property rights and
governance issues.

Mugabe will continue to make the case that he is the only reliable custodian
and that white property rights should be perishable and disposable.

Using the same construction, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is
leading the ZANU PF negotiating team, is one of the most renowned custodians
of injustice and has presided over the passage of the most draconian pieces
of legislation that offend any democratic and constitutional order.

Ordinarily, given Chinamasa's record, he should have been disqualified from
any serious negotiations about the country's democratic future.

However, Mugabe finds himself with very few legal minds that can defend his
policies and programmes other than people like Chinamasa and his fellow
Tsholotsho mafia.

Will Zimbabwe turn a new leaf from the negotiations?

There can be no basis for a government of national unity with people who
believe that they can be judges in their own cause.

The argument that Mugabe's victims are only white does not hold any water.
It is clear that the values, principles and beliefs that informed the
liberation struggle are no longer applicable.

Instead of the rule of law we now have the rule by a few men (including
Charamba, Chinamasa, Gideon Gono, etc) with Mugabe increasingly playing the
role of a naked emperor less protected by his troops but by a dangerous
nostalgic connection to a revolution whose prosecution has gone
fundamentally wrong.

Will Mugabe rise to the occasion by realising that the real enemies of
sovereignty may not be the opposition but his so-called handlers?

Will Mugabe finally realise that he is no longer in control of a state that
has decayed to the extent that no rational person would decide to lift
sanctions without a regime or significant change?

Now that Tsvangirai can at least talk to Mugabe, so much hope is now on him
to inform, educate, and enlighten Mugabe on the futility of defending an
administration that has no centre of gravity and whose moral compass is
questionable. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabweans should forgive but not forget

28 July 2008

By Amos Mabuto

The search for peace is one of the ultimate quests of the human soul. We all
have highs and lows, but such times come and they usually always go. Kind
neighbours assist. Beautiful sunshine brings encouragement. And at times a
good night's sleep usually works wonders.

But there are times in all of our lives when suffering and fear are brought
on us by those who lead us, when our brothers, our neighbours kill and maim
us and those we love at the instruction of evil power hungry politicians.

These are times of piercing mental and emotional pain when even the once
upon a time trusted police force and security agents in our dear Zimbabwe
cannot come to our aid. Almost every Zimbabwean knows someone in the
country, or in your neighbourhood - or in your own home - courageous people
who are victims of the (Zanu pf) brutality.

Those who have suffered beatings at the hands of the so called green
bombers, and the 'war vets.' we all know someone carrying heavy burdens of
mental and emotional pain as a result of the politically motivated violence
even those outside Zimbabwe (Diaspora) are also disturbed by the grim
pictures and news that they get from inside our Zimbabwe .

The few weeks leading to the March 29 elections brought about so much pain
and suffering to the people of Zimbabwe. Mugabe assigned young militia
groups to go out and intimidate people instilling fear in them, so that on
March 29 they would definitely vote for him. The violence targeted MDC
supporters, who received indiscriminate beatings and torment. As the weeks
and days to the final elections progressed the violence and intimidation

Many people stayed in doors evading any contact with the culprits. Many
deaths and critical injuries were reported, but nothing much was done to
stop the violence. In Masvingo a 2-year-old boy was burnt to death while
sleeping by Zanu PF supporters. This shows how brutal these blood-sucking
vampires are, killing a 2 year old who was not even going to vote.

In rural areas Zanu PF supporters were burning down people's homes because
they supported MDC. On the streets people were being asked to produce Zanu
PF membership cards if they did not have them they would be accused of being
MDC supporters and receive painful punishment. Where is democracy? What is
democracy? This is really a tough situation for every Zimbabwean residing in
or outside the country.

Many people living abroad received sad news about their family members being
brutally murdered or critically injured during Zanu PF raids. The supporters
of the Zanu PF were and are abusing, brutalizing and even amputating limbs
of many people. It is such a shame for Mugabe to claim that he represents
the interests of the people of Zimbabwe given the way he is treating them.
Instead the people of Zimbabwe prefer a government that would acknowledge
their existence and allow them to live in peace and affording them at least
the very basic of wants in their day-to-day lives. As it is under Mugabe
even clean water has become a luxury.

Mugabe banned foreign observers and reporters from entering the country so
that he can rig the elections and stop the world from seeing the truth of
the plight and appalling conditions that he has subjected the ordinary
Zimbabwean to. Zimbabwe is now rated one of the most unsafe places to be,
not because the people there are violent but because of Mugabe and his

We have it in ourselves to be a forgiving people, but we will never forget
the brutality and aguish brought on this nation and its people by a handful
of corrupt politicians who always want to take advantage of our power to

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Foreign briefing: Zimbabwe correspondent Jane Fields

THE grocer is apologetic. "I couldn't save you any mealie-meal," she says.
"The CIO were here, in front of my counter. Five of them. They were checking
I sold every sack, right in front of their noses."
My hopes of getting a sack of maize-meal - needed for the family's daily
breakfast of bota (porridge) - were dashed.

Secret service officials made sure the grocer sold the mealie-meal at the
official price: 50 billion Zimbabwe dollars (about 12p) for a 10kg bag. No
wonder the queue stretched up the road.

How do you survive in a country where there's very little food and almost no
cash to buy it with? The answer: you have to find secret sources and other
ways of paying.

"I'll introduce you to Stacey," a friend says. "She's a bit nervous so she
won't serve you if she doesn't know who you are."

Stacey has good reason to be nervous. She was arrested last month for
selling South African biscuits, peanut butter and spaghetti from a private
warehouse for US dollars - a crime under Zimbabwe's strict foreign exchange

Well-connected friends (there are whispers of a link with a cabinet
minister's family) got her out of cells on payment of a £1,000
"facilitation" fee.

Zimbabweans working in South Africa and Europe are propping up relatives
back home: Zimbabwe's "diaspora dollars" are forecast to total £360 million
this year, double last year's amount.

Milk is a problem. Deliveries from the government-run Dairibord company are
unreliable. One pint costs 240 billion Zimbabwe dollars, payable in cash
only. Banks are limiting daily withdrawals to 100 billion dollars. I'd have
to queue for three days to be able to buy a pint of milk.

Then there's the barter system. I needed sugar. Via a contact,

I handed over four eggs (bought from an illegal pavement vendor) and -
bingo - I got an ice-cream tub half-full of sugar.

. Jane Fields writes from Zimbabwe for The Scotsman. For her personal
safety, we are unable to use her image

Last Updated: 27 July 2008 10:50 PM

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Response to Prof Mutambara on thinking beyond the political settlement

[Go to to read the
article referred to.]

By Mbuya Rennie

Published: Monday 28 July 2008

UK - I am surprised by the professor's utterances which seem to indicate
that he is aware of some deal that is only short lived to the solutions of

First and foremost, why have a short-term solution to such a crisis that has
proved 2008 to be annus horribilis for the Zimbabweans? What is the time
scale to this short-term solution and what is the long-term plan? We are
talking of our country and we can not be looking at quick fix solutions.

The professor's article lacks in real substance, truth and reality and can
only be described as a means to appease Zimbabweans who view his actions as
highly betrayal, biased and sometimes personalised at the expense national

The professor talks of agreeing on borders of our country and a name for our
country are these two classified at this moment as issues and are they in

You can only start talking about implementing an economic vision when the
forces at play are in equilibrium. Zimbabwe is not lacking in the resources
both human and physical to urgently turn around the economy, what we should
be talking about is who will lead the process of getting the country back to
being the bread basket of Africa once more.

Who is going to be the driver of this economic turnaround, surely not Robert
Mugabe? Key activities will include addressing the humanitarian aspects of
the crisis, and adopting mechanisms to salvage, recover and stabilize the

Who is taking ownership of addressing and effecting measures that will see
an end to the humanitarian crisis? Are they someone who is legitimate,
someone who is capable and someone whose integrity is not questionable?

By carefully avoiding mentioning in his article what will become of Mugabe
in this future Zimbabwe, Mutambara is conceding that Mugabe hasn't erred and
that he is still fit to remain part of the ruling machinery in our country.
This is not acceptable.

Mugabe must take a break. If we all can't acknowledge our mistakes, then we
can never learn from them and we can never progress. Mugabe must realise his
mistakes, acknowledge them and be ashamed of himself. An unbiased
post-mortem of Mugabe's errors should bring new solutions by those who will
be in positions of leadership in the new Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans will be masters of our own destiny and suggestions of
re-colonisation by Mugabe and a few human rights abusers who fear
persecution should not be tolerated by any sane Zimbabwean. As a result,
Mugabe should stop using re-colonisation as a weapon to stay in power. We
shouldn't be letting Mugabe talking the talk without walking the walk.

Rather, the professor, instead of embracing Mugabe as partner in the
government, he should be telling Mugabe and convincing him that enough
damage has been done and what we now require is to move forward by injecting
a new brand of ideas into the system and abolish the old wicked ways of
governing and if need be, Mugabe can be pardoned for the trauma he has
caused us as Zimbabweans so that we move forward and bury the past.

Since the professor seems to believe in Mugabe, he can take the initiative
to acknowledge to him the good that he has done before he embarked on the
tyranny and that should Zimbabweans at any time require his inputs in
decision making, he can always be contacted.

What the professor should be stressing in thinking beyond the political
settlement is the issue of corporate citizenship by any company, local or
foreign that will operate in Zimbabwe.

The new government should make it known to companies that they are expected
to show corporate social responsibility in the communities that they operate
for the long-term benefit of the company, the government and for the good of
the wider society.

It is a more holistic view of businesses and their activities that can
effectively address the key sustainable development challenges that faces
our collapsed economy.

In this global village, we can not be seen to bury our heads in the sand and
pretend as though we do not know that our own country, just like any other
country is subjected to political, economic, social, technological, legal
and ecological (PESTLE) external forces and it is how our leaders approach
and react to these forces that determines the success or failure of our own
internal systems.

By stating that these talks will only bring a short-term solution, without
going a mile further to explain what long-term strategy will be adopted,
Mutambara seems to be suggesting that some form of agreement by a few people
has already been reached which the majority of Zimbabweans is not aware of.

If this is the case, it clearly shows that the few have chosen to come up
with a segmented hierarchical decision with only a few at the top making the
decisions for the entire nation.

Professor Mutambara should be fully aware that segmented structures and
decisions result in segmented attitudes by those at the bottom due to the
restrictiveness of vertical and lateral communications.

The next few days will be fuzzy as to what outcome awaits the Zimbabweans
from these talks. We can not start talking about tomorrow before defining
the elements and boundaries of the current crisis. Mutambara's article only
serves to legitimise his unholy matrimony with the devil.

How will Zimbabweans collectively fashion a new beginning when at the onset
of these negotiations, the Zimbabweans have been totally excluded?

If this stop-gap as you say is neither a sustainable answer nor a long-term
solution to our dire circumstance, then what purpose does it serve? What
interest do Zimbabweans have for Zimbabwe and what power do Zimbabweans have
to influence their interest? If they did have any power, then they would not
have on two occasions been cheated of their votes. It is this power to
influence our destiny that we urgently want to see restored immediately.

If all stakeholders had been mapped and classified according to their power
and interest, legitimacy and urgency, and whether they are internal,
national or international stakeholders then we would not have such
utterances like those coming from Professor Madhuku and other civic

The lack of an all inclusive agenda leads to the failure to realise before
hand that some stakeholders possess inhibiting powers whilst others possess
supporting power to enhance the success or failure of the negotiations.

Not including everyone is a failure by our leaders to "stay close to us." It
is time our leaders, old and new become less bureaucratic and embrace a
paradigm shift of re-thinking politics that aligns with modern realities.

Finally, our economy and infrastructure has dismally collapsed and to
restore this, we are now dealing with a complex situation. The complexity is
further enhanced by the aspect of the traumatised human soft systems.

We can't talk of the economy without talking of the people. Failure to
handle the situation inclusively will lead to nothing but further chaos.
Lets not at this tender stage of the negotiations fail to align actions and
values to avoid a situation whereby Zimbabweans fail to get value for the
country's worth.

By Mbuya Rennie.

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War veterans extort cattle from farmer

July 28, 2008

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - A group of so-called war veterans has demanded 30 head of cattle
and US$1 000 in cash from Joe Erasmus, a white commercial farmer.

The war veterans say the money and beasts are meant to be a gesture of
appreciation by Erasmus that they did not invade all his farms at the height
of farm occupations in 2000.

The group had earlier given Erasmus, of the Chartsworth commercial farming
area near Gutu, two weeks to hand over the cattle, failing which they would
take over his remaining commercial farm.

At the time, the war veterans only demanded the cattle.

"We want Erasmus to pay us because all along he has been utilising our
resources", Masvingo war veterans' chairman Isaiah Muzenda said. "We seized
14 of his 15 farms and left him with one. We feel that he has to pay us for
sparing that one".

The Erasmus family used to own 15 farms in the Chartsworth area, supplying
the Cold Storage Company (CSC) with over 800 cattle for slaughter every

Yesterday, the war veterans held a meeting in Masvingo and agreed to demand
30 head of cattle and the money. Muzenda yesterday said they had since
revised their demands.

"We met as war veterans and agreed that the 15 head of cattle we had
demanded initially were not enough", said Muzenda. "We now need 30 head of
cattle and US$1 000 because we feel this white-man has to thank us.

"If he fails to meet our demands, we are going to invade and take away his
remaining farm".

At yesterday's meeting, the war veterans established a committee to
negotiate with the farmer. Although some of the war veterans are genuine
fighters in the war of liberation, most elements now claiming to be former
freedom-fighters are unemployed Zanu-PF supporters too young to have
participated in the liberation war. Some are merely seeking sustenance amid
the increasing hardship as the economy continues to plummet.

They do not say, for instance, who will benefit from the 30 head of cattle
and the US$1 000 in cash. Neither do they say who exactly are the owners of
the resources which they accuse Erasmus of using over the years.

The group met Masvingo governor Willard Chiwewe two weeks ago and briefed
him about their demands on Erasmus.

Chiwewe confirmed then that the war veterans had demanded cattle from the
farmer. He was quick to point out that the issue should be solved by the
Minister of Lands, Land reform and Resettlement.

"The war veterans came to us and told us what they wanted," said Chiwewe.
"We have also talked to Erasmus but he told us that he is not in a position
to pay anyone. As governor of the province, I feel the issue has to be
solved by the minister responsible for land."

Erasmus yesterday said the war veterans were harassing him everyday.

"They want me to pay them but I have made it clear that I will not pay," he

The police in Masvingo said they had received reports of the harassment from
the Erasmus family. The officer commanding Masvingo Mekia Tanyanyiwa said:

"We are investigating the case and anyone found on the wrong side of the law
will be prosecuted."

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Believe it or not, Mugabe still has supporters

Monday, July 28, 2008

Special to The Japan Times
HIROSAKI, Aomori Pref. - The world can't understand how Robert Mugabe has
support left in Zimbabwe. After violence and intimidation against his
opponents he was able to steal a victory, but at great cost. Why do his
people put up with it and why did he gain over 40 percent of the vote in the
first round of the elections, when voting was relatively fair?

Certainly Mugabe still has much support and respect left from when he was
leader of the Chimurenga, the guerrilla struggle against the white minority
regime that had taken half the land in the country and reserved it for the
whites. Many former leaders of revolutionary struggles either fell from
power or saw their time was up and resigned. Why does Mugabe still have
enough support to hold on?

One answer is the struggle over the land. Land has been central to
Zimbabwean politics for centuries. Cecil Rhodes invaded not only for gold
but also for land. Earlier the Shona and Ndebele had been fighting over the
land. In the late 20th century, Ian Smith's settler government declared
independence from Britain and fought for years to keep the land. Guerrillas
from Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)
and Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) fought over the

It is still being fought over. In a recent BBC interview, former Zambian
President Kenneth Kaunda traced the roots of the present crisis to the
failure of the British Labour government to continue the work on the land
issue done by the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John
Major. The issue of the land and its sacredness is central to the struggle
over Zimbabwe in a way that few Western peoples other than the Irish could

Why is land so important to the people of Zimbabwe? The answer is in the way
of life of the Shona people who constitute over 80 percent of the
population, and whose medieval capital gave its name to the country. When
missionaries first penetrated Shona country in what is now Zimbabwe, even
the Jesuits could not understand Shona spirituality. They tried to teach the
Shona about natural religion before trying to convert them. Thus it is
common to talk about "the Shona way of life" rather than "Shona traditional

In the 1980s, when Thomas H. Graves, senior minister at St. John's Baptist
Church, Charlotte, North Carolina, went to study the problem of evil in the
Third World, he found his ideas so challenged by the attitudes of the Shona
among whom he lived that he changed the entire focus of his study. He wrote:
One finds in the Shona people a steadfastness in the face of suffering that
is difficult to imagine. In spite of living in poverty conditions, having
recently survived a long struggle for independence, and even more recently
having dealt with an extended drought, the Shona seem to be a fairly
contented people.

No amount of sanctions or international pressures will be likely to cause
the supporters of Mugabe to change their mind about the importance of
getting back their land. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is based in the villages and
has strong organizations there, as well as support from traditional rulers.

People who grow their own food and consume it in their own villages are not
going to be concerned about the collapse of the national currency on
international exchange markets. They are much more likely to be concerned
about the threat to their land and their traditional way of life posed by
outside pressures. Nor will they care very much about how many slips of
paper were anonymously slipped into boxes by supporters of different
political parties. Democracy is not traditionally part of the Shona way of

Yet those traditionalist supporters of Mugabe and his government are no
longer a majority of Zimbabweans, or else the government would not have had
to steal the elections. Who are the opposition, and where did they come

They are largely the wage-earning urban working class. Morgan Tsvangirai was
the most prominent leader of the union movement in Zimbabwe. He represents
the modern people, who no longer hoe out subsistence from the soil, and who
no longer care as much about the sacred struggle over the land as about the
fluctuations of currency on international markets.

Ironically, in large part they came from the very economic success of
Mugabe's early years. Mugabe was hailed as an economic moderate who proved
that African states didn't necessarily collapse when blacks took over. His
example was important in convincing the whites of South Africa to cede

The very success of Mugabe in developing Zimbabwe created the urban working
class that now opposes Mugabe and wants him removed. Had he quit when he was
ahead he would have gone down in history like George Washington and Nelson
Mandela, but by clinging to power when his time had passed, Mugabe ruined
both his country and his place in history.

Tsvangirai's movement is supported by other labor unions in southern Africa.
The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union refused to unload a
shipment of Chinese arms being shipped to landlocked Zimbabwe long enough
for a South African court to forbid the weapons shipment, despite the South
African government's unwillingness to intervene.

In that sense the struggle in Zimbabwe is similar to the struggle against
Communism in Eastern Europe, which was led to success by the Solidarnosc
union in Poland and the workers it represented. Karl Marx may have been
wrong about the working class having an interest in socialism, but he was
right that this new class of wage and salary earning people would have a
great impact on history. Even in Africa the rise of wage- and salary-earning
classes is irrevocably changing the political landscape.

John Edward Philips, a specialist in African history and politics, is
professor in the Department of International Society at Hirosaki University.
He has recently been working on the relative economic efficiency of slavery
as opposed to wage labor. His e-mail address is

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It happens

A snapshot of Zimbabwe
By Tracey D. Samuelson
Posted: 07/27/2008

My new friend Isaac is waiting for me out front of the Victoria Falls Hotel,
beside a mural-sized map of Africa divided into its original colonial
territories. "What did you see?" he quizzes.

I've only met Isaac two days before, in a small storage room off the hotel's
expansive lobby. His bellhop uniform hanging stiffly on his sharp shoulders,
he heaves my huge bag down off the racks for me. We chat casually as I wait
for word that my room is ready.

Since then, Isaac has taken it upon himself to teach me about Zimbabwe,
which, up until now, has meant delivering coded, cautious lectures when our
paths cross in the hotel's flowering courtyard or coral halls. Thus far, he's
done all the talking, always speaking in low tones and looking furtively
over his shoulder. It's unclear if this is because of the nature of our
conversations or because he's not supposed to be socializing with hotel
guests, but either way, it lends an odd air of mystery to our chats.

Now it's my turn to share and I'm suddenly shy and guarded with my
observations, hesitant to show Isaac what my foreign eyes have seen of his
struggling country. Instead, I tell him where I've been -- the shops up the
street, the café, the supermarket. I pause knowingly after mentioning the
grocery store and wait for his response. "Good," he says, nodding slowly,
and I wonder if I'm getting the hang of this local language, speaking with
as few words as possible, as vaguely as possible, like a spy sent straight
from central casting. I'm not sure if I'm inferring too much, if such
secrecy is really necessary.

I don't tell Isaac that the Spar, a grocery chain I know from living for the
past year in South Africa, is mostly empty. He knows already that most of
the white metal shelves are bare except for a few cases of biscuits and
canned goods. The small produce section is filled mostly with huge heads of
cabbage, their outer layers already browning in their stacked green crates.
The middle aisles are more full, but not with food; there are rows and rows
of soap, pink bars wrapped in brown paper placed one on top of another, as
if clean ears could fill empty bellies.

I don't tell Isaac about how I am watched in the store by a man in a
lemon-colored vest that reads "tourist police." Or that I can't buy the
Romany Cream cookies I nervously pick off the shelf because the market only
takes Zimbabwean dollars; I'm abiding by the silver polished plaque in my
hotel which instructs that foreigners are required to pay in foreign
currency, and so have not changed any money. It is, of course, illegal for
me to trade currency on Zimbabwe's black market, but if I go to a bank I'll
be forced to exchange at the rate government has set, making anything I buy
nearly sixteen times the price it should be.

On the street outside the Spar, which I have left empty handed, I walk by a
group of men sitting on a stoop. "Taxi?" one of the men calls. I turn to say
no thank you and catch his eye briefly. He looks away casually and murmurs,
"Zim dollars?" under his breath.

"What is the exchange rate anyway?" I ask one of the few tourist-shop owners
who marks his goods -- wooden bowls, salad tongs, beaded leather sandals-in
Zim dollars instead of U.S. As is common, like currency slang, he's left off
the last three zeros so that his prices are in the thousands instead of
millions of dollars.

"Well, it's an easy question, but a difficult answer," he replies, like a
wise master ready to give patience guidance to his student. "The bank rate
is $30,000 [Zimbabwean dollars to $1 U.S. dollar], but I hear on the street
it's something like 500."

"500,000?" I don't hide my shock. This is higher than I had thought, higher
than the weeks-old reports I'd read before coming to Zimbabwe.

"Yes, 500,000."

I pick up a pretty beaded flip-flop with a turquoise flower on the toe. It's
just my size. I walk back and forth across the shop admiring the sandals on
my feet, their flapping against my heels the only sound in the still shop. I
check the price on the bottom of the right shoe and do some math in my head,
counting the zeros and then dividing again to double check. "$40 U.S.?" I
ask the owner, again not hiding my surprise. Again, he nods unapologetically
and I return the shoe to its shelf.

Of course, like most people, I've heard about Zimbabwe's devastating
inflation already. I know about the empty store shelves, the traders that
come to South Africa for grain and toilet paper, the gas shortages and the
power failures that make daily survival a full time job in Zimbabwe's major
cities. In the weeks before I came to Zimbabwe, I read everything I could
get my hands on-not much, thanks to the government ban on foreign
journalists and the threat of retaliation against any dissenting domestic
media. In the Johannesburg airport some months before, I met a white
Zimbabwean woman, diamond and sapphire earrings in her ears, who told me she
was coming back from a vacation in South Africa. She mentioned casually that
her suitcases were full of grain. Though her family had lost their farm
during Zimbabwe's land reforms, they decided to stay and open a small shop.
She said they were living off the shop's meager earnings and money they had
smuggled out of the country before they lost their farm. I wondered if she
used the same suitcases to smuggle the cash out as she was using now to
bring food in. Still she said, "Zimbabwe is the most beautiful place on
earth." It was the only home she'd ever known.

This is the Zimbabwe I've heard about and imagined, though I still expect
something different from Victoria Falls. I expect it to be an island within
Zimbabwe, isolated from the effects of the country's failed economy by the
steady inflow of foreign currency and the country's attempts to convince the
outside world that all is well.

And at first, the illusion holds. At the border, I give a young agent in a
crisply pressed white dress shirt $30 USD for my visa to cross into Zimbabwe
from Botswana.  I've been warned to carry small bills with me, that most
places will demand my U.S. dollars but will likely only be able to provide
the correct change in Zim dollars. I pay with a fifty, asking if I can have
two tens in return.

"How about fives?" the border agent replies smiling, well accustomed to the
routine. He opens the drawer to get my change and reveals more U.S. currency
than I have seen in the past year that I've been living outside the U.S. It
looks at once familiar and completely foreign to see him shuffle through
twenties, tens, fives, and even a few hundreds. I feel strangely possessive,
as if it is my own life savings in the drawer.

My thirty dollars gets me a shiny, hologramed visa more official than the
plain, scribbled-upon stickers I've received in wealthier African countries.
Leaving the border post, there's a framed poster on the wall, a beautiful
red sunset with the words "Zimbabwe, Africa's Paradise" below.

The Victoria Falls Hotel is literally an oasis in the desert -- the summer
rains are still about two weeks away, but the hotel sprinklers run overtime,
catching unsuspecting guests on walkways with their quick, strong streams.
Its rooms are crisp and cool with thick spindle-post beds and marble
countertops in the bathroom; its pool is sparkling teal and exactly the
right temperature-perfectly refreshing, but not too warm. With its manicured
grounds and wide-brimmed patio, it's not hard to imagine the hotel's early
colonial days. I can almost see ladies in hats and white dresses sipping gin
cocktails under the shade of the flowering jacarandas that line the pool.

But even the hotel that Livingston built is not immune to the world around
it. Here, as the hours pass and the days wear on, the shiny illusion of
Zimbabwe as Africa's paradise dulls. The fruit salad comes from a can, its
syrupy yellow juices pool at the bottom of the white china bowl. The $10 USD
cheese plate holds only rice crackers and a few slices of bright orange
cheddar. Up close, the red and navy uniforms of the staff are faded and

On the way back to the hotel after a morning of wandering around town, a man
thrusts a small wooden figurine into my hand. "Zimbabwe is starving, Madam,
have you heard?" It is a small hippo, stained dark to look like ebony, but
it is chipped and rough around the edges. I'm sweating -- the dry heat makes
my white skin feel like it is literally burning -- and I'm thinking only of
the hotel and its air-conditioned rooms. "Have you heard?" he asks again and
I want to answer that I have. But, like with Isaac before him, I don't say
anything. I don't buy anything either. More men come over, holding wooden
monkeys and seeds strung into necklaces. So many come that a policeman, one
of many who line the driveway back to the hotel, walks over to disperse

On March 29, like so many around the world, I sit and hope for good news
about Zimbabwe's elections. Before I returned to South Africa, Isaac told
me, in his typically cryptic way, "Eventually you don't vote anymore. You
just pray," so I am skeptical that this election will bring change. Still, I
check the newspapers online for days and then weeks, waiting for the results
to be released, wondering if a nation's collective prayers could have been
answered. When word of violence starts to surface, I e-mail Isaac for the
first time since I left Zimbabwe, updating him on my move back to the U.S.
and asking, while trying to sound casual, how things are.

His response is brief, only two lines. The soccer team he coaches, aptly
named It Happens ("We lose 10-0, there's no money for transportation, not
enough players show happens") is doing well, though they are short on
funds. Then he writes, "things are getting worse and worse" before signing
off. I don't hear from him again.

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Behold - Africa re-invents democracy

Last Updated: Monday, 28 July 2008, 4:34 GMT

Last Monday, news agency reports flashed pictures of Robert
Mugabe and Tsvangirai, the rival Zimbabwean political leaders in a

It was an event of seismic proportions as this was the first
time the two men had been in the space for more than ten years.

It is good that the President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki sat
between them because Mr. Mugabe would have had his rival arrested or worse
if they had been alone. If if had not seen television pictures of the event
I would not have believed it.

The two men had met to sign a memorandum of understanding for
talks aimed at ending Zimbabwe's nightmarish political crisis. The deal was
immediately hailed as a good thing by the African Union and the usual

The main beneficiary of the deal was not Tsvangirai or even
Mugabe but Thabo Mbeki, the apostle of "quiet diplomacy" who had taken the
flak for Nero-ishly doing nothing while Zimbabwe literally burned.

While the picture of Mugabe and Tsvangirai shaking hands is
truly historic in the literal sense, its importance for the development of
democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe is not as simple as the optimists are
making it out to be. Indeed, on the wider African perspective, that picture
spells a definite backward march for Africa's search for democracy and good

One can understand why the "do nothing" brigade of the African
Union would hail this as progress. The AU, which was supposed to usher in a
new Africa by departing from the old back-scratching old boys club
camaraderie of the OAU, has reverted to type except that like an alcoholic
in remission, the old
habit is now stronger than ever.

To put bluntly, I think that the talks towards possible
power-sharing in Zimbabwe is a disgraceful attempt to regularise a coup
d'etat and the poor MDC opposition has been railroaded into going along with
it. You can't blame the opposition for going along with this charade because
the only alternative is more intimidation, beatings, and even death of its

On the face of it, we all have to applaud these talks that are
designed to bring the violence to an end and perhaps restore sanity and
common human decency to Zimbabwe. On that score, it appears churlish to
cavil at what some would say is a minor and theoretical detail about
democracy. But it is not that simple.

Perhaps, I need to set out my case in the simplest terms.
Zimbabweans went to the polls on March 29 this year. Before the election, Mr
Mugabe's ZANU PF tried to intimidate the voters into voting for them; Mugabe
even stated that the opposition would not be allowed to take office even if
they won the elections.

Within three days of the general elections the results of the
parliamentary vote were published. It showed that the opposition MDC would
be the biggest single party in Parliament.

Then the long wait for the presidential poll results started.
The whole world waited. And waited. And waited. It would be six weeks before
the "results" would be declared. We may never know what happened during the
six lost weeks but we must all feel free to speculate.

According to some credible sources, the Zimbabwe military high
command offered to stage a coup in order to prevent the MDC from talking
power while Mugabe leant heavily on the election officials to bend the

After an apparently interminable wait the results came, and lo
and behold, showed that although the MDC had beaten the highly fancied
Mugabe machine to second place, there was still the need for a second vote
because the opposition had fallen short of the fifty per cent required for
outright victory.

In the meantime, ZANU PF militia and state security forces set
upon opposition members in a manner showed that the second round of the
presidential election would not only be a farce but would be fatally
dangerous for the opposition. The MDC withdrew from the election which
Mugabe went on to "win". A day after this shameful joke he was sworn in as
President. Now, installed as "President", Mr. Mugabe is willing to talk to
the opposition and possibly share power with them.

Now, rewind to January 2008, this time in Kenya , President Mwai
Kibaki and his main rival Raila Odinga squared off in the presidential poll
in late December last year. Early results showed that the President was
losing badly to his rival. So what happened next? Of course, the results
stopped coming out except for a few parliamentary results. In the end the
electoral authority was forced to declare Mr Kibaki the winner.

This led to widespread rioting across the nation in which
hundreds of people lost their lives while hundreds of thousands lost their
property or were displaced. The fallout still continues to affect millions
of Kenyans. Eventually, after negotiations moderated by Kofi Annan, the two
rivals agreed to share power with Raila serving in the newly minted position
of Prime Minister while Kibaki continues as President.

In both Kenya and Zimbabwe, a compromise is being elevated into
a democratic principle and may become a dominant format in Africa.

This is dangerous. As we all know, African leaders want to rule
for life. Last week, there were reports that Uganda's Yoweri Museveni is
plotting to go for yet another term in office. The man has been head of
state since January 1986, a total of 22 years now. One would have thought
that his most creative presidential years were behind him.

So, given the huge temptation for African presidents to go on
for life, what stops all of them from adopting the Kibaki-Mugabe model of
democracy since it is becoming a tried and tested method of staying in
power. After all, the seven-step pattern to election stealing is clear:

Step 1: Organise the elections, even with observers present

Step 2: Arrest the electoral commissioner or take him to a long
dinner just to delay the results

Step 3: Intimidate the opposition, if possible arrest your main

Step 4: Cajole the Chief Justice to swear you in or swear
yourself in, if push comes to shove

Step 5: Attend AU Summit where you are hailed by fellow

Step 6: Agree to negotiate and shake hands with your rival
Step 7: Share power as the senior partner

Perhaps we should take heart. The Roman Scholar, Pliny the Elder
said famously that Ex "Africa semper aliquid novi" - There is always
something new out of Africa. This could be Africa's novel contribution to
the development of democracy in the world. But it makes you wonder why
people even bother to vote in some countries.

By Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng - The Mirror

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Open letter to President Mugabe

July 27, 2008

DEAR Comrade President,

God's presence has deserted you.

I trust that this letter finds you in the best of health, especially now
that you have just won a sixth successive mandate as President of Zimbabwe.

I observed though, that this was after a very energetic campaign tainted
with blood. This required an enormous amount of human effort. More recently,
I observe that you have faked an upper hand in the so-called talks that you
are engaging the 'opposition' in. Let me remind you of the adage 'You can
fool some people some of time, but you can not fool all the people all the

Your win in1980 had the blessings of God. However, God's hand has since
forsaken you. Don't you consider your recent swearing-in ceremony a
blasphemous event, when you clutched the Bible and called on God's name
following the evil election of 27 June, 2008? As stated in 1Samuel 15 vs 23
and 26, Saul was king of Israel but was later rejected by God.

God used Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt but in Numbers 20
vs 12 at Kadesh, God revealed to Moses that He no longer wanted Moses to
proceed with the leadership of the children of Israel to the Promised Land.

The writing has been on the wall for quite a while for you to see that
although God had entrusted you with the leadership of Zimbabwe, your time
has since elapsed. Are you not deriding the wishes of your erstwhile
fighters, the fallen heroes? If they could rise from their graves today,
stare the truth in the face and witness what you have done to Zimbabwe,
would they not wail in lamentation over their wasted lives?

Lest people forget, it is worth reminding them that you led a successful
armed struggle. However, to accomplish this task, let me assist you in
acknowledging that you needed the support of multitudes of Zimbabweans who
played various roles across the spectrum of the liberation struggle. With
due respect to protocol, this makes your role just another component of the

It disturbs me, comrade, to observe that your continued stay in power at all
costs, presupposes that no other Zimbabwean in the nearly 30 years you have
ruled is worthy of the office of President. You and I both know the truth
that there are many Zimbabweans whose brains have an IQ higher than yours
and mine.

We also know that some of our countrymen who have dared aspire to be where
you are have experienced untold vitriol for their ambitions. The
preponderance of economic ruin characteristic of Zimbabwe today bears
testimony to your leadership qualities.

I am aware that the prospect of leaving office might cause you pain, anguish
and despondency. However, you need to remember that the same God who made
you leader of a nation has taken away his mandate from you as He did to Saul
and Moses.

I do not subscribe to the notion that Zimbabwe's problems are all created at
10 Downing Street, as you would want us to believe. You know they are not,
and most Zimbabweans know that as well.

Cleopas Chingwana

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Swaziland Mugabe Invitation Condemned


      By Peter Clottey
      Washington, D.C.
      28 July 2008

The official invitation of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to be part of
the royal celebration of Swaziland's 40 years of independence from British
rule is generating intense criticism in the Southern African sub region.
Swaziland's main opposition People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO)
party has condemned the invitation as a sham and an affront to the people of
Swaziland. The opposition party questioned why the government would invite
what it describes as a tyrant to be part of a celebration with
democratically elected heads of state in the region. PUDEMO also questioned
the cost of the planned celebration, which is estimated at 50 million
emalangeni (which is approximately  $6,5-million).

Some political analysts, however, say Mugabe's invitation is an attempt by
the Swazi King to make peace with the Zimbabwe leader after he reportedly
offended Mugabe when he chaired a meeting of regional leaders, which called
for Zimbabwe's election run-off to be postponed. Mario Masuku is the leader
of Swaziland's opposition party PUDEMO. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from
the capital, Mbabane that most Swazi's are not pleased with Mugabe's

"We are not only frowning on the invitation of Robert Mugabe. The
celebrations themselves are unwarranted, it is just a waste of money for the
Swazi nation, but worse still we now believe they are all people of the same
team for King Mswati to invite a dictator that has violated fundamental
human rights of the people of Zimbabwe to be brought here. It is an insult
or adding salt into wounds of the people of Swaziland. Already people of
Swaziland who are poor and unemployed are unhappy about the celebration. But
the invitation of Robert Mugabe is adding salt into the wounds, and as far
as PUDEMO is concerned, we think it is completely unnecessary and an affront
to the fundamental rights of the people," Masuku noted.

He describes the estimated cost of the planned celebration as completely
unjustified, which he said shows the kings profligacy of spending the
people's money without caring for the suffering masses.

"I believe that the money could have been used into improving of the stand
of living of the people of Swaziland. Currently, there are people who are
suffering from the drought, people who are unemployed the money could have
gone into improvement of the health facilities, the money could have gone
into the improvement of the education standards of Swaziland. We believe
that the king if he wanted a birthday for himself, he could have done so
from his own resources, but not from the people's taxes," he said.

Masuku said PUDEMO is against what he described as callous lavishness.

"One thing that PUDEMO is saying, and I think it must be understood that we
do not approve such extravagance expenditures against poverty. If the king
has decided to invite his friends, you would identify what kind of
government or head of state he is by inviting similar kinds of heads of
state. Any dictator would invite a dictator to go to table with him, and
therefore, we believe that if push had come to shove, definitely, the
government of wouldn't and Swaziland shouldn't have invited people like
Robert Mugabe to come here and mingle with democratic heads of state if ever
that 40 years of celebrations are worthwhile to celebrate," Masuku pointed

Masuku adds that it was about time the Swazi government comes around
genuinely to discuss ways of transforming the country into a democracy.

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Matonga's marital drama takes a new twist

July 28, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Deputy Information minister Bright Matonga, who has now officially
divorced his British-born wife, Anne Pout, has moved in with a wealthy
Harare business woman.

The woman who has attracted the minister's affections is Zodwa Ngwenya, a
prosperous widow who has already born him a baby, and not business woman,
Sharon Mugabe, as previously reported in The Zimbabwe Times. That
relationship is said to be also thriving, however.

While married to Anne and having an extra-marital affair with Mugabe -
reports that the two are actually engaged could not be confirmed with them -
Matonga was seeing Ngwenya on the side. It is in fact Ngwenya, not Mugabe,
who now has a baby by Matonga and into whose upmarket home the deputy
minister moved.

Sharon Mugabe is not related to President Robert Mugabe. Sources close to
her say while she is not related to him, she is allegedly largely
responsible for creating the perception of a family link where none exists.

"They are not related," said one source. "Her father is a Mugabe from
Masvingo. The President is from Zvimba in Mashonaland West. But among
friends she has referred to the President as her uncle. That is how the
impression among many people that they are related was created."

Ngwenya, the other woman in Matonga's life, runs a string of designer
boutiques in the capital, Harare.

Details of Matonga's extra-marital flings are said to have become a cause of
concern among senior Zanu-PF officials fearful that President Mugabe will
not take kindly to the junior minister's exploits at this critical moment.

But Mugabe himself had an extra-marital affair with his married secretary,
Grace Marufu, now the First Lady, and made her pregnant while she was
married to another man, Stanley Goreraza, now a diplomat in China.
Meanwhile, his first wife, Sarah Hayfron Mugabe, was wasting away on her
death bed, suffering from a life-threatening kidney ailment.

Mugabe married Marufu after the death of the First Lady. The two now have
three children.

In moving in with Ngwenya, Matonga has moved out of the marital home he
shared with his British wife of 11 years on a farm the couple seized from a
white commercial farmer.

Vivacious and wealthy Ngwenya runs a boutique in the Eastgate Shopping Mall
and another in Helensvale in Harare.

Ngwenya's husband died after a bout of meningitis a few years ago and she
reportedly inherited a fortune, including the mansion in Borrowdale Brooke,
where Matonga is reported to have now moved.

The Matongas marriage is said to have hit the rocks after Anne became aware
of her husband's extra-marital activities.

Ngwenya has two children of her own - a daughter who is studying in
Australia and a son who attends Peterhouse in Marondera. Her relationship
with Matonga is said to go as far back as 2003 when he was the chief
executive of ZUPCO, the state-bus company. He left the company under a cloud
amid allegations of corruption.

Matonga, now 39, married Anne, six years his senior, back in 1997 in the
United Kingdom. He then moved into her home in the small town of Bellaricay,
in Sussex.

Matonga is said to have met Anne while he was attending college in
Southend-on-Sea, a resort town east of London. He returned to Zimbabwe in
2001 at the behest of then Information Minister Jonathan Moyo to work for
the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. His English wife
joined him in Harare and, in due course, the couple seized farm in Banket,
north of Harare.

The seizure of Vincent Shultz's farm by a British woman recently arrived in
the country for the first time with her Zimbabwean husband was one of the
most bizarre episodes of the lands invasions.

"We are taking back the land you stole from us," Anne Matonga is said to
have screamed at Monica Schultz.
When the Matongas arrived to take over the farm Vincent Schultz had been
wrongfully arrested as the seizure of his farm had been ruled invalid on a
legal technicality. Nevertheless, he was still in prison, pending a bail
application, and his wife, Monica, was alone on the farm on the Sunday when
the Matongas arrived. They started to hurl abuse at her.

"She was rude, saying we had stolen her land. I thought it strange as she
was white, and looked and sounded British," Monica Schultz later told a

After a brief stint at ZBC Matonga moved on to ZUPCO, before he was
appointed deputy minister in 2005.

Of late he has launched a vicious campaign against the West, especially the
Great Britain. It is not clear if he adopted his hostile stance after
parting ways with his British wife.

The other woman in Matonga's life, Sharon Mugabe, 36, is also a
business-woman of considerable wealth. American-trained, she acquired a
leading marketing firm Imago Y and R. The company clinched a lucrative
contract with Zanu-PF to handle advertising and promotion of President
Mugabe's sleek campaign ahead of the election re-run on June 27. It is
alleged she secured the contract on the strength of her liaison with

When The Zimbabwe Times initially contacted Matonga two weeks ago about the
nature of his relationship with Sharon Mugabe, he yelled, "Go to hell."

Repeated efforts since then to obtain comment from him or either of the two
new women in his life have been futile.

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